Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you Ambassadors for your briefings. Let me also thank Ambassador Momen for his capable chairmanship of the Peacebuilding Commission's Organizational Committee in 2012 and congratulate Ambassador Vilović on his assumption of the chair for 2013. I thank them both for their briefings today.
The United States appreciates the contributions of the Peacebuilding Commission, Peacebuilding Fund, and Peacebuilding Support Office and recognizes the PBC's value as a common platform for international actors working in support of sustainable peace and development. From mobilizing resources to developing partnerships to building bridges among different UN entities in support of peacebuilding objectives, the PBC continues to evolve to reach its full potential. We share the Secretary General's view that strong national ownership of the peacebuilding process, a closer relationship between headquarters and UN actors in the field, and prioritization of resources are essential to the PBC's success.
In this regard, I'd like to focus on three areas where the PBC has great opportunity for added value: political governance, economic governance, and justice and security sector reform.
Mr. President, peace and security require basic political agreement on the structures of government and the rules of politics. Effective, resilient, and inclusive governance institutions are essential to ending recurring conflict and enabling long-term, broad-based economic growth and development. As President Obama said in 2009, "Good governance is the ingredient that can unlock Africa's enormous potential." Following successful national elections in Sierra Leone, for example, the PBC's role in developing coherent short- and long-term peacebuilding objectives and identifying national capacity gaps, particularly related to governance, is increasingly important.
International support, however, cannot substitute for the national government nor overcome the absence of a durable political settlement. We note that PBC engagement in Guinea-Bissau is suspended following the April 2012 coup d'état, and the Central African Republic has started down a similarly troubling path. Before the CAR can stabilize and develop, constitutional order must be restored and the Libreville and N'Djamena agreements must be implemented. The Commission must be prepared to step in and facilitate international support for effective government institutions once conditions allow. Unlocking the vast untapped potential of women as political leaders and in building governance institutions is also essential. Every effort must be made to ensure that women are included and supported as the PBC helps national actors interface with the UN system, mobilize the appropriate resources, and generate momentum for further support and positive action.
Economic governance is equally important for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery. Partnerships with the World Bank, the IMF, and regional development banks are critical since they have the tools and expertise to build the capacity of institutions of public finance. In Burundi, the PBC's engagement with international financial institutions led to the inclusion of peacebuilding priorities in its second generation poverty reduction strategy. Furthermore, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Ambassador Seger and the country configuration, more than $2.5 billion was pledged at the October 2012 Burundi partners' conference. Indeed, the PBC's ability to mobilize resources and to ensure inclusivity of women and underrepresented groups is crucial for countries transitioning from conflict to development phases, but donors must have confidence in a country's capacity to absorb and manage its contributions responsibly.
Beyond the necessity of capable political and economic governance, ordinary citizens must feel safe and secure in their daily lives for peacebuilding to succeed. They need to be able to trust in the rule of law and the state's security forces. Yet, in the aftermath of conflict, there is usually a need to build up the justice sector while the security sector is typically in need of reform and downsizing. Women need to take part and be included in reforming the institutions of law and security so that the needs of the entire society are met.
The PBC can and should help sustain political momentum for such efforts. In Liberia, the PBC not only facilitated the participation of key stakeholders to establish justice hubs to bring security and justice services to Liberians outside of the capital but helped to enable a structured roadmap that kept the project on track and coordinated. We understand the first hub is already providing essential services, including counseling for victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
Mr. President, too often, our attention is focused acutely on ending the fighting and stopping the bloodshed. But when the guns fall silent, the wounds of war are far from healed and the causes of conflict far from resolved. For this reason, the PBC remains important and must continue to improve its effectiveness in catalyzing political momentum and mobilizing the resources needed to assist countries transitioning from conflict to peace.
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