Thank you, Mr. President, for convening today’s sessions, and thank you, Ambassadors Drobnjak and Patriota, for your briefings. I also would like to thank the Permanent Mission of Croatia for its work in chairing the seventh session of the Peacebuilding Commission’s Organizational Committee.
Peacebuilding is a critical task, but it is not an easy one. As Ambassador Patriota reminded us, recent events in South Sudan and the Central African Republic are stark examples of how quickly countries can slide back into conflict. But in other places, some with the PBC’s engagement, we have seen progress.
We share the Secretary General’s view that the PBC should focus on its three core functions: advocacy and sustained attention; resource mobilization; and forging coherence. The PBC can play a vital role in identifying risks and gaps in peacebuilding in countries on its agenda, marshalling resources and coordinating among donors, actively integrating civil society and women as equal partners, and ensuring that countries at risk of sliding back into conflict remain on the international community’s agenda.
I would like to raise a few specific points that highlight the impact of the PBC over the past year. First, we are very glad to see a strengthened relationship between the PBC and the Security Council. Briefings from the chairs of Country-Specific Configurations, including Liberia, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, and Sierra Leone, provided valuable insight and served to sustain international attention to the ongoing political and socio-economic challenges facing each of these countries. We know that keeping a careful focus on countries recovering from conflict – but no longer in the headlines – is essential for peace to take hold and bear fruit. This remains a critical function of the Commission.
Second, we see a clear link between peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts. This Council affirmed the need for coherence among peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts with Resolution 2086, which recognized peacekeepers as early peacebuilders. In the last year, we put that concept into operation through the creation of two multidimensional peacekeeping operations – in Mali and the Central African Republic. Both are mandated with support to peacebuilding tasks, including strengthening the security sector and rule of law.
Other missions similarly have major peacebuilding roles, such as those in Haiti, Liberia, and Cote d’Ivoire. Their efforts will gain increased attention as they continue to drawdown their role and make sure the transition to the host country ownership is effective and successful.
Third, of course, is the role of the PBC as a platform to help international efforts for sustained peace. In Burundi, the PBC has promoted mutual accountability between donors and the Government of Burundi. It has maintained a strong focus on the political environment in the lead-up to national elections; for example, by convening regular meetings to discuss a united strategy on the way forward. The United States counts on the PBC to continue its engagement in Burundi as the UN office, BNUB, winds down. We welcome the PBC’s close cooperation with the Council-mandated Elections Observation Mission.
In the Central African Republic, the PBC’s re-engagement can help to identify gaps in the international community’s response to the situation there, helping to provide critical support for the beleaguered national government.
None of this works, of course, without a national commitment to peacebuilding. The PBC can be most effective in supporting implementation of nationally-owned peacebuilding and development plans. The post-election transition plan for Guinea-Bissau is a case in point.
This synthesis on national buy-in and control over peacebuilding initiatives must bring with it the good-faith efforts of the national governments. Last month’s first Annual Session of the PBC focused on resource mobilization. As the international community works to identify innovative ways to broaden the tax base and build the capacity of post-conflict national governments, it is critical that those governments are transparent in how they are spending those funds, and that such funds are directed towards national peace and state building priorities.
We are also glad to see that the PBC continues reform efforts such as building stronger partnerships with international financial institutions and the Peacebuilding Fund, which has proven to be a flexible and catalytic instrument to address immediate needs of countries in crisis.
Finally, the United States shares the view that we should make the most of the upcoming 2015 review of the UN’s peacebuilding architecture. We should be clear and candid about how to make it as effective as possible. The United States is enthusiastically participating in this review process, and looks forward to the views of those most involved in its efforts to date, including this morning’s briefers and some of the members of the Council.
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