The Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) is expected to hold its first formal country-specific meetings on Sierra Leone and Burundi on 12 and 13 October, respectively. Reports from the Peacebuilding Support Office and from the Sierra Leonean and Burundian governments are expected. The meetings are likely to result in short initial lists of major outstanding issues or a specific strategy for peacebuilding for each country, as well as next steps (in particular the holding of thematic meetings on those outstanding issues).
At the time of writing, the Organisational Committee was expected to decide, prior to the country-specific meetings, on:
civil society participation (some groups have already suggested modalities for that);
Sweden’s request to participate in the meetings on Sierra Leone; and
requests from the EU Commission and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to participate in PBC meetings.
Key Recent Developments
On 23 June, the Organisational Committee held its first meeting, in which the members elected Angola as chair and El Salvador and Norway as vice-chairs, adopted the rules of procedure, and indicated that Burundi and Sierra Leone would be considered for its country-specific mode.
Since then, members have received informal country-specific briefings in July and held a seminar with civil society organisations in September. The Organisational Committee also prepared an initial list of members for country-specific meetings.
The EU Commission forwarded a request for participation in PBC meetings as an “other institutional donor” under paragraph 9 of resolution 1645. The OIC subsequently also requested participation. The basis for this seems less clear.
Options include establishing a procedure for approving the participation of other institutional donors. Members may decide to either accept all applications or establish criteria. One possibility already raised among members is to interpret paragraph 9 of resolution 1645 as requiring that “other institutional donors” should have experience and reach that is relatively comparable to the other institutions mentioned in that paragraph, namely the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
On country-specific strategies, options include whether to address politically sensitive issues such as human rights, rule of law and democratic governance. Recent events in Burundi could bring this discussion clearly into focus.
The main issue for PBC members is the urgency to begin working on country-specific strategies.
Divisive issues could emerge on country-specific strategies, in particular the concerned governments’ record on democratic governance, corruption and human rights. Members are aware that any action needs the consent from those governments. This could potentially highlight differences in the understanding of the practical meaning of peacebuilding, especially its more political aspects.
The EU Commission and OIC requests highlight existing concerns among some members about the possible influence of Western donors (particularly in the Organisational Committee), which no doubt goes back to the negotiations leading to the creation of the PBC.
Most members, however, seem reasonably confident that past meetings have clarified the PBC’s role and paved the way for progress on country-specific strategies. There are concerns that the meeting on Burundi may face difficulties in view of the recent events in that country.
Views still differ as to whether the Organisational Committee should be involved in broad thematic issues at this stage, or concentrate more on organisational matters.
|Selected Security Council Resolutions|
|Selected General Assembly Resolutions|
|Selected Meeting Records|
|Selected Secretary-General’s Reports|
|19 July 2006||The first informal briefings on Burundi and Sierra Leone were held.|
|23 June 2006||The Organisational Committee held its first meeting.|
Other Relevant Facts
|PBC Organisational Committee Members|
|Chairman of the PBC Organisational Committee|
|Peacebuilding Support Office Head|
|Peacebuilding Support Office Budget|