August 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 July 2010
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Expected Council Action
Council members have before them two major reports on peacebuilding:

  • a report from the Secretary-General (S/2010/386)—this report was specifically requested by the Council in 2009; and
  • the report of the three co-facilitators of the 2010 UN peacebuilding architecture review process mandated in the 2005 resolutions establishing the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC).

While there is a recent emerging pattern for the Council to intensify its focus on peacebuilding issues, at press time it was not clear exactly when and how the Council will take up these reports.

Key Recent Developments
On 22 July 2009, after a Council open debate on post-conflict peacebuilding with more than forty speakers, the Council adopted a presidential statement emphasising the vital role of the UN in peacebuilding. It supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation (also known as the “agenda for action” to improve the UN’s peacebuilding efforts) in his 11 June 2009 report to the Council to “broaden and deepen” the pool of international civilian experts and requested the Secretary-General to report further within a year. (For further background, please see our 17 July 2009 Update Report on Post-Conflict Peacebuilding and our 9 May 2008 Update Report on Building Sustainable Peace: Post-Conflict Stabilisation.)

On 5 October 2009 the Council held an open debate on implementation of resolution 1325 on women and peace and security and adopted resolution 1889. The resolution focused on women’s participation and urged member states, UN bodies, donors and civil society to ensure that women’s protection and empowerment was taken into account during post-conflict needs assessment and planning. It requested the Secretary-General, in his agenda for action to improve the UN’s peacebuilding efforts, to take account of the need to improve the participation of women in political and economic decision making from the earliest stages of the peacebuilding process.

On 16 April, under Japan’s presidency, the Council held an open debate on “Post-Conflict Peace Building: Comprehensive Peacebuilding Strategy to Prevent the Recurrence of Conflict” (Japan had circulated a background/concept paper for the debate on 1 April suggesting that such a debate would provide a forum to “consider a comprehensive peacebuilding strategy to prevent the recurrence of conflict”). The paper argued that peacebuilding constituted one of the major remedies for contemporary threats to international peace and security. It noted that there were far more demands for effective peacebuilding in the world than are being addressed by the PBC, which had on its agenda only four countries: Burundi, the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone.

The Council adopted a presidential statement at the close of the meeting that:

  • reiterated the importance of launching peacebuilding assistance at the earliest possible stage;
  • highlighted the critical role of the PBC in addressing peacebuilding priorities;
  • recognised the need for greater coordination with the PBC and looked forward to the 2010 review of the PBC and the recommendations on how its role can be enhanced; and
  • anticipated the recommendations of the UN civilian capacity review in the follow-up to the Secretary-General’s 2009 report on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict.

From 24 to 26 June, the Council revisited the issue of peacebuilding in the context of an informal ambassadorial-level retreat with the Secretary-General, hosted by Turkey in Istanbul, which focused on the linkage between peacekeeping, peacebuilding and peacemaking.

Progress Report: Peacebuilding in the Immediate Aftermath of Conflict
On 16 July, in response to the Council’s July 2009 request, the Secretary-General submitted his progress report. The report, gave a mixed picture of progress made over the past year in implementing the recommendations. It noted:

  • improvements in some areas like “the project of strengthening civilian capacities” and the establishment of the “UN system-wide standards for strategy and planning in mission settings that will, with continued effort, produce more coherent approaches to peacebuilding at the field level”; but
  • the UN still fell “short of an effective and predictable response, including in areas fundamental to sustainable peacebuilding like close collaboration with the World Bank, predictable and norms-based delivery in core areas like rule of law and security sector reform, and supporting national capacity development through significantly improved operational approaches.”

2010 UN Peacebuilding Architecture Review Process
On 19 July, the presidents of the Council and the General Assembly received the final report of the three co-facilitators in charge of the 2010 review of the peacebuilding architecture. The co-facilitators—Ambassadors Anne Anderson of Ireland, Claude Heller of Mexico and Baso Sangqu of South Africa—were appointed on 11 December 2009 to lead the review of the purpose, role and operation of the UN’s peacebuilding architecture as mandated in resolution 60/180 and resolution 1645 (2005). The report, involved six months of consultations with the UN membership, major actors in the UN system and partners such as the Word Bank and relevant international and national civil society organisations. It set out six key issues:

  • the complexity of peacebuilding;
  • the imperative of national ownership;
  • the illusion of sequencing peacebuilding to follow peacekeeping operations;
  • the urgency of resource mobilisation;
  • the importance of women’s contributions; and
  • the need for better connection of the peacebuilding architecture at headquarters in New York with the field.

The report has many recommendations. Those relating to the PBC and the Security Council itself include:

Peacebuilding Commission

  • more relevant, “with genuine national ownership ensured through capacity-building and greater civil society involvement; simplification of procedures; more effective resource mobilisation; deeper coordination with international financial institutions; and a stronger regional dimension”;
  • more flexible, “with a possibility of multi-tiered engagement” in peacebuilding contexts;
  • better performing, “with the organisational committee that has improved status and focus; country-specific configurations that are better resourced, more innovative and have a stronger field identity”;
  • more empowered, “with a considerably strengthened relationship with the Security Council as well as with the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)”;
  • better supported, “with a strongly performing Peacebuilding Support Office that carries greater weight within the Secretariat; and a Peacebuilding Fund that is fully attuned to the purposes for which it was created”;
  • more ambitious, “with a more diverse range of countries on its agenda”; and
  • better understood, “with an effective communications strategy that spells out what it has to offer and creates a more positive branding.”

Security Council

  • strengthen the PBC’s relationship with the Council, including the latter seeking the advice of the PBC when peacekeeping mandates are being established, reviewed or are approaching a drawdown;
  • pending procedural innovation, encourage an expansive use of existing Council procedures; and
  • regarding referral of countries to the PBC agenda:
  • “consider a more diverse range of situations for referral: larger countries; sectoral or regional situations.”
  • “utilise to the full potential for a preventive role offered by the PBC’s existing mandate.”

(The founding PBC resolutions identify four means by which countries can be referred to the PBC agenda—by the Security Council, the General Assembly, ECOSOC and the Secretary-General. All four countries currently on the PBC’s agenda were referred by the Security Council, and is likely to remain the main avenue by which countries will be placed on the PBC Agenda.)

Council Dynamics
Council members are aware that August is not a good time for the Council to consider the Secretary-General’s report (August is traditionally when many UN officials and delegates go on vacation). There is currently consideration of having the Council hold an event in September, during the presidency of Turkey, to follow up on the Council’s retreat in Istanbul, which dealt with the linkages between peacekeeping, peacebuilding and peacemaking.

There is the related question of the report of the co-facilitators which most Council members feel needs to be addressed first in the General Assembly, especially the wider issues of the overall peacebuilding architecture.

On the other hand most members seem hopeful that the two reports will assist in efforts toward getting the Council to concretely address and improve its own performance in the overall task of peacebuilding. In this regard the specific recommendations of the co-facilitators directed at the Council itself could provide a limited and appropriate context for early Council action.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1889 (5 October 2009) was on the issue of women, peace and security and requested the Secretary-General, in his agenda for action to improve the UN’s peacebuilding efforts, to take into account the need to improve the participation of women in political and economic decision-making from the earliest stages of the peacebuilding process.
  • S/RES/1645A/RES/60/180 (20 December 2005) created the PBC and the Peacebuilding Fund.
  • S/RES/1327 (13 November 2000) and S/RES/1318 (7 September 2000) contained annexes discussing measures to strengthen peacekeeping operations.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2010/7 (16 April 2010) was the Council statement regarding the need for a comprehensive peacebuilding strategy to prevent the recurrence of conflict.
  • S/PRST/2009/23 (22 July 2009) was the Council statement emphasising the vital role of the UN in post-conflict peacebuilding.
  • S/PRST/2008/16 (20 May 2008) invited the Secretary-General to provide advice on how to support sustainable peace in post-conflict situations.
  • S/PRST/2007/3 (21 February 2007) requested the PBC to include consideration of security sector reform programmes in integrated peacebuilding strategies.
  • S/PRST/2007/1 (8 January 2007) underlined the importance of close interaction between the Council and the PBC.
  • S/PRST/2006/42 (8 November 2006) welcomed the role the PBC can play in mainstreaming gender perspectives into the peace consolidation process.
  • S/PRST/2006/39 (20 September 2006) welcomed the intent of regional organisations to be closely associated with the work of the PBC and expressed the Council’s commitment to facilitate their participation in the PBC’s country-specific activities.
  • S/PRST/2006/38 (9 August 2006) on peace consolidation in West Africa underscored the importance and role of the PBC in assisting countries emerging from conflict to achieve sustainable peace and security.
  • S/PRST/2006/28 (22 June 2006) emphasised the role of the PBC with respect to the promotion of justice and the rule of law.
  • S/PRST/2004/33 (22 September 2004) recognised the important civilian role in conflict management and peacebuilding.
  • S/PRST/2004/16 (17 May 2004) emphasised the need for enhanced resources, personnel and planning to strengthen peacekeeping operations.
  • S/PRST/2001/31 (31 October 2001) emphasised the importance of gender perspectives in policies and programmes addressing armed conflict, especially peacekeeping operations.
  • S/PRST/2001/5 (20 February 2001) reiterated the value of including peacebuilding elements in mandates of peacekeeping operations.
  • S/PRST/2001/3 (31 January 2001) established a Working Group of the Whole on UN Peacekeeping Operations.
  • S/PRST/2000/10 (23 March 2000) was on disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration.

Selected Letters

  • S/2010/167 (1 April 2010) contained Japan’s concept paper for the open debate entitled “Post-Conflict Peace Building: Comprehensive Peacebuilding Strategy to Prevent the Recurrence of Conflict”.
  • S/2008/291 (2 May 2008) contained the British concept paper on securing peace in post-conflict situations.

Selected General Assembly Resolutions

  • A/RES/60/287 (21 September 2006) was the resolution on the Peacebuilding Fund.
  • A/RES/60/180 (20 December 2005) established the PBC, concurrent with Council resolution 1645.
  • A/RES/60/1 (16 September 2005) was the 2005 World Summit Outcome.

Selected Reports

  • A/64/868-S/2010/393 (19 July 2010) was a letter from the three co-facilitators in charge of the 2010 review of the UN peacebuilding architecture communicating their final report on the review process.
  • S/2010/386 (16 July 2010) was the progress report of the Secretary-General on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict.
  • S/2009/304 (11 June 2009) was the Secretary-General’s report on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict.
  • S/2009/189 (8 April 2009) was the Secretary-General’s report on enhancing mediation and support activities.
  • A/60/696 (24 February 2006) was a report on the Secretariat’s reform project “Peace Operations 2010.”
  • A/59/2005 (21 March 2005) was the report of the Secretary-General, In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights.
  • A/59/565 (2 December 2004) was the report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility.
  • S/2004/616 (23 August 2004) was the Secretary-General’s report on the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict societies.
  • E/2004/86 (25 June 2004) was an assessment of the Ad Hoc Advisory Groups of ECOSOC on African countries emerging from conflict.
  • S/2000/809 (21 August 2000) was the report of the Panel on UN Peace Operations (Brahimi Report).
  • S/2000/101 (11 February 2000) was the report of the Secretary-General on the role of UN peacekeeping in disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration.
  • S/24111 (17 June 1992) was the report of the Secretary-General, An Agenda for Peace, Preventive Diplomacy, Peacemaking and Peacekeeping.

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