Expected Council Action
The Council is likely to have a briefing in October on post-conflict peacebuilding in line with the Council’s 13 October 2010 presidential statement requesting the Secretary-General to brief it by 13 October 2011 on progress made in implementing his agenda for action, including progress towards increasing the participation of women in peacebuilding. The presidential statement also asked for the Secretary-General to submit a report on this issue no later than 13 October 2012.
At press time it was unclear what format would be used for the briefing. No formal outcome is expected from the Council at this stage.
Key Recent Developments
On 23 March the Council discussed the fourth annual report of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC). In presenting the 2010 report, the outgoing PBC chair, Ambassador Peter Wittig (Germany), said that momentum had to be maintained and higher level political commitment from both member states and the UN was needed. Incoming chair Eugene-Richard Gasana (Rwanda) noted that the PBC could assist the Council by providing an early peacebuilding perspective, developing key partnerships and providing advice about countries on the PBC agenda.
The Council last discussed the issue on 21 January, issuing a presidential statement stressing that institution-building was a critical component of peacebuilding and emphasising the importance of national ownership. The Council also indicated its willingness to make greater use of the advisory role of the PBC and stressed the importance of well-defined partnerships. It also committed to considering the inclusion of early peacebuilding tasks related to institution-building in mission mandates.
In 2011, it appears to have become a practice for the chairs of country-specific configurations to brief the Council during mandate renewals or formal meetings on the PBC countries (Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone).
The country-specific configuration chairs have also used the informal interactive dialogue format to brief the Council. In December 2010, chair of the Liberia configuration, Ambassador Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein (Jordan), briefed on his first official visit to Liberia. In February this format was used to facilitate discussions between Council members, the chair of the Burundi configuration, Ambassador Paul Seger (Switzerland), and the incoming head of the UN mission in Burundi, Karin Landgren.
A key issue is sustaining the Council’s interest in post-conflict peacebuilding. Council members have not had an opportunity to discuss this issue since March, when the issue was last covered in the Council debate on the fourth report of the PBC held under China’s presidency. The two previous Council presidents had also addressed it, Bosnia and Herzegovina in January and Brazil in February.
This is in stark contrast to 2010 when there were several debates on post-conflict peacebuilding as well as significant reports, including women’s participation in peacebuilding and the review of the peacebuilding architecture.
Also an issue is exploring new working methods to find ways of drawing on the PBC’s expertise.
Neither the Council nor the Secretariat appears to be particularly focused on this issue. At press time there was little awareness that post-conflict peacebuilding was likely to be on the October programme of work.
Currently Council members are not showing much appetite for thematic discussions on peacebuilding. This may be due to having had several debates on the peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding continuum as well as a number of debates on post-conflict peacebuilding, as well as a number of debates on post-conflict peacebuilding
At the start of the year there was some expectation that the two PBC configuration chairs on the Council (Germany and Brazil), and countries such as India and South Africa with a keen interest in peacebuilding, might want to focus on the issue. However, the crisis situations in the Middle East and Africa this year appear to have diverted members’ attention.
Some situations now on the Council’s agenda, like Libya, may provide an opportunity to put into practice some of the concepts that have been discussed in recent years, including the need to initiate peacebuilding activities in the early stages of peacekeeping mission planning.
Security Council Resolution
Security Council Presidential Statements
Security Council Documents Related to the PBC
PBC Annual Report