December 2012 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 November 2012
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Expected Council Action

In December, the Council expects to hold an open debate on peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict.  The Secretary-General’s 8 October report (S/2012/746) will likely serve as a basis for the discussion. 

At press time, it appeared that a presidential statement was a possible outcome.

 Key Recent Developments

The 8 October report on peacebuilding noted that progress had been made in implementing the “agenda for action” outlined in the Secretary-General’s 11 June 2009 report (S/2009/304), due to more effective leadership of UN teams in the field, enhanced UN support for national capacity-building and ownership of peacebuilding processes and improved funding mechanisms to support peacebuilding. The latest report noted that leadership teams in field missions had become more effective, as resident coordinators had received training in peacebuilding and gender and recovery issues. It also found that the use of performance assessments and compacts had enhanced accountability for Special Representatives and heads of missions. It further noted that the International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF), a subsidiary organ of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), had developed guidance for donor engagement in fragile states.

Moving forward, the Secretary-General underscored three priorities for successful peacebuilding in post-conflict settings: inclusive peacebuilding processes that encompass early and substantive engagement among a wide range of societal actors; institutional capacity-building in the political, economic and social spheres; and sustained, meaningful international engagement.

The past year has been a time of considerable international attention on peacebuilding and statebuilding issues. Between 29 November and 1 December 2011, the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness was held in Busan, Republic of Korea.  More than 3,000 participants from donor and aid-recipient countries gathered to discuss strategies to enhance development cooperation in fragile and post-conflict states.  In the outcome document, called the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-Operation, participants endorsed the “New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States”. 

Recognising that fragile and conflict-affected states are home to 1.5 billion people and that these states are far from fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the “New Deal” espouses the development of peace and statebuilding goals to serve as a springboard toward achievement of the MDGs; focuses on nationally owned and driven processes that are inclusive in nature and strive to help states escape their fragility; and underscores the need for donors to develop more timely and predictable funding modalities and for recipient countries to use aid more effectively.

On 13-14 November 2012, the g7+ held its second ministerial retreat in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  (The g7+ is a group of fragile and post-conflict states that strive to enhance international focus on the challenges facing fragile states and to develop innovative approaches toward peacebuilding and statebuilding that are context-specific.  Of the 18 current members of the g7+, 13 are on the Council’s agenda.) Approximately 50 delegates from nine states—Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan and Timor-Leste—took part in the retreat. The Haiti Declaration, the outcome document from the meeting, mapped out several priorities for the g7+ in 2013, including, inter alia, providing joint input with respect to the UN’s post-2015 development agenda, strengthening relationships with development partners and enhancing the group’s visibility both in member states and internationally.

Key Issues

One key issue is whether and how this thematic debate can have a practical impact on peacebuilding processes in country-specific cases. 

Another key issue is how the relationship between the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) continues to evolve. (In his latest report, the Secretary-General encouraged the Council to continue to make clear what advice it needs from the PBC, “including during mandate discussions.”)

Also an important issue is whether the Council is willing and able to link its work on peacebuilding to broader developments represented by the work of INCAF and the g7+.


The Council may wish to adopt a statement in which it:

  • reiterates its support for peacebuilding;
  • welcomes the “New Deal” for fragile states and the efforts of the g7+; and
  • calls for enhanced engagement between the Council and the PBC through meetings such as the interactive dialogues before mandate renewals.

The Council may also want to consider hosting an informal interactive dialogue with representatives of the g7+ to get their perspectives on how synergies can be created between their work and the work of the Council.

Council Dynamics

There is general support among Council members for discussions on peacebuilding, although some members are anxious to see more concrete results in country-specific contexts.  Some members note that there remains a need for greater coherence and coordination among the multiple international actors engaged in peacebuilding processes, as reflected most notably in statements by China, South Africa and the US during the 12 July Council debate on the PBC.  Also at the debate, the UK and France argued that the “New Deal” offers a useful approach for engagement with fragile states.   

The incoming members joining the Council on 1 January may provide impetus to the Council’s deliberations on peacebuilding, given their past experiences and perspectives.  Argentina appears to espouse the perspective that strengthening the rule of law and human rights in fragile states are key factors in promoting peace and stability.  Australia has supported the agricultural sector in Sierra Leone and the 2010 election in Burundi through the Peacebuilding Fund.  Luxembourg has chaired the PBC’s country-specific configuration for Guinea since February 2011. Like the Republic of Korea and Rwanda, Luxembourg underscores the interconnections between security and development that are an important element of peacebuilding.

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UN Documents on Peacebuilding

Security Council Resolution  
20 December 2005 S/RES/1645 This resolution created the PBC and the Fund.
Security Council Presidential Statement  
11 February 2011 S/PRST/2011/4 This presidential statement was on the interdependence between security and development highlighting the value of helping governments in post-conflict situations effectively manage their natural resources.
Selected Reports  
8 October 2012 S/2012/746 This was the Secretary-General’s recent report on peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict.
30 January 2012 S/2012/70 This was the PBC’s fifth annual report.
Security Council Meeting Record  
12 July 2012 S/PV.6805 The Council held an open debate to discuss the fifth annual report of the PBC.

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