Expected Council Action
In July, the Council expects to receive a briefing by Ambassadors Vladimir Drobnjak (Croatia) and Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil), the former and current chairs of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), on the seventh annual report of the PBC (A/68/729-S/2014/67).
Later, on the day of the briefing, an informal interactive dialogue involving Council members, the six PBC country-configuration chairs and ambassadors of the PBC agenda countries is planned.
No outcome is expected.
Key Recent Developments
The PBC adopted its annual report on 29 January. The report reviews PBC activities over 2013 and assesses progress in advancing recommendations from the 2010 review. The report includes in an annex a decision to start holding an annual session during the third or fourth week of June each year around Peacebuilding Day, which is 23 June. The initiative is intended to create closer collaboration between stakeholders in New York, capitals and the field while reflecting on broader peacebuilding policies. The session will replace the high-level ministerial meeting during the General Debate.
The PBC held its first annual session on 23 June, organised around the theme of resource mobilisation. The session included interactive discussions on revenue generation in post-conflict countries and sustaining resources for post-conflict countries transitioning from Security Council-mandated missions to UN country teams.
Following last year’s briefing on the annual report and interactive dialogue in April 2013, Rwanda formally organised and started chairing a “PBC working stream”, which focuses on Council-PBC relations. The group, which had met once in 2012, met more regularly since April 2013. It is composed of Council members who are members of the PBC, configuration chairs and PBC-agenda country representatives.
The Council last considered peacebuilding as a separate issue on 19 March when Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson briefed on UN peacebuilding efforts, including women’s participation in peacebuilding (S/PV.7143). Helen Clark, the Administrator of the UN Development Programme, also briefed, as did Patriota. Interventions focused on the Secretary-General’s three peacebuilding priority areas—inclusivity, institution-building and sustained international support—identified in his 8 October 2012 report on peacebuilding (S/2012/746).
Recent Developments in Country-Specific Configurations
The chair of the Burundi configuration, Ambassador Paul Seger (Switzerland), visited Burundi on 26-27 May to help diffuse internal tensions and to restore trust between the government and the international community. The visit was part of a broader trip by Seger in which he also travelled to Brussels, Paris, Kigali and Arusha, meeting senior representatives of various governments and regional organisations to explore options for engagement on Burundi and to define respective roles in light of the planned departure of the UN Office in Burundi (BNUB) at the end of the year. Seger also discussed organising a round-table meeting as a follow-up to the 2012 Geneva Donor Conference and to assess the implementation of Burundi’s Strategic Framework for the Fight against Poverty II.
Ambassador Mohammed Loulichki (Morocco), the then-chair of the Central African Republic (CAR) configuration, visited the CAR from 4-7 March. It was his first visit since being appointed chair in January. Loulichki met transitional authorities and officials of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the CAR to discuss priories for PBC engagement and how the configuration could support international and regional efforts to stabilise the CAR. In April, Ambassador Omar Hilale (Morocco) assumed the chairmanship.
At a meeting of the Guinea configuration on 16 April presided by its chair, Ambassador Sylvie Lucas (Luxembourg), UN security sector reform (SSR) experts briefed on a January interagency mission. SSR in Guinea was starting a new phase, focusing on building civilian oversight of the defence and security forces and strengthening the police and justice sectors. The configuration has also been seeking donors for a $400,000 UNICEF program to educate rural areas about the ebola virus. As of 5 June, there had been 351 cases of ebola and 226 deaths since the outbreak began in late January.
Since April, the Guinea-Bissau configuration has issued three press statements on Guinea-Bissau’s electoral process to restore constitutional order. A statement on 1 April expressed concern over incidents of violence and intimidation before the 13 April national elections. Statements were also released prior to the 18 May presidential run-off election and on 12 June after the two successful electoral rounds. Patriota, as configuration chair, last briefed Council members on 19 May (S/PV.7177), recalling a preliminary strategy for configuration re-engagement with Guinea-Bissau following the inauguration of the new government.
In March, the third review of mutual commitments between Liberia and its PBC configuration was concluded. Commitments were extended for an additional year, with the final report noting that these may be aligned in 2015 around a “New Deal” compact. Recent configuration activities have focused, among other things, on advancing the stalled reconciliation process and improving land and natural resource management through the Peacebuilding Fund and World Bank support. In May, Ambassador Mårten Grunditz (Sweden) informed the PBC that he would replace Ambassador Staffan Tillander (Sweden) as configuration chair in July and that they would jointly visit Liberia. (Unlike the other configurations, Tillander has not been an accredited permanent representative.)
On 26 March, at the final briefing on Sierra Leone upon the withdrawal of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), Ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski (Canada), chair of the Sierra Leone configuration, addressed Council members about a new plan for lighter PBC engagement (S/PV.7148). With the conclusion of UNIPSIL, Sierra Leone became the second PBC-agenda country, with Guinea, that is not on the Council agenda.
Enhancing the advisory role of the PBC to the Council is a key issue. Members are likely to reflect on the PBC’s first annual session and the upcoming 2015 PBC review in this regard.
A closely related issue is taking full advantage of the country-specific expertise of the chairs of the PBC country-configurations, in particular the question about the chairs participating in Council consultations.
The Council may:
- discuss the annual report and take no action; or
- issue a presidential or press statement that welcomes recent practices for improving PBC-Council cooperation and the upcoming 2015 PBC review.
Council and Wider Dynamics
Within the Council (and broader membership), it is felt that the PBC has not lived up to its envisioned role, a view reinforced by the 12 April 2012 coup in Guinea-Bissau and the relapse into conflict in the CAR as of 10 December 2012. While the P5 continue to oppose country-configuration chairs participating in consultations, several new initiatives within the past year have been undertaken by members to enhance the PBC’s advisory role. As Presidents of the Council in September 2013 and March 2014, respectively, Australia and Luxembourg organised meetings of Council experts and Tillander prior to formal meetings on the UN Mission in Liberia. Seger had also briefed Council experts on his efforts and observations prior to Council meetings on Burundi. Additionally, the “PBC working stream”, chaired by Rwanda, is viewed as a best practice.
For some members, these practices have demonstrated opportunities to increase PBC-Council collaboration on a case-by-case basis with the different country-configurations. Informal meetings with configuration chairs ahead of Council meetings are viewed as beneficial for, among other things, providing a better idea of how PBC engagement can support the Council’s work and for planning mission mandates or drafting Council statements. Concerned over Burundi possibly relapsing into conflict in Burundi, Council members have highly valued Seger’s contribution, whose advice has been credited for specific provisions in resolution 2137 that renewed BNUB.
On the past six occasions, the presentation of the PBC annual reports provided an opportunity for Council members to hold a debate, with the 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012 meetings held as open debates.
In addition to the 2015 PBC review, the Council expects a final report from the Secretary-General on peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict in December, when it may adopt a new presidential statement on peacebuilding.
There is no designated penholder on peacebuilding.
UN DOCUMENTS ON PEACEBUILDING
|Security Council Presidential Statement|
|20 December 2012 S/PRST/2012/29||This presidential statement was on post-conflict peacebuilding and emphasised the importance of inclusivity in national peacebuilding processes.|
|Security Council Meeting Record|
|19 March 2014 S/PV.7143||This was a briefing on peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict.|
|Peacebuilding Commission Document|
|29 January 2014 S/2014/67||This was the PBC’s seventh annual report.|