Expected Council Action
In June, the Council expects briefings by Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil) and Olof Skoog (Sweden), the former and current chairs of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), on the eighth annual report of the PBC.
That same day, an informal interactive dialogue is expected involving Council members, the six PBC country-configuration chairs and ambassadors of PBC-agenda countries.
No outcome is expected.
Key Recent Developments
On 22 January, the Secretary-General announced the formation of the seven-person Advisory Group of Experts to conduct the first stage of the 2015 review of the peacebuilding architecture. (This review was requested in 2010 by Security Council resolution 1947 and General Assembly resolution 65/7.) The Advisory Group is expected to submit a report based on five case studies to the Council and the General Assembly by the end of June. That will start an intergovernmental process to review its analysis and recommendations.
Skoog travelled to West Africa from 5 to 10 April, visiting Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Senegal to assess the impact of Ebola on peacebuilding. The trip was also taken in the context of PBC efforts to incorporate a greater regional perspective in peacebuilding and to strengthen cooperation with regional organisations. The visit included meetings with the Secretary-General of the Mano River Union, Saran Daraba Kaba, and the head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA), Mohammed Ibn Chambas. On 23 April, Skoog transmitted a report about his trip to the Council.
On 14 April, the PBC held a special session on Ebola. Skoog briefed on his trip, and a representative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) briefed about its Ebola recovery assessment conducted in January. Following this session, Skoog attended a high-level meeting hosted by the World Bank in Washington D.C. on 17 April, during which the presidents of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone presented their respective national Ebola recovery plans. The World Bank announced it would provide $650 million for Ebola recovery, in addition to earlier pledges of debt relief. The World Health Organization declared Liberia Ebola-free on 9 May.
Developments in Country-Specific Configurations
The configuration chair, Ambassador Paul Seger (Switzerland), visited Burundi from 31 March to 3 April. The visit focused on the tensions and concerns about potential violence over the possibility that President Pierre Nkurunziza would seek a third term. In his meetings, including with the president, Seger stressed the need to avoid violence and to preserve national unity. He warned authorities that violence could lead to international sanctions.
Following the outbreak of protests in late April against Nkurunziza’s candidacy, the configuration held three meetings (29 April, 11 May and 15 May). After its 15 May meeting, held two days after a coup attempt, the configuration issued a press statement expressing full support for regional engagement by the East African Community, the AU and the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region to resolve the crisis, as well as commending efforts by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Said Djinnit, and the UN Electoral Observation Mission in Burundi.
Central African Republic
The configuration chair, Ambassador Omar Hilale (Morocco), visited the Central African Republic from 2 to 5 May and attended the start of the Bangui Forum on reconciliation. During his four-day visit, he met with a range of interlocutors, including the transitional president, Catherine Samba-Panza. Among the issues raised was the funding gap for holding this year’s elections. At press time, the configuration was organising a high-level event on 5 June with UNDP to raise awareness about the issue.
The Guinea configuration issued a press statement on 17 April appealing to all parties to exercise restraint following violence at demonstrations on 13 and 14 April. Protests in Guinea were triggered by the announcement that presidential elections would be held in October 2015 before local elections, which were further postponed to 2016.
On 21 May, the Department of Political Affairs briefed the configuration on the electoral needs assessment mission that visited Guinea from 11 to 22 April, reporting that the current environment is not conducive for free and fair elections. UNOWA’s Chambas also briefed, noting more positively the resumption of dialogue between the president and Guinea’s opposition leader. Configuration chair Ambassador Sylvie Lucas (Luxembourg) updated members about her planned visit to Guinea, scheduled from 31 May to 2 June, during which she would assess tensions around the elections as well as the impact of Ebola.
At a 16 April configuration meeting, members emphasised that countries must fulfil their pledges made at the donors’ conference on 25 March in Brussels, which raised 1.2 billion euros for Guinea-Bissau’s ten-year national development plan. Discussion also focused on a recent UN-led security sector reform mission. Additionally, Patriota, who is the configuration chair, noted with concern the Council’s emphasis on drug trafficking in its recent resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau. He said that emphasis was no longer warranted and unfairly stigmatised the country. Patriota visited Guinea-Bissau from 19 to 21 April.
Skoog, who is also chair of the country configuration, visited Liberia from 5 to 7 April, during which he met President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to discuss the country’s Ebola recovery process. Configuration meetings were held on 29 April and 5 May. The configuration reviewed peacebuilding priorities in Ebola recovery efforts and the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and received briefings from UNMIL head Karin Landgren and Liberia Minister of Justice Benedict Sannoh.
The configuration, which is chaired by Canada, met on 21 May and received a briefing by UNDP on the economic outlook and recovery planning in the region and Sierra Leone. At the meeting, the configuration also discussed a work plan for the coming year.
A key issue is improving the relationship between the PBC and the Council, including through more consistent engagement with the PBC and utilisation of the PBC as a tool for conflict prevention. A related issue is the quality of the PBC’s advice to the Council.
The Council may hold the briefing and interactive dialogue without additional action.
While awaiting the findings of the peacebuilding review, the Council could more consistently ensure that configuration chairs brief Council experts ahead of mandate renewals for missions in PBC-agenda countries or in crafting Council responses to crisis situations.
Council and Wider Dynamics
Amidst the current heavy demands on the Council, the PBC could be poised to reduce the Council’s burden, particularly during mission exits or transitions. However, this relationship continues to be seen as falling short, despite some improvements and positive feedback by Council members of different configuration chairs. In part, this is attributed to permanent members’ unwillingness to more fully engage strategically with the configuration chairs, including not allowing their participation in consultations. The apparent low priority of the PBC for Council members was demonstrated at last year’s interactive dialogue with configuration chairs, which few Council ambassadors attended.
Malaysia, following in Rwanda’s footsteps, has become convenor of the stock-taking sessions—informal quarterly meetings between Council members, country-configuration chairs and PBC-agenda countries to review relations between the two bodies.
There is no penholder on peacebuilding.
UN DOCUMENTS ON PEACEBUILDING
|Security Council Presidential Statement|
|14 January 2015 S/PRST/2015/2||This was a presidential statement drawing attention to the upcoming 2015 review of the UN’s peacebuilding architecture.|
|Security Council Letter|
|23 April 2015 S/2015/282||This letter transmitted a report from the PBC chair to the Council.|
|Security Council Meeting Record|
|14 January 2015 S/PV.7359||This was a briefing by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliason on the Secretary-General’s report on peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict, Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil), the chair of the Peacebuilding Commission also briefed.|
|Peacebuilding Commission Document|
|11 March 2015 S/2015/174||This was the PBC’s eighth annual report.|