Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace
Expected Council Action
In January 2023, the Council is expected to hold an open debate on peacebuilding and sustaining peace, which Japan is organising as one of the signature events of its Council presidency. The session will focus on institution-building and resilience.
Key Recent Developments
On 8 September 2022, the General Assembly adopted by consensus resolution 76/305 on financing for peacebuilding, the culmination of an intergovernmental process that member states decided to establish in April 2022 and that was co-facilitated by Kenya and Sweden. Resolution 76/305 was the General Assembly’s first resolution focused on peacebuilding financing. It recognised that financing for peacebuilding remains a “critical challenge” and affirmed the General Assembly’s “commitment to consider all options for adequate, predictable and sustained financing for peacebuilding, including through voluntary, innovative and assessed funding”.
The General Assembly resolution further noted, among other points, that voluntary contributions have not been sufficient to meet increasing demands on the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF). It recognised that the provision of assessed contributions for peacebuilding financing would represent a shared commitment by member states and encouraged the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee to continue and conclude its consideration of the report of the Secretary-General on investing in prevention and peacebuilding. The report, dated 1 March 2022, requested the Fifth Committee to appropriate $100 million to the PBF for the 12-month period from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
During 2022, there were several notable developments in enhancing the advisory role of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) to the Security Council. The PBC intensified its practice of submitting written advisories to the Council, which it began in 2018 when the chair of the PBC’s Central African Republic (CAR) configuration wrote to the Council with recommendations ahead of the mandate renewal of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA). Since October 2022, the PBC has submitted written advisories to the Council for meetings on cooperation between the UN and the AU, the situation in the Great Lakes region, a thematic discussion on “Integrating effective resilience-building in peace operations for sustainable peace”, the Group of Five for the Sahel Joint Force, and Gulf of Guinea piracy. It also provided a written advisory for the mandate renewal of MINUSCA. The PBC chair, Ambassador Muhammad Abdul Muhith (Bangladesh), also delivered the PBC’s first briefing, or “oral advisory”, on Colombia to the Security Council at a 12 October 2022 Council briefing on the country.
In 2022, the PBC began to receive advanced unedited versions of the Secretary-General’s reports to the Council on topics considered by the commission. Starting with the preparation of the PBC chair’s statement for the Council’s briefing in July 2022 on West Africa and the Sahel, the PBC also began organising expert-level meetings to negotiate written and oral advisories as a way to improve the transparency among commission members on how these texts are negotiated and how members arrive at consensus, which is required for PBC products. Traditionally, the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) drafts and circulates the advice, and PBC members submit comments to the PBSO, or break silence on the text, without needing to identify themselves to other members. Since this first expert-level negotiation on West Africa and the Sahel, PBC members have held at least three other expert-level meetings to prepare the PBC’s advice on the Great Lakes, Gulf of Guinea piracy, and the MINUSCA mandate.
In November 2022, Burundi informed the PBC of its decision to end the commission’s country configuration on Burundi, which was established in 2006 as one of the PBC’s first agenda situations. A 30 November 2022 PBC meeting was held to review the engagement of its Burundi configuration, which had been chaired since 2009 by the permanent representative of Switzerland, and explore possible forms of future cooperation between the PBC and Burundi. The configuration, according to a PBC press release, was expected to officially conclude on 31 December 2022.
Key Issues and Options
A key issue for the open debate is institution-building. Weak state capacities and institutions are often unable to manage sources of division or tension in societies while also making countries less resilient in coping with, for example, economic shocks or disruptions caused by climate change or natural disasters. The inability of states to provide basic services to their citizens can also be a source of grievance and has been exploited by terrorist or other armed groups to gain support among populations by, among other things, providing services that states have failed to deliver.
Strengthening cooperation between the PBC and the Council is another key issue. In addition to an expansion in recent years of the topics on which the PBC advises the Council and the rise in written advisories, the PBC’s advice has appeared increasingly more substantive in its identification and elaboration of issues, such as socioeconomic challenges, national reconciliation and inclusivity. One recurring issue remains the timeliness of the PBC’s advice. Over the past year, some of its written advisories have been agreed to on the day before or on the same day as the relevant Council meeting, which does not give Council members time to consider the advice as they prepare their statements or positions. Its written advisory for the MINUSCA mandate renewal was dated 9 November 2022, the same day that the Council’s draft resolution on MINUSCA was first placed under silence procedure and after Council members had already held two rounds of expert-level negotiations on the mandate.
It seems that no Council product is envisioned for the open debate, though the meeting may build momentum for Japan to advance further Council consideration on the theme of institution-building during its 2023-2024 Council term. Members may welcome progress in the PBC-Council relationship while encouraging the commission to organise its activities around the Council’s calendar of work and submit its written advisories well in advance of Council meetings or negotiations.
Japan has long emphasised the importance of institution-building in conflict-affected countries, stressing how this is essential for delivering socioeconomic services to people and for building their trust in government. During its last Council term (2016-2017), it organised an open debate on institution-building in Africa and sponsored a presidential statement on this subject, which the Council adopted at the open debate in July 2016. Some countries, such as the African Group in the PBC, have at times cautioned against considering institution-building in isolation, as they are wary of potentially separating this topic from other relevant aspects of peacebuilding, such as national ownership and the issue of financing.
The Council’s informal coordinator with the PBC plays an important role in promoting cooperation between the Council and PBC. Outgoing member Kenya served as informal coordinator over the past two years. It routinely surveyed the Council’s upcoming monthly programme of work to identify opportunities for PBC engagement with the Council, which appears to have contributed to the increase in written advisories. Additionally, Kenya initiated the practice of expert-level meetings to negotiate these advisories.
At the time of this writing, it had not yet been decided which Council member would serve as the new informal coordinator. In addition to Japan’s long-standing interest in the PBC, Brazil is a strong advocate of the PBC and chairs the PBC’s Guinea-Bissau configuration. Switzerland also joins the Council in 2023, bringing its experience as chair of the former Burundi configuration.
UN DOCUMENTS ON PEACEBUILDING AND SUSTAINING PEACE
|Security Council Resolution|
|21 December 2020S/RES/2558||This resolution was on the 15-year review of UN peacebuilding, welcoming progress and encouraging continued actions to implement the 2016 resolutions on the ten-year review of UN peacebuilding.|
|Security Council Presidential Statement|
|18 December 2018S/PRST/2018/20||This was a presidential statement on the Peacebuilding Commission’s advisory role to the Council, initiated by Sweden.|
|1 March 2022A/76/732||This was a Secretary-General’s report requesting the General Assembly to appropriate assessed contributions to the Peacebuilding Fund.|
|28 January 2022A/76/668–S/2022/66||This was a Secretary-General’s report on financing for peacebuilding.|
|General Assembly Document|
|8 September 2022A/RES/76/305||This was a General Assembly resolution on financing for peacebuilding.|
|Peacebuilding Commission Document|
|3 February 2022A/76/678–S/2022/89||This was the annual report of the PBC on its fifteenth session.|