What's In Blue

Posted Tue 18 Mar 2014

Peacebuilding Briefing by Deputy Secretary-General, PBC Chair and UNDP Head

Tomorrow morning (19 March), the Security Council will be briefed by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson on peacebuilding. Additionally, the chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil), and the Administrator of the UN Development Programme, Helen Clark, will address the Council. (None of the chairs of the PBC country-specific configurations are participating in the meeting.) The meeting is being held pursuant to a 20 December 2012 presidential statement (S/PRST/2012/29) in which the Council requested the Secretariat to brief on progress in the UN’s peacebuilding efforts before submitting a final report by December 2014.

This briefing should have been held by December 2013 according to the reporting schedule established by the 20 December 2012 presidential statement. But due to the busy programme of work last December, it was agreed that Luxembourg, which is the chair of the Guinea configuration of the PBC, could hold the briefing during its presidency of the Security Council.

Tomorrow’s briefers will likely focus their remarks on the Secretary-General’s three peacebuilding priority areas – inclusivity, institution building and sustained international support – that were identified in his last report on peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict from 8 October 2012 (S/2012/746). This report had been the basis for the 20 December 2012 meeting. As the presidential statement also specifically requested the Secretariat to include an update on women in peacebuilding, briefers will likely touch on developments related to the Secretary-General’s 7 September 2010 report on women’s participation in peacebuilding (S/2010/466), which outlined a Seven-Point Action Plan to enhance women’s inclusion in post-conflict peacebuilding. Council members, in their statements, may also focus on these elements. It is also possible that members may touch on the Secretary-General’s latest report on civilian capacity in the aftermath of conflict that was published on 6 January 2014 (S/2014/5).

Eliasson is likely to provide examples from the field of UN efforts and progress in each of the priority areas identified by the Secretary-General. Clark, who is addressing the Council on behalf of the UN Development Group, may emphasise how these three pillars are closely related to the work of the UN’s programmes, funds and agencies in institution and capacitybuilding or the importance of predictable resources to conduct their work.

Clark may also elaborate on the incorporation of peacebuilding efforts throughout the UN system since its peacebuilding architecture was adopted in 2005. Where peacebuilding was initially the domain of the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) and the PBC, UN programmes, funds and agencies have developed their own peacebuilding-focused initiatives, ranging from programmes run by the World Bank, UNICEF and UNWOMEN among others. The expansion of peacebuilding initiatives is also demonstrated by the New Deal peacebuilding compact that Somalia adopted last September as a member of the g7+, a group of 18 post-conflict and fragile states. It is a development that Eliasson may point to during his briefing, which the UN views positively as an example of national ownership that is deemed as essential for successful peacebuilding

Tomorrow’s meeting is distinct from the Council’s review of the annual report of the PBC, scheduled for later this year in July. Patriota will therefore likely focus on the importance of the Secretary-General’s peacebuilding priorities in the work and objectives of the PBC as well as offering further peacebuilding insights from the vantage point of the PBC. He also is likely to touch on some of the country-specific configurations, for example, Burundi and Sierra Leone, as both are in the process of transitioning from special political missions to UN country teams. In addition, in reviewing developments in the UN’s approach to peacebuilding, the relapse into conflict in the Central Africa Republic (CAR) and South Sudan will be on Council members’ minds. The deterioration in these situations occurred despite the strong peacebuilding mandate given to the UN Mission in South Sudan and the inclusion of the CAR on the PBC agenda as of 12 June 2008 (S/2008/419). Some members may be interested in discussing whether these two situations reflect shortcomings in the international community’s approach to peacebuilding and the Council’s own oversight of the PBC.

Related to shortcomings in UN peacebuilding, some members could raise the need for greater functional ties between the PBC and the Security Council. With a number of Council members, including past or present PBC country chairs Jordan and Luxembourg, having an interest in peacebuilding issues there may be incentive to raise issues such as how the Council could take advantage of the PBC’s advisory role, including the possibility of involving PBC country-configuration chairs in consultations.

No outcome is expected following this meeting. A presidential statement on peacebuilding is more likely after the Council receives and considers the Secretary-General’s next report on peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict in December.

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