Briefing and Interactive Dialogue on the Peacebuilding Commission
Tomorrow morning (15 July), Vladimir Drobnjak (Croatia) and Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil), the past and current chairs of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), respectively, will brief the Security Council on the occasion of the presentation of the 2013 PBC annual report, which was adopted on 29 January (S/2014/67). In the afternoon, Council members will have an informal interactive dialogue with the country-configuration chairs and representatives of the PBC’s six agenda countries. No outcome from the briefing is expected.
While Drobnjak will present the annual report, which reflects the period of his chairmanship, Patriota’s briefing to the Council will likely be on ideas for the PBC going forward, including the upcoming 2015 PBC review and insights from the first annual session on peacebuilding that was held on 23 June. The 2013 annual report includes the decision to hold this meeting each year in late June. In part, the idea for these sessions was a response to one of the findings from the 2010 PBC review that a lack of support in capitals was one of the factors that had kept the PBC from having a greater impact. The session included discussions on revenue generation in post-conflict countries and how to sustain resources for post-conflict countries transitioning from Security Council-mandated missions to UN country teams. Council members on the PBC who attended the annual session might want to share their impressions.
Another area that is likely to be touched upon by both briefers and members is the upcoming 2015 review of the PBC’s architecture. In their statements, members may reflect initial ideas for the scope and preparation of the review. The review is expected to be carried out in the first half of 2015, with September set as the target for completion.
Briefers and Council members are also likely to highlight new practices that could improve the PBC-Council relationship. While PBC configuration chairs are still keen to participate in Council consultations, due to continued P5 opposition to this, other initiatives have been pursued. This has been seen as increasingly important in light of a sense within the Council that the PBC has not lived up to its envisioned role in several contexts, particularly after the 12 April 2012 coup in Guinea-Bissau and the relapse into conflict in the Central Africa Republic (CAR) as of 10 December 2012.
Members will likely comment on the “PBC Working Stream”, a group chaired by Rwanda, which brings together Council members that are on the PBC, configuration chairs and representatives of PBC agenda countries to discuss PBC-Council relations and take stock of best practices as well as areas for potential improvement. Rwanda formally organised this group following a briefing and interactive dialogue on the PBC annual report in April 2013, and it has met four times since June 2013. It seems that members have found the discussions useful.
At tomorrow’s meetings, participants could also highlight the increasing number of informal interactions between Council members and configuration chairs and the relationship between penholders, Council presidents and configuration chairs. These informal interactions include meetings between configuration chairs and Council experts. For example, the former Liberia configuration chair, Ambassador Staffan Tillander (Sweden) briefed Council experts before Council meetings on Liberia in September 2013 and March 2014. The Burundi configuration chair, Ambassador Paul Seger (Switzerland), similarly held briefings with experts following his missions to the country on 13-17 January and 26-27 May. Council members appear to have found Seger’s briefing particularly useful given the recent tensions in Burundi and his inputs appear to have influenced specific provisions in resolution 2137 which renewed BNUB on 13 February. Council members may want to discuss ways of increasing PBC-Council collaboration on a case-by-case basis with different country-configurations.
The Informal Interactive Dialogue
For the interactive dialogue, as outlined in the concept paper circulated by Rwanda on 9 July, participants are likely to look at how the PBC can focus its advice to Council members and at evolving practices for PBC-Council cooperation. This is a follow-up to discussion during last year’s interactive dialogue on the need to make fuller use of the PBC’s advisory role to the Council in the country-configuration contexts and in policy related areas. In addition, at a thematic level, participants have been asked to consider how to mitigate the risks of conflict relapse in light of peacebuilding failures in the past year in the CAR and South Sudan. Speakers are also expected to identify factors that sustain peace and those that contribute to relapse, as well as critical system gaps in peacebuilding and how the 2015 review of the PBC can analyse and address these gaps.
The format for the Council’s meeting on the PBC annual report has varied over the years. On the past six occasions, the presentation of 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 with the participation of non-Council members. In 2012, under Colombia’s presidency, there was both an open debate and the first ever informal interactive dialogue between the Council, configuration chairs and PBC agenda countries. Under its presidency last April, Rwanda also organised an informal interactive dialogue, which was held the day after the briefing and decided to continue with this format this year