The Peacebuilding Commission — an advisory body to both the General Assembly and the Security Council — has proven to be a valuable voice in advancing intergovernmental coherence and supporting countries emerging from conflict in establishing the foundations for stronger societies, Council members stressed today as they evaluated gains made over the last year.
Osama Abdelkhalek (Egypt), former Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, presented the body’s report on its fifteenth session, recalling that Egypt assumed chairmanship following the conclusion of the third comprehensive review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture.
In 2021, he said, the Commission led efforts to operationalize the review outcomes — in line with the twin resolutions adopted by the Council and the Assembly in 2016. (Please see Press Releases SC/12340 and GA/11780.) The Commission explored avenues to strengthen its advisory, bridging and convening roles, with particular focus on enhancing impact at the field level. “Considerable” progress was made in expanding the scope of its geographic and substantive focus.
He said the Commission engaged in support of 13 country- and region-specific settings — holding meetings for the first time on the Gulf of Guinea and the transition in Chad, bringing its total engagements to 23 countries and regions, the highest since its inception. He also drew attention to the designation of informal coordinators of relations with the main United Nations organs to better align work programmes.
Building on that upward trajectory, Md Monwar Hossain (Bangladesh), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, shared highlights from 2022, pointing first to the Commission’s emphasis on delivery by responding to demands in a timely manner. He cited a priority focus on national ownership and inclusivity, noting that the Commission has engaged with a wide array of national and regional stakeholders to ensure it responds to needs on the ground.
Most importantly, he said the Commission continues to enhance its advisory and bridging role, and for the first time, it shared its work programme with the General Assembly and the Security Council through formal communications from the Chair. “This has been a major step towards institutionalization of the advisory relations between [the Commission] and other organs of the United Nations,” he said.
In the ensuing dialogue, delegates agreed that while sustaining peace is a shared responsibility of all United Nations main organs, the Commission is the only global forum dedicated to assisting countries in their peacebuilding efforts.
“This youngest body of the United Nations system has matured,” said the United Kingdom’s representative. By continuing to deepen its follow-up with countries and rallying collective responses to collective challenges, it will continue to grow in value.
Kenya’s representative said the Peacebuilding Commission is well-positioned to engage in a more-comprehensive set of peace issues, which is something the Security Council cannot do. As such, the two bodies must work together to support each other. However, improving alignment of their work programmes will require planning around meetings already fixed on the Council’s calendar, notably those for peace operation transitions and mandate renewals. What the Council does — or should do — with the Commission’s advice “remains a valid question to be explored”, he added.
Several delegates — including from the United Arab Emirates — called for adequate, sustained and predictable financing for peacebuilding activities. France’s delegate noted that the Peacebuilding Fund has proven its ability to catalyse financing in support of an integrated United Nations response. She urged the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) to study the viability of establishing long-term financing, partnerships as well as supporting relationships with international finance institutions and private sectors actors. For its part, France will increase its contribution to $7.5 million in 2022, she said.
Ghana’s representative described financing as a “daunting challenge” requiring urgent action. While encouraging an expanded donor base for the Fund — which hit $178 million in 2021 but fell short of the Secretary-General’s annual $500 million target — he said one of the best means to provide a consistent baseline is through United Nations assessment contributions. He welcomed the Secretary-General’s call for an appropriation of $100 million to the Fund, from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
China’s representative, meanwhile, urged international finance institutions to increase their investments in a targeted manner.
Still others focused on the issue of national ownership, with India’s delegate stressing that Governments must steer priorities and strategies for sustaining peace at all stages of conflict. Further, an exclusively donor-driven approach to peacebuilding may not be the most prudent path to follow. Ongoing discourse on enhanced financial support for peacebuilding activities through sources other than voluntary contributions merits an in-depth and careful study of its ramifications on the United Nations ecosystem.
Also speaking today were representatives of Albania, United States, Ireland, Norway, Gabon, Russian Federation, Mexico and Brazil.
The meeting began at 10:07 a.m. and ended at 11:50 a.m.