UNGA Debate on Sustaining Peace Calls for Partnerships and Inclusion
Photo by IISD/Mike Muzurakis
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The UK said the Peacebuilding Commission must become a forum in which the UN can forge partnerships with a variety of partners, as “we should not pretend that the UN can do everything".

Noting that his country is “heartened” to learn that the Fund is on track to meet its targets, Liberia cautioned that the funding provided through the Peacebuilding Fund must never be used as a substitute for development assistance.

Delegations were speaking during the UNGA's annual debate on peacebuilding and sustaining peace.

24 May 2018: During the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) annual debate on peacebuilding and sustaining peace, UN Member States underscored the need for respecting national ownership, ensuring inclusion in peacebuilding processes, especially for women and youth, and engaging in partnerships with non-governmental bodies, the private sector and international financial institutions, to increase the funding for the Peacebuilding Fund.

Opening the meeting on 24 May 2018, in New York, US, UNGA President Miroslav Lajcak recalled that the recent High-level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace on 26 April had identified areas that need more focus and action, including the “chronic” underfunding of the Peacebuilding Fund, the need for focus on conflict prevention, and inclusion being “still the exception, not a norm,” with regard to women and young people at the table. Lajcak remarked that the Peacebuilding Fund has made “great strides” when it comes to inclusion, with more than 30% of all its funds in 2017 dedicated to gender and youth initiatives. He also noted the level of interest in peacebuilding and sustaining peace, as nearly 30 delegations were represented at the ministerial level and above, including six heads of state and government, which he said represents the highest level of attendance at the UN in 2018. The chair’s summary of the UNGA meeting is now available, he noted.

Ion Jinga, Permanent Representative of Romania and PBC Chair, announced that the Commission will convene a joint event with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on peacebuilding and sustaining peace. Cho Tae-yul, Permanent Representative of South Korea and former Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), presented the Commission’s annual report on its 11th session. He said the Commission’s interaction with the UN Security Council became more active around country-specific situations that appeared on the agendas of both the UNGA and the Council, such as Burundi, Liberia, Central African Republic (CAR) and Guinea Bissau. On partnerships, he said the UN should take advantage of growing interest on the part of international financial institutions (IFIs) and the private sector.

Canada, also for Australia and New Zealand (CANZ), emphasized that donors have a key role to play in addressing the fragmentation of financing for peacebuilding and sustaining peace. He explained that by requesting joint analysis and contributing to pooled and earmarked funds, donors could powerfully incentivize coordinated and coherent UN peacebuilding efforts.

Indonesia called on the PBC and the Peacebuilding Fund to explore additional ways to facilitate financial resources for affected countries, including by focusing on wider avenues of trade, domestic and international investment. Colombia said the mobilization of resources through the Peacebuilding Fund has facilitated the active involvement of the private sector and civil society as direct participants in the peacebuilding process in Colombia.

The UK expressed support for the Secretary-General’s proposal to expand the Peacebuilding Fund, but cautioned that “a quantum leap in the number and size of peacebuilding projects would not, on its own, deliver the scale of change required.” He said the PBC must become a forum in which the UN can forge partnerships with a variety of partners: “we should not pretend that the UN can do everything,” but its legitimacy can help to ensure wider action, he said. Japan and Singapore also called for enhancing partnerships with non-governmental bodies, the private sector and IFIs, and Japan said it is “crucial” to discuss how to strengthen the Fund’s budget while enhancing transparency and accountability.

Noting that his country is “heartened” to learn that the Fund is on track to meet its targets, Liberia cautioned that the funding provided through the Peacebuilding Fund must never be used as a substitute for development assistance. Estonia said the sustaining peace agenda is the primary responsibility of Member States, given the need for predictable funding for support countries in transition and those likely to relapse into conflict. Norway underscored the need to ensure adequate, predictable and sustained financing for peacebuilding.

Pakistan said the PBC could advise the Security Council on socioeconomic and development issues to encourage countries to find political solutions to conflict. Germany noted that the Commission could be the political forum to put prevention into practice by convening relevant stakeholders and proposing targeted efforts to tackle root causes, while preventing the outbreak of crises. Nigeria said the Peacebuilding Fund is “invaluable” in dealing with such issues as food security, poverty, climate change, terrorism and transnational organized crime.

India, supported by Kenya, called to strengthen the PBC’s role as a bridge among the UNGA, the Security Council and ECOSOC. El Salvador called for building a close link between SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and the sustaining peace agenda, further encouraging interaction with countries not on the Commission’s agenda and with countries that request it.

Italy recalled that during the UNGA’s High-level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace, participants “repeatedly referred” to the strengthening the Commission and the Fund as essential to realizing the peace continuum enshrined in the concept of sustaining peace. Sweden, supported by Estonia, said the sustaining peace agenda must become a core task of the entire UN system.

China urged the international community to support the African Union in implementing its Agenda 2063 in order to secure lasting peace and development. The US saluted the Fund’s engagement with civil society organizations to promote gender and youth initiatives. [UNGA President’s remarks] [UN meeting summary][SDG Knowledge Hub story on UNGA High-level Meeting] [Chair’s summary of UNGA meeting on sustaining peace]

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