I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia*, the Countries of the Stabilization and Association Process and potential candidates, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro, as well as Ukraine align themselves with this declaration.
The European Union fully recognizes the necessity to bridge the gap in the UN machinery between the end of armed conflict and the resumption of sustainable development through post-conflict peacebuilding. Past experiences demonstrate that peacebuilding activities are crucial to avoid a relapse into violence and conflict after countries have emerged from war, by assisting them in their transition to lasting peace and long-term development.
Post-conflict scenarios are complex situations calling for a comprehensive and coherent strategy, involving a variety of different needs, actors and tools, as well as a broad spectrum of activities, such as the protection of civilians, the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of combatants and security sector reform, reconciliation, the rebuilding of institutions and basic infrastructure as well as the early support to sustainable social and economic development, the establishment of effective and democratic governance, the respect of the rule of law and human rights and the full and equal participation of women in accordance with resolution 1325.
While outside assistance might be indispensable to create a secure environment, national ownership, allowing for an early involvement, including during the planning phase, of actors at the local and national level in post-conflict peacebuilding activities and their responsibilization for long term development is equally indispensable. It will contribute to ensure the sustainability of both the security environment and the subsequent peacebuilding activities. International efforts to foster ownership must build on local potential by using existing resources as early as possible.
To avoid relapse caused by cross-border interference, regional problems need regional solutions as well as policies based on a regional perspective. West Africa is probably the most telling example in this context. There is a need to have regional and sub-regional organizations participate in peacebuilding activities as early as possible.
One challenge related to peacebuilding is to efficiently bring together the various actors, instruments and capabilities based on their comparative advantages. From the outset, special attention should be given to avoid duplication between activities carried out by integrated peacekeeping operations and those under the purview of UN agencies and programs, as well as to an early implication of the International Financial Institutions. A further deepening of the dialogue and the practical cooperation between the UN and other international and regional organizations, including during the mission planning phase, is also needed.
The European Union for its part has taken benefit from its development policy and other cooperation programs to provide a basis for post-conflict reconstruction activities. These constitute powerful instruments at our disposal for addressing the root causes of conflicts and thus preventing their re-emergence. The European Union, which is responsible for some 55% of overseas development assistance (ODA), 66% of grant assistance and some 55% of humanitarian assistance globally, must and is playing a pivotal role in addressing post-conflict challenges.
The EU is already striving to consolidate post-conflict reconstruction processes worldwide – on many occasions in close coordination with or in support of UN operations – through a whole range of activities, including institution building, rehabilitation of basic infrastructures, DDR and SSR activities, as well as through support to reconciliation and regional integration processes, human rights and democratization actions. But we can and must improve the focus and effectiveness of our actions. We must be able to respond in a timely and tailor-made fashion, with an appropriate mix of instruments, to the specific situations as they arise. In each situation, there are risks that the international community will only assist in part of the process. Continued assistance within DDR programs in particular has to be assured.
In the field of civilian crisis management, the European Union is active in the following priority areas: police training (in view of the fact that civil police has an important role to play in post-conflict environments), promoting the rule of law, strengthening civilian administration, civil protection and security sector reform. Five operations involving 1,300 personnel on the ground are currently being implemented: police training missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUPM Bosnia), the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (EUPOL Proxima) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (EUPOL Kinshasa), a rule of law mission in Georgia (EUJUST Themis) and a security sector reform mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (EUSEC RDCongo). An integrated rule of law mission for Iraq (EUJUST LEX) will be launched in July 2005, with some 770 persons to be trained. Further potential operations are currently being discussed.
To address immediate needs, the European Union will further develop its capacity to deploy multifunctional civilian crisis management resources in an integrated format at a short notice, to be used in the context of EU led autonomous missions or in the context of operations conducted by other lead organizations, such as the UN or the OSCE. A rapid civilian response capability of the EU can bring a particular added value to international peacebuilding efforts.
The European Union is committed to reinforcing its ability to work with the UN to assist countries emerging from conflict in an effort to link relief, rehabilitation and development. We are also firmly committed to develop our cooperation with the African Union and sub-regional organizations in this regard. The EU Action Plan for support to Peace and Security in Africa focuses on a number of practical actions that address to a large extent issues of peacebuilding.
To bridge the gap between the end of armed conflict and sustainable development and to ensure the formulation of a comprehensive and coherent strategy for peacebuilding in specific post-conflict situations, we need an institutional mechanism involving all relevant actors. In this context, the European Union welcomes the proposal of the Secretary General to establish a Peacebuilding Commission and agrees with the main purposes and functions as set out in his explanatory note. The EU also recognizes the importance of sustained, assured and predictable funding for peacebuilding activities.
Thank you, Mr. President.
* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilization and Association Process.