– Check against delivery –
I speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Acceding country Croatia*, the candidate countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Iceland+ and Serbia*, the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
Today’s debate represents a very good opportunity to take stock of the efforts and the results achieved over the past years in the peacebuilding realm.
In this context, let me start by putting one question forward: Is the UN, and the international community, better equipped today (compared to three years ago) to face the peacebuilding multifaceted challenges?
The response comes directly from the UNSG latest report dated October 8: YES. However, it is clear that there is still a long way to go.
The report indicates areas where achievements have been accomplished in enhancing efforts to build lasting peace in post conflict countries. Examples include: accountability of UN leaders; deployment of senior leadership, field staff and experts; working within integrated strategic frameworks; partnerships with the international community; and institution building expertise.
However, the report also provides a frank assessment of the shortcomings and points out the critical areas where further work is required. These include gender-responsive planning, women’s engagement in peacebuilding and governance and economic recovery.
Tackling the challenges presented by post-conflict peacebuilding is an ongoing effort which requires continuing commitment as well as coordinated and integrated efforts from all parties involved.
While the UN is the most relevant entity capable of supporting the recovery of post-conflict countries, the UN cannot do so exclusively on its own. The UN must continue to align with its partners including member states, national counterparts, regional organizations and civil society actors to collaboratively leverage their skills and expertise to ensure progress. All this must be done under the overarching principle of national ownership.
The European Union and its Member States stand ready to play their role. The Lisbon Treaty has for the first time explicitly enshrined, as one of the key objectives of the EU’s external action “to preserve peace, prevent conflicts and strengthen international security, in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter”.
The EU is heavily involved in peacebuilding and has a wide array of external policies, instruments and tools (diplomacy, development cooperation, actions under the CFSP and CSDP, etc) aimed at assisting in addressing the challenges presented by it. Our effectiveness in pursuing the complex task of building peace depends not only on our ability to define the right mix of such policies, instruments and tools but also to adopt “comprehensive approaches” to the assignment and ensure overall consistency.
The European Union is already co-operating with the United Nations on peacebuilding efforts (the UNSG report acknowledges some of these examples), such as the UN-EU Partnership on Natural Resources and Conflict Prevention, the project that seeks to improve reporting on peacebuilding assistance in Liberia, the EU-UN Women partnership on promoting “women, peace and security”, EU assistance to UNDP on “insider mediation” and regular contact with UN counter-parts working on conflict prevention and peace-building issues (principally UNDP and DPA).
In the same vein, the EU supports strongly the civilian capacity initiative. As the report of the Secretary-General states, the initiative will apply across the various responses of the UN system. We encourage the UN system to continue to work together, in finding the optimal ways to be more nimble, responsive and innovative in post-conflict situations.
The EU and its member states are eager to continue to pursue its peacebuilding efforts namely in the following three areas: PBC and PBF, the New Deal, and women in peacebuilding.
On the PBC, we have been a firm supporter from the outset and we remain determined to help this body realize its maximum potential. We share the view of the UN Secretary General that the PBC should continue to explore lighter and more flexible forms of engagement. The PBC should better coordinate and support various UN actors as well as national actors in the field. These changes would allow the PBC to add greater value to UN Security Council decision-making and so strengthen the relationship between the two bodies.
The PBF is an integral part of the UN’s peacebuilding structure. It is a nimble funding mechanism strongly supported by many EU member states.
On the New Deal, we will further enhance its support (particularly through development aid), and sustain the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding and the g7+ Group of fragile countries in piloting the New Deal bearing in mind the need to prepare post-2015 context.
We call upon synergies between the PBC and the New Deal to be utilised such that work efforts are not duplicated and synergies are maximised.
On women in peacebuilding, we will continue to advance women’s role in promoting peace and security. Last year the Security Council reported that women’s participation in conflict resolution remains too low. Of the 9 peace agreements signed since 2011, only two had provisions ensuring women’s rights. We need to ensure women’s participation in all stages of peace processes, and from early on. This will help guarantee the inclusion of women’s rights and perspectives in the later stages of the peace process. Women’s absence from formal peace negotiations results in their absence from bodies which are instrumental in laying the foundations for a new, post-conflict society such as political decision-making bodies, constitutional and legislative reform commissions, as well as truth and reconciliation bodies. The EU and its Member States are firmly behind resolution 1325 and fully support setting concrete targets in the areas of women’s equal participation in the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and for the mainstreaming of gender perspectives into conflict prevention, peace negotiations, peacekeeping operations, peacebuilding and post conflict reconstruction.
Mr. President, to conclude.
The international community cannot fail to meet the challenge of supporting post-conflict countries to build lasting peace. The United Nations, with its global legitimacy, and in close partnership and coordination with the main actors, has a central role to play.
The European Union and its member States remain resolutely determined to actively support these collective efforts to better assist countries in building sustainable peace.
* Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+ Iceland continues to be a member of EFTA and the European Economic Area.