Mr. President, I speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Acceding country Croatia*, the candidate countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+ and Serbia*, the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
Thank you for having convened today’s important session revolving around the Annual Report of the Peacebuilding Commission on its sixth session and on the Peacebuilding Fund.
This represents a good occasion to look behind us and take stock of the achievements made over the past twelve months. It’s also an opportunity to draw some lessons and apply them for the future. Indeed, the next two years mark a new juncture for the PBC. Ahead of the upcoming comprehensive five-year review in 2015, it needs to demonstrate accelerated progress, cohesion in New York and around the world, better cooperation with the International Financial Institutions and various UN bodies, including the UNSC, and concrete impact in the countries on its agenda.
Peacebuilding is a long-term enterprise: it goes beyond short-term crisis management and incorporates longer-term efforts to consolidate stability and build just and effective states, by preventing the recurrence of the conflict through sustainable socio-economic and human development and support, which ranges from capacity building of institutions and civil society, all the way to in-depth structural reforms.
We have learned from our common experience over the past years that no single template can be applied to fluid and complex situations, where priority areas span across peace and security, development, humanitarian needs and human rights.
The United Nations system and the Peacebuilding Commission in particular have a pivotal role to play in this respect.
This is why the EU has shown a strong commitment and has fully participated in the PBC’s work since its establishment. The EU has also been a member of all Country-specific configurations of the PBC since their inception. The EU is holding an on-going exchange on how best to continue supporting the PBC, specifically in each of its Country-specific configurations.
The two annual reports before us today are both comprehensive documents illustrating the multifaceted challenges ahead.
We appreciate the efforts by the Country-specific Configurations and the Peacebuilding Support Office team to provide a more analytical assessment of the PBC’s work in 2012. This really helps in identifying the areas where progress has been made and those where further collective engagement may be needed.
On the upside, we saw a great sense of dynamism within the Liberia Configuration, which provided support for the launching of a national reconciliation strategy in the country and has brought the issue of responsible management of natural resources on the agenda. The Burundi Configuration played an important role in support of this country’s development, under the angles of resource mobilisation and support for coherence and coordination of international efforts, by supporting the organisation of a very successful Partner Conference in Geneva in October last year. The progress witnessed thus far on Security Sector Reform in Guinea, notably the retirement of almost 4000 military personnel with the help of the PBF, also represents an encouraging step. A joint mission by the Sierra Leone and Liberia Configurations underscored the importance and timeliness of regional cooperation between Configurations, notably in West Africa and in the context of the Mano River Union.
Still, great challenges ahead remain. Hence, the efforts to release the PBC’s full potential need to continue. Important test cases are the restoration and respect of constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau and the organisation and holding of long-overdue legislative elections in Guinea. In view of the most recent developments on the ground, the situation in the Central African Republic also deserves our utmost attention. The reformatting of the UN presence in Sierra Leone and Burundi should equally be closely monitored.
In all these cases the PBC has a role to play, through its convening power and central mandate as an intergovernmental advisory body which is at the service of the countries on its agenda.
Having said this, let us not forget the most important aspect: National ownership. Peacebuilding will only succeed if it is home-grown and nationally led. Our duty, as the international community, must consist in aligning behind nationally owned strategies. At the same time, our role in political accompaniment is only possible if there is genuine commitment by the national authorities to address the root causes of instability. However, it is just as important to ensure ownership and political will of all the Members of the Country-specific Configuration; otherwise the element of mutual accountability for results in peacebuilding is lost. In this context, we welcome the fact that the role of Members of the PBC is given special attention in the agenda for action in 2013.
In times of financial crisis, the PBC should seek alternative ways for resource mobilization, such as engaging the private sector and forging partnerships with international financial institutions.
We look forward to this year’s review of the effectiveness of the PBF’s global strategy by the Advisory Group, notably in connection with the development of the next planning cycle of the PBF for the next 3 years. We also welcome the PBF’s intention to continue its efforts in the area of country evaluations and results reporting.
Before concluding Mr President,
I would like to extend my gratitude to the former Chair of the PBC, Ambassador Abdul Momen from Bangladesh, whom I would like to thank for his commitment.
We also look forward to working hand in hand with the new Chairman, Ambassador Ranko Vilovic, the PBC membership and the Peace Building Support Office to move things forward.
The EU stands ready to continue to support the efforts to enable the UN peacebuilding architecture to live up to the expectations which accompanied its establishment.
* Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro 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.