UN: UN deputy chief stresses need to prevent conflict, sustain peace

New York, US (PANA) - Marking the 10th anniversary of the first meeting of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, which has become known as "Peacekeeping Day", the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, on Friday urged member states, particularly those with membership in the UN Security Council, to make full use of the Peacebuilding Commission and its role in preventing violent conflict and ensuring sustainable peace.

Speaking on behalf of the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Eliasson recalled resolutions recently adopted by the UN General Assembly and the Security Council which stress that sustaining peace spans the entire conflict cycle, with a focus on prevention, as well as on addressing continuation, escalation and recurrence of conflict.

He noted that the resolutions also emphasize the Peacebuilding Commission’s advice during transition periods when peacekeeping operations and special political mission mandates are being defined or reviewed.

"This comprehensive approach spreads responsibility for prevention over the entire UN system," he said, welcoming the encouragement of the Commission to give advice on addressing the drivers of violent conflict.

The UN deputy chief said: "This should be done in an effective, coherent and comprehensive manner, bringing together all relevant actors across the UN system."

Noting the fragility of transitions and the risks of relapse to conflict, Mr. Eliasson also welcomed the Security Council’s intention to regularly request and draw upon the specific, strategic and targeted advice of the Peacebuilding Commission.

He also said that it is during transitions that the UN system jointly identify peacebuilding needs and in many cases reconfigure its presence on the ground, through the following challenges: risks of fragmentation, complexities in the financing, political support and breaking down "silos".

He said that fragmentation of work in periods of transition is not only costly but also reduces impact, stressing the effective role played by the Peacebuilding Fund in enhancing coherence among different actors within the UN system.

"To be more effective, as a system, silos should be broken down through a unified vision and coherent horizontal actions," Mr. Eliasson said.

The UN deputy chief also disclosed that "the Peacebuilding Fund supports initiatives which align with a common peacebuilding vision of the UN member states and which the UN can strengthen by bringing together various entities", adding that, "I believe member states also need to re-think the scope of peacebuilding and to consider ways in which they, too, can bring a greater level of coherence to efforts to sustain peace."

As a result of the challenges and complexities from financing, in particular those brought on by the different financing streams both within the UN system and for the countries, he noted that critical long-term peacebuilding tasks are often under-resourced.

He also said that the work moves from activities such as missions mandated by the Security Council, funded by assessed contributions, to those undertaken by the UN country teams which are funded by voluntary contributions, development funding tends to come too late and declines too early, just as or at times even before, the missions are drawing down.

According to him, "some have referred to this as a financial cliff."

Recalling that the Peacebuilding Fund was created, in part, to avoid this cliff by providing quick funding for critical peacebuilding initiatives, Mr. Eliasson warned that the Fund itself is facing a desperate funding shortfall and stressed that this situation should be addressed urgently.

He, however, applauded UN member states for hosting a pledging conference for the Fund in September, and urged them to attend and contribute generously.

Also recalling the request to the Secretary-General by the sustaining peace resolutions to present options to ensure adequate resourcing of UN peacebuilding, the UN deputy chief sought the support of the member states through both assessed and voluntary contributions, including during mission transitions and draw-down.

He stated: "This would substantially support the stability and continuity of peacebuilding activities."

Mr. Eliassaon disclosed that a group has been set up within the UN to work on these options, building on what has already been done, and said that the UN General Assembly's Fifth Committee recently approved US$14 million in funding for peacekeeping budgets in five countries to support mandate implementation through UN Country Team peacebuilding, including in important transitions such as that of the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

He also expressed his appreciation to the leadership of Ambassador Macharia Kamau of Kenya, the current Chair of the Commission, who recently visited West Africa to support the ongoing post-Ebola recovery process and long-term peacebuilding priorities.

PANA in New York reports that the UN peacebuilding architecture was created in 2005 to fill a "gaping hole" in the UN machinery, and the new resolutions provide a roadmap for the system to move in a new direction.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 24June2016

24 june 2016 14:02:25

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