Statement by Ambassador Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan
Chairperson of the Peacebuiling Commission
Formal Meeting of the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission
12 September 2007
Distinguished Members of the Peacebuilding Commission,
I feel truly honored and most grateful for the very kind words expressed about my predecessor, myself and my country. Japan is fully committed to the very strong, well-functioning Peacebuilding Commission. I will do my best to carry on this task, which has been carried on by the distinguished predecessor, Ambassador of Angola. I would also like to thank Ambassador Christian of Ghana, who kindly served as Acting Chair, together with Ambassador Gallardo, El Salvador, in the period since my predecessor left New York and completed his posting. Certainly I will pass the kind words addressed to him, and he should be very grateful. In fact, in his own different capacity in Japan, he will be helping us, because his work is also related to the peacebuilding process. On this occasion, I would like to pledge Japan's full commitment and my personal commitment to achieving the objectives of the Commission as set forth in General Assembly resolution 60/180 and Security Council resolution 1645 of 2005 and ask for your valuable cooperation in continuing our joint endeavor. I see so many familiar faces in this room, and I feel extremely comfortable about working with you very constructively.
As we are all aware, the Commission is now at an important juncture after twelve months since its birth. The commission has been created as part of UN reform, meaning a better-functioning UN. We must respond jointly to the high expectations of the international community by making a concerted effort to respond to peacebuilding needs around the world and producing tangible results on the ground. The credibility and authority of the Commission will depend to a great extent on what we do from now on in the second year. I am very happy to be associated with this process.
After one year we have the full architecture of UN peacebuilding in place: the Peacebuilding Commission itself, consisting of the Organizational Committee, the Country-Specific Meetings, integrated peacebuilding strategies as its tools of engagement, and the Working Group on Lessons Learned; the Peacebuilding Fund, which is now 60% or 70% full, and its advisory group, which met just last week; and the Peacebuilding Support Office, last but not least. Each of these elements must function effectively so that our intended goals can be fulfilled in a coherent and coordinated manner. The role of the Organizational Committee is pivotal to promote coherence and coordination within the peacebuilding architecture to ensure that all possible support and actors are mobilized to prevent recurrence of armed conflict. We need to identify the gaps and to find remedies for them.
Special efforts must be made to ensure the closest possible coordination among the UN's principal organs, starting from the General Assembly, the Security Council, the ECOSOC and the Secretariat. In this area, I would like to do my best also to strengthen relationships with all these bodies that we have to work with. It is also essential to promote the closest possible linkage between the PBC and the UN Funds and Programmes, starting from UNDP, UNICEF, WFP, UNFPA--all of them--and International Financial Institutions--this is an area on which I'd like to put a lot of stress--including the World Bank and the IMF. Before long, I would like to consult with you how to strengthen linkages with these International Financial Institutions. And Regional Banks--we have the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank, and also the Inter-American Development Bank--can play an important role here. I would like to see those programmes fully involved in the work of this Commission. PBC's role in providing overall policy guidance on the use of the Peacebuilding Fund should be further examined and utilized. Encouraging the active contribution of civil society at the national and international levels is also necessary. There are a number of civil society organizations that are very active and helpful in supporting public sector efforts. This should be complementary, should be encouraged, and we should seek for that. Intellectual and academic contributions are also important.
It is also time that we begin thinking about a possible addition of a country or countries to be considered by the Commission and give additional scrutiny to thematic or cross-cutting issues relevant to peacebuilding. Here I would like to say that the work of the Organizational Committee should be complementary to and supportive of the work that has been carried out by the country-specific meetings. Thematic or cross-cutting issues have been mentioned, I understand rightly, in this meeting and others, such as post-conflict job creation. I personally feel this is extremely important in many post-conflict situations. Unless jobs are created, unless economic activity is mobilized, you cannot create stability of society. This is the area that only the public sector alone cannot do. We have to think of innovative ways of involving private sector initiatives, SMEs, and others. Of course, the rule of law and security sector reform has been already addressed, but should be addressed more intensively.
In my capacity as Chairman of the PBC, I will seek to conduct candid exchanges of views--intensive, informal, and other exchanges, collectively and individually--with all the Members as well as other participants and stakeholders, in order to ensure the smooth and effective functioning of this work. I very much look forward to working very closely with all of you so that we can make a real difference in the plight of people in the post-conflict situations, to which we should be all dedicating ourselves.
I would like to just say that this is my vision for the next several months. I am honored to chair this Commission, and I trust that I will seek from you every possible goodwill, support and understanding.
I may be coming to you with new initiatives and ideas. I will do so informally beforehand before coming up the official meeting. I would like you to respond constructively to achieve our joint objectives.
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