(As delivered)

Statement by Ambassador Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan
Chairperson of the Peacebuiling Commission

Open Debate on the Report of the Peacebuilding Commission
Security Council
17 October 2007

Mr. President, Thank you very much.

First of all, on behalf of the members of the Peacebuilding Commission, allow me to express our heartfelt gratitude to you, Mr. President, for providing a timely opportunity to discuss the annual report of the Peacebuilding Commission.

In September 2005, our leaders adopted the Outcome Document at the World Summit, which explicitly emphasized the need for a "coordinated, coherent and integrated approach to post-conflict peacebuilding and reconciliation with a view to achieving sustainable peace". The Outcome Document further states that the Commission was established "to bring together all relevant actors to marshal resources and to advise on and propose integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery".

With that in mind, let me briefly look back on the first year of the work of the Commission. The first annual report of the Peacebuilding Commission, as contained in document S/2007/458, provides a detailed account of the work and activities of the Commission during the first year of its operation. The process of compiling the report reflects the seriousness with which the Commission's membership has undertaken its work and the significance it attaches to its anticipated contribution to peace consolidation and the promotion of national ownership of peacebuilding measures in post-conflict situations. Here I would like to pay special tribute to Ambassador Martins of Angola for his dedication and leadership in steering the initial stage of the Commission's work.

In the course of approximately 50 formal and informal meetings and briefings held in its various configurations, the Peacebuilding Commission addressed critical organizational, methodological and thematic issues, as well as country-specific issues of Burundi and Sierra Leone, coordinating various contributions to sustainable peace and opening avenues for mutual commitments between the international community and the countries under consideration. I believe that, in its first year, the PBC contributed significantly to the promotion of integrated post-conflict peacebuilding strategies in Burundi and Sierra Leone by deepening its dialogue with all relevant stakeholders. As mentioned in the annual report the Commission intends to further "strengthen the effectiveness of its engagement with Burundi and Sierra Leone."

The Commission "endorsed the development of the Integrated Peacebuilding Strategy (IPBS) for Burundi, of which the Strategic Framework is an important step." "A key next step is to develop the in-country tracking and monitoring mechanism", which we already began to take under the guidance of the coordinating chair, Ambassador Johan L. Lovald of Norway. In Sierra Leone the Presidential and Parliamentary elections were held successfully. Our coordinating chair of the Country-Specific Meeting on Sierra Leone, Ambassador Frank Majoor of the Netherlands has just come back from Sierra Leone with the most updated information. Work will continue on the draft of the IPBS, so that we could come to an agreement as soon as possible.

The Peacebuilding Commission also sought to accumulate best practices and lessons learned on some critical peacebuilding issues. Through the Working Group on Lessons Learned, the Commission was able to benefit from existing experiences of peace consolidation on such important issues like post-conflict election and regional approaches to peacebuilding. The Working Group, with the able chairmanship of Ambassador Gallardo Hernandez of El Salvador, intends to consider other relevant issues in the second year.

As clearly underlined in its first annual report, the Peacebuilding Commission faced challenges during its initial phase of establishing its organizational structures, defining its working methods and finding ways to fulfill its core mandates. Some of these challenges will be the subject of additional discussion during the second session. The "Conclusions" section of the report is a reflection on key outstanding issues and challenges before the Commission, namely, the development of monitoring and tracking mechanisms, working methods, advocacy, Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), and relationships with other relevant bodies.

The UN peacebuilding architecture is now fully in place, Mr. President, namely, the Peacebuilding Commission, comprising the Organizational Committee, the Country-Specific Meetings, and the Working Group on Lessons Learned; the Peacebuilding Fund and its advisory group; and the Peacebuilding Support Office. As the Commission is entering its second year of activity, we have to ensure that its activities need to be carried out in a coherent and integrated manner. We believe it is appropriate for the Commission to begin addressing the points to be considered for adding new countries to the Commission's agenda, in close consultation with the referring bodies, including the Security Council.

Second, strengthening the Commission's relationship with relevant bodies and actors, such as the UN's principal organs--the Security Council, the General Assembly, the ECOSOC and the Secretariat--UN funds and programmes, regional and sub-regional organizations, Internaitonal Financial Institutions and civil society, is essential. As part of such efforts, I myself, as Chairman of the Commission, will make constant efforts and avail myself of every opportunity to establish closer working relationships with those organizations. Therefore, Mr. President, I look forward to working closely with you and the Security Council to discharge most effectively the mandates of the Commission, and to bring real beneficial change and to make tangible impact to the countries and communities in post-conflict situations.

Exploring thematic policy issues relevant to peacebuilding is also a matter of great importance. I am particularly convinced that discussing broad policy guidance on peacebuilding activities in general without focusing on a specific country is worth pursuing.

Raising awareness of the Commission's work, not only among relevant actors but also among the public at large, would greatly enhance the understanding of and bring the necessary attention to the work of the Commission and the countries under its consideration. In this regard, we intend to make every effort to heighten the visibility of the Commission's work. At the same time, we would hope for individual Member States to join our efforts to promote the work of the Commission.

As Chairman of the Commission, I would like to assure all members of the Security Council of our full dedication and commitment to the success of the Commission. In that spirit, we ask all of you to lend your valuable and much needed support to our work at the Commission.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

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