(As delivered)

Statement by Ambassador Yukio Takasu
Chairperson of the Peacebuilding Commission
At the High-Level Meeting of the Security Council
On Peace and Security in Africa

16 April 2008

Madam President,

First of all, I would like to express my deep appreciation to you, Madam President, and through you to all the members of the Council for giving me the opportunity to address this high-level meeting in my capacity as Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission. The Peacebuilding Commission is actively engaged in effectively supporting post-conflict peacebuilding efforts, with the belief that the measure of its success is real impact on the ground.

In accordance with its mandate, the Peacebuilding Commission is striving to marshal support and resources for peacebuilding and recovery in post-conflict countries and to improve coordination within and outside the UN system in an integrated manner. We have been trying our best to enhance cooperation with partners beyond the UN system, such as regional and sub-regional organizations, international financial institutions, bilateral donors and civil society.

Madam President,

One of the key observations from our intensive work is that all peacebuilding efforts require addressing regional as well as local dimensions. As most conflicts have significant regional dimensions, it is indispensable to engage regional and sub-regional organizations in the process. Issues such as the illicit trade in small arms and narcotics trafficking cannot be addressed without coordinated regional and international efforts, including effective border control among the countries in a certain region. Youth unemployment and a lack of economic opportunities are widely recognized as a common challenge to post-conflict societies. This problem also requires a regional approach, as unemployed youth often move from one place to another in search of employment opportunities, including sometimes as soldiers. The PBC has analyzed those issues and offered practical guidance in our country-specific activities and the Working Group on Lessons Learned.

The PBC truly values the ongoing efforts of regional and sub-regional organizations. These organizations play an important role in the areas of conflict prevention and peacebuilding. At the same time, their activities are more effective when they are fully integrated in and well coordinated with the overall work of the PBC. Successful peacebuilding requires the sustained engagement of multifaceted stakeholders with diverse expertise and specialties. I recognize the essential added value that the Peacebuilding Commission can provide with its convening role to mobilize the dedicated efforts of all stakeholders.

The founding resolutions of the Peacebuilding Commission make direct reference to Chapter VIII of the UN Charter and thereby provide a strong rationale for close collaboration between the Peacebuilding Commission and regional and sub-regional organizations. The Commission will explore practical and flexible ways to cooperate and make a concrete difference on the ground.

The first three countries under consideration by the Commission, namely Burundi, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau, are all in Africa. As a member of all three country-specific configurations of the PBC, the African Union has been an effective and active contributor to the deliberations of the PBC, both in New York and on the ground. We highly value and appreciate the African Union's effective partnership. I would like to suggest a few ideas in this connection on promoting more enhanced collaboration between the African Union and the PBC.

First, the African Union may wish to make more active inputs in the process of drafting and implementing the Integrated Peacebuilding Strategies (IPBS) of the PBC and align itself more closely with the integrated strategies. The strategies are articulated with the intent to minimize the risk of relapse into conflict and thus also to contribute to conflict prevention. The integrated strategies elaborated for Burundi and Sierra Leone serve as a good basis for operational activities by the African Union.

Second, we see great potential in harmonization of the Policy Framework on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) adopted by the African Union Executive Council in 2006 and the work of the PBC, which take a similar approach to promoting post-conflict peacebuilding. The UN Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) is engaged in an active collaboration with the AU's sub-cluster on PCRD, which is expected to produce tangible benefits for both of us, both the PBC and the African Union Peace and Security Council (AU-PSC). These efforts will also facilitate the development of linkages between the post-conflict reconstruction and development.

Madam President,

In conclusion, I can tell you that we are making great strides in fostering closer collaboration between the Peacebuilding Commission and regional and sub-regional organizations, starting from the African Union, to promote peacebuilding and conflict prevention in Africa. I intend to consult further with members of the PBC on how the PBC can best address this need. The planned meeting of the PBC with the Chairperson of the African Union Peace and Security Council tomorrow afternoon in New York will provide a useful opportunity to this end, and I look forward to fruitful discussion in that opportunity ahead.

Thank you very much, Madam.

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