Statement by H.E. Mr. Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan
Chairperson of the Peacebuilding Commission
At the Open Debate of the Security Council
on Post-Conflict Peacebuilding
20 May 2008
Thank you very much, Madam President.
I would like to express my deep appreciation to the United Kingdom for their leadership and timely initiative to convene this Open Debate. I am grateful for the invitation to attend in my capacity as the Chairperson of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), and I am also grateful for the very kind words expressed to the PBC by many speakers this morning.
The Peacebuilding Commission was established to address the complex challenges of post-conflict reconstruction. I have made conscious efforts to guide the attention of the PBC to peacebuilding gaps in achieving a smooth shift from peacekeeping activities and a transition to development. I therefore welcome the opportunity to discuss the issues highlighted in your concept note.
First, the Commission's experiences confirm the centrality of national ownership. This is not only for priority activities selected by the government. It must also serve as the prime mover to carry out political, security and economic reform. Such leadership and commitment by national government is prerequisite to any successful peacebuilding effort. National ownership must be complemented of course by partnership with local stakeholders and international partners.
In this regard, I would like to stress the important role of UN leadership on the ground. In both the cases of Burundi and Sierra Leone, the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General (ERSG) facilitated the promotion of dialogue among all stakeholders on the ground. Through this process, the Integrated Peacebuilding Strategy (IPBS) was developed to serve as a framework for coordination of various existing and evolving activities. The leadership of the United Nations representative is also crucial to monitor the progress and issue early warnings on shortfalls in implementation.
The UN representative needs to be equipped with appropriate mandates and resources to execute leadership. At the same time, leadership must be exercised in an informal and flexible manner to mobilize the full cooperation of all stakeholders. Peacebuilding efforts can be more effective when a lead country takes direct charge in supporting a particular country, working in tandem with the United Nations and brings in new, non-traditional partners.
Second, national leadership requires functional institutional and human capacities, at the state level and local level. These capacities are usually limited in most countries emerging from conflict, like many speakers mentioned this morning. It is essential for international partners to ensure the timely deployment of civilian expertise to assist in re-building national capacities. Peacebuilding requires the active involvement of multifaceted partners, with varied expertise and specialties in such areas as governance, rule of law, the security and judicial sectors, civil administration including financial management, basic services, rehabilitation of infrastructure and private sector development.
The deployment of such expertise should be based on a clear prioritization of peacebuilding needs in each particular phase, linked to the priority areas which the PBC has identified. We welcome the efforts by several governments, including yours, to train and maintain a roster of civilian specialists with various skills and capacities necessary for peacebuilding efforts. We should examine an appropriate mechanism in the UN to mobilize those experienced specialists in a speedy manner to support post-conflict capacity-building.
Third, speedy and flexible funding to meet the urgent requirements has been a major concern. The Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) was established to provide catalytic funding in order to fill the immediate funding gaps in the critical areas, activate potential multiplier effects for stability and induce additional resources for long-term sustained support. While its volume has surpassed the originally set target of 250 million US dollars with contributions from 45 donors, it would be desirable to see a higher level of resources in light of increasing demands. I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to all Member States to make generous contributions to the PBF.
The PBF has been successfully assisting several post-conflict countries, but it is not expected to meet all peacebuilding needs. To realize maximum impact on the ground, we should improve coordination of multilateral and bilateral donors in the country. It will be also important to seek additional means of mobilizing resources to complement the catalytic, and therefore limited, role of the PBF. We welcome any innovative proposal, including from the United Kingdom and others, to increase resources to post-conflict countries which will complement the existing mechanisms and ensure the coherence and effectiveness of all funding resources.
It is clear that there are still many conceptual and operational questions which need to be addressed to better respond to the enormous challenges of post-conflict peacebuilding. The PBC is ready to conduct further consideration on some of the issues the Security Council has discussed today. I hope that today's discussion will inspire specific actions which we can move forward to strengthen UN peacebuilding activities. Finally, I would like again to thank the Security Council for its support of the PBC.
Before I conclude my statement, allow me say a few words in my national capacity.
As Prime Minister Fukuda expressed in January this year, Japan is determined to play a further active role in the international community as a "Peace Fostering Nation". To that end, we are making a variety of initiatives to support peacebuilding activities all over the world. Japan has extended, among other things, substantial support to strengthen the peacekeeping and peacebuilding capacities of many African countries, including five peacekeeping operations centers. Last year we launched a pilot program for human resource development, which will contribute to meeting some of the gaps I discussed today. Twenty-nine graduates from the course, from Japan and other neighboring countries in Asia, are currently working in countries including Sudan, Timor-Leste and Nepal. This initiative will be expanded into a full-scale program next year.
Moreover, peacekeeping and peacebuilding will be one of the priority issues at TICAD IV in Yokohama this month and at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit in July. Japan remains committed to making utmost effort to strengthen international peacebuilding activities and enhance global capacity in this field.
Thank you, Madam President.
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