Statement by H.E. Mr. Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan
Chairperson of the Peacebuilding Commission
At the Joint Debate on the Report of the Peacebuilding Commission and
the Report of the Secretary-General on the Peacebuilding Fund
General Assembly Plenary
9 October 2008
Thank you, Mr. President, for a very important and encouraging introductory statement, which guides our work and debate.
Today I am very much pleased to present the report of the Peacebuilding Commission on the activities of its second year. The report covers the wide range of activities undertaken by the PBC during the last session.
(Achievements in the second session)
Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the members, the Commission made steady progress and produced concrete results in many areas of its work. As the President stated already, the four country-specific configurations engaged in intensive work to produce tangible progress on the ground.
- First, for Burundi, the monitoring and tracking mechanism for the Strategic Framework was adopted in December 2007, and now the focus has moved to implementation. This June, the first bi-annual review was conducted under the chairmanship of Ambassador Løvald of Norway, and called for further efforts in areas such as good governance, compliance with the ceasefire agreement, security sector, rule of law, land use and socio-economic recovery. Mobilization of international assistance was also emphasized, as well as the subregional dimension and the gender issue. Ambassador Lidén of Sweden has now taken over as chair.
- Second, for Sierra Leone, the Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework was adopted in December 2007. Under the chairmanship of Ambassador Majoor of the Netherlands, the bi-annual review in June recommended youth employment and empowerment, energy, the global food crisis and rising oil prices as areas which would require special attention.
- Third, Guinea-Bissau was referred by the Security Council in December 2007, and the Guinea-Bissau country-specific configuration, under the chairmanship of Ambassador Viotti of Brazil, adopted the Peacebuilding Strategic Framework on 1 October. The elections to be held in mid-November, economic and infrastructure rehabilitation including the energy sector, security sector reform, rule of law and the fight against drug trafficking, public administration reform and social questions have been identified as priority areas.
- The Central African Republic was referred in June 2008. The work has just started, under the chairmanship of Ambassador Grauls of Belgium, to formulate an integrated strategy by making full use of the lessons learned from the experiences of other configurations.
With strong leadership by the respective Chairs of the country-specific configurations, the PBC continued to focus sustained attention on supporting national peacebuilding efforts. Interaction within the PBC and with others strengthened the notions of primary responsibility of the national government, national priority, partnership of the international community and mutual accountability, while encouraging interaction among national stakeholders and international partners. Such cooperative approach of the Peacebuilding Commission is its greatest asset and has added value to ongoing national and international efforts.
I would like, in this connection, to express my appreciation for the prompt approval by the General Assembly to provide the necessary funding for the field missions of the country-specific configurations and the visits of the Chairs, which were particularly valuable in its engagement with the countries under its consideration.
Second, there are many more countries in the world that are in the post-conflict peacebuilding process than these four countries, facing various types of challenges. The PBC may provide useful support to address these challenges by developing the strategy and policies for effective peacebuilding efforts. With this purpose in mind, the Organizational Committee conducted in-depth strategic and policy discussions, for instance on the role of the private sector and the synergy between peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
In the same vein, the Working Group on Lessons Learned, under the chairmanship of Ambassador Gallardo of El Salvador, took up such topics as peacebuilding frameworks, local governance and decentralization, the gender issue, transitional justice and internal displacement. The synthesis report issued after the last meeting could serve as a good basis for future work to develop best practices.
Third, serious efforts were made to enhance partnership at the highest level, in particular with the World Bank and the IMF, the African Union and the European Union. The UN organizations in New York, Geneva and Vienna were all mobilized. Regular contacts with the Presidents of the principal organs of the United Nations, the General Assembly, the Security Council and ECOSOC, were also established. Many outreach efforts were made by the Chairpersons and the PBSO to deepen understanding on the specific needs of post-conflict countries and the work of the PBC. In this connection, I would like to acknowledge the particular value of the seminars and workshops recently organized in many places in the world, such as Geneva, Tokyo, Brussels and Alpbach, Austria, among others.
In all these areas, we are grateful to the PBSO for providing valuable support in assisting the work.
Mr. President, what of the way forward? We have made steady progress, as you have kindly acknowledged, but we must continue our efforts to produce more concrete results. I would like to outline four priority areas that need to be focused upon.
First, to continue to produce more tangible results on the ground. We should bring about visible impacts of direct benefit to the people in the countries under consideration. To consolidate peace, it is essential that people can actually see and experience the signs of the arrival of peace after the ceasefire, through such positive changes in their livelihood as electricity supply or the opening of schools and clinics. We need to elicit the support of all stakeholders and to mobilize resources, not only from the traditional partners but also by bringing in new and non-traditional partners. I appeal to all Member States to extend support to national efforts in the priority areas identified in the integrated strategies. Support, for instance, for the successful conduct of elections in Guinea-Bissau in mid-November or in Burundi in 2010 are good examples to start with.
Second, to deepen strategic and policy discussion. The strategy for international efforts in peacebuilding is still in the early stages of development. We must make our best effort to develop policies on how to fill the gap between peacekeeping and peacebuilding and also the gap between peacebuilding and development. There is a need to promote conceptual and policy guidance for effective peacebuilding efforts through discussions in the PBC. Topics such as youth employment, the role of the private sector, justice and peace, and the subregional dimension may be considered. The PBC will also cooperate closely with the Secretariat in the preparation of the report of the Secretary-General on early recovery and post-conflict peacebuilding.
Third, to strengthen partnership. Building upon efforts to establish strong partnerships with the World Bank, the IMF and the regional development banks, it is essential to continue such efforts to make certain that the commitment of those partners is translated into specific programmatic cooperation on the ground. We also continue to engage actively with civil society organizations.
Fourth, to ensure coherence of the PBC's activities. We will continue to ensure that all parts of the UN peacebuilding architecture work in a coherent and coordinated manner for the only purpose of serving the people on the ground. As additional countries are expected to be referred to the PBC, the Commission will continue to improve the efficiency of its working methods, with a clear sense of the added value of its engagement.
The PBC is still a new and evolving organ. The political and substantial support of the members of the General Assembly is critical in order for the PBC to advance its activities. The PBC places great importance on strengthening interaction with the General Assembly, as one of its parent organs. Last January, I was invited by the President of the General Assembly to an informal plenary meeting to have an interactive dialogue with the broader membership. This was very useful, and I would greatly appreciate similar interaction in the future.
As a result of a stalemate on the allocation of the seats among the regional groups for the elections in the General Assembly and the ECOSOC, both organs decided to take interim measures to extend the terms of office of some of the members. I join your voice urging Member States to make maximum efforts to overcome this impasse as soon as possible.
The foundation was laid in the first year, and we started to produce results in the second session. The third year will be the real test for this developing organ. The PBC must consolidate its achievements and help mobilize resources, so that it can create real difference on the ground and meet the high expectations of the international community. I would like to assure all members of our full dedication and commitment in this regard.
In concluding my remarks, allow me to make a very brief remark in my national capacity on the report on the Peacebuilding Fund. The Peacebuilding Fund was created to play a catalytic role in attracting new and additional resources. We welcome that as of now the pledges to the Fund have exceeded the original target amount of $250 million. The PBF is also expected to play a leading role in the immediate response to post-conflict situations. This unique role needs to be further strengthened. At the same time, it is important to improve accountability to the donors and the international community. For instance, the selection of countries to be assisted by the Fund should be based upon clearer criteria. The review of its terms of reference will provide a valuable occasion to ensure that this Fund can better assist the countries in need.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Back to Index