Statement by H.E. Mr. Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan
At an open debate on Post Conflict Peacebuilding
Security Council, 22 July 2009
I wish to thank you, Mr. President, for presiding over today's important debate. I wish to thank the Secretary-General for personally presenting the very important report on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict. We are grateful to the Chairman of Peacebuilding Commission and the representatives of United Nations Development Programme and World Bank for their very useful perspectives. I am particularly pleased that in today's debate the United Nations system as a whole is according a high priority to post-conflict stabilization.
Over the course of its history, the United Nations has been faced with a multitude of challenges. Despite its best effort, however, conflicts have not been brought to an end. Worst of all, peace agreements are often broken within a few years' time, leaving the most vulnerable trapped in a vicious circle of misery and conflict.
The UN has mobilized to reverse that situation, using several instruments. First, by deploying peacekeeping operations and extending humanitarian and development assistance, the UN has contributed to preventing recurrence of misery and conflict in many parts of the world. The PBC has promoted an integrated support, but normally long after a peace agreement is signed and peacekeepers leave the country.
There is, however, clearly a gap which is not being fully met by those existing instruments. In a society just emerging from conflict, there is a high expectation for safer and better livelihood, but we learned a hard lesson to pay high price later because of the failure to take opportunities at the optimal time.
It is against this backdrop that the report of the Secretary-General before us was requested by the Council. Today I should like to highlight a few points of a general nature that are particularly relevant to the work of the Council.
My first point concerns the Council's relationship with peacekeeping operations. Today, when you discuss the immediate aftermath of conflict as being up to 24 months after a peace agreement, it is important to understand clearly the relationship between peacekeeping operations and peacebuilding efforts. When a peace agreement results from peacemaking efforts, there is still security situation is still fragile, so the agreement is frequently followed by deployment of a PKO mandated by the Security Council. In this case, we have to explore more precisely to what extent the mandate of a PKO mission could be expanded to include peacebuilding activities such as DDR, democratic governance, rule of law, support to capacity building, etc. Recently, the Council has authorized some of these activities in recent PKO mandates. But there is a limit to the degree to which a PKO itself to carry out all of those peacebuilding activities, given the range of expertise, backstopping authority at Headquarters financing methods needed.
On the other hand, if some of these peacebuilding activities are carried out by other entities, whether they be UN entities or others, in parallel while a PKO mission, we need to consider how the PKO mission can better harmonize and coordinate effectively with those other activities. For this purpose, the comprehensive review by the Council on effective implementation of PKO is important, including through the ongoing work by the Working group on PKO. We commend the Secretariat`s initiative such as "New Horizon" which is very useful. They are all integral parts of the UN effort aimed at ensuring stronger and coherent response to international threats.
I should like to stress that it is important for the Council is to acknowledge that PKO and peacebuilding should be pursued not in a sequence but simultaneously.
My second point concerns strategy and leadership. One of the characteristics of post-conflict peacebuilding - unlike peacekeeping operations -- is the need for active participations of diverse experts and many actors and for programmes involving variuos methods of work and financing. Therefore, it is dispensable for various UN organs and other stakeholders to work in a coordinated and coherent fashion from the very outset.
In promoting partnership, national leaders and diverse partners must share a common vision for what they are working together to achieve in order to avoid a relapse into another conflict. National ownership is of the very first order, as everyone has stressed so far. However we must recognize that, in the immediate aftermath of conflict, national capacity is very limited. Therefore, with full respect for the country's ownership, the UN is expected to take a leading role and to adopt an action-oriented approach, initially with a streamlined priority plan, and subsequently with a integrated strategy. We have to be flexible in sequencing and simplify planning and prioritize projects for speedy action. It is essential to produce tangible, visible outcome in order to gain the confidence of the local population even before an elaborate integrated strategy is in place.
To pursue a common vision and coherence among various players, we need strong leadership. The most senior representative of the UN in the field is normally tasked with challenges of bringing the partners to a table and mobilizing resources. It is equally important to ensure that field representatives receive coordinated guidance and support from the HQ. We therefore welcome the SG's initiative to strengthen his senior level coordinating mechanism that will ensure that the leadership and support team are in place as early as possible. The responsibilities of the lead department and the role of other departments, funds and programmes at the HQ should be clearly defined to maximize impacts and resources.
My third point concerns implanting capacity -- people and money. In order to implement peacebuilding efforts according to a common vision or a priority plan, we need to strengthen implementation capacity. Here, civilians with experience in a wide range of specialized areas are essential. Recommendations such as a standing capacity for quick reaction team, a roster and training are important and deserve detailed examination on a priority basis. The UN should also tap into the existing knowledge and expertise of some member-states, especially those in the developing world. For its part, Japan has initiated training program for Asian peacebuilding experts at Hiroshima Peacebuilders Center three years ago. We are ready to support the UN in this area.
Mobilizing additional resources is also vitally important. The recommendations that a new type of multi-donor trust fund -- either country specific or general purpose -- be created and that the terms of reference of the Peacebuilding Fund be expanded need careful review in terms of their feasibility. In the current situation in which PKO budget is consuming so many resources, and in the light of the substantial resources, we all need to think creatively and to make best use of existing channels, including international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the regional development banks. The creation of new mechanism needs to be attractive from donors' point of view. We also need to identify non- traditional partners and expand the donor base.
Finally, the Peacebuilding Commission has definitely played an extremely important role in mobilizing support to four specific countries designated by the Security Council. They are making serious effort, in most cases, after PKO in question has been completed. The strength and comparative advantage of the PBC is its convening and coordination power which is based on an elaborate integrated strategy. I believe that what is necessary is to consolidate its achievement rather than to expand its responsibilities beyond its capacity.
Japan is open to the idea of examining how PBC can make a difference in the early phase of post-conflict recovery. But we need to realize that the peacebuilding activities in the immediate aftermath of conflict require different method of work and support mechanism -- not only on the ground but also at the HQ, from those that have been employed over the past several years. We should also recognize the situation under consideration, PKOs are most often deployed in parallel. Therefore, I believe that, as the parent body, the Security Council has the responsibility to play its useful role of tasking PBC with providing advice and assistance on specific aspects of peacebuilding challenges.
In conclusion, we very much hope to take advantage of this opportunity and that the UN will strengthen its response to post-conflict early recovery.
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