Summary: 19 March 2012, New York - Statement delivered by H.E. Mr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the United Nations General Assembly, on Item 31: Report of the Peacebuilding Commission on its Fifth Session and Item 111: Report of the Secretary-General on the Peacebuilding Fund
Mr. President, I speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Acceding country Croatia*, the candidate countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+ and Serbia*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
Shouldering countries emerging from conflict is a challenge that the international community cannot fail to address.
The United Nations system, its Peacebuilding architecture, and the Peacebuilding Commission in particular, has a pivotal role to play in this respect.
This is why the EU has shown a strong commitment and has actively engaged in the PBC's work since its establishment in 2005.
Two years ago, the PBC went through a thoughtful review and assessment of its performance with the very valuable support provided by the three co-facilitators.
One of the messages from the review was very clear: either there is a clear re-commitment to peacebuilding at the heart of the UN's work, or the PBC will settle into the limited role that has developed so far.
The EU firmly favours the former path and strongly recommends the swift implementation of several recommendations put forward by the review, especially those related to enhancing the PBC's relevance in the field and improving coordination at UN Headquarters.
The two annual reports before us today are both comprehensive documents illustrating some of the achievements made. For instance, there has been progress in terms of outreach activities, better synergy between the PBC and the Peacebuilding Fund and greater interaction between the PBC and the Security Council.
The reports also show some positive developments achieved by the continued engagement of the Country Specific Configurations in supporting the six countries on the PBC agenda. These configurations have endeavoured to provide political guidance aimed at coherence among key players pursuing nationally-owned peacebuilding priorities.
The placement of Guinea on the PBC agenda in February last year and the progress witnessed thus far in this country on Security Sector Reform (the launch of a pension scheme for 4000 military personnel with the PBF) and on deployment of civilian expertise (appointment of an advisor on SSR) are also positive steps.
Still, great challenges ahead remain. The efforts to release PBC's full potential to overcome these challenges need to continue. Important test cases are the 2012 elections in Sierra Leone, the national reconciliation in Liberia and the SSR process in Guinea Bissau.
Looking ahead, the EU welcomes the Roadmap of Actions in 2012 as a "living document" put forward by the former Chair of the PBC, Ambassador Gassana from Rwanda, whom I would like to thank for his commitment.
It is now time to start implementing this roadmap with concrete initiatives and a greater sense of accountability. The complementarity between the PBC work and other initiatives such as the Civilian Capacity Review and the New Deal (outcome of the High-Level Forum in Busan) should also be ensured.
The EU looks forward to working hand in hand with the new Chairman, Ambassador Abdul Momen, the PBC membership and the Peace Building Support Office to move this agenda forward.
Having said this, let us not forget the most important aspect: National ownership. Peacebuilding will only succeed if it is home-grown and nationally led. Our duty, as the international community, must consist of aligning behind nationally owned strategies.
To conclude Mr President,
Only a more relevant, more flexible, better performing, better supported, more ambitious and better understood PBC will be in a position to make the difference.
The EU stands ready to continue to support the efforts to enable the UN peacebuilding architecture to live up to the expectations which accompanied its establishment.
* Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+ Iceland continues to be a member of EFTA and the European Economic Area.