Sommaire: July 12, 2004: STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE EUROPEAN UNION BY MR. KOEN DAVIDSE, MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY. ECONOMIC and SOCIAL COUNCIL. Transition from Relief to Development (New York)
The Candidate Countries Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Croatia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this declaration".
The issue of transition from relief to development is one of the most pressing challenges facing the international community. Conflict and its aftermath present an enormous impediment to human rights and human development, good governance and sustainable development in general. Conflicts often have a wide impact beyond the geographic area they appear in. Refugee flows, social and economic development, trade and migration are all influenced by conflicts. Especially within countries, the impact of conflicts on people is devastating. Many of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) have experienced the effects of protracted conflict and its difficult aftermath. Without serious efforts in post conflict situations there is a huge risk of relapse. Moreover, investing in post conflict stabilization and reconstruction has tremendous pay off. Equally important is dealing with transition in the aftermath of natural disasters.
Tackling the issue of transition from relief to development is a vital precondition to making progress towards implementing the Millennium Declaration and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Transition is not a linear process and many different actors are involved in its various stages.
The UN is well placed to deal with the transition from relief to development as it is a major player in both fields. Its universal mandate and global presence form the basis of its comparative advantage in post conflict situations. The UN has the expertise and mandate to operate in transition situations and can often intervene at short notice. Its key players are on the ground before, during and after a crisis. Given that the UN is present in most, if not all, transition countries, it can use its field expertise and relations with the government, other parties and donors to its and others advantage.
However, there is a need to make the UN's and other international actors' efforts more effective, especially now that we hope to make progress in various situations in Africa, and to apply the lessons from situations like East Timor and Afghanistan. We are glad that the UN has taken on the task to reflect on how to better deal with issues of transition, following the SG's second report on reform* and requests from ECOSOC and the GA. The UNDG/ECHA working group on transition, chaired by Carol Bellamy has produced a clear and pragmatic report that makes substantial progress in defining the key concepts and challenges relating to the challenges of transition. We welcome this report and commend the efforts that have gone into it. We also look forward to the follow-up work now being carried on a number of key issues. They have made concerted efforts to present their findings within the UN system and to member states, and will continue to do so as their work is mainstreamed in the UN's coordination bodies. They show that the issue is not grand designs, but scaling up pragmatic steps to, for instance, ensure that the coordination provided in humanitarian efforts continues as the focus increasingly shifts to development activities.
The European Union is increasingly better adressing "the gap" between relief and development. The EU is also taking steps to improve its cooperation with the UN system including through the establishment of strategic partnerships with relevant UN bodies.
Challenges for all actors in the transition from relief to development, whether the UN and Bretton Woods Institutions (BWI), recipient countries, donors and NGO's are multiple.
Ensuring local and national ownership, often in circumstances where the authorities of a country have limited capacity, is key to a successful transition. More must be invested in building national capacities to deal with post conflict reconstruction. Technical assistance in crucial sectors of government, such as the judicial and security sectors is important, as is a comprehensive DDRRR process and sustainable conflict resolution. Governments, however fragile, should nevertheless do their utmost to secure good governance and human rights, and deal with issues of transitional justice.
2. UN coherence
Working more coherently within the UN system is vital. Humanitarian-, development- and political actors must improve their overall coordination both at HQ and in the field, and must ensure a common strategy for post conflict situations, formulated within one country team. Guidance to the UNCT must include elements on cooperation between the various UN actors. Resolutions establishing peacekeeping missions are increasingly taking into consideration all aspects of the post conflict phase, by establishing integrated missions. Respective roles and responsibilities of different actors should be clarified to avoid duplication. Complementarity and a smooth transition of responsibilities should be ensured in the different post conflict phases. As has been highlighted during the coordination segment, the integration of a gender perspective through mainstreaming policies is essential in post-conflict situations: women should not just be addressed as victims of conflict but their potential should be fully utilised in peace building and reconstruction efforts.
3. Cooperation with other actors
Improving coherence and co-ordination of international efforts is an essential part of making the transition from emergency to long-term development operational. Working more coherently applies also to the crucial relationship with the BWI. The World Bank has experience and expertise in many aspects of reconstruction, and can for instance help provide technical assistance in various sectors and financing in the development phase. Working more closely with the Bank, as the UN is increasingly doing, is of fundamental importance to a successful approach of transition. The EU welcomes the joint needs assessments that have been undertaken by the UN and WB in Afghanistan, Iraq and Haïti as a first step towards a joint strategy and overall towards a collaborative approach to post conflict situations.
Equally important is working together with regional organizations. The role of regional organizations has been crucial in various crises situations, such as for example the AU, ECOWAS or OAS and CARICOM. The solving of crises often requires a regional approach. Regional expertise, assistance and political commitment provide a basis for successful conflict resolution.
Finally, cooperation with bilateral donors, but also with NGO's, contributes to the success of post conflict assistance, by mobilizing donors' political and financial support and making use of their and NGO's expertise.
4. Harmonization and simplification
Enhanced cooperation and coordination within the UN system must be based on harmonization and simplification of procedures. Coherent country strategies, integration of planning, joint programming, budgeting and resource mobilization increase effectiveness and reduce transaction costs for fragile and strained governments in transition countries.
Adequate, predictable, timely and more flexible funding are essential for successful and sustainable investment in transition situations. Donor governments need to improve their performance on funding and do their part in harmonization and simplification. Moreover they have to effectively address the 'financing gap': in too many instances humanitarian funding is not followed by reconstruction and development financing. Given the increasing focus on performance in development assistance this is a challenge for all donor governments. The various resource mobilization instruments that are applied by the UN system, such as CAP's, donor conferences, CG mechanisms and Round Tables, certainly play an important role. It is evident however that a more structural and system-wide approach of the financing of transition is needed. The EU will take an active part in further discussions on this matter.
Our discussions on the overall approach as well as individual cases must continue within ECOSOC, the GA and the SC, including when we discuss humanitarian issues and the upcoming Triënnial Comprehensive Policy Review (TCPR).