I would like to thank you, Madam President, for your presence among us here today, and Colombia for having organized this open debate on peacebuilding. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General; the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh; his predecessor, the Permanent Representative of Rwanda; and the representative of the World Bank.
France associates itself with the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union. We note today that, despite the 2010 review, the role of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) is still being defined. I would therefore like to make three comments concerning this matter.
First, the primary role of the PBC is to identify, together with the States concerned, the needs on the ground and the stakeholders who are already involved. Contact with those in the field offers a picture of the needs on the ground. The work carried out in the case of Guinea is an example of this. The mapping exercise carried out by Luxembourg and Japan provides us with a precise, quantifiable picture of the existing shortcomings and projects needed to remedy them. This exercise deserves to be repeated in other country-specific configurations of the PBC.
The identification of the most pressing areas should be the result of an in-depth dialogue with the relevant State. To facilitate this dialogue, there are integrated peacebuilding offices in a number of post-conflict countries, such as Burundi and the Central African Republic. The country-specific configuration of the Commission must be in close contact with these offices, and their exchanges must be fluid. That dialogue will be effective only if links with the field are strengthened. As was demonstrated by the Security Council’s visit to western Africa, the PBC is sometimes lacking in visibility in States in the region, in particular Sierra Leone.
Once the work to identify needs has been completed, it is important for the PBC to be able to play its political supporting role. On the one hand, an important element of the tasks entrusted to the Peacebuilding Commission is that of advocacy, especially for resource mobilization. On the other hand, the PBC should open a dialogue with the authorities of countries on its agenda in order to ask them to take specific commitments and follow up with results on the ground.
The signing of mutual commitments or peacebuilding plans with a State is not in itself enough to guarantee that they will in fact be implemented. For example, the peacebuilding plan for South Sudan is blocked for now as a result of budgetary austerity. In a number of situations, States do not possess the means to cover and fully participate in all projects under way. It is therefore essential to establish priorities and to be realistic.
Finally, the key element of the role of the Peacebuilding Commission is coordination. The PBC was designed as a platform for contact between the various members of the international community, including the international financial institutions, which play a decisive role in this regard. Partnerships with them must be developed. Coordination is a long-term endeavour. To ensure the sustainability of the international community’s commitment, various efforts aimed at reviewing the topic have been launched, such as, inter alia, the review of civilian capacities. The issue of partnership development lies at the very heart of that review. We believe that that approach provides us with the best hope for a long-term commitment.
The international community must not create conditions of dependence where a State is kept on life support, but rather conditions for recovery. An excellent option is the drawing up of contracts such as the New Deal for International Engagement in Fragile States developed at the 2011 Forum on Aid Effectiveness, in Busan, which involved defining a State’s commitment and so involves it in the project. Initiatives aimed at promoting the recovery of a viable economic fabric must be especially encouraged. The joint informal event of the Economic and Social Council and the Peacebuilding Commission in June on partnerships for youth job creation in States emerging from conflict was useful. That approach should also be reflected on the ground in each State on the PBC’s agenda.
I will conclude by underscoring that to bring a coordinated response to post-conflict situations and to make sustainable any return to peace and stability, the Commission must work as a flexible and responsive mechanism, one bringing all players together in a joint action plan. It therefore behoves us to be especially vigilant with regard to the risks of bureaucratization of this young institution.