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Briefing on Peacebuilding

‘We have seen an unacceptable number of peace agreements disintegrate within five years after the end of a civil war, with countries lapsing back into deadly conflict.’ (Kofi Annan)

During the Study Tour in New York, Ms Alison Cooper and Mr Julien Serre held a speech on the implementation of Peacebuilding within post-conflict countries by the United Nations (UN). They presented us the architecture of the UN organs dealing with Peacebuilding and unveiled the main issues regarding this ‘top priority’ field.

Peacebuilding must be implemented in the immediate aftermath of a conflict in order to rebuild a country and reduce the probability of new conflict after the peace agreement is signed. Therefore in December 2005, both the General Assembly and the Security Council established inter alia the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund, which is tasked to deal with this crucial topic.

Established on the 20th of December 2005, the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) has been mandated by those two organs to:

  • ‘Bring together all relevant actors to marshal resources and to advise on the proposed integrated strategies for post-conflict Peacebuilding and recover;
  • Help ensure predictable financing for early recovery activities and sustained financial investment over the medium to long-term;
  • Develop best practices on issues in collaboration with political, security, humanitarian and development actors.’

Moreover, the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) provides financing in order to support the prior necessity needs. It supports interventions of direct and immediate relevance to the Peacebuilding process and contributes towards addressing critical gaps in that process. It helps to avoid conflict rebirth.

The Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) is a support organ. The PBSO was established to assist and support the Peacebuilding Commission, administer the Peacebuilding Fund, and serve the Secretary-General in co-ordinating United Nations agencies in their Peacebuilding efforts.

The PBF has a limited budget, albeit significant (USD 350 million in portfolio) and co-operation with those UN agencies and the local authorities is therefore of crucial importance helping at the same time to avoid overlapping.

The core features of the Peacebuilding process are the emergencies’ short duration activities and the medium term projects,responding to the priorities identified by stakeholders.

During the discussion that followed it was stressed that the immediate aftermath of a conflict is a crucial moment where the international community must react. Since Peacebuilding is a young process for the international community, it has not accomplished fully its mission yet. Nevertheless, since the creation of the UN organs working in this field, plenty of examples of successful projects have appeared. Some of them help ex-combatants to reintegrate into the civil society after the end of a conflict; others support security sector reform, judicial reform, and youth employment. An example was provided with ‘micro-projects’ funded in Cote d’Ivoire: the objective is to propose a sustainable project for people who had been combatants for years or identified as youth at risk. Through learning how to grow vegetables or raising pigs are, for instance, micro-projects that have been supported by the Peacebuilding Fund, easy to put in place, and with rapid immediate effect.

Peacebuilding within the UN is a way to support people in their effort to build durable peace. Since ending a conflict is just the transition to winning peace, no doubt that the role of those Peacebuilding organs will grow in the future.

Matisse Belusa