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Peacebuilding body shows progress but needs more support - Assembly president

10 October 2007 The United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, set up to prevent countries that have emerged from conflict from sliding back into war, has achieved solid results since it began operations just over a year ago but needs more international support to boost its impact on the ground, the President of the General Assembly said today.

“We all have a duty to ensure that the Peacebuilding Commission works well – that the decision to create it is translated into practical action for the well-being of millions of people trapped in post-conflict situations,” Srgjan Kerim said at the opening of the Assembly’s first debate on the body it created in December 2005.

The Peacebuilding Commission brings together key actors, including international donors, international financial institutions, national governments from focus countries, troop contributor countries, UN bodies and civil society representatives, to promote a common approach to helping a country emerge from conflict.

The Commission has “made a good start,” the President said, while cautioning that “this is just the beginning of a longer process.”

Looking ahead, he said the Commission should continue to refine its strategies, develop its advocacy role, and become more effective at marshalling resources.

“The main challenge now facing the Commission is to maximize its impact on the ground,” he stressed, calling for the $250 million target for the Peacebuilding Fund, a multi-year standing trust fund that has so far collected deposits worth almost $144 million from donor countries, to be reached.

“The evidence shows that half of countries that emerge from conflict will lapse back into violence within five years,” Mr. Kerim said. “To break this vicious cycle it is critical that the international community provide sustained practical support and resources to assist national efforts.”

In its first year, the Commission focused on Burundi and Sierra Leone. Currently, Dutch Ambassador Frank Majoor, who chairs the Peacebuilding Commission’s Sierra Leone meetings on that country, is in Freetown for talks with officials and a first-hand look at conditions there.

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