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UN peacebuilding efforts can benefit from closer ties with other actors, says official

28 January 2010 – The new head of the United Nations body tasked with helping post-conflict countries has called for enhanced partnerships with the Security Council and other actors to better assist this vulnerable group to build sustainable peace.

The success of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) in the countries on its agenda will be measured by its capability to achieve tangible and sustainable results for people on the ground, said Germany’s Ambassador Peter Wittig, who was elected Chairperson of the Commission’s Organizational Committee on Wednesday.

“Our goal should be to live up to the expectation of societies and populations emerging from conflict and improving the contribution of the PBC to building hope for a better future,” he added.

Towards this end, he called for achieving a more structured relationship between the Commission and the Security Council, including increased interaction. Also, the Commission should build cohesion among political, security, development and humanitarian actors through dialogue with international financial institutions, regional and subregional organizations and civil society.

In this regard, the Organizational Committee intends to establish contacts with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the near future, and to visit Washington, D.C., in the coming months.

Mr. Wittig added that the analysis of a specific country’s situation should identify clear, limited priorities and channel the requisite resources, and that the Commission should strive to make its working methods more flexible and less cumbersome.

The Commission was set up in 2005 to help struggling States avoid slipping back into war and chaos by providing strategic advice and harnessing expertise and finance from around the world to aid with recovery projects. There are currently four countries on its agenda – Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and the Central African Republic (CAR).

“By helping societies emerging from conflict and laying the foundations for sustainable peace and development, the PBC is indeed entrusted with a crucial contribution to international peace and security,” said the Chairperson.

As the central pillar of the UN’s peacebuilding architecture, he added, “its success will likely define, in many ways, the success of the United Nations as a whole.”

The outgoing chairperson, Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz of Chile, noted that, during the past year, the Commission had expanded its ties with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and worked to raise its public profile, meeting with peace activists such as the artist Yoko Ono, and beginning the process of designating a Goodwill Ambassador for Peacebuilding.

He emphasized the need to establish closer relations with regional and sub-regional organizations because “they are our front-line partners in the peacebuilding processes.”

In addition to support from the PBC, countries can also avail themselves of financial assistance from the Peacebuilding Fund to jump-start rebuilding projects.

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