We thank you for convening this briefing on a topic to which my country attaches great importance. I would also like to thank ASG Judy-Cheng Hopkins and Ambassador Sylvie Lucas for the views they have shared with us.
It is now a common assumption that peacekeeping and peacebuilding should be seen as an integrated effort, no longer as sequential activities, and that peacebuilding activities should start being carried out as soon as the situation of the ground permits it, well within the span of the foreseeable duration of a peacekeeping operation and throughout its cycle.
I believe we have come a long way in identifying gaps and mechanisms for more efficient post-conflict peacebuilding, namely in what concerns civilian capacities. Also, the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission brought a much needed consistency to the way the UN links immediate post-conflict stabilisation to the creation and consolidation of state institutions that can ensure long-term security.
The Security Council must be able to take full advantage of the work and the insights of the PBC and its configurations, when it discusses the establishment, renewal and conclusion of missions’ mandates. In this area of our interaction with the PBC, there is certainly much room for improvement.
Allow me to underline a number of aspects which we believe are particular important in the context of post-conflict peacebuilding:
First, the importance of fostering national ownership in initiatives aimed at state building. Strengthening national capacities for fulfilling core functions of the State should be the first priority of post-conflict assistance. Choices always have to be made and thus international efforts should be directed to ensure that decisions on policy objectives and priorities are taken by national actors and that international efforts are there mainly to assist and not to replace state authorities;
Second, the importance of economic and social development in countries emerging from conflict. International economic aid should concentrate on projects that take into account the economic, social and even cultural realities of the country, its specific capacities, and the potential they offer for foreign investment. The issue of unemployment, especially youth unemployment, must be addressed through concrete and focused initiatives.
Third, we should pay attention to peacebuilding tasks from the early stages of post-conflict and reconstruction. Mandates should be clear in identifying the role and functions of peacekeepers as early peacebuilders in areas like the multidimensional tasks of Rule of Law and Security Sector Reform. The UN must improve the linkage between civilian and political tasks and those tasks traditionally performed by peacekeepers. In many situations, this articulation is crucial to prevent a relapse into conflict.
Complex as peacebuilding may be, the UN already has its fair share of success stories in ensuring a successful transition to sustainable peace and security. We can take the example of Timor-Leste, which, in less than a decade, managed to develop into a solid democracy with stable institutions.
This is due first and foremost to the Timorese people and its leaders, but also to the decisive involvement of the UN in peacebuilding efforts, working side by side with the national government and other international partners. I am certain that we can learn from this and other similar cases in order to improve our capacity to deal with peacebuilding tasks.
I thank you for your attention.