Thank you, Mr. Chair.
It is a pleasure to participate in the annual session of the Peacebuilding Commission. Today’s debate on financing for peacebuilding is of crucial importance.
A month ago, the Secretary-General presented to the PBC his report Our Common Agenda, his vision for the future of global cooperation through an inclusive, networked, and effective multilateralism. Our Common Agenda. That vision includes a new agenda for peace calling for investment in prevention and peacebuilding, including through the Peacebuilding Commission.
Smart, preventive investments to tackle the underlying drivers that sustain conflict have never been as important. The COVID-19 pandemic is stretching our resources and capacities, disproportionately affecting people and places hit by conflict. And the climate crisis not only compounds the challenges we face in peace and security, it poses an existential threat to humanity.
As ambitious as Our Common Agenda is, we really have no choice but to put substantial resources – financial, political and human – to work to build a more peaceful, environmentally sound, stable and sustainable future.
We need to build on the current momentum and ensure adequate, predictable, and sustained financing for peacebuilding.
This idea is at the core of the twin General Assembly and Security Council resolutions adopted at the conclusion of the 2015 and 2020 Peacebuilding Architecture Reviews. The Peacebuilding Commission plays a key role in our concerted effort to help achieve this important objective ahead of the High-Level Meeting on Financing for Peacebuilding.
I would like to point to four key areas that are particularly relevant to consider in this context.
First, sustained financing for peacebuilding is instrumental for our ongoing work on strengthening coherence across the peace and security continuum, including the work conducted by special political missions in close cooperation with development actors, regional partners and civil society organizations.
Special political missions play a critical role, supporting Member States to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts. Our regional office for West Africa, for example, continues to respond to high demand for preventive diplomacy in the region. Working side-by-side with ECOWAS and the African Union, UNOWAS has engaged with authorities and other actors to help build consensus regarding the way forward in political and security processes.
If we are to effectively support Member States on trust, inclusion, social cohesion, and human rights – elements that are at the heart of Our Common Agenda and our collective work on peacebuilding – we need to continue to insist on improving coherence. Adequate, predictable, and sustained financing will allow for better incentives and can foster further collaboration across the UN system.
Second, the strong linkages among peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development are mutually reinforcing. Financing for peacebuilding is key, for example, in safeguarding peacekeeping gains. This ensures effective transitions and averts a “financial cliff” after a mission leaves. Peacebuilding has helped prevent relapses into conflict in Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone notably.
The dedicated Peacebuilding Fund window is a welcome contribution in this respect, with a total of $35 million invested in 2020. The transition in Darfur, for example, shows the importance of complementing resources of peacekeeping operations with the PBF investment. It enabled the UN Country Team to continue catalytic peacebuilding programmes after UNAMID’s closure. It also contributed to supporting the new integrated mandate of our special political mission, UNITAMS.
We expect that the largest share of PBF investments during the 2020-2024 strategic period will be directed to support countries undergoing complex transitions when UN configurations on the ground change.
Third, we continue to strengthen our partnerships with international financial institutions and regional development banks, which in recent years have resulted in more in-depth analysis of fragility factors and better understanding of conflict drivers.
This shift towards prevention, conflict sensitivity and peacebuilding in the International Financial Institutions and the resources they bring to bear towards those objectives are potential game changers.
We should not lose sight of the urgent need to make these partnerships more systematic through regular joint analysis and assessments. The creation of a Humanitarian-Development-Peacebuilding and Partnership Facility (HDPP) is contributing in a significant way to this effort, enabling the UN’s field presences to better interact with the World Bank.
Examples of good partnership also include:
- the establishment of joint information management platforms in the North/Northeast region of Kenya and in Niger;
- joint analysis increasing coherence in responses, for instance, in Burkina Faso and Mozambique;
- strategic, technical and operational contributions to prevention and transition action plans supported through the World Bank’s new financing instruments.
We also look forward to deepening our engagement with the International Monetary Fund, in the context of its upcoming Fragility and Conflict-affected States Strategy, and regional development banks, such as the African Development Bank. There is also scope for synergy on climate risk mitigation, since climate change is a risk multiplier in many conflict settings, such as in the Sahel and Horn of Africa.
We should also continue to explore stronger partnerships with the private sector. An initiative with a blended finance facility in Colombia that leveraged close to seven times the funding capital from the private sector is a powerful example that innovative financing solutions can fill the gap in peacebuilding contexts.
Fourth, as Our Common Agenda acknowledges, demand for support from the Peacebuilding Fund significantly outpaces available resources. As the UN’s instrument of first resort to support peacebuilding, the Fund needs additional resources.
The recourse to voluntary, extrabudgetary contributions obscures the fact that prevention and peacebuilding are structural and central objectives of the UN and the Charter obligations.
Voluntary contributions are insufficient: the PBF is currently $90 million below its target for 2021. The Secretary-General’s recommendation to allocate a dedicated amount ($100 million) to the PBF from assessed contributions would indeed have a strong symbolic value.
Additional and more predictable funding would enable the UN to, for example, increase its support for women-led and women-focused peacebuilding initiatives, as urged by many women peacebuilders who have briefed the PBC in the past. More resources for peacebuilding activities would also strengthen the work special political missions are playing in promoting women’s and youth participation in peace and political processes.
As Peacebuilding Commission Members know best of all, scaled-up preventive action could prevent loss of human life and incalculable suffering.
Adequate, predictable and sustained financing, including through assessed contributions, will allow the UN, through its Peacebuilding Fund, to grow its investments in support of Our Common Agenda.
I look forward to hearing from you on how we can collectively achieve this ambitious objective.