Open Debate: Post-Conflict peacebuilding: Review of Peacebuilding Architecture.
23 February, 2016
On Tuesday February 23, 2016, under the Venezuelan presidency, the Security Council held an open debate under the theme, "Post-conflict peacebuilding: Review of peacebuilding architecture." Member States focused their statements on the lack of attention on the preventative function of peacebuilding, the need to create strategic collaboration of all UN entities across peace and security, development, and human rights operations, and the importance of development in peacebuilding. This debate provided an opportunity to gauge Member States’ views issues introduced by the Advisory Group of Experts (AGE) report, including conflict prevention, inclusivity of national ownership in peacebuilding efforts and the Peacebuilding Commission’s mandate. Members States also referred to the other 2015 review processes, on peace operations and the implementation of Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. Referring to the recommendations made by the 2015 High Level Review’s Global Study and calling for the wider implementation of Resolution 1325 on WPS, 64.2% of speakers underscored the pivotal role of women in peacebuilding and expressed the need to create momentum for more effective reforms.
Venezuela organised the Open Debate intending to create an opportunity for the Security Council and Member States to have a debate about the AGE report. A concept note circulated before the meeting notes the need to see peacebuilding in a broader perspective and to face it with greater determination. The Chair of the AGE on the 2015 Review of the United Nations (UN) Peacebuilding Architecture Gert Rosenthal made the request to refrain from addressing peacebuilding “as something that should occur after the guns fall silent.” Commending the statement of the former Chair of Peacebuilding Commission, Olof Skoog, 70% of speakers suggested that conflict prevention should be moved to the centre of peacebuilding efforts. In this regard, the representative of Montenegro claimed that early action remains essential and a “culture of prevention” should be developed. In line with other AGE report conclusions, 39% of speakers emphasized the fragmentation among the main UN intergovernmental organs calling upon the Economic and Social Council, the General Assembly, and the Security Council to coordinate peacebuilding efforts among all UN bodies in a coherent manner. Another problem of the current peacebuilding architecture noted by the majority of speakers is the lack of financing. The representative of Kenya noted that while countries emerging from conflict require significant financing over extended periods, funding is often directed towards short-term emergency responses. Such approach usually produces only tangible results; therefore, the Peacebuilding Fund needs to be enhanced by voluntary contributions. 55% of speakers demanded increased inclusivity of national ownership in peacebuilding efforts. In this vein, the delegation of New Zealand voiced support for the AGE’s recommendation to foster more meaningful ownership of programmes by national stakeholders for the purpose of strengthening national governments and obtaining a national vision of the problem. Needless to say, disarmament and demobilisation programmes are vital components of strategic peacebuilding. However, speakers did not make a collective call to address militarization and disarmament within the international community. Costa Rica noted that it has remained disarmed for nearly 70 years and emphasized that it is indispensable to replace the logic of war with goodwill and peace.
Clearly, peacebuilding may offer the single greatest opportunity to redress gender inequities and injustices of the past while setting new precedents for the future. These opportunities can be enhanced significantly, or constrained, depending on how the international community sets its priorities for recovery and how it uses its resources for peacebuilding. The current priorities were clearly identified during the Debate. Out of nearly 58 statements delivered, thirty-six speakers (64.2%) used specific gendered language. Echoing other speakers, the representative of Morocco proclaimed that gender equality brings to peacebuilding new degrees of democratic inclusiveness, faster and more durable economic growth and human and social capital recovery. In line with the general agreement about the need to prioritize conflict prevention, the representative of Finland stated that women’s participation is indispensable and should be considered as an investment in the stability of societies and conflict prevention. As a whole, the statements often referred to important thematic issues in the context of the WPS Agenda and, in this sense, “participation” was the issue referenced the most, with approximately 42.8% of Member States underlining the necessity of including women in all peace processes. Ireland’s representative called for a clear deadline for meeting a 15% gender marker for peacebuilding financing, saying that the participation of women should also be built into the terms of reference for Special Envoys and Special Representatives of the Secretary-General. However, the need to increase women’s participation in peace processes was not endorsed by all Member States. In this regard, the Russian Federation’s representative suggested that, while recognizing the important role women play in peacebuilding, an excessive focus on gender is counter-productive. Instead, the eradication of the root causes of conflict is the most important goal, the representative emphasized. The need for an integrated strategy for development, security and human rights was referred to twenty times (35.72%). The representative of the United Kingdom suggested that building peace must mean building peace for all - men, women, children, minorities, those in government and those who are not. Less frequently, Member States referred to issues related to peacekeeping (30%), peace processes (26.7%), the implementation of the WPS Agenda (16%), and justice (12.5%). The least addressed thematic issues were sexual gender-based violence (4%) and protection (4%). Even though speakers briefly addressed the issues of gender-based violence and the need to protect women, the positive impact of women’s active leadership and participation in peace processes was frequently highlighted.
The record of the meeting is available here.