81st Plenary Meeting of General Assembly 73rd Session

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20-May-2019 02:59:00
Speakers highlight efforts in Sahel and partnerships with regional organizations, as General Assembly considers annual reports of Peacebuilding Commission and Fund at 81st plenary.

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The Peacebuilding Commission looks forward to a review of its work in 2020 by the General Assembly and the Security Council as an opportunity to take stock of progress made and to explore ways to strengthen the United Nations efforts in forging sustainable peace in places where conflict once reigned, the General Assembly heard today as it took up the Secretary-General’s annual reports on the Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund.

Also today, the Assembly, acting without a vote, adopted a draft resolution contained in a report of its Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee) entitled “Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects” (document A/73/525/Add.1).

Speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, the representative of Colombia said its work continues to be anchored in the principle of national ownership, representing a space where countries can share their peacebuilding experience. Looking ahead, he said he intends to further strengthen the partnership between the Commission and regional and subregional organizations, particularly the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as with the World Bank.

Recalling that the General Assembly and the Security Council will review the Organization’s peacebuilding work in 2020, he noted that “progress” is the word most frequently used in the Commission’s annual reports since the last review in 2016. “Indeed, the Commission has taken important steps to implement the twin resolutions of 2016 [General Assembly resolution 70/262 and Security Council resolution 2282 (2016)], and we look forward to the next review to formally take stock of that progress and explore ways to further strengthen the work of the Organization on peacebuilding,” he stated.

Romania’s delegate, speaking as former Chair of the Commission, was among many who took the floor to highlight the Commission’s efforts in the Sahel where it works with the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) to advance the Organization’s integrated strategy for that region. On the Commission’s bridging role, he noted that it works with the Assembly, Security Council and the Economic and Social Council towards an integrated, strategic and coherent approach to peacebuilding, while respecting the mandates of each of those bodies.

The representative of Liberia, highlighting how the Commission and the Fund benefited his country’s peace and development priorities, said efforts effectively managed the transition from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to the United Nations country team ensured the success of elections and supported the national peacebuilding plan. Moving forward, he envisaged a continued focus on how the Commission can work better with intergovernmental bodies and on exploring available means to ensure strengthened partnerships with key stakeholders.

His counterpart from Sierra Leone, another Member State to benefit from the Commission and the Fund, recommended that the Commission consider a regional approach to peacebuilding, including in the Mano River Union countries of West Africa. On financing, he suggested more engagement with the private sector. It could also help Sierra Leone establish a peace and national cohesion commission where ordinary people can develop conflict prevention mechanisms, he said.

India’s representative said the Commission’s efforts can produce sustainable outcomes “if national ownership is strictly followed”. Agreeing, Kenya’s delegate added that scenarios on the ground should inform discussions at Headquarters — not the other way around. National ownership is key, and peacebuilding initiatives should be nationally owned, regionally anchored and internationally supported.

The representative of Indonesia, among others, applauded the fact that 40 per cent of the Peacebuilding Fund’s approved financing in 2018 went towards women’s empowerment. He proposed, however, that the Fund’s current allocation of 27 per cent for peacekeeping and 20 per cent for special political missions can be increased.

The representative of the European Union underlined the Commission’s need to work closely with key international and regional partners. Commending its performance, he said the Peacebuilding Fund also achieved significant results, demonstrating its catalytic role in mobilizing resources. The European Union is currently considering how its ongoing cooperation could be reinforced by a direct contribution to the Fund, he stated.

Through the draft resolution contained in the report of its Special Political and Decolonization Committee, the Assembly took note of the report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. It also decided that the Special Committee shall continue its efforts for a comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations, review the implementation of its previous proposals and consider any new proposals as a way to enhance the Organization’s capacity to fulfil its responsibilities in that field.

Prior to adopting the draft resolution, the Assembly decided not to discuss the report, with its President explaining that the positions of delegations regarding the Committee’s recommendation had already been made clear during the Committee’s recent session and that they were duly reflected in the official records.

At the outset of today’s meeting, the Assembly took note of a letter from the Secretary-General (document A/73/722/Add.4) informing its President that Libya has made the payment necessary to reduce its arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the United Nations Charter.

At day’s end, the Assembly, acting again without a vote, elected Paraguay as a member of the Committee for Programme and Coordination for a term of office beginning immediately and expiring on 31 December 2021.

Also speaking today were representatives of Sweden, Brazil, Ireland, Pakistan, China, Germany, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Ethiopia, Egypt, El Salvador, Morocco, United Kingdom, Peru, United States, France, Argentina, Russian Federation, Bangladesh and the Gambia.

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