Statement by H.E. Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti 
Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations 

Peacebuilding in post-conflict countries: institution-building

New York, 21 January 2011


Mr. President,

I thank you for convening this timely open debate. I also take this opportunity to thank the Secretary-General for an excellent presentation. I welcome the Deputy Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, Mr. José Luis Guterres, and congratulate him for the important strides his country has made in recent years. We very much appreciate his thoughtful comments on statebuilding, based on Timor Leste's own successful experience. I thank Ambassador Peter Wittig for his remarks. 

Brazil aligns itself with the statement to be made by Ambassador Jan Grauls on behalf of the five Chairs of the PBC country-specific configurations. I will now make brief remarks in my national capacity.

The strengthening of government institutions is key to achieving sustainable peace in post-conflict countries. In several parts of the world, the fragility or lack of institutions make it difficult to solve or mitigate serious political, social or economic problems, thus increasing the risk of relapse into conflict. 

We are encouraged to note that a consensus has evolved on the need for a comprehensive approach to peacebuilding and institution building.

The efforts of the international community should be focused not only in supporting institutions in the field of justice and security. It is important to enhance the capacity of the institutions in charge of economic revitalization, public administration and the provision of basic services. Those institutions are indispensable to promote poverty reduction, which is a powerful tool to address some of the root causes of social strife and build long-lasting peace. Social  policies would likewise have a positive impact in the political process, since it would empower groups that were once excluded from decision-making to do that both at local and national levels. The contribution of women must be continuously emphasized, taking into account two dimensions: their presence in government institutions and, on the other hand, the existence of institutions and governmental bodies capable of securing their fundamental rights and needs. 

This is one of the reasons why institution-building must start at the earliest stage of post-conflict. There are a number of ways in which the UN system can and does assist societies emerging from conflict in that regard. The development arm of the Organization, the centerpiece of which is UNDP, is indeed expected to have assistance to institution-building as one of its main tasks. Nevertheless, this is an endeavour to be undertaken by all parts of the UN system, according to their respective responsibilities. In this regard, it is encouraging to see the growing recognition of the need to resort to peacekeepers as early peacebuilders. We seem to be finally discarding the traditional approach according to which peacekeeping and peacebuilding were sequential and unrelated stages in the path towards peace. 

Assistance to institution-building is also a task to be undertaken in coordination with international financial institutions and regional and sub-regional organizations, whose valuable experience and expertise can provide assistance tailored to the specific needs of post-conflict countries.

Mr. President,

National ownership is vital in peacebuilding processes. The international support to building and strengthening institutions must be fully aligned with the interests of the countries concerned. This is particularly relevant for the UN in those places where UN missions are deployed.

This is why one of the guiding principles for the proper assistance with regard to civilian capacities should be to tap into and help build national capacities, thus avoiding the damaging consequences of "brain drain" and dependency on 
foreign expertise. Partnerships with Member States, and in particular South-South cooperation, are particularly important to achieve this goal. We are confident that the current Review of International Civilian Capacities will submit concrete recommendations to ensure that this principle is translated into practical arrangements. 

As Chair of the Guiné-Bissau Configuration of thePeacebuilding Commission, Brazil is committed to promoting national ownership, nurturing national capacities and assisting in the strengthening of national institutions, as we move forward in helping Guiné-Bissau consolidate peace and promote its development.

Thank you.