H.E. Raymond Wolfe
Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations
to the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on the Activities of the
Peacebuilding Commission (PBC)
7th May 2008
Before commencing my report, please allow me to express welcome to H.E. Abelardo Moreno, Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister in charge of Multilateral Affairs and to express our confidence in the Chair of the Movement, for a successful outcome of the meeting of Ministers of Information which is scheduled to be held in July in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and of course, the 15th Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement which is scheduled also for July in Tehran, Iran.
The Peacebuilding Commission continued its work during the month of May with a full slate of activities relating to the three countries on its agenda: Burundi, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone. I will however limit this report to the most significant developments of the period.
It will be recalled that at the last meeting of the Movement, held on 9th April, I reported that the PBC had arranged field visits to ascertain first hand the situation on the ground in the countries on its agenda. The first such visit for this session went ahead from the 6th to the 11th April in Guinea-Bissau. In this connection, on the 23rd April, the Chair of the Guinea-Bissau configuration, H.E. Mrs Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, the Permanent Representative of Brazil, gave an account of the mission to Guinea-Bissau. She informed that the PBC delegation had met with the President, the Foreign Minister, the Ministers of Defence, Justice Administration Reform, Health, Education and several other members of the Government. Meetings were also held with the diplomatic community, the UN Country team, the National Steering Committee, civil society, the private sector and representatives of political parties.
Additionally, the PBC mission visited several sites in and outside of Bissau. These visits included a de-mining project in Bissau, a women’s group agricultural project, a cashew nut processing plant, the electrical power plants in Bissau and Bafata, military barracks in Bissau and in Canchungo, the premises of the Judiciary Police and the prison in Bissau and a hospital in Canchungo.
The mission identified, through its interaction with the Government and other stakeholders, several key areas of priority; these priorities and the ways and means of their implementation, will be discussed at upcoming meetings of the Guinea-Bissau configuration of the PBC.
On the eve of the departure of the PBC delegation to Bujumbura, Burundi, on Friday the 11th April, news broke about violent clashes between the Palipehutu-FNL and the National Defence Forces of Burundi. As a result the field visit which was scheduled for the 12th to the 18th April was postponed to a later date. Subsequent efforts to convene a meeting with the Burundi authorities, using video link, to obtain a detailed picture of the situation and specifically to determine the likelihood of the PBC’s visit, did not prove successful. However, the visit has been re-scheduled for departure this week-end, the 10th of May.
On the 29th April the Chair of the country-specific configuration of Sierra Leone, H.E. Frank Majoor the Permanent Representative of the Netherlands, briefed the Sierra Leone configuration of the PBC on his visit to Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. The visit had taken place from the 21st to the 25th April. He informed of discussions with the President and Vice President, the Majority and Minority Leaders of the Sierra Leonean Parliament, other senior members of the Government, the Commissioner for anti-Corruption, bilateral and multilateral partners, United Nations representatives and representatives of the private sector and civil society.
As advised by Ambassador Majoor, the mission contributed to the renewed commitment on the part of the Government of Sierra Leone and other stakeholders for the implementation of the Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework. The mission also identified concrete challenges requiring immediate attention from the Government and also the PBC.
On that note Mr. Chairman, I conclude this report.
I thank you.