His Excellency Raymond O. Wolfe
Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations
to the Peacebuilding Review Plenary Meeting
on review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture
65th Session of the
United Nations General Assembly
New York, 29th October 2010
· I thank the co-facilitators for producing a comprehensive, analytical report on the review of the UN peacebuilding architecture. Their assessments and recommendations for future enhancement on the UN’s engagement in the area of peacebuilding are critical as we move forward.
· Allow me also to thank you Mr. President for convening this debate within the General Assembly. Indeed the PBC is a creation on both the Security Council and the General Assembly. It is therefore fitting that the wider UN Membership is also able to provide an assessment of the report and of the functions of the peacebuilding architecture five years after its establishment. As one of the original members of the PBC, Jamaica is committed to a strengthened and enhanced PBC that is able to fulfill the vision and the hopes vested in it five years ago by Member States and the five countries currently on the PBC agenda.
· Jamaica associates itself with the statement earlier delivered by the distinguished delegation of Bangladesh on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
· As time does not allow for a detailed presentation of our views on the report, I will limit my focus to three main areas: (1) the Role of the Organisational Committee; (2) the place of the PBC within the Secretariat (3) the development dimension of peacebuilding activities.
Firstly, allow me to make a brief comment on the issue of national ownership.
· Jamaica agrees that national ownership of the peacebuilding process is the main element for success in the area of peacebuilding. National ownership begins with the respective Governments being able to have a significant input in developing the peacebuilding strategies included in the respective strategic framework documents. We cannot continue to pay lip-service to this key principle in the context of peacebuilding or any other area of activity.
· National ownership also necessitates that all segments of the community be allowed to shape the future of the country. While the report takes note of the important contribution to be paid by women and civil society, and the short-comings of the PBC in this area to date, we would have wanted to see more substantive recommendations for involving all segments of society of the countries on the PBC agenda.
· We have taken note of the recommendations of the co-facilitators in the area of capacity-building which is an essential element of national ownership. At the same time however, more substantive recommendations on measures to improve national ownership of the peacebuilding process would have been important in entrenching this element in the Commission’s activities.
· The issue of an exit strategy for the PBC with respect to the countries on its agenda has been given substantive treatment in the report. This is an area in which national ownership is critical. Countries on the PBC agenda must have a significant say in determining the benchmarks for success on the path toward sustainable growth and development.
· The distance between New York and the countries on the PBC’s agenda will always pose a problem. To that end we see potential in establishing a PBC focused body at the local level. At the same time however, this should not serve as a substitute for the full engagement between the membership in New York and the Government representatives on the ground. We would therefore encourage the increased use of modern technology specifically video-conferencing as a means of ensuring a constant level of engagement. At the same time, however there is no substitute for face to face engagement and interaction. We would therefore encourage to the best extent possible, increased field visits by the PBC to the countries on its agenda, activity which should be funded by through the PBSO.
Role of the Organisational Committee
· Jamaica shares the view that the PBC’s Organisational Committee has been relegated to a peripheral role.
· A strengthened and enhanced PBC requires a more proactive role for that body. We also firmly believe therefore that in its capacity as a ‘Committee of the Whole’ the Organisational Committee on the PBC, should hold quarterly meetings with all the chairs of the country specific configurations and the general membership, to review benchmark targets, challenges being faced, as well as progress being achieved on the ground, in all the countries under consideration. This will be particularly useful especially for smaller delegations that are members of the PBC. Such quarterly interactions of the ’Committee of the Whole’ are critical to ensuring that a comprehensive, real-time understanding and review of the work being undertaken in the countries on the PBC Agenda is being done.
· The recommendation for meetings of the organizational committee to hold meetings on specific thematic issues is an interesting dimension that does merit further consideration.
· We have also taken note of the co-facilitator’s decision not to re-open the discussions on the membership of the PBC. While we respect the decision of the co-facilitators on this regard, as more countries are placed on the Commission’s agenda, its ability to function effectively with its current limited membership of 31 states is a question that must be squarely confronted. From Jamaica’s perspective, consideration must be given to, in particular, the expansion of the Membership from the General Assembly category. For a majority of Member States, the General Assembly category is the only means by which membership on the PBC is accessible.
Place of the PBC within the Secretariat
· There is general recognition among the membership of the importance of the peacebuilding function to the overarching goals international peace and security.
· Jamaica fully shares the views expressed in the report that the PBC and the Peacebuilding Support Office, must become a resource centre for generating knowledge and interest in the broad rang of issues that impact peacebuilding activities.
· In order to generate the necessary buy-in, and give greater prominence to the organisation’s peacebuilding activities, in the field and among member states, it must begin to be streamlined throughout the entire gamut of the UN’s activities. Peacebuilding activities are not and cannot be undertaken in a vacuum from other aspects of the Organisation’s work. Delivering as a whole is critical to generating real change on the ground. The only means by which we can ensure that this is accomplished is to ensure that peacebuilding is viewed as a priority. Political support and a record of achievements are critical factors to achieving this end.
· The debate concerning the place of the PBC within the Organisation is an important one. Does the PBC carve out a place for itself or must it be accorded a level of prominence within the organization. For the PBC to achieve its goals both must take place simultaneously. In this regard, we fully agree with the need for strengthening not only the role of the OC, and enabling it to establish a more enhanced relationship with all other relevant bodies including the ECOSOC, Security Council and General Assembly, as well as strengthening the capacities of the Peacebuilding Support Office to support its varied functions.
Development Dimension of peacebuilding activities
· Since the inception of its membership of the PBC Jamaica has advocated the need for a greater focus on the development dimension of post-conflict peacebuilding.
· We are therefore heartened at the substantive focus given to this aspect in the Report.
· It is a generally understood maxim that there is no peace without development, and no development without peace.
· As the PBC moves forward to assist the five countries currently on its agenda, and possibly future countries, the development dimension must become more central to peacebuilding activities on the ground from the outset of the PBC’s engagement. In order to ensure that this is the case, PBF Funds must of necessity be more flexible. Moreover, the existing gap between the commitment of funds and disbursement on the ground to ensure timely implementation of “quick impact” projects needed to be urgently addressed. In this regard, we believe that the PBC through its organisational committee, acting as interlocutor between the donor community and the Governments of the countries under consideration, can play a very useful role.
· We agree with the conclusion that there must be a balance between the concerns of the donor community and the day-to-day needs on the ground in post-conflict environments. This is perhaps one of the potential areas of focus for the PBC.
As with any review process, the true test will be realized in the implementation of the recommendations, both on the ground and here in New York. We cannot allow the 5-year review to simply be relegated to an academic exercise, to simply satisfy a mandate contained in the founding resolutions.
Leadership from all from will therefore be critical. The Secretary-General, and the PBC’s parent bodies, the Security Council, in particular the P-5, and the General Assembly must demonstrate their commitment to peacebuilding activities and the PBC and ensure that, to the best extent possible, the recommendations are implemented.