Peacebuilding Remains a Core Mandate of UN

With 16 peacekeeping operations and 15 political missions in the area of peacebuilding, the United Nations today underscored that peacebuilding remains a crucial element of the world body’s efforts.

In his speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies in DC, Secretary-General said UN is determined to do everything possible to assist societies torn by war from sliding back into conflict.

He adds that there have been setbacks. However, peacebuilding is a core mandate of the Organization.

United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB) peacekeepers during a military exercise in the Bujumbura Rural Province.

UN Photo/Martine Perret

“Our record of achievement in nurturing recovery from conflict is long.” – Mr. Ban

He adds that the bottom-line is clear: the UN is there where we are most needed.

UN engagement has helped many societies make a new start, Mr. Ban stressed.

Peacebuilding saves lives, protects human rights and promotes the rule of law, adding that it also saves money, with costs that are a fraction of military operations and of the economic damage caused by of conflict, he underlined.

“So it is quite natural that peacebuilding is taking on a greater profile in the work of the United Nations for peace.” -Mr. Ban

He cites that while violent conflict has declined significantly in the past two decades, one and a half billion people still live in fragile or conflict-affected countries.

He says for them, the world does not feel safer. For them, insecurity, injustice and inequality define their days, he added.

Rebels, gangs and organized crime syndicates are undermining and overwhelming the institutions of state, he noted.

He stresses that violence driven by political exclusion, conflict over natural resources, a lack of jobs, grievances over corruption, and human rights abuses.

He says the UN’s experience has brought many lessons, and that peacebuilding is a task for many actors.

In addition, Mr. Ban emphasizes that the inclusion of women in peace processes and post-conflict planning is fundamental for their legitimacy.

The UN is the only organization that can bring all the necessary elements of peacebuilding to bear: political, security, human rights, humanitarian, rule of law and development, he noted.

He also notes that peacebuilding is a work in progress.

“We are learning by doing. It is rarely linear. It requires great flexibility, and approaches tailored to a given situation.” -Mr. Ban

He says the violence within people, and within societies, and among countries, is not going to vanish any time soon.

He pointed out that individuals should be firmly committed to countering it at every turn, with every tool.

“We are determined to do everything we can to seize the post-conflict moment, and help societies find a safer, more prosperous path.” -Mr. Ban

On March 2006, in a step forward for the nascent United Nations Peacebuilding Commission – a body created in response to a call by the 2005 World Summit – seven countries were elected to serve on its organizational committee.

Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Poland, Brazil and Belgiumhold seats on the standing body responsible for developing the Commission’s own rules of procedure and working methods.

The Commission was set up to bolster the UN’s ability conflict resolution function, with a strong post-conflict feature to help prevent countries or regions from relapsing into war.

The notion of a Peacebuilding Commission was first proposed in 2004 by the Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Threats Challenges and Change. In his 2005 report In Larger Freedom, the Secretary-General envisioned the Commission as an intergovernmental advisory body, which could marshal resources at the disposal of the international community to advise and propose strategies for post-conflict recovery, focusing attention on reconstruction, institution-building and sustainable development, in countries emerging from conflict.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.