posted on Tue 13 Jan 2015 4:50 PM
Peacebuilding Briefing and Presidential Statement

Tomorrow (14 January), Chile’s Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz will chair a Security Council meeting on post-conflict peacebuilding. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliason will brief on the Secretary-General’s 23 September report on peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict (S/2014/694). Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota (Brazil), the chair of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), is also expected to brief. Following two expert level meetings on 7 and 9 January, a draft presidential statement was put under silence Friday evening (9 January) until Monday evening (12 January), and is ready to be adopted tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s briefing comes on the heels of the start of the 2015 review of the UN peacebuilding architecture. On 15 December 2014, Council president Ambassador Mahamat Zene Cheérif (Chad) and General Assembly President Sam Kahamba Kutesa (Uganda) sent the Secretary-General a joint letter on the review’s Terms of Reference (TOR) (S/2014/911). Much of the draft statement that the Council will adopt tomorrow uses content covered in previous Council documents, particularly the Council’s last presidential statement on peacebuilding from 20 December 2012 (S/PRST/2012/29). However, it also includes references to the peacebuilding review.

During the negotiations, differences mostly arose over language on the review that Chile, as penholder, had included in the draft. It seems that Russia, supported by several members, believed that some of the language on the review was too prescriptive and prejudged the review’s outcomes. As a compromise, language was revised to highlight that the Council is looking forward to the outcome of the review and to considering its recommendations. The final text also refers to the strengthening of the peacebuilding architecture in accordance with the agreed TOR.

Another issue of contention was whether and how to discuss the relationship among the review of the Peacebuilding Architecture, the review of UN peace operations and the implementation of resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. Russia objected to referring to the synergies among these three initiatives, arguing that they represent distinct processes. As a compromise, the reference to the synergy between the peacebuilding and peacekeeping reviews was maintained (perhaps because this synergy is specifically cited in the terms of reference of the peacebuilding review), while reference to the review of the implementation of resolution 1325 was dropped. Instead, a new paragraph was added that recognises the need to increase women’s participation and consideration of gender-related issues in the maintenance of peace and security, including post-conflict peacebuilding.

Russia, with China’s support, also argued that it was premature for the statement to call on the Secretary-General to update the Council on the implementation of the review. As a result, while the draft statement establishes a timetable for the Secretary-General’s future reporting on peacebuilding—a briefing by December 2015 and a report by December 2016—it does not call on him to report specifically on the implementation of findings of the peacebuilding review. Such a request, which had been in the preliminary version of the text, was omitted from the final text to be adopted tomorrow.

In addition to addressing the 2015 peacebuilding review, during tomorrow’s meeting some members may refer to the Secretary-General’s three peacebuilding priorities of inclusivity; institution building; and sustained international support and mutual accountability. Speakers may also raise concerns about the relapse into conflict in the Central African Republic and South Sudan, which the latest Secretary-General’s report notes is a reflection of the continuing shortcomings of the international community’s peacebuilding efforts. Additionally, some members will likely call for the Council to make greater use of the PBC’s advisory role, a reference to which, in line with previous agreed language, appears in the new presidential statement.

Among other issues, speakers may also highlight the importance of improving the PBC’s interaction with regional organisations, the importance of ensuring that the peacebuilding review takes into account the implementation of resolution 1325, and the impact of the Ebola epidemic on peacebuilding gains in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, all PBC agenda countries.