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PBC Ambassadorial-level meeting: Contribution of peacekeeping to peacebuilding and sustaining peace, 15 June 2021, Chair's summary

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1. On 15 June 2021, the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) held an Ambassadorial-level virtual meeting convened by the Chair, H.E. Mr. Mohamed Edrees (Egypt), to discuss the contribution of peacekeeping to peacebuilding and sustaining peace. The Chair opened the meeting underscoring the important contributions of peacekeeping and the relevance of peacekeeping for the work of the PBC. He recalled Security Council PRST/2017/27 and PRST/2018/20 as important contributions towards stronger synergies between peacebuilding and peacekeeping and a greater collaboration between the PBC and the Security Council, in particular when the Council is considering missions’ mandates.

2. USG Lacroix highlighted that the Action for Peacekeeping initiative of the Secretary-General recognizes the impact of UN peacekeeping on peacebuilding and sustaining peace - through strengthened national ownership and capacity, greater UN-wide coherence and inclusive and participatory approaches to implementation of peacekeeping mandates. He stressed that consolidating peace and preventing the recurrence of conflict entails working closely with a wide range of partners including international financial institutions, UN agencies, funds and programmes and regional organizations, behind a political strategy and common peace and stability goals. He underlined that partnership is central to the implementation strategy for A4P from now through 2023, A4P+, which was introduced by the Secretary-General in March 2021. He added that A4P+ highlights the importance of a clear and open dialogue with host governments and communities on mandate implementation and respective responsibilities. He underlined the importance of the availability of resources to enable the collaboration with the UNCT, including the PBF, and welcomed the World Banks growing engagement in peacekeeping settings. He illustrated examples of coherent efforts to build national capacities and address conflict drivers in peacekeeping settings such as during the ongoing UN transition in DRC, as well as to ensure durable progress in CAR, South Sudan and Mali. Finally, he welcomed the role of the PBC as a platform to convene peacekeeping and peacebuilding stakeholders.

3. SRSG Keita shared some reflections on the relevance of A4P in the context of transitions, focusing in particular on the importance of a common and joint vision and the partnership aspects. She referred to the joint strategy on the progressive and phased drawdown of MONUSCO that was presented to the Security Council in October 2020, and described ongoing efforts to develop a well-coordinated and integrated approach to transition planning on the basis of a common and inclusive understanding with national and international stakeholders of the goals and specific benchmarks. She also stressed that to prevent the risk of relapse, transitions need to be anchored in the local context and be mindful of the situation on the ground, and that support to human development in all its dimensions is essential. In this regard, she stressed that engagement with peacebuilding stakeholders is key to a sustainable and a successful transition and underlined the close collaboration with the World Bank in DRC in support of important Government-led initiatives related to conflict prevention and addressing violence. She further illustrated the important contribution of the PBF in DRC, with 11 ongoing projects for a budget of over $23 million, focusing on community-based reintegration, transitional justice, reconciliation and social cohesion, inclusive local governance and sustainable solutions for displaced populations in the provinces of Kasai, Kasai Central and Tanganyika.

4. Mr. Emblad shared the World Bank Group’s efforts to scale up support to countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence, and the importance of the WB partnership with the UN system. He highlighted the forecast that by 2030 up to two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor would be concentrated in countries impacted by fragility, conflict and violence, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic is compounding existing risks and exacerbating factors of social fragility. He noted that IDA19 includes $26 billion in financing to help countries prevent conflict escalation, strengthen resilience, create development opportunities for refugees and host communities, and escape fragility over the long term. He added that the IDA20 replenishment, taking place this year, will continue to make FCV a priority. He elaborated on the creation of an FCV envelope to provide tailored and enhanced support and incentives to IDA countries facing FCV risks, which can be complementary to UN programs. He underlined the importance of the partnership with the UN to allow the Bank to operate in some of the most fragile environments, including peacekeeping mission settings. He stressed that the success of development efforts directly depends on progress in the area of security and stability, and vice versa. He illustrated efforts in the DRC to align the UN transition process with the WB’s support to the Government in the drafting of their first National Conflict Prevention Strategy and access to the Prevention and Resilience Allocation under the FCV envelope, as well as the coordination of efforts in the Kasai, including the opening of a WB liaison office. He also underlined the strong WB-MINUSCA partnership to strengthen support to the people of CAR well beyond the capital, Bangui.

5. ASG Fernandez Taranco welcomed the A4P commitments to Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace, which reflect the central messages of the resolutions on the review of the peacebuilding architecture, and the renewed focus on partnerships in A4P+. He noted that in recent years, there has been an extraordinary momentum towards more coherent support to nationally owned peacebuilding and prevention, thanks to the SG reform which have positioned the UN to work better across institutional silos. He also noted that recent UN transitions have showcased strengthened collaboration between peacekeeping operations and development partners, including the World Bank and highlighted that new policy and programming tools of the World Bank, stemming from the FCV Strategy, have provided strengthened platforms for strategic and operational collaboration at country level. He stressed that one of the most critical issues remains the availability of resources and capacities for peacebuilding and stressed the importance of aligning funding mechanisms with joint strategies. He added that peacebuilding instruments of the UN system are complementary, but many of them are underfunded, including the Peacebuilding Fund, which has strengthened its focus on peacekeeping settings and on supporting transitions in its strategy for 2020-2024. He further noted that PBF can mobilize funds flexibly and quickly and is a catalyst for scaled-up support to strategic priorities. He concluded by highlighting the PBC’s vital role in bridging, convening, and advising the intergovernmental system – and its potential to do more to in support of peacebuilding in all peacekeeping settings building on the positive examples of the continued engagement in CAR and the accompaniment of the Sierra Leone and Liberia transitions.

6. Member States welcomed the presentations by the briefers and raised the following points:

  • Peacekeeping operations continue to be an important instrument to assist host countries to develop critical peacebuilding capacities, and were strengthened by the launch of the A4P three years ago. They not only enable the work of other peacebuilding actors through their security presence, but also provide political focus on peacebuilding goals and undertake peacebuilding tasks that help address root causes of conflict.

  • Despite the progress, challenges remain, particularly during mission drawdowns, and more efforts are needed to address the capacity and financial implications of the closure of peacekeeping operations. Missions should have an exit strategy since the start and, in this regard, more resources are needed to strengthen national institutions and more coherence is required among international partners to support governments and UN Country-Teams during transitions.

  • The Commission can provide a useful platform to support the implementation of A4P commitments and can ensure that the next phase of Action for Peacekeeping, A4P+, further enhances peacebuilding aspects of peacekeeping, building on recent good practices and concrete results.

  • Strong partnerships, coherence and appropriate financing mechanisms are key to ensure smooth transitions and avoid relapses into conflict. PBC and PBF, working in support of national priorities and fostering coherence among partners, including international, regional and national actors, are important tools in transition phases. The emphasis that A4P+ places on coherent approaches in collaboration with development partners is welcomed, particularly at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the risks and impact of conflict.

  • All phases of peace operations’ mandates should include broader and adequately resourced peacebuilding components and contain guidelines to encourage timely transitions. The PBC, with its broad peacebuilding mandate, is well positioned to advise the Security Council during the formation, review, and drawdown of peace operations’ mandates. Elements contained in the Security Council PRST 27/2017 remain very relevant for the Council to draw upon during all mission’s lifecycle. In this connection, the advisory role of the PBC to the Security Council can be further improved by sharing with the PBC advance copies of relevant SG reports with a view to helping systematize the Commission’s contributions to the Council.

  • MONUSCO’s upcoming drawdown represents an example of the importance of well-coordinated and inclusive processes based on priorities identified by the country in the areas of justice and security, economic development, and institution building. In this regard, the PBC could convene relevant partners in support of building and sustaining peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

  • Joint analyses and strategies should be further encouraged. UN, host governments and a wide range of partners, including civil society, women, and youth organizations should work together to build and sustain peace and mitigate capability gaps during transitions. In this regard, UN and World Bank collaboration for peacebuilding, including through the release of the FCV strategy of the WB and the IDA 2020 replenishment, represents an important progress which should be further strengthened, especially through joint programming and peacebuilding assessments in support of nationally-defined peacebuilding and development priorities.

7. In response to comments and questions from the floor, USG Lacroix welcomed the valuable opportunity to brief the PBC and noted that DPO would continue to work towards integration at field level, including by identifying best practices. He also noted the importance of coordination at HQ level, including through meetings such as this one and building on the role of the PBC. SRSG Keita pointed to the need to have a dedicated discussion on the DRC and the transition in the PBC, also to help advance collective outcomes and have a better communication with Member States about developments at country level. Stefan Emblad underlined that there are many positive examples of UN-WB partnership in FCV settings, as illustrated in the UN-WB 2020 Monitoring Report; he referred in particular to collaboration in risk and resilience assessments in the Sahel and Ferghana Valley – which open the way for additional IDA funding. ASG Fernandez Taranco stressed the need to align funding mechanisms with joint strategies emanating from joint assessments. He welcomed the progress in the operationalization of PRST/2017/27 including through A4P and A4P+ and acknowledged that the PBC members reiterated their readiness to contribute to the Security Council.

8. The PBC Chair Edrees concluded by reiterating the critical role of the Commission in convening peacekeeping stakeholders, promoting coherence and advising the Security Council during the formation, review, and drawdown of peace operations’ mandates, with a view to operationalize and further the implementation of the peacebuilding dimension of the A4P.