The present report covers the period from 1 January to 31 December 2016, during which the Peacebuilding Fund allocated $70.9 million to 17 countries. The year was marked by an overall improvement in programmatic results, demonstrating that three years of dedicated Fund support to country partners during project design, monitoring and evaluation, including a near fivefold increase in evaluations and a sixfold increase in support missions, had been a sound investment. Among its achievements and historic firsts, the Fund exceeded the United Nations-wide commitment to allocate at least 15 per cent of resources to women’s empowerment, expanded its unique role in financing cross-border and regional peacebuilding initiatives, and launched the first United Nations dedicated funding stream in support of Security Council resolution 2250 (2015) on youth, peace and security. Against these achievements and despite expressions of support from a wide range of Member States, including $152.5 million raised during a September 2016 pledging conference, the Fund’s financial health remains in question at a time when the demand for its assistance has reached historic highs. Options for securing adequate, sustainable financing for peacebuilding will be outlined in my upcoming report on sustaining peace in 2017.
1. The present annual report, covering the period from 1 January to 31 December 2016, is the seventh report submitted to the General Assembly pursuant to Assembly resolution 63/282. It covers the third and final year of the Business Plan 2014-2016 of the Peacebuilding Fund. This report will be complemented by a financial report issued by the Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office no later than 1 May 2017. Additional information can be found at http://www.unpbf.org, and complete information on individual projects can be found on the Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office Gateway (http://mptf.undp.org).
II. Global performance and lessons learned
2. The year 2016 heralded the historic adoption by the General Assembly and the Security Council of concurrent resolutions on the review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture (see A/69/968-S/2015/490), the most comprehensive and far-reaching resolutions on peacebuilding to date. The emphasis of Assembly resolution 70/262 and Council resolution 2282 (2016) on the centrality of sustaining peace, which encompasses the imperative of conflict prevention, the need to address all stages of the conflict cycle, the importance of breaking silos, both at Headquarters and in the field, and the need to ensure national ownership and inclusivity, has important implications for the strategic priorities of the Peacebuilding Fund. In those resolutions, the Assembly and the Council welcomed the valuable work undertaken by the Fund as a catalytic, rapid-response and flexible pooled fund and recognized the need for United Nations peacebuilding efforts to have adequate, predictable and sustained financing.
3. With a view to replenishing the Peacebuilding Fund, a ministerial-level pledging conference was organized on the margins of the seventy-first session of the General Assembly in September 2016. The conference, co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya, the Netherlands, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, received strong political support from 32 ministers for foreign affairs who backed the Fund’s approach and its contribution to sustaining peace. Notwithstanding this significant endorsement, the resulting $152.5 million in pledges fell short of the $300 million goal, the minimum amount needed to sustain operations for three years. As highlighted by the Deputy Secretary-General at the closing, the conference signified not the end but the beginning of efforts to secure adequate, predictable resources for the Fund. Such efforts include options for funding United Nations peacebuilding which will be outlined in my forthcoming report, mandated by the aforementioned resolutions, on sustaining peace.
4. During 2016, the Peacebuilding Support Office continued to warn that without predictable financing, it would not be able to sustain current levels of support, let alone meet growing demands. The Peacebuilding Fund allocated $70,956,966 million to 17 countries in 2016 (see table 1 on the Fund’s active portfolio). By contrast, it received $57,760,692 million in contributions. The conference and multiple reviews and external evaluations of the Fund have recognized the singular role it plays in ensuring strategic coherence and funding politically risky yet necessary endeavours. Such recognition will soon need to translate into predictable and sustainable financing if the Fund is to remain a reliable partner of States and societies committed to sustaining peace.