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Remarks by H.E. Mr. Muhammad Abdul Muhith Chair of the UN PBC at the Security Council high-level Open Debate on “Peace and Security in Africa: Capacity Building for sustaining peace”, 8 August 2022

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New York, 8 August 2022

Your Excellency Mr. Zhang Jun, President of the Security Council,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank you for inviting me to brief the Council on this important topic “Peace and Security in Africa: Capacity Building for sustaining peace”.

With the onset of a global pandemic, an economic downturn and changing conflict dynamics the challenges to peace and security have multiplied. There has been increased interest from countries and regions in Africa to engage with the Commission in expanding and strengthening their capacities for peacebuilding and sustaining peace.

Since its inception, the Commission, in line with its mandate, and through its country and region-specific engagements has consistently supported Africa and provided its platform to discuss their national peacebuilding priorities and garner support for strengthening the capacity of institutions.

Allow me to share some of PBC’s engagements in Africa in the field of capacity building:

  • In the Central African Republic, the government has prioritized the fight against impunity and the reinforcement of access to justice. During a meeting of the PBC on the rule of law and transitional justice mechanisms in April this year, the Minister of Justice, Human Rights Promotion and Governance presented the initiatives of his government in the field of peacebuilding. He informed of the reforms and measures undertaken in the judicial and penitentiary sectors, noting the adoption of a Justice Sector Policy, the convening of criminal sessions at the Bangui Court of Appeals and the creation of a rapid response unit within the police and gendarmerie to investigate sexual and gender-based violence. The PBC utilized the meeting to mobilize resources and address the impact of budgetary constraints for the country’s Special Criminal Court and the Truth, Justice Reconciliation and Reparation Commission.

  • In Liberia, significant efforts have been made to help build capacity for inclusive peacebuilding, especially by ensuring full, equal and meaningful participation of women in social, political and economic lives. Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection briefed the Commission in June, highlighting notable progress in gender equality through the adoption of the Revised National Gender Policy 2018-2022, the second National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security 2019-2023, and a gender-responsive Local Governance and Land Rights Act. The Chair of the Liberia Configuration has recently visited the country and noted the encouraging trend and efforts within political parties to ensure increased women representation in party leadership and broader participation in elections and the role played by women peace huts in building social cohesion at community level.

  • In Burundi, the government has promoted the decisive role youth can play in their country’s socio-economic development. Advancing youth empowerment and economic inclusion has been operationalized in Burundi’s National Program for Peace Capitalization, Social Stability and the Promotion of Economic Growth, with initiatives in support of youth entrepreneurship and job creation as well as education and training. In November last year, the Administrator Director-General of the Burundi’s Youth Investment Bank, formed in 2020, addressed the Commission and informed of the Bank’s efforts in financing youth enterprises and cooperatives owned by more than 1800 youth members. The Commission also heard from several young men and women entrepreneurs who emphasized how transformative the capacity building support had been in their lives.

  • In the Lake Chad Basin, the Lake Chad Basin Commission has been making consistent efforts to translate its Regional Strategy for Stabilization, Recovery and Resilience into an implementable plan. The Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission updated the Peacebuilding Commission in April on newly created coordination and management structures and the building of both vertical and horizontal partnerships including with a civil society platform and a task force of implementing partners. The Lake Chad Basin Commission has also supported governors in Boko Haram affected areas of the Basin to articulate their locally owned initiative, the Territorial Action Plans, in support of the regional Strategy.

Mr. President,

Based on these and other PBC engagements in Africa, I wish to share following observations:

First, It is critical to support nationally owned and led efforts to build effective, accountable, inclusive and responsive institutions at the national and local level for reducing vulnerability, and protecting and empowering citizens. There is an abundance of examples globally as well as in Africa, how the pandemic has exacerbated governance gaps affecting the health, economic and social sectors and causing additional strains on social cohesion with potential implications for the peace and security landscape. In view of this, the Peacebuilding Commission recognizes the need to increase collective efforts in strengthening effective, accountable and inclusive public service institutions, within the framework of the rule of law, cutting across all the sustainable development goals, in an integrated and coordinated manner.

In this regard, the Commission will continue to encourage partnerships with international financial institutions (IFIs), including the World Bank and the regional development banks, which have leveraged resources, expertise, and capacities to help build national and local institutions in conflict-affected countries.

Second, enhancing capacity building for sustaining peace is indeed a complex process, one that must be carried out in a step-by-step manner with measures tailored to the specific conditions of each country and region. However, as experience has shown, measures that are not inclusive, ultimately risk sustainability, leaving the drivers of conflict unaddressed. In view of this, the Peacebuilding Commission emphasizes the importance of ensuring that women, youth and those who are in vulnerable situations are included in efforts to build capacity at the local, national and regional levels. The Commission emphasizes that inclusivity is key to advancing national peacebuilding processes and objectives in order to ensure that the needs of all segments of society are taken into account. The Commission also stresses that civil society can play an important role in advancing efforts to build and sustain peace.

Third, capacities for sustaining peace are enhanced with the sharing of lessons learned, the identification of scalable good practices and innovative solutions, and the exchange of expertise. In this regard, the Peacebuilding Commission promotes the role of regional and South-South and triangular cooperation in addressing common challenges to peacebuilding and advancing the long-term goals of economic recovery and sustainable development in Africa. The Commission also wishes to promote sharing of best practices, as and where applicable, across continents.

Fourth, the importance of African Union and other regional and sub regional organizations in Africa, in addressing peacebuilding challenges and fostering regional strategies in support of regional capacities to sustain peace, cannot be overstated. For its part, the Peacebuilding Commission is committed to working more closely with the African Union and its Peace and Security Council in support of these strategies and in mobilizing peacebuilding tools to sustain peace.

Lastly, the Commission acknowledges the invaluable contributions of the Peacebuilding Fund in supporting the strengthening of inclusive national and local institutions and organizations, including in the rule of law, transitional justice, disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration, political dialogue, electoral frameworks, democratic governance, human rights, security sector reform, state capacities and extension of state authority. Noting that the continuing demand for PBF support has significantly outpaced available resources and stressing that capacity building requires timely and effective financial and technical support, the Commission reiterates calls for adequate, predictable and sustainable financing for peacebuilding, and promotes the confluence of various funding streams towards shared objectives in the spirit of “good peacebuilding financing.”

I thank you.