In December 2005, the intergovernmental advisory body “Peacebuilding Commission” (PBC) was established according to UN General Assembly resolution 60/180 and the Security Council resolution 1645. The PBC consists of 31 Member States and membership is designed to reflect the UN’s most significant peacebuilding bodies. Seven members are chosen from the General Assembly (UNGA), seven from the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), seven from the Security Council, five from the Member States who provide military personnel and civilian police to UN missions and five from providers of assessed contributions to UN budgets and of voluntary contributions to UN funds, programs and agencies.
Within the UN system, the PBC is unprecedented in its organization and mandate, as it is the first single organ combining capacities and expertise from many UN organs that deal with different aspects of peacebuilding, benefitting from the UN experience in this field and streamlining the efforts to increase UNs efficiency in providing international peace and security. The PBC was designed “to bring together all relevant actors, to marshal resources and advise on, and propose integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery” as well as those designed to “lay the foundation for sustainable development.” Furthermore, the PBC supports peace building activities which directly contribute to post-conflict stabilization and makes recommendations, monitors progress, garners financial support for peacebuilding, and works heavily with partners in the UN system. The PBC also communicates with the UN Secretariat through the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO). The PBSO was created to support and advise the PBC, coordinate UN agencies in their overall peacebuilding efforts, and to administer and oversee the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF). Another component of the PBC is the Working Group on Lessons Learned. It evaluates past post-conflict reconstruction efforts. The gathered experiences are then used to advance existing post-conflict and peacebuilding strategies as well as to develop new approaches to peace consolidation.
Current countries on the PBC agenda include Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and the Central African Republic. The work of the PBC should aim at developing best practices and expanding the period of attention given to regions that undergo post-conflict recovery.
Topic I: Reconciliation in Post-War Countries
Reconciliation is a key objective in building sustainable peace and preventing a relapse into conflict. It is about (re-)building relationships among people and groups in society and between the state and its citizens. The process is highly context sensitive, and each society has to tailor its approach to the nature of the conflict and the character of the transition.
After the Cold War the peace and security concept of post-conflict peacebuilding emerged at a time when the worldview on conflict, peace, and security was changing significantly. In 1992, peacebuilding was defined as the “action to identify and support structures which will tend to strengthen and solidify peace in order to avoid a relapse into conflict.” This was further specified in the 2000 Brahimi Report, which stated that the focus of peacebuilding activities should be: holding democratic elections to ensure the legitimacy of a post-conflict government; building governmental institutions, establishing the rule of law and respect for human rights and the promotion of national reconciliation.
Furthermore, it recommended the establishment of Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) programs, which call for disarming combatants, as well as providing and supporting them with opportunities for sustainable economic reintegration.
Peacebuilding has since evolved into a multifaceted process. It now incorporates transitional justice, education, the provision of basic services, employment and the concept of security sector reform, which aims to ensure the security of a country by reforming its military and police, and strengthening its legislative and judicial institutions. It is necessary that democratic processes and structures are in themselves the most effective means for the peaceful prevention and management of conflict, especially in post-conflict contexts, where the most urgent need is for mechanisms that will, first and foremost, ensure that there will be no return to the violence of the past. In addition to that, the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) is funded by donations from Member States and other organizations and provides direct monetary support for peacebuilding activities and prevention.
Questions delegates have to focus are how the reconciliation can be achieved in different countries and to what extent the PBC should focus on the reconciliation in Post-War countries. Additionally. is a revision of the PBF guidelines necessary?
Topic II: Intensifying Cooperation on UN Peacebuilding Missions: Measures to Increase the Partnership of Member States and Non-State Actors
„We can master it only if we face it together“ (Kofi Annan 1999).
The PBC is a central multilateral player in post-conflict reconstruction and development, as well as peace and security throughout the UN’s peace agenda, and partner to the countries on its agenda. It has demonstrated its utility in combating unemployment, corruption and drug trafficking. It has also established “Gender Parity Programs” as well as garnered crucial donations through special conferences that support this avenue of work. However, the PBC is also subject to criticism. Some argue that the PBC works in an area already crowded with UN agencies, and that it lacks the institutional capacity to coordinate all of them. As the UN moves ahead, the PBC will undoubtedly continue to grow in its influence and significance in the realm of peace, security, and prosperity for any post-conflict or emerging country. The PBC will continue to manage key organizational challenges, including the need for increased leadership and coordination in the field, improved planning capacities, and adequate funding. Despite these challenges, the PBC remains a vital UN organ in overseeing the transition of a country from conflict to peace.
One question delegates have to outline is how the success of UN Peacekeeping missions can be best achieved. Currently several peace agreements exist, but some of the key actors are not in compliance with them. Several questions stand out. Is there a possibility to bring all involved actors to adhere to the peace agreements already made and intensify on them? What might a comprehensive peacebuilding approach look like that incorporates NGO activities and interests? To what extent should NGOs take place in PBC missions? Is the international community able to use these cooperations and develop them further in order to create a safe environment for the civil society?