PBC Organizational Committee Meets to Discuss UN’s Peacebuilding and Peacekeeping Mandates

An informal meeting of the UN Peacebuilding Commission’s Organizational Committee (OC) took place on 25 October 2011. Guided by a representative of the Chair of the PBC, members discussed the need to redefine the synergy between peacekeeping and peacebuilding in order to ensure that peacebuilding mandates for peacekeeping missions are implemented with long-term sustainability in mind.

The Contribution of UN Peacekeeping to Early Peacebuilding
The Chair invited a representative of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) to brief the membership on the contribution of UN peacekeeping to early peacebuilding. DPKO stated its commitment to creating early mandate security talks through their peacebuilding strategy, which focuses on the contribution of peacebuilding missions.

In the representative’s briefing, DPKO stressed four main components of organization’s peacebuilding strategy (explained in more detail below):

  • Prioritization criteria
  • Success/risk factors
  • Phases and tracks
  • Follow-up

Prioritization Criteria
Peacekeepers should prioritize and sequence their activities by clarifying if their strategies advance the peace process in two ways: ensuring safety and security and/or by laying the foundation for longer-term institution building. Asking these questions will help mission activities focus on their mission.  

Success/Risk Factors
The following success and risk factors are identified by DPKO as critical to delivering sustainable peace:

  • Political will at national, regional, international levels
  • Local knowledge through strategic, ongoing, in-depth assessments
  • Clear and achievable mandate supported with adequate financing
  • Strong leadership
  • Partnership: clear roles, comparative strengths, integrated and coordinated approaches
  • National ownerships
  • Popular engagement in prioritization
  • Appropriate skills and equipment
  • Rapid deployment

Phases and Tracks
Peacekeepers should take a phased (and tracked) approach to priority early peacebuilding tasks. Phase 1 involves the pre-deployment process. Track I includes safety and security measures that advance the peace process and political objectives. Phase 2 involves the operational phase. Track II involves consolidating the peace process by laying the foundation for institution building.

Some peacekeeping activities belong to both tracks, for example, the UN police staff, which both fosters security and safety and creates capacity through mentoring. The phases are meant to lead to reforms in the national police sector.

DPKO should implement a follow-up process on discussions with the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34) and have more opportunities for engagement with Member States. This will include training and development of guidance materials and the planning process to ensure that the strategy’s framework is reflected on the ground.

DPKO on Security Sector Reform and National Ownership
Former Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), Mr. Alain Le Roy discussed DPKO’s strategies on Security Sector Reform (SSR), national ownership and partnerships.

Security Sector Reform
DPKO noted efforts underway to disarm combatants and former combatants in peacekeeping mission countries, and stressed the need to continue efforts to strengthen security sector reform as part of all peacekeeping operations.

National Ownership and Rule of Law
The principal of national ownership is important for creating true partnerships, Mr. le Roy emphasized. The role of the peacekeeping operations follow an in-country shared rationale: to protect UN personnel and government infrastructure, to protect civilians, to assist the government to implement law and order, to prevent human rights abuse, to address security sector infrastructure gaps, as well as to provide adequate police stations/vehicles and conduct communication with all members of peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations. Therefore, peacekeeping operations need to participate in a wide array of benchmarks and address the priorities. 

Related Comments:
Nepal and Bangladesh underlined the importance of national leadership and the need for peacebuilding and peacekeeping to support this notion. In response, Alain Roy expressed DPKO’s intention to create space for the nation to define the parameters of the security sector or the rule of law. It is important to implement these in the early stages. He further explained that the creation of national plans is important to ensure that with the presence of DPKO, the countries will be able to establish security plans.

The Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) on the Role of Actors in Peacebuilding
Assistant Secretary-General for the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), Ms. Judy Cheng-Hopkins, discussed the efforts of the PBSO to increase dialogue among peacebuilding groups through a forum hosted by the Senior Peacebuilding Group. The Senior Peacebuilding Group, chaired by the ASG of PBSO, includes the following groups: DPKO, DPA, DFS, DESA, DOCO, OCHA, UNDP, OHCHR, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, the World Bank, and the Secretary of the Policy Committee. PBSO also stressed the importance of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in the early stages of peacebuilding.

In their comments, Japan and Indonesia suggested that the PBC become the primary intergovernmental body to take the process of peacebuilding forward within the UN. Japan also highlighted the ability of PBC to mobilize resources and promote coordination of all the actors involved in peacebuilding. Canada and the United Kingdom commented that they were pleased to see the two UN bodies (DPKO and PBC) cooperating with one another. 

Limits to DPKO and PBC
France shed light on the limits of DPKO on the ground and the need for the experienced UN agencies to take over on the ground.  With regard to PBC, UNDP explained that a major impediment to the peacebuilding agenda is a lack of adequate funding. With transition funding, UNDP believes that the Peacebuilding Commission will be able to translate its agenda on the ground. Former USG of DPKO, Alain le Roy, explained that in order to collaborate better with the PBC, DPKO would have to engage more in the planning stages of peacebuilding missions where the gaps are crystallizing.

Problems with the Concept Paper
In comments, Ukraine expressed its concern over the interpretation of the terms peacekeeping and peacebuilding described in the document. The country stressed the need for more discussion in C-34 on the role of Member States in the early stages of peacebuilding.

Closing Remarks
The Chair offered concluding remarks on the remaining need for the PBC to be properly resourced, along with a general sense of international purpose in its approach to peacebuilding.  The dialogue between the PBC and SGC presented the first example of regional approach to peacebuilding. It highlighted three main areas: cross border challenges, lesson sharing and, areas to support sub-regions.

Country: Global
Source: PBC | Organizational Committee
Themes: Peace Process