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Statement by Sweden at the General Assembly Annual Debate on the PBC and PBF Annual Reports

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Irina Schoulgin Nyoni at the Annual Debate on the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund Annual Reports. United Nations General Assembly, 20 April 2017.

Mr. President,

In exactly one week, we will celebrate the first anniversary of the adoption of the landmark Sustaining Peace resolutions. At the adoption, Sweden hailed them for being the most comprehensive resolutions to date on peacebuilding and conflict prevention in the UN.  It does not only advance the normative agenda, but also constitute a roadmap for the UN system.

In January, during our Presidency of the Security Council, we sought to provide support and momentum to this agenda by holding a ministerial level open debate on Prevention and Sustaining Peace. This meeting offered an opportunity for the Secretary-General to lay out his vision for prevention. The level of engagement from member-states underlined the remarkable support for a more proactive UN fit to respond to the prevention challenges facing the organisation today.

We are encouraged to see that the Secretary-General has put the sustaining peace agenda at the heart of his prevention efforts. We welcome the tangible changes he has already made in his office, which aim to bring the system together in support of joint analysis as the basis for coherent action by all organs of the UN.

A year after the adoption of the Sustaining Peace resolutions, we must now start to see the agenda in action at all levels. There are several key reforms currently underway, including the internal review of the Secretariat’s Peace and Security Architecture.  We have high hopes that these will serve as mechanisms to translate this agenda into concrete and tangible change in operations.

There is need for a UN system that acts decisively across siloes; that recognises the primacy of politics; that works with national governments to support the institutions, norms and attitudes that sustain peace; and that leaves no one behind. We will continue to do our part, as we know that more integrated system often starts with us, the member states, and including how we finance the system.

Mr. President,

I will now turn to the two specific reports at hand; that of the Peacebuilding Commission on its 10th session, and that of the Peacebuilding Fund. The Annual Debate in the General Assembly offers us an opportunity to reflect back at what has been achieved, as well as to point to where we need to go next.

Regarding the Peacebuilding Commission, I must first of all thank the Kenyan Chairmanship and Ambassador Kamau in particular, for his great stewardship of the PBC during 2016, a critical year for the commission. Sweden thoroughly enjoyed working with you as vice-chair. In particular, I would like to draw attention to the important steps taken last year to solidify partnership between the UN Peacebuilding Architecture and the African Union.

Let me also, once again welcome the Republic of Korea, and Ambassador Cho Tae-Yul, as Chair of the PBC, whose proactive and strategic leadership in the first few months is already showing results, and is encouraging for the 11th session. Yesterday’s meeting on the situation in Gambia is a case in point – this is exactly the kind of role the PBC should be playing. We encourage the PBC to take further steps to diversify its agenda in this vein. From our experience, including having chaired the commission in 2015, we believe there is even further scope to leverage the inherent flexibility of the commission to convene regional and country-specific discussions concerning situations beyond the PBC’s established agenda.

Mr President,

The Annual Report on the Peacebuilding Fund demonstrates another year of innovative action. The Fund has proven able to facilitate inter-agency work like few other instruments; to spur action in politically sensitive environments; and to take risks. That is why Sweden continues to be a significant supporter to the fund. This year, I am happy to announce that we will increase our contribution form 56 Million kronor to 70 Million Kronor, the equivalent of 7,8 MUSD. We do remain worried about the lack of funding coming forward to the PBF. We look forward to the Secretary-General’s reports on Sustaining Peace; in particular, regarding concrete options for predictable financing. We encourage him to be as bold as the authors of the original report of the Advisory Group. The forthcoming joint study by the World Bank and the UN will present other important recommendations regarding the cost of prevention and peacebuilding, and the role of international development assistance.

Mr. President,

Before wrapping up, let me say a word about Liberia. Sweden is happy to continue chairing the PBCs country specific configuration on Liberia, and is determined to make sure the PBC accompanies Liberia through a period of multiple transitions in the country’s history, including the departure of the UN peacekeeping mission and the preparations for the holding of elections in 2018. This will be a moment of truth for peace and the UN and international community must continue to stand by the people of Liberia during this period.

I thank you.

Last updated 19 Jan 2018, 12.20 PM