ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL
PEACEBUILDING COMMISSION, JOINT MEETING (AM)
Multiple Conflicts Fuel Food Insecurity, Forced Displacement, Humanitarian Needs, Stresses Economic and Social Council Chief
Enhanced coordination, adequate resources and increased integration of women and youth are necessary for delivering on sustainable peace and development, delegates heard at a joint meeting of the Economic and Social Council and Peacebuilding Commission today.
In opening remarks, Lachezara Stoeva (Bulgaria), President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), noted that multiple conflicts in countries fuel food insecurity, creating high levels of forced displacement and exacerbating humanitarian needs. Grave insecurity and weak institutional capacity in countries facing protracted conflicts continue to impede achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, she pointed out, while also highlighting climate-related challenges.
Through united humanitarian, development and peace efforts, the United Nations can enable countries to achieve global goals and strengthen resilience against future shocks by promoting early recovery, reconstruction and stability, she said. There must be strengthened assistance to countries addressing root causes of conflict, a focus on enhancing interoperability between United Nations entities, data-sharing and scaling up of humanitarian and development funding, she urged.
Delegates then heard from a panel of development experts who spotlighted the work of their respective organizations. Asako Okai, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Crisis Bureau at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said her agency is significantly ramping up its collaboration with the peacebuilding architecture and sister agencies in its work on conflict and fragility through joint advocacy and flagship inter-agency programming. Calling for a resourcing model for preventive, holistic and coordinated engagement, she stressed that “Member States must be in the lead to transform the environment in which we operate”.
Robert Powell, Special Representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the United Nations, said the IMF’s new strategy focuses on the organization’s comparative advantage; emphasizes the role of partnerships with other humanitarian, development, peace and security actors; and aims to amplify impact by leveraging both complementarities and donor engagement. The Fund has also rolled out its initial country engagement strategies to identify key drivers of fragility and conflict, leverage other institutions’ analyses and expertise, and support a stronger dialogue with country authorities and partners.
Åsa Regnér, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), stressed that peacebuilding is about mindsets, norms, practices and powershifts – one of them being from men to women. As beneficiaries, equal partners and leaders, women peacebuilders have unique experiences, which should inform the work of the United Nations, donors and financial institutions. Development assistance to support women-led and local women’s organizations in fragile and conflict-affected countries must increase, she advocated.
António Vitorino, Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM); Richard Arbeiter, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations and Chair of the ECOSOC Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti; and Khaled Emam, Executive Director of Justice Call, also delivered presentations.
In the ensuing dialogue, many delegates underlined the need for coordinated United Nations system-wide responses to peacebuilding and development, with the representative of Italy saying that business as usual is insufficient, while his colleague from Guatemala noted that there are no “one size fits all” approaches to conflicts.
There must be clear strategic objectives that provide a common frame of reference for peacebuilding agents, Egypt’s speaker added. Advocating for the maintenance of a clear division of labour between various organs of the system, the representative of the Russian Federation said this can make development budgets more secure.
Delegates then heard from a second panel of development experts. Karin Hulshof, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), highlighted her organization’s new Strategic Plan (2022-2025), which elevates peacebuilding to a cross-cutting priority. At the country level, UNICEF concentrates its comparative advantage on the socioeconomic side to ensure the equitable and inclusive delivery and effective management of basic social services.
Ib Petersen, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said his organization promotes the agency and leadership of women and young people, prevents gender-based violence and promotes access to reproductive and health services. Spotlighting UNFPA’s work with the Peacebuilding Fund and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), he stressed that “if we are to achieve a world in which 8 billion of us can thrive and prosper, we must ensure cooperation at all levels and focus on human rights and choices”.
Yoka Brandt, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations and President of the Executive Board of UNDP, UNFPA and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), pointed out that peace and development are larger than the mandate or capacity of any single entity. United Nations entities must find a way to strengthen each other and elevate the entire system to better deliver on sustainable development and peace to people on the ground, she urged, underscoring the importance of adequate, predictable and sustainable financing.
David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), and Julienne Lusenge, Executive Director of the Fund for Congolese Women, also gave presentations.
In the ensuing dialogue, the representative of the United States said international cooperation to pursue more inclusive development partnerships must put local partners in the driver’s seat. The United Nations should also lead by example, making the full, equal and meaningful participation of women a requirement in all mediation teams, political transitions and peace processes.
During closing remarks, Muhammad Abdul Muhith (Bangladesh), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, emphasized that the entire United Nations system must support Member States in a coordinated, coherent and collective manner. Today’s discussion will further enhance partnerships between alliances for peacebuilding and international financial institutions in facilitating coordinated and coherent support to achieve nationally determined peacebuilding roles, he said.
The Peacebuilding Commission and ECOSOC will reconvene for a joint meeting at a date and time to be announced in the United Nations Journal.
LACHEZARA STOEVA (Bulgaria), President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), opening the joint meeting, noted that the outbreak of multiple conflicts is taking a toll on numerous countries, disrupting supply chains and access to energy, fuelling food insecurity and creating high levels of forced displacement. Further, humanitarian needs are increasing, as the COVID‑19 pandemic continues to exacerbate inequalities within and across countries, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. Countries in conflict — or those recovering from it — were off track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals even before COVID‑19 struck. In countries facing protracted conflicts, grave insecurity and weak institutional capacity there remain major impediments to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She also pointed out that, in some countries, persistent drought — exacerbated by climate change — has led to resource scarcity, widespread displacement and food shortages, also frustrating the effective management of water resources.
Against that backdrop, she emphasized that united efforts on humanitarian, development and peace objectives can play a critical role to reduce risk and build resilience in affected communities. In this vein, the United Nations can promote early recovery, reconstruction and stability, which will enable countries to realize the Sustainable Development Goals and strengthen resilience against future shocks. She also stressed the need to strengthen assistance to countries in addressing the root causes of crisis and ensuring long-term sustainable development through a focus on enhancing interoperability between United Nations entities and data sharing. It is also important for funding partners to enable pooling of funds and scale up humanitarian and development funding, as development finance can help prevent conflict by reducing social, environmental and economic vulnerabilities. Expressing hope for active engagement in today’s discussion towards strengthening cooperation and coordination amongst United Nations entities, she added that the same can promote greater coherence in international efforts to strengthen resilience in conflict-affected countries.
Interactive Dialogue 1
The joint meeting then convened a dialogue, hearing presentations by panelists Asako Okai, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Crisis Bureau at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Robert Powell, Special Representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the United Nations; Åsa Regnér, Deputy Executive Director for Policy, Programme, Civil Society and Intergovernmental Support of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women); and António Vitorino, Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The panelists were followed by two invited speakers, who delivered statements: Richard Arbeiter, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations and Chair of the ECOSOC Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, and Khaled Emam, Executive Director of Justice Call.
Ms. OKAI, noting that crises and conflict have thrown decades of progress into reverse, said that for the first time in 32 years, human development is backsliding, globally, for two years in a row. Integrated action is crucial to stop and reverse those trends, she said, noting that the UNDP is seeking to further drive effective, system-wide and cross-pillar collaboration, especially in spaces where the humanitarian-development-peace nexus approach is needed. The agency is significantly scaling up its collaboration with the peacebuilding architecture and sister agencies in its work on conflict and fragility, through joint advocacy and joint flagship inter-agency programming, she added, detailing the agency’s other efforts for integrated action.
Also needed is a resourcing model that incentivizes preventive, holistic and coordinated engagement, she said, calling on the international community to find creative ways of engaging more diverse actors, including the private sector, to build broader coalitions for peace. Underscoring the importance of multilateralism, she said that “Member States must be in the lead to transform the environment in which we operate”. “We must deliver on our mutual commitments and promises, use data and digital solutions as tools for inclusion, not polarization, and maximize the use of dialogue as an instrument for peace,” she added, stressing that the voices of women and young people must be offered space in United Nations platforms.
Mr. POWELL, noting that global economic activity is experiencing a broad-based and sharper-than-expected slowdown, with inflation higher than in several decades, provided an overview of the IMF’s new strategy for engagement with fragile and conflict-affected States. In 2021, growth stagnated an average of 3 per cent and is projected to decline to just 1.3 per cent in 2022. Over the medium term, fragile States’ per capita incomes are not expected to recover to their 2019 levels until 2023. If global trends such as climate change, food insecurity and persistent gender inequalities persist, 60 per cent of the global poor may live in fragile States by 2030, he warned. With about 20 per cent of its membership — 40 countries — classified as fragile and conflict affected, the Fund has an important role in helping these countries exit from fragility, achieve macroeconomic stability, enhance resilience, strengthen governance and promote inclusive growth. The Fund’s new strategy focuses on the organization’s comparative advantage; emphasizes the role of partnerships with other humanitarian, development, peace and security actors; and aims to enhance partnerships and amplify impact by leveraging both complementarities and donor engagement while avoiding the duplication of efforts.
The Fund, he continued, has in parallel rolled out its initial country engagement strategies to identify key drivers of fragility and conflict; leverage other institutions’ analyses and expertise to better support the integration of the organization’s surveillance, capacity development and lending programs; inform programme design and conditionality; and support a stronger dialogue with country authorities and partners. It has also provided extensive support to fragile States amid lasting damage from the pandemic as well as ongoing acute food insecurity. Quoting the Fund’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, he stressed that “fragility in one place doesn’t stay only there, we are interconnected, and for us at the IMF it is very clear that macroeconomic stability and peace and security go hand in hand”.
Ms. REGNÉR, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), said that when women are included in decision-making and crisis response, they expand the impact of humanitarian aid, accelerate economic recovery, advance gender equality and help prevent conflict. Gender equality offers a path to sustainable peace and conflict prevention. However, today’s world is experiencing a reversal of generational gains in women’s rights, while witnessing record numbers of violent conflicts since 1945, military coups, displacement and rising hunger. Peacebuilding is about mindsets, norms, practices and powershifts, one of them being from men to women, she said. The unique experience of women peacebuilders should inform the work of the United Nations, donors and financial institutions, including women in all stages of analysis. It is critical that women peacebuilders are not only beneficiaries but equal partners and leaders, she stressed, adding that gender analysis should inform policy programming and budget allocations.
Commitment to gender-responsive policies helps bring women to the centre of peacebuilding, she continued, pointing to the long-standing partnership between UN-Women and the Peacebuilding Fund. UN-Women has a unique role in the United Nations system that allows the Organization to coordinate key global mechanisms on women, peace and security, as well as track global indicators on this agenda. Some of UN-Women’s leading policy initiatives of the last decade have resulted in significant changes on United Nations financing. However, challenges persist, she cautioned, noting that women human rights defenders across the globe have increasingly been targeted and prevented from participating in public life. She called for investment to create a safe environment for women to carry out their important work. Further, financing for local women’s organizations and crisis settings is low, while global military spending is high, she underscored, adding that the share of development assistance to fragile or conflict-affected countries that reaches women-led organizations has been stagnantly low. This must change, she asserted, noting that women’s leadership and right to participation need to be central for the New Agenda for Peace.
MR. VITORINO, Director-General of the International Organization for Migration, noted that the number of displaced people has crossed the 100 million threshold. His organization is helping Member States and United Nations agencies better understand and address changing patterns of human mobility to ensure that a humane and orderly migration of people can be leveraged to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and also mitigate the worst effects of climate change. The organization’s data is being used to analyse conflict patterns, prevent violence and enable long-term development, he said, adding that it launched the Stability Index in 2019 to evaluate the stability of areas hosting returnees or displaced populations in the Lake Chad Basin region.
To mitigate and prevent further violence in the Liptako-Gourma region, his organization utilized its experience in data collection to establish the Transhumance Tracking Tool to map formal and informal corridors and monitor the transhumance flows throughout the region. Its peacebuilding and stabilization efforts are community-driven, participatory and empowering, and therefore open a path for development, acting jointly with relevant partners to address complex crises. He noted the agency further supports the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator systems in Somalia, Ethiopia and Iraq for operationalizing durable solutions for internally displaced persons.
Mr. ARBEITER (Canada), Chair of the Economic and Social Council Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti, gesturing to the empty row of seats to his left, expressed regret that numerous directors of United Nations entities were unable to attend today’s meeting, but hoped that this would not be the case in the future. Turning to Haiti’s socioeconomic recovery, he emphasized that the international community can only help if it recognizes that approaches taken over past decades have not worked. Solutions must be Haitian-led and benefit from holistic and non-siloed analysis, policy and programmatic responses.
Noting that the United Nations country team and the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) have provided a single window for engagement, he welcomed this arrangement as it promotes shared learning, common understanding, better coordination and, ultimately, integrated action. This is critical for addressing surging humanitarian needs, preventing violence, reducing risks and facilitating Haiti’s progress towards sustainable peace and long-term development. He also pointed out that sexual and gender-based violence are occurring on a significant scale in Haiti, which requires an integrated response, in which all parts of the United Nations system prioritize a survivor-centred approach.
Mr. EMAM said Justice Call is a youth-led organization working to empower and protect youth in the Middle East and North Africa regions. Highlighting its successful efforts in youth inclusion and leadership in the youth, peace and security agenda, with the support of the United Nations and other partners, he said that, to further efforts in that regard, young men and women must be included meaningfully in leadership roles for peace processes and in the development of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, beyond one-off consultations. Protection for young peacebuilders must also be ensured, he said, stressing that the United Nations Alliance for Peacebuilding members have a responsibility to enhance safe spaces for young people to participate in the Organization’s processes in the field and at the global level. Also needed is quality financing for young peacebuilders. “We are still behind when it comes to funding allocated to youth,” he said. This must end, he emphasized, adding that financing mechanisms must be accessible, equitable and effective for youth-led groups to reach full implementation of the youth, peace and security agenda.
In the ensuing dialogue, the representative of Sweden, speaking on behalf of Nordic Countries, emphasized the need for broad and coordinated system-wide responses across the whole United Nations, regional and subregional organizations, international financial institutions, international and local civil society organizations and the humanitarian-development-peace nexus. United Nations coherence should be guided by national ownership and priorities as well as the active engagement of all actors across civil society. For peacebuilding to be effective and sustainable, it must be inclusive and strengthen the meaningful involvement of women as well as youth. As sustainable and predictable financing is vital, different funding streams must be coordinated to support a holistic approach to conflict resolution, she added.
The representative of Guatemala, emphasizing that there are no “one size fits all” approaches to conflicts, underscored the importance of each State’s consent when receiving international support. To bolster efforts, Member States should speak with the same voice on peace and security and various human rights development pillars.
The representative of Italy, stressing that business as usual is not enough, encouraged further coordination and synergies among all United Nations entities at the policy level. Italy, he pledged, will promote specific cross-cutting topics such as food security and climate change. Turning to implementation, he asked about good practices which could be scaled up.
The representative of Mexico said that the Commission is best placed to resolve multifaceted challenges such as the financial, energy and food crisis and can act as a link between different organizations. Underlining the importance of a holistic approach to tackle structural deficiencies, she asked how the International Monetary Fund adapts to the contexts of middle-income countries to avoid crises from exacerbating.
The representative of Egypt said that enhancing United Nations coherence and impact on the ground requires clear, strategic objectives which provide a common frame of reference for peacebuilding agents. Mindsets and organizational culture must be changed to avoid competition for influence and visibility among the agencies, funds and programmes, peacekeeping operations and donors. National ownership is vital, as are whole-of-government and internal-external coherence, he added.
The representative of Costa Rica, addressing the role of women and young people, said that it is unacceptable that the financing of organizations led by those groups for peacebuilding is being maintained at such low levels while military spending is increasing. How can Member States ensure better participation from the private sector in achieving peacebuilding activities and supporting civil society organizations, she asked.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that the division of labour between various organs of the United Nations system must be maintained, adding that analysing the root causes of conflicts and implementing responses are the Security Council’s prerogative. Considering the mounting humanitarian requirements, a clear division of mandates can make development budgets more secure, he noted. The development system should depart from a linear approach and work in parallel with humanitarian assistance. This can prevent the emergence of protracted crises, he emphasized.
The representative of Japan said the Council should more actively request the help of the Peacebuilding Commission to get a better view of changing circumstances on the ground, as well as the needs of local people. The Commission is the ideal venue to bring civil society, youth and women together to discuss and promote collective action, he noted.
The representative of Pakistan said that peacebuilding and sustainable development are complementary and mutually reinforcing. The root causes of conflict, including poverty and inequality, must be addressed, with international support aimed at boosting the self-reliance of countries emerging from conflict. Further, he called for investment in capacity-building, including in the field of security and law enforcement, and for a synergetic relationship between the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission.
The representatives of the Dominican Republic, Latvia, Kenya, Croatia, United Kingdom, Portugal, South Africa, and Trinidad and Tobago also spoke.
On behalf of the representative of Kenya, the Chair asked what building blocks the international community is missing for the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission to better support countries in addressing the multidimensional nature of crises and protracted conflicts.
Ms. OKAI stressed the importance of coordination and coherence in breaking the cycle of fragility and preventing humanitarian crises. UNDP has been working towards a transformative approach with a multidimensional risk analysis, she said, noting that cyclical drought should be addressed in synergy with climate change actions to further plan for displacement. She also stressed the utter importance of prevention and investment in sustainable development.
Mr. POWELL noted that the International Monetary Fund is a part of the United Nations system. In Haiti, he said the Fund engages in regular meetings and briefs the Peacebuilding Commission. He also highlighted the Fund’s support for middle-income and vulnerable countries.
Ms. REGNÉR, noting that UN-Women is a part of at least 10 coordinating mechanisms within the United Nations system, highlighted the role of the Standing Committee on Women, Peace and Security. The world is off-track for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals, she cautioned, underscoring the importance of funding. In supporting women, the United Nations system can do more to use existing analytical tools and funds, she added.
Mr. VITORINO, re-emphasizing the need for a community-based planning approach, said that the IOM is working closely with the United Nations and other partners to support Governments in rebuilding ownership by local communities. In terms of how agencies can better work together in countries such as Somalia, Iraq and Ethiopia, he highlighted an initiative to address displacement through durable solutions, which involves several agencies. Underscoring the importance of cross-border projects, he said much can be done in peacebuilding efforts across borders.
Interactive Dialogue 2
The joint meeting then convened a second interactive discussion, hearing presentations by: Karin Hulshof, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); Ib Petersen, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), via a pre-recorded message; Yoka Brandt, Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations and President of the Executive Board of UNDP, UNFPA and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS); and Julienne Lusenge, Executive Director of the Fund for Congolese Women, via videoconference.
Ms. HULSHOF noted that more than 450 million children worldwide are living in conflict zones, the highest number in the last two decades. Risks, vulnerabilities and drivers of crises — whether climate change, migration, conflict or the COVID‑19 pandemic — are increasingly multi-dimensional and interlinked, complex, protracted and compounded. “It is children who bear the brunt: When compared to children in development contexts, children in conflict settings are more than twice as likely to be undernourished and without clean water, twice as likely to die before age five and more than three times as likely to not attend school,” she emphasized. UNICEF’s new Strategic Plan (2022-2025) aims to use its humanitarian and development programming to prevent crises, reduce fragility and build peace, she noted. It elevates peacebuilding as a cross-cutting priority and deliberately integrates peacebuilding results across its goal areas and change strategies. UNICEF’s Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action include specific commitments on linking humanitarian and development programming, as well as benchmarks on conflict sensitivity and sustaining peace. At the country level, UNICEF concentrates its comparative advantage on the socioeconomic side of social cohesion to ensure the equitable and inclusive delivery, and effective management, of basic social services. She then spotlighted several examples of programmes UNICEF has delivered jointly with other United Nations agencies and with the support of the Peacebuilding Fund. As the Organization can do more to fully harness its role and contributions in developing conflict-sensitive and peacebuilding programming, and sector-specific approaches, UNICEF is currently developing a new global peacebuilding framework. This, she highlighted, will accelerate implementation, enhance peacebuilding programming across its core sectoral work and enable the organization to better track results.
Mr. PETERSEN, Deputy Executive Director of the UNFPA, said his agency supports consolidating sustainable peace by addressing root causes of conflict, social cohesion and restoring trust in public institutions. The UNFPA promotes the agency and leadership of women and young people, prevents gender-based violence and promotes access to reproductive and health services, as peace cannot be achieved as long as gender inequality persists. The UNFPA and Peacebuilding Support Office partner in the implementation of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda, as experience shows that prioritizing the inclusion and meaningful participation of women and young people is key to building and sustaining lasting peace.
He cited the Peacebuilding Fund, which allows the UNFPA to collaborate with UN‑Women in Papua New Guinea and the Central African Republic to provide gender-transformative psychosocial support for peace and community resilience. The agency further works with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in El Salvador to support resilience building and participatory citizenship by and for youth, and in northeast Burkina Faso to protect young human rights defenders so they can continue their important work. “If we are to achieve a world in which 8 billion of us can thrive and prosper, we must ensure cooperation at all levels, and focus on human rights and choices,” he stressed.
Mr. BEASLEY recalled that in early 2022, his organization warned that the world was facing a perfect storm caused by an upsurge in conflict, the lingering pandemic, climate change and inflation, all further exacerbated by the Ukraine situation. Since the start of that conflict, food, fuel and fertilizer prices have skyrocketed, driving a tsunami of hunger, with 349 million people worldwide headed for starvation, 200 million more than before the pandemic, with 150 million of them children and 49 million people in 49 countries on the brink of famine. It is critically important to tackle the root causes of conflict, he stressed, citing the importance of using food to lay the pathway to peace and stability. He noted the WFP’s work in the Sahel, restoring degraded land to grow food using traditional techniques, creating social cohesion. In Somalia, cash payments are helping to strengthen communities. However, the world is facing an unprecedented food crisis, and war is the principal cause. The Peacebuilding Fund is forging new partnerships, but resources are urgently needed. He called on the Economic and Social Council, the Peacebuilding Commission and Member States to work with his agency in the critically important endeavour of investing in peace.
Ms. BRANDT stated that peace and development are larger than the mandate or capacity of any single United Nations entity. Therefore, such entities’ shared goal should be to find a way to strengthen each other and, in turn, elevate the entire United Nations system to better deliver on sustainable development and peace for those to whom it matters most — the people on the ground. She reported that, as President, she has challenged entities to demonstrate how they cooperate and add value to each other’s work. In this vein, she highlighted the joint programme between UNDP and the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs designed to build national capacities for conflict prevention, which demonstrates how to successfully bring the United Nations peace architecture and development system together. The joint programme deploys peace and development advisors in more than 80 countries to assist national partners in conflict prevention. She went on to point out that as peacekeeping missions draw down or close, United Nations entities are often confronted with a capability gap, which puts the sustainability and efficacy of peacebuilding efforts at risk. To mitigate this, adequate, predictable and sustainable financing is key. On that point, she underscored that declining core resources in the face of multiple crises is a concerning trend that must be reversed.
Ms. LUSENGE said her organization’s work on peacebuilding, with the support of the United Nations, gives women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo the opportunity to be leaders in those efforts. However, many challenges remain, as funding for projects is not for the long-term, but for one year or 18 months only. “It is not enough to build peace,” she stressed, noting that other challenges include the non-inclusion of actors on the ground in the planning process. It sometimes takes significant time to receive the funding, she said, noting efforts for improvement in that regard. The full participation of women in peace work is needed to address sexual violence, persistent inequality and social disparities in communities. She called for increased funding for organizations working on the ground, as well as the harmonization of reports of organizations to strengthen their work. The identification of local peace initiatives must also be improved, she said, urging support for women peace activists in the community so that they can serve as mediators at the local level. She also called for support for research and integration of the gender perspective in peacebuilding processes to eliminate degrading social norms.
In the ensuing dialogue, the representative of the United States called on the United Nations system to provide closer and more systematic alignment and coordination on development, humanitarian assistance and peace. As agencies, funds and programmes are at the forefront of interlinked efforts to improve lives, international cooperation to pursue more inclusive development partnerships must put local partners in the driver’s seat. Achieving sustainable peace, she continued, hinges on the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in all aspects of peace and security. The United Nations should lead by example and make this a requirement in all mediation teams, political transitions and peace processes, she said.
The representative of Switzerland said that ECOSOC has a responsibility for ensuring sustainable peace. The development system must account for peace and security in its analyses and engage on building societal resilience. He asked how agencies, funds and programmes can collaborate concretely with partner countries to address risk factors for violence in their activities and strategic guidelines.
The representative of Chile underscored the crucial need for coordinating agencies, funds and programmes within country teams and strengthening the negotiating mandate of the Resident Coordinator. Asking how existing instruments can ensure necessary incentives for coordination, she cautioned against those which lead to the division of mandates among agencies.
The representative of Malawi asked why post-conflict peacebuilding is prioritized in funding allocations. What about conflict prevention, she questioned, as she spotlighted her country’s context.
Also speaking were the representatives of Austria, Morocco, El Salvador and Brazil.
A civil society representative from the Friends World Committee for Consultation spoke as well.
Ms. HULSHOF, stressing the crucial importance of investing in prevention, pointed to the United Nations Funding Compact, which has been signed by almost all Member States. Predictable funding decreases every year, she cautioned, voicing concern over the lack of flexibility to use funding for prevention. The new peacebuilding strategy will be ready in 2023, she said, highlighting its focus on prevention.
Mr. PETERSON cited the importance of funding and said that Resident Coordinators must be able to hold all United Nations agencies accountable. Addressing a question on mobilizing funding for prevention and operationalizing the Peacebuilding Fund at the local level, including non-earmarked funding, he agreed that it makes agencies and programmes more solid. It is important to involve local women and youth actors, and to support host Governments towards enacting the right responses – as with the organization’s work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to develop a national action plan on youth, peace and security. He agreed on the importance of allocating funding for conflict prevention.
COCO USHIYAMA, Director of the Division for the United Nations System and Multilateral Engagement at the WFP, agreed on the goal of a coherent approach at the country level, with joint analysis being key. The WFP’s entry points are related to food security, but it contributes to peace as well. She stressed the need for flexible, predictable multi-year funding to support high-quality programmes. She further agreed on the goal of focusing more on prevention than on cure – as in the Sahel resilience building initiative launched in 2018, working with Group of Five countries, the Government and United Nations partners in contributing to food security and social cohesion. Citing the Peacebuilding Fund and school meals, she noted the WFP would like to do more in that domain, as those programmes work for children in nutrition and educational outcomes.
Mr. POWELL said that an important part of the IMF’s work is ensuring a consistent strategy between all players. The IMF’s fragile-State strategy involves ensuring the exchange of information and consistency of review between IMF and World Bank teams, country representatives and United Nations resident coordinators and country teams. This is critical for consistent strategies and messaging when engaging with countries. He also noted that much of the IMF’s work centres on building institutions and capacity to help strengthen countries’ resilience, early warning systems and macroeconomic stability. High inflation leads to difficult social conditions – and, potentially, social unrest – he added, underlining the importance of early warning systems and risk-prevention efforts, on which the international financial community is focused.
MUHAMMAD ABDUL MUHITH (Bangladesh), Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, said that to build and sustain peace, the entire United Nations system must work collectively and support Member States’ efforts in a coordinated and coherent manner. Today’s discussions have amply reflected the role of the United Nations development system in addressing the root causes of conflict through preventive approaches. The Organization’s Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework works as an effective point of convergence in moving beyond siloed approaches to coordinate peace, development and humanitarian actions, he added. In countries facing both the climate crisis and conflict, more investments are needed to support climate-resilient peacebuilding and conflict-sensitive adaptation measures. Speakers also highlighted the need for integrating the women, peace and security and youth peace and security agendas in the work of alliances for peace on the ground, he said.
Today’s discussion will further enhance partnerships between alliances for peacebuilding and international financial institutions in facilitating coordinated and coherent support to achieve nationally determined peacebuilding roles, he continued. While adequate, predictable and sustainable funding has remained a major challenge, the Peacebuilding Fund continues to serve as a critical instrument of first resort to finance nationally owned conflict-prevention and peacebuilding activities. Turning to the Peacebuilding Commission, he said that this year it provided advisory support to ECOSOC on cross-cutting thematic issues. He voiced hope for the continued participation of the Presidents of the Executive Boards of UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS, with a view to leveraging the oversight role of executive boards in improving the impact of work on the ground of alliances for peacebuilding.
Source: UN Economic and Social Council