New York, 20 April 2017
United Nations General Assembly joint debate on the Report of the 10th Peacebuilding Commission (PBC)
and the Report of the Secretary-General on the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF)
I thank you for convening this joint debate on the work of the tenth session of the Peacebuilding Commission and on the Peacebuilding Fund. I welcome both reports, the first by the PBC and the latter by the Secretary-General. Furthermore, this meeting offers us an excellent opportunity to further discuss peacebuilding and sustaining peace.
My statement is fully aligned with the one earlier delivered by the European Union.
The peacebuilding concept - introduced 25 years ago, in 1992 - has not yet been entirely fulfilled, if it will ever be. The review of the UN Peacebuilding architecture was indeed a decisive progress, which led to the adoption, last year, of the two identical Resolutions by this Assembly and by the Security Council, embracing the new concept of “sustaining peace” which Portugal fully supports. Building on lessons learned from the past, the scope of peacebuilding has been extended to encompass every stage that goes from conflict prevention to post-conflict reconstruction. It reflects a holistic approach that potentiates what we are aiming for: to achieve and to maintain peace.
By now there is a widespread understanding that for peacebuilding to succeed, all issues related to peace and security, sustainable development and human rights, must be addressed in a symbiotic way.
As per the two reports, today only African countries are in the PBC Agenda and most of the Peacebuilding Fund projects are being implemented in African countries. I recall that Africa is home to several regional and sub regional organizations that work towards peace and security, including conflict prevention and it has also developed the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), which is, at the continental level, an integrated structure endowed with peace building tools.
Portugal encourages the whole of the UN system, particularly the PBC and its convening power, to further explore ways of improving synergies with that African Initiative. In a broader perspective, we believe it is crucial for the United Nations to engage with relevant regional and sub regional organizations worldwide, in searching for complementarities in efforts and resources. We should not only take advantage of the existing structures, as those implemented by APSA or the trilateral cooperation put in place by the UN, the AU and the EU in Africa, but also to enhance the capabilities of regional partners and other relevant mechanisms, many of which include security and early warning mechanisms.
Regarding the performance of the Country-specific Configurations of the PBC over the past year, we commend the efforts of all the Configuration chairs. There is good progress to report, even though many challenges remain to be tackled. We strongly believe the PBC has a crucial role to play in these countries.
As a new member of the PBC Country-Specific Configuration on Central African Republic, Portugal is fully committed to actively contribute to the good work of this configuration. Our participation in this countr-specific configuration is based upon the participation of Portugal in MINUSCA with a Quick Reaction Force, which operates without any caveats.
As a fully committed member of the PBC Country-Specific Configuration on Guinea-Bissau since its very beginning, Portugal recognizes its increasing importance. As the country faces an ongoing political and institutional stalemate, the role of the PBC in keeping the issue under international attention, amongst other merits, became even more significant.
The goals of the PBC and the PBF are fully aligned with the “surge in diplomacy for peace” advocated by the Secretary-General, António Guterres. At the same time, prevention of conflicts was put at the core of this Organization’s priorities by the Secretary-General, who is focusing on “the peace continuum” by developing “a comprehensive, modern and effective operational peace architecture, encompassing prevention, conflict resolution, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and long-term development”. We fully support the Secretary-General´s ongoing efforts in this regard and look forward to the follow up report to the 72nd General Assembly on the implementation of the two identical Resolutions and the options on how to tackle the crucial issue of funding the UN peacebuilding architecture, in a more predictable and sustained way.
To conclude, Mr. President, I recall that peacebuilding was firstly created to address the gap between security and development in post-conflict fragile countries. A basic assertion in this regard is the one that it should be done at the country-level. However, to be truly effective, the UN system must work in a more integrated, flexible and coordinated manner, and must definitely prioritize prevention and early warning tools and signs.
I thank you, Mr. President.