Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

SC: UNSC Open debate - Agenda item: Post Conflict Peacebuilding


Statement by H.E. Herman Schaper

Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations


UNSC Open Debate

Agenda item: Post Conflict Peacebuilding

New York, 20 December 2012


Mr. President,

Thank you for organizing this open debate on Peacebuilding. The Netherlands aligns itself with the intervention made by the European Union.

Mr. President,

Major progress has been made on Peacebuilding since the Secretary General published his first report on “Peacebuilding in the Immediate Aftermath of Conflict” in 2009. To mention some important examples:

Peace- and state building is now a high priority for post-conflict countries themselves. The New Deal initiative of fragile states is in our view a crucial milestone and a clear expression of national ownership and commitment by fragile states themselves. This determination to leave conflict behind should be recognized and supported by the United Nations. I am therefore pleased that SG embraces this initiative in his recent report.

We also have made progress in integration of peacebuilding in both security and development. Let me mention in particular the High Level Meeting on Rule of Law which emphasized the importance of the rule of law as one of the key elements of conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and peacebuilding, and stressed that justice, including transitional justice, is a fundamental building block of sustainable peace in countries in conflict and post-conflict situations.

Also substantially more funding for peacebuilding is available through the Peacebuilding Fund, as well as through other multilateral and bilateral funding mechanisms. Cooperation with regional organization and the IFI’s has been strengthened.  The World Development Report in 2011 is an excellent example of this cooperation with IFI’s and now provides a joint analytical underpinning for our collective work on peacebuilding.

Overall, we are in a much better position now then we collectively were in 2009.

The recent SG-report also identifies that many challenges exist, and we agree. I would like to highlight three issues from the Netherlands perspective:

First, the response by the UN family has improved and many institutional changes have been implemented, especially at Headquarters; interagency taskforces for DDR and SSR have been established, a Joint Global Focal point for police, justice and corrections has been created, the UN is improving its civilian capacities in the aftermath of conflict, Integrated Mission Planning Processes and Integrated Strategic Frameworks have strengthened cooperation within the UN-system, Peace and Development Advisors are increasingly being deployed.

Important steps, but the key question that we still need to answer is whether these changes have had substantial positive impact on the ground. Did they result, not only in better coordination and cooperation at country level, incl. more joint analysis, joint planning and programming and joint implementation, but did they also achieved better and quicker results on the ground in line with priorities of national governments in post-conflict situations?

Feedback we receive from our embassies indicates that progress is mixed. Substantial improvements remain necessary, especially at country level, and also in non-mission settings.

Speeding up Delivering as One, overcoming internal divisions within the UN-system, and further increasing coordination, cooperation and alignment are essential steps in this regard. The SG and the membership could improve results on the ground by providing the necessary incentives, including through donor funding.  

The Security Council could also support these efforts by providing guidance and deepening its discussions on the implementation of peacebuilding mandates in individual missions. The PBC could play a useful advisory role in this regard.

Second, we welcome the focus of the SG on three priority peacebuilding directions: inclusivity, institution-building and sustained international support combined with mutual accountability. We encourage the SG to build on lessons learned on these issues, and to provide good practices which can be implemented by the UN-system.

In doing so, we should not overlook the importance of employment through engagement with the private sector as well as the delivery of basic services in post-conflict settings, such as health and education. A stronger economic position for women and young people should be part of these efforts. I am pleased that the role of women in promoting peace and security features high on the agenda of the Secretary-General. He has our full support in his ambition to reach the goals in the seven-point plan for gender-responsive peacebuilding.

Mr. President,

A last issue is consistency within the UN membership with regard to peacebuilding. Hopefully this debate will have a positive impact, as the membership operates too much in silos as well.

The High Level Event on Peacebuilding organized by the Chair of the PBC, Bangladesh, recognized the critical importance of Peacebuilding in strengthening peace in post-conflict countries, preventing their relapse into conflict and achieving long term sustainable peace through security and development.

However, any discussion on the relationship between peacebuilding and development in the context of the QCPR was dismissed by some as irrelevant; progress on enhancing civilian capacities through the CivCap review is extremely slow, even though it addresses clear peacebuilding challenges; and embracing the clearest example of national ownership, the G7+-initiative, meets tremendous resistance.

Mr. President, if we collectively commit ourselves to peace building in debates such as today, we also need to make progress in these related discussions within other bodies of the United Nations. Only in this way we can ensure that the whole UN-system contributes to this important cause.

Thank you.