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Peacebuilding Commission

Peacebuilding Commission

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The Peacebuilding Commission was established in December 2005 by the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 and the Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 acting concurrently. It is an inter-governmental advisory body that will help countries in post-conflict peace building
Environmental peacebuilding
Peacebuilding is both the theory and practice of identifying the conditions that can lead to a sustainable peace between those who have previously been adversaries, and assisting adversaries to move towards a sustainable peace. Environmental peacebuilding examines and advocates environmental...

, recovery
Recovery
-Health:* Healing* Cure* The Recovery model of mental distress/disorder* Recovery International, a self-help mental health program based on the work of the late Abraham A...

, reconstruction and development
Development studies
Development studies is a multidisciplinary branch of social science which addresses issues of concern to developing countries. It has historically placed a particular focus on issues related to social and economic development, and its relevance may therefore extend to communities and regions...

.

Current members of the PBC


The current composition of the Peacebuilding Commission's Organizational Committee is as follows :
  • 7 members of the Security Council, including all permanent members:
    1. China
    2. France
    3. the Russian Federation
    4. Mexico
    5. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
    6. United States of America
    7. Burkina Faso

  • 7 members elected by the General Assembly:
    1. Benin
    2. Chile
    3. Georgia
    4. Jamaica
    5. South Africa
    6. Thailand
    7. Uruguay

  • 5 members chosen as top providers of military personnel and civilian police to United Nations missions:
    1. Bangladesh
    2. Nigeria
    3. India
    4. Nepal
    5. Pakistan

  • 7 members elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council
    United Nations Economic and Social Council
    The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations constitutes one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and it is responsible for the coordination of the economic, social and related work of 14 UN specialized agencies, its functional commissions and five regional commissions...

    :
    1. Algeria
    2. El Salvador
    3. Guinea-Bissau
    4. Luxembourg
    5. Morocco
    6. Poland
    7. Republic of Korea

  • 5 members chosen as top providers of contributions to United Nations budgets, funds programmes and agencies:
    1. Canada
    2. Germany
    3. Japan
    4. the Netherlands
    5. Sweden

Origins


The Peace Building Commission (PBC) is one of the new entities created by the reform process initiated during the 60th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The debate over the reform of the United Nations systems is not a recent one. Since the creation of the organization (June 1945), most of delegates and commentators believed that the structure they had given birth to was a merely temporary one as a first step towards the establishment of the new multilateral system. Indeed, the third paragraph of article 109 is a clear clue of this initial orientation, as it states that a General Conference aimed at reviewing the UN Charter should be called from the tenth annual session of the General Assembly onward. But, the first attempt to reform the UN structure failed at the very 10th session, when the General Assembly, even though aware of the need of a reform, decided to postpone any decision.
Various attempts to reform the UN took place during the decades but the core issues (Security Council reform, veto power, UN enforcement) failed to be properly addressed.

The High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change


The new environment and challenges brought by the post–September 11 system of international relations spurred the Secretary-General Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan
Kofi Atta Annan is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the UN from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2006...

 to seek for new proposals and solutions in order to reform certain sensitive area of the UN system. This approximately was the mandate of the High Level Threat Panel
High Level Threat Panel
The High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change of the United Nations, chaired by former Thai Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun and including former United States National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft and several former heads of government and foreign ministers as members, produced in...

.

Annan announced the membership of the 16-member Panel in a letter, dated November 3, 2003, addressed to the President of the General Assembly
President of the United Nations General Assembly
The President of the United Nations General Assembly is a position voted for by representatives in the United Nations General Assembly on a yearly basis.- Election :...

, Julian Robert Hunte
Julian Hunte
Dr. Julian Robert Hunte, OBE was the foreign minister of Saint Lucia from April 2001 to 26 October 2004, when he was succeeded by Petrus Compton...

 (Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia is an island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique. It covers a land area of 620 km2 and has an...

). Mr Anand Panyarachun
Anand Panyarachun
Anand Panyarachun was Thailand's Prime Minister twice, between 1991–1992 and once again in 1992. He was effective in initiating economic and political reforms, one of which was the drafting of Thailand's "Peoples' Constitution", which was promulgated in 1997 and abrogated in 2006...

, former Prime Minister of Thailand, was appointed to chair the high-level panel on global security threats and reform of the international system. The other 15 members were as well political leading figures and diplomats, like Gro Harlem Brundtland
Gro Harlem Brundtland
Gro Harlem Brundtland is a Norwegian Social democratic politician, diplomat, and physician, and an international leader in sustainable development and public health. She served three terms as Prime Minister of Norway , and has served as the Director General of the World Health Organization...

 (former prime minister of Norway
Heads of government of Norway
This is a list of heads of government of Norway, who held, inter alia, offices and titles such as steward , viceroy , first minister and prime minister ....

 and chair of the World Commission on Environment and Development
Brundtland Commission
The Brundtland Commission, formally the World Commission on Environment and Development , known by the name of its Chair Gro Harlem Brundtland, was convened by the United Nations in 1983...

 (Brundtland Commission), which in 1987 issued its final report, "Our Common Future
Our Common Future
Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report, from the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development was published in 1987....

" (Brundtland Report), which articulated the idea of sustainable development
Sustainable development
Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use, that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come...

) and Gareth Evans
Gareth Evans (politician)
Gareth John Evans, AO, QC , is a former Australian politician from 1978 to 1999 representing the Australian Labor Party, serving in a number of ministries including Attorney-General and Foreign Minister from 1983 to 1996 in the Hawke and Keating governments. He was president and chief executive...

 (former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia and President of the International Crisis Group
International Crisis Group
The International Crisis Group is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization whose mission is to prevent and resolve deadly conflicts around the world through field-based analyses and high-level advocacy.-History:...

).

The Panel was asked to analyse and assess future threats to peace and security and to evaluate existing approaches, instruments and mechanisms, including the organs of the UN system.
In this view, the Panel was specifically asked to:
  • Examine today's global threats and provide an analysis of future challenges to international peace and security;
  • Identify clearly the contribution that collective action can make in addressing these challenges;
  • Recommend the changes necessary to ensure effective collective action, including but not limited to a review of the principal organs of the United Nations.


The list above makes clear that the panel was not asked to formulate policies on specific issues. Rather it was asked to make an assessment of current challenges and to recommend proper changes in order to meet them effectively.
The final report of the High-level Panel, named "A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility," set out a number of recommendations to address problems and issues in six main areas of concern on which the multilateral system should concentrate its action now and in the decades ahead:
  1. war between States;
  2. violence within States (civil wars, gross violations of human rights and genocide);
  3. poverty, infectious diseases and environmental degradation;
  4. nuclear, radiological, chemical and biological weapons;
  5. terrorism; and
  6. transnational organized crime.


Considering the second point, the analysis of the panel identified "a key institutional gap: there is no place in the United Nations system explicitly designed to avoid State collapse and the slide to war or to assist countries in their transition from war to peace" (reference: report, paragraph 261). Since the United Nations should be able to act coherently and effectively from preventive action through post-conflict peace-building, the panel recommended to establish a Peacebuilding Commission as a subsidiary body of the Security Council itself.
As it is stated in the report, "the core functions of the Peacebuilding Commission should be to identify countries which are under stress and risk sliding towards State collapse; to organize, in partnership with the national Government, proactive assistance in preventing that process from developing further; to assist in the planning for transitions between conflict and post-conflict peacebuilding; and in particular to marshal and sustain the efforts of the international community in post-conflict peacebuilding over whatever period may be necessary".
For what concern more practical and in-depth aspects of this new body, the panel just recommends that the Commission should be reasonably small, meet in different configurations in order to consider both general policy issues and country-by-country situations and strategies, involve the main relevant actors in different fields (UN organs such as ECOSOC and representative from UN agencies, International Financial and Economic Institutions, representatives of regional and subregional organizations) and it should be assisted by Peacebuilding Support Office established in the Secretariat.

High-Level Threat Panel members

  • Anand Panyarachun
    Anand Panyarachun
    Anand Panyarachun was Thailand's Prime Minister twice, between 1991–1992 and once again in 1992. He was effective in initiating economic and political reforms, one of which was the drafting of Thailand's "Peoples' Constitution", which was promulgated in 1997 and abrogated in 2006...

     (Thailand), former Prime Minister of Thailand
    Prime Minister of Thailand
    The Prime Minister of Thailand is the head of government of Thailand. The Prime Minister is also the chairman of the Cabinet of Thailand. The post has existed since the Revolution of 1932, when the country became a constitutional monarchy....

     (chair)
  • Robert Badinter
    Robert Badinter
    Robert Badinter is a high-profile French criminal lawyer, university professor and politician mainly known for his struggle against the death penalty, the abolition of which he successfully sponsored in Parliament in 1981...

     (France), French Senator
    French Senate
    The Senate is the upper house of the Parliament of France, presided over by a president.The Senate enjoys less prominence than the lower house, the directly elected National Assembly; debates in the Senate tend to be less tense and generally enjoy less media coverage.-History:France's first...

     and former Minister of Justice
    Minister of Justice (France)
    The Ministry of Justice is controlled by the French Minister of Justice , a top-level cabinet position in the French government. The current Minister of Justice is Michel Mercier...

  • João Clemente Baena Soares
    João Clemente Baena Soares
    João Clemente Baena Soares is a Brazilian diplomat.Soares was born in Belém. He working at the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations for 31 years before being elected to serve as Secretary General of the Organization of American States from 1984 to 1994.Between 1997 and 2006, he was a member of...

     (Brazil), former Secretary-General of the Organization of American States
    Organization of American States
    The Organization of American States is a regional international organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States...

    ;
  • Gro Harlem Brundtland
    Gro Harlem Brundtland
    Gro Harlem Brundtland is a Norwegian Social democratic politician, diplomat, and physician, and an international leader in sustainable development and public health. She served three terms as Prime Minister of Norway , and has served as the Director General of the World Health Organization...

     (Norway), former Prime Minister of Norway
    Prime Minister of Norway
    The Prime Minister of Norway is the political leader of Norway and the Head of His Majesty's Government. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Stortinget , to their political party, and ultimately the...

     and former Director-General of the World Health Organization
    World Health Organization
    The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

    ;
  • Mary Chinery-Hesse (Ghana), Vice-Chairman, National Development Planning Commission of Ghana and former Deputy Director-General, International Labour Organization
    International Labour Organization
    The International Labour Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues pertaining to international labour standards. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Its secretariat — the people who are employed by it throughout the world — is known as the...

    ;
  • Gareth Evans
    Gareth Evans (politician)
    Gareth John Evans, AO, QC , is a former Australian politician from 1978 to 1999 representing the Australian Labor Party, serving in a number of ministries including Attorney-General and Foreign Minister from 1983 to 1996 in the Hawke and Keating governments. He was president and chief executive...

     (Australia), President of the International Crisis Group
    International Crisis Group
    The International Crisis Group is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization whose mission is to prevent and resolve deadly conflicts around the world through field-based analyses and high-level advocacy.-History:...

     and former Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs
    Minister for Foreign Affairs (Australia)
    In the Government of Australia, the Minister for Foreign Affairs is responsible for overseeing the international diplomacy section of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In common with international practice, the office is often informally referred to as Foreign Minister...

    ;
  • David Hannay
    David Hannay, Baron Hannay of Chiswick
    David Hugh Alexander Hannay, Baron Hannay of Chiswick, GCMG, CH is a British diplomat.He is married to Gillian Hannay and has four sons and eight grandchildren....

     (United Kingdom), former Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations and United Kingdom Special Envoy for Cyprus;
  • Enrique V. Iglesias
    Enrique V. Iglesias
    Enrique Valentín Iglesias García is an economist of Uruguayan-Spanish dual citizenship. He was once president of the Inter-American Development Bank, an international institution dedicated to furthering economic development in the Western Hemisphere through investment and policy...

     (Uruguay), President of the Inter-American Development Bank
    Inter-American Development Bank
    The Inter-American Development Bank is the largest source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean...

    ;
  • Amr Moussa
    Amr Moussa
    Amr Mohammed Moussa is an Egyptian politician and diplomat who was the Secretary-General of the Arab League, a 22-member forum representing Arab states, from 1 June 2001 until 1 June 2011. He is a candidate in the 2011 Egyptian presidential election....

     (Egypt), Secretary-General of the Arab League
    Arab League
    The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

    ;
  • Satish Nambiar
    Satish Nambiar
    Lieutenant General Chenicheri Satish Nambiar is an Indian general who achieved international recognition as the first Force Commander and Head of Mission of UNPROFOR, the United Nations Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia, between March 1992 and March 1993...

     (India), former Indian Army
    Indian Army
    The Indian Army is the land based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. With about 1,100,000 soldiers in active service and about 1,150,000 reserve troops, the Indian Army is the world's largest standing volunteer army...

     lieutenant general
    Lieutenant General
    Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....

     and United Nations Protection Force
    United Nations Protection Force
    The United Nations Protection Force ', was the first United Nations peacekeeping force in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Yugoslav wars. It existed between the beginning of UN involvement in February 1992, and its restructuring into other forces in March 1995...

     (UNPROFOR) commander;
  • Sadako Ogata
    Sadako Ogata
    , is a Japanese academic, diplomat, author, administrator and professor emeritus at Sophia University.-Early life:Sadako Nakamura was born in 1927...

     (Japan), former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
    The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees , also known as The UN Refugee Agency is a United Nations agency mandated to protect and support refugees at the request of a government or the UN itself and assists in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to...

    ;
  • Yevgeny Primakov
    Yevgeny Primakov
    Yevgeny Maksimovich Primakov is a Russian politician and diplomat. During his long career, he served as the Russian Foreign Minister, Prime Minister of Russia, Speaker of the Soviet of the Union of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, and chief of intelligence service...

     (Russia), former Prime Minister of the Russian Federation;
  • Qian Qichen
    Qian Qichen
    Qian Qichen is a Chinese diplomat and communist political figure. He served as Chinese foreign minister from April 1988 to March 1998.-Biography:...

     (China), former Vice Premier
    Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China
    The Vice Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China is a high-ranking executive assistant to the Premier. There is a First-ranking Vice Premier , sometimes called Executive Vice Premier wrongly by the non-official media. It is an informal title and takes over duties of the...

     and Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China
    Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China
    The Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China is the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China and one of the country's most important cabinet posts...

    ;
  • Nafis Sadik
    Nafis Sadik
    Dr. Nafis Sadik, currently Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General with additional responsibilities as Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia, and former head of the United Nations Population Fund .-Personal life:...

     (Pakistan), former Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund
    United Nations Population Fund
    The United Nations Population Fund is a UN organization. The work of the UNFPA involves promotion of the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. This is done through major national and demographic surveys and with population censuses...

    ;
  • Salim Ahmed Salim
    Salim Ahmed Salim
    Salim Ahmed Salim a Tanzanian diplomat who has worked in the international diplomatic arena since the early 1960s. Salim is married to Amne and they have three children: Maryam, Ali and Ahmed....

     (United Republic of Tanzania), former Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity; and
  • Brent Scowcroft
    Brent Scowcroft
    Brent Scowcroft, KBE was the United States National Security Advisor under Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush and a Lieutenant General in the United States Air Force. He also served as Military Assistant to President Richard Nixon and as Deputy Assistant to the President for National...

     (United States), former United States Air Force
    United States Air Force
    The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

     lieutenant general
    Lieutenant General (United States)
    In the United States Army, the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps, lieutenant general is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general...

      and National Security Advisor
    National Security Advisor (United States)
    The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, commonly referred to as the National Security Advisor , serves as the chief advisor to the President of the United States on national security issues...

    .

Institutional Framework


The Peacebuilding Commission is a subsidiary organ of both the General Assembly and the Security Council, thus the legal basis for its institution is to be found in artt. 22 and 29 of the UN Charter, devoted respectively to GA and SC subsidiary bodies.

For this reason, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1645
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1645
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1645, adopted unanimously on December 20, 2005, acting concurrently with the United Nations General Assembly, the Council established the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission to advise on post-conflict situations, in accordance with the declaration of...

 on December 20, 2005, in concurrence with an analogue act approved by the General Assembly, the 60/180 resolution of December 30, 2005. In both texts the Peacebuilding Commission is described as an intergovernmental advisory body, and among its tasks there is the duty to submit an annual report to the General Assembly which is supposed to hold an annual session to discuss it.

The main task of the new Peacebuilding Commission
Peace Commissions
Peace Commissions are formal or informal organizations that operate at local, regional and national levels within a country to reduce, counter or prevent conflict...

 is that of taking care of post-conflict actions to be adopted and enforced in countries emerging from conflicts, whose Governments choose to ask for relief from the International Community.
It is up to the PBC to collect all available resources and funds directed to support recovery projects in those countries, and to draft long-term strategies in order to guarantee reconstruction, institution-building and sustainable development.

As said, this new body represents an innovation to the UN traditional approach to conflicts situations: for the first time there is a single organ charged with a mission that relies on a complex of capacities and expertise which used to be of many UN subjects' concern, without any substantial coordination set out.
For this reason the Commission can benefit by all the UN experience on such matters as conflict prevention, mediation, peacekeeping, respect for human rights, the rule of law, humanitarian assistance, reconstruction and long-term development.

Obviously, as it is an advisory body, its natural role is that of proposing action patterns to be followed from the countries involved in the peace-building operations, and it is not entitled to take effective action. Another important task the PBC is supposed to fulfill is the one of ensuring actual funding both for early reconstruction activities and for longer-term strategies. This last mission is aimed at fixing the previous general praxis, according to which Countries were often more disposable to engage themselves to offer resources for short-term interventions (mainly devoted to peace-keeping operations) than to keep their promises of supporting peace-building operations once the conflict had been soothed and the hype on it had ceased to affect international public opinion.

The Peacebuilding Support Office


The Outcome Document of the 2005 World Summit requested the Secretary-General “to establish, within the Secretariat and from within existing resources, a small peacebuilding support office staffed by qualified experts to assist and support the Peacebuilding Commission and drawing from the best expertise available.”

The PBSO is headed by Judy Cheng-Hopkins Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support. Ms.Cheng-Hopkins provides overall management of the PBSO and the PBF, and advises the Secretary-General on peace-building issues.

PBSO comprises three sections: Strategic Planning Section, Policy Analyses Section and External Relations Section.

The PBC takes its first steps


In its first year of operations, the Commission focused its attention on Burundi
Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

 and Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone , officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north and east, Liberia to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and southwest. Sierra Leone covers a total area of and has an estimated population between 5.4 and 6.4...

.

In Burundi, the PBC and the Government of Burundi agreed on four critical peacebuilding areas to form the basis of a strategic framework: promoting good governance
Good governance
Good governance is an indeterminate term used in development literature to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources in order to guarantee the realization of human rights. Governance describes "the process of decision-making and the process by which...

, strengthening the rule of law
Rule of law
The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...

, reform of the security sector, and ensuring community recovery with a special focus on youth.

In Sierra Leone, the PBC and national partners identified reform of the justice and security sectors, youth employment and empowerment, and capacity-building in governance institutions as key priorities. Effective partnership between national and international actors helped ensure that recent elections in Sierra Leone were conducted in a peaceful, orderly and genuinely contested manner.

The 2010 elections in Burundi were more problematic. Allegations of fraud in an earlier local poll marred the June 2010 presidential election, in which incumbent Pierre Nkurunziza was the only candidate, after the country's opposition parties pulled out of the campaign.

An Independent Look at the PBC


In 2010, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the Stanley Foundation sent an independent journalist to visit the PBC's four agenda countries. The journalistic investigation suggested that the PBC's greatest strength was in its creation and execution of a political mandate for its work. Among its weaknesses were in its open-ended funding mechanism.

External links