Prof. U. Joy Ogwu
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations
New York, NY
23rd March, 2011
My delegation thanks you, Mr. President, for convening this meeting on the annual report of the Peacebuilding Commission (S/2011/41). I would like to add my voice to those of my colleagues who have extended their appreciation to Ambassador Peter Wittig for his briefing and especially for his remarkable contribution in his former role as Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC). I also want to thank Ambassador Gasana, the current Chair, for his insights. We want to assure him of our unalloyed support in his new responsibilities.
Over the past year, we have been afforded numerous opportunities to better understand how the work of the Security Council interfaces with peacebuilding goals. This Council has been enriched by its acknowledgement of how, in achieving security ends, we can contribute to the fulfilment of long-term development through peacebuilding activities. The recent Council debates on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict and women’s participation in peacebuilding, institution-building and the interdependence of security and development have all been excellent opportunities for the Council to develop a keener appreciation of the part that we play in the peacebuilding agenda. Indeed, all of these debates have attested to the value of peacebuilding as a tool for preventive diplomacy.
The review of international civilian capacities and the five-year review of the peacebuilding architecture dovetail neatly with the conclusions in the annual report of the PBC. What Nigeria takes from these three work streams is the overarching and critical importance of cooperation. It is clear from the work of all the configurations of the Commission that their goals cannot be achieved in isolation without the participation of other key actors, including national Governments, regional organizations, international financial institutions, other United Nations agencies, bodies and funds, and civil society.
Liberia is proving to be an excellent case for cooperation and innovation. With the adoption of the statement of mutual commitment, the Government of Liberia is firmly in the driving seat in terms of identifying priorities and ensuring that service delivery is demand-driven. Such cooperative efforts, which emphasize national ownership, attest to the commitment of the Liberia configuration and to the vision of the Commission itself.
The cooperation of regional organizations remains an essential element of the peacebuilding toolkit, and one that we must encourage in this Council. We welcome, for example, the partnership of the African Union (AU), among others, in closing the funding gap for Burundi’s 2010 elections. In addition, we believe that the March 2010 meeting on partnership for peacebuilding, which was attended by representatives of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, the AU and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, was an important forum for exploring and advocating for stronger, more enduring partnerships to build and sustain peace in fragile or conflict-sensitive societies.
If we are able to identify more effective ways of mobilizing resources for Africa’s peacebuilding initiatives, and to identify the appropriate peacebuilding priorities, countries emerging from conflict will no doubt be better served by the United Nations system. In this vein, Nigeria fully supports the annual joint meeting of the PBC and the AU Peace and Security Council, which follows the annual consultative meeting of members of the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council. We believe that these meetings can help to bridge the gaps inherent in addressing the nexus between peacekeeping and peacebuilding and, indeed, the broader relationship between security and development in Africa.
The Working Group on Lessons Learned has rightly drawn from national experiences to highlight the centrality of development aspects of peacebuilding. Reducing youth unemployment, developing income generating activities, debt relief, skills training and promoting women’s employment and economic empowerment are essential strategies for laying a solid economic foundation for peace and stability. It is with this in mind that Nigeria approved 0.7 million units of account in debt relief under the Nigeria Trust Fund for Burundi and Togo.
Despite the significant gains in peacebuilding in this reporting period, many challenges evidently remain in nations such as Guinea-Bissau — as Ambassador Viotti will attest — and the Central African Republic. In Guinea-Bissau, we look forward to the outcome of the planned joint mission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the United Nations and the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries. We truly believe that Guinea-Bissau can and will overcome its security sector reform challenges so that the country can benefit from the gains achieved by the PBC, ECOWAS and other actors in pursuit of democratic governance.
We accept that there are serious challenges to be addressed in the Central African Republic in the era following the drawdown of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad. Specifically, the configuration must prioritize its support to the Government’s efforts in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and in institutional capacity-building. While these challenges are no doubt daunting, we stress that they can be overcome through concerted and collective action. We firmly believe that the PBC is best placed to bring together the efforts of all stakeholders in order to devise appropriate strategies to assist post-conflict countries.
The PBC, as we have all acknowledged, has already shown us its effectiveness in harnessing the strengths of multiple development and security actors. The PBC can marshal and has marshalled the resources, the know-how and the political will of the international community in a way that anchors the Security Council’s quest for lasting peace. We therefore lend our full support and commitment to its efforts and trust that we will soon maximize the PBC’s potential and, ultimately, fulfill the basic objectives for which it was established.