Panel Discussions - Wednesday, February 27, 2013
IPI Hosts Workshop on UN Peacebuilding Commission
The next two years mark a new juncture for the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC). In advance of a comprehensive five-year review in 2015, it needs to demonstrate accelerated progress, cohesion in New York and around the world, and concrete added value in the field. These key insights resulted from a workshop organized by IPI and the Quaker United Nations Office, in collaboration with the UN Peacebuilding Support Office, on February 27, 2013.
PBC members, UN experts, and representatives from civil society and academia discussed challenges and opportunities for the PBC in accompanying countries through political transitions and reconciliation after conflict, and revisited the broader role of PBC membership. The roundtable discussion among approximately fifty participants yielded the following recommendations:
1. Political Accompaniment and Cohesion: More cohesion at UN headquarters and in capitals is needed to ensure that members can build trust between national governments and UN actors. Fragmentation interferes with the delicate and consistent approach required in accompaniment. The PBC has the difficult role of a “critical friend,” advocating for the government but also reporting conditions truthfully. A clear understanding of the relationshi p between the chair of a PBC country configuration and the special or executive representative of the UN Secretary-General in the country is also necessary.
2. Civil Society and Citizen Engagement: The PBC may want to move away from its state-centric approach and engage with other actors to maximize its impact in building sustainable peace, according to lessons from countries like Burundi. Participants viewed this as a complex challenge for the New York–based commission and called for further exploration of how to best support the citizens of a country throughout postconflict transitions. Engaging on this level ensures processes—from politics to trauma healing—will be inclusive of previously excluded voices, like those of women and minorities.
3. Transforming Relationships and Institutions: Engaging across society is also central to reconciliation, a highly complex and context-specific process. All but one country on the PBC’s agenda is undergoing an official reconciliation process, with many more informal activities occurring at the community level. PBC members need to understand the history of violence and its impact in order to facilitate an environment conducive to inclusive reconciliation.
4. Demonstrating Added Value: PBC members have a responsibility to deliver results, and participants identified three broad ways to demonstrate added value in countries on their agenda. Members should mobilize resources to fill funding gaps, share their experiences of peacebuilding in their own countries, and increase political will through enhanced coordination. These methods again raise the significance of cohesion in the field and at UN headquarters, including the Security Council.
Going forward, a call was made for each member of the PBC to ask how their influence, expertise, and resources can be brought to bear in the work of the commission, to enhance cohesion, and to make important connections between local, national, and international peacebuilding processes.
The Global Observatory
Aid Workers, More on the Front Lines, Suffer Increased Attacks: Interview with Abby Stoddard
Aid worker attacks were at their highest levels last year.
Key Global Events to Watch in March
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
February 26, 2014
Roméo Dallaire: Neutralize Child Soldiers Without Destroying Them
“We believe that by better training both police and military and a whole new dimension of working much closer, particularly information-wise, with NGOs and other agencies on the ground, we can work at neutralizing without destroying children as a system of weaponry in this era,” said Lt. General Roméo Dallaire (Ret.) at an IPI event on February 26th.
February 19, 2014
Gary Bass: Forgotten Genocide May Portend Future Stain on UN Inaction
The inability of the United Nations Security Council to halt mass atrocities in East Pakistan some 40 years ago has parallels to current inaction in North Korea, argued Gary Bass, a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University, on February 19th.
February 18, 2014
Jok: Near Collapse in South Sudan Is Shocking but Not Surprising
The events that recently brought South Sudan to a near collapse were “extremely shocking, but they were not surprising by any means,” said Jok Madut Jok, Executive Director of The Sudd Institute, at the International Peace Institute on February 18. “It was only a matter of time before the country returned to this kind of situation,” he added.
December 03, 2013
IPI Editor Adam Lupel Quoted on the Politics of Genocide [IRIN News]