Statement Delivered by H.E Mr. Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, at the United Nations Security Council Debate on Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, 22 July 2009
South Africa wishes to express its appreciation to the Ugandan Presidency for organizing this important debate. We also thank the Secretary-General for the report on Peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict.
This debate follows many robust consultations which sought to create a common plan and strategy to effectively respond to challenges of post-conflict peacebuilding. The establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) in 2005, as an inter-governmental body to advise countries emerging from conflict, was a direct response by the international community to address these challenges.
In this regard, South Africa welcomes the fact that the compilation of this report was done in consultation with the PBC. While South Africa supports initiatives and programmes that augment the work of the Commission, it is important that the PBC should continue to be strengthened and should remain the focal point of peacebuilding activities in line with its mandate. Therefore, the report of the Secretary-General should be seen as an attempt to strengthen and enhance existing mechanisms within the UN and to streamline those outside the UN in an effort to better respond to the immediate aftermath of conflict.
In his report, the Secretary-General acknowledges that the immediate aftermath of conflict while challenging, also offers a window of opportunity for the international community to provide basic security, deliver peace dividends, confidence to the peace process and strengthen core national capacities. The Secretary-General also proposes an agenda on how the UN can be strengthened in order to respond to the immediate aftermath of conflict and identifies the following areas as priorities: basic safety and security, basic welfare, economic reintegration and support to the political processes.
South Africa fully concurs with the Secretary-General that national ownership of the peacebuilding process is critical for confidence building and strengthen fragile governments. Our experience in the African peace missions, such as the DRC, Burundi and Cote d’ Ivoire has also shown us that the peace agreement alone is not sufficient to bring stability in the country. Effective communication and inclusive dialogue between national actors and the civilian population are critical in building confidence to the process, which allows for realistic expectations by the population.
Accordingly, it is important that national actors should be capacitated in order to meet these expectations. Again South Africa’s engagement in the African peace processes has also shown that lack of due attention to national capacity development has the potential to constrain national actors from taking ownership of their recovery process.
In this regard, South Africa would like to stress the important role that women continue to play in peacebuilding efforts in post-conflict societies.
South Africa believes that regional and sub-regional organisations have always been an important element of the multilateral system. Many within their own capacities are making direct contribution to peace and security in accordance with Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. For instance the African Union with its peace and security architecture continues to demonstrate commitment and desire to successfully contribute to the achievement of stability, peace and political solutions in the continent. These organisations also possess considerable amount of human capacity which need to be harnessed and utilised effectively in order to augment the UN capabilities. South Africa’s own experience has also shown that the use of civilian expertise can be a valuable tool in the immediate aftermath of conflict.
The Secretary-General identifies an agenda for action by the international community on key priority areas among which is the role of the UN. The UN possesses enormous comparative advantages which should be marshalled to provide effective leadership, coordination and accountability, particularly as relates to its country teams on the ground.
South Africa has always supported the idea of integrated peace missions in view of the interdependence of UN efforts in the countries emerging from conflict. We believe that this integrated approach will go a long way to maximise the impact of UN responses.
Related to this is the issue of the Post-Conflict Needs Assessment (PCNA). South Africa is of the view that the PCNA should be synergised with the Peace-Building Commission. The experience of the last four years has shown that the advisory role of the Commission has been instrumental in assisting the countries on its agenda to develop their national strategy frameworks. South Africa believes that the PCNA needs to compliment the PBC’s work.
With regard to the PBC, the Commission had demonstrated the ability to deliver effectively on its mandate, notwithstanding the challenges of the last four years. South Africa looks forward to the forthcoming five year review of the Commission in 2010 which will be critical in giving an assessment of the Commission’s work and progress achieved so far.
South Africa is of the view that, in order for post-conflict peacebuilding to succeed, it is imperative that immediate, predictable and flexible financial resources are made available. Therefore forming solid partnerships with the institutions like the World Bank in a sustained manner is vital.
Lastly, my delegation supports the draft Presidential Statement to be adopted by the Security Council later today.
I thank you Mr President.