Statement by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, during the Security Council Briefing on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace: Strengthening Partnerships for Nationally-Owned Transitions”, 18 July 2019

Mr President,

My delegation would like to thank you for convening this meeting on peacebuilding and sustaining peace: strengthening partnerships for nationally-owned transitions.

We thank the Secretary-General, António Guterres, the Chairperson of the Peace­building Commission, Ambassador Guiller­mo Fernández de Soto Valderrama of Colom­bia and the representatives of the World Bank and African Development Bank for their valuable briefings.  

Mr President,

South Africa appreciates the work done by the Secretary-General on the progress made in addressing existing gaps in the UN system to assist countries in their efforts towards peacebuilding and sustaining peace.

Whilst we recognise the primary responsibility of national governments and authorities in identifying, driving and directing priorities, strategies and activities for peacebuilding and sustaining peace, the international community has the obligation to ensure that it assists in the maintenance of peace and security. This includes the partnership for development to ensure the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals, which is necessary to address the root causes of conflict.

In this regard, South Africa continues to support the ongoing work of the Peacebuilding Commission to promote national ownership in political, peace and security processes in pursuit of peaceful and resilient societies. Peaceful and resilient societies will be realised when the root causes and underlying currents of conflicts are addressed. We believe that any support to post-conflict reconstruction and development (PCRD) activities should be tailor-made to suit the country-specific needs and to be sustainable, it needs local ownership and leadership with the meaningful participation of women and involvement of the youth.

It is also our considered view that effective peacebuilding during transitions must involve the entire United Nations system focusing on enhancing UN’s cross-pillar coordination including development, peace and security, and human rights. We, thus, reaffirm our support for strengthened cooperation between the PBC and the Security Council particularly when the Council is considering the review and drawdown of peacekeeping operations and special political missions.

The Security Council must, however, ensure that at the outset that peace operation mandates (peacekeeping and political missions) are realistic, tailored and flexible in order for missions to achieve their desired outcomes in terms of keeping the peace and creating an enabling environment for peacebuilding processes.

Sustained consultations between the Security Council, Peacebuilding Commission and host country during the periodic assessment and review of peace operation mandates as well as their eventual withdrawal are also important. This will guarantee the active involvement of all stakeholders, particularly the host country, on outlining the expectations from the mission, including milestones and timelines. This would also ensure the success, not only of the peace missions but lay the groundwork for the continuation of peacebuilding activities.

We also see merit in enhancing partnerships between the United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture and regional and sub-regional post-conflict PCRD architecture such as that of the African Union. The Peacebuilding Commission should engage strategically with the AU PCRD Centre on peacebuilding activities on post-conflict situations in Africa. All efforts must be brought together in ensuring development, good sharing of practices in peacebuilding and securing resources that will enhance sustainable transition.

We recognise that investing in PCRD may contribute significantly in conflict prevention efforts and would also prevent countries emerging from conflicts and crises to avoid relapse. Therefore there is a need for periodic assessments and reviews of post-conflict needs assessment situations to ensure that enough resources are mobilised for those situations.

Although we recognise the usefulness of programmatic funding for peacebuilding activities during transitions to prevent gaps after mission’s withdrawal, we reiterate the need for predictable, sustainable funding for peacebuilding activities through assessed contributions. It is through this funding that peace activities can be sustained long-term.

In conclusion, as the Security Council considers mission drawdowns in future, we must be cognisant of the fact that our responsibility does not end when the lifespan of a peacekeeping Mission ends. The Charter places the responsibility of maintenance of international peace and security squarely on the shoulders of this Council. Thus, we must ensure that we continue to remain engaged as countries transition from conflict to post-conflict situations.  Our recent work on Haiti and the Council’s experience with the transition in Liberia are good examples of not neglecting countries once peacekeepers leave. We are currently faced with situations on our agenda where we are considering Missions drawdowns. This consideration, by necessity, must also include planning and resources to ensure that countries are able to transition towards sustainable peace.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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