Sustaining peace

On 27 April 2016, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on post-conflict peacebuilding.

The resolution, a response to the review of the UN peacebuilding architecture written by an independent expert panel, including International Alert trustee Dr ‘Funmi Olonisakin, represents a “change in strategy and mindset” according to Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary General.

The resolution emphasises the importance of understanding peacebuilding as both a goal and a process that requires sustained support from all parts of the UN system through the complete cycle of UN engagement. It calls for closer strategic and operational partnerships among national governments, the UN and other key stakeholders, and places renewed emphasis on the importance of the UN’s role in conflict prevention. The resolution also urges a strengthening of collaboration between the UN and World Bank, as well as more collaboration with regional organisations such as the African Union.

In November 2015, Alert and the UK Department for International Development co-hosted a roundtable at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London to discuss how to take forward recommendations from the review of the UN peacebuilding architecture. And earlier in the year, in September, Alert presented on the possibilities for deeper UN-World Bank collaboration, at a Peacebuilding Support Office event at the UN headquarters in New York.

Published in June 2015, the peacebuilding architecture review emphasised the need to harness efforts across the UN system towards peace and security, recognising that the UN can and should be doing more on conflict prevention, and that sustaining peace requires much longer term strategies to succeed. It also coincided with other major reviews at the UN, including the Report of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, which focused on peacekeeping, and the High-level Review and Global Study, marking the 15th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

At the roundtable on 5 November, Dr Olonisakin, alongside three representatives from the UN – the Assistant Secretary General for Peacebuilding Support Oscar Fernandez Taranco, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the UN Office for West Africa Mohammed Ibn Chambas, and Assistant Secretary General of the UN and Assistant Administrator of the UN Development Programme Izumi Nakamitsu – discussed the report with representatives from a range of donor governments and UK NGOs working on peace and conflict issues. Also in attendance were key representatives from the government of Australia – the country co-chairing the drafting process of the landmark resolution.

The discussion focused on the possibilities for operationalising two of the review’s key recommendations: how to ensure politics is central to the UN’s peacebuilding approaches and peacebuilding becomes a strong thread that runs through the complete cycle of UN engagement; and how the UN can build strategic partnerships to achieve peacebuilding goals with other multilateral agencies and with civil society.

Alert therefore welcomes the new resolution on post-conflict peacebuilding, but urges for it to be implemented by ensuring adaptations are made to the UN architecture that will better serve peacebuilding, and garnering sustained donor support to achieve this – especially in light of Sustainable Development Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions.

With eight years’ experience of working closely with the World Bank on fragility, conflict and violence issues, Alert also stands ready to support a stronger UN-World Bank partnership.