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Remarks at Security Council open debate on Peacebuilding in Africa

28 Jul 2016
Ban Ki-Moon

Peacebuilding is at the core of the United Nations’ activities in conflict-affected countries throughout the world.

The recent historic resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and this Council emphasize that sustaining peace is a shared responsibility of Governments, national stakeholders and the United Nations.

Peace in Africa is a top priority.

As we meet, South Sudan remains precariously poised on the brink of an abyss.

The promises of the new State for peace, justice and opportunity have been squandered.

I am appalled by the scale of sexual violence documented by our Human Rights teams.

We demand accountability for all atrocities and that the leaders of South Sudan commit to the peace process.

Instability also persists in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya and Mali, and a number of other nations.

This is a cause of grave concern for all.

But it is also important to emphasize that this is not the full story of Africa.

There is another narrative, largely untold, of growing economies, improved living standards and expanding democratic space.

Our shared responsibility is to nourish these seeds of peace and prosperity.

One way we can do that is to nurture inclusive, transparent, effective and accountable institutions and help the nations of Africa achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

When institutions are weak, nations cannot thrive.

Inclusive and accountable institutions are the cement that bonds States and citizens.

They provide security, justice, limit corruption, reduce marginalization and avert ethnic tension.

They promote the delivery of essential services, from sanitation and health care to an enabling environment for business to flourish.

They offer a channel for resolving disputes and preventing the outbreak of violent conflict.

They are the bedrock of peace and sustainable development.

Building effective and legitimate institutions is not easy.

But we have learned some fundamental lessons.

First, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.

Institution-building has to be rooted in national historical, political, social, cultural and economic contexts.

Trying to impose an outside model on a post-conflict country can do more harm than good.

The focus should be to build on existing institutions to provide the services that people need.

Second, institution-building needs to be rooted in political agreement.

National ownership and leadership are key.

That means broad, inclusive dialogue, encompassing central government, local authorities, communities, the private sector and civil society, especially youth and women and marginalized groups.

Such dialogue enhances social cohesion, strengthens the legitimacy of the State, and increases the sustainability of reforms.

Third, institution-building is a long-term process, sometimes taking decades.

Each country’s institutions should be allowed to develop incrementally, allowing for experimentation, learning and adaptation.

But, communities also need to see early and tangible progress.

Peace dividends are essential.

And perceptions are critical.

If expectations are high but not met, even if there is progress, grievances can mount.

Measuring the impact of institution-building is not easy.

Results can be intangible or elusive for years.

Pressures from donor countries for instant results can be detrimental to long-term development objectives and – ultimately -- peace.

Therefore, in meeting our shared responsibility, we need wisdom, commitment and patience.

United Nations missions and humanitarian and development actors are committed to working closely as one to support institution rebuilding and strengthening in Africa.

In Somalia, UNSOM, the Country Team, the Peacebuilding Support Office, UNDP and the World Bank are supporting the Government under the New Deal Compact to restore core government functions, including through a flagship Capacity Development Programme.

We are helping the country to build stronger public sector institutions that can deliver services and access, thereby helping the Federal Government establish and gain the people’s trust in State authority, especially outside of Mogadishu in newly recovered areas.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO and the UN Country Team have been working on an integrated programme of justice, local governance and development initiatives, in support of the International Security, Stabilization and Support Strategy.

The programme focuses on the delivery of basic services in stabilized areas in North Kivu and preventing grievances that could lead to further conflict.

Finally, the United Nations and the World Bank have jointly developed a diagnostic tool to assess core government functions and identify key actions necessary to deliver essential services.

Drawing on our experience in the Central African Republic in 2014, where the UN and the World Bank supported the payment of civil servants, the tool is currently being piloted in Libya, and we hope to be able to deploy it in South Sudan and Yemen.

Support to core government functions is critical during the early recovery period, and an essential component of the peacebuilding and statebuilding process.

Peacekeeping operations and political missions have seen a significant increase in institution-building mandates from the Council in recent years.

However, these have not always come with realistic timeframes, or the necessary resources and support.

I welcome that the Fifth Committee has allocated funds in the budgets of a number of peacekeeping operations for programmatic activities focusing on institution-building, including in partnership with UN Country Teams.

But a large gap remains.

Despite praise for the Peacebuilding Fund in the recent peace and security reviews, it faces a desperate funding shortfall.

To deliver on the collective commitment to sustain peace, I am asking your governments to help the PBF Pledging Conference in September to achieve the funding target of $300 million dollars.

I thank the efforts of co-hosts Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sweden and the United Kingdom for their efforts.

Institution-building entails strong partnership, coherence and coordination among many actors -- intergovernmental bodies, headquarters and the field, entities on the ground, international financial institutions, regional organizations and civil society.

The Peacebuilding Commission provides an important platform to help focus the attention of all these actors on long-term institution-building.

It can help mobilize resources, share lessons and sustain engagement by the international community.

I encourage the Security Council to build on the recent resolution on sustaining peace, and on your deliberations during the informal interactive dialogue led by France in June, and continue to strengthen your relationship with the Peacebuilding Commission.

Thank you.