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Peacebuilding: A way towards sustainable peace and security – Baroness Warsi’s intervention at the United Nations General Assembly

By Baroness Warsi, Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Baroness Warsi

Madam Prime Minister.  Thank you for convening today’s debate and for giving us the opportunity to discuss the important issue of peace building.

I would like to pay tribute to the long-standing commitment and leadership shown by Bangladesh on the Peacebuilding agenda. Thank you also to His Excellency Mr Abulkalam Abdul Momen, for his ongoing commitment and dedication, in his role as chairman of the Peacebuilding Commission.

When violent conflict breaks out, the costs to both the affected country and the international community are enormous. Lives are lost, people are displaced, trade links are cut, and criminals and terrorists can take advantage of instability and chaos.

It is therefore clear that peace building is a shared goal. It affects those caught up in the conflict, but it also affects those who are not.
Madam Chairman, I believe the only way to sustainable peace and security is for peace building to be conducted in genuine partnership with states affected by conflict.

There are three principles for effective peacebuilding partnerships without which we will not be able to succeed. These are:
First, effective co-ordination amongst the international community, both in the affected countries and at the UN, raised by Prime Minister Gillard.

Second, strong ownership of peace building from the affected state.

And thirdly genuine mutual accountability for delivering of results.

Peace building has to be done with a comprehensive approach. It cannot be done in silos. Peacebuilding must be holistic. It requires co-ordination from the international community in any given country. Individual donors must resist the temptation to pursue national interests and in doing so duplicating the activities of others at best, undermining it at worst.

Without proper international coordination, there is a real danger that peacebuilding will not be effective. Institutions cannot act independently.  So we must accept the need to be co-ordinated, as well as to co-ordinate with others. The UN must also co-ordinate internally. Peacebuilding is not just about the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Support Office. It is a job for all of the UN, who must work together as one. And as donors, we can help the UN to co-ordinate, with coherent messaging and coherent funding.

The real key, however, lies with the affected countries themselves. Understanding the local context is essential.  There is little point trying to replicate exactly what works in one country in another emerging from conflict.  As we have seen in Timor Leste, and as we heard today from Prime Minister Gusmao, a government with clear priorities can help direct the international community. So strong national ownership is imperative.  And that ownership must include a broad range of voices especially recognising the role of women.  How can peacebuilding possibly be effective if we do not include half of our populations?

Lastly, there is the need for mutual accountability. Today the international community has committed today to responsible peacebuilding. It means remaining engaged as long as necessary. It means finding the funds that are needed. The UK has already committed fifty-five million pounds to the Peacebuilding Fund, and we urge others to follow this contribution.

There are also responsibilities on the part of countries affected by conflict. New administrations must govern for all the people, regardless of the outcome of the conflict. Issues such as corruption should be addressed so that donors have confidence their support will reach the right people. And new political, security and justice structures should be truly inclusive, not simply composed of existing elites.

Madam Chairman. Building sustainable peace and security in post conflict countries is an enormously difficult and complicated task. But, with clear coordination, commitment and partnership, it can be achieved.

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