Post-conflict Peacebuilding

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Post-conflict Peacebuilding

United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO)

The Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) was established following the 2005 World Summit with an aim to sustain peace in conflict-affected countries by garnering international support for nationally-owned and led peacebuilding efforts. The Office plays an advisory role to the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC); administers the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF); supports the Secretary General’s efforts to coordinate the United Nations System in its peacebuilding efforts; and improves communication and understanding of peacebuilding among stakeholders.

Through these functions, the PBSO works to enable the PBC, the United Nations and the broader international system to advise and support countries to reduce the risk of relapse into violent conflict and to build sustainable peace.

The three main objectives of the PBSO, as identified in its strategy for 2012-2013, are to:

  • Increase the peacebuilding impact of key national and international actors at the country level through the PBC and PBF;
  • Strengthen UN system leadership, coherence and coordination on key peacebuilding policy priorities; and
  • Improve communication and understanding of peacebuilding through the PBC, UN and external actors.

The overall policy framework for the Peacebuilding Support Office’s (PBSO) engagement has been outlined in the Secretary-General’s reports on “Peacebuilding in the Immediate Aftermath of Conflict” (2009), the subsequent 2010 progress report and the 2012 report on “Peacebuilding in the Aftermath of Conflict”. The reports focus on the challenges that post-conflict countries and the international community face in the aftermath of conflict. The PBSO has also been responding to the recommendations of the 2010 review of the Peacebuilding Architecture and the PBC’s “Roadmap of Actions”. In order to translate recommendations into real change in post-conflict countries, PBSO actively participates in policy discussions and organizes thematic events on peacebuilding topics.

As indicated in the Secretary-General’s Five-Year Action Agenda (2012), peacebuilding is key for nations in transition. The Agenda also includes focus on the seven-point action plan on women’s participation in peacebuilding (2010) which recognizes that engaging in rule of law issues (before, during and after conflicts) would systematically promote women and girls’ rights to security and justice .

Rule of law is an integral link to the broader peacebuilding agenda. As highlighted in the Secretary-General’s report on “The Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-conflict Societies” (2004), the consolidation of peace in the post-conflict period, as well as the maintenance of peace in the long term, cannot be achieved unless the population is confident that redress for grievances can be obtained through legitimate structures of the peaceful settlement of disputes and fair administration of justice. The PBSO supports the rule of law entities within the United Nations system in their overall coordination efforts to strengthen rule of law aspects in peace operations and to fill the “rule of law vacuum” which has been one of the challenges in conducting peace operations.

Post-conflict Peacebuilding in 2013

United States views on international law [1] in relation to Post-conflict Peacebuilding: On April 25, 2013, Ambassador DiCarlo addressed a briefing at the UN on post-conflict peacebuilding. Her remarks are excerpted below and available at (link resource) usun.state.gov/briefing/statements/208002.htm.

Some Aspects of Post-conflict Peacebuilding

The United States appreciates the contributions of the Peacebuilding Commission, Peacebuilding Fund, and Peacebuilding Support Office and recognizes the PBC’s value as a common platform for international actors working in support of sustainable peace and development. From mobilizing resources to developing partnerships to building bridges among different UN entities in support of peacebuilding objectives, the PBC continues to evolve to reach its full potential. We share the Secretary General’s view that strong national ownership of the peacebuilding process, a closer relationship between headquarters and UN actors in the field, and prioritization of resources are essential to the PBC’s success.

Developments

In this regard, I’d like to focus on three areas where the PBC has great opportunity for added value: political governance, economic governance, and justice and security sector reform.

Details

Mr. President, peace and security require basic political agreement on the structures of government and the rules of politics. Effective, resilient, and inclusive governance institutions are essential to ending recurring conflict and enabling long-term, broad-based economic growth and development. As President Obama said in 2009, “Good governance is the ingredient that can unlock Africa’s enormous potential.” Following successful national elections in Sierra Leone, for example, the PBC’s role in developing coherent short- and long-term peacebuilding objectives and identifying national capacity gaps, particularly related to governance, is increasingly important.

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International support, however, cannot substitute for the national government nor overcome the absence of a durable political settlement. We note that PBC engagement in Guinea-Bissau is suspended following the April 2012 coup d’état, and the Central African Republic has started down a similarly troubling path. Before the CAR can stabilize and develop, constitutional order must be restored and the Libreville and N’Djamena agreements must be implemented. The Commission must be prepared to step in and facilitate international support for effective government institutions once conditions allow. Unlocking the vast untapped potential of women as political leaders and in building governance institutions is also essential. Every effort must be made to ensure that women are included and supported as the PBC helps national actors interface with the UN system, mobilize the appropriate resources, and generate momentum for further support and positive action.

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Economic governance is equally important for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery. Partnerships with the World Bank, the IMF, and regional development banks are critical since they have the tools and expertise to build the capacity of institutions of public finance. In Burundi, the PBC’s engagement with international financial institutions led to the inclusion of peacebuilding priorities in its second generation poverty reduction strategy. Furthermore, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Ambassador Seger and the country configuration, more than $2.5 billion was pledged at the October 2012 Burundi partners’ conference. Indeed, the PBC’s ability to mobilize resources and to ensure inclusivity of women and underrepresented groups is crucial for countries transitioning from conflict to development phases, but donors must have confidence in a country’s capacity to absorb and manage its contributions responsibly.

Post-conflict Peacebuilding in 2013 (Continuation)

United States views on international law [2] in relation to Post-conflict Peacebuilding: Beyond the necessity of capable political and economic governance, ordinary citizens must feel safe and secure in their daily lives for peacebuilding to succeed. They need to be able to trust in the rule of law and the state’s security forces. Yet, in the aftermath of conflict, there is usually a need to build up the justice sector while the security sector is typically in need of reform and downsizing. Women need to take part and be included in reforming the institutions of law and security so that the needs of the entire society are met.

More about Post-conflict Peacebuilding

The PBC can and should help sustain political momentum for such efforts. In Liberia, the PBC not only facilitated the participation of key stakeholders to establish justice hubs to bring security and justice services to Liberians outside of the capital but helped to enable a structured roadmap that kept the project on track and coordinated. We understand the first hub is already providing essential services, including counseling for victims of sexual and gender-based violence.

Development

Mr. President, too often, our attention is focused acutely on ending the fighting and stopping the bloodshed. But when the guns fall silent, the wounds of war are far from healed and the causes of conflict far from resolved. For this reason, the PBC remains important and must continue to improve its effectiveness in catalyzing political momentum and mobilizing the resources needed to assist countries transitioning from conflict to peace.

Post-conflict Peacebuilding

Embracing mainstream international law, this section on post-conflict peacebuilding explores the context, history and effect of the area of the law covered here.

Resources

Further Reading

  • The entry “post-conflict peacebuilding” in the Parry and Grant Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law (currently, the Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law, 2009), Oxford University Press

Resources

Notes

  1. Post-conflict Peacebuilding in the Digest of United States Practice in International Law, 2013
  2. Post-conflict Peacebuilding in the Digest of United States Practice in International Law, 2013

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