Intervention by Tareq Md Ariful Islam, Deputy Permanent Representative at the Virtual Ambassadorial-level meeting of the Peacebuilding Commission on “Tailoring the Socio-economic Response to COVID-19 in Peacebuilding Contexts on 5 June 2020

I thank you Mr. Chair for covening today’s meeting. I also thank all the distinguished briefers for sharing their valuable perspectives with us.

 Mr. Chair,

 In conflict affected countries and fragile conditions, the pandemic has already placed critical limitations on existing peacebuilding efforts. It has exacerbated further underlying root causes of violence and fragility. A socio-economic response in such a context must, therefore, consider a comprehensive approach. Let me highlight some specific points in this regard:

First, we welcome the recent launch of the UN Framework for the Immediate Socio-economic Response to COVID-19 with its focus on five specific areas. The Secretary General’s call for a Global Ceasefire complements this framework. For these two initiatives to be implemented on the ground, however, we need nationally owned and comprehensive socio-economic response involving peace, development, and huminatarian actors. PBC can help through close engagements with the SRSGs, Special Envoys, UNCTs, bilateral donors, multilateral financial instituions, and the national actors. We are happy to learn about the UNDP’s close cooperation with PBSO. Focus on certain areas such as maintaining the electoral cycle, addressing data gaps, risk analysis, instutional building, conflict dynamics, regional cooperation would be of much importance to tailor an effective impact.

Second, a successful socio-economic response must ensure greater participation of the local peacebuilders particularly women and youth not only in tackling the pandemic but also in post-crisis reconstruction and recovery process. Fostering entrepreneurship of women and youth would be critical. Dedicated support to SMEs, facilitating access to capital and entrepreneurial skill development initiatives could go a long way in this regard.

Third, PBC can encourage mainstreaming the local innovations and ideas in the strategic plans and operational activities of both multilateral and national actors. The PBF can help the process further by funding innovative and targeted projects to encourage community resilience and social resistance against domestic violence, gender based violence, hate speech, xenophobia, etc. Ensuring digital connectivity to societies and grass root communities is critical to foster inclusive peace dialogue and people to people collaboration to overcome this period of isolation and build social cohesion and resilence thereby. This can also serve as an early warning system.

Finally, sustained and predictable flow of resources must be ensured during the pandemic period and beyond as highlighted by other speakers today. PBC has a particulalr role to play through its engagements with IFIs, donors, regional entities and other Governmental bodies to sustain the political momentum and financial commitments in this regard. Involving the private sector could be an important enabler.

This brings me to my question. How the opportunity for multilateralism that Mr. Piper you talked about, can unleash its full potential in peacebuilding context given the fact that countries are struggling with their own domestic pandemic situations?

I thank you.