I thank you for organizing this electronic consultation and for the opportunity to share our perspectives on Financing and Partnerships for Peacebuilding and Sustaining peace as part of the 2020 review of the Peacebuilding Architecture. Let me also take this opportunity to thank all the briefers for their valuable insights on this important topic.
Bangladesh supports a nationally owned and inclusive approach for realizing peacebuilding and sustaining peace agenda in conflict affected countries and fragile contexts. We believe that sustaining peace can take deep root in a society only through the continued and coordinated efforts of a robust ecosystem of multilateral, national and international partners. Partnership is also critically important for financing and mobilization of critical resources for peacebuilding. Let me take this opportunity to share some specific points in this regard:
First, for peacebuilding funding to be predictable and sustained, it is important to consider how that can be made part of assessed contribution. During the 2020 review of the PBA, the member states have this opportunity to work together on some of the forward-leaning recommendations of the Secretary General in this regard.
Second, member states can consider putting in place a process for regular dialogues on the financing on peacebuilding and sustaining peace. The dialogue may include in its agenda good practices and challenges relating to existing financing options, new partnering opportunities for resource mobilization, innovative options including for engaging with private sector for peacebuilding activities as outlined by Secretary General in his report.
Third, innovative financing has to be activated as a major funding stream for peacebuilding. In this regard, blended financing could be a vehicle for mobilizing private capital from foreign sources. For that to happen, risk elimination on investment is of paramount importance which is, however, extremely difficult to ensure in conflict and fragile settings. Here the national governments and warring parties have to play an enabling and incentivizing role such as by providing advance financial commitments. PBC’s country configuration along with UNCT can convince the local actors to do so by presenting a benefit analysis drawing from UNCT’s country assessment. On the other hand, the investors also have their role to play. Their business plan has to be well-integrated to the local economy, so that it could be an engine of growth without threatening local businesses. For that the plan has to embrace smart business practices such as local hiring and local buying, use of appropriate technology that is employment intensive, cater to conflict related needs of workers, team building and reconciliation in workplace that would in turn stimulate reconciliation in the society as a whole etc. The businesses also have to ensure occupational health and safety rules, particularly in cases of disease outbreak such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Once local actors see the value, risk on investment return would come down automatically. PBC can be an honest broker to help risk management and in the process provide the much needed interface between investors and local actors.
Fourth, evolving nature of conflicts requires a robust local-global partnership for resource mobilization for sustaining peace over time. PBC can catalyze member states, bilateral donors, and other international actors to build this partnership by cultivating and applying human and material resources both within and beyond the national boundaries. This would in turn require PBC’s strengthened partnership with regional, sub regional organizations, and IFIs. The collaboration of PBSO and World Bank has already shown some good results in the field based on UN-World Bank study titled ‘Pathways for Peace’. The Joint UN-AU framework for enhanced partnership in peace and security can contribute a lot in the field including for aligning the SG’s global Ceasefire Appeal and AU’s ‘Silencing the Guns’ initiative.
Fifth, the COVID-19 pandemic has come up with new challenges for PBC as it has for other UN organs. It has, however, also opened some new opportunities for partnership and coherence. 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 appeal for a Global Ceasefire complements this framework. For these initiatives to create impact on the ground, we need nationally owned and comprehensive socio-economic response involving peace, development, and humanitarian actors. PBC can help this cause through close engagements with IFIs, donors, regional entities, and other Governmental bodies to sustain the political momentum and financial commitments.
Sixth, PBF’s focused interventions in critical areas of peacebuilding including in empowering gender and youth have paid back rich dividend. We are happy that the new 2020-24 PBF investment strategy has put adequate focus on strengthening strategic partnership with IFIs, and regional and sub regional organizations including the AU. We support Secretary General’s call for enhanced, predictable, and sustained resources for PBF to continue its catalytic work in high risk environments.
Finally, PBC needs to continue its strong and coherent multi-partner support for peacebuilding and promote national capacity building to address the root causes and drivers of conflicts and inequalities in a society. In the post-conflict fragile conditions, it must build strategic partnerships with local actors to eliminate polarizing lines of divides across ethnicity, class, gender, religion, and race. A whole of society approach is a sine qua non for unlocking potentials for significant peace dividends through partnerships across diverse actors in a society. The PBC can encourage national governments to create necessary social spaces and institutions for supporting the processes of positive changes in a post-conflict situation.
I thank you.