Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues,
It is an honour and privilege for my delegation to be elected as the Chair of the 16th session of the Peacebuilding Commission.
This is the second time that we assume this responsibility. In 2012, my Foreign Minister [who was then our PR here] served as the Chair of the Commission. Our commitment to the Commission’s mandate and work remains unwavering.
We are grateful to the members of the Commission for reposing their trust and confidence in my delegation, for this important responsibility during this highly challenging time.
I thank and commend my dear friend, Ambassador Osama Abdelkhalek and his predecessor Ambassador Mohamed Edrees, for their outstanding leadership of the Commission in 2021. Our special thanks to the entire Egyptian delegation. I am so pleased that Ambassador Osama will be continuing with us as a Vice-Chair; and I know that I can count on his support, and continue to benefit from his expertise and experience.
Allow me to also congratulate another good friend, Ambassador José Blanco Conde of the Dominican Republic on his election as a Vice-Chair.
I thank the outgoing Vice-Chairs, Ambassador Bob Rae, PR of Canada and Ambassador Michal Mlynár, PR of the Slovak Republic for their invaluable contributions.
I take this opportunity to place on record our special thanks to former ASG Oscar Taranco, who led PBSO since 2014 with utmost dedication and professionalism. ASG Taranco’s knowledge and experience, and his passion for the work of this Commission, will be greatly missed. We wish him the very best in his new endeavours.
We have a great team in the PBSO. I thank them for their dedication and commitment. We will count on their continued support to the Commission’s work.
I also take this opportunity to welcome the appointment of the new ASG, Ms. Elizabeth Spehar of Canada. I look forward to working with her closely in the coming days.
Today we have also re-elected the Chairs of the country specific configurations on Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau and Liberia. I extend my warmest felicitations to Ambassador Pascal Baeriswyl, Ambassador Anna Karin Enestrom, Ambassador Ronaldo Costa Filho, and Ambassador Omar Hilale on their re-elections. I look forward to their continued support and collaboration.
The annual report of the Commission, which has just been adopted, is a testimony of PBC’s meaningful engagements on country-specific, regional, and cross-cutting issues, ensuring synergy with the work of the Peace-building Fund, and expanding further the legacy of the thematic footprints of the PBC.
In 2021, the PBC produced a record number of outcome documents. The Chair responded to the invitations of as many as 11 non-UN bodies. The advisory role of the PBC in relation to the General Assembly and the Security Council expanded significantly. I congratulate Amb. Osama Abdelkhalek for his tireless efforts and strong leadership.
I assure you that we will build upon this good work. Our overarching goals will be to ensure the PBC’s timely engagements and adequate support to countries under its consideration, expanding demand-driven focus, and further improving PBC’s advisory, bridging and convening roles. In taking this forward, we will be counting on the support of all members and other partners.
Allow me to share a few specific thoughts on our plans and focus for this year:
First, the pandemic has placed critical limitations on existing peacebuilding efforts in conflict-affected countries and fragile conditions, exacerbating the underlying root causes of violence and conflict. There has been an alarming rise in poverty and inequalities. The digital divides, both within and across societies, have risen sharply. Against this backdrop, the twin resolutions of 2020 which emphasized on the need to integrate peacebuilding and sustaining peace into our efforts to build back better assumes greater relevance.
We will put particular focus on promoting global solidarity to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on development and peacebuilding, including through our strong collaboration with ECOSOC, within the broader framework of the 2030 Agenda.
Second, this year, the General Assembly will convene the first ever high-level meeting on peacebuilding financing. This is indeed an excellent opportunity to address the perennial problems of ensuring adequate, predictable, and sustainable financing for peacebuilding.
I intend to work closely with all of you to provide substantive inputs to the General Assembly, to support an action-oriented outcome of this meeting.
Third, as the leading troops and police-contributing country to UN peace operations, Bangladesh greatly values the importance of leveraging the positive footprints of peacekeepers in the host countries. Our peacekeepers play a crucial role in assisting the host countries to develop critical peacebuilding capacities, help other peacebuilding actors to achieve peacebuilding and sustaining peace undertakings, and support capacity-building of relevant national institutions during transition.
We thank the Egyptian Chair for convening a meeting last year to discuss the contribution of peacekeeping to peacebuilding and sustaining peace. We intend to build on that discussion to further enhance the PBC’s critical role in convening peacekeeping stakeholders, providing advice to the Security Council in relation to mandate setting of peace operations, and support the implementation of the peacebuilding dimensions of A4P.
Fourth, taking into consideration the growing requests from countries for PBC’s support, we will place high priority to this issue. PBC’s relevance rests on its ability to respond to such requests and situations in a timely and coordinated manner.
Last year we have seen PBC engaging in regional peacebuilding approaches, such as in the Gulf of Guinea on piracy, or in the Sahel on the implementation of the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel. We are committed to ensuring meaningful follow-up to these and other similar engagements.
Fifth, we wish to consolidate and enhance further PBC’s advisory role with the General Assembly, Security Council, and ECOSOC. To achieve this goal, it is imperative to strengthen liaison with these bodies.
I wish to thank Kenya and South Africa for effectively coordinating with the Security Council and the General Assembly as informal coordinators last year; and for agreeing to continue their respective roles this year. I am also happy to share that we will have an informal coordinator to liaise with the ECOSOC as well this year.
Sixth, Bangladesh is keen to leverage the PBC’s bridging and convening roles to foster broader partnership to support nationally led peacebuilding and sustaining peace efforts. This will include stronger partnerships with regional and sub-regional organizations, as well as, international and regional financial institutions.
There is also much to achieve from South-South and Triangular Cooperation, especially to mobilize critical resources and create platforms for sharing ideas and good practices.
I am happy to see that, in recent years, there has been increased participation of civil society and the private sector representatives in PBC meetings. We would also like to add further impetus to create more opportunities for enhanced engagements with the civil society, private sector and other non-UN entities working on peacebuilding and sustaining peace.
Seventh, the 2016 and 2020 twin resolutions stressed on building up the UN’s system-wide coherence and synergy, both internally and externally. The briefings by the RCs, HCs, RRs and SRSGs in the 2021 PBC sessions provided us with a better understanding of the contributions of the UNCCA (Common Country Analysis) and UNSDCF to peacebuilding and sustaining peace.
This year, we would like to focus on a more coherent and effective delivery of peacebuilding goals by UN country teams, and the UN funds and programmes in support of national peacebuilding priorities. We wish to see strengthened inter-linkages between the PBC and the PBF for effective implementation of peacebuilding projects on the ground.
We would also like to see PBC mobilizing the UN system and other relevant actors for capacity-building of national and local institutions in countries under PBC’s consideration in line with their national priorities.
The strengthening of the PBSO is important in this regard. We would support enhancing the PBSO’s “hinge” role for effective interface among the various actors.
Eighth, WPS and YPS are priority agendas for Bangladesh, which we believe, not only strengthens the work of PBC, but also promotes inclusive approaches to peacebuilding and sustaining peace. The devastating impacts of the pandemic on women and youth in particular, demand PBC’s greater attention to these two agendas.
I am pleased to see that the Commission’s gender strategy and action plan, as well as its action plan for youth and peacebuilding, lay out ambitious goals for empowering women and youth.
We aim to promote more structured engagements among the UN agencies and national governments for effective implementation of these important accountability frameworks on the ground, especially now as we recover from the pandemic.
Ninth, the Secretary-General’s report: “Our Common Agenda”contains specific proposals for peacebuildingand sustaining peace within the broader ambit of “a new Agenda for Peace”. It calls for a deeper reflection on peacebuilding and sustaining peace, and emphasizes greater investment in prevention.
We wish to further engage with the Secretary General this year to contribute to the ongoing discussions on relevant components of the OCA.
Finally, over the last few years, the Commission has been making consistent efforts to improve the predictability of the PBC calendar and its programme of work. We need a well-prepared programme of work with necessary flexibility.
To this end, I plan to consult with all of you, including the representatives of the countries that engage with the PBC, before finalizing this year’s work plan. I count on your full support and cooperation in this regard.
Excellencies, Distinguished Colleagues,
We take up the responsibility to steer the Commission’s work this year, with a deep sense of responsibility and conviction. We also see this as an opportunity to build upon the progress made so far and taking it to the next level. In doing so, the Bangladesh chair will count on forging greater partnership, participation and ownership of all concerned. I look forward to remaining actively engaged with you and all key stakeholders to fulfill our objectives based on these principles. I count on your support, friendship, and solidarity to make 2022 an impactful year for the PBC.
I thank you all.