I thank the President of the General Assembly and the President of the Economic and Social Council for inviting the PBC Chair to this important discussion.
The majority of the countries and regions that the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) engages with are from the African continent. PBC’s flexible agenda and consultative approach founded on the principle of national ownership have encouraged many countries to interact with this intergovernmental platform to advance their national peacebuilding priorities through dialogue on common challenges and opportunities, sharing of experiences and best practices, and mobilization of political, technical and financial support from the international community. Similarly, the number of countries seeking support from the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), working in synergy with the PBC and UN Country Teams on the ground, has doubled in the last 5 years.
The PBC has been working with concerned countries and regions in providing support for durable and multistakeholder solutions. These include the strengthening of a wide array of local, national, and regional financing mechanisms and sources, and engagements with the national Governments, civil society, women, youth and United Nations entities for advancing the nationally determined peacebuilding priorities. This has been done through domestic resource mobilization, inclusive and comprehensive regional, and cross-border approaches, innovative partnerships and voluntary contributions from Member States to the PBF.
During 2020-2021, when the region was severely affected by the COVID 19 pandemic, the Commission generated awareness around the risk of severe pressure on financial flows to the conflict-affected countries, especially in the context of United Nations transitions, reversing gains made and slowing down the progress made towards achieving the SDGs. Furthermore, the impact of the pandemic and the associated strain on public funds and services, both official development assistance (ODA) and non-ODA sources have been used in responding to the crises, resulting in reduced focus to prevention efforts. For example, in 2018, the OECD DAC members spent 25% of their ODA on humanitarian assistance which has doubled from 12% in 2007, whereas they spent only 4% and 13% on prevention and peacebuilding, respectively. Evidence shows that shifting investments towards prevention of conflicts, is cost-effective and protects hard-earned development gains.
Throughout 2021 and 2022, the PBC focused on the issue of peacebuilding financing as its thematic priority. In its advisory letter to the General Assembly ahead of the high-level meeting on peacebuilding financing which took place in April this year, the PBC underscored the growing peacebuilding financing gap and encouraged the GA to consider all options for enhanced peacebuilding financing, including voluntary, assessed and innovative in the high-level meeting. The Commission recognized PBF’s catalytic role in this regard, which since 2007, has invested USD$1.19 billion in Africa, accounting for 72% of PBF’s total investments. The projects and initiatives funded by PBF have resulted in improved peacebuilding outcomes and leveraged additional financing, including domestic resources. However, the donor base to the Fund needs to be broadened and diversified and must be complemented by other funding mechanisms and partnerships.
Based on PBC’s engagements, including past joint engagements with the GA and ECOSOC, I wish to share following observations:
First, Given the increasing humanitarian and peacebuilding needs in Africa, we need to ensure that humanitarian assistance, recovery and sustainable development efforts are interlinked, coherent, conflict-sensitive and promote peacebuilding, including by focusing more on prevention of conflicts and violence. We must avoid siloed approaches in addressing the root causes of conflict and advancing achievement of the SDGs, taking duly into account interlinkages between humanitarian, development and peace aspects, and building on successful initiatives supported by the UN Humanitarian-Development-Peacebuilding and Partnership Facility (HDPP Facility).
Second, due to the devastating effects of conflicts, COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, many countries in Africa have been pushed further off track from meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Urgent attention is needed to support the regions’ efforts to tackle rising poverty and hunger, ongoing energy crisis and food insecurity, as well as growing inequalities through adequately and sustainably funded development programmes. Longer-term, dedicated and more flexible funding mechanisms should be ensured to directly support local peacebuilding including for women and youth-led initiatives.
Third, For more integrated and coherent support to national peacebuilding priorities we must promote confluence of various funding streams towards shared objectives, in the spirit of “good peacebuilding financing”. This will require stronger partnerships with regional and subregional organizations, regional and international financial banks and institutions, bilateral partners, traditional and non-traditional donors, civil society organizations, local peacebuilding stakeholders and the private sector as well as agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations, especially at the field level.
Fourth: noting the continuing demand for PBF support that has significantly outpaced available resources, we invite partners to explore how the Fund’s donor based can be expanded, how support to the Fund could be scaled-up, including via multi-year commitments to ensure more predictable and sustainable financing streams. Additionally, we should continue to identify creative peacebuilding financing and non-financial contributions, such as capacity building and technical cooperation for lasting peace and sustainable development, including through regional and South-South cooperation.
Fifth: To support the African countries, especially the LDCs in recovery and achieving SDGs, it is imperative to ensure economic empowerment and financial inclusion of local communities including, but not limited to women’s economic empowerment. This may include through access to technology, employment generation, new sources of financing, and comprehensive debt relief measures, in line with the vision and commitments of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Doha Programme of Action for LDCs, and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
Allow me to conclude with a call for reinvigorated multilateral action, greater political engagement, better coordination, effective strategic partnerships as well as adequate, predictable and sustained financing for comprehensive and inclusive approaches to peace and development in Africa and beyond. To this end, the Commission fully supports the intergovernmental process underway, led by the co-facilitators Kenya and Sweden, appointed by the President of the General Assembly, to achieve an action-oriented outcome to its high-level meeting on financing for peacebuilding.
I thank you.