On 23 June 2016 the Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, Dr Vasu Gounden, was invited by the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) to be a Resource Person at their Annual Session 2016 meeting on “Transitions as a challenge to consolidating peace and security: The role of the PBC in diplomacy and political accompaniment”. The meeting took place at the UN Headquarters in New York.
Dr Gounden was invited to be speaker during the Interactive working session 2 focusing on the topic of “What role for the PBC in accompanying countries undergoing different types of transitions”.
In view of the challenges faced by countries in transition from conflict to sustaining peace, it is clear that the international community can play a crucial role in supporting and advising national authorities achieve nationally identified priorities. In 2005, Member States decided to create the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund to close what the Secretary-General had identified as a “gaping hole” in the UN’s capacity to support countries achieve lasting peace.
As a body to provide advice upon request to both the General Assembly and the Security Council, and through its diverse membership, the PBC can play a critical role. This has been reaffirmed by the substantively identical resolutions A/RES/70/262 and S/RES/2282 (2016) which articulates the key functions expected of the PBC: Firstly, it can provide political accompaniment and advocacy for countries concerned at a time when the attention of the international community is of the utmost importance, to marshal resources. Secondly, it can bridge policy and operational gaps among the principal organs and entities of the UN, and promote inter-linkages and coherence among the peace and security, development, human rights and humanitarian actors with a view to sustaining peace during and after transitions. Thirdly, the Commission is a unique platform that can convene all relevant stakeholders, including national authorities, regional and sub-regional organisations, the IFIs, UN actors and civil society organisations to discuss peacebuilding priorities.
Therefore Dr Gounden’s session focused on concrete ways of how this potential of the PBC should be used in order to ensure smooth and orderly transitions. It aimed to discuss the advisory role of the Commission to the Security Council, particularly related to Council-mandated missions, and to look at how the Commission could build stronger partnerships with key regional partners to better support the needs of countries in transition.
In this connection, and building on the discussions convened by the PBC on peacebuilding challenges at the regional and sub-regional level, the session, in consultation with the countries concerned, would also look at the idea of the establishment of a sub-regional operational framework that would facilitate greater coherence between programmatic and political objectives of the UN and other actors’ engagements, in order to ensure synergies between the socio-economic, peace and security dimensions of their engagement in countries experiencing transition.
The outcome of the Annual Session is to provide concrete recommendations for the PBC for action. Such recommendations could also include examples of successful peacebuilding elements.
In November 2015 ACCORD, in partnership with The United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), hosted the PBSO’s third global workshop in Durban, South Africa. The workshop brought together political and technical practitioners from the majority of countries currently receiving support through the Peacebuilding Fund. The aim of the forum was to strengthen the inclusivity and accountability of PBF-funded activities and to engage UN officials on the outcomes and implications of the 2015 Global Peacebuilding Architecture Review. ACCORD’s Peacebuilding Handbook, now in its 2nd Edition, was launched at the end of the workshop.