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Source: Small Island Developing States

The co-facilitators for the UN’s review of its peacebuilding architecture have issued the zero draft of a joint resolution for adoption by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and the UN Security Council. They are holding consultations with Member States to review the text on 19 October and 30 October 2020.

The review process was mandated by the UNGA and the Security Council, and launched in October 2019.

COVID-19 has underscored the importance of “humanity’s ultimate prevention tool,” the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

On 22 November 2019, addressing the UN Peacebuilding Commission, Guterres noted low levels of funding for the UN Peacebuilding Fund, saying that as demands for support have grown exponentially, many requests for investments in critical situations are left “unanswered.” He also cautioned about a lack of coordination and fragmentation, explaining that inadequate, earmarked, and siloed financing can drive parts of the UN apart. He said the 2020 review is an opportunity to improve the system and its resources.

In that initial meeting, governments said the review process should:

  • Consider ways to strengthen the UN’s peacebuilding work “based on field-driven analysis and nationally owned initiatives”;
  • Address the need to continue strengthening the UN Peacebuilding Architecture, including to increase coherence and coordination across the UN’s operational pillars, taking into account the ongoing reforms of the UN; and 
  • Support continued progress in the Peacebuilding Commission’s advisory role to the UNGA and Security Council.

In February 2020, the Secretary-General appointed a group of Independent Eminent Persons to provide their perspectives on the review, and they issued a set of recommendations in June. In July, the UN Secretary-General released his annual report on ‘Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace,’ meant to serve as the principal input for the review process. As highlighted by Guterres in a briefing to the UNGA and Security Council, the report stresses the need to shift to prevention over crisis response, noting that the human and financial cost of focusing primarily on crisis response is unsustainable.

Guterres said that, as called for by the UN reform agenda launched in 2017, he has been working to reorient peacebuilding work around prevention, and to better connect the UN’s pillars of peace, sustainable development, and human rights. He added that the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of “humanity’s ultimate prevention tool,” the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Finally, echoing the concerns he expressed in November 2019, Guterres said the Peacebuilding Fund remains severely underfunded, as the required “quantum leap” in support for the Fund has not yet been achieved. He reported that the Fund will be “completely depleted by early 2021” if the UN responds fully to the present rate of requests.

In August 2020, the UNGA decided (74/564) to extend the review to the end of 2020 to allow more time for consultations amid the technical and logistical challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In October, the co-facilitators for the process, Craig John Hawke, Permanent Representative of New Zealand, and Inga Rhonda King, Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, issued a zero draft of the resolution. The text notes that the pandemic is having a devastating impact in conflict-affected countries, and progress in peacebuilding and development in those countries “could be reversed” in light of the pandemic. 

By the draft, the Assembly and Council would decide to convene a UNGA meeting during its 76th session (2021-2022) to “advance, explore and consider options for ensuring adequate, predictable and sustained financing for peacebuilding.”

The co-facilitators announced that the first and second readings of the zero draft would take place virtually on 19 October and 30 October. [UN webpage for 2020 peacebuilding review] [Letter to Member States containing zero draft]

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News