- Central Africa
- Central African Republic
- Rule of Law
- Sierra Leone
- South Sudan
UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL
Statement by HE Ms Philippa King, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations
Thank you, Madam President, for your initiative in convening this briefing, which provides a timely opportunity to take stock of the UN's peacebuilding efforts over the past 12 months. I thank Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, Ambassador Patriota Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, and UNDP Administrator Helen Clark for their briefings.
We completely agree with the Deputy Secretary-General that ensuring an effective and efficient peacebuilding architecture is our collective responsibility. We should be working on this constantly to ensure the UN does serve the interests of those countries needing peacebuilding in their countries by tailoring its efforts to their specific needs.
We will have some important opportunities in coming months to address the peacebuilding architecture, but it is fundamental that the relationship between the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission is as effective and cooperative as possible; we strongly support regular informal exchanges between the two, in line with the Council's own commitment to this.
Today I would like to touch on two priority areas that the Secretary-General outlined in his 2012 report on Peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict: inclusivity and institution-building. In doing so, I want to highlight the importance of the participation of women and the role of police in peacebuilding.
The Secretary-General's 2012 report has helped to underscore that it has become increasingly obvious that there cannot be any sustainable peace without inclusive peacebuilding processes. Ensuring that all relevant actors are included in peacebuilding activities is a difficult and time-consuming task. But it must be done in order to generate a clear sense of national ownership of the path being forged.
Ensuring peace agreements and political settlements include all relevant stakeholders is the first step. To reduce the risk of relapse into violence, it is imperative that the views and needs of not only parties to the conflict – those holding the guns – but also women, youth, ethnic groups and minorities, be heard and integrated into the peace process. We need look no further than current efforts to move past conflict to peace – in Syria, South Sudan and Central African Republic – to see that without inclusivity, these efforts will not succeed.
Yet this is only the beginning. Inclusivity must be a factor in long-term peacebuilding processes, from consolidating democracy to promoting national reconciliation and strengthening institutions.
The Deputy Secretary-General has highlighted the example of Sierra Leone, where, following a long and brutal civil war in Sierra Leone, we have witnessed a successful transition from peacekeeping to post-conflict peacebuilding. With the completion of UNIPSIL's mandate at the end of March, the focus now shifts to ensuring sustained economic development. Inclusivity in the peacebuilding process in Sierra Leone has undoubtedly been a key factor to its success.
The importance of women's participation in peacebuilding cannot be underestimated. Australia welcomes the significant advances made by the Security Council in 2013, including through the adoption of Resolution 2122 on women's participation in conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
We must now ensure we use this 'roadmap' effectively to realise the benefits of our collective peacebuilding efforts.
Involving women's organisations is a critical part of this agenda. They are often the bridging voice between formal mechanisms and the needs of local communities – their views and experiences should be valued accordingly, and this means their involvement in the institutions and the structures we are putting in place during peacebuilding efforts. We need to ensure women are lawmakers, members of the judiciary and advocates for the removal of laws that restrict women's access to justice and economic security.
Institution-building is a central pillar of sustainable peace. Studies show that countries with strong, accountable and inclusive institutions are 30 to 45 per cent less likely to fall into large-scale conflict.
Strengthening institutions and governance at an early stage to provide security and the rule of law is a precondition for communities to start to rebuild. Australia has come to understand this from peacebuilding operations in our own region – Timor-Leste, Solomons – but there are clear lessons everywhere.
In particular, the early development of a credible national police service will often be an essential element of effective peacebuilding, and if I can revert to the issue of inclusivity, the recruitment and training of women to serve as police officers is an essential element of a credible national police service. Female police officers are better able to access women within local communities, provide the support they need, and understand better what may be inhibiting their effective participation in peacebuilding. An effective police service that fairly and justly protects the community within a newly established rule of law system will be instrumental to peacebuilding efforts.
To conclude, Madam President, we look forward to the first ever session of the Peacebuilding Commission, and reiterate our commitment to the effectiveness of the UN's peacebuilding architecture, which serves our ultimate substantive goal – to genuinely tailor peacebuilding to the specific needs of the country concerned and thereby prevent relapse into conflict, and instead, provide a path towards security and development.