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National statements

Statement to the UNSC regarding Post-conflict Peacebuilding

Thematic issues

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Burundi
  • Central Africa
  • Central African Republic
  • Guinea
  • Liberia
  • Peacebuilding
  • Regional Organisations
  • Sierra Leone
  • Timor-Leste
  • Women

Statement by H.E. Gary Quinlan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations Security Council regarding Post-Conflict Peacebuilding.

Madame President

I would like to thank Bosnia and Herzegovina for convening today's debate. Thanks goes also to the Secretary-General for his statement. And thank you to Vice Prime Minister Guterres of Timor-Leste for his insightful comments. Timor-Leste is a nation that has faced immense challenges but demonstrated strong, effective leadership over its own institution-building process. Timor-Leste is to be congratulated for its commitment to sharing this experience with others, and for continuing to call for more effective international support to post-conflict states, including as Chair of the g7+ – a group to which Australia is very pleased to provide support.

I also would like to thank the outgoing chair of the Peacebuilding Commission – Ambassador Wittig – for his contribution to the debate today. Australia remains a strong supporter of developing a more organic relationship between the Council and the PBC.

Madame President

Australia's own experience over the last decade in supporting post-conflict institution-building, particularly in Timor-Leste, Solomon Islands and Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, has yielded many lessons.

Perhaps most important, and one that has been a central theme of the debate today, is that national leadership and ownership are fundamental to success. Assistance should support national priorities and objectives. And careful consideration must be given to how assistance can best foster national capacities – and importantly, avoid stifling them.

The process of institution building – and it is a process – must be timely, flexible and sustainable. Planning and implementation need to start as soon as possible, but also progress at a pace and in a manner appropriate to local needs. We must avoid imposing ill-fitting models, ensuring that we harness and strengthen existing capacities as indeed we seek to develop them further.

It is important to ensure strong coordination between international actors. We must garner available expertise in a coherent manner. Australia encourages opportunities for South-South and triangular cooperation, and for enhanced cooperation with regional organisations – something we ourselves have tried to do through our leadership of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.

Assistance should be extended beyond capitals to the sub-national level, and to civil society and the private sector. We need to strengthen the fabric of stable and prosperous communities – through political, security, service delivery and economic institutions.

We must recognise and promote the role of women, who must be empowered to contribute to the decision-making and implementation of institution building.

Madame President

Institution building in any environment is obviously complex. Institution building in post-conflict situations presents clearly again even greater challenges. This is why it is important that we share ideas and best practice.

The UN has a vital role to play in peacebuilding, with unique legitimacy and comparative advantages. We encourage the Security Council to consider institution building when setting mission mandates, but to do so giving consideration to the role that other actors should play. It should also continue to mandate integrated UN missions to ensure comprehensive approaches. We would also encourage better definition of roles and responsibilities within the UN system in key peacebuilding sectors.

My own country has been pleased to contribute to the work of the Peacebuilding Commission over the last year, including the country-specific configurations for Burundi, the Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone. We believe the PBC can play a stronger role in supporting post-conflict institution-building, particularly on monitoring progress, assisting coordination and providing expert guidance to the Council. The Council should increasingly draw on the PBC's advisory role and we endorse the comments made earlier today by Ambassador Grauls of Belgium, on behalf also of Brazil, Canada, Jordan and Switzerland in their capacities as Chairs of the PBC's country-specific configurations.

We also encourage greater coordination between the UN and the World Bank and other regional development banks, given their influential role in institution building.

Obviously we need to use our resources to greatest effect and in this regard, we look forward to the conclusion of the forthcoming Review of International Civilian Capacities, which we hope will enhance the UN's effectiveness in supporting post-conflict institution-building, including by increasing its ability to draw on truly relevant expertise in response to defined needs – from the global 'north' and the global 'south'.

We stand ready ourselves to contribute expertise through the Australian Civilian Corps, established in 2009 specifically to provide skilled personnel to support countries experiencing or emerging from conflict or natural disasters.

To conclude – Madame President -

at times, the challenges of institution building can obviously seem overwhelming. The international community must be realistic in its expectations but we must set clear objectives, coordinate, and sustain support for institution building over the long-term whatever the challenges. This work requires patience, but it is critical, given the centrality of strong national institutions for delivering robust and sustainable peace.

Thank you.

Last Updated: 18 June 2015
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