UN Security Council Debate on Post-conflict peacebuilding

Ministar vanjskih poslova i europskih integracija Gordan Jandrokovic održao je govor na tematskoj raspravi Vijeca sigurnosti UN-a o izgradnji mira nakon sukoba.

Statement by H.E. Mr. Gordan Jandrokovic, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Croatia Security Council debate Post-conflict peacebuilding United Nations, New York 20 May 2008 Mr. President, My country has aligned itself with the statement to be delivered by the Republic of Slovenia on behalf of the European Union. Nevertheless, I would like to make several remarks on today's important topic. First of all, I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for choosing the topic of Post-conflict peace-building for the thematic debate under the UK Presidency of the Security Council. It is timely and above all exceedingly relevant in today's world, a world in which we are witness to situations where far too many conflicts that end through negotiated settlements re-start within 5 years. Moreover, we are also witness to many conflict areas in which the situation does not allow for national governments to assume their responsibilities for the security and wellbeing of their people, and therefore unnecessarily prolong a sometimes seemingly endless international military or other presence. Why is this so? The answer, when found, will almost inevitably be very complex if not at times almost elusive, not unlike the actual situations in post-conflict areas themselves. Some of the possible reasons for this can be found in the concept paper for today's deliberations, which provides in our view a good starting point for our discussion. To be sure, the rapid implementation of a peace agreement is very important, but we have to ensure that this does not happen in a vacuum. The whole of a society that emerges from conflict has to feel the “peace dividends” that emerge from a conflict, and which take the form of stability, security and improvement of daily life. We agree completely with these assessments. Additionally, we believe that it is important to involve, wherever possible and without exacerbating existing political tensions, domestic resources. An operation of post-conflict stabilization can most certainly benefit from this kind of engagement. The utilization of domestic resources certainly enhances the effectiveness of an operation and makes use of the available experience and skills of the people in the country emerging from conflict, who more often than not can provide a unique perspective otherwise not available to outsiders. Another added value of this approach is being able to develop autonomous capacity that is necessary for the consolidation of those national structures that will eventually need to take over responsibility for governing the country. Also worth mentioning is the positive effect the international community working together with national structures can have on the overall better acceptance of a peace-building mission by the local population. Our own experience during the war imposed on Croatia in the 1990's, when UN peacekeepers, the UNHCR and the WHO, as well as many other agencies and humanitarian assistance organizations, were present in the area, leads us to conclude that all these agencies may have come with the best of intentions, but in many cases were not able to understand the real needs of the population or cooperate effectively with each other or the people involved. The penultimate result of this was that much of the overall spending of the UN and other agencies in Croatia during that time went into maintaining themselves and their own programs and goals, and did not end up with the people or institutions that required their assistance. It is, of course, not my intention to disparage the UN and other humanitarian organizations presence in Croatia during those difficult times. We are most certainly very grateful for all the help and assistance we received, and indeed some significant results were produced, including one of the most successful UN missions overall – UNTAES [the United Nations Transitional Administration in Eastern Slavonia]. My comments are aimed solely at providing examples of how we can always learn from and improve our activities. Mr. President, The establishment of the Peace-building Commission is one of the most important results of UN reform thus far. Croatia was very active in its founding, and was also elected as a member in its inaugural year of existence, including as a member of the country-specific meeting on Burundi. We value and support the work of the PBC, especially through its integrated peace-building strategies. What we need to do now is ensure that those strategies are implemented on the ground in the most efficient manner. Croatia is of the opinion that the peace-building concept enacted through the Peace-building Commission offers the best way in which we can effectively achieve as well as consolidate the three main pillars of the United Nations – security, development and the protection of human rights. Achieving and consolidating security creates the necessary conditions for development and therefore also strengthens the tools required for protecting and enhancing human rights. Implementing the three main pillars together leads to creating sustainable peace and long lasting stability and prosperity. We are cognizant that chances for substantive peace are enhanced with the speedy and coordinated engagement of the UN system following the establishment of a ceasefire on the ground or the signing of a peace agreement. As there are many UN agencies that can be involved in post-conflict situations, it is imperative that their efforts be coordinated and integrated so that the capabilities of all these UN and other agencies can be utilized to capacity while simultaneously reducing overlap. In doing so costs can most certainly be reduced and more resources can be allocated to address the core needs of the country involved. A good example of utilizing a coordinated and integrated approach is the Report of High-level Panel on UN System Wide Coherence, entitled “Delivering as One”, which we fully support. That Report envisages the role of an empowered Resident Coordinator as the leader of integrated UN efforts in the areas of Development, Humanitarian Assistance and the Environment. Post-conflict peace-building efforts and leadership on the ground should follow a similar pattern. We also believe that the plans and organization of the core structure of integrated post-conflict stabilization efforts should be permanently placed on stand-by, so that preparations for a specific operation shall take the minimum amount of time and would include only country specific details. Several questions in this regard have been posed in the concept paper for today's discussion. When looking at the different types of civilian experts that are required for a post-conflict peace-building mission, especially in the areas of justice, corrections, security sector reform, governance and economic recovery, we believe that the formation of rosters, as was suggested in the Brahimi Report on Peacekeeping, is a good way forward. The existence of permanent rosters of civilian experts that are ready to be deployed on short notice would significantly shorten preparation periods, and enable the civilian effort in post-conflict stabilization to be deployed immediately after a ceasefire or peace agreement has been reached, or well within the first 6 to 12 weeks, which the Brahimi Report identifies as most crucial for establishing a stable peace. In that respect, my Government is ready to make its contribution in the form of civilian experts who themselves have gained experience and expertise during the post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction period in Croatia. All the activities that we are talking about today are obviously not possible without sufficient funding. Therefore, we must do our utmost to ensure sustainable and transparent financing. For its part, Croatia is one of the founders of the Peace-building Fund, whose work it supports and contributes to. Mr. President, My delegation hopes that today's discussion will result in establishing concrete steps towards strengthening both UN and international capabilities in the field of post-conflict peace-building. We are looking forward to the Secretary-General's advice on this matter, and are of the opinion that the Security Council should revisit this issue in a timely manner. Thank you, Mr. President.