Let me begin by thanking you, Mr. Foreign Minister, for presiding over this open debate on Post-Conflict Peacebuilding. I would also like to thank the Danish presidency for the useful discussion paper on this important topic.
A year ago when James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, addressed the Security Council he reminded us that the first question of conflict prevention is to have a growing economy in which people share. He also referred to the remarkable World Bank study, Voices of the Poor, which made it clear that people in poor and conflict ridden countries want to live in peace. They want opportunity and empowerment, not charity.
The complex links between conflict, peace, development and security call for a multidimensional and multisectoral approach to peacebuilding. By addressing the root causes of conflict through reconciliation, institution building and both political and economic transformation, durable peace can be established and the recurrence of conflict prevented.
Local ownership, coordination of international efforts and harmonization of procedures are all essential for results. Additionally, regional organizations can play an instrumental role in bringing about long-term peace.
The discussion paper provides an excellent overview of the key elements of peacebuilding efforts. I would like to focus my comments on one issue, namely the importance of rapid and targeted deployment of civilian experts for a successful transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding and subsequently building the foundation for long-term development.
The Government of Iceland has for a number of years operated a programme for rapid deployment of civilian personnel to peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions. This programme, called the Iceland Crisis Response Unit (ICRU), operates a roster of civilian experts who can join international missions at a short notice.
Our experience shows that there are many well qualified civilian experts who are willing to be deployed, with short notice, to areas where conditions are extremely challenging and the international community has in the past deemed military missions as the only feasible option.
We therefore believe that there is a significant potential to develop this approach further and we are pleased to see the idea of developing such a mechanism for the UN raised in the discussion paper. We are also aware that the DPKO has been exploring this approach and we strongly encourage the UN to continue this work actively.
Experience from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Sri Lanka has taught the Icelandic authorities the importance of finding a niche where we have a comparative advantage. As a smaller member state we seek out projects where we can bring special expertise to bear.
In addition allow me to mention five basic principles which we have drawn from our experience in the field:
- First, a mission must be well defined with a clear strategy and objectives;
- Second, the involvement of the local population – both in the planning and in the implementation phases – is highly desirable and in most cases is a prerequisite for successful outcomes;
- Third, the prospects of sustainability must be emphasized at all stages, and the civilian experts must demonstrate a strong will, motivation and ability to transfer their technical expertise and practical know how to their counterparts;
· Fourth, partners must coordinate and cooperate together at all levels to avoid the inherent failures of approaches insufficiently coordinated; and
- Fifth, long term perspective is important as efforts should always be made to outline an exit strategy from the very beginning of a peacebuilding operation.
The termination of a conflict does not guarantee a sustainable peace. Comprehensive and long-term peacebuilding operation is a necessary continuation of a successful peacekeeping process. I am certain that our discussion here today will cast valuable light on how the UN can continue to improve its approach to peacebuilding.
I would like to conclude by repeating what we have already said in the General Assembly that Iceland fully supports the proposal of the Secretary-General to establish Peacebuilding Commission.