Statement by Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson
Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations
Discussion on the progress achieved in the work of the Peacbuilding Commission
At the outset I would like to welcome the opportunity to participate in this special meeting of the General Assembly devoted to the UN Peacebuilding Commission. Iceland as a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), but not a member of the European Union, aligned itself with the statement made by the EU during the open debate in the Security Council on this subject on 31 January. I will therefore refrain from repeating myself and only highlight a few points.
The Government of Iceland attaches great importance to the Peacebuilding Commission. Iceland has underlined its support with a contribution of one million dollars to the Peacebuilding Fund. That is done in the spirit of the collective responsibility of all UN Member States in strengthening the peacebuilding architecture, as the President of the General Assembly stated in her speech this morning. I also take this opportunity to echo what Ambassador Wolf from Jamaica said on behalf of the NAM this morning, that the disbursement of financial and other support must be accompanied by swift action. The establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission, with the Peacebuilding Support Office and Peacebuilding Fund, is a key achievement of the United Nations reform process and should be developed to become the centre point of the United Nations to help to strengthen post conflict countries. The need to do better is obvious, as my Norwegian colleague said in his speech.
To achieve this we must ensure that the work of the Peacebuilding Commisson is both flexible and result-oriented, focusing on country specific situations. We believe that the approach of the Peacebuilding Commission should be comprehensive with a strong focus on concrete recommendations for action on the ground. Respect for human rights is a fundamental and integral aspect of this approach. There is also need to ensure the necessary follow up and practical implementation of its recommendations in a systematic manner, through regular review meetings.
We note the progress achieved during the first seven months of the Peacebuilding Commission to assist the first countries under consideration, Burundi and Sierra Leone. In this context our gratitude goes to the two Chairmen of the two country specific meetings, Ambassador Frank Majoor for Sierra Leone and Ambassador Johann Løvald for Burundi, for their important inputs and reports earlier in this debate. I also thank the Chairman of the Organizational Committee of the PBC, my colleague from Angola. The Peacebuilding Commission must now build on this work in the months ahead, to develop its strategic goals and rules of procedure, as well as strengthening its cooperation and consultations with all relevant actors. We underline the role of the Peacebuilding Support Office in this process. As many speakers have pointed out there is a need to develop further the working relationship between the Peacebuilding Commission, the Security Council, the General Assembly and ECOSOC. In this context we must focus on effectiveness and complementarity and strive to avoid duplication of efforts. We look forward to further discussions to this end, and, like the President of ECOSOC earlier this morning stated, we are already encouraged by the emerging consensus that interaction between the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council enhances the effective functioning of the Peacbuilding Commission.
The PBC has an ambitious agenda to fulfil. Its success and effectiveness will ultimately depend on the full involvement and commitment of the countries concerned, Member states, UN bodies on the ground and not least NGO´s, the private sector and civil society.