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Open Debate on the Post-Conflict Peacebuilding

(New York, July 12, 2012)

Statement by H.E. Mrs. María Ángela Holguín, Minister of Foreign Affairs



I would like to thank the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon for joining us and for his presentation. Likewise, I would like to highlight the statements made by the former Chairperson of the Peacebuilding Commission and Permanent Representative of Rwanda, Ambassador Eugene-Richard Gasana; by the current Chairperson of the Peacebuilding Commission and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, Ambassador Abulkalam Abdul Momen; and by Mr. Joaquim von Amsberg, Vice-President for Operations Policy and Country Services of the World Bank.

The 2005 World Summit reached a milestone when we took on a commitment to give impetus to peacebuilding in post-conflict situations. Within the Organization, the Commission has been given the role of proposing and advising on strategies for post-conflict recovery and to gather all of the agents involved in resource mobilization. Therefore, Colombia wants to see the Commission strengthened and we hope this debate will contribute to that end.

Given our experience, we know that there is no substitute for the strengthening of national institutions and that sustainable results are those supported by national ownership. The generation of local and national capacity and ownership over processes, strategies and policies are indispensable conditions to avoid a relapse into conflict.

A successful peacebuilding process is the first step towards leaving behind a past characterized by conflict and confrontation, and offers the opportunity to lay a solid and durable foundation for a promising future for the population. The main responsibility for successful peacebuilding belongs to the governments and relevant national agents, including civil society.

From the Commission's report it is clear that the challenges presented by peacebuilding in post-conflict situations demand a constant learning process where there are no identical situations or unique formulas that can be applied to all situations.

Six years after the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission, the fundamental notion of its mandate is still novel for an international community used to think, almost exclusively, in terms of conflicts and their resolution.

For the Security Council it is also novel the change from a paradigm centered on maintaining international peace and security in application of Chapter VII of the Charter, towards a vision where the required contributions are focused on the concept of strengthening national capacity and establishing sustainable conditions for development.

The experience of the United Nations has shown that peacekeeping tasks cannot be independent of post-conflict horizons. The strengthening of institutions and of the architecture that allows States to fulfill their duties is a matter that includes the areas of peacekeeping and peacebuilding. It is evident that the actions of peacekeepers can set solid foundations for early peacebuilding.

The criteria for strengthening national capacity and creating conditions for countries to be able to take over their independence and sovereignty and generate development and welfare for their populations must have a predominant role. In this task, regional and sub-regional organizations that are closer aware of the challenges of the country going through the rebuilding process, can contribute by playing their role and providing their vision and leadership.

In this regard, it is important to highlight the role of International Financial Institutions, such as the World Bank or regional banks with the purpose of strengthening the efforts aimed at recovery, reconciliation and the consolidation of social, economic and financial structures of the countries going through this type of transitions.

The Commission has the potential to create mechanisms and modalities to identify knowledge, acquired experiences, and technical assistance offers, and thus promoting south-south cooperation. Likewise, it can help the States on its agenda to strengthen their national capacities in order to coordinate the activities of donors, encourage transparency and accountability.

We welcome that the configurations for each country on the agenda of the Commission have applied flexible and realistic criteria. These criteria allow for work on the ground within the available capacities and provide existing institutions, the time and opportunity to achieve their own results.

The Commission and its configurations require the commitment and active participation of all its members, where specific objectives are established through which a firm promotion and political support can be achieved.

In this regard, the visits by the chairs of the configurations are valuable tools, not only as part of the political support for countries on the agenda, but also as a channel for dialogue between the different national actors and the United Nations system.

Therefore, we believe that the existing dialogue between the General Assembly and the Peacebuilding Commission must be maintained and deepened. We take note of the channel of communication established through the report of the Chairperson of the Commission to the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.

In this context and as a complement, Colombia will hold an interactive dialogue between the Security Council, the Commission and the countries on its agenda, in order to provide the opportunity to exchange opinions in a frank and dynamic manner, analyze jointly the expectations and achievements and establish realistic objectives.

Deepening peacebuilding means modifying traditional attitudes and adjusting to countries and regions that are ever more autonomous in the international system, with shifting balances of power that invite the strengthening of dialogue and political solutions on issues that were habitually resolved through sanctions or confrontation.

Those nations that, like us, know the difficulties that exist in achieving a lasting peace, know that independently of the obstacles and challenges, we must believe in the possibility of peace and development for nations affected by conflicts. We know that the peacebuilding road is not an easy task.

Given its experience and the challenges it has overcome, and aware that there are still more to overcome, Colombia believes that our efforts must be aimed at bringing hope to people and offering a chance to a decent life and to overcoming the conditions and realities of the past.

This is possible through the implementation of public policies that allow, among other things, reparation for victims and the creation of effective mechanisms for the promotion of social and economic development benefiting, in particular, the most vulnerable and affected population.

We believe that a lasting peace could be achieved through a balance of reparatory policies that generate sustainable welfare and prosperity in the long-term. It is necessary to have a strong will to promote policies and consensus that heal the wounds of the past and allow for society, in particular the new generations, to rebuild their country working towards reconciliation, opportunities, security and peace.

Thank you.


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Statement 2012