Statement by Ambassador Jun Yamazaki
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
At the General Assembly Plenary Meeting
On agenda item 31: Report of the Peacebuilding Commission and
agenda item 107: Report of the Secretary-General
on the Peacebuilding Fund
26 March 2013
At the outset, I would like to take this opportunity to express Japan’s gratitude to Ambassador Momen, former chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, for his stewardship over the last year, as well as reiterate our desire to work together with Ambassador Vilović, the chair of the Commission in 2013. The debate today provides an important opportunity to reflect on the work of the U.N. peacebuilding architecture over the last year and to outline steps going forward.
Japan welcomes the analytical approach taken in the report of the PBC on its sixth session. By structuring the report on themes rather than configurations, the report links the different work undertaken by different configurations and outlines common challenges and opportunities. Our delegation believes that the PBC has the ability to analyze the effectiveness of its engagement and flexibly adjust it in accordance with needs on the ground. Continuous improvements must be sought to ensure the PBC’s relevance. In this context, our delegation would like to emphasize the following three points:
First, the PBC needs to find tangible areas in which it can provide its added-value. The relationship between the PBC and the Security Council is one area where we saw progress last year. Building on the discussions at the Security Council Open Debate and the Informal Interactive Dialogue in July, Japan, as the Chair of the Working Group on Lessons Learned, organized a meeting in November on the topic of the “Transition of U.N. Missions in PBC agenda countries” to identify areas where the two bodies can substantively cooperate. With U.N. mission transition unfolding in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Burundi as we speak, it is paramount for the Council and the Country-Specific Configuration chairs to work closely together this year.
Second, the PBC must get field actors more involved. The Commission has often called for the need to generate greater impact in the field, yet struggled to find good ways to do so. The initiative which started last year to hold meetings between the Chairs Group and the SRSGs is welcome one in this regard and should be continued. In the same vein, we must look for flexible ways to get our Embassy personnel covering the agenda country more involved in the daily work of the PBC, including through their participation in field visits. They are a valuable source of expertise in the peacebuilding process, often already working in the country with the responsibility for development assistance implementation.
Third, and closely related to the second point, the PBC needs to realign meetings around Country-Specific Configurations to generate impact on the ground. The work of the PBC Organizational Committee and Working Group on Lessons Learned should be organized in close connection with the work of the Country-Specific Configurations. The Country-Specific Configurations, on the other hand, should try to outline follow-up actions that could be taken back by Member States of those Configurations for consideration. With the 2015 review just around the corner, it is crucial that the PBC steps up its work to make 2013 a different year.
The report of the Secretary-General on the Peacebuilding Fund captures well the progress made and improved performance of the Fund last year. My delegation highly appreciates the diligent work by the Peacebuilding Support Office.
Key achievements include increasing donor contributions, swift decision making, steady and appropriate implementation of projects, performance improvements in many areas such as security sector reform and rule of law, as well as higher attention given to countries on the PBC agenda.
The function of the Joint Steering Committee is crucial for enhancing ownership and national commitment of recipient countries, as well as for implementing PBF projects successfully.
Coordination with other developing partners also needs to be enhanced. The catalytic nature of PBF would be further enhanced if we could improve its strategic positioning by strengthening dialogue with and cooperation from relevant partners on the ground.
One should also note that an upcoming comprehensive review of the PBF will provide an excellent opportunity for us to identify clear priorities, necessary improvements and remaining challenges. Looking ahead to a new planning cycle beyond 2013, the PBF’s effectiveness and catalytic role will continue to be of importance.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate Japan’s strong commitment to peacebuilding and to the activities of the PBC. Peacebuilding is the key to making peace and development happen simultaneously. We would like to reiterate once again the importance of a field- and people-centric approach to peacebuilding and look forward to good work undertaken in the PBC as well as the wise use of the PBF, all of which requires the capable and sensible support provided by the PBSO, in 2013.