Statement by H.E. Ambassador ISHIKANE Kimihiro, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, 2020 Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture, Ambassadorial-level Consultation of the Peacebuilding Commission on “Institution Building and System-Wide Engagement for Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace” (22 May - 2 June 2020)

Let me begin by expressing Japan's appreciation to the briefers for their insightful remarks. We are especially pleased to have Ms. Izumi Ohno, Director of JICA Ogata Research Institute, one of leading think tanks on peace and development issues, present her views based on JICA’s abundant programmatic work and her rich experience in other developmental agencies including the World Bank.
I will focus my statement on the significance of institution building and briefly touch upon system-wide engagement in that context as well.
To begin with, I would like to underscore that the term “institutions” does not limit itself to politico-security sphere, such as security and judicial systems. It covers a wide range of institutions including economic and social systems that enable the public sector, at both national and local levels, deliver services to the people.
Second point I wish to emphasize at the outset is that a society can be peaceful when people have trust, both in their government and in each other. Inclusive, accountable and functional institutions contribute to strengthening a government’s credibility, reducing vulnerability and ensuring human security. Thus strengthening institutions nurtures people’s confidence that the government is respectful toward their dignity and fosters a culture of trust in society.
(Why institution building)
Having said that, I would like to explain more on why institution building is so important for the states affected by conflicts.
Providing security and ensuring the rule of law is the crucial function of governments. But in order to build and sustain peace, it requires much more than just ensuring security and bringing justice, as conflict occurs or recurs where root causes such as grievance, inequality, poverty and discrimination endure.
In this regard, the SDGs provide a clear portrait of what challenges need to be addressed. The Goal 16 calls for access to justice for all on one hand, and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels on the other. The latter relates to institutions and systems needed to achieve all the other Goals, including health, education, food security and employment among many others. Ensuring good governance that addresses inequalities and poverty are crucial to reducing vulnerability, enhancing resilience and social cohesion as well as to building trust that underpins peaceful and inclusive societies.
(Concrete cases)
To make our case clearer, I would like to share few concrete examples.
Japan has been supporting institution building in the security and judicial sectors in conflict-affected countries, through bilateral schemes and contribution to UNDP, by training police and other experts in Africa and Asia, as well as providing aid to local police in Central America.
Ms. Ohno of Ogata Research Institute shared JICA’s programmes in the Philippines and Uganda aimed at building systems for local service delivery. Another notable instance of Japan’s integrated approach to institution building is the project in Sierra Leone. Japan supported the efforts of the Government of Sierra Leone to promote decentralization through improving local government’s systems for public service delivery and building their capacity to manage community development projects. Combined with the Ebola recovery efforts, this project contributed to build back better from the multifaceted crisis and consolidate peace.
Last case is the ongoing experience we all share. COVID-19 has made us reconfirm the importance of the resilient and effective health systems and the universal health coverage, which are the fundamental institutions needed to respond to public health emergencies and minimize the social and economic impacts. This is relevant to all countries, developed and developing alike, but the conflict-affected countries are the most vulnerable to such crisis.
(Incorporating institution building into the PBA)
Japan believes national, regional, and international actors can benefit from learning from each other’s good practices and lessons. Twin resolutions from the previous UN Peacebuilding Architecture (PBA) Review reaffirmed the PBC’s role as a platform for just this purpose. Therefore, the PBC should regularly have thematic discussions on institution building in a more systematic manner. The introduction of focal point functions in 2017, including one on institution building, was a significant step forward.
Japan deeply regrets that the focal point functions were discontinued in 2018, and since then, we have not been able to live up to the standards we set in the previous review. Now is the time to renew our commitment to utilize the PBC more effectively by further strengthening the role of the PBA in institution building in conflict-affected countries. Japan hopes this consultation for the 2020 PBA Review will translate into the Member States’ commitment to the important agenda of institution building.
(UN system-wide engagement to institution building)
Since its inception based on the 2005 World Summit Outcome, the PBC has been the ideal platform for UN system-wide engagement and humanitarian-development-peace nexus, as peacebuilding requires by nature a holistic, multi-sectoral and seamless approach. With regard to institution building, each institution rarely falls under the mandate of one single UN entity but benefits from contributions and expertise of multiple agencies, funds and programmes (AFPs). For example, leading agency for health systems would be the WHO, but UNICEF, UNFPA and others should contribute with their rich experience in the field. Furthermore, in order for the different institutions to function coherently, relevant AFPs should coordinate their support. For example, health system is by no means a standalone institution. It can only function when it is harmonized with other social safety net systems and the fiscal system to achieve universal health coverage.
Japan highly evaluates that the PBF and other UN financial instruments such as the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security adopt an approach that prioritizes multi-agency contribution to peacebuilding projects. Japan expects that the Resident Coordinators will play a significant role in bringing together the development actors at the country level. 
First step towards realizing not only UN system-wide engagement but also a stronger coherence and effective coordination among all multilateral and bilateral partners under the country ownership is information sharing. All the actors engaged in humanitarian, development and peace related activities at the national, local and community levels should share “who is doing what and where” in a transparent way. The PBC, with its convening power, could serve as the platform for such exercises.
Over the past five years, the PBC has been improving its bridging role. It engaged closely with various actors including UN organs, AFPs, regional and sub-regional organizations and IFIs and brought them together to improve coherence at the operational level in countries and to develop best practices on specific themes. More could be done, in particular, by strengthening its focus on institution building.
Thank you.