Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations in New York
20 July 2015
"It doesn't have to be that way!" was the sentiment expressed by one participant lamenting the current state of the UN's peacebuilding arrangements at an off-the-record event hosted by Switzerland’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and the FUNDS Project to discuss the UN’s peacebuilding problems and prospects. The lively and frank discussion among almost 50 expert participants centered on the bottom-line messages that converged across the FUNDS report from our March conference in Geneva
, as well as the June reports from the High-Level Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) and the Advisory Group of Experts on the Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture (AGE): the UN peacebuilding system has to change urgently, and member states should get serious and provide guidance and leadership.
Ameerah Haq with Ambassador Paul Seger
Swiss Ambassador to the UN Paul Seger
, who is also Chair of the Burundi country group of the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), moderated the meeting at which FUNDS’ co-Chair Thomas G. Weiss
presented the June 2015 publication Peacebuilding Challenges for the UN Development System
. Initial comments came from Ameerah Haq
(Vice-Chair of HIPPO), Gert Rosenthal
(Chair of AGE), John Hendra
(Senior Coordinator of UN Fit for Purpose), and Oscar Fernandez-Tarranco
(Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding at the UN’s Peacebuilding Support Office). In addition to Switzerland, also participating were the representatives of three other donors to FUNDS (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden), as well as senior officials from DESA, WFP, UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women, OCHCR, UNHCR, and the World Bank.
Several participants voiced a hint of hope because of the coming together of key reports and initiatives (in addition to the three mentioned above, reference was made to the July Financing for Development
conference in Addis and the September GA Summit on the Sustainable Development Goals
along with the review of Security Council resolution 1325
, the Paris Climate Summit
, and next year’s Istanbul World Humanitarian Summit
). The glimmer of optimism reflected that the outcomes of these processes could combine to create a blueprint ready to be taken up by the next UN Secretary-General.
With thanks to Switzerland and all participants.
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