The Holy See
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New York
Wednesday, 10 October 2007


Mr President,

At the very outset, my delegation wishes to express appreciation to Ambassador Ismael Gaspar Martins, Permanent Representative of Angola, for his able chairmanship during the inaugural year of the Peacebuilding Commission. At the same time, I would like to express best wishes to Ambassador Yukio Takasu, Permanent Representative of Japan, as he assumes the Chairmanship of the Commission.

My delegation believes that the best guarantee against conflict is the individual and collective enjoyment of durable peace. To achieve this in a post-conflict country, it is necessary to recognize the special needs of that country, so it can be assisted accordingly in laying the foundation of a sustainable peace. The Holy See therefore warmly welcomed the creation of the PBC, as a response to the need for greater coherence and coordination of international peacebuilding efforts in post-conflict situations.

The Commission’s success will be measured on the ground, based on whether or not it makes a difference to communities and countries it works with. Expectations on what it can deliver in countries emerging from armed conflicts continue to rise. This is especially true in Burundi and Sierra Leone. There the PBC is breaking uncharted areas of action, but the PBC’s emphasis on strong national ownership and responsibility gives us reason to hope for success in those first two focus countries, as well as in other post-conflict states that will be considered in the future.

The PBC debates and documents suggest that one of the main challenges facing it is to prove that it is not a superfluous superstructure cast over the various stakeholders and actors already working on the ground. Rather, it is meant to bring added value to the overall effort of helping post-conflict States and societies successfully manage the difficult transition from war to sustainable peace and development. This task is made even more daunting by the fact that post-conflict situations pose multiple and particularly complex problems, all competing for immediate attention. To enable the PBC respond adequately to this, the international community is equally challenged to equip it with the necessary mandate and resources.

I wish to commend the Working Group on Lessons Learned in its efforts in accumulating best practices and lessons on critical peacebuilding issues, thus helping the PBC make decisions more swiftly while avoiding past mistakes.

The Holy See was pleased with the approval of guidelines for civil society participation in the PBC. This participation would be decisive on the ground where, among other stakeholders, faith-based organizations are fully engaged in human development and are at the forefront in fostering dialogue, in peacemaking and in post-conflict reconciliation.

My delegation is aware of the continuing debates on what the PBC should be, on its relation with peacekeeping operations and on its procedures and methods. While this is part of the Commission’s growth process, these debates should not distract nor derail it from its mandate of making a difference in the lives of peoples and countries, lest it become just another debating forum.

My delegation is pleased to assure of its continuing interest in the work of the PBC, and to encourage it in the pursuit of its challenging task of helping rebuild individual lives and entire countries ravaged by war. It shall have fully achieved this task when development, peace and security and human rights will finally be interlinked and mutually re-enforcing in a country which knew the devastations of armed conflict.

Thank you, Mr President.