The 8th of September, 2022 saw the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopt by consensus the resolution on financing peacebuilding, which has been touted as a major milestone in furthering the work of global peacebuilding. According to UN tenets, peacebuilding aims to reduce the risk of lapsing or relapsing into conflict by strengthening national capacities at all levels for conflict management, and to lay the foundation for sustainable peace and development. Peacebuilding measures address core issues that affect the functioning of society and the State, and seek to enhance the capacity of the State to effectively and legitimately carry out its core functions. Peacebuilding and sustaining peace have become more exigent in the recent past owing to an increase in violent conflicts, as well as the changing nature of conflict, which is driven largely by a range of complex political, economic, social and environmental factors.
The adoption of this resolution signals that majority if not all Member States are going to make and honour their commitments towards the PBF in order to guarantee predictability, flexibility and adequacy in the financing of peacebuilding initiatives in conflict areas.
Peacebuilding is one of the core functions of the UN and the need for concerted efforts towards peacebuilding necessitated the establishment of the UN Peacebuilding Commission which was established as an intergovernmental advisory body following one of the decisions of the 2005 World Summit. It was adopted at the 66th plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly, on 20th December, 2005 for the following purposes:
o To bring together all relevant actors to marshal resources and to advise on and propose integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery;
o To focus attention on the reconstruction and institution-building efforts necessary for recovery from conflict and to support the development of integrated strategies in order to lay the foundation for sustainable development;
o To provide recommendations and information to improve the coordination of all relevant actors within and outside the United Nations, to develop best practices, to help to ensure predictable financing for early recovery activities and to extend the period of attention given by the international community to post-conflict recovery.
Since its establishment, the peacebuilding commission has managed to build consensus on a number of issues by having open meetings of all Member States with regional and thematic consultations around the world. This has culminated in underpinning reforms to restructure the peace and security pillar, shift the development system and improve management processes and practices which have led to apparent system-wide progress towards a more coherent, comprehensive and holistic approach to peacebuilding. In the twin resolutions adopted in 2016, Member States reaffirmed the principal responsibility of national governments and authorities in identifying and driving priorities, strategies and activities for sustaining peace, at all phases of conflict, and emphasized that inclusivity was key to furthering national peacebuilding objectives.
UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF)
UN financing for peacebuilding comes through the UN Peacebuilding Fund and predominantly supports the work of UN agencies. Established in 2005 by the General Assembly (resolution A/60/180) and the Security Council (S/RES/1645-2005) the Fund supports national and regional priorities to sustain peace in countries at risk of or affected by violent conflict.
The Fund supports the implementation of the twin resolutions adopted in 2016 on the review of the peacebuilding architecture (Assembly resolution 70/262 and Council resolution 2282) including through: support for increased UN coherence (through joint analysis, development of strategies and programmatic interventions funded by PBF), emphasis on closer partnerships with Civil Society Organisations, (CSOs) (including by opening up the Fund to direct support to eligible CSOs), focus on inclusivity (by consideration of all vulnerabilities through conflict analysis and a specific programmatic focus on women’s and youth’s empowerment), emphasis on promoting and supporting national priorities and ownership (including through alignment to national strategies, encouraging joint steering committees and through procedures ensuring formal buy-in of Government for all projects) and, finally, support to agreed priorities, in line with PBF’s approved Priority Areas, in contexts spanning before, during and after the end of conflict. The main implementers of the Fund are the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UNICEF, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UN Women and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
Since the Fund became operational in 2006 to 2021, the Fund is believed to have disbursed approximately $1.67 billion to 65 recipient countries to support various peacebuilding initiatives. The demand for the financing of peacebuilding and sustaining peace activities has been steadily outdoing available resources, which has been the case for the Secretary-General's Peacebuilding Fund. In similar manner, the current level of financing for conflict prevention and sustaining peace initiatives remains grossly insufficient given the increase in violent conflicts that are protracted and complex in nature.
The cost of responding to these complex conflict situations has since become untenable, keeping in mind that effectual conflict prevention and investing in building and sustaining peace has a robust potential to reduce costs for Member States on crisis response. Along with recognising the need for a strong crisis response comes the necessity for a shift towards providing more resources to respond to the dynamic and contextual needs of local peace actors. In the past, the funding configurations have been characterised by: unpredictability; projectisation as a result of the rising share of funds stringently tagged for specific activities; one-sided competition among actors with different levels of capacity; and increased operation costs. It is against this backdrop thata High-level Meeting aimed to advance, explore and consider options for ensuring adequate, predictable and sustained financing for peacebuilding was convened on 27th and 29th April, 2022 pursuant to the third review process of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture and its twin resolutions A/RES/75/201 and S/RES/2558(2020) on peacebuilding and sustaining peace. The High-Level Meeting served as a forum for Member States and relevant stakeholders to advance possible solutions and make commitments to address the identified financing gap for prevention and peacebuilding in the context of fast-evolving, protracted and complex violent conflicts. In order to further explore and consider a way forward to ensure adequate, predictable and sustained financing for peacebuilding, the President of the General Assembly H.E Abdulla Shahid appointed H.E Ms. Anna Karin Eneström, Permanent Representative of Sweden and H.E Mr. Martin Kimani, Permanent Representative of Kenya as co-facilitators to continue consultations on a possible negotiated outcome that culminated in Resolution A/76/L.86.
The adoption of this resolution signals that majority if not all Member States are going to make and honour their commitments towards the PBF in order to guarantee predictability, flexibility and adequacy in the financing of peacebuilding initiatives in conflict areas. These funds will go a long way in further supporting socioeconomic revitalization, engagement of women and youth, political dialogue efforts, coordination, rehabilitation and reintegration of citizens who have fled areas and countries of conflict, synergistically working to build and maintain peace.