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Statements in International Organisations


United Nations - Security Council: Debate on post-conflict peacebuilding (New York)

Statement on behalf of the European Union by H.E. Ambassador Sanja Štiglic, Permanent Representative of Slovenia to the United Nations

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Mr. President, Secretary-General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I have the honour to address the Security Council speaking on behalf of the European Union.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.

The European Union welcomes this debate on post-conflict peacebuilding and agrees that there are critical gaps in terms of leadership, civilian capability and speed and flexibility of funding. The European Union is committed to continue enhancing its own capacities to address these gaps through its various tools, and to continue working with others – not least the UN - to this end.

Efficient response to peacebuilding challenges in a post-conflict country largely depends on the capacity of the international community to come together behind a nationally owned common strategy in a coordinated and integrated way across political, security and development, including in the immediate post-conflict phase.

The European Union has been working to develop its role in this area over the last few years, based on its ability to draw on a broad range of security and development instruments and its widespread geographic presence. The recent period has seen both the strengthening of each set of tools, and efforts to improve their co-ordination. Particular attention is paid to integrating political, security and development concerns in the EU’s overall approach. Important steps were taken during the last year (Security and Development Council Conclusions). Areas of support in which this integration is the most visible include SSR and DDR, with attention to the security-development nexus. For example, an integrated approach to SSR is being put in practice by the EU in Guinea Bissau, where all aspects of the reform (civilian and military) are being addressed by the available EU instruments.

The European Union underscores also the impact of Climate Change, which can significantly increase instability in fragile states by over-stretching the already limited capacity of governments to respond effectively to the challenges they face. The inability of a government to meet the needs of its population as a whole or to provide protection in the face of climate change-induced hardship could trigger frustration, lead to tensions between different ethnic and religious groups within countries and to political radicalisation. This could destabilise countries and even entire regions.

The European Union also underlines the importance of effective implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, recognizing the vital role of women’s active participation at all levels in post conflict reconstruction and peace building.

The European Union firmly believes that adherence to the rule of law is critical to conflict prevention, stabilization of fragile and conflict affected environments, and sustainable long-term development. Peace and justice are not conflicting goals. The European Union strongly supports the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its activities and remains convinced that there can be no sustainable peace without justice.

* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

The European Union recognises the importance of leadership on the ground and deploys EU Special Representatives, who together with the network of EC Delegations in the field, work closely with the Secretary General's Special Representatives and their staff in the field.

The European Union underlines the importance of the international community coming together behind a common strategy as often as possible. When dealing with an immediate post-conflict phase, the international community needs to have a common understanding, a common strategy of what the needs are, what needs to be done, when and by whom, both at international level and on the ground. In both cases, there is a need to identify leadership or agree a division of labour. At the international level, the key is coordination of action. On the ground, this agreement should materialise through cooperation of actors in order to consolidate action and achieve results.

The European Union has committed to carrying out common conflict analyses and assessments to feed into common strategies and programmes. We continue to intensify cooperation with UN and international partners in this respect, notably between situation centres, and in developing methodologies for joint post conflict need assessments.

The European Union has rapidly developed its civilian ambitions with most European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) missions being civilian. To meet the increasing ambitions, we have prioritised civilian capability development with a new Civilian Headline Goal, including an Annual Report on Civilian Preparedness to the yearly Ministerial Civilian Capabilities Improvement Conferences.

The European Union's Civilian Headline Goal 2010 contributes to international efforts to increase civilian capacity.  It recognises the importance of high-calibre personnel, with the training, skills and experience for their tasks, who can work with and build local capacity.  It also recognizes the importance of enablers - planning and conduct capabilities, finance and procurement, security management – as well as the importance of deploying civilian effect coherently with military and development. 

As part of the EU crisis response toolbox, European Community tools were also upgraded to allow more rapid and flexible funding of crisis response programmes. In addition to the well-established humanitarian or civil protection response capacity, the creation of the new Instrument for Stability (IfS) considerably enhances the capacities for swift and targeted responses to crises and post crises needs, for example through the deployment of civilian experts and technical assistance. The Instrument for Stability includes a specific component to help strengthen crisis preparedness capacities of international actors, notably the UN, and relevant agencies in EU Member States. On the other hand, the Africa Peace Facility allows the European Union to financially support financial African Union peace support operations.

The European Union agrees that effective cooperation between the United Nations and regional organisations is essential. We recognise the important role of the United Nations in integrating political, security and development approaches in stabilisation and recovery contexts. In many instances, post-conflict stabilisation assistance provided under EU instruments are implemented in support of UN operations, or even channelled through UN mechanisms. 

This cooperation must be pursued. The European Union remains committed to the strengthening of UN crisis management capacities, including on the basis of the Joint Statement on EU-UN Cooperation in Crisis Management. This will continue to be a priority for the European Union.

In particular, there is scope for increased EU/UN cooperation in supporting the efforts of the AU and African sub-regional organizations in establishing the African Peace and Security Architecture. In this regard, the Joint Africa/EU Strategy and its First Action Plan (2008-2010) provides a solid base for future developments.

The European Union remains committed to playing an active role in supporting the UN peacebuilding efforts. In this regard, we recognize that the PBC is a valuable international instrument that can help post-conflict states overcome challenges to sustainable peace and commends the work of the PBC to date in promoting peace in Burundi, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau. We hope that, incrementally, the PBC will be able to consider countries that are more immediately post-conflict.

Through the Integrated Peacebuilding Strategies the PBC has worked with national governments to map out commitments of the national governments and the PBC, identifying gaps and potential obstacles to sustainable peace, coordinating international peacebuilding efforts, as well as ensuring that the countries in question receive the requisite support and attention from the international community.

I would like to thank the Presidency of the Security Council for convening this constructive debate. Let me reaffirm that it is a priority for the European Union to continue providing its expertise and resources to post-conflict peacebuilding around the world as partner of the UN.

Thank you.


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Date: 23.05.2008