Jordan Ryan: Remarks at UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping

Feb 24, 2012

Distinguished chair and distinguished delegates,

Thank you for inviting me here today to speak on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on the importance of partnerships for peacebuilding. You are right to focus on this topic for if peace is to be built, many will need to work together. No one alone can do all that is required.

This morning I would like to reflect on the advantages of partnership, where we have seen it work; and some lessons on how to take it forward.

But to begin, as the report of your substantive session last year rightly points out, progress on security and national reconciliation needs to occur in parallel with progress on development, if sustainable peace is to be consolidated.

Peacekeeping operations and development agencies must therefore complement each other to break the cycle of violence. For us in the United Nations family, this means that we have to work hand in hand to support governments in defining and reaching their peacebuilding goals.

The Security Council is challenged to respond to many crises. And if one examines the root causes of these, you will often find development deficits –whether it be in terms of poor governance or weak institutions that fail to deliver to people, or which deliver to only some of the people, and whose legitimacy is questioned.

Our vision of peace and security therefore goes beyond a series of responses to violent conflict through peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Our approach of enabling countries to achieve sustainable peace and development requires us to link more consciously the three pillars of the UN’s work: peace and security, development, and human rights and build a close partnership these pillars.

Given the close link between peace, security and development, it can be argued that the UN development system’s role is firmly on the Security Council’s radar, when a mandate for a UN peacekeeping is under consideration. The inclusion of development considerations is not least important, in order to avoid a situation where peacekeeping operations are used as a substitute for addressing the root causes of conflict when these can be addressed by social and development instruments, as it was also noted in your report last year.

It is therefore imperative that when mandates for missions are being considered, that the capacities already on the ground in the form of the UN Country Team, which includes the World Bank, is taken into account before determining the scope of a mission and the capacities it requires. That will help reduce the potential for duplication of work and ensure continuity after a mission funded by assessed contributions leaves a country.

Let me now give you some concrete examples on how we work with peacekeeping mission in four areas also covered by last year’s report: (i) disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of combatants, (ii) promoting justice and rule of law (iii) security sector reform and (iv) on gender.

Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR)

The Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and UNDP have developed a very close partnership on disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of combatant in peacekeeping settings. UNDP helps former combatants to reintegrate into civilian life through counseling and vocational training while DPKO leads in disarmament and demobilization.

Through joint planning UNDP and DPKO are able to support government institutions and commissions to develop and implement credible DDR programmes.

At the headquarters level DPKO and UNDP co-chair the Inter-Agency Working Group on DDR, which creates further synergies, including a more coherent resource mobilization platform, as DPKO raises funds from assessed budget and UNDP through voluntary contributions.

Justice, RoL and Security Sector Reform (SSR)

Rule of law and security sector reform are designated priorities for peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Our partnership with DPKO is this area is particularly important and strong.

In South Sudan we partner on the joint Jonglei Justice Programme which targets infrastructure, equipment and capacity support to rule of law institutions.

In Liberia we work with the Peacebuilding Support Office on the Justice and Security Joint Programme drawing from the priority areas detailed in the Liberia Peacebuilding Programme.

Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti UNDP and DPKO have developed a joint Programme for Rule of Law, Justice and Security, which helped tackle immediate needs such as legal assistance for crime victims and basic court and police infrastructure.

As you know, the establishment of an effective, professional and accountable security sector is one of the critical elements for laying the foundations for durable peace and development, including economic recovery.  This is why we partner closely with DPKO to support national security sector reform efforts.

UNDP, UN Women, DPKO, the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) and others work closely together to promote women's political participation, economic recovery, and access to justice, which as you know is so important to rebuild inclusive societies.

We have deployed Senior Gender Advisors who bring UNDP and peacekeeping missions together to ensure that women are empowered to play a primary role in rebuilding their societies.

On the strategic level, we also complement each other:

DPKO provides the security umbrella which expands and preserves the space for development actors.

The Good Offices of the SRSGs and the DSRSGs facilitate political processes and national reconciliation, and for advancing broader issues critical for longer-term peace and stability such as the rule-of-law, SSR, DDR and Gender.

The technical teams behind the mission leadership also play a very important role in helping advance politically sensitive issues that are challenging for UNDP or other agencies to address.

As a system, we have come a long way towards working together as one team and progressed well in implementing the Secretary-General’s 2008 decision on integration of our efforts.

Along the way, some lessons have been learned.  Let me share with you a few prominent ones:

1) Integration and co-ordination in conflict and post-conflict settings can be challenging. Collaboration takes concerted effort and dedication from the wide range of UN actors.

2) Effective field-level UN leadership is central to the success of integration and co-ordination – it does not happen by chance. 

3) Without a clear understanding of and respect for the roles and responsibilities of UNCT members, and the way in which they relate to mission mandates, coherence will not be attained. 

4) National ownership must be respected and supported for sustainable results to be attained. 

5) No amount of written guidance can compensate for necessity of proper incentives for people to work together.

The Secretary-General’s report on civilian capacity in the aftermath of conflict builds on these lessons. The report emphasizes the principle of comparative advantage in implementing Security Council mandates. It explicitly mentions that other UN actors than the peacekeeping mission should implement the aspects of the mandate, where it has the comparative advantage.

This of course would also mean that the budgeted funding for these activities should be allocated to the implementing entity. If we are to derive value from our peacebuilding partnerships, we should take this recommendation on board. 

I understand that you will receive a special briefing on the implementation of this report, but let me reassure you that UNDP is committed to this process. 

Indeed, UNDP’s mandate is to support programme countries in developing national and local capacities for human development, which is also why UNDP is leading an inter-agency group to develop shared guidance within the entire UN system, as requested by the Secretary-General.

Together with colleagues across the system and under the leadership of DPKO, UNDP is participating in the drafting of a UN policy on the transition from from multi-dimensional peace operations to smaller UN configurations. The draft policy will be presented to the Integration Steering Group later this year. It is my hope that this policy will assist us in better planning and managing the drawdown of missions.

As many of you know, in Timor-Leste the leadership of Timor-Leste, UNMIT and the Country Team are working jointly to ensure a seamless transition from peacekeeping to a new phase of UN engagement following UNMIT’s expected closure in December this year. This week, the President of Timor-Leste, the SRSG and the UNDP Administrator held High Level consultations in New York to garner support for the work of UN agencies to consolidate peace in Timor-Leste.

In closing, I want to emphasize the importance of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and the close partnership UNDP has what is known as the Peacebuilding Architecture. Of the six countries on the Peacebuilding Commission’s agenda, Liberia is currently the only country with a peacekeeping mission.

I think the work by the PBC in Liberia is a very good example of the important role that the PBC plays. As the main recipient of funding from the Peacebuilding Fund, UNDP’s partnership with the Fund is also very important for us. I believe that with the multi-year support from PBF we are together able to assist countries stay the course to consolidate peace.

Clearly, we can only meet today’s challenges of peace, security and development if we work together as partners and if we listen to the voices of the countries themselves.

Thank you.



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