Remarks Before the 47th Plenary Meeting of the UN General Assembly
Thank you, Madame President. I wish to thank also Assistant Secretary-General Cheng-Hopkins and Ambassador Lucas for their thoughtful briefings today.
Peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict is among our highest priorities, representing the greatest opportunity to transform the dynamics that led to bloodshed in the first place. If those who seek to build peace are not successful in the months after a conflict’s end, then it becomes increasingly difficult to consolidate peace as time passes. I would like to return to some key points made by Ambassador Rice during our last debate on this subject.
First, the strength of UN peacebuilding is dependent on the expertise and capabilities of its field personnel – and of the UN's agility in deploying, leading, and managing them effectively. The United States welcomes the Secretary-General's continuing focus on mission leadership. Skilled and effective leadership is essential to success. We also welcome the unfolding Civilian Capacity Review implementation process, whose efforts must improve the UN's flexibility, resourcefulness, and decisiveness in deploying qualified and capable civilian specialists to the field. The constellation of UN departments, agencies, and programs represents a deep reservoir of human talent and organizational resources that can be effective contributors to peacebuilding. We believe that more can be done to target skills and expertise available within the UN family and the wider international community, including the Bretton Woods institutions. We also continue to look forward, as we have noted previously, to further progress in clarifying key peacebuilding roles and responsibilities.
Second, if UN efforts to build peace are to be truly sustainable, they must incorporate women throughout the process. We echo the Secretary-General's 2010 Women in Peacebuilding* that “women are crucial partners in shoring up three pillars of lasting peace: economic recovery, social cohesion and political legitimacy.” The United States is currently developing a national action plan on women, peace, and security, to focus efforts on women’s participation in relief and recovery efforts. Women must be empowered not just as beneficiaries of development, but as agents of economic, social, and political transformation. The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize this year to three women peacebuilders is a strong testament to their indispensability in successful peace processes.
Our post-conflict development efforts recognize that women are essential drivers of the peacebuilding process. For example, members of the U.S. Civilian Response Corps in South Sudan are working with local women leaders in areas historically under-represented in the political circles in Juba to facilitate their increased participation in political processes. We also commend the work of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone, which has developed an approach on gender matters that combats gender-based violence and promotes access to health care, political participation and justice for women.
Madame President, this briefing reminds us how vital the work of peacebuilding and institution-building is. Helping a society recover from conflict is never an easy task, but we must persevere in collaborating to formulate the effective solutions that each post-conflict society needs. Unless we work together to consolidate peace in war-torn lands, we will never be able to truly recognize our goal of international peace and security. Thank you, Madame President.