On January 31st 2018, Romania has been elected Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC).
Thanking the Member States for the confidence vested in Romania, the Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Ion Jinga, incoming Chair of PBC said: “I take this as a recognition of my country’s 100 years of tradition in multilateral diplomacy, as Romania was a founding member of the League of Nations in 1919 and, since it joined the UN in 1955, it invested a lot in preventive diplomacy, conflict prevention, peacebuilding and mediation. In the last 26 years Romania participated with more than 12,500 troops in 20 UN peacekeeping missions, it ranks today first among EU countries contributing with police officers under the UN flag and is the only UN member state providing close protection units to UN high level officials in high risk areas.”
He identified five priorities for PBC in 2018: a coherent and well-coordinated regional peacebuilding approach; strengthening the partnerships with regional and sub-regional organizations as well as with international financial institutions, especially with the World Bank and with the African Development Bank; implementation of the peacebuilding and sustaining peace; a better coordination of the PBC with the Peacebuilding Fund; and increasing the PBC’s work visibility through better public communication.
Romania’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations proposed an enhanced PBC partnership with the private sector, stating that: „International and domestic private sector actors and entities have important roles to play in implementation of peacebuilding and sustaining peace efforts, particularly in addressing the root causes of conflict. Political, social and economic activities associated with peacebuilding are closely related. From an economic perspective, the main challenge of peacebuilding is to create an environment favorable to sustainable development, for which private investment may be indispensable, especially in post-conflict situations.”
With regard to PBC’s enhancing role, he stressed “the importance of supporting conflict affected countries through the whole process, from preventing the outbreak, escalation and recurrence of conflict, to reconstruction and development. Prevention not only saves lives but it is also cost-effective. The Commission, in accordance with its mandate, should stand ready to support conflict affected countries that seek to engage with the international community at all stages of conflict. As a unique consensus building body, the PBC role is only to help. Peacebuilding must respect the sovereignty of the states concerned. Further rising of the PBC profile depends largely on its relationship with the Security Council and the PBC capacity to bring valuable inputs to the Council’s work, without interfering with the Council’s competences.”
The UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, stressed that Romania is taking over the PBC chairmanship at a crucial moment, marked by the Secretary-General agenda on restructuring the main UN bodies and the High Level Conference on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace convened by the President of the General Assembly, on 24-25 April 2018. In this context, PBC should act as a bridge for UN cross-pillar activities in the fields of peace, security and humanitarian assistance.
The PBC was established in 2005, by the Security Council (SC) and General Assembly (GA) in order to improve the international community’s support for countries just emerging from violent conflicts. The PBC is an intergovernmental advisory body with 31 member states: 7 members elected by the General Assembly, 7 members selected by the Security Council, 7 members elected by the Economic and Social Council (one seat still vacant), 5 top providers of military personnel and civilian police to United Nations missions and 5 top providers of assessed contributions to United Nations budgets. Romania was elected as PBC member by ECOSOC and became a PBC member for the first time in 2018.
Within the UN system, PBC is a unique body both in terms of organization and mandate. It is the only body providing advice to the Security Council, the General Assembly (GA) and to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on critical peacebuilding issues. The PBC is also mandated to engage with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Union (EU) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the African Union and with other major international organizations and institutions. Other parallel Security Council and General Assembly resolutions also call on the PBC to serve as a convening, bridging and advisory body that brings attention to sustaining peace and preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict.