After decades of serious involvement in peacekeeping phases, the United Nations has learnt the need for longer intervention in the post-conflict stabilisation phase to avoid relapse in countries exiting crisis. During the crucial immediate post-conflict phase, the international community must support still fragile national institutions and enable them to meet the population’s critical needs. Democracy and stability are not merely ensured from the day elections are held.
This greater post-crisis involvement presents the United Nations with new challenges:
post-conflict phases are characterised by a multiplicity of international community players (UN institutions, international and regional organisations, donors, non-governmental organisations). It is the job of the United Nations to ensure overall coherence in all these actions;
even more than in actual crisis management, international post-conflict efforts must be designed for the long term. The slowness of reconstruction may demobilise the international community by the absence of short-term results (“donor fatigue”). The United Nations must, therefore, be in a position to define an overall strategic approach to mobilise the international community over time.To meet these challenges, the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) was set up on 20 December 2005 as a subsidiary advisory body of the Security Council and General Assembly. It represents an initial attempt to achieve coherence in the international community’s action in post-conflict and reconstruction phases. The aim is to define crisis exit strategies with concrete objectives for beneficiary countries and bring together all the relevant players and donors. Four countries are at present on the PBC agenda: Burundi, CAR, Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone. Pursuant to resolutions that have governed its creation, a review process of the PBC will take place in 2010, ie five years after its creation.
The United Nations is also increasingly involved in the field of security system reform (SSR), an essential precondition for successful exit from crisis. The Secretary-General has published an initial report entitled “Securing peace and development: the role of the United Nations in supporting security sector reform”. In addition to UNDP action, the DPKO’s Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions is setting up an SSR support capacity.
SSR is based on an integrated approach to cooperation action in civilian fields (reform of police, judiciary, prisons) and military fields (reform of the army). For efficient implementation, it requires full ownership on the part of the authorities concerned. Since SSR addresses sensitive areas (good governance and human rights, sovereign functions), it requires, first of all, an explanation of the concept and education.
Update : July 2010
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