Remarks at at a General Assembly Debate on the Peacebuilding Commission and Peacebuilding Fund Annual Reports

Ashley Bagwell
Counselor for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
May 24, 2018


Thank you, Mr. President, for convening this session to bring together Member States, on the Peacebuilding Commission and Peacebuilding Foundation and in support of “Sustaining Peace” – the critical idea that peacebuilding applies to all phases of conflict – before, during, and after. The United States strongly believes that all pillars of the UN system should be engaged in sustaining peace.

“Peace” is not the absence of conflict. Peace is forged over time, through trust, openness, and goodwill – including between a government and its citizens. While UN peacekeeping missions have long helped to create a space for this peace to be developed, peacekeeping missions alone cannot produce lasting peace. To sustain peace, we must focus on prevention, and not only the consequences, of conflict. Sustaining peace must also involve a larger, multidimensional strategy, in which national governments and stakeholders do their part to fulfill responsibilities and commitments on the ground.

At the UN, we must do our part to break barriers and bridge differences across the three pillars to foster more cooperation and coherence within the UN system. To this end, the United States supports the Secretary-General’s reform initiatives and their focus on better integrating conflict prevention across the UN’s work – as discussed at the High-Level Meeting on Sustaining Peace in April. We also encourage the Secretary-General to take action on his Sustaining Peace Report, specifically including creating integrated strategic frameworks, UN Development Assistance Frameworks, and greater in-country cross-pillar cooperation.

The Peacebuilding Commission has an important role in ensuring that the entire UN system recognizes the inextricable links between sustainable development and sustainable peace, and we value the whole-of-system approach it brings to its country and region-specific configurations. The PBC’s engagement in Liberia is a bright example of the contributions that the Commission, the Peacebuilding Fund, and the Peacebuilding Support Office can make, especially when they work together with the Security Council. We value such successes yet also recognize we all can do more to energize the UN’s peacebuilding work. The PBC should play a key role in convening UN bodies, governments, and other stakeholders to ensure that we all work in a coherent and coordinated manner to build sustainable peace.

We also recognize the work of the Peacebuilding Fund, including engagements with civil society organizations to promote gender and youth initiatives, and partnership with organizations such as the World Bank to advance peacebuilding processes. While organization and access to funding are important, money does not create peace. Access to assessed funding is not a cure for all problems, and it will not fix the fundamental obstacles to effective peacebuilding. It is our view that peacebuilding should be voluntarily funded and not tied to the peacekeeping budget.

Peacebuilding provides a space for partnerships and cooperation. And it is in this space – where everyone is brought to the table, and all voices are heard – that effective and lasting transitions to peace are made possible.

The United States is committed to the advancement of the peacebuilding process and looks forward to working with all Member States to sustain peace in our world.