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ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL ADOPTS DECISION ON SOUTH SUDAN AND DISCUSSES AFRICAN COUNTRIES EMERGING FROM CONFLICT
Holds Panel Discussion on Lessons Learned on Coordinated Support to Countries Emerging from Conflict
22 July 2013

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) this afternoon adopted a decision under its agenda item on coordination, programme and other questions, on South Sudan after discussing African countries emerging from conflict.  The Council held a panel discussion on lessons learned on integrated, coherent and coordinated support to countries emerging from conflict.

Martin Sajdik, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, spoke about how the Council could more effectively work together with the Peacebuilding Commissions, such as on mainstreaming peacebuilding into the work of the Council through the year and by incorporating a peacebuilding lens in the work of subsidiary bodies of the Council. 

Abulkalam Abdul Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations, New York, and Vice-Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, gave a briefing, via video link, on the situation in six African countries emerging from conflict that were on the Commission’s agenda: Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone.  He said more work was needed as without peace and stability, development and prosperity were a distant hope.  Conflicts must be mediated and dissolved before they flared up. 

Sidi Zahabi, Acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Juba, South Sudan, addressed the Council by video link to introduce the report of the Secretary-General on behalf of Toby Lanzer, Deputy-Representative of the Secretary-General in Juba.  The report reviewed United Nations efforts in South Sudan following its creation two years ago.  In South Sudan the situation was also atypical because the national budget was dependent on oil.  With support from the international community alternative revenue sources had been sought and non-oil revenue had radically increased.

In introductory remarks to a panel discussion on lessons learned on integrated, coherent and coordinated support to countries emerging from conflict, Mr. Sajdik said the Peacebuilding Commission informed the Council on best practices and lessons learned for addressing economic and social challenges of peacebuilding in other African countries emerging from conflict.  Today’s panel discussion aimed to identify critical success and failure factors from the experiences of two countries on the Commission’s agenda, Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic. 

Yvette Stevens, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said her Government was embarking on a new stage of prosperity and development, aimed at reaching middle-income status.  Strong ownership and support by the international community, as well as a development strategy all stakeholders could buy into, was very important.  The national “Agenda for Change” aimed to bring people out of poverty and focused on energy, agriculture, and transportation. 

Kaarina Immonen, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident Coordinator, Central African Republic, highlighted key factors contributing to the difficult situation in the Central African Republic, including the lack of mutual trust between political leaders, absence of law enforcement, widespread poverty and lack of employment, which often led people to take up arms.  The very difficult sub-regional situation was an additional factor. 

Donata Garrasi, Coordinator for the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and State-Building, Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said in the three countries concerned – Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and South Sudan – official development assistance represented a very high percentage of funds available within the country for development and peacebuilding activities, and so had a very important role.  The focus must be on country priorities and country-led plans, and in providing assistance in a way that actually supported country facilities. 

During the discussion, speakers asked questions about the conflict in South Sudan and neighbouring countries and the vulnerable situation of civilians.  How was income from natural resources, such as oil, shared among populations and what were innovative measures to address oil revenue issues.  Other issues that were discussed were youth unemployment, capacity building and efforts to promote trade.  A speaker raised the issue of women’s rights to own land, particularly under the communal land tenure system in Sierra Leone, while other speakers asked what role Sierra Leone’s neighbours and the United Nations had played in peacebuilding and reconciliation. 

During the discussion, United States, Canada, South Africa, Nigeria, Namibia and Japan took the floor. 

The Council then adopted a decision on African countries emerging from conflict (E/2013/L.34), in which the Council took note of the report of the Secretary General on the implementation of integrated, coherent and coordinated support to South Sudan by the United Nations system and requested that another report on the
subject be submitted for the Council’s consideration at its substantive session of
2014. 

The Council will resume its work on Tuesday, 23 July, at 10 a.m., when it will consider implementation of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits, including review and coordination of the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020. 

Documentation

The Council has before it the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of integrated, coherent and coordinated support to South Sudan by the United Nations system (E/2013/73).

African Countries Emerging from Conflict

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, said the Economic and Social Council had a fruitful interaction with the Chairs of the Peacebuilding Commissions on 9 May 2013 to discuss ways to strengthen the relationship between the two bodies and to improve the procedural aspects of their interaction.  There was general agreement that the existing common work areas between the Council and the Peacebuilding Commissions could be enhanced.  Bureau Members of the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission Chairs expressed their willingness to work together to find ways that would add value to the work of both bodies.  Proposals had been also made for mainstreaming peacebuilding into the work of the Council through the year, and throughout all its various activities.  It was also strongly felt that the subsidiary bodies of the Council could incorporate a peacebuilding lens in their work so that the Commissions could leverage the expertise in areas of direct interest to the countries on its agenda.  A meeting was scheduled to take place in the fall to discuss a more detailed programme of work to guide their interaction in 2014.

ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations, New York, and Vice-Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, gave a briefing, via video link, on African countries emerging from conflict and ways to strengthen relations between the Commission and ECOSOC that would benefit nearly 1.5 million people living in countries emerging from conflicts.  The six countries on the Commission’s agenda were Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone.  Engagement in Burundi focused on building partnerships and its Government had made a number of commitments to that end.  Peacebuilding processes in the Central African Republic were going through a difficult phase, as the country had suffered from the overthrow, in March 2013, of the elected Government.  However, further escalation had been avoided as a transition government was now in place and elections had been scheduled.  The Commission’s engagement with Guinea provided a space for the Government and political actors to discuss election-related issues, which had triggered important initiatives to strengthen the upcoming electoral process.  The Commission’s work in Guinea Bissau was hampered by the illegitimate change of Government last year but it was working with the current authorities in order to help the country return to order.  In Liberia, the Commission had worked on an inclusive strategy for national reconciliation.  The Government of Liberia had expressed gratitude to the Commission for its help in formulating the National Reconciliation Roadmap, which was officially launched by the President in June 2013.  In 2012 the Commission on Sierra Leone had focused on the issue of good governance and the rule of law, as well as youth unemployment and the promotion of gender equality and human rights.  

Of the six Peacebuilding Commission agenda countries, there had been relapses in two: the Central African Republic and Guinea Bissau, which was testimony that more needed to be done to sustain peace and security.  It was time to scale up efforts.  Without peace and stability, development and prosperity were a distant hope.  Mr. Momen said the denial of aspirations must end, and instead hope, jobs and rule of law must be provided.  Conflicts must be mediated and dissolved before they flared up.  The most powerful were expected to do more, Mr. Momen said, concluding that unless the policy of divide and rule was dissolved then progress on achieving sustainable peace and security would be hampered. 

SIDI ZAHABI, Acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Juba, South Sudan, introducing the report of the Secretary-General on behalf of Toby Lanzer, Deputy-Representative of the Secretary-General in Juba, reviewed some of the efforts of the United Nations system in South Sudan in support of the Government.  The United Nations had played an important role in accompanying the country and putting in place institutions, addressing security conditions, and supporting the administration, after the creation of South Sudan two years ago.  It was a very young country and everything was a priority, but the local population was expecting a lot from the administration.  Among the many challenges faced, including security, many of the efforts carried out by the international community aimed at bringing peace to the country.  At the same time, it was important to create the basic foundations of the State.  This situation had been exacerbated by tensions with some of its neighbours, including with Sudan alongside their borders and oil producing areas, often leading to situations where the production of oil was discontinued. 

The United Nations had sought to work on original approaches, including new frameworks to react to these challenges and help South Sudan to generate alternative income.  South Sudan had increased its non-oil revenue from 3 to 20 million.  The United Nations also sought to coordinate the priorities of the Government and its partners.  Progress had also been made in the health and education sectors, despite the difficulties faced by the country and with the support of United Nations agencies, for instance in the construction of schools and the provision of meals for children.  In nine territories, local administrations had been put in place despite significant challenges, thanks to the support of the United Nations.

Panel Discussion on Lessons Learned on Integrated, Coherent and Coordinated Support to Countries Emerging from Conflict

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council and Panel Moderator, said four years ago the Council invited the Peacebuilding Commission to continue to inform it on best practices, and particularly on lessons learned from its experiences that were relevant for addressing the economic and social challenges of peacebuilding in other African countries emerging from conflict.  The panel discussion today would present an opportunity to learn from the experiences of the two countries on the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission, namely Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic, highlighted today, and learn from those experiences lessons which could shape its policy advice to South Sudan and to other transition countries.  It was also noteworthy that the three countries represented here today – Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and South Sudan – were members of the G7+ Group of Fragile and Conflict-Affected States as well as pilot countries of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States.  The discussion aimed to identify critical success and failure factors in re-launching economic recovery in post-conflict countries; examine how the United Nations system could strengthen its efforts to assist the Governments of post-conflict countries to establish and strengthen its core governance functions at all levels; and suggest innovative ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of development assistance.

YVETTE STEVENS, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that the development of basic institutions had a big impact on national stability and national and international recognition, including electoral, anti-corruption and human rights commissions.  Comprehensive policies and programmes had also been developed to tackle cross-cutting development challenges, including poverty reduction.  Programmes called “Agenda for Change” had been put together and aimed at bringing people out of poverty and focused on energy, agriculture and transportation.  Efforts for the coordination of assistance had also been made.  Through the establishment of common facilities, such as offices and cross-cutting funds, United Nations agencies had contributed to launching economic development.  The Government was preparing to embark on a new stage of prosperity and development, aimed at reaching middle-income status. 

Responding to the question of Mr. Sajdik, on how long a peacebuilding commission would be necessary in Sierra Leone, given the progress made, Ms. Stevens said that support from the United Nations and its agencies would continue to be necessary and, while it was difficult to set an exact date for the commission to remain, the timing should be such so that the initiatives currently being put in place could take off.   

KAARINA IMMONEN, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident Coordinator, Central African Republic, highlighted key factors contributing to the difficult situation in the Central African Republic.  First, the lack of mutual trust between political leaders and other influential people, perhaps due to a lack of dialogue amongst political actors to build up trust, and a lack political will to move forward within the framework of the peace agreements.   It was difficult for the State to provide basic services to the population living outside the capital, Bangui, and there was an absence of law enforcement, a weak army and an inefficient judiciary.  In the context of widespread poverty – the Central African Republic was one of the poorest countries in the world – and a lack of income-generating opportunities or employment led people to take up arms in order to gain some sort of income.  The very difficult sub-regional situation was an additional factor.  The political crisis that took place earlier this year was triggered by the lack of payment of salaries, which had taken months of delays.  For the population, when means were non-existent it opened up space for demonstrations which turned into violence, as well as requests for better governance and more transparency. 

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council and Panel Moderator, asked Mr. Zahabi, on the basis of the ongoing discussion, whether a number of common issues in relation to the recovery from conflict could be applied in South Sudan.

SIDI ZAHABI, Acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Juba South Sudan, reiterated that South Sudan was a new country and that independence had been obtained only two years ago.  Regarding recovery and peacebuilding, the United Nations and the Government had innovated during the early stages and had adapted a flexible strategy that took into account the country’s needs and allowed for prioritising the use of available resources.  This had been done effectively and had allowed for the revision of the Government’s plans and a focus on three main areas, including, agriculture, access to markets and education.  This would be one of the most important lessons learned about an emerging country facing crisis.  In South Sudan the situation was also atypical because the national budget was dependent on oil; however, with the support of the international community, alternative revenue sources had been sought and non-oil revenue had radically increased.

DONATA GARRASI, Coordinator for the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and State-Building, Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said the International Dialogue was a high-level forum set up in 2008 which brought together the G7+ Group of fragile post-conflict countries, civil society and other stakeholders to support transitions and enable them to work together at the country level.  Approximately 30 per cent of official development assistance went to conflict-affected States, representing about $ 50 billion.  In the three countries concerned, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and South Sudan, official development assistance represented a very high percentage of funds available within the country for development and peacebuilding activities, and so had a very important role.  It was vital to continue to provide adequate and dependable development assistance.   Too often assistance strategies were designed elsewhere, such as New York or Paris, that did not fully apply to the country situation.  The focus must be on country priorities and country-led plans, and in providing assistance in a way that actually supported country facilities. 

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council and Panel Moderator, addressing the question of employment, highlighted that in Sierra Leone political recovery had been in line with economic recovery and the improvement of the economic situation and asked Ms. Stevens to comment on this issue.

YVETTE STEVENS, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that youth unemployment remained a problem in Sierra Leone and that measures had been taken in this regard.  Employment constituted one of the pillars in the agenda for prosperity and efforts aimed at addressing this problem in its entirety.   During the war, many youth had been enticed due to unemployment and unless the State could provide for the youth the peace would remain fragile.  A number of programmes sought the prioritisation of youth issues in a number of sectors, including the need for both employment and training.  For example, a policy was in place to promote the use of local labour by investors, but now training was needed.  The implementation of youth policies remained a challenge and the Government was taken measures to tackle it

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council and Panel Moderator, following up on the question of employment, asked Ms. Immonen whether statistical information was available regarding the labour market and youth unemployment in the Central African Republic. 

KAARINA IMMONEN, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident Coordinator, Central African Republic, turned to employment for youth, saying there had been a national strategy on boosting that very vital aspect of stability for a county.  Unfortunately there had been little implementation of or support for that strategy.  Youth who had managed to get specialized training had little support in accessing paid employment afterwards.  The alternative for youth was to get involved with armed groups and to become child soldiers, and the United Nations was trying to address that challenge by carrying out awareness raising for individuals and communities on the risks for youth, as well as promoting employment opportunities.  A dedicated ministry on youth employment was needed.

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council and Panel Moderator, recalled that the report of the Secretary-General about South Sudan mentioned rural labour shortages and the implementation of cash programmes for unemployed youth that aimed at bringing them to work in rural areas.  Was this programme working?

SIDI ZAHABI, Acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Juba, South Sudan, said that youth employment was one of the major challenges faced in a country recovering from war.   Very few qualified individuals were available in the local markets but, despite the challenges, some of the best options considered by the national Government looked at the situation of youth, including in efforts to develop roads and infrastructure needed after the war.  The provision of employment to the youth allowed for injecting cash to the local markets.  This transversal approach was being used by those helping in the development of South Sudan also in the context of disarmament and demobilisation programmes.  Mr. Zahabi reiterated that these initiatives helped inject money into the local economy and to help communities setting the ground for their own development

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council and Panel Moderator, turning to Ms. Garrasi, asked what measures had been put in place by the partners to address employment goals.

DONATA GARRASI, Coordinator for the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and State-Building, Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said the good news was that on average G7+ economies had, since 2005, cut by half the average time to start a business thanks to new regulatory reforms, while the cost of doing business had been cut by two thirds as a percentage of income per capita.  International partners could support conflict-affected countries first by creating an enabling environment for economic growth and employment generation; and second by supporting initiatives which directly targeted specific population groups, e.g. youth, women and conflict-affected communities.  Those were long-term solutions but it was encouraging to see that many conflict-affected countries were investing strongly in the reforms agenda.  The key question was how to balance longer-term investment for large reforms with short-term assistance.  Ms. Garrasi said she thought the short-term assistance was the most pressing concern.

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council and Panel Moderator, recalled that Ms. Garrasi had addressed the question about long-term investment in natural resources and noted that these resources had been previously part of the causes and exacerbated the conflict.  On this basis, Mr. Sajdik asked the panellists if there was a template for the successful management of resources to support livelihoods while addressing inequalities and their impact on the environment.

KAARINA IMMONEN, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident Coordinator, Central African Republic, said that diamonds had been one of the resources facilitating conflict and providing negative incentives that undermined the peace process.  It was hoped that natural resources could be used to support an opposite reaction, including investments on infrastructure and industry, creating employment and income for a number of communities and allowing a greater number of people to benefit from the situation.  Concerning environmental degradation, there was very little information available but one of the concerted efforts that could take place would be obtaining reliable information on this area.

SIDI ZAHABI, Acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Juba, South Sudan, said the main challenge was to ensure that resources such as oil actually helped the countries and did not undermine them.  History showed that places with resources often led to conflict, for example in Sierra Leone.  The overarching answer was good governance.  Unless there were rules to manage natural resources those countries would not be able to prosper.  Transparency, accountability and management systems that served the population were also crucial.  An example of neighbouring countries that would benefit from cooperation was South Sudan and Sudan, whose natural resource was oil yet the pipeline for the oil ran through Sudan.  The countries must cooperate to benefit from their resources.

YVETTE STEVENS, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that one of the pillars for the new agenda for prosperity related to the management of natural resources as an initial driver for growth.  In order to be able to benefit from the resources available the appropriate mechanisms should be in place.  Concerning mineral resources, sector strategies should be implemented to ensure that everyone benefited, ensuring efficiency, as well as reducing the impact.  Now work was being done to achieve community agreements to ensure that the rights of communities affected by mining were respected, in response to complaints by communities who felt they were taken advantage of and to ensure that local communities benefited from these economic activities.  Proper management and mechanisms to ensure benefits for the population at large were necessary.

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council and Panel Moderator, concerning the difficulties of land ownership addressed by Ms. Stevens, asked panellists to elaborate on this difficult but important issue in the three countries under discussion.

YVETTE STEVENS, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations Office at Geneva, spoke about systems of land ownership in her country.  In the west, land was owned individually and you could do what you wished with it, but for the vast majority of the population living in the north, south and eastern provinces, land was commonly owned. The communal land tenure system had raised a lot of questions.  The question was how businesses, particularly huge agricultural companies, negotiated use of communal lands.  Traditionally the community chief had the authority to negotiate on behalf of the community, and make agreements with the businesses on sale or use of community land.  However sometimes the communities believed the money offered to them by businesses for use of their lands were large sums, but in reality they were small, especially given the enormous profit margins of big agricultural businesses.  The next step was to provide legal advice to communities negotiating land deals. 

SIDI ZAHABI, Acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Juba, South Sudan, said that the fundamental land tenure issues in terms of work that partners carried out to help a country come out of the crisis were crucial since this issue was vital.  Without a land-tenure regime that was reassuring to investors and the population it would be very hard to talk about development.

KAARINA IMMONEN, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident Coordinator, Central African Republic, said that this was an important question and that in a humanitarian context access to land was also an important issue.  People sometimes preferred to immediately consume seeds rather than to plant them, because they feared that others would come to occupy the land and benefit from their work.  Land ownership was very important during the transitional situation and had a long-term impact, for example, in the case of displaced populations unable to access their land.

United States said the ongoing conflict between Sudan and South Sudan and attacks on civilians meant that ordinary people were paying the heaviest price.  The United States was very concerned about the situation, especially about the 100,000 vulnerable people in Jonglei State.  The resumption of oil production and the opening of the border for trade were vital for peace and stability, and Sudan’s threat to cut off the border access was a violation of the peace agreement. 

Canada highlighted the added value of Geneva which was uniquely placed for an essential conversation about challenges affecting post-conflict situations because the World Trade Organization, the World Economic Forum and the International Labour Organization were here, meaning that Geneva could contribute to collective international efforts in economic and job creation. 

South Africa, noting the similarities between the situations in Sudan and the Central African Republic, said that the international community had invested significant resources to ensure that peace prevailed.  In this context, South Africa asked Mr. Zahabi how to prevent any relapses into conflict in South Sudan, given the slipover tensions with its neighbours and in some of its region.  Mr. Zahabi had noted the innovative ways to address the oil revenue issues, had innovative measures been taken to address other challenges such as service delivery and reaching people in remote areas?

Kenya said it had sought to provide support to specific areas, such as capacity building and efforts to promote trade to boost the South Sudanese economy.  A number of infrastructure programmes were also underway, such as planned rail links and an oil pipeline to boost oil exports.  It had become clear that South Sudan depended almost entirely on oil, and Kenya asked the panellists what was being done to diversify South Sudan’s economy to reduce its dependence on oil.  Given the assistance stemming from different development partners, the application of the delivery-as-one principles would improve the efficiency of the delivery of this support; were strategies in place to implement them?

Nigeria commended Sierra Leone for the fast pace of its post-conflict recovery and asked about the issue of negotiations for communal land tenure system.  Attention should be drawn to the concerns of women in that field, as in most African countries women were not able to access land because of cultural impediments.  Whilst the issue of land was ‘on the table’ for post-conflict countries, the issue of women’s access to it should be addressed.

Namibia also commended the Government of Sierra Leone for its great efforts in peacebuilding and reconciliation.  Peacebuilding was a collective effort and the speaker asked what role Sierra Leone’s neighbours had played, and how the United Nations had worked to strengthen capacity in that process.

Japan said the strength of the Peacebuilding Commission lay in its work on development and believed ECOSOC could enhance its partnership with it, especially on the Commission’s agenda countries.  Youth employment, management of natural resources and land ownership were important issues, but a lesson learnt was that assistance must be delivered by demand not by supply. 

DONATA GARRASI, Coordinator for the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and State-Building, Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said that the new deal for engaging with fragile States made the point very clear, focusing on the interaction between the State and society and efforts to improve these relations such as political dialogue.  Very little support went into inclusive political processes and there was little evidence suggesting the prioritisation of these areas.  Civil society organizations in the G7+ countries had complained about the limited opportunities for engagement in discussions about fragile countries.  Concerning the post-2015 development framework, sustainable peace should be considered as a priority.  The G7+ countries were making efforts to ensure these issues were included in the agenda, but a greater group of countries should support the idea that peace was a universal goal and value and that should appear as a central part of the post-2015 development agenda.  Increasingly poor people would be concentrated in conflict- affected areas and it was crucial for peace to be seen as part of the poverty reduction and sustainability.  Concerning the need to avoid a relapse into conflict in South Sudan, Ms. Garrasi said that development partners were often too risk averse and that sometimes the opposite approach was needed, supporting challenging initiatives. 

KAARINA IMMONEN, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident Coordinator, Central African Republic, spoke about the support that post-conflict countries needed from the international community, from supporting reforms of security sector, to fight impunity, to address traditional justice and to establish the rule of law.  There had to be an integrated approach to do that.  Regarding the collection of natural resources, Ms. Immonen said it was important to establish a ministry to ensure accountability of the revenues coming from natural resources. 

SIDI ZAHABI, Acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Juba, South Sudan, responding to the question posed by the United States, said that despite the great focus on the problems in Jonglei, there were other regions where significant progress had been made but had not been reflected in the headlines.  The efforts made by the African Union and the United Nations had helped to calm the conflict and, while solutions could not be found overnight, a process was underway and efforts would bear fruit.  A dialogue was in place between Sudan and South Sudan and mechanisms were working slowly but surely.  Responding to Kenya’s question about the diversification of income, Mr. Zahabi indicated that the diversification of export roads and of activities had been pursued, including other avenues of income, such as agriculture, training, and job creation.  All of these fields required efforts in related areas such as training, education and, above all, bringing together the administrations and local populations.   

YVETTE STEVENS, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said Sierra Leone was worried about sustainability of development programmes in the post 2015 agenda and that was why the national Agenda for Prosperity took that into account.  Coordination was a priority.  The concerns of women in regards to land ownership was also very important, and a new national land policy took women’s needs into account.  Women were vocal protestors on that issue.  Ms. Stevens confirmed that Sierra Leone worked closely with its neighbours. 

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, in concluding remarks, thanked the panellists and said that the discussions had sought to address both successes and challenges, and to show that the Council truly wanted to interact with the Peacebuilding Commissions and to take them seriously. 
Action on Decision on African Countries Emerging from Conflict

The Council adopted a decision on African countries emerging from conflict (E/2013/L.34), in which the Council takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of integrated, coherent and coordinated support to South Sudan by the United Nations system and requests that another report on the
subject be submitted for the Council’s consideration at its substantive session of
2014.

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, invited the Council to turn to draft decision E/2013/L.34.

Namibia requested clarification concerning the subject matter of the report to be submitted to the substantive session, would it be African countries emerging from conflict or South Sudan.

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, indicated that the focus of the report would be on South Sudan.

The Council then adopted the draft decision.


__________

Economic and Social Council                                                                    ECOSOC/13/32
AFTERNOON                                                                                                 22 July 2013



ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL ADOPTS DECISION ON SOUTH SUDAN AND DISCUSSES AFRICAN COUNTRIES EMERGING FROM CONFLICT

Holds Panel Discussion on Lessons Learned on Coordinated Support to Countries Emerging from Conflict



The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) this afternoon adopted a decision under its agenda item on coordination, programme and other questions, on South Sudan after discussing African countries emerging from conflict.  The Council held a panel discussion on lessons learned on integrated, coherent and coordinated support to countries emerging from conflict.

Martin Sajdik, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, spoke about how the Council could more effectively work together with the Peacebuilding Commissions, such as on mainstreaming peacebuilding into the work of the Council through the year and by incorporating a peacebuilding lens in the work of subsidiary bodies of the Council. 

Abulkalam Abdul Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations, New York, and Vice-Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, gave a briefing, via video link, on the situation in six African countries emerging from conflict that were on the Commission’s agenda: Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone.  He said more work was needed as without peace and stability, development and prosperity were a distant hope.  Conflicts must be mediated and dissolved before they flared up. 

Sidi Zahabi, Acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Juba, South Sudan, addressed the Council by video link to introduce the report of the Secretary-General on behalf of Toby Lanzer, Deputy-Representative of the Secretary-General in Juba.  The report reviewed United Nations efforts in South Sudan following its creation two years ago.  In South Sudan the situation was also atypical because the national budget was dependent on oil.  With support from the international community alternative revenue sources had been sought and non-oil revenue had radically increased.

In introductory remarks to a panel discussion on lessons learned on integrated, coherent and coordinated support to countries emerging from conflict, Mr. Sajdik said the Peacebuilding Commission informed the Council on best practices and lessons learned for addressing economic and social challenges of peacebuilding in other African countries emerging from conflict.  Today’s panel discussion aimed to identify critical success and failure factors from the experiences of two countries on the Commission’s agenda, Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic. 

Yvette Stevens, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said her Government was embarking on a new stage of prosperity and development, aimed at reaching middle-income status.  Strong ownership and support by the international community, as well as a development strategy all stakeholders could buy into, was very important.  The national “Agenda for Change” aimed to bring people out of poverty and focused on energy, agriculture, and transportation. 

Kaarina Immonen, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident Coordinator, Central African Republic, highlighted key factors contributing to the difficult situation in the Central African Republic, including the lack of mutual trust between political leaders, absence of law enforcement, widespread poverty and lack of employment, which often led people to take up arms.  The very difficult sub-regional situation was an additional factor. 

Donata Garrasi, Coordinator for the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and State-Building, Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said in the three countries concerned – Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and South Sudan – official development assistance represented a very high percentage of funds available within the country for development and peacebuilding activities, and so had a very important role.  The focus must be on country priorities and country-led plans, and in providing assistance in a way that actually supported country facilities. 

During the discussion, speakers asked questions about the conflict in South Sudan and neighbouring countries and the vulnerable situation of civilians.  How was income from natural resources, such as oil, shared among populations and what were innovative measures to address oil revenue issues.  Other issues that were discussed were youth unemployment, capacity building and efforts to promote trade.  A speaker raised the issue of women’s rights to own land, particularly under the communal land tenure system in Sierra Leone, while other speakers asked what role Sierra Leone’s neighbours and the United Nations had played in peacebuilding and reconciliation. 

During the discussion, United States, Canada, South Africa, Nigeria, Namibia and Japan took the floor. 

The Council then adopted a decision on African countries emerging from conflict (E/2013/L.34), in which the Council took note of the report of the Secretary General on the implementation of integrated, coherent and coordinated support to South Sudan by the United Nations system and requested that another report on the
subject be submitted for the Council’s consideration at its substantive session of
2014. 

The Council will resume its work on Tuesday, 23 July, at 10 a.m., when it will consider implementation of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits, including review and coordination of the implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020. 

Documentation

The Council has before it the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of integrated, coherent and coordinated support to South Sudan by the United Nations system (E/2013/73).

African Countries Emerging from Conflict

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, said the Economic and Social Council had a fruitful interaction with the Chairs of the Peacebuilding Commissions on 9 May 2013 to discuss ways to strengthen the relationship between the two bodies and to improve the procedural aspects of their interaction.  There was general agreement that the existing common work areas between the Council and the Peacebuilding Commissions could be enhanced.  Bureau Members of the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission Chairs expressed their willingness to work together to find ways that would add value to the work of both bodies.  Proposals had been also made for mainstreaming peacebuilding into the work of the Council through the year, and throughout all its various activities.  It was also strongly felt that the subsidiary bodies of the Council could incorporate a peacebuilding lens in their work so that the Commissions could leverage the expertise in areas of direct interest to the countries on its agenda.  A meeting was scheduled to take place in the fall to discuss a more detailed programme of work to guide their interaction in 2014.

ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations, New York, and Vice-Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, gave a briefing, via video link, on African countries emerging from conflict and ways to strengthen relations between the Commission and ECOSOC that would benefit nearly 1.5 million people living in countries emerging from conflicts.  The six countries on the Commission’s agenda were Burundi, Central African Republic, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone.  Engagement in Burundi focused on building partnerships and its Government had made a number of commitments to that end.  Peacebuilding processes in the Central African Republic were going through a difficult phase, as the country had suffered from the overthrow, in March 2013, of the elected Government.  However, further escalation had been avoided as a transition government was now in place and elections had been scheduled.  The Commission’s engagement with Guinea provided a space for the Government and political actors to discuss election-related issues, which had triggered important initiatives to strengthen the upcoming electoral process.  The Commission’s work in Guinea Bissau was hampered by the illegitimate change of Government last year but it was working with the current authorities in order to help the country return to order.  In Liberia, the Commission had worked on an inclusive strategy for national reconciliation.  The Government of Liberia had expressed gratitude to the Commission for its help in formulating the National Reconciliation Roadmap, which was officially launched by the President in June 2013.  In 2012 the Commission on Sierra Leone had focused on the issue of good governance and the rule of law, as well as youth unemployment and the promotion of gender equality and human rights.  

Of the six Peacebuilding Commission agenda countries, there had been relapses in two: the Central African Republic and Guinea Bissau, which was testimony that more needed to be done to sustain peace and security.  It was time to scale up efforts.  Without peace and stability, development and prosperity were a distant hope.  Mr. Momen said the denial of aspirations must end, and instead hope, jobs and rule of law must be provided.  Conflicts must be mediated and dissolved before they flared up.  The most powerful were expected to do more, Mr. Momen said, concluding that unless the policy of divide and rule was dissolved then progress on achieving sustainable peace and security would be hampered. 

SIDI ZAHABI, Acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Juba, South Sudan, introducing the report of the Secretary-General on behalf of Toby Lanzer, Deputy-Representative of the Secretary-General in Juba, reviewed some of the efforts of the United Nations system in South Sudan in support of the Government.  The United Nations had played an important role in accompanying the country and putting in place institutions, addressing security conditions, and supporting the administration, after the creation of South Sudan two years ago.  It was a very young country and everything was a priority, but the local population was expecting a lot from the administration.  Among the many challenges faced, including security, many of the efforts carried out by the international community aimed at bringing peace to the country.  At the same time, it was important to create the basic foundations of the State.  This situation had been exacerbated by tensions with some of its neighbours, including with Sudan alongside their borders and oil producing areas, often leading to situations where the production of oil was discontinued. 

The United Nations had sought to work on original approaches, including new frameworks to react to these challenges and help South Sudan to generate alternative income.  South Sudan had increased its non-oil revenue from 3 to 20 million.  The United Nations also sought to coordinate the priorities of the Government and its partners.  Progress had also been made in the health and education sectors, despite the difficulties faced by the country and with the support of United Nations agencies, for instance in the construction of schools and the provision of meals for children.  In nine territories, local administrations had been put in place despite significant challenges, thanks to the support of the United Nations.

Panel Discussion on Lessons Learned on Integrated, Coherent and Coordinated Support to Countries Emerging from Conflict

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council and Panel Moderator, said four years ago the Council invited the Peacebuilding Commission to continue to inform it on best practices, and particularly on lessons learned from its experiences that were relevant for addressing the economic and social challenges of peacebuilding in other African countries emerging from conflict.  The panel discussion today would present an opportunity to learn from the experiences of the two countries on the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission, namely Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic, highlighted today, and learn from those experiences lessons which could shape its policy advice to South Sudan and to other transition countries.  It was also noteworthy that the three countries represented here today – Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and South Sudan – were members of the G7+ Group of Fragile and Conflict-Affected States as well as pilot countries of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States.  The discussion aimed to identify critical success and failure factors in re-launching economic recovery in post-conflict countries; examine how the United Nations system could strengthen its efforts to assist the Governments of post-conflict countries to establish and strengthen its core governance functions at all levels; and suggest innovative ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of development assistance.

YVETTE STEVENS, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that the development of basic institutions had a big impact on national stability and national and international recognition, including electoral, anti-corruption and human rights commissions.  Comprehensive policies and programmes had also been developed to tackle cross-cutting development challenges, including poverty reduction.  Programmes called “Agenda for Change” had been put together and aimed at bringing people out of poverty and focused on energy, agriculture and transportation.  Efforts for the coordination of assistance had also been made.  Through the establishment of common facilities, such as offices and cross-cutting funds, United Nations agencies had contributed to launching economic development.  The Government was preparing to embark on a new stage of prosperity and development, aimed at reaching middle-income status. 

Responding to the question of Mr. Sajdik, on how long a peacebuilding commission would be necessary in Sierra Leone, given the progress made, Ms. Stevens said that support from the United Nations and its agencies would continue to be necessary and, while it was difficult to set an exact date for the commission to remain, the timing should be such so that the initiatives currently being put in place could take off.   

KAARINA IMMONEN, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident Coordinator, Central African Republic, highlighted key factors contributing to the difficult situation in the Central African Republic.  First, the lack of mutual trust between political leaders and other influential people, perhaps due to a lack of dialogue amongst political actors to build up trust, and a lack political will to move forward within the framework of the peace agreements.   It was difficult for the State to provide basic services to the population living outside the capital, Bangui, and there was an absence of law enforcement, a weak army and an inefficient judiciary.  In the context of widespread poverty – the Central African Republic was one of the poorest countries in the world – and a lack of income-generating opportunities or employment led people to take up arms in order to gain some sort of income.  The very difficult sub-regional situation was an additional factor.  The political crisis that took place earlier this year was triggered by the lack of payment of salaries, which had taken months of delays.  For the population, when means were non-existent it opened up space for demonstrations which turned into violence, as well as requests for better governance and more transparency. 

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council and Panel Moderator, asked Mr. Zahabi, on the basis of the ongoing discussion, whether a number of common issues in relation to the recovery from conflict could be applied in South Sudan.

SIDI ZAHABI, Acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Juba South Sudan, reiterated that South Sudan was a new country and that independence had been obtained only two years ago.  Regarding recovery and peacebuilding, the United Nations and the Government had innovated during the early stages and had adapted a flexible strategy that took into account the country’s needs and allowed for prioritising the use of available resources.  This had been done effectively and had allowed for the revision of the Government’s plans and a focus on three main areas, including, agriculture, access to markets and education.  This would be one of the most important lessons learned about an emerging country facing crisis.  In South Sudan the situation was also atypical because the national budget was dependent on oil; however, with the support of the international community, alternative revenue sources had been sought and non-oil revenue had radically increased.

DONATA GARRASI, Coordinator for the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and State-Building, Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said the International Dialogue was a high-level forum set up in 2008 which brought together the G7+ Group of fragile post-conflict countries, civil society and other stakeholders to support transitions and enable them to work together at the country level.  Approximately 30 per cent of official development assistance went to conflict-affected States, representing about $ 50 billion.  In the three countries concerned, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and South Sudan, official development assistance represented a very high percentage of funds available within the country for development and peacebuilding activities, and so had a very important role.  It was vital to continue to provide adequate and dependable development assistance.   Too often assistance strategies were designed elsewhere, such as New York or Paris, that did not fully apply to the country situation.  The focus must be on country priorities and country-led plans, and in providing assistance in a way that actually supported country facilities. 

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council and Panel Moderator, addressing the question of employment, highlighted that in Sierra Leone political recovery had been in line with economic recovery and the improvement of the economic situation and asked Ms. Stevens to comment on this issue.

YVETTE STEVENS, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that youth unemployment remained a problem in Sierra Leone and that measures had been taken in this regard.  Employment constituted one of the pillars in the agenda for prosperity and efforts aimed at addressing this problem in its entirety.   During the war, many youth had been enticed due to unemployment and unless the State could provide for the youth the peace would remain fragile.  A number of programmes sought the prioritisation of youth issues in a number of sectors, including the need for both employment and training.  For example, a policy was in place to promote the use of local labour by investors, but now training was needed.  The implementation of youth policies remained a challenge and the Government was taken measures to tackle it

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council and Panel Moderator, following up on the question of employment, asked Ms. Immonen whether statistical information was available regarding the labour market and youth unemployment in the Central African Republic. 

KAARINA IMMONEN, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident Coordinator, Central African Republic, turned to employment for youth, saying there had been a national strategy on boosting that very vital aspect of stability for a county.  Unfortunately there had been little implementation of or support for that strategy.  Youth who had managed to get specialized training had little support in accessing paid employment afterwards.  The alternative for youth was to get involved with armed groups and to become child soldiers, and the United Nations was trying to address that challenge by carrying out awareness raising for individuals and communities on the risks for youth, as well as promoting employment opportunities.  A dedicated ministry on youth employment was needed.

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council and Panel Moderator, recalled that the report of the Secretary-General about South Sudan mentioned rural labour shortages and the implementation of cash programmes for unemployed youth that aimed at bringing them to work in rural areas.  Was this programme working?

SIDI ZAHABI, Acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Juba, South Sudan, said that youth employment was one of the major challenges faced in a country recovering from war.   Very few qualified individuals were available in the local markets but, despite the challenges, some of the best options considered by the national Government looked at the situation of youth, including in efforts to develop roads and infrastructure needed after the war.  The provision of employment to the youth allowed for injecting cash to the local markets.  This transversal approach was being used by those helping in the development of South Sudan also in the context of disarmament and demobilisation programmes.  Mr. Zahabi reiterated that these initiatives helped inject money into the local economy and to help communities setting the ground for their own development

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council and Panel Moderator, turning to Ms. Garrasi, asked what measures had been put in place by the partners to address employment goals.

DONATA GARRASI, Coordinator for the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and State-Building, Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said the good news was that on average G7+ economies had, since 2005, cut by half the average time to start a business thanks to new regulatory reforms, while the cost of doing business had been cut by two thirds as a percentage of income per capita.  International partners could support conflict-affected countries first by creating an enabling environment for economic growth and employment generation; and second by supporting initiatives which directly targeted specific population groups, e.g. youth, women and conflict-affected communities.  Those were long-term solutions but it was encouraging to see that many conflict-affected countries were investing strongly in the reforms agenda.  The key question was how to balance longer-term investment for large reforms with short-term assistance.  Ms. Garrasi said she thought the short-term assistance was the most pressing concern.

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council and Panel Moderator, recalled that Ms. Garrasi had addressed the question about long-term investment in natural resources and noted that these resources had been previously part of the causes and exacerbated the conflict.  On this basis, Mr. Sajdik asked the panellists if there was a template for the successful management of resources to support livelihoods while addressing inequalities and their impact on the environment.

KAARINA IMMONEN, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident Coordinator, Central African Republic, said that diamonds had been one of the resources facilitating conflict and providing negative incentives that undermined the peace process.  It was hoped that natural resources could be used to support an opposite reaction, including investments on infrastructure and industry, creating employment and income for a number of communities and allowing a greater number of people to benefit from the situation.  Concerning environmental degradation, there was very little information available but one of the concerted efforts that could take place would be obtaining reliable information on this area.

SIDI ZAHABI, Acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Juba, South Sudan, said the main challenge was to ensure that resources such as oil actually helped the countries and did not undermine them.  History showed that places with resources often led to conflict, for example in Sierra Leone.  The overarching answer was good governance.  Unless there were rules to manage natural resources those countries would not be able to prosper.  Transparency, accountability and management systems that served the population were also crucial.  An example of neighbouring countries that would benefit from cooperation was South Sudan and Sudan, whose natural resource was oil yet the pipeline for the oil ran through Sudan.  The countries must cooperate to benefit from their resources.

YVETTE STEVENS, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that one of the pillars for the new agenda for prosperity related to the management of natural resources as an initial driver for growth.  In order to be able to benefit from the resources available the appropriate mechanisms should be in place.  Concerning mineral resources, sector strategies should be implemented to ensure that everyone benefited, ensuring efficiency, as well as reducing the impact.  Now work was being done to achieve community agreements to ensure that the rights of communities affected by mining were respected, in response to complaints by communities who felt they were taken advantage of and to ensure that local communities benefited from these economic activities.  Proper management and mechanisms to ensure benefits for the population at large were necessary.

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council and Panel Moderator, concerning the difficulties of land ownership addressed by Ms. Stevens, asked panellists to elaborate on this difficult but important issue in the three countries under discussion.

YVETTE STEVENS, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations Office at Geneva, spoke about systems of land ownership in her country.  In the west, land was owned individually and you could do what you wished with it, but for the vast majority of the population living in the north, south and eastern provinces, land was commonly owned. The communal land tenure system had raised a lot of questions.  The question was how businesses, particularly huge agricultural companies, negotiated use of communal lands.  Traditionally the community chief had the authority to negotiate on behalf of the community, and make agreements with the businesses on sale or use of community land.  However sometimes the communities believed the money offered to them by businesses for use of their lands were large sums, but in reality they were small, especially given the enormous profit margins of big agricultural businesses.  The next step was to provide legal advice to communities negotiating land deals. 

SIDI ZAHABI, Acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Juba, South Sudan, said that the fundamental land tenure issues in terms of work that partners carried out to help a country come out of the crisis were crucial since this issue was vital.  Without a land-tenure regime that was reassuring to investors and the population it would be very hard to talk about development.

KAARINA IMMONEN, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident Coordinator, Central African Republic, said that this was an important question and that in a humanitarian context access to land was also an important issue.  People sometimes preferred to immediately consume seeds rather than to plant them, because they feared that others would come to occupy the land and benefit from their work.  Land ownership was very important during the transitional situation and had a long-term impact, for example, in the case of displaced populations unable to access their land.

United States said the ongoing conflict between Sudan and South Sudan and attacks on civilians meant that ordinary people were paying the heaviest price.  The United States was very concerned about the situation, especially about the 100,000 vulnerable people in Jonglei State.  The resumption of oil production and the opening of the border for trade were vital for peace and stability, and Sudan’s threat to cut off the border access was a violation of the peace agreement. 

Canada highlighted the added value of Geneva which was uniquely placed for an essential conversation about challenges affecting post-conflict situations because the World Trade Organization, the World Economic Forum and the International Labour Organization were here, meaning that Geneva could contribute to collective international efforts in economic and job creation. 

South Africa, noting the similarities between the situations in Sudan and the Central African Republic, said that the international community had invested significant resources to ensure that peace prevailed.  In this context, South Africa asked Mr. Zahabi how to prevent any relapses into conflict in South Sudan, given the slipover tensions with its neighbours and in some of its region.  Mr. Zahabi had noted the innovative ways to address the oil revenue issues, had innovative measures been taken to address other challenges such as service delivery and reaching people in remote areas?

Kenya said it had sought to provide support to specific areas, such as capacity building and efforts to promote trade to boost the South Sudanese economy.  A number of infrastructure programmes were also underway, such as planned rail links and an oil pipeline to boost oil exports.  It had become clear that South Sudan depended almost entirely on oil, and Kenya asked the panellists what was being done to diversify South Sudan’s economy to reduce its dependence on oil.  Given the assistance stemming from different development partners, the application of the delivery-as-one principles would improve the efficiency of the delivery of this support; were strategies in place to implement them?

Nigeria commended Sierra Leone for the fast pace of its post-conflict recovery and asked about the issue of negotiations for communal land tenure system.  Attention should be drawn to the concerns of women in that field, as in most African countries women were not able to access land because of cultural impediments.  Whilst the issue of land was ‘on the table’ for post-conflict countries, the issue of women’s access to it should be addressed.

Namibia also commended the Government of Sierra Leone for its great efforts in peacebuilding and reconciliation.  Peacebuilding was a collective effort and the speaker asked what role Sierra Leone’s neighbours had played, and how the United Nations had worked to strengthen capacity in that process.

Japan said the strength of the Peacebuilding Commission lay in its work on development and believed ECOSOC could enhance its partnership with it, especially on the Commission’s agenda countries.  Youth employment, management of natural resources and land ownership were important issues, but a lesson learnt was that assistance must be delivered by demand not by supply. 

DONATA GARRASI, Coordinator for the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and State-Building, Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said that the new deal for engaging with fragile States made the point very clear, focusing on the interaction between the State and society and efforts to improve these relations such as political dialogue.  Very little support went into inclusive political processes and there was little evidence suggesting the prioritisation of these areas.  Civil society organizations in the G7+ countries had complained about the limited opportunities for engagement in discussions about fragile countries.  Concerning the post-2015 development framework, sustainable peace should be considered as a priority.  The G7+ countries were making efforts to ensure these issues were included in the agenda, but a greater group of countries should support the idea that peace was a universal goal and value and that should appear as a central part of the post-2015 development agenda.  Increasingly poor people would be concentrated in conflict- affected areas and it was crucial for peace to be seen as part of the poverty reduction and sustainability.  Concerning the need to avoid a relapse into conflict in South Sudan, Ms. Garrasi said that development partners were often too risk averse and that sometimes the opposite approach was needed, supporting challenging initiatives. 

KAARINA IMMONEN, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident Coordinator, Central African Republic, spoke about the support that post-conflict countries needed from the international community, from supporting reforms of security sector, to fight impunity, to address traditional justice and to establish the rule of law.  There had to be an integrated approach to do that.  Regarding the collection of natural resources, Ms. Immonen said it was important to establish a ministry to ensure accountability of the revenues coming from natural resources. 

SIDI ZAHABI, Acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Juba, South Sudan, responding to the question posed by the United States, said that despite the great focus on the problems in Jonglei, there were other regions where significant progress had been made but had not been reflected in the headlines.  The efforts made by the African Union and the United Nations had helped to calm the conflict and, while solutions could not be found overnight, a process was underway and efforts would bear fruit.  A dialogue was in place between Sudan and South Sudan and mechanisms were working slowly but surely.  Responding to Kenya’s question about the diversification of income, Mr. Zahabi indicated that the diversification of export roads and of activities had been pursued, including other avenues of income, such as agriculture, training, and job creation.  All of these fields required efforts in related areas such as training, education and, above all, bringing together the administrations and local populations.   

YVETTE STEVENS, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said Sierra Leone was worried about sustainability of development programmes in the post 2015 agenda and that was why the national Agenda for Prosperity took that into account.  Coordination was a priority.  The concerns of women in regards to land ownership was also very important, and a new national land policy took women’s needs into account.  Women were vocal protestors on that issue.  Ms. Stevens confirmed that Sierra Leone worked closely with its neighbours. 

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, in concluding remarks, thanked the panellists and said that the discussions had sought to address both successes and challenges, and to show that the Council truly wanted to interact with the Peacebuilding Commissions and to take them seriously. 
Action on Decision on African Countries Emerging from Conflict

The Council adopted a decision on African countries emerging from conflict (E/2013/L.34), in which the Council takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of integrated, coherent and coordinated support to South Sudan by the United Nations system and requests that another report on the
subject be submitted for the Council’s consideration at its substantive session of
2014.

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, invited the Council to turn to draft decision E/2013/L.34.

Namibia requested clarification concerning the subject matter of the report to be submitted to the substantive session, would it be African countries emerging from conflict or South Sudan.

MARTIN SAJDIK, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, indicated that the focus of the report would be on South Sudan.

The Council then adopted the draft decision.


For use of the information media; not an official record

ECOSOC13/032E


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