United Nations, January 27
India has announced a pledge of USD 150,000 to activities of the Peacebuilding Fund this year and said that 2021 provides the international community with an opportunity to look at peacebuilding in a more focused manner, especially in the context of the COVID pandemic.
“While I would like to assure you all of our sincere commitment to remain engaged in peacebuilding, we extend our support to the activities of the Peacebuilding Fund and as a token of our engagement, India would like to announce today a pledge of USD 150,000 to the fund’s activities and programme this year,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti said.
In a virtual address to the High-Level Replenishment Conference for the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund Tuesday, he said India believes that 2021 provides the international community with an opportunity to look at peacebuilding in the broader context and in a more focused manner, especially in the context of the COVID pandemic, which is threatening to erode the gains made over the years.
He added that the recently concluded 2020 review of the UN peacebuilding architecture provides a framework to strengthen peace building collectively.
He voiced appreciation that as a part of its 2020-24 strategy, the Peacebuilding Fund has put forth a comprehensive scenario covering a horizon of five years. The Fund requires 1.5 billion dollars for 2020-2024.
“There is no doubt that conflict prevention is essential to ensure that peacekeeping translates into something more durable for the benefit of the people,” he said, adding that for this determined support is needed from member states to strengthen the hands of the United Nations.
He emphasised that strengthening security structures go hand in hand with strengthening civilian structures of good governance.
“We need to consequently prioritise our focus on specific aspects of peacebuilding, which will have the highest impact in post-conflict situations, so that the funds are utilised to the optimum.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the conference that peacebuilding in fragile contexts requires political courage and leadership at national and local levels, but also the right support at the right time from the international community.
“We need to take risks for peace and enable stakeholders with the resources and space to seize opportunities. We have a responsibility to bring down the institutional silos and bring together, in an agile and responsive manner, the full range of the UN system capacities,” he said.
The UN chief pointed out that as the medium-term effects of the COVID19 pandemic become more apparent, it is more important than ever to ensure the fund is adequately and predictably resourced.
In 2020, the Peacebuilding Fund mobilised over USD 180 million, which Guterres said is an important sign of the trust the fund has garnered over the years and its demonstrated ability to deliver in the most difficult contexts.
“But its resources are now depleted. We must urgently replenish it. Doing so will save lives and serve as a clear demonstration of multilateral support.”
Tirumurti highlighted India’s constructive and significant role in the context of peacebuilding through its extensive development partnership in developing countries, particularly in Africa and Asia.
India continues to assist countries bilaterally in post-conflict situations by providing substantial grants and soft loans, apart from focusing on infrastructure, especially housing, education and health, on connectivity, providing livelihood to those impacted by conflict, especially in agriculture and on projects at the grassroots level.
He cited the example from Afghanistan, where India has undertaken projects in every province of the country.
India has tried to enhance the security environment of these countries since peace, security and development have to go together.
India is also fulfilling its commitment to make available its COVID19 vaccines to other countries and has already supplied more than six million doses to nine countries in phase one as grant assistance.
The Peacebuilding Fund is the UN’s financial instrument of first resort to sustain peace in countries or situations at risk or affected by violent conflict.
The Fund’s 2020-2024 strategy is its most ambitious yet, responding to the Secretary-General’s call for a quantum leap of support for peacebuilding and prevention. The Fund has invested over USD 1.2 billion to date in over 60 countries, with support from almost 60 member states.
At the close of the conference, the co-chairs issued a Joint Communique stating that the General Assembly would convene a High-Level meeting on financing peace during its 76th session.
“The Conference took place at a time of unprecedented challenges and as the world contends with the tragic immediate effects of the pandemic and its alarming medium to long-term impacts. The unprecedented economic shocks and inadequate response strategies are entrenching social and economic inequalities and increasing risks for crisis, eroding peace and development gains along the way,” the Joint Communique said.
Member states reiterated the importance of investing in peace. Including funds received for 2020, a total of 39 member states have contributed or pledged over USD 439 million for peacebuilding in support of the Fund’s 2020-2024 Strategy which set a target of USD 1.5 billion. —PTI