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Peacebuilding Fund News

Aug
10
2016

New York, 10 August 2016 – Marc-André Franche has been appointed as the new Chief of the Financing for Peacebuilding Branch of the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), tasked with overseeing the day-to-day management of the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF).

Franche is currently the Country Director in Pakistan for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). He will start at PBSO on 6 September 2016.

“I’m thrilled to be joining UN Peacebuilding and taking on this new challenge,” Franche said. “The role of the Peacebuilding Fund in preventing violent conflict is critical and I look forward to join the Fund at a time when the UN is increasingly focusing on prevention over intervention.”

He joins PBF at an important moment, as the Fund is addressing a budget shortfall with a Pledging Conference on 21 September and UN Peacebuilding has gained new momentum with twin resolutions by the General Assembly and the Security Council, which expanded the notion of peacebuilding to include ‘sustaining peace’ in general and tasked the entire UN system with the implementation of this new focus.

“The selection process was extremely competitive,” said Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support. “I am sure that Marc-André will be a great fit to our PBSO family and lead the PBF and the team to new levels.”

Franche has over 15 years of experience with UNDP in Haiti, the Regional Bureau for Latin America (UNDP-NY), Colombia and Bolivia. He holds dual Canadian and Colombian nationality.

May
27
2016

On 18 May 2016, the Peacebuilding Fund announced a call for concept notes for two special initiatives: a new Youth Promotion Initiative and its third Gender Promotion Initiative.

The two calls marked the first time that the PBF opened its funding directly to NGOs.  Eligibility criteria outlined in the calls specified that NGOs must be registered and have an office within the country where the proposed interventions would be implemented.

While the Fund’s intention was to encourage proposals from NGOs that would have the capacity to begin implementation immediately upon the receipt of funds, subsequent messages to the Fund from NGOs themselves have indicated that this requirement may be too restrictive, since NGOs may have a range of well-founded strategic reasons for not establishing a full office in a given country.

In recognition and support of our NGO partners’ strategic choices, the Fund will relax this criterion within the calls and accept proposals from NGOs that are not officially registered or do not have an office in the country of proposed intervention.

On 26 May, the Peacebuilding Support Office has updated the calls for concept notes that reflect this change.  NGOs are still strongly encouraged, however, to clearly demonstrate their capacity on the ground and how they will work in partnership with local NGOs and CSOs to jointly achieve the aims of their proposed interventions.

Download updated calls for concept notes and templates

May
18
2016

PLEASE NOTE: this call for proposals was amended on 27 May 2016. The updated details are available here.

New York, 18 May 2016 – Combining two firsts, the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund called for proposals for its newly launched Youth Promotion Initiative (YPI) from not only UN entities but also for the first time from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), the Fund announced Wednesday.

The PBF also announced that its third Gender Promotion Initiative (GPI 3) will be open to NGOs for the first time. The calls will accept proposals for projects in the following countries: Central African Republic, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, Niger, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Sri Lanka.

“We are responding to recommendations of the joint Resolutions on the Peacebuilding Architecture to work more directly with civil society by opening up these calls to NGOs, as well as UN entities,” said Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding. “This is an exciting and historic change for the PBF, one we hope will extend the kind of coherence across the UN system that PBF funding is able to induce to a broader network of peacebuilding partners.”

Similar to past calls, the GPI 3 supports women’s contributions to sustainable peace within the interventions it funds. The Initiative is part of PBF’s commitment to meeting the Secretary-General’s target that at least 15% of UN efforts support women and girls’ empowerment. PBF met this target for the first time in 2015 — one of only three entities in the entire UN system to achieve this goal. Recognising that the 15% target should be a floor and not a ceiling, PBF anticipates that GPI 3 will enable it to exceed its 2015 mark.

The Youth Promotion Initiative follows on the December 2015 Security Council Resolution 2250, on Youth, Peace and Security. This Resolution recognized the important positive contribution of youth to peace and provides a framework to support their efforts. The PBF’s initiative is the first dedicated call for proposals in response to the Resolution within the UN system.

Being launched in tandem, the PBF seeks to underscore the importance of these two frequently under-recognized and under-supported sets of peace actors and encourages approaches that are mutually reinforcing of both agendas.

May
10
2016

New York and Addis Ababa, 3 May 2016 – Thirty-two (32) African Union human rights observers will be able to continue their work in Burundi for another six months after the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) transferred $2.26 million to the African Union Commission late last week, the AU and the PBF announced today.

This is the first time the PBF provides direct support to the African Union Commission and it represents a move toward strengthened cooperation between the UN and the AU in peacebuilding, in line with the resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly and Security Council last week, calling on the UN to strengthen its cooperation with the AU and other regional organisations.

In this latest round of financing, the PBF also supports the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Burundi with just over $300,000 for training and joint monitoring missions with the AU.

The observers were deployed in response to the decisions of the African Union Peace and Security Council of 14 May 2015 and 13 June 2015, expressing its concern with the increased cases of human rights abuses in Burundi. They are tasked with observing, monitoring and documenting human rights violations in the country as well as human rights advocacy with the government.

The observers have been deployed since July 2015 with funding support from the European Union, which is also supporting the AU military experts in Burundi. The PBF funds cover 32 human rights observers’ presence from April to September 2016. Their deployment is the second step in the AU’s planned deployment of 100 human rights observers and 100 military experts.

This support builds on existing PBF financing for human rights in Burundi. Human rights have been one of the key areas of PBF support to Burundi from the initial stages of PBF engagement in 2008. The AU and the PBF welcomed this fruitful cooperation and hope that the presence of the AU human rights observers will help to reduce the violations of human rights in Burundi.

Apr
27
2016

New York, 27 April 2016 – In a rare bicameral event, the General Assembly and the Security Council today adopted substantively identical resolutions on the UN Peacebuilding Architecture, providing renewed momentum for the focus on ‘sustaining peace’ within the UN system.

UN peacebuilding activities directly affect millions of people in dozens of conflict-affected countries, including in the 27 countries where the Peacebuilding Fund sponsors initiatives to strengthen a fragile peace or prevent conflict from breaking out, such as the salary payments of police and gendarmerie in the Central African Republic, the release of more than 700 child soldiers in Myanmar, the construction of cantonment camps for thousands of combatants in northern Mali or the network of women groups mediating in more than 5,000 local conflicts in Burundi.

These are the most comprehensive resolutions on peacebuilding ever adopted by the UN. They define the central concept of ‘sustaining peace’ as both a goal and a process, one which is owned by national stakeholders but which needs sustained international attention and assistance. “Sustaining peace” means that activities are aimed at preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict, and that they would address the root causes of conflicts.

It also means the UN will look to access all its peace and security, development and human rights engagements more coherently, both at Headquarters and around the world, to reduce the high human cost and suffering brought about by so many simultaneous security and humanitarian crises. Peacekeeping operations and UN country teams will make peacebuilding a more integral part of their work.

Wide-Ranging Refocusing

The new resolutions are part of a wide-ranging refocusing of how the UN system should deal with conflict situations. They adopt a comprehensive approach to sustaining peace, encompassing conflict prevention, development, human rights and peacebuilding. Activities addressing all stages of the conflict cycle will involve the whole UN system, such that traditional siloes will be further broken down.  The principal organs and the overall UN system must accordingly work more in this manner.

The resolutions reaffirm the role of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) in bringing a strategic approach and coherence to peacebuilding efforts. The PBC, a subsidiary body to the General Assembly and the Security Council, provides a platform for a coordinated approach to sustaining peace, involving all actors, including the countries under discussion, regional member states and organizations, international financial institutions and civil society.

The resolutions emphasize that the PBC should work more flexibly and serve a bridging role among the General Assembly, Security Council and the Economic and Social Council. The broad Membership also encourages the PBC, whose members represent a smaller subset of the overall Membership, to focus more on regional developments and consider more cross-cutting issues than it has done to date.  This will make its services both more accessible to countries that are not necessarily on a regular “agenda” and more valuable to the principal organs.

The resolutions call for closer coordination and cooperation between the PBC and the Security Council on peacebuilding issues. They further call for stronger roles for the ECOSOC, the Human Rights Council and the UN development system to sustain peace.

The resolutions offer a range of options to the Secretary-General and the PBC for cooperation with regional and sub-regional organizations, international financial institutions and other relevant stakeholders. The resolutions particularly request the Secretary-General to explore options for strengthening UN-World Bank collaboration. It stresses the need for cooperation with regional organizations, specifically mentioning the African Union.

The resolutions emphasize the role of women, youth, and the civil society in sustaining peace.

The resolutions underline the importance of predictable and sustained resources to peacebuilding efforts, and the valuable role of the Peacebuilding Fund as a rapid, flexible and catalytic fund.

The next Secretary-General is invited to report back to the 72nd General Assembly session on efforts to implement the stipulations. The resolutions also call on the General Assembly and the Security Council to create new agenda items on “Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace” and organize a high-level follow-up meeting at the 72nd session of the General Assembly.

 

Feb
10
2016

On 25 January 2016, PBSO updated donors on the status of the Peacebuilding Fund. The meeting included highlights from the Secretary-General’s 2015 Report on the Peacebuilding Fund, and engaged in discussion on future programming in the context of constrained finances. Specifically, the Fund cautioned that current demand for 2016, at roughly $104 million, is vastly outpacing available resources and will soon prompt difficult investment choices.  This despite the recent donations of Indonesia, Poland, Estonia, Switzerland, Ireland, Russian Federation, Australia, Japan, Germany, UK and Sweden for a total of $22 million.  Meeting participants noted that the challenging funding situation of the PBF stands in sharp contrast to the wide spread recognition of the Fund as a unique instrument that promotes coherence through fast and flexible support to high-risk peacebuilding interventions.  PBF outlined a series of management steps it is launching to mitigate the financial constraints and announced plans for a pledging conference later in 2016.  For more detail about the meeting, please find the PBSO’s presentation here.

Dec
07
2015

The Advisory Group met for its second meeting of 2015 on 27-28 October. In order to strengthen the partnership between the PBF and the World Bank, the meeting was convened in Washington DC, generously hosted by the World Bank’s Fragility, Conflict and Violence group.  Many sessions were co-organized with the Bank. During the two-day meeting, the Group discussed the recommendations of the Report of the Advisory Group of Experts for the 2015 Review of the United Nations Peacebuilding Architecture, collaboration with the World Bank on analysis and planning in general, focused on experiences in the Central African Republic, learned about PBSO’s thematic review on employment and peacebuilding, and heard a joint presentation on challenges in monitoring and evaluation for peacebuilding. A working lunch, hosted by the World Bank Senior Advisor to the President, Mr Colin Bruce, was organized with select Executive Directors of the World Bank.  The Advisory Group expressed shock and surprise at the failure of Member States to support the Fund to its target, despite the clear and positive recommendations of the Review; called for annual work planning with the World Bank to look at how to better collaborate around the undertaking of fragility assessments, monitoring and evaluation and  planning strategies, including for the Bank’s Turnaround Facility; welcomed PBSO’s organization of a review in the area of employment and peacebuilding, noting the challenges the PBF has faced in this area; and looked towards planning its own field visits in the coming 6 months.

Download documents

Dec
07
2015

Since 30 September, the Fund has made $24.1m in new commitments in Central African Republic, Guinea, Comoros, Madagascar and to a Tajik – Kyrgyz cross border Project. In CAR, Under-Secretary-General Ladsous announced $1m in PBF support for the elections to help build momentum towards an inclusive and peaceful electoral process. The PBF Immediate Response Facility (IRF) has been also used to allocate $3m to support the restoration of state authority and socio-economic revitalisation of communities in the north, center and east of CAR, closely coordinated with other actors’ efforts to provide support outside of Bangui. Thirdly, another $3.5m IRF allocation to CAR aims to support community violence reduction, in particular aimed at communities with populations not eligible for formal DDR. Elsewhere, PBF allocated small but important funding in electoral contexts to increase women and civil society engagement, including in conflict prevention efforts, and to increase security ($0.8m in Guinea and $0.4m in Comoros). In Guinea as well, PBF has funded a second phase of a reconciliation project, being led by Christian and Muslim leaders, which will undertake country-wide consultations in the coming months ($0.8m). In Madagascar, PBSO has allocated $11.5m towards a three year Peacebuilding Priority Plan developed by the national Joint Steering Committee focusing on security sector reform, good governance and a holistic package of support to the south of the country, which has been particularly affected by insecurity, marginalization and other peacebuilding challenges. The Priority Plan development benefitted from a number of inclusive preparatory workshops, including a pre-workshop dedicated to the involvement of civil society. Lastly, within the portfolio in Kyrgyzstan, in early December PBF approved its first ever cross border project, a cooperation and trust building initiative along the tension-filled Kyrgyz/Tajik border.

Looking forward to 2016, a number of activities are under development. These include support to the peace agreement in South Sudan, additional support to expand UN stabilisation work in Somalia beyond Mogadishu, significant work supporting peacebuilding in Sri Lanka in support of the Government’s ambitious plans, possible support to the implementation of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement in Myanmar, support for security sector reform in Burkina Faso, possible accompaniment during the UN Mission draw down phase in Haiti, possible financing of some activities related to the Colombian peace process, assistance to Sierra Leone during the next phase of PBC accompaniment, and the launching of a new Gender Promotion Initiative (see below). Other possible ideas include support for dialogue in Libya, conflict prevention work in northern Cameroon and potential renewal of grants in currently supported countries that face continued peacebuilding challenges. Sufficient funding will be required, however, to meet this ambitious pipeline.

For more information on PBF’s recent activities and including a summary of our funding status can be found HERE.

Oct
01
2015

Since the Peacebuilding Fund’s Stakeholders meeting at the end of June, the Fund has made new commitments in Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Guinea-Bissau, Sri Lanka, Niger and Myanmar amounting to $37.7 million. This programming includes $12 million to help catalyze the DRC’s Trust Fund for stabilization in the east – including $4 million in an innovative matching allocation to spur bilateral contributions. The Immediate Response Facility has been used to support risk management and rule of law programming in Somalia, utilizing the government-led New Deal Compact governance structure to identify priority programmes. In Sri Lanka, the IRF has been used to seize new opportunities to promote national reconciliation, by supporting the resettlement in the north. In Niger, the Fund is being used to help strengthen national institutions to prevent conflict in a volatile region. In Guinea-Bissau, the Fund is supporting the new Government’s priorities to promote dialogue, support security sector reform, strengthen rule of law and promote increased engagement of women and youth. In Myanmar, the Fund will support the second phase of a programme to assist the Government – and ethnic armed groups – address issues of child soldiers.

Despite the positive assessment of the Fund and the calls for its strengthening by the Advisory Group of Experts – as well as by the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations – the status of contributions of the Fund has not improved – rather slightly worsened – since the Stakeholders meeting. For more information click here.

Jun
25
2015

Peacebuilding Fund Heralded as Effective, but Faces Financing Shortfall

24 June 2015 – At the fifth annual High-level Stakeholders Meeting of the Fund, held today in New York, UN member states enthusiastically recognized the Fund as a crucial mechanism to support national peacebuilding efforts. It’s unique ability to transcend funding silos, bring the UN together and act quickly was repeatedly praised. Donors pledged to continue their current levels of support, but given the Fund’s growing ability to hit its programming target, without additional resources it will face a $40 million shortfall in 2015.

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson noted four lessons that had been learned during the Fund’s first decade: i) the importance of supporting national political leadership, ii) the importance of political settlements and inclusive national dialogue, iii) the need to do more to demonstrate our collective commitment to recognising the critical role of women in peacebuilding, and iv) the need for the United Nations to work together in its support of nationally-led efforts. He called upon member states to provide predictable financing for the Fund, and asked whether it might be time to call upon assessed contributions for peacebuilding purposes.

Keynote speaker, H.E. Mr. Geraldo Martins, Minister of Finance, Economy and Plan for the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, appreciated the Fund’s commitment to line up behind the Government’s vision of an inclusive, lasting peace through a strengthened social contract between the State and its people.
Underlining the strong collaboration between the Department of Political Affairs’ work and the Fund, Under-Secretary Feltman observed that, “While the Fund is widely praised for its ability to act quickly, its commitment to stay the course and accompany a country through all stages of the peacebuilding process is perhaps its even greater contribution.”

Thirty Member States took the floor to comment on the Fund’s work. Many recognised that conflict prevention is at the heart of peacebuilding, and was needed more than ever given the prevalence of conflict. Stakeholders noted specifically the value they place on the Fund’s role as a catalytic, flexible and rapid financing mechanism. Member States – both recipients and donors – highlighted the critical importance of broad national ownership. Many raised the need to empower the role of women in peacebuilding.

Despite its recognised unique role and proven successes, however, the Fund also faces a funding shortfall. While the Fund commits to a $100 million programming target which it is consistently meeting, funding commitments have fallen short. The fund anticipates close to $60 million in pledges in 2015. Without adequate support, the Fund will not be able to heed the calls of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations to scale up its efforts, and will even be constrained from delivering on current requests, a dilemma that Nigel Roberts, Chair of the Peacebuilding Fund’s Advisory Group called “astonishing.” Noting the mounting evidence through repeated evaluations of the Fund’s effectiveness, Mr. Roberts cautioned that “Letting the PBF languish would be an ironic and depressing outcome.”

Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support and head of the Peacebuilding Support Office, underscored that the Fund has applied lessons from its early years and is focused on national ownership, UN coherence, fast and flexible programming, building new partnerships and continuous learning and innovation.

However, noting the financial shortfall, he cited the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations that said investing in conflict prevention is not only smart policy but makes fiscal sense. He encouraged current donors to scale-up their support, and new donors to come forth from the sidelines, declaring “the time for action is now”.

Formal speeches from the 2015 PBF stakeholder meeting can be accessed here

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