High Level Meeting on Peace Building :
Peace Building - a way forward towards sustainable Peace and Security
Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina
Hon'ble Prime Minister
Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
The United Nations, New York, 25 September 2012
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Mr. Secretary General,
Distinguished members of the Peacebuilding Commission,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Assalamu Alaikum and Good Afternoon to you all.
1. It is a great pleasure for me to chair this high level dialogue on the issue of peacebuilding, an issue which is central to our foreign policy and development discourse. The Peacebuilding Commission has been a special gift of the United Nations to mankind's aspirations for sustainable peace in the 21st century. It was established in 2005 with the objective, and I quote "to help the countries' transition from war to peace" Unquote.
2. In the post-cold war period of the 90s, half of the emerging countries lapsed into violence within a few years. To help them built solid foundations for sustainable peace and development, the Peacebuilding Commission was established. Its institutional structure was designed to allow all stakeholders, within and outside the United Nations, to contribute to its noble mission of achieving sustainable peace in the post conflict countries through coordinated and coherent development activities. And yet, seven years after the World Summit and two years following the review of the PBC in 2010, it continues to struggle for generating the necessary commitment of its member states and partner organizations to support sustainable peace and security in the countries.
3. Today, almost 1.5 billion people still live in violent conflict ridden countries. The World Development Report 2011 states that none of the low income countries emerging from or affected by conflict has achieved a single MDG. Moreover, conflicts have resulted in the lack of political cohesion, shattered institutions, absence of the rule of law and justice, marginalization of certain communities from mainstream political and development process and affecting negatively the women, children and the minorities. These are challenges that make it imperative for PBC and all stakeholders to exert collective efforts in engaging more vigorously for sustainable peace and security.
4. As a nation committed to peaceful settlement of disputes, and sustainable peace and development, Bangladesh has stood in the frontline of global peacekeeping and peacebuilding in conflict ridden and post-conflict societies. Our commitment to peace and security is based on our foreign policy dictum "friendship towards all, malice towards none" as laid down by the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and enshrined in our Constitution. It inspired Bangladesh to stand by the United Nations in all its peace ventures. Thus, from 1988 till now, we participated in 37 UN peacekeeping missions with 113,181 peacekeepers, 118 of whom died and 125 injured, while on duty.
5. Our Constitution, besides guaranteeing commitment to peaceful settlement of disputes, also stipulates the rights of people to determine their own social, economic and political systems in ways of their choice. While our peacekeepers keep and build peace in post conflict states, we also aim at transition from war to peace there. However, the success of UN mediation and cost effective multidimensional peacekeeping operations has sadly not been complemented with appropriate follow up efforts by the international community, which unfortunately lead the countries back to conflicts as was the case in Angola in 1993 and in Rwanda in 1994. We should learn from our past failures to build on the success of mediation and peacekeeping efforts.
6. Bangladesh has been a strong advocate of peacebuilding at the United Nations. We have been a founder member of the Peacebuilding Commission. From its inception we have been a member and an active policy maker, contributing to its evolution. We have led the NAM caucus in PBC in 2010 and 2011 and did our best to mobilize the contribution of the global South to UN peacebuilding strategic and policy making work. We thank you all for electing Bangladesh as Chair of the Commission and take it as recognition of our commitment to the PBC. Despite our constraints as an LDC, we have continued to demonstrate our commitment to the Peacebuilding Fund with our annual contributions.
7. At present, 10 out of 16 UN missions are multidimensional and mandated by the Security Council to carry out a broad range of work. In most of them, Bangladesh peacekeepers as dedicated peacebuilders are contributing significantly by delivering scaled-up services in health, education, business development and livelihood support. Our military, police and civilians are supporting implementation of the comprehensive peace agreements and establishment of foundations for sustainable peace, and legitimate governments. They work with other UN agencies in areas of development, human rights, humanitarian activities with IFIs and national counterparts under the Integrated Strategic Framework.
8. As President of the PBC, Bangladesh has played its role in crafting peacebuilding policies with focus on the principle of national ownership, capacity building, women empowerment, predictable funding, development activities, basic health and education, youth employment, etc. Our experience as peacekeepers before the establishment of PBC made us realize that women could bring qualitative change in establishing peace in post conflict countries. Bangladesh thus became a pioneer in the adoption on Security Council 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. Today, as current Chair of PBC, Bangladesh has organized the high level event of the PBC to renew our political resolve of 2005, and rededicate to PBC's original mission of pursuing sustainable peace and security.
9. The lessons we learnt in the field and in the PBC, prove that though the role of the international community in advancing national peacebuilding goals is essential, the primary responsibility for establishing sustainable peace and security lies with the national authorities themselves. I believe, therefore, that we should support national ownership as a core principle at the heart of post conflict peacebuilding for sustainable peace. We also need to reenergize our financial and political commitment on resource mobilization, national capacity and institution building; mobilize efforts to be more coordinated in delivering most efficient and cost effective support to post conflict societies. In fact, I suggest that we underscore our commitment to three broad areas in our deliberations today:
a) Strengthening coordination and coherence of our bilateral, regional and multilateral engagements of the PBC;
b) Enhancing South-South and Triangular Cooperation;
c) Promoting inclusive political processes in post-conflict countries.
10. In conclusion, I appeal to you all to make positive efforts and contributions in enriching this event on PBC's work, around these critical areas. I also call upon all members of the United Nations to reiterate our political and financial commitments to peacebuilding for the sake of sustainable international peace and security.
I thank you all.
Joi Bangla, Joi Bangabandhu.
May Bangladesh Live Forever.