Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The United Nations Peacebuilding Commission: Visions and Challenges

Featured Speakers: Carolyn McAskie, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support; Moderated by Howard Wolpe, Director, Africa Program and Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

How should the United Nations pass the torch from crisis to development actors? Speaker Carolyn McAskie’s depiction of a “UN relay race” addressed this question in describing the capacities of the newly formed UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC). The PBC’s mission is to propose integrated strategies for post-conflict recovery, yet with 31 member states it is difficult to decide upon a clear definition of policy. There is, however, consensus on the need to bridge the gap between peacekeeping missions and post-conflict humanitarian operations.

The PBC currently has projects in Burundi and Sierra Leone, though it is looking to expand this list. These countries were referred by the Security Council at their own request, a protocol which all countries seeking assistance must follow. McAskie’s definition of success in these countries is “turning the idea of sustained attention into concrete presence,” though she acknowledged that this is difficult to measure. The fruits of the PBC’s labor are not likely to appear for 5 or more years after the conflict has ended. Lack of funding remains a challenge in this process. The initial Multi-donor Trust Fund was set at $250 million, with no continued commitment from member states. The PBC’s future goal is to secure the same resources for peacebuilding as peacekeeping. In addition, the PBC wishes to function as a knowledge repository, pooling the expertise of the donor and research communities, and eventually as a general advisory body.

More information can be found at

Sponsor: Woodrow Wilson Center
Location: 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue
Date: June 11th, 2007
Time: 3:00-4:00pm
Approximate Number of Attendees: 35
Intern Attending: Alexandra Martins

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