New York, 16 April 2010
Statement by H.E. Mr. Sven Alkalaj, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina
at the UN Security Council Debate
on Post-conflict peacebuilding
At the outset, I would like to commend you, Minister Okada, for convening this meeting to discuss the topic of peacebuilding in post-conflict countries. I am confident that our deliberations today will significantly contribute to one of the most important items on the Security Council’s agenda. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, as well as my colleagues, Foreign Ministers, for being here today, and we all anticipate valuable contributions. It is my honour to speak on behalf of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country that has travelled the painful and difficult road from recipient of to active participant in United Nations peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts.
We recognize the importance of peacebuilding operations as a means of strengthening peace and security in the host country, thus contributing to creating conditions conducive to achieving sustainable and irreversible peace. In order to realize this goal, peacebuilding operations should be based on an integrated, coordinated and comprehensive approach to include the establishment of good governance, the rule of law, the promotion of human rights, institutionbuilding, security sector reform, economic reconstruction and development. The right to return to pre- conflict homes and the full reintegration of refugees and internally displaced persons through sustainable returns programmes must be an integral part of each and every peacebuilding strategy.
Peacebuilding activities require active interaction among all stakeholders, including the host country, donor countries, troop- and police-contributing countries, international financial institutions and the private sector. Furthermore, although we are of the view that all relevant national and international actors should be involved in the process of peacebuilding, we consider the political will of the host country and national ownership to be sine qua non conditions for the success of peacebuilding operations, given that the peacebuilding process is primarily the challenge and national responsibility of post-conflict countries. In that regard, we believe that it is of the utmost importance to promote dialogue between the parties to a conflict, particularly among decision-makers and civil society organizations, in order to move the peacebuilding process forward and away from recurring conflict. Such a dialogue is critical to national institutions and capacity-building, as well as to confidence-building and the reconciliation process.
Holding accountable all those who have committed crimes during a conflict and bringing them to justice is of equal importance to confidence-building and the reconciliation process, and hence could contribute significantly to the success of the social aspect of peacebuilding operations.
Organizing free, fair and transparent elections could be an important part of the process of creating political stability and establishing a democratic system, the main preconditions for reconciliation and reintegration processes, as well as for achieving sustainable and irreversible peace. Therefore, the utmost attention ought to be paid to their thorough preparation, including by facilitating the registration and full participation of voters, particularly internally displaced persons and refugees.
Bosnia and Herzegovina stresses that restructuring the security sector requires balance between international support and national ownership. Sustainable security involves strengthening institutions and processes, while a well-governed security sector is vital to overall peacebuilding and reconstruction efforts, as well as to development.
Building a well managed security sector that is sustainable requires not only police and military reform, but also impartial and accessible judicial and law enforcement sectors that must rely on transparency, equality, civilian protection, democratic norms and respect for human rights.
The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of former combatants are indispensable elements of all peacebuilding operations. The availability of arms and alienated and dissatisfied former combatants represent a permanent risk of recurrence of conflict. Hence, DDR programmes should be a broader part of planning for development and reconstruction. Furthermore, in a situation where an early peace dividend is evident and generally accepted, the security sector is well managed and democratic norms are in place, there is also a window of opportunity for development in the true sense. Job creation measures, vocational education and retraining programmes for such vulnerable sectors such as returnees, youth, national minorities or demobilized combatants, as well as activities aimed at empowering women, should be in place. The role of women and their involvement in peacebuilding efforts should be strengthened in post-conflict societies.
Bosnia and Herzegovina emphasizes that peacebuilding strategies should be defined and owned by national stakeholders, with a clear implementation plan and benchmarks. In this context, the role of various agencies, funds and programmes should be defined and coordinated and best practices established.
It is of key importance that external actors do not prescribe but advise, and this can be done only through a transparent and open process, with the assistance of the international community. Political stability and security together, with social stability, will reduce the risk of recurring conflict only if it is integrated into a comprehensive peacebuilding strategy. Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomes the strengthened regional and international cooperation in addressing issues of drug-trafficking, organized crime, terrorism and trafficking in human beings. A coherent and integrated approach is essential not only in terms of combating these threats to peace and security, but also with regard to building reconciliation, coexistence, trust and stability at the regional level.
Finally, the road from an initial peace agreement to sustainable peace is long and winding. Travelling it requires an integrated and comprehensive approach, country-specific planning and strategy, as well as coherent implementation and the strong and steadfast commitment of both the host country and the international community. The peacebuilding initiatives that worked in Bosnia and Herzegovina were marked by synergy among multiple actors and, most important, between civilian and military endeavours.
I should like to conclude by saying that, in our work, we should focus more on preventive diplomacy and lessons learned in order to prevent conflicts, rather than dealing with post-conflict situations, which are always more costly in terms of human life and physical and economic destruction. On behalf of my country, I would like to reiterate our readiness to share the knowledge, experience and lessons learned regarding post-conflict peacebuilding in every situation where our country’s first-hand experience can be seen as relevant, reliable and useful.