15 May 2006

Economic and Social Council Elects Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia Sri Lanka, Poland, Brazil, Belgium to Peacebuilding Commission's Organizational Committee

NEW YORK, 12 May (UN Headquarters) -- The Economic and Social Council today fulfilled a key objective of the 2005 World Summit, by electing the seven members allotted to it on the newly created Peacebuilding Commission, which was set up to reinforce the United Nations conflict resolution function, with a strong post-conflict feature to help prevent countries or regions from relapsing into war.

The Council elected Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Poland, Brazil and Belgium to the Peacebuilding Commission's Organizational Committee -- a standing body responsible for developing its own rules of procedure and working methods -- which will eventually comprise 31 members, filled out with selections by the two other main bodies of the United Nations, the General Assembly and the Security Council.

Earlier this week, the Council had adopted a resolution on the distribution of the seven seats allotted to it (document E/2006/L.2/Rev.2), deciding that five of the seven seats on the Organizational Committee would be given to each of the five regional groups:  African States, Asian States, Eastern European States, Latin American and Caribbean States, and Western European and Other States.  For the purpose of the first election, the two remaining seats would be allocated to the regional groups of African States and Asian States.

The notion of a Peacebuilding Commission was first proposed in 2004 by the Secretary General's High-Level Panel on Threats Challenges and Change, reasoning that the prevention of violent conflicts would be more effective, than ending existing conflicts.  In his 2005 report In Larger Freedom, the Secretary-General envisioned the Commission as an intergovernmental advisory body, which could marshal resources at the disposal of the international community to advise and propose strategies for post-conflict recovery, focusing attention on reconstruction, institution-building and sustainable development, in countries emerging from conflict.

Members of the Economic and Social Council elected to the Committee would begin their two-year terms at the time of the Peacebuilding Commission's first meeting.  They would have the possibility, as applicable, of sharing the term within the concerned regional group for the seats allocated to it, subject to the concurrence of the Council.  It was also decided that elections from among the Council's members to the Organizational Committee would be held every other year, and that the rules of procedure and established practice for the election of members of its subsidiary bodies would apply to those elections.

The General Assembly and the Security Council adopted joint resolutions last year launching the Peacebuilding Commission in time of the 31 December 2005 deadline set by the World Summit.  The texts set out the panel's membership as follows:  seven from the Security Council, including the five permanent members -- United States, United Kingdom, France, Russia and China; seven from the Economic and Social Council, elected from regional groups; five top contributors to the United Nations budget; and five top providers of military personnel and civilian police to United Nations missions.  The General Assembly will elect seven additional members, with special consideration for States that have experienced post-conflict recovery. 

In other business today, the Council decided to consider, during its substantive session in July, the respective requests of two intergovernmental organizations -- The South Centre and the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance -- to participate as observers in the Council's work.

Further, on its July session, the Council adopted an oral decision to hold an informal, half-day event on 14 July to discuss "relief to development".  It also decided that there would be no negotiated outcome at the conclusion of the event.

The Economic and Social Council will reconvene at a date and time to be announced.

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