11 October 2006

Peacebuilding Fund is Launched, Donors Pledge More Than $140 Million

NEW YORK, 11 October (UN Headquarters) -- The United Nations today launched the Peacebuilding Fund which is set to play a critical role in supporting countries emerging from conflict.  The Fund, which has already received more than $140 million in contributions and pledges from donors, is designed to address critical and immediate peacebuilding challenges in post-conflict countries and prevent a relapse into conflict during the peacebuilding process.

Speaking at the launch in the UN's New York headquarters, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said "The new Peacebuilding architecture attests to a renewed commitment by the international community to provide a more sustained engagement in countries emerging from conflict." He added that the Fund would extend support to countries under consideration by the Peacebuilding Commission to kick start critical peacebuilding activities. The Fund would also be available to other countries in similar circumstances.  "The Peacebuilding Fund must help people to rebuild state institutions, and regain confidence in them after years and even decades of strife", he said, emphasizing that the restoration of national capacity to build peace must be at the heart of international efforts.

The Fund, established by the Secretary-General at the request of the General Assembly as part of UN reforms, will address immediate needs at a time when other sources of funding may not yet be available.  The money from the PBF is expected help bring about improvements that would attract more sustained and long-term funding by development agencies and bilateral donors.

The Secretary-General thanked donors who have pledged or indicated their intention to contribute to the Fund, which has a target of $250 million, an amount that will enable support to several peacebuilding countries at any given time. Praising non-traditional donors which have pledged their support to the Fund, the Secretary-General reassured donors that the United Nations will "adhere to the strictest accountability standards in managing the funds".  In order to maintain its ability to respond to new challenges, the Fund will require regular replenishments from donors.

Day-to-day operations of the Fund will be overseen by the Peacebuilding Support Office, while the United Nations Development Programme, as the fund manager, will assume responsibility for the financial administration.  The approval of projects will be undertaken jointly by the United Nations and the government authorities at country level.

The Peacebuilding Commission will meet on 12 and 13 October to discuss the cases of Burundi and Sierra Leone and is expected to formally declare the two countries as eligible for PBF funding which will trigger the disbursement process.  

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