“No change happens without ownership” – Advancing preparations for the 2015 comprehensive review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture

On 17-18 October, the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation organized a high-level retreat outside New York to discuss ambitions and expectations for the 2015 review of UN’s peacebuilding architecture. UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson opened the retreat, which drew together close to 40 Permanent Representatives, Ambassadors and senior UN officials.

2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the UN Peacebuilding institutions, offering an important moment to take stock of the impact on the mechanisms and to implement changes needed to adjust to new realities.

Since 2013, the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation has partnered with UN’s Peacebuilding Support Office to advance preparations for the review. In October last year, at the start of the preparatory phase, a first high-level retreat was organized, followed by this recent meeting as the preparations near their final stage.

Jan Eliasson, in his opening remarks, noted that today’s conflict-related landscape has changed compared to ten years ago when the peacebuilding architecture was first erected and emphasized the need for the review to be sharp and ambitious, taking this new context into account. He urged member states and the UN to take strong ownership of process and outcomes of the review, noting that extraordinary efforts and leadership will be needed to make the peacebuilding mechanism what it was intended to be.

The retreat’s sessions, moderated by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and the Peacebuilding Support Office, raised issues related to ensuring the review is ambitious in terms of scope, recommendations and implementation, and generated rich discussions with voices from the conflict countries taking centre stage. Some of the key messages emerging from the discussions were:

  • Strong commitment for a broad and ambitious review leading to real improvements.
  • Agreement that ownership of the review by member states and the UN system is essential to ensure success and implementation (“no change happens without ownership”).
  • Recognition of the significant global developments and changed conflict-related context since the creation of the UN Peacebuilding architecture in 2005 that fundamentally affect peacebuilding policies and practice.
  • The 2015 review should be broad and encompass country case studies, the institutional organization of the three entities established in 2005 (the Peacebuilding Commission, the Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund), and thematic issues.
  • The peacebuilding review will be undertaken in synergy with other initiatives taking place in 2015, such as the Post-2015 development agenda and the review of peace operations, with recommendations from both reviews being mutually reinforcing.