United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon has said that the UN Peacebuilding Fund "has swiftly become a unique and dynamic tool to help countries emerging from conflict avoid slipping back into war."
However the concept and practice of peacebuilding needs to be much more widely understood to increase backing for such work, he says. The comments came in a new report published on 2 September 2008.
Since it was launched in October 2006, "the Fund has been supporting countries to build sustainable peace and security while making positive strides to prevent the recurrence of violence in post-conflict countries, it has achieved this by helping countries to address some of the causes and effects of conflicts through reconciliation, institution-building, political and economic reforms," Mr Ban declares.
Currently, the Fund is supporting projects in the four countries on the Peacebuilding Commission's agenda – Burundi, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea-Bissau – and 37 emergency schemes in nine post-conflict nations.
Some US$270 million has been contributed to the Fund by dozens of nations and groups, surpassing its US$250 million funding target.
"The Peacebuilding Fund approach is based on the recognition that stable peace must be built on social, economic and political foundations that serve the needs of the population," the report notes.
It focuses on areas such as the rule of law, security sector reform, human rights, youth employment, addressing property disputes, refugee resettlement, and the promotion of inclusive national political dialogue.
The report highlighted that the Fund targets areas – such as supporting the negotiation of peace agreements and reconciliation in Burundi and the Central African Republic (CAR) – typically not covered by official development assistance (ODA) criteria because donors see such projects as too high-risk.
Additionally, it promotes countries' ownership of peacebuilding efforts, Mr Ban says.
But he cautions that for the Fund to be successful, greater investment and reforms are essential. "The concept of peacebuilding is not well understood by all actors and more in-country training is needed prior to setting up the Peacebuilding Fund infrastructure."
The UN secretary general wants to see an annual pledging conference.