Secretary-General Report: Civilian Capacity in the Aftermath of Conflict

Building resilient national institutions and capacities in the aftermath of conflict is critical to the consolidation of peace. The present report, the last stand-alone report on civilian capacity in the aftermath of conflict, addresses issues raised by Member States, highlights results achieved in the past two years, underlines lessons learned, and identifies remaining challenges and a way forward.

In proposing future directions, the present report emphasizes the delivery of institution-building results in the field through a more systematic and coherent response on the part of the United Nations that is strongly connected to national priorities and to other international partners. In order to provide clear accountability, this work will be incorporated within existing structures and business processes, ending the work of the stand-alone team by June 2014, but maintaining the momentum established over the past two years. Efforts will focus on three areas where there is both a demonstrated potential to deliver results and a need to consolidate and strengthen support: (a) improvement of support to institution building grounded in national ownership; (b) broadening and deepening the pool of civilian expertise for peacebuilding; and (c) enhancing regional, South-South and triangular cooperation.

Improvement of the impact of institution-building cannot come at the expense of the United Nations success in providing basic security and supporting political settlements through peacekeeping operations or special political missions. Those aspects are complementary: military and troop deployments and a stable political situation can provide the breathing space needed to develop national institutions, and successful institution-building consolidates gains in peace and security. We have learned the hard way that without sustainable national institutions, it will take longer for national authorities to assume their rightful role in the aftermath of conflict and crisis.

The present report comes at a time when the United Nations is supporting nationally owned institution-building in increasingly complex situations. These include supporting the recent transitions in Libya, Mali, Somalia and Yemen; consolidating progress in Afghanistan, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Liberia and South Sudan, as well as other countries on the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission. The need for strengthened support to institution building will be front and centre in the coming years in those situations and others: it is therefore timely to take stock of lessons learned and launch a concerted effort to strengthen their application.