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26 countries pledge 151 million USD to UN Peace Building Fund

UNITED NATIONS (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) on Wednesday received 151 million U.S. dollars in pledges from 26 member states at its Pledging Conference held here on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the Fund said.

The pledges cover the years 2017-2019 and will go toward projects the Fund underwrites in more than 20 countries with the aim of sustaining peace and preventing violent conflict.

The event was co-hosted by the governments of Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Korea, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The conference sought pledges totalling 300 million U.S. dollars over three years.

“Three hundred million dollars for the years 2017-2019 will only begin to redress the imbalance between what the world spends on warfare and crisis response, and what it devotes to preventing conflict and building peace,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the conference.

“Without the Peacebuilding Fund, we will be forced to stand by as we witness the preventable loss of countless lives and the extinguishing of hope for millions more,” said the secretary-general.

The total amount pledged falls short of the Fund’s goal of a working capital of 100 million U.S. dollars per year, but is enough to allow the PBF to continue its work in the short term while member states and the UN seek solutions for long-term funding.

“In the weeks and months ahead, let us transform the political commitments made today into a tangible financial commitment to the Fund,” said Deputy UN Secretary-General Jan Eliasson in his closing remarks during the event.

“Let us work together to make sure that the secretary-general’s Peacebuilding Fund has the resources it needs to continue to be a strong and reliable partner to countries and people striving to sustain peace,” Eliasson said. “This is a task more critical than ever.”

The co-hosts underscored the importance of the Peacebuilding Fund and the UN combined focus on sustaining peace. 

“A change of mind-set in how we go about doing the business of peace also requires a different kind of players, a different kind of willingness and commitment in how we invest in the peacebuilding complex, including prevention,” said Amina C. Mohamed, the cabinet secretary for foreign affairs of Kenya. “Today we saw a good initial step in that direction. There is still much work to be done.”

Claudia Ruiz Massieu Salinas, the secretary of foreign affairs of Mexico, said, “It is imperative to create a new paradigm for peace: It is not only about a shift of terms, but a truly different way to understand, build, and practice peace.”

“A peace that is sustainable also implies a collective responsibility to provide the necessary financial resources to the initiatives that promote this approach,” she said.

“Peacebuilding is a core business for the UN and core business needs sustainable funding,” said Albert Koenders, the foreign minister of the Netherlands.

“Our pledges today will lay a foundation for the path toward sustaining peace,” said Yun Byung-se, the foreign minister of the Republic of Korea.

For his part, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said, “Our commitment to the sustaining peace agenda must be backed by sufficient investments in conflict prevention and peacebuilding.”

“The Peacebuilding Fund provides fast, flexible finance to fragile states to enable vital peacebuilding activity to take place when it is needed the most,” said Baroness Anelay, the British minister of state at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

“I was delighted to attend this Conference and pledge the UK’s support, alongside so many other countries, so that the fund can continue its vital role in preventing conflict.”

The PBF was created in 2006 as a fast and flexible pre-positioned fund to help other UN agencies by funding peacebuilding efforts at a time when countries emerge from conflict and other funds are not yet available.

The Sustaining Peace Agenda, based on twin resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council in April, extended the role of the PBF to also include conflict prevention.

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