Address to the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund Pledging Conference

  • Speech, check against delivery

I thank the Secretary General and co-hosts Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sweden and the United Kingdom for co-convening this conference.

The United Nations system is being challenged on many fronts – conflict, terrorism, climate change and a surge in displaced people.

In response to these challenges, the Peacebuilding Fund plays a vital role.

It helps countries emerging from conflict to avoid a slide back into renewed confrontation, by creating conditions for long-term stability and growth.

Independent reviews show that it makes a real difference.

The Fund supports projects that build sustainable peace - for example by bringing former enemies into dialogue, re-establishing the basic elements of a legal system, re-integrating former soldiers into society or consolidating democratic processes.

In recent times the fund has provided this sort of assistance in countries as diverse as Sierra Leone, Liberia, Colombia, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea, in relation to the Bougainville conflict.

The Fund is particularly valuable because it is nimble, flexible and fast.

Australia has been a consistent contributor to the Fund and I am pleased to announce a new $10 million contribution, over the next three years.

I join with the co-hosts and urge other donors to show their commitment to the important work of the Fund.

We are all facing budget constraints, however it is imperative that we turn around the recent decline in support for the Fund. Ultimately we will face a much bigger financial and human cost if we do not.

The Fund is only one part of the UN's work aimed at creating the conditions for sustainable peace. It needs to complement other activities such as peacekeeping and women's role in peace-building.

We know that women's active participation in economic revitalisation makes peacebuilding and recovery efforts more sustainable. To this end, I am pleased to announce Australia will fund a new $1 million partnership with the African Union to enhance women's economic participation.

Earlier this year Australia was pleased to co-chair, with Angola, the negotiations which led to the adoption of an historic resolution whereby the entire UN membership agreed that the task of sustaining peace must be at the centre of the United Nation's work.

Implementing this vision will be a new challenge for us all – as member states, in the field, and critically, for the UN Secretariat.

The Peacebuilding Fund can only continue its work if properly resourced and that requires a commitment from us all.

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