In an interview with Accord, Ambassador Prince Zeid of Jordan, Chair of the Liberia Configuration of the UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), highlights UN priorities for Liberia: security sector reform, rule of law and national reconciliation. Many legacies of violence have survived the official end of hostilities and there is work to be done to build functioning domestic capability. Local civil society and communities have much to offer in building functioning domestic capability, but there is still the need for a national frame of reference for reconciliation, as well as for external support: important lessons from global experience can help countries deal with their past.
Civil society is integral to a comprehensive understanding. The international community will never get to know the country and its cultural rhythms the way its inhabitants do.
Ambassador Prince Zeid of Jordan
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What is the UN’s overarching strategy for peace in Liberia?
I chair the PBC Configuration for Liberia, but I am not a UN official [see BOX 4 for an overview of the PBC]. From my own point of view the two prerequisites for any well-functioning state are a basic security environment and a working justice system. The UN’s benchmarks for Liberia essentially focus on security sector reform, rule of law and national reconciliation, particularly ensuring that the police are well trained. But it has become clear to the Liberian government that they need help with their judicial structures. Courts, for example, have been hampered by the absence of a simple case management system.
Box 4: The United Nations Peacebuilding Commission
The UN Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) is mandated to fulfil the following functions:
- Assemble and organise actors to marshal resources, advise on integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery
- Focus international attention on reconstruction and institution-building in post-conflict environments
- Improve coordination of UN and other peacebuilding actors: develop best practice, promote predictable financing and sustain international attention
- Organisational Committee: includes 31 UN Member States to set the PBC agenda
- Country-Specific Configurations (CSCs): consider peacebuilding interventions in individual countries and develop Integrated Peacebuilding Strategies (IPBS); CSCs comprise the Organisational Committee, the country under consideration, regional states and organisations, financial, troop and civilian police contributors and UN representatives, and regional and international financial institutions
- Working Group on Lessons Learned: analyses global experiences and best practices