«A glimmer of hope for the victims of fragility in our world»

Bern, 21.09.2016 - New York, 21.09.2016 - Address by the Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter at the 71st session of the UN General Assembly (United Nations Peacebuilding Fund High-Level Pledging Conference / «Invest in Sustaining Peace») - Check against delivery

Ladies and Gentlemen

"We, the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war..." These words at the beginning of the Charter of the United Nations inspire the ambitious goal of the Peacebuilding Fund: to prevent conflicts and build sustainable peace. And it is doing just that in many regions today – in Burundi, the Fund is financing the deployment of human rights observers from the African Union. It thereby helps create more coherence among international efforts. In Colombia, the Fund is supporting the implementation of the recent peace agreement with rapid engagement and a flexible approach in the interests of the victims of the armed conflict. The work of the Fund is a glimmer of hope for the victims of fragility in our world.

But the work has only just begun: The recent adoption of the resolutions on the review of the Peacebuilding architecture represents a clear commitment to a comprehensive, inclusive and sustainable approach to situations of conflict and fragility. Now, as a matter of priority, United Nations entities working on prevention must be strengthened and silos between different UN actors have to be broken.

Because sustaining peace does not only concern post-conflict contexts but all stages of a conflict, and it includes prevention. Switzerland is fully committed to this objective.

The commitment to conflict prevention and increased coherence runs like a thread through our engagement with the UN System. Our chairmanship of the PBC's Burundi Configuration is an example of this. But Switzerland does more. Since 2015 we have financed a JPO position in the Fund's team. In addition, Switzerland contributes 900,000 (nine hundred thousand) Swiss francs every year to the Joint UNDP-DPA Programme on Building National Capacities for Conflict Prevention. This is one of the few preventive programmes in this field, together with the Peacebuilding Fund. Switzerland also provides 1,000,000 (one million) Swiss francs to UNDP programmes to promote the rule of law and human rights.

Prevention is key. We can see today in Syria just how difficult it is to break the cycle of violence engendered by war. And the immense suffering it inflicts on millions of children, women and men obliges us to act preventively, before a conflict breaks out. We are therefore pleased to confirm a contribution of 300,000 (three hundred thousand) US dollars to the Peacebuilding Fund for the 2016-18 period. Thank you.

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