Security Council debates peacebuilding, authorizes ISAF, SG’s Panel on the Referenda travels to Sudan

Security Council: this morning, the Security Council held an open debate on peacebuilding.  The SG told the Council that success requires patient, long-term commitments and the involvement of a wide range of actors working together. He noted that the UN is making progress in countries like Burundi, Haiti, Nepal, and Sierra Leone. In order to improve peacebuilding efforts, he said predictable financing, effective partnerships and putting women at the heart of efforts are key.  In her remarks, Ambassador Rice said the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) must do more to link the work in NY to the field and better coordinate efforts with other international institutions and a range of actors including academia, NGOs and BWIs.  She also spoke of the need for better recruitment of civilian peacebuilding experts (an issue likely to be addressed in the 2011 PBC Review), the incorporation of women throughout the process and strengthening the capacity of local leaders and communities to build sustainable peace.  On a separate note, the SC voted unanimously to extend its authorization of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan for a year.

Sudan: today, the SG’s newly formed Panel on the Referenda in Sudan met with Salva Kiir, the President of the Government of Southern Sudan, and the First VP of Sudan in Juba.  They discussed issues such as how to make the referenda process as free and fair as possible and security arrangement during the campaign, as well as post-referenda challenges.  The Panel’s chair, former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, said that he believes a credible result can be achieved by January 9, 2011.

Fistula in the Third Committee: earlier this week in the GA’s Third Committee (tasked with social, humanitarian and cultural issues), a Report of the SG on “Supporting efforts to end obstetric fistula” was introduced.  The Report makes several recommendations to States, among them: addressing underlying social, cultural and economic determinants of maternal death and disability; addressing inequalities of care in rural areas and urban poor; implementing national maternal health and obstetric fistula programs; making services geographically and financially accessible and culturally acceptable; mobilizing communities so they are empowered with respect to maternal health needs and strengthening interventions to keep adolescent girls in school and stop child marriages.  Partnerships are also highlighted to address the “multifaceted determinants of maternal mortality and morbidity”.  Specifically, the Report estimates $1.2 billion is needed for family planning and $6 billion for maternal health care per year to support priority countries in the achievement of MDG 5.  Additionally, between now and 2015 an estimated $750 million is needed to treat existing and new cases of fistula.

Flood Relief in Pakistan: Rauf Engin Soysal, the SG’s new Special Envoy for Assistance to Pakistan, visited Sindh today and met with families and local authorities, stressing the continued urgency of the humanitarian situation: “Seeing the devastation firsthand and speaking with flood affected families confirmed the astonishing reality of a continuing emergency for millions of people, and even two months on, the world must not forget those in Pakistan still in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.”

International Day for Disaster Reduction: to mark the International Day today, the SG issued a message underlining that the poorest are the most vulnerable to natural disasters and urging preparedness.