The political transition in Sri Lanka in January last year brought about crucial peacebuilding opportunities for the government and the United Nations Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund has helped the government to succeed in its efforts for reconciliation and good governance, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Affairs Minister said.
Minister Samaraweera, who co-chaired the Investing in Sustaining Peace Pledging Conference for the Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund at the UN Head Quarters in New York on 21 September 2016 on the sidelines of the 71st sessions of the UN General Assembly said last year Sri Lanka was declared by the Secretary-General as a country eligible to receive support from the Peacebuilding Fund.
“As a nation emerging from almost three-decades of conflict, that now seeks to rebuild, reconcile and ensure non-recurrence of conflict, we realise the value of this Fund for so many nations like mine that are in need of assistance,” the Minister said.
He said the political transition in Sri Lanka in January last year brought about crucial peacebuilding opportunities and the government’s aim is to promote national reconciliation, giving priority to generating trust and confidence-building measures among the people.
The Minister said working with civil society and government agencies, the government has identified priorities for Peacebuilding in Sri Lanka in the areas of Reconciliation, Transitional Justice, Good Governance, and Resettlement and Durable Solutions.
Already, the Fund has helped Sri Lanka to resettle 7,000 people in land released recently.
The Fund also helps to carry out wide ranging consultations with all stakeholders in the country regarding reconciliation mechanisms to be established, he said adding that it is a vital component of the reconciliation process that also helps to build trust and confidence.
The Fund also provides quick access to invaluable technical expertise that Sri Lanka lacks, and helps to carry out projects aimed at reconciliation through the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation.
The Minister stressed that Interventions at the right time through funding and technical expertise is critical for prevention of conflict.
In his closing remarks on behalf of the co-hosts, Minister Samaraweera said it is disheartening to see that the Peacebuilding Fund which provides the capacity for prevention and sustaining peace is hampered by decreasing contributions, and urged the Member States to increase their contributions to the Fund.
Sri Lanka together with Kenya, Mexico, The Netherlands, Somalia, Sweden, the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom co- hosted the event. The conference was able to generate pledges from thirty countries amounting to $ 152 million to support UN peacebuilding efforts across the globe.