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Security Council to meet PBC today to discuss implications of coronavirus in conflict-affected countries


Security Council members are set to hold an informal interactive dialogue (IID) with representatives of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) on the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on conflict-affected countries.

A wide view of the Security Council meeting on the work of the Peacebuilding Commission. (Representative image: news.un.org)

Security Council members on Tuesday will hold an informal interactive dialogue (IID) with representatives of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) on the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on conflict-affected countries.

Louise Blais, chargé d’affaires of Canada, who chairs the PBC, and Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, are expected to brief at the meeting.

The PBC’s Vice-Chair Ambassador Guillermo Fernández de Soto (Colombia) and Ambassador Kimihiro Ishikane (Japan) have been invited to attend the meeting which will be held in a closed video-conference (VTC) format.

Germany, as the informal coordinator between the Council and the PBC, Indonesia, Niger, and the UK are organising the IID to follow up on resolution 2532, which the Council adopted on July 1 to support World Health Organisation (WHO) Secretary-General António Guterres’ global ceasefire appeal to fight the pandemic in conflict situations.

The resolution recognised that peace-building and development gains made by countries in transition and post-conflict countries could be reversed in light of the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak.

The concept note for the IID highlights the multidimensional challenges faced by conflict-affected countries due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It notes that the pandemic is placing additional pressure on already vulnerable institutions, health care systems, fragile security, political, socio-economic and humanitarian environments, and exacerbating existing inequalities and grievances.

It further suggests that the PBC is well placed to address such challenges given its bridging role across the UN system, as well as its early engagement in response to the pandemic.

The PBC first discussed the pandemic in an April 8 meeting where it considered the multi-faceted impacts in conflict-affected countries such as on food insecurity, employment and livelihoods and underlying tensions.

A PBC press release after the meeting welcomed the WHO secretary-general’s global ceasefire appeal and, notably, recognised the efforts of the WHO, whereas differences among Council members about referring to the global health body held up the agreement for months on a Council resolution.

The PBC has since held meetings on the effects of the pandemic in West Africa and the Sahel, Central Africa, and on immediate socio-economic responses to Covid-19. The crisis has also featured prominently in the PBC’s country-specific meetings and other thematic discussions.

According to the concept note, the IID is an opportunity for members to be updated on the PBC’s efforts to respond to the pandemic, as well as receive information on UN-supported peace-building activities, including the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), in response to the pandemic.

It also suggests the session is also an opportunity to discuss how coherent and coordinated action across all pillars of the UN system can be achieved in the current context.


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