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UN General Assembly, Security Council establish Peace-building Commission

KUN0123 4 GEN 0244 FRANCE /AFP -HRF7 POL-UN-PEACE-COMMISSION UN General Assembly, Security Council establish Peace-building Commission UNITED NATIONS, Dec 20 (KUNA) -- After months of negotiations and in an "historic action," the Security Council and the General Assembly on Tuesday unanimously established the Peace-building Commission that was proposed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan earlier this year and later endorsed by the World Summit last September. The commission's aim is to prevent countries emerging from conflict from falling back into chaos. "That word, historic, is often over-used, but in this case, I have no doubt that it is merited," the President of the 60th General Assembly, Jan Eliasson of Sweden, said in introducing the resolution that established the 31-member Commission. "This resolution would, for the first time in the history of the United Nations, create a mechanism which ensures that for countries emerging from conflict, post-conflict does not mean post-engagement of the international community," he said. About 50 per cent of the conflicts of the past 20 years have recurred within five years of peace agreements, Eliasson added later at a press conference after the resolutions' adoption. "When the cameras disappear, the attention also disappears and five years later you pay an enormously heavy price, and people pay a very heavy price. This is what we are trying to repair when we fill this institutional gap," he added. The new Commission, described as an intergovernmental advisory body, will make sure attention is maintained on the countries in question, setting its agenda at the request of the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Secretary-General, or Member States on the "verge of lapsing or relapsing into conflict". According to the resolutions, the Commission will act only by consensus, proposing integrated strategies for stabilization, economic recovery and development, and providing recommendations for improving the coordination of the UN system in those efforts. The establishment of the Commission fulfills a key outcome of the 2005 Summit in New York, which committed Member States to creating it by the end of this year. The assembly will now focus on other recommendations by the Summit, namely a new Human Rights Council, also due around year's end, and a comprehensive convention on terrorism to be completed during the current session of the Assembly, which ends on 30 September 2006. The new body's membership will consist of seven Security Council members, including permanent ones, seven members of ECOSOC elected from regional groups, five top contributors to UN budgets, funds, programmes and agencies; and five top providers of military personnel and civilian police to UN missions. The Assembly will also elect seven additional members, with special consideration for States that have experienced post-conflict recovery. Annan said the Peacebuilding Commission marks a "turning point" in our efforts to help states and societies manage the difficult transition between war and peace. ... This decision must only be the beginning of this historic measure as we must ensure that the Commission functions properly, if it is truly to make a difference, not in these halls but in the countries where its help is needed." "In short," he added, "it is vital that the momentum of this reform is sustained. But right now, we have real reason to be satisfied". (end) sj.ajs