2011-2012 Peacebuilding Commission

The Peacebuilding Commission, created in December 2005 as a joint subsidary body of the Security Council and the General Assembly, will elect all but two of its Organizational Committee’s 31 members between mid-October and the end of the year.

Members are chosen from 5 streams – the Security Council, ECOSOC, top troop contributors to UN peacekeeping missions, top providers of assessed and voluntary contributions to the UN system, and the General Assembly. After a couple of years of these groups sorting out the selection processes, most of the incumbents will end their current terms on 31 December 2010. Only Peru and the Czech Republic, elected by the General Assembly in 2009 for a 2-year term, will continue as members in this round.

The selection take place in the order noted above, with the Security Council going first. The P5 are likewise permanent members of the PBC, with two others to be chosen following the election of new rotating members in October. Current member Mexico will leave the Security Council this year, and thus cannot be re-elected to the PBC. An official with the Permanent Mission of Gabon, who term on the Security Council continued through next year, has confirmed that his government will seek a second term on the PBC.

The second seat will be filled by one of the other nine elected members of the Security Council. These will likely include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Colombia, South Africa, Germany, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, and either Portugal or Canada. Germany is likely to continue as a member of the PBC as one of the top financial contributors to the UN budget, while India and Nigeria will likely be chosen again as two of the top troop contributors to UN peacekeeping missions. Given Gabon’s likely re-election, South Africa will likely not seek or be chosen for the second seat.

This leaves Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Colombia, Lebanon and Portugal/Canada as likely candidates for the second Security Council seat.

Election of the seven ECOSOC members will then follow, taking place after elect of new ECOSOC members on 25 October. The likely distribution will be one seat for each of the five regional groups, with the Council then discussing to which regional group(s) the two remaining seats will be allotted. The African Group held both for the 2009-2010 term. An earlier draft resolution, not adopted by ECOSOC, proposed having one seat rotate between the African and Asian Groups, and the second between the Latin American & Caribbean (GRULAC), Western European & Other (WEOG), and East European Groups.

It is difficult to predict how the Council will allot the last two seats. WEOG has significant representation through the Security Council and top financial contribution streams. Asia is also well represented by the troop contribution stream and Japan as a top donor. With all five cases before the PBC being in Africa (Liberia will be announced soon), that Group might have a strong case to hold onto one if not both of the seats again. Expect a fight on this, not dissimilar from past years.

The top 10 troop contributors, in order based on the average monthly contributions in the previous three calendar years (2007-2009), are Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, Nepal, Jordan, Ghana, Italy, Uruguay, and Rwanda. The top five are the current members of the PBC on this leg, and could be asked to continue.

The top providers of assessed and voluntary contributions to the UN and various agencies also show little difference from the Secretary-General’s reporting in 2006. Norway and Sweden may again swap out, with Netherlands, Germany, Canada and Japan staying on for another round. No other countries provide the same levels of funding as they do, other than the U.S. or the UK, who will be on the PBC as permanent members of the Security Council.

Once these four streams have confirmed their candidates – don’t expect this until early to mid-December- the General Assembly will round out the Committee with countries that provide geographic balance and who bring experience in post-conflict recovery to the table. As with the GA’s candidates since the PBC was established, it would be no surprise to see a majority of its selections be African and GRULAC states.

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About Tony Fleming

Tony is a communications and advocacy professional with over 15 years experience in United Nations reform advocacy. He began blogging about multilateral elections in 2006 at UNSG.org. He and his wife currently live in Panajachel, Guatemala. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.