Conscious of the need to prioritise institution building: India tells UNGA

UNITED NATIONS, July 30: India as a democracy is conscious of the need to prioritise institution building, in particular, governance structures to strengthen institutional capacity and rule of law and these need to be building blocks on which peace-building should rest, a top diplomat has told the UN General Assembly.
India has always been known for its unflinching commitment to peace-keeping, Counsellor in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN Pratik Mathur said on Thursday.
“We are convinced that nation-building activities will be strengthened even more if the road ahead includes strong support for peacebuilding as well,” Mathur said.
Addressing the UN General Assembly debate on peacebuilding and sustaining peace, Mathur said “as a democracy, we are conscious of the need to prioritize institution building, in particular, governance structures to strengthen institutional capacity and the rule of law, taking into account the views of the host government. Consequently, these need to be the building blocks on which peace-building should rest.”
Mathur highlighted that India, through its extensive development partnership with developing countries, particularly in Africa and Asia, has always played a constructive and significant role in the context of peacebuilding.
“In our neighbourhood, for instance in Afghanistan, India is also contributing to peace-building efforts,” he said, adding that India’s development partnership, including more than 550 Community Development Projects covering all 34 provinces of the country, is aimed at strengthening Afghanistan.
Mathur also pointed out that the India-UN Development Partnership Fund, which was established in 2017, has developed a portfolio of 64 development projects in partnership with 48 developing countries, including 17 countries in Africa, focusing on South-led, demand-driven development and transformational projects.
“Through these funds, it has been our endeavour to focus on, inter alia, climate resilience, environmental sustainability, gender equality, renewable energy, improving maternal health, water and sanitation, education, employment and livelihoods, disaster recovery and risk management, agricultural development and infrastructure,” he said.
Mathur told the General Assembly that India has and continues to assist countries bilaterally in post-conflict situations by providing substantial grants and soft loans. Citing the example of training for countries emerging out of conflict situations in Africa, he said India’s focused training in areas of electoral administration and good governance has been deeply valued by these countries.
India voiced appreciation that as part of its 2020-24 strategy, the Peacebuilding Fund has put forth a comprehensive scenario, covering a horizon of five years.
Mathur however noted that in the middle of the pandemic, as funds are increasingly being programmed away to humanitarian assistance other than peace-building activities, it is necessary to reaffirm commitment and efforts to realise Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development Goals, so as to not falter in the context of COVID-19.
“We need to consequently prioritize our focus on specific aspects of peacebuilding which will have the highest impact in post-conflict situations so that the funds are utilised to the optimum,” he said.
He added that as a token of its engagement, India in January at the High-Level Replenishment Conference called by the Secretary-General, announced a fresh pledge of 150,000 dollars to the Fund’s activities and programme this year.
Further, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325 on women and peace and security, the Commission also increased its efforts in support of women and peace and security in line with the commitments set out in its new gender strategy.
“Peace Building rests on the foundation of a gender strategy, especially in post-conflict situations,” he said.
Mathur noted that over the course of 2020, the Peace Building Commission did not let the pandemic to slow it down and was able to nimbly adjust its programme of work to serve as a demand-driven platform to discuss ways in which to help to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on development and peacebuilding in countries under its consideration.
During the 2020 review of the peacebuilding architecture, the Commission convened a series of thematic consultations focused on a range of issues relating to peacebuilding.
“We appreciate that in a situation when the world was reeling due to the pandemic, many of these discussions placed particular emphasis on the need to tailor socioeconomic responses to COVID-19 to nationally defined peacebuilding priorities, with special consideration given to community resilience, social innovation and protecting and empowering people in vulnerable situations,” Mathur said. (PTI)