Fifteen years ago, the then UN Department of Political Affairs (now the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, or DPPA) and the UN Development Program (UNDP) came together to help bridge the gap between political and development work and boost the capacity of individual countries to prevent conflict and consolidate peace. Today, the Peace and Development Advisors (PDAs) of the Joint UNDP-DPPA Programme on Building National Capacities for Conflict Prevention are active around the world, empowering national stakeholders to strengthen existing mechanisms and capacities for inclusive dialogue and conflict prevention. PDAs support UN Country Teams to effectively identify entry points for prevention and peacebuilding, and adapt and respond to complex political situations. At an event on the sidelines of the UN’s High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development on 15 July, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed, DPPA chief Rosemary DiCarlo, UNDP head Achim Steiner and Tunisian Minister of Foreign Affairs Khemaies Jhinaoui, joined by representatives of dozens of UN member states, hailed the program’s achievements and called for continued support for the groundbreaking initiative. Following the event, Ms. DiCarlo told us where she sees the program going.
What is your assessment of Joint Programme on this anniversary year?
As we heard during the event this week at UN Headquarters, I think there is strong support among member States for the Joint Programme. We are also seeing an increase in the demand for the Joint Programme to support UN Country Teams in the area of conflict prevention. To respond to that growing demand, we are strengthening our teams at the country level by adding national PDAs or UN Volunteers to support PDAs. I think the support is testament to the fact that, in close partnership with national stakeholders, the Joint Programme has contributed to innovative approaches to conflict prevention.
You place a lot of emphasis on working in partnership with national stakeholders. How does that actually happen?
Well, the Peace and Development Advisors play a key role in working closely with national counterparts and are some of our best joint assets to encourage collaboration and coherence of action. PDAs are ever more critical in the context of the UN reforms and continue to help us all deliver shared results.
The Joint Programme provides a unique vehicle for connecting the work of the peace and security pillar with development efforts on the ground. PDAs are at the forefront of working with national counterparts on long-running issues, but also on emerging areas. For example, in Bangladesh, a partnership between Facebook South Asia, the Ministry of Telecommunications and the UN was initiated to bring young people together to produce digital platforms and content that promote tolerant and inclusive vision of the Bangladeshi society.
How is the peace and security reform of the United Nations reflected in the work of the Joint Programme?
As the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) is now fully integrated in DPPA following the reform, we are investing in having closer alignment of the work of the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) and the rest of the UN’s Peace and Security pillar. PDAs play a key role in ensuring that there is a link between strategic analysis of situation and the prioritization of programmes. For instance, in Cameroon, Mauritania and Nigeria, PDAs have played an important role in formulating the conflict analyses that helped frame eligibility requests and programmatic interventions.
Title picture: Former combatants of the FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army) and members of the Colombian Armed Forces played a friendly football match along with other residents of the village of Dabeiba in the Department of Antioquia. The match was organized by the UN Verification Mission in Colombia as part of the Mission’s Football for Peace and Reconciliation initiative. Antioquia, Colombia. UN Photo/Jeniffer Moreno Canizales