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Gambia’s achievements at UN Peace-building Commission

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Banjul, The Gambia – At the recently concluded United Nations Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) meeting held on June 21st, 2024, entitled “the 2025 Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture: The Gambia’s experience in peacebuilding and sustaining peace”, The Gambia was highlighted as a success story in the peacebuilding transition. The meeting called for The Gambia to be emulated by the UN, Member States, and Regional Organization as a model for countries in transition. The Peacebuilding Commission recalled its engagement with the Government of The Gambia under the leadership of H.E. Mr. Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia in 2017, in the context of post-electoral political impasse and transition, during which The Gambia’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, under H.E. Dr. Mamadou Tangara, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, now Foreign Minister unilaterally decided to request the Commission’s support with a view to raising international awareness and to rally strategic and coherent support by the international community to prevent looming conflict and humanitarian catastrophe. 

The PBC under the Chairmanship of the Republic of Korea in the person of H.E. Mr. Cho Tae-yul, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, now Foreign Minister, welcomed the request and in March 2017, led a PBC delegation including Ambassador/Foreign Minister Tangara and Assistant Secretary-General of the Peacebuilding Support Office, H.E. Oscar Fernandez-Taranco to The Gambia prior to any other engagement with the Commission. The visit was particularly important as it provided the opportunity to engage with relevant stakeholders from all walks of society and understand the reality on the ground.  As a result of the visit, the international community increased its attention on The Gambia’s peacebuilding challenges and priorities.  Following the visit, the first PBC meeting on The Gambia was convened, which brought key national, regional, and international stakeholders together for the first time in support of The Gambia’s endeavors for durable peace and prosperous society.

This made The Gambia one of the first countries to engage with the Commission within a flexible engagement model. The flexible engagement has ensured The Gambia’s full national ownership and leadership throughout the years. It has also allowed the opportunity to discuss a broad range of issues across the Humanitarian-Development-Peace (HDP) nexus, including national, cross-border and regional situations and priorities. This has been crucial in order to address root causes of conflict and advance social cohesion. In this regard, the Commission is a unique international forum where multifaceted and interlinked peacebuilding and sustaining peace issues can be addressed – based on national and regional needs and priorities. Since the engagement started in 2017, the Commission has played an instrumental role in accompanying The Gambia throughout its transition process in terms of conflict prevention, peacebuilding and sustaining peace – particularly through preventive diplomacy, political accompaniment and sustaining international attention and support on The Gambia. 

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The Commission’s continued attention and support during and after the impasse has been critical.  The long-term engagement has been instrumental in avoiding a further escalation and it still continues to be critical at community and national levels in The Gambia. Speaking of the key features of the PBC, it is worth noting that through its convening and bridging role, the Commission has played a critical role in strengthening coherence and collaboration between relevant national, regional and international actors in support of The Gambia’s peacebuilding endeavors. Through the engagement, The Gambia has received continuous, comprehensive and coherent support from the international community, including the UN and regional and international organizations and financial institutions. The Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) alone has implemented 18 peacebuilding and conflict prevention projects in The Gambia in the sum of $34, 000,000.

The Gambia’s peacebuilding case has been the best practice in terms of receiving and implementing comprehensive support in a coherent manner to prevent conflict. The Commission’s support and political accompaniment has provided prominent reliable comfort for critical reform processes, particularly in the area of transitional justice, which led to the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission as well as the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) and the subsequent White Paper on the implementation of its recommendations. The PBF support has been instrumental in laying the foundation for durable peace – and continues to be particularly in terms of conflict prevention projects in the areas of electoral reforms, women and youth empowerment, and strengthening media and civil society capacities.

At the said meeting, the current Assistant Secretary-General of the Department of Political Affairs and Peacebuilding Support, H.E. Elizabeth Spehar remarked “I wish to encourage all to build on the good practices of the PBC engagement with The Gambia. Use the Review to strengthen the Commission and raise its visibility so that more countries can benefit from its support. Adopt a pragmatic approach that can lead to stronger collaboration with the Security Council, more strategic partnerships with regional organizations and IFIs, and continue to work with respect for national ownership”

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This year the Government’s request for continued eligibility to the PBF, for a new cycle of five years, was approved.

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