U.N. Peacebuilding Commission Backed

— Lyn Stoesen, News Staff


NASW Senior Policy Adviser Leticia Diaz recently spoke at a briefing on Capitol Hill about the U.N. Peacebuilding Commission. The Quaker U.N. Office, the Friends Committee on National Legislation and the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) sponsored the briefing.

Diaz also discussed the work of the U.N. Peacebuilding Commission before an audience at a luncheon held before the briefing. Diaz, NASW's senior policy adviser on human rights and international affairs, has served as chair of the Washington, D.C., Council of Organizations of UNA-USA., a coalition of U.S.-based nongovernmental organizations created to support the U.N. and encourage strong U.S. leadership in the U.N. In that capacity, she also served on the UNA-USA Board of Directors.

The events, held March 14, addressed the U.N. Peacebuilding Commission, an advisory body established two years ago to coordinate efforts to help make peace sustainable in countries emerging from violent conflict.

"The social work profession is always concerned about the victims of war and believes that post-conflict reconstruction is essential. These beliefs of the profession are articulated through explicit social policies," Diaz said.

"Given this framework, it should not be a surprise that organizations that represented the profession, like NASW here in the United States and the International Federation of Social Workers, are strong supporters of the Peacebuilding Commission," she said.

Diaz noted that when the Peacebuilding Commission was formed, IFSW sent a letter to Annan urging the inclusion of civil society representation and specifically social workers.

"We are concerned that currently, the commission has no guidelines for the specific make-up of a national steering committee," she said. "We do know that larger nongovernmental organizations have actively participated in the process, but we believe that it is essential that local, community-based, in-country organizations be a part of that process, and we urge that social workers in those countries be included.

"IFSW is currently planning to reaffirm support for the Peacebuilding Commission and the peace building teams through correspondence with Secretary General Banki Moon," she said.