In his capacity as chairman of the Burundi Configuration, Ambassador Maurer will benefit from the many years of development cooperation experience which the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) has had in Burundi. Switzerland has been involved in development cooperation in the Great Lakes Region of Africa since the 1960s. Since the outbreak of several conflicts at the beginning of the 1990s, the Confederation has played an active part both in providing humanitarian aid and in peacebuilding processes. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) already has a local office and a peacebuilding adviser based at the Swiss Embassy in Nairobi. At present, its activities are focused in the following areas: facilitating political dialogue, the control of small arms and light weapons, transitional justice, governance and health.
Nearly half of all peacebuilding processes fail in the first five years following a ceasefire. The mandate of the Peacebuilding Commission is to focus the attention and the resources of the international community in this critical period and to propose integrated strategies on peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction. The Commission organises its efforts at plenary meetings, as well as through “Configurations” specific to each country in which it is involved. To date it has been active in just four countries: Burundi, Guinea Bissau, the Central African Republic and Sierra Leone. The establishment of the Burundi Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission in December 2005 signalled the international community’s intention of making the United Nations more effective in carrying out its peacebuilding mandate. This objective corresponds with the priority objectives of Switzerland’s foreign policy.
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