By Amira Sayed
Pursuing its efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry has recently announced that Egypt was elected to chair the 5th session of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, succeeding Canada to the role. Meanwhile, Egypt’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Mohamed Edris, remarked that Egypt is chairing this commission for the first time thanks to the efforts of Egyptian diplomacy over a decade and a half in supporting the United Nations peacebuilding structure since its inauguration in 2005.
Egypt became the candidate representing Africa to assume this important international position. As Africa constitutes the largest share of the committee’s work programme, Egypt intends to continue working on mobilising international support for peace building in countries affected by conflict, especially in Africa, Ambassador Edris said.
In general, UN has a great history in peacekeeping, but there is a special dimension to promote peacebuilding by creating institutions and capabilities to make peace sustainable, which will help countries maintain peace on their own without resorting to peacekeeping forces, the ambassador added.
Speaking to The Egyptian Gazette, Ekram Badr el-Din, a political science professor at Cairo University, said that this move reflects Egypt’s vital position on both continental and international levels.
“Electing Egypt to chair the peacebuilding commission is recognition of the pivotal role played by the Egyptian diplomacy in this file. It is also an international recognition of Egypt’s efforts in settling disputes,” Professor Badr el- Din added.
The political analyst went on to say that Egypt has always been consistent and dependable contributor to UN Peacekeeping for decades.
Egypt first deployed peacekeepers in 1960 when it sent troops to the UN operation in Congo. Egyptian peacekeeprs are now deployed in many countries including the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali.
“Egypt is actively present in conflict hotbeds with its peacekeepers, which qualified it to chair this important commission especially during this critical period,” Badr el-Din said.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Edris said in press statements that the Peacebuilding Commission has an advisory role in the Security Council. He stressed that the Peacebuilding Commission does not impose conditions or visions. The African dimension will be the main focus during Egypt’s presidency of the Peacebuilding Commission, he added.
In a related context, Professor Badr el-Din said that Egypt was a non-permanent member of the Security Council and was keen on mobilising international efforts to reach political settlements in many countries.
“I think Egypt will leave a tangible mark in this file through its chairmanship of the commission in light of its golden history in this domain ,” he said.