The PBC established CSCs to guide the Comission's engagement with individual countries on its agenda. Most of the PBC's work takes place in these CSCs, each of which is led by its own Chair selected by the PBC Organizational Committee.
The country-specific configurations allow the PBC to focus attention and tailor its approach to the particular needs of a country. Each configuration works closely with the national government to:
- Identify peacebuilding challenges and opportunities
- Develop recommendations for better peacebuilding
- Outline the commitments of various stakeholders to achieving sustainable peace
- Mobilize support in the international community for these efforts;
- Monitor progress in peacebuilding and meeting commitments by various stakeholders.
Usually, Country Specific Configurations are established once a peace accord has been signed, or at least once a minimum of stability and security has been reached. CSCs will also not be established in countries without the Government's consent.
In addition to the 31 PBC Member States and permanent observers, other relevant stakeholders are invited to participate in country-specific meetings of the PBC.
CSC meetings include:
- Representatives of the national government of the country under consideration
- Neighboring countries
- Regional and sub-regional organizations
- Partner governments engaged in relevant peace processes
- Peacekeeping missions or development assistance
The country-specific chair plays a significant role in setting the agenda for the configuration. Chairs manage active engagement with the national government of the country concerned, the Peacebuilding Support Office and other UN bodies such as the Security Council. They also provide reports of their visits to and activities in the country to the PBC.
There are few formalized working methods for the country-specific configurations and most meetings are informal; therefore, each configuration will proceed somewhat differently. In practice, the work within each of them relies heavily upon the leadership of the country-specific chair to organize visits to the country and lead formal and informal consultations on peacebuilding priorities, including with civil society.
Identify Challenges and Opportunities. Country-specific peacebuilding priorities are identified through meetings and consultations held in the countries of concern and at the UN. Special attention is paid to identifying gaps in existing UN, World Bank and other strategies for peacebuilding or development. The principle of nationalownership is recognized as a key aspect of the PBC's engagement with a country. Although processes have evolved slightly differently in each country, the national government is largely responsible for articulating its priority areas for peacebuilding and its commitment to meeting key goals.
Develop Recommendations and Stakeholder Commitments. The results of country-level and UN consultations are reflected in the adoption or endorsement of a peacebuilding framework document. This document is intended to highlight those areas viewed as most important for successful peacebuilding and identify any gaps in existing strategies. It also promotes coordination among partners by having each of them outline its commitment to supporting peacebuilding in the country; The PBC is intended to ensure sustained engagement from the international community during the transition from violent conflict to peacebuilding and on toward sustainable development, a period often characterized by a sharp decline in international engagement and support.
Mobilize Support. The government, PBC chairs and others can use the peacebuilding framework document and related consultations to attract and sustain international interest in the selected country and potential threats to peace, and to marshal resources for peacebuilding there. By establishing a clear plan of action - short, medium and long term - the PBC is able to give potential partners the visibility and security needed to feel secure in their contributions. Identification of specific areas in need of financial support and the future management of these funds in strategic programs and projects is important to encourage donors.
Monitor Peacebuilding. The PBC closely monitors developments in the countries on its agenda. The framework documents are considered 'living' documents and are reviewed semi-annually in the respective country-specific configuration. The PBC encourages the government, with asssistance from the UN, to establish a monitoring mechanism to facilitate reporting on peacebuilding progress.
Configurations also hold periodic thematic meetings and may meet on urgent matters related to peacebuilding in the country, such as perceived threats to peace or preparations for elections. These meetings are intended to highlight challenges and encourage Member States to take action to support continued peacebuilding, whether bilaterally or multilaterally.