|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Special Committee on
197th & 198th Meetings (AM & PM)
DELEGATES IN SPECIAL PEACEKEEPING COMMITTEE AGREE ON IMPORTANCE
OF SYSTEMATIC, STRUCTURAL RESPONSES TO NEW CHALLENGES
Speakers Support Ambitious ‘Peace Operations 2010’ Reform Agenda
Against the backdrop of a rapid increase in the number and complexity of United Nations peacekeeping operations, delegates in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations welcomed today the opportunity to discuss the Secretary-General’s proposals to strengthen the Organization’s capacity to manage and sustain peace operations.
Stressing the Special Committee’s important role in that regard, numerous delegations agreed that increased peacekeeping demands required more systematic, structural responses, and supported last year’s ambitious peacekeeping reform agenda, “Peace Operations 2010”, which focused on the priority areas of personnel, doctrine, partnerships, resources and organization.
They also addressed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest proposal to establish two specialized but tightly integrated departments from the present Department of Peacekeeping Operations -- one dealing with peace operations and the other providing field support -- to strengthen the Organization’s capacity to mount and sustain peace operations in a professional, effective and accountable way.
While fully supporting the need to reform and strengthen United Nations peacekeeping capacity, several speakers sought further clarification of the implications of the proposed restructuring with respect to the unity of command and lines of accountability. Others raised questions about the financial implications of the proposed changes.
Pakistan’s representative stressed the importance of continuity, noting that any discussion of the reform proposals should be in the context of wider reform issues, including the Peace Operations 2010 reform agenda, warning against focusing solely on reorganization and stressing that equal priority should be given to all substantive questions. With the annual peacekeeping budget having risen to $5.7 billion, it was important not to succumb to the temptation to do more with less funding. Broad and difficult peacekeeping mandates were often not backed with sufficient resources, and the growing overstretch of troops jeopardized the safety and security of peacekeepers, adversely affecting the missions’ effectiveness.
China’s delegate said efforts should be made to resolutely advance reform, noting that a series of recent reform measures had yielded some positive results in strengthening planning, as well as command-and-control systems. In accordance with the Peace Operations 2010 reform agenda, the priorities of the next phase of reform should continue to be improved partnerships, strengthened training and discipline, and optimal resources management. At the same time, details of the realignment programme should be broadly discussed, taking into account the concerns of all parties and reflecting the legitimate desire of all Member States.
The representative of the United States said the Secretary-General, as Chief Administrative Officer, should have adequate authority to administer the United Nations as he deemed appropriate. Member States had expressed their full faith and confidence in the Secretary-General with their unanimous endorsement of his nomination and they should now support his reform effort. With a growing range of mission components, it was necessary to distinguish among the tasks that were appropriate for peacekeeping operations and other parts of the Organization, as well as bilateral and regional arrangements in the peacebuilding phase. The goal was to create the most efficient mix of resources, recognizing that their finite nature.
Yemen’s delegate was among the speakers who supported the proposed restructuring of the Department, saying the Secretary-General should have more flexibility and support to implement the necessary reform. The representative of the Russian Federation, however, expressed doubt that splitting the Department in two would increase efficiency, emphasizing the importance of guaranteeing the continuity and efficiency of command and control of military contingents.
Speakers also focused on the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel and civilian populations in host countries, reform of the Department’s Police Division, reimbursements to troop-contributing countries, as well as equitable gender and geographical representation.
Stressing the need to promote gender equality in peacekeeping, Ghana’s representative said the persistent asymmetrical representation of men and women was untenable. The time had come “to move beyond the annual ritual of paying lip service to gender equality to the pursuit of practical measures to buttress our commitment to gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping operations, as envisioned under Security Council resolution 1325 (2000)”. More women should be appointed to senior managerial positions at Headquarters and in mission command posts.
On yet another aspect of reform, Thailand’s delegate said the United Nations would not be able effectively to concentrate on new missions, unless an exit strategy for older missions was in place. Peacekeeping was by nature an interim measure aimed at laying a foundation for sustaining peace by reforming the security and rule-of-law sectors in post-conflict States. Ultimately, security reform in post-conflict countries would determine the timeliness and sustainability of exit strategies.
Other speakers today included representatives of Kazakhstan, Nepal, Fiji, Brazil, Mexico, Ukraine, Jamaica, Cuba, El Salvador, Namibia, Jordan, India, Singapore, Iran, Algeria, Guinea, Georgia, Norway, Uruguay, Chile, Indonesia, Ecuador, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Argentina, Venezuela, Senegal, Philippines, Zambia, Israel, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Viet Nam.
Also speaking today, in exercise of the right of reply, were representatives of Japan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The Special Committee will meet again at a date to be announced.
The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations continued its general debate today, the second day of its three-week 2007 session. (For background information, see Press Release GA/PK/192 of 26 February.)
BARLYBAY SADYKOV ( Kazakhstan) said international peacekeeping operations under the aegis of the United Nations remained the most effective instrument to prevent and manage crises and ensure global and regional stability. The need for peacekeeping had been growing, with operations becoming more complex. Kazakhstan supported the Secretary-General’s proposal for restructuring the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, which envisioned the creation of a Department of Peace Operations and a Department of Field Support, in order to enhance the Secretariat’s effectiveness. In considering his proposals, it would be worthwhile to take into account such important issues as preserving the unity of command, the financial implications of the restructuring and the need to improve efficiency.
Pointing out that the Secretary-General’s report took note of the fact that the United Nations lacked the capability to settle every individual crisis, he stressed the importance of partnerships with regional and other intergovernmental organizations. Against that background, the adoption of a unified concept of partnerships with regional and subregional organizations, with the participation of the Peacebuilding Commission, could be of considerable benefit. The development of close ties with regional organization and the creation of regional centres for training peacekeepers would also be of great significance.
He went on to note that one of the important problems affecting United Nations peacekeeping was the lack of an effective and comprehensive mechanism to prevent the outbreak of conflicts and their spread on an international level. Kazakhstan favoured a widening of the framework for interaction among Member States, United Nations bodies and regional organizations, in order to prevent conflict; combat international terrorism, drug trafficking and transnational organized crime; and eliminate poverty, infectious diseases and natural disasters.
FARUKH AMIL ( Pakistan) said his country had been the largest contributor of troops to peacekeeping operations over the years, and currently had 10,000 personnel in 11 missions. It was against that background that Pakistan supported the reform and strengthening of United Nations peacekeeping capacity, in order better to cope with emerging new challenges. Having expressed its primary views on the proposed realignment of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations during informal consultations on 21 February, Pakistan was prepared to discuss the proposals in greater detail and was glad the discussion was taking place where it belonged -– in the framework of the Special Committee.
Expressing support for the position of the Non-Aligned Movement on many of the issues under discussion, he stressed the special importance of continuity, noting that any discussion of reform should be in the context of wider reform issues, including the “Peace Operations 2010” reform agenda, which addressed the realignment of capacities, personnel, doctrine, partnerships, resources and organization. Equal priority should be given to all substantive questions, but the realignment proposal presented to the Special Committee focused solely on reorganization. Strengthening the core capacity of military and civilian personnel should be accorded equal attention.
He said implementation and follow-up had not been accorded due attention and time in the Special Committee’s discussions, adding that many substantive questions risked being overlooked as a result. A special session of the Special Committee could be organized to discuss safety and security, as well as other substantive issues. The Special Committee should also evolve specific benchmarks to evaluate implementation of the main initiatives. On the strengthening of capacity, it was important to provide adequate resources both at Headquarters and in the field. The peacekeeping budget had risen dramatically in recent years, and while efficient use of resources was important, the temptation to do more with fewer resources was dangerous. Growing overstretch of troops in the field jeopardized the safety and security of personnel and affected mission effectiveness.
Noting that his country had suggested a re-evaluation of the comparative effectiveness of missions accorded commensurate resources, he called for equal treatment of all peacekeeping missions. Also, despite the complex challenges of integrated operations, the exigencies of traditional peacekeeping should not be overlooked. Pakistan remained concerned that troop contributors were inadequately represented at the decision-making level and fully supported the Non-Aligned Movement’s call for timely reimbursement to troop-contributing countries. There was also a need to ensure respect for the basic principles of consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force except in self-defence.
DEVENDRA BAHADUR MEDHASI (Nepal) joined other speakers in paying tribute to the peacekeepers who had sacrificed their lives in the cause of peace, and recalled that the United Nations and the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo had played a very effective role in the release of Nepalese peacekeepers recently taken hostage in that country. Still, crisis management in the United Nations system should be improved by determining the clear-cut responsibility of the departments concerned and strengthening political and diplomatic involvement, so as to save the lives of people at risk. Apart from a peacekeeping mission’s efforts to normalize the physical and mental condition of victims, the United Nations could also counsel them and provide compensation. The Special Committee could make recommendations to the General Assembly in that regard.
He welcomed the steps taken to improve living conditions, welfare and recreation facilities for all categories of personnel, in order to reduce misconduct, but stressed that recreation facilities were no substitute for the attitude of an individual soldier or officer towards misconduct, for which that peacekeeper’s contingent should be made more accountable. Factors contributing to serious misconduct should be examined in light of United Nations standards and minimized through legal awareness and training in the troop-contributing country itself.
Describing reform as a never-ending process at the United Nations, he stressed the need for due attention to the following areas in restructuring the Department of Peacekeeping Operations: clear-cut and well laid out institutional responsibilities and procedures for the safety and security of personnel; unity of command and accountability between the two Under-Secretaries-General, including that of the proposed integrated teams; well-defined relations between the proposed Department of Field Support and the peacekeeping, political, humanitarian and other field operations to ensure there was no diversion to other purposes of resources dedicated for peacekeeping; and well-laid-out communication procedures. Nepal associated itself fully with the concept of strengthening the Military and Police Divisions to cope with current and future conflicts. Among other areas of interest was the emerging concept of inter-mission support, which required thorough examination, as did that of using unmanned aerial vehicles to enhance personnel safety and security.
FILIMONE KAU ( Fiji) said that, in order to maintain its credibility as a viable option for global post-conflict resolution, United Nations peacekeeping operations required constant reforming, retooling and investment. The Secretary-General’s proposal promised to deliver strategic guidance and timely support to missions, enabling optimal performance of their operations without too much hindrance. Fiji looked forward to “dissecting” the proposal in the coming days, and would be careful not to jeopardize the momentum of the reform agenda by lingering on details.
The Secretary-General’s proposal alluded to a reform programme entitled “Peace Operations 2010”, which aimed at increasing the professionalism and efficiency of United Nations peacekeeping. Fiji called for full support of that reform initiative and for equitable representation at the senior levels of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and in field missions.
Noting that the Civilian Police Division had been desperately understaffed, he said his delegation had been pleased to note Under-Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guéhenno’s proposal yesterday to reinforce it in parallel with the further expansion of standing police capacity. Fiji reconfirmed its support for any proposed budgetary adjustments aimed at addressing that shortcoming. Fiji supported a call for a clarification by the Secretariat regarding how it intended to ensure the preservation of the relationship between the Police Adviser and the proposed new Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Peace Operations, so as to avoid diluting advice from the police component.
PARIGIBE TARRAGÔ ( Brazil) said that, for the fourth year, the Special Committee had resumed its work amid a surge in peacekeeping operations. In last week’s informal discussions, Under-Secretary-General Guéhenno had noted that the United Nations lived in “a permanent state of surge”. If that was the case, it was necessary to rethink the role of the Special Committee, so as to improve its ability to deal with emergencies as a matter of routine.
He said that the Secretary-General’s restructuring proposal, while timely, required careful examination by the Special Committee. The concepts articulated by the Secretary-General and the additional clarifications required should serve as a basis for negotiations among Member States, who were not dealing with a closed package, but rather with diverse elements. Restructuring the Department of Peacekeeping Operations or splitting it into two departments was not the only priority with regard to peacekeeping, and should by no means monopolize the Special Committee’s limited time. Other, equally important, issues required adequate discussion and decisions, including the canvassing of new troop-contributing countries and incentives for contributors to provide more peacekeepers.
Though more than 100 countries contributed peacekeepers, the top 22 countries represented 77 per cent of the total, of which only 4 were developed countries, he said. No changes at Headquarters would compensate the shortcomings in contributions –- which put at risk the security of peacekeeping personnel and local populations, as well as the completion of mandates. All areas of a mandate were important and they should be met with adequate administrative and budgetary resources. Peacekeeping missions should increasingly incorporate a development dimension with commensurate resources to implement them. No peacebuilding or institution-building could be sustainable without some degree of development and material prosperity, which could show local people the dividends of peace. Experience had showed that, in order for peacekeeping, peacebuilding and the promotion of development to be successful, they should not be dealt with in successive phases. Rather, they should be seen as different pillars of an integrated effort. By the same token, for financial reasons, the United Nations should be careful not to cease its activities too soon.
Turning to safety and security, he said further clarification was needed on the proposed working relations between the proposed Department of Peace Operations and the Department of Field Support, as well as the existing Department of Safety and Security. Equally important, personnel in charge of civilian security in the mission must be duly screened. The Special Committee must also look carefully into the question of conduct and discipline. All cases of misconduct and indiscipline were equally harmful. Sexual abuse and exploitation should be considered as only one modality to be addressed.
ANA PAOLA BARBOSA ( Mexico) said the proposal to restructure the Department of Peacekeeping Operations provided a chance to advance the reform process begun by the Brahimi report and now advanced through the Peace Operations 2010 reform agenda. Any reform effort should be carried out in an integrated and coherent approach. Proposals should be analysed within the framework of the 2010 agenda, with initiatives following in tandem, taking into account the results of the recent audit by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). The restructuring proposal was also a chance to strengthen the work of the Special Committee, which needed to address substantively the scope and implications of the proposed changes. The reform effort should be conducted in accordance with the main Charter principles governing peacekeeping operations.
She said that, while the Secretary-General’s letter of 15 February to the President of the General Assembly provided information on the envisioned changes, additional information was needed to explain how the realignment would contribute to strengthening the Organization’s capacity to respond. Member States needed to know how unity of command would be preserved and how information-exchange mechanisms.
Mexico also wished to know about the financial implications of the proposed restructuring, as its total cost thus far remained unknown, she said. The financial implications must also be considered in the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ). Another issue that must be addressed was the division of work between the proposed Department of Field Support and the Department of Management. How would the Office of Human Resources Management preserve its central authority on contractual arrangements and the conditions of service against a background of strengthened management in the field?
Addressing sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers, she expressed the hope that work would soon be concluded on the model Memorandum of Understanding and strategy for protecting the victims. Both instruments should become the cornerstones for an accountability framework. The security of missions and their personnel should become the focus of efforts to reform peacekeeping. Mexico urged that analysis of the state of peacekeeping be reviewed, not only by the Security Council, but also by the General Assembly. The United Nations must address reform in a unified and systematic approach.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA ( Ukraine) said the international community was now at a critical juncture, facing significant challenges in meeting the growing requirements for peacekeeping personnel, logistical support and financial resources. If peacekeeping was to remain effective, Member States, the Security Council and the Secretariat would have to work closely to meet the challenges. Rapid deployment was essential and planning capacities must be enhanced as soon as possible. Ukraine, therefore, welcomed the initiative to implement a comprehensive and integrated approach to mission planning, and encouraged the Secretariat to work with Member States to ensure that all mechanisms for the rapid deployment of readily available reserves operated effectively and at full capacity.
Expressing support for the Secretary-General’s intention to address capacity shortfalls in the Military Division, he said it was widely recognized that the scarcity of financial resources was among the major obstacles to the deployment of peacekeepers in the field. However, timely reimbursement to troop contributors should be ensured. There was also an urgent need to strengthen the protection of people in the service of the United Nations, as well as to improve information gathering and analysis in the field, so as to manage threats. Ukraine supported the proposal to strengthen Situation Centre capacities or to establish a strategic analysis cell at Headquarters. It was also considering contributing to the Standing Police Capacity and supported the proposal to create a substantial capacity of civilian peacekeepers. The creation of the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group was also welcome.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said peacekeeping had become an important means of exercising multilateralism and realizing collective security. It played a very important role in assisting host countries to consolidate peace, stability and rebuilding. That, in turn, had enhanced United Nations credibility and authority. With new challenges, however, United Nations peacekeeping needed further improvement. Efforts should continue to ensure operations were aligned with the Charter and in accordance with the mandates given by the Security Council, as well as the guidance provided by host Governments. They should respect the principles of neutrality and non-use of force except in self-defence, and avoid a “lopsided emphasis on military functioning”, being guided instead by requirements on the ground rather than selective attitudes or double standards.
He said that, since the publication of the Brahimi report, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had adopted a series of positive reform measures that had yielded positive results in strengthening planning and improving command and control systems. In accordance with the Peace Operations 2010 reform agenda, the priorities of the next phase of reform should continue to be improved partnerships, strengthened training and discipline, and optimal resource management, among other features. China supported the Secretary-General’s structural adjustment proposal and commended his bold suggestion to optimize resources. At the same time, details of the realignment programme should be broadly discussed, taking into account the concerns of all parties and reflecting the legitimate desires of all Member States. The consolidation of peace, in the final analysis, was a domestic process led by the host Government, with the United Nations playing only a subsidiary and coordinating role.
In today’s world, when peace operations had transformed from single-focus to integrated missions, they were operating on overload, he said. That had heavily burdened the Secretariat and Member States, and might endanger their very effectiveness. In planning new mandates, therefore, the Security Council should formulate exit strategies at an early date, with the respective host Governments owning that process. The extension of mandates should be done every six months, so the Council could remain flexible in adjusting their scale and scope in light of the actual situation on the ground. China had participated in 16 peacekeeping operations and presently had more than 1,600 peacekeepers working in 13 missions. Given its disciplined and highly qualified peacekeepers, China would expand its participation and make an even greater contribution to strengthening the United Nations role in maintaining world peace and security.
WILLIAM J. BRENCICK ( United States) said the Secretary-General was the Chief Administrative Officer of the United Nations and should have sufficient flexibility to act in the best interest of the Organization. He should have adequate authority to administer it as he deemed most appropriate, while Member States had the authority to hold him accountable for his actions. Member States had expressed their full faith and confidence in Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with their unanimous endorsement of his nomination. Now, they should support his efforts, so that everybody could benefit from a more effective, efficient and accountable Secretariat.
The United Nations had 18 active peacekeeping missions, all differing in objectives, scope and objectives, and it was necessary to assess each of them individually, he continued. There was a growing range of components and issues that must be considered and included in peacekeeping operations. At the same time, it was important to distinguish those tasks that were appropriate for peacekeeping operations and those suitable for other parts of the Organization. The goal was to create the most efficient mix of resources, recognizing their finite nature. United Nations peacekeeping should not substitute for potential bilateral and regional assistance and the efforts of its various agencies. Improved coordination was needed in that regard.
The Special Committee had an opportunity to evaluate the progress made over the past year, and seeing where the Organization had succeeded or failed, he said. One area in that regard was sexual exploitation and abuse, which had largely been ignored for many years. Recently, a number of measures had been taken to enforce discipline and ethical conduct, but, even as the Organization confronted that challenge, new allegations continued to surface. Greater action was needed in pursuing justice and ensuring that illicit acts were not repeated. Failure to act would have profound consequences for present and future peacekeeping missions. With that in mind, the United States called on the Special Committee to work harder on the model Memorandums of Understanding. The United Nations must eradicate the culture of impunity, and Member States must work together towards that end. With transparency the key to reform, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office of Internal Oversight Services must provide Member States with timely information when requested.
NICHOLETTE WILLIAMS (Jamaica) emphasized the Special Committee’ s vital role in reviewing all measures aimed at enhancing the capacity of the United Nations to conduct peacekeeping operations around the world. Against the background of an exponential increase in the number of conflicts, it was hardly surprising that there had been an unprecedented, sustained surge in United Nations peacekeeping operations, which had far surpassed the Organization’s capacity to fulfil its mandate. At the same time, there was the added dimension of increased threat to the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel around the world. Urgent action was required in light of the resulting strain on the Organization’s capacity to manage existing missions, while preparing for new ones.
Noting that Member States had a collective responsibility to protect, not only the peacekeepers, but also the host populations, she said any reform process should take into account the need to preserve unity of command -- an important component of effective peacekeeping -– and ensure the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel. As the departmental reform continued, Jamaica looked forward to seeing the first phase of the Standing Police Capacity become operational and to the timely implementation of the other three phases in the stipulated time frame.
A zero-tolerance approach should be maintained with respect to conduct and disciplinary issues, especially as it related to sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping operations, she said. Jamaica looked forward to the early resumption of negotiations on the model Memorandum of Understanding and further consideration of the strategy on victim assistance. It also looked forward to engaging in a meaningful dialogue on modalities for reforming the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in the next few weeks. The onus was on Member States to help to engender a culture of peace.
MOHAMMED MOHAMMED ALI AL-OTMI ( Yemen) emphasized the need to respect the will, sovereignty, independence, territoriality and integrity of States, adding that peacekeeping operations should also adhere to the Charter and limit the use of force to self-defence. Their mandates must have the necessary logistical, material and political support to achieve their objectives. Yemen condemned the repeated acts of violence against United Nations personnel, and expressed its condolences to the Governments and bereaved families of the victims.
Expressing his full support for the proposals on departmental restructuring, he stressed the need to provide the Secretary-General with more flexibility and support to implement the necessary reform, given the Department’s increased size. Moreover, it could not, at present, cope with the needs of peacekeeping. Yemen also supported proposals to consolidate police capacity. Yemen supported the equitable geographical recruitment at Headquarters and in the field, as participation in missions must not be limited to a few countries at the expense of others.
Sexual exploitation and abuse threatened United Nations credibility, and the Organization must take all possible measures to confront those crimes and begin the necessary investigations, he said. Information centres should be activated in various regions, including Yemen’s capital, to disseminate a culture of peace and improve the image of the United Nations. Given the present enormous challenges facing United Nations peacekeeping, there was a similarly great need for a tripartite partnership between the Security Council, the Secretariat and the troop-contributing countries.
RODRIGO MALMIERCA DÍAZ ( Cuba) said peacekeeping operations consumed nearly 70 per cent of the Organization’s annual budget, a percentage that was expected to increase in 2007. Not only had the level of operations escalated, but they had become increasingly multidimensional and complex. However, the missions were no substitute for diagnosing the root causes of conflict, only a temporary measure to create a security framework. Any other perception would not allow the parties to overcome the vicious cycle of new conflict and new operations, with their subsequent human and material costs.
Given the current situation, the Special Committee’s role was particularly relevant, as it was the only United Nations body entrusted with comprehensively reviewing the whole question of peacekeeping, he said. As for the peacekeeping operations themselves, they must strictly abide by the Charter, have the consent of the parties concerned, be impartial and avoid the use of force except in clear cases of self-defence. They should have clearly defined and realistic mandates, as well as concrete objectives and the necessary resources. Prior to approval and deployment, a peacekeeping mission must have a clear exit strategy.
He said any restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations should take into account the need to retain the unity of command and coherence between the field and Headquarters. With regard to the use of the term “peace operations” rather than “peacekeeping operations”, the scope and implications of the Secretary-General’s terminology should be clearly defined, so as to leave no room for doubt or interpretation. In addition, Cuba stressed the crucial importance of the zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual exploitation and abuse, and called for equitable geographical representation in hiring. It was also concerned about the lack of a follow-up mechanism to evaluate the Special Committee’s recommendations.
CARMEN MARÍA GALLARDO HERNÁNDEZ ( El Salvador) said the Special Committee should determine the possible positive and negative aspects of the reform proposals, deliberations in which her country was prepared to participate. The delegation of El Salvador was gratified to see the deployment of the first conduct and discipline teams in the field, and recognized the importance of continuing the zero-tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation and abuse.
With the first complex multidisciplinary peacekeeping operation having taken place in her country, its Government took special interest in peacekeeping issues, she continued. Marking the fifteenth anniversary of its own peace agreement this year, El Salvador could serve as a role model for peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts in other countries. Aware that it had valuable experience, El Salvador was prepared to place it at the service of the international community. Lessons learned during its 12 years of armed conflict could be valuable to others.
She said all peacekeeping personnel needed specialized training concerning the needs and special rights of women, children and the elderly. It was important for women to participate on an equal footing in all initiatives to promote peace and, to that end, it was essential to strengthen their participation in decision-making processes relating to conflict prevention and resolution. Women should also have increased participation in peacekeeping missions. El Salvador was firmly convinced of the need to further strengthen peacekeeping operations and its delegation was ready to participate in the consideration of the proposed changes.
KAIRE M. MBUENDE ( Namibia) said his country would welcome measures to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the United Nations, so it could do more with the limited resources at its disposal. Namibia was open to engaging the Secretary-General and the Secretariat’s senior management on the Peace Operations 2010 reform agenda with a view to facilitating a speedy decision on the matter in accordance with established procedures. The information provided by the Secretary-General in response to Member States’ concerns about such issues as safety and security and unity of command would go a long way towards ensuring that informed decisions were taken.
Regarding the conduct and discipline of peacekeeping personnel, he said any case of serious misconduct tarnished the Organization’s image and the troop-contributing country concerned, and should be dealt with decisively. That could be achieved by putting down structures that would enable joint investigations to establish the authenticity of allegations. That would form the basis for the troop-contributing countries to take appropriate actions, including judicial ones, if required. Namibia wished to see the revised model Memorandum of Understanding finalized during the next meeting of the experts’ working group.
He stressed the importance of training and capacity-building, noting that his country had benefited from various United Nations-sponsored peacekeeping courses. With the increase in the need to deploy formed police units, Namibia wished to build the capacity of its units and to equip them with the necessary skills. It also attached great importance to the participation of women in peacekeeping operations. Appreciative of the Organization’s peacekeeping role in Africa, Namibia looked forward to the finalization of arrangements for a joint African Union-United Nations command structure in Darfur.
HARON HASSAN (Jordan) said that, while the focus in the coming weeks would be on the reform agenda, it was important not to lose sight of the importance of safety and security in the field; how to enhance and maximize it by all necessary means. Developing that area should remain high on the agenda of the Special Committee and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations for three main reasons: the continuing surge in peacekeeping; the continuing complexity of operations; and the rapid pace of technological developments. Safety and security should remain at the core of any discussion on restructuring, as should the need to enhance technology in the field, particularly through the deployment of aerial monitoring capacities in missions deemed dangerous and less secure.
On the creation of two departments from the current one, he said unified command and control had always been the best approach to United Nations peacekeeping. The objective of restructuring might be to meet the sustained demand for peacekeeping “more effectively, efficiently and accountably”, as the Secretary-General had said, but there was a need to clarify and detail how dividing the Department would serve that purpose. While Jordan was ready to work on the proposal of two departments, it strongly supported the view that any decision to move forward on reforming the Department in a way that would effectively change the way in which peacekeeping operations were managed should be considered by the Special Committee as the only relevant body responsible for reviewing all aspects of peacekeeping operations.
Turning to the question of “experimental initiatives”, such as the Strategic Military Cell, he asked the Department to explain clearly how effective that arrangement had been in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and what lessons had been learned from it. While a reinforced and centralized Department would better achieve peacekeeping objectives, Jordan would not stand in the way of a frank and focused discussion on how best to restructure the Department in different ways. However, Jordan agreed with the Under-Secretary-General on the need to reinforce the police component at Headquarters in light of the growing police role in peacekeeping missions. It also supported, in principle, the proposal to establish an integrated office of rule of law and security institutions, headed by an Assistant Secretary-General.
He said that, in formulating strategic partnerships in which the United Nations was involved, there should be no confusion about resolute United Nations command and control of hybrid arrangements acting in the Organization’s name and under its flag. The Security Council should take the necessary measures to remove restrictions that undermined implementation of the mandate of any United Nations mission. Such restrictions had demonstrated that they posed a direct risk to the lives of troops in the field and should not be tolerated. Jordan also remained concerned about the quality of joint meetings between Security Council members and troop contributors.
AJAI MALHOTRA (India), welcoming those changes that would make United Nations peacekeeping even more tightly integrated, effective and professional, said unity of effort required clear command, control and reporting structures and arrangements, beginning with the mission in the field and going right up to Headquarters. India looked forward to the Special Committee’s conclusive assessment of the impact of proposed measures against the template of ensuring the overriding priorities of “unity of command and integrity of effort”, as well as the safety and security of troops. Peacekeepers’ safety and security was vital to the troop contributors who placed their soldiers at risk in pursuit of the United Nations ideal. The deaths of 89 peacekeepers last year, and Indian Corporal Mohan Singh Gurung earlier this month, was a reminder of the importance of fully addressing safety and security concerns.
He said the United Nations must enhance its capacity for information gathering, assessment and sharing, as well as concrete recommendations for preventive action, with field units. Reliable operational and tactical intelligence was essential to the successful conduct of military operations and to the pre-emption of potential threats to the security and safety of personnel. United Nations field operations also remained constrained by complex bureaucratic procedures essentially conceived in a non-operational context. The fluid, unpredictable environment confronting United Nations peacekeeping operations, particularly during a crisis, required flexibility on the ground, which, in turn, necessitated good logistics planning and the close integration of a mission’s uniformed and administrative components. Also, the Force Commander must have operational and administrative flexibility.
The Special Committee and the United Nations should absorb the experiences of UNIFIL last summer, he said, recalling that, almost overnight, the mission had had to establish alternative supply lines and casualty evacuation routes, while simultaneously ensuring peacekeepers’ safety and security. The Secretary-General should also address the question of consolidating peacekeeping accounts, while undertaking administrative reorganization and streamlining. That would provide an opportunity to tackle the selective financing of peacekeeping missions.
Member States should be entitled to cash surpluses from missions if they did not owe dues to other missions, he said. Such consolidation would help improve the Secretary-General’s management of mission finances, and address the chronic cash deficits faced by some of them, while ensuring more predictable troop costs and reimbursements to Member States for contingent-owned equipment. That, in turn, would help address the concerns of developing countries, which contributed the overwhelming majority of peacekeeping troops, yet were owed considerable sums of money.
VLADIMIR F. ZAEMSKIY, Deputy Director, Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, stressed the important role of the Peacebuilding Commission, which operated at a cross-juncture of the activities of the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and international financial institutions. The Security Council’s important role in the Commission’s work and the close partnership between those two organs were determined by the fact that the Commission’s agenda comprised issues that had been under the Council’s consideration for a long time.
He said his country supported the further enhancement of mechanisms for interaction among Council members, troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat. The Russian Federation followed with great interest the implementation of the decision by the 2005 World Summit to establish a Standing Police Capacity, in the expectation that it would ensure the efficient and rapid deployment of police contingents. All those activities should be carried out in accordance with the Charter, the principles of international law, the unconditional observance of the Security Council’s prerogatives and on the basis of a rational division of labour with regional organizations. The relevant capacities of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Organization of the Collective Security Treaty and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization were important in that regard.
On the departmental realignment, he said he doubted whether dividing the present entity into two separate departments could help increase the efficiency of United Nations peacekeeping efforts. In any case, it was important to guarantee the continuity and efficiency of the command and control of military contingents. In addition, security sector reform was one of the important factors for success in conflict-ridden countries, as it was closely interlinked with promoting the rule of law, transitional justice and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. It was necessary to focus on that aspect of peacekeeping at all stages. The Russian Federation also supported the need to improve the quality of personnel sent to United Nations field operations, including through examining their language and driving skills.
During its Group of Eight (G-8) presidency last year, Russia had paid due attention to peacekeeping issues, particularly strengthening African peacekeeping capacity, he continued. The G-8 Summit in St. Petersburg had adopted the Declaration on the Cooperation and Future Actions on Stabilization and Reconstruction. The Russian Federation was also participating in the post-conflict reconstruction of Lebanon and Russian representatives had taken part in G-8 activities in the framework of the initiative to establish African Standby forces. The Russian Government had begun to train military observers and civilian police from African countries.
In conclusion, he said the Security Council’s thorough consideration of all military aspects of specific operations would promote greater peacekeeping efficiency. The Military Staff Committee, which was tasked with ensuring an appropriate level of military expertise for the Council’s decisions, might contribute to that goal. There was a long-felt need for that body to include the Council’s full membership and both permanent and non-permanent members should be interested in the implementation of that proposal. The Russian Federation proposed to use the Military Staff Committee as a mechanism that would provide added value, without competing in any way with the Peacekeeping Department.
SIM TIONG KIAN ( Singapore) said that, given the peacekeeping surge, the argument for the creation of a new Department of Field Support to handle the sheer volume of administrative, procurement and recruitment processes was compelling. Such a step would free up the Department of Peace Operations to focus on more pressing issues of simultaneous strategic and operational bearing on field missions. The proposed Field Support department could also support field missions led by other United Nations entities, such as the Department of Political Affairs and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
As a “one-stop service centre”, the Department of Field Support might well be able to deliver services to its customers in a more timely and responsive manner, he said. Among other positive proposals was the intention to vest Special Representatives with both operational and financial authority, which would improve command integrity and operational responsiveness in the field. However, to ensure that those initiatives did not open up field procurement and other administrative practices to abuse, proper safeguards should be created in terms of supervision and oversight. That should include a clear reporting hierarchy, thereby ensuring accountability. A Department of Field Support with such enlarged responsibilities probably warranted an Under-Secretary-General at its helm.
The establishment of an integrated mission planning cell to facilitate system-wide implementation of the integrated mission planning process was a good idea, he said. Considering the increasing need for peacekeepers to work with other non-United Nations partners in post-conflict areas, such as security sector reform and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, the proposal to create a partnerships unit within the proposed Department of Peace Operations also merited consideration, and would strengthen partnerships among United Nations and non-United Nations entities. There was a need to rationalize within the United Nations and transfer resources to the proposed new departments to help them carry out the myriad tasks before them.
HOSSEIN MALEKI ( Iran) said United Nations peacekeeping operations did not absolve the Organization from properly and comprehensively addressing the root causes of conflict. They should be carried out under United Nations guidance, command and control, and in conformity with the Charter. Moreover, the establishment of all peacekeeping operations, or their extensions, should be strictly in line with the Charter and accord with the principles of consent of the parties; non-use of force except in self-defence; impartiality; respect for the sovereign equality, political independence and territorial integrity of all States; and non-intervention.
Regional arrangements in the context of a United Nations peacekeeping mission should conform to Chapter VIII of the Charter and be fully transparent and temporary, he said. The use of non-United Nations forces for rapid deployment, for example, was not always welcome, especially to the parties concerned. In order to avoid such unwanted situations, the Special Committee should welcome the implementation of the Standing Police Capacity to accelerate new mission start-ups. Furthermore, all countries could contribute to traditional United Nations peacekeeping operations depending on the availability of domestic resources.
Expressing appreciation for the Secretary-General’s proposal to strengthen the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, he cautioned that hastiness should be avoided, as any reform and restructuring required “thorough and vigilant” examination. With respect to the use of certain terminology, Iran would welcome an exchange of views on that question in the Special Committee.
NANA EFFAH-APENTENG ( Ghana) said it was imperative to adopt flexible and innovative measures to address the envisaged increase in the number of peacekeepers and the paradigm shift in peacekeeping. The reform initiated by the Secretariat had yielded some dividends, although further improvements were required to achieve the ultimate goal. For that reason, Ghana remained committed to the five priority areas identified under the reform agenda, which constituted a package, each deserving equal attention.
Emphasizing the importance of enhanced rapidly deployable capacities as an imperative meriting urgent consideration, he said his country welcomed efforts to enhance the standby arrangements system, the strategic deployment stocks and other allied measures. In view of the inadequate resources of developing countries, their developed partners were urged to further increase their capacity-building assistance to ensure that United Nations peacekeeping continued to meet the challenges of the future. Rapid response capability would be a mirage without proper training personnel, and Ghana commended the creation of training centres in various regions, being proud to host one of them.
Although some modest gains had been made in promoting gender equality in peacekeeping, the persistent asymmetrical representation of men and women was untenable, he said. The time had come to move beyond the annual ritual of paying lip service to gender equality to the pursuit of practical measures, so as to buttress commitment to gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping operations as envisioned under Security Council resolution 1325 (2000). More women should be appointed to senior managerial positions at Headquarters and to mission command posts.
As a major contributor to peacekeeping operations, Ghana also placed a high premium on the safety and security of personnel and welcomed the Secretariat’s continued resolve to further strengthen the Joint Operation Centres and Joint Mission Analysis Centres. However, their role should be enhanced by the availability of better intelligence information. Ghana also welcomed the growing cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, and called on the Organization to make the best possible use of their comparative strengths. The proximity to conflict areas of Member States and regional organizations gave them a better understanding of the situation, enabling timely responses to crises. However, regional actors could sometimes complicate conflict resolution and, in that connection, Ghana welcomed the Secretary-General’s resolve to intensify strategic and operational relations with regional organizations, as well as the establishment of a dedicated Headquarters capacity for partnerships.
Regarding sexual exploitation and abuse, he said it was his expectation that the model Memorandum of Understanding would facilitate the eradication of such acts and called for urgent action on a comprehensive victim assistance policy, as well as other preventive strategies, such as personnel welfare and recreation and an anti-prostitution campaign. Regarding the realignment of the Peacekeeping Department, the proposed changes should be discussed within the framework of the reform agenda still under consideration by the Special Committee, which must make appropriate recommendations on that matter. While the Military Division was stretched beyond its limits, Ghana applauded the Secretariat for strengthening the Police Division.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria) said the unprecedented acceleration of peacekeeping activities, as reflected in the 18 operations now under way, meant the United Nations must be in a position to cope effectively with the challenges linked to one of the Organization’s essential missions -- the maintenance of international peace and security. The success of a peacekeeping mission depended, above all, on the consent of the parties, impartiality and the non-use of force except in self-defence. Operations must be backed by appropriate financial and unequivocal political commitment. The Brahimi report had made it possible to better grasp the current challenges and to take the necessary measures to ensure they were met. While the reforms undertaken so far had yielded positive results, important challenges remained.
The Secretary-General’s proposal to divide the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in two should be considered within the framework of the 2010 reform agenda, particularly in the context of the five priority areas, he said. The Security Council must draw up vigorous and clear mandates to facilitate implementation of the tasks assigned to missions. The Council must also take into account the concerns and views of troop-contributing countries. Relations between the Council and the troop contributors had developed, and the latter should be consulted each time a mandate was up for renewal.
Cooperation between the United Nations and regional bodies was also vital in terms of conflict prevention, crisis management, humanitarian assistance, post-conflict peacebuilding and economic development, he said. Algeria welcomed the creation in the Peacekeeping Department of an Africa support team, and noted the creation of teams of ethics personnel and experts, both at Headquarters and in the field. The misconduct of a few tarnished the reputation of many.
PAUL GOA ZOUMANIGUI ( Guinea), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, took note of the Secretary-General’s intention to divide the Department of Peacekeeping Operations into two. Any decision in that regard should be aimed at ensuring the effectiveness and success of peacekeeping operations, while keeping in mind the five priorities of the Peace Operations 2010 reform agenda.
Noting the creation of legal, expert and conduct and discipline teams in several missions, he said his country continued to support a zero-tolerance approach to sexual exploitation and abuse. Despite differences of opinion, Member States were encouraged to reach agreement on the revised model Memorandum of Understanding, the victims-assistance strategy and the guidelines on recreation that would be coming into effect at the end of year. The issue of proper leisure would reduce the incidence of sexual exploitation and abuse. Communication was also a priority, and better information and awareness on behalf of both peacekeepers and local populations would contribute to proper conduct.
He welcomed the interaction between the United Nations and regional organizations, in particular the African Union, and encouraged its further development. Guinea agreed with the Secretary-General regarding disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and on the importance of a clear peacekeeping doctrine. While agreeing also on the need to focus on the creation of a body of 2,500 civilian peacekeepers, there was a need to take into account gender and geographical representation. Greater importance should be accorded to conflict prevention, as well as improved coordination and integration.
IRAKLI CHIKOVANI ( Georgia) drew attention to the fact that the peacekeeping operation in Abkhazia, Georgia, was more than 14 years old. Apart from maintaining the ceasefire and separation of forces, the operation was mandated to create the conditions for the secure and dignified return of 300,000 internally displaced persons and refugees “ethnically cleansed from the territory of Abkhazia, Georgia”. So far, unfortunately, none of them had returned to their native land with guarantees of safety or protection. In reality, up to 2,000 people had been killed since the operation had been introduced in Abkhazia, the overwhelming majority of them ethnic Georgians, not to mention that numerous criminal acts had been committed in the areas of the peacekeepers’ responsibility. Recently, a representative from Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs had been brutally killed in the zone of conflict.
He said those atrocious facts intensified the recognition that the existing peacekeeping format was no longer adequate to create conditions for the return of refugees and internally displaced persons of all nationalities, a conclusion that cast doubt on the effectiveness of the current peace process. A strong peacekeeping operation must be supported by a strong development element, which should include civilian components and a secure environment. There was a strong need for impartial international civilian law enforcement elements to ensure the implementation of the return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes, to maintain order and to create a habitable environment. Resolution of the conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia, required the proper enlargement and enforcement of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG), especially in a law enforcement capacity.
JOHAN L. LØVALD (Norway) said the Secretary-General’s proposed reorganization should strengthen the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ capacity to plan and manage the surge in peace operations and enhance common efforts to improve the integrated approach, which should itself be firmly meshed into the entire strategic planning process. Norway agreed fully with the Secretary-General’s intention to pursue the five priority areas of Peace Operations 2010, to further improve integration and coherence, and to give further consideration to orderly downsizing and transition. Strengthened military planning capacity should be an immediate operational priority, as the present number of military planners at Headquarters was clearly inadequate. Strengthening planning capacity was not only a question of numbers, but also of procedures and competence.
The capacity of the United Nations to collect, analyse and disseminate information must also be enhanced, he said. Decision makers at all levels must be able to react to sudden changes in the operational environment. Norway welcomed the increased focus on security sector reform, including the rule of law, and would also continue to promote the civilian perspective of peace operations. Norway also supported the establishment of a 2,500-strong standing capacity of civilian career peace operators to meet the growing need for specialized and rapidly deployable civilian expertise.
Turning to Darfur, he said the United Nations urgently needed to play a more active role there. The deteriorating humanitarian and security situation was deeply worrying. Norway called on all members of the Special Committee to use their influence to convince the Government of the Sudan to allow rapid implementation of the African Union-United Nations plan agreed in principle last November in Addis Ababa.
RUAMPON MEECHOO-ARRTH ( Thailand), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country was strongly committed to strengthening its role in United Nations-led peace operations, with particular emphasis on Africa. Thailand was planning a considerable increase of its troops in the field and looking at ways to increase its participation in police deployment.
Turning to the proposed realignment of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, he said the issue required careful consideration by all Member States and he cautioned against the setting of artificial deadlines in that regard. The main challenge was to ensure that the Secretary-General’s proposal enhanced the Organization’s peacekeeping capability by strengthening the command structure, the safety and security of peacekeepers and ensuring increased representation of developing countries at senior levels.
Another issue of particular concern to Thailand related to the challenges of transition from conflict to peace, he said. Unless an exit strategy was properly placed for older missions, the United Nations would be unable to concentrate effectively on new missions requiring its undivided attention. Peacekeeping was by nature an interim measure aimed at laying a foundation for sustaining peace by reforming security and the rule of law in post-conflict States. Ultimately, security reform in post-conflict situations determined the timeliness and sustainability of exit strategies. The Department should increase its security sector reform efforts, in order to relieve peacekeepers from older missions. However, peacekeeping mandates were limited in their scope and could not address developmental and economic challenges that were, in many cases, the very sources of conflict.
ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay), welcoming the reform progress made so far, cited the improved definition of mandates, the emphasis on the promotion of human rights, the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, security sector reform and the rule of law. The rapid deployment system, the separation of military and police functions and the greater cooperation between the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries was similarly welcome.
Regarding departmental reform, he said it was essential that the restructuring process ensure and strengthen unity in the chain of command at Headquarters and especially in the field. It was equally fundamental to ensure fluid coordination between the two proposed new departments. Also vital was the direct participation of the troop contributors, especially those directly concerned with the operation under consideration.
He said that security sector reform was essential for stabilization in post-conflict situations and the United Nations should arrive by consensus at a common approach in that regard. On personnel, Uruguay commended plans to establish effective systems of conduct and discipline and called for the main troop contributors to be taken into account for senior-level appointments within the Secretariat. A basic principle that should inspire structural change in the Peacekeeping Department was the security of mission personnel; restructuring at Headquarters should not be done to the detriment of men and women serving in the field. On conduct and discipline, Uruguay fully supported the zero-tolerance policy.
HERALDO MUÑOZ ( Chile), noting the significant increase in the number of peacekeeping operations over the last three years, said that the Organization could exceed the current number of some 100,000 “blue helmets” in the near future. That underscored the collective responsibility of Member States to contribute to efforts to improve the existing peacekeeping system. Chile had participated in peacekeeping operations since the very beginning and was able to evaluate the trends, which were characterized by increasing complexity.
Efficiency was vital at this stage and Chile supported the proposed restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, he said, stressing the need for more integrated and dynamic management of the resources provided by Member States. The Organization also needed political criteria to resolve issues of logistical support. The specialization of resources in the proposed Department of Field Support could lead to a more rational use of resources, since it would allow a better dedication of resources to attend to peacekeepers’ needs. The creation of a Field Support Department that would approach personnel, finances, logistics, communications and other matters in an integrated way would be a step in the right direction.
He called for greater coherence in the use of resources, better management and improved political vision in dealing with conflicts. It was also necessary to ensure that reforms did not cause delays in the flow of resources and materiel to the missions. That presupposed a clear delimitation of responsibilities and the establishment of greater accountability. The Department’s realignment and the creation of the proposed Department of Peace Operations should not affect the unity of command. It was also necessary to establish a procedure to provide justice and punish those who committed abuses.
ADIYATWIDI ADIWOSO ASMADY ( Indonesia) said that, in view of the surge in demand, it was crucial to intensify action for an expeditious implementation of the Peace Operations 2010 reform agenda. Putting off reform until a quieter time was untenable. At the same time, reforming peacekeeping should not be done for the sake of reform or merely lead to an additional layer of bureaucracy.
She said there must be a dedicated effort to address qualitatively specific factors, such as the clarity of roles and mandates of the different entities within and outside the United Nations, Headquarters capacity, field support, procurement, management, communication, unity of command and training. Unless efforts were directed towards resolving issues that had remained unresolved for some time, it might be possible to achieve a different “organogram”, but peacekeeping might not be strengthened in the end.
Noting that peacekeepers were increasingly performing non-traditional tasks, despite a lack of relevant expertise and adequate resources, she said security sector reform was one such example, whereby peacekeepers assumed very high personal and professional risks, owing to deficient training and capacity for such complex assignments for which no strategic framework had yet been developed.
Everyone should be mindful of the need to provide peacekeepers with an exit strategy, she said, noting, however, the importance of not withdrawing them too early from fragile situations. The Peacebuilding Commission should minimize the chances of relapse into conflict. National ownership was paramount for any post-conflict recovery plan to be sustainable. Finally, everything possible must be done to make peacekeeping as safe and secure as possible, and there must be no tolerance of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers.
RODRIGO RIOFRIO (Ecuador), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, emphasized the importance of a coordinated approach to peacekeeping, adding that, without the reconstruction of basic services and job creation, it would be impossible to facilitate the transition to peace in post-conflict situations. In the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), where Ecuador was contributing peacekeepers, quick-impact projects had made a substantial difference. There was a need to determine functions and responsibilities to ensure proficient services in the field.
He stressed the importance of planning and administration for peacekeeping operations, given their close link to the well-being and security of personnel. It was important to consider the time and form of withdrawal in the planning process. In that respect, Ecuador took note of the Secretary-General’s proposal to establish a strategic planning capacity at Headquarters and strengthen the Military Division. Hopefully, substantive discussions on those issues would be held during the current session. Proposals for change should be discussed in the Special Committee, in keeping with the 2010 reform agenda.
The reform process called for will and commitment on the part of Member States and the Secretariat, so as to guarantee respect for relevant procedures and to ensure the required legitimacy, he said. Ecuador paid particular attention to the training of peacekeeping personnel and hoped that the next session of the working group of experts would reach the needed consensus on the model Memorandum of Understanding, which would be extremely important in stopping sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers. Additionally, Ecuador, a middle-income country paying more for peacekeeping than to the regular United Nations budget, was concerned about delays in reimbursing troop-contributing countries.
AKEC KHOC ( Sudan) said his country was hosting one of the largest peacekeeping missions and was ready to share its experiences. Any mission must respect the fundamental Charter principles, particularly the consent of the countries involved and the firm commitment not to use force except in self-defence.
He noted that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations Police Division was no longer independent, but had been integrated as a subsidiary, which left the impression that the military component was emphasized at the expense of others, particularly the police and civilian ones. It was also important for missions to respect the cultural diversity and traditions of the societies in which they worked. Everyone understood that, with the expansion of United Nations peacekeeping worldwide, the Department required strengthening and improvement, but reform must take into account the role of the United Nations, as defined by the Charter. An exit strategy must be clearly defined at the outset of all missions.
He said it was of the utmost importance that missions coordinate directly with the host countries, adding that partnerships with regional organizations must be in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter. Africa had the greatest number of peacekeeping operations and the African Union continued to play a considerable role in the Sudan. The regional body’s capacity should be strengthened in terms of training and financing.
Referring to the earlier statement by the representative of Norway, he recalled that the delegate had called for the exertion of pressure on the Sudanese Government, while everyone was well aware that consultations involving that Government, the United Nations and the African Union were continuing with a view to implementing the three agreed stages. The Sudanese Government rejected the Norwegian representative’s attempts to malign it.
PRASAD KARIYAWASAM (Sri Lanka), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated the importance of abiding strictly by such Charter principles as consent of the parties, non-intervention in domestic matters, non-use of force expect in self-defence, and impartiality, which would continue to have great importance. The diversity and complexity of operations more often than not increased the need to allocate additional resources, which made Member States respond to the dynamic and challenging nature of peacekeeping with added commitment.
He said his country had a significant number of military and police personnel in peacekeeping missions, whose safety and security was of great importance. It was disturbing to note that half the fatalities among peacekeepers in 2006 had been due to non-combat-related reasons, including illness, a matter that required attention. It was important to have an information-sharing mechanism in place to keep troop-contributing countries abreast of the situation on the ground when designing new missions or expanding the mandates of existing ones. Better information and coordination between the Secretariat, the Security Council and troop contributors was needed, as were efforts to give peacekeeping operations clearly defined and pragmatic mandates.
The human resources capacity in the Peacekeeping Department was severely overstretched and needed reinforcement, he said. However, its reinforcement should be done in an open and transparent manner, ensuring equitable opportunities. Several developing troop-contributing countries were inadequately represented at the senior level, both in the Secretariat and in the field, a situation requiring redress.
Z. D. MUBURI-MUITA ( Kenya) said he expected Special Committee members to consider the issues before them in depth, so they could objectively adopt structures that would improve efficiency in peacekeeping operations. However, there was a need to shed more light on the lines of authority and responsibility between the two proposed new departments. Meanwhile, adequate staffing of the Military and Police Divisions was necessary, so as to retain the requisite capacity to plan and manage complex multidimensional peace operations. In that regard, the proposal to upgrade the post of Military Adviser to Assistant Secretary-General was most welcome, as was consideration of a possible role for civilian peacekeepers. It was necessary to determine those civilians’ skill level and training, and to prescribe their position in the complex matrix of a peace operation.
Different regions of the world were in dire need of the capacity to realize their own stop-gap security systems, he said. In that respect, the African Union had demonstrated the strong will to take some responsibility for its own security, and Kenya endorsed fully the Secretary-General’s initiative to create a dedicated, full-time United Nations-African Union capacity based at Headquarters in New York and Addis Ababa to address matters relating to the regional body’s peacekeeping capacity.
He expressed concern over the fact that Deputy Force Commanders were denied remuneration commensurate with the duties bestowed upon them by Member States. Instead, they were relegated to the status of contingent members when it came to their pay. Kenya proposed an urgent review.
DIEGO LIMERES (Argentina), reiterating his country’s commitment to the promotion of international peace and security, said Argentina supported reform and was pleased to see that it fell within the outlines of the 2010 reform agenda. Improved coordination and management could be achieved through the proposed creation of two new departments from the present one. Among other things, that would allow for standardized techniques in procurement and better recruitment of personnel. However, the Special Committee should debate in detail such proposals as the one relating to the Police Division. While there was a need to increase its management capability, the proposal did not demonstrate fully how that goal would be achieved.
In view of the multidimensional and complex character of today’s peacekeeping, he emphasized the great demand for the civilian component of missions and called for the exploration of all the possibilities in connection with proposals relating to civilian observers. In the framework of its commitment under Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women in situations of conflict, Argentina had recently participated in a seminar on that matter and had been chosen to participate in a pilot project to implement that resolution.
Referring to his country’s experience with MINUSTAH, he said it illustrated the importance of the multidimensional aspect of peacekeeping. Among other things, that Mission had taken advantage of the regional leadership in dealing with the situation in Haiti. The peacekeeping reform agenda must be fuelled by the lessons learned from individual missions, including the one in Haiti.
MAHUAMPI DE ORTIZ ( Venezuela) said she was prepared to cooperate in the joint work aimed at adopting a structure to respond to the challenges of a multi-polar world where democracy was practised by countries on an equal footing. The United Nations should adapt to a changing world. The Secretary-General’s proposal to restructure the Department of Peacekeeping Operations required further clarification. In fact, the problem it was designed to solve required a “technical diagnosis”, bearing in mind that a department was not a closed compartment, but part of an intricate and complex web of relationships.
She stressed the need to preserve the unity of command, in order to avoid orders and counter-orders. Every mission should have its order of operations and sufficient logistical support. Change should take place, not in response to temporary situations, but as a way to rationalize the Organization’s scarce resources. The Non-Aligned Movement and the “Group of 77” developing countries and China had expressed the need to establish clear and transparent procedures to make it possible to access information needed to make fully informed decisions concerning the reform processes.
PAUL BADJI ( Senegal), endorsing the Non-Aligned Movement statement, said security sector reform must remain a priority for countries emerging from conflict. The United Nations was a legitimate framework to set up peacekeeping operations with mandates to ensure the security of the civilian populations, stop violence, ensure the rule of law and restore conditions favourable to sustainable development. The Special Committee was an appropriate framework to propose measures to contribute to peacekeeping reform in that regard, taking into account the need to ensure national ownership of the security sector reform process, reduce the hotbeds of tension and promote good governance for the prevention of conflicts.
Turning to the need to strengthen African peacekeeping capacity, he stressed the importance of cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, as well as cooperation by the Organization with other regional bodies and countries that were friends of Africa. The region welcomed the support of the international community in the effort to consolidate the Standby African Force. The training of its men and women for participation in peacekeeping mission was also important. Senegal underscored the efforts of the integrated United Nations training programme to provide training materials in French, and encouraged the Peacekeeping Department to facilitate access to online training programmes for a growing number of African candidates.
BAYANI S. MERCADO ( Philippines) said the reforms undertaken so far had allowed the United Nations to respond quickly and more effectively to crises. Those substantive improvements in the way the Organization planned, launched and directed its peacekeeping operations had been responsive to the challenges of record-breaking demand and were laudable. It was perhaps fair to say that Member States present shared the Secretary-General’s view on the need to adapt peacekeeping to ensure better management and oversight, but most wished to continue examining his proposal to split the Peacekeeping Department into two and to consider how that would impact peacekeepers on the ground.
He said the recent informal discussions between Under-Secretary-General Guéhenno and Member States had provided very valuable information and allowed for better appreciation of where the Secretary-General and the Department were coming from. The discussions had also allowed the Philippine delegation, not only to listen to the apprehensions of Member States, but also to hear suggested ways to improve the restructuring proposal.
Aware of how overstretched the peacekeeping operations were, particularly the Military and Police Divisions, he noted that the number of peacekeepers had increased five-fold in 10 years, and that the peacekeeping budget had similarly “ballooned” over the same period. Peacekeeping capacity at United Nations Headquarters, however, had increased only two-fold. For one thing, the Military Division of the world’s second largest troop deployer should enhance cooperation with troop contributors.
TENS C. KAPOMA (Zambia), endorsing the Non-Aligned Movement statement, noted that the Peace Operations 2010 reform agenda had identified doctrine, personnel, organization, partnership and resources as the five priority areas the Department of Peacekeeping Operations must attend to, in order to strengthen its peacekeeping capacity. The Secretary-General had identified the areas of that reform agenda where immediate action was required, which included restructuring and increasing Headquarters capacity to plan, manage and oversee peacekeeping operations, partnerships and exit strategies. Zambia supported that line of thinking and would participate fully in the Special Committee’s deliberations on that matter. Zambia also welcomed the upgrading of the Department’s Office of Mission Support to the proposed Department of Field Support as a strategic unit to provide specialized logistical support to all United Nations systems in the field, the proposed Department of Peace Operations being one of them.
He recalled that, during the General Assembly’s sixtieth session, his delegation had supported the Secretary-General’s call to increase the manpower in the Department’s understaffed Military and Police Divisions. During the current session, the country wished to reaffirm its support for staff reinforcement of the two divisions. Satisfied as it was with the way in which peacekeeping operations were generally being conducted, as a troop-contributing country, Zambia was concerned about delays in reimbursing contributors of contingent-owned equipment and the processing of death and disability claims. The Secretariat was urged to simplify the procedures for lodging those claims, as too many supporting documents were currently required.
GERSHON KEDAR ( Israel) said the Secretary-General should be granted the bureaucratic flexibility to manage the Secretariat and, with almost 100,000 peacekeepers in the field, there were many good reasons to reform the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. At the end of the day, it was the results that were important. Israel looked forward to learning how the proposed change would contribute to the smooth and efficient running of peacekeeping operations around the world. At the same time, it was crucial to ensure the clarity of the chain of command and to prevent duplication of the proposed Department of Field Support by the existing Department of Management and the missions in the field.
With the Special Committee meeting only a few months after the speedy deployment of the enhanced UNIFIL force in Lebanon, he said it was incumbent on the international community to do all it could to ensure that the Force, as per Security Council resolution 1701 (2006), was a success until lasting peace was achieved. The situation along the Blue Line remained tense and much of Israel’s population was under the threat of thousands of rockets and mortars in the hands of Hizbollah. The cessation of hostilities last August had been made possible by a Security Council resolution, of which a peacekeeping operation had been a central part. Israel appreciated the extensive effort undertaken by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the many troop-contributing countries to ensure the speedy and efficient deployment of the strengthened and enlarged UNIFIL, and saw the Force as most significant in progress towards lasting peace and security.
PAK GIL YON (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) stressed the importance of punishing peacekeepers who committed sexual assaults on civilians, a serious violation of human rights, in blatant contravention of the Charter. Such crimes were a mere reflection of past crimes of sex slavery committed by the Japanese Army, which had committed inhumane crimes of sex slavery against more than 200,000 Korean women. Japan did not recognize such crimes and, instead, justified its crime-woven history to its new generation by distorting the truth. In order to prevent further sexual violence by peacekeepers, Japan’s past crimes of sex slavery, which was the basis of all other forms of sex crimes, must be addressed and completely liquidated.
He said drastic measures should be taken to check thoroughly the abuse by an individual country in the name of the United Nations. The “UN Command” in South Korea was the result of unjust fabrication by an individual country, as it had neither the legal ground, nor a relationship with the United Nations. The Security Council resolution of July 1950, which the United States pretended provided the legal grounds for the existence of that “UN Command”, contained no provisions stipulating its establishment. Since its establishment, the “UN Command” had imposed immeasurable sufferings on Korean people and constituted an obstacle to the reunification of the Korean peninsula. In 1975, the General Assembly had adopted a resolution urging the dismantlement of the “UN Command”, but, although more than 30 years had passed since then, the resolution had not yet been implemented.
Recently, the United States had shown moves to ignite a new war against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by accelerating the “structural reform of the UN Command in South Korea” and pooling again the countries that had participated in the Korean War. That would produce severe consequences, in which the United Nations could align with the United States in its conduct of criminal acts of destroying peace and security in the Korean peninsula, as well as the whole region. The Organization should no longer tolerate the use of the “UN Command” by the United States to ignite a new war on the Korean peninsula. The principle of respect for human rights, as enshrined in the Charter, should be observed strictly in peacekeeping operations, and the “UN Command” -– a typical abuse of the Organization’s name -- must be dismantled at once.
LE LUONG MINH ( Viet Nam) said that, for credibility and effectiveness, peacekeeping operations should observe the Charter strictly and be subject to the consent of the parties concerned. The principle of non-use of force except in self-defence must also be applied. Of course, the need to ensure the safety of the peacekeepers on the one hand, and their proper conduct on the other, should not be challenged. The history of peacekeeping operations showed that, when all those principles were met, success prevailed.
The key objectives outlined in the reform agenda presented to the Special Committee at its last session should underpin efforts to confront the surge in demand for peacekeeping, he said. Viet Nam looked forward to discussing the Secretary-General’s proposal, within the framework of the Special Committee, to realign the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. While the Non-Aligned Movement, with which Viet Nam associated itself, had anticipated the discussions, it was entitled to have due regard paid to its concerns, given that its members provided more than 80 per cent of all United Nations peacekeeping troops.
He said improving the capacity of United Nations peacekeeping operations was a long-term and multidimensional process requiring expertise and resources from Member States and regional organizations. Continued interaction and coordination between the United Nations and troop-contributing countries was vitally important as a way to resolve differences of opinion and arrive at appropriate solutions. The pressing demand for the reinforcement of peacekeeping operations under difficult conditions was clear, as was the need to attach a high priority to studies and consultations among concerned stakeholders, aimed at designing the most feasible solutions.
Rights of Reply
The representative of Japan said it was regrettable that the delegate of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had raised issues of the past that were totally irrelevant to today’s discussion. The Japanese Government had admitted the events of the past and had expressed regret over them on numerous occasions. However, the number cited by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was greatly exaggerated.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said his statement had not been an exaggeration, reiterating that the Government of Japan did not recognize its past crimes. Recently, even members of the United States House of Representatives had presented to Congress a resolution demanding that the Japanese Government issue a formal apology for the crimes it had committed during the Second World War. Any country that failed to fulfil its commitments under international law, and its moral obligations, could hardly feel a part of the international community. Japan should live in peace with a clear conscience.
* *** *For information media • not an official record