|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-second General Assembly
14th Meeting (AM)
DEPARTMENT OF FIELD SUPPORT, AS COMPLEMENT TO PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS DEPARTMENT,
SHOULD BE COHERENT, UNIFIED, INCLUSIVE, FOURTH COMMITTEE HEARS AS DEBATE OPENS
Troop Contributing Countries Seek Equitable Representation, in Field,
At Headquarters, in Restructuring Process, Decision-Making, Senior Management
Several months after the establishment of a Department of Field Support to complement the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) stressed that peacekeeping reform needed to be coherent and inclusive, in order to preserve the United Nations role as the primary provider of security around the world.
Speaking on the first day of the Committee’s general debate on the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects, Cuba’s representative noted that the number of troops deployed in 18 peacekeeping operations and in another 13 field offices and missions had reached 100,000 by August, and that peacekeeping operations consumed the most resources of the United Nations. Like most delegates, she endorsed the Secretary-General’s intention to bring about greater efficiency in peacekeeping, particularly by restructuring the Department of Peacekeeping Operations through the creation of the Department of Field Support.
However, with the establishment of the Department of Field Support -- to be headed by an Under-Secretary-General -- concerns had arisen among some Member States over what the representative of Pakistan called the “visible absence of coherence and unified direction”. There was also an increased burden among troop contributing countries to coordinate issues with two different departments.
He said it remained to be seen how effectively the new structure would operate once both departments were headed at the same level, and he looked forward to the mid-term review planned for June 2008.
Algeria’s representative reiterated a view, also voiced by others, that restructuring the United Nations peacekeeping apparatus should be conducted in broad consultation with Governments. In particular, he paid tribute to efforts by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to draft the so-called “capstone document”, which would set out the guiding principles of United Nations peacekeeping, but added that consultations on its finalization would be welcome.
[When finalized, that document would provide a basis for the development of training materials for military, police and civilian personnel preparing to serve in the field. The draft drew on documents such as “An Agenda for Peace”, “Supplement to an Agenda for Peace” and “the Brahimi Report”, as well as internal lessons learned materials, external research and academic commentary.]
Speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Morocco’s delegate said there was confusion over calling it a “capstone” document since it was still a work in progress. More importantly, she said its treatment of certain subjects, such as its referral to “restraint in the use of force” as a substitute for “non-use of force except in self-defence”, could lead to a major departure from the core values of peacekeeping operations.
Noting that the Non-Aligned Movement provided more than 80 per cent of peacekeeping personnel in the field, she also stressed the need to engage troop contributing countries in a more substantial dialogue with the Security Council and the Secretariat, a sentiment echoed by several others.
Along those lines, the delegate from Bangladesh noted that the citizens of her country were underrepresented at Headquarters, particularly at senior level, even though her country had consistently provided at least 10 per cent of peacekeepers for the last 12 years. It was her Government’s expectation that the United Nations would address that issue. The Department of Field Support should be headed by a candidate from the developing countries, said the representative from neighbouring Pakistan, also an active troop contributing nation.
Speakers also drew attention to the rise in regional peacekeeping arrangements, as exemplified by the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT). Thailand’s representative said the establishment of UNAMID demonstrated that regional arrangements needed to be strong and well-coordinated, and should not stand in isolation. He reiterated the long-standing position that the United Nations had central responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. The Organization’s primary role in that regard should be maintained in the new generation of peacekeeping operations.
The representative of Kazakhstan said the adoption of a coherent concept of peacekeeping partnerships with regional and subregional organizations, with the involvement of the Peacebuilding Commission, could facilitate efforts to develop a coordinated partnership system. She encouraged the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to create coherent, operational strategies and pursue early, integrated mission planning in close cooperation with other relevant actors, within and outside the United Nations system.
The representatives of the Russian Federation, the Dominican Republic (on behalf of the Rio Group), Portugal (on behalf of the European Union), New Zealand (on behalf of the CANZ group of countries Canada, Australia and New Zealand)), Sudan, Syria, Norway, Brazil and Georgia also spoke.
The representative of the Russian Federation spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
The Fourth Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Friday, 2 November, to continue its general debate on the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to continue its comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.
VLADIMIR ZAEMSKY ( Russian Federation) said his country adhered to a strategic line for the consolidation of the United Nations capacity in peacekeeping operations and the increase of quality and efficiency of its preventive and peacekeeping functions. It was important to consider ways of using resources more effectively and rationally. The Organization’s ability to adapt its functions to the world’s changing realities directly affected peacekeeping. Success depended on many circumstances, and did not always end with the originally anticipated results. Thus, a comprehensive analysis of the recent events from the perspective of various actors was necessary.
He said that, while it was still early to judge whether the creation of two departments -– the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support -– would increase the potential of United Nations peacekeeping, the Field Support Department did not fulfil its own commitments on time in accordance with its Memorandum of Understanding. The problem with the logistics support for the Russian Aviation Group was the most recent example of that. Thus, his country would like to see more transparency in the Department of Field Support’s activities. It would be possible to fully evaluate the peacekeeping reforms with the upcoming missions in the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), whose establishment testified to a more responsible approach by Member States to peacekeeping, in light of the African Union’s participation.
Turning to the draft of the capstone doctrine of principles and guidelines, recently prepared by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, he said that the draft had obvious flaws. His country shared the view of other delegations that the draft doctrine required further discussion. It correctly highlighted the need for improving the military expertise of the Security Council. The Military Staff Committee could be one way to improve the Council’s detailed consideration of peacekeeping and should be used as a mechanism to provide “added value”.
Noting the increasing number of Russian peacekeepers sent to Africa, he said his country was also participating in the training of international police forces there. Since November 2006, the Training Centre for peacekeeping of the Russian Advanced Training Institute of the Ministry of Internal Affairs had trained 116 law enforcement officers from 18 African countries, and several Russian professors had regularly visited different peacekeeping training organizations. Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs had also trained peacekeepers from Serbia and Tajikistan. Yet, he pointed to a “perplexing trend” in selecting Russian candidates for police contingents of United Nations operations: their applications were rarely answered. The lack of transparency in the candidate selection process was worrying. A number of applications for the civil components of the United Nations peacekeeping operations had also not received a clear reply.
He added that the suggested schedule for the next session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations would be problematic for many countries, and he suggested that a draft report be provided early for regional groups to begin coordinating their positions before the session’s opening.
ENRIQUILLO A. DEL ROSARIO CEBALLOS ( Dominican Republic), on behalf of the Rio Group, asked to know more about progress made on the re-alignment of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The Rio Group regretted any delays, and its members hoped that an Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support would soon be designated –- a process that should take into consideration candidates from developing countries.
As for the zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, he said that the Group would continue to adopt measures to prevent sexual abuse committed by peacekeeping personnel. It had been pleased at the designation of the Permanent Representative of Costa Rica as Chairman of the ad hoc open-ended working group on assistance and support to victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. The Group welcomed the adoption of the revised draft model memorandum of understanding, as per General Assembly resolution 61/291, which it believed would strengthen accountability mechanisms and help guarantee due process in the investigation of cases of sexual exploitation and abuse.
Turning to the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, he said its reports should be adopted within the prescribed timeframes, and expressed satisfaction with the adoption of its latest substantive report. The Special Committee website was useful for exchanging information and documentation.
On the recent decision to extend the mandate of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), he said that the Group was pleased with it, and that countries of the region reiterated their support for that Mission. A majority of the troops and some of the police that were part of MINUSTAH were from the region. The Group appreciated the support given by the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) to MINSUTAH, which had provided its headquarters for use as a disaster recovery site and evacuation command centre.
Regarding the document on doctrine and principles, the Group believed it should be “the result of an intergovernmental process”, he said. The Secretariat should pay close attention to its use of terminology, in order to avoid unnecessary confusion. The Group noted delays in reimbursements to troop contributing countries, and considered it important to address that issue. He encouraged the Training and Evaluation Service to continue supporting the development of regional capacities with respect to peacekeeping operations.
SAADIA EL ALAOUI (Morocco), on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated the Movement’s principled position on United Nations peacekeeping as articulated in the final documents of all of its conferences and summits. Peacekeeping operations should strictly observe the purposes and principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and those that had evolved to govern peacekeeping. Today’s debate should not duplicate, but reinforce the discussion that took place in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. The Movement welcomed the Secretary-General’s intention to restructure the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, while preserving the unity of command, coherence in policy and strategy, and clear command structures in the field to Headquarters.
She said that the Movement’s member countries had encountered difficulties interacting with both the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support, arising from the unclear delineation over the responsibility and mandate of each department. The key objective in the reform agenda should continue to guide any effort aimed at strengthening the Organization’s capacity to address peacekeeping challenges. The development of the capstone doctrine by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was a work in progress and would remain so; thus, there was confusion over calling it a “capstone” doctrine. The task should be to draft an all-encompassing “practical” document to guide planners and practitioners of peacekeeping. It should be a reference guide, and the views of Member States should be taken into account.
The Movement strongly believed that the principles of consent of the parties, the non-use of force except in self-defence and impartiality remained pertinent. The introduction of the concepts of the “restraint in the use of force” as a substitute for “non-use of force except in self-defence” could lead to a major departure from the core values of peacekeeping operations.
She said that the Special Committee should remain the only United Nations forum mandated to review the whole question of peacekeeping in all their aspects. Noting that the Movement provided more than 80 per cent of peacekeeping personnel in the field, she stressed the need to engage troop contributing countries in a more substantial dialogue with the Security Council and the Secretariat. Such discussion should not be limited to operational aspects. The guiding principles evolving around the United Nations command and control should be maintained, without distinction for all peacekeeping. The Movement called for maintaining the African character in UNAMID. At the same time, the contribution of regional arrangements should not lead to a fragmentation of United Nations peacekeeping operations; primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security rested with the Organization, and regional arrangements were no substitute.
The Movement was committed to the zero-tolerance policy and was engaged in ensuring the implementation of the recommendations of the Special Committee in that regard, she said. With respect to the Enhanced Rapidly Deployable Capacities, she stressed that the policy process should be finalized in an inclusive way and be developed in the same open-ended working group to ensure that the views of Member States were reflected. The current imbalance of geographical representation at Headquarters and in the field, in terms of unrepresented and underrepresented troop contributing countries, should be addressed.
Speaking on behalf of the European Union, JORGE LOBO MESQUITA ( Portugal) noted that, with UNAMID and MINURCAT, the number of peacekeeping operations had risen to 20 and the number of peacekeepers would rise to about 140,000. It was evident that, with continuous demand for United Nations peacekeeping missions, the United Nations would remain the appropriate forum to address arising threats to international peace and security, and that United Nations missions were the “most valuable instruments available to the international community” to deal with such situations. The Union intended to further deepen its involvement with the United Nations, which was a cornerstone of the bloc’s “European Security Strategy”. Its financial contributions to the Organization’s peacekeeping operations stood at more than 40 per cent of the United Nations peacekeeping budget, and 13 per cent of United Nations peacekeeping troops came from European Union member States.
He said that the safety and security of all deployed personnel was a paramount concern of the Union, especially with missions being deployed in ever more dangerous areas. Attention should be paid to proper physical protection of United Nations compounds at all stages of their build-up. Also, the Union demanded that “all parties at the mission areas” abide by the Geneva Convention, and that host Governments hold to account those responsible for acts of violence against peacekeeping personnel. The great number of casualties occurring at peacekeeping missions not resulting from violent action was also worrying, and the Union looked forward to receiving more data on that issue.
The European Union believed in the importance of training, and was actively engaged in assisting the African Union through its RECAMP programme (Peacekeeping African Capabilities Enhancement), as African troops prepared to support United Nations peacekeeping operations, he said. More cooperation was needed between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Safety and Security in terms of assessing risks prior to deployment. European Union countries would be in a better position to pledge support to new missions if such reconnaissance visits were made. He urged the Secretariat to explore ways to make that possible.
He said peacekeepers and United Nations personnel deployed at the missions should have access to effective recreating activities and programmes to help prevent misconduct, namely the conduct of sexual exploitation and abuse. Pleased with the adoption of the draft model Memorandum of Understanding, which included provisions to address sexual exploitation and abuse within contingents, the Union commended the Secretary-General’s draft policy statement and draft comprehensive strategy on assistance and support for victims. The Union was committed to help produce a victim assistance strategy.
The European Union was apprehensive about the exclusion of certain troop contributing countries from the process of generating peacekeeping troops, he said. In that regard, the United Nations was best placed to decide which contingents conformed to Contingent Owned Equipment (COE) standards, and should thus be deployed. As for the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, he asked for more information on the status of the Integrated Operational Teams system, which was a key tool in improving the Secretariat’s efficiency. It would also welcome the speedier appointment of staff, especially to senior positions. He urged regular and systematic sharing of information between the Secretariat and Member States, notably on the concepts of implementation of enhanced rapidly deployable capacities and the integrated mission planning process.
KIRSTY GRAHAM ( New Zealand), also on behalf of Canada and Australia (CANZ), said the group was concerned that the pressures on existing peacekeeping staff remained enormous, and the ongoing lack of capacity was directly impacting the safe and efficient conduct of peace operations. CANZ looked forward to progress on the integration aspects of the reform agenda, particularly activation of the Integrated Operations Teams and implementation of the Integrated Mission Planning Process. They were encouraged by the developing work of the Mediation Support Unit in the Department of Political Affairs, and looked forward to the Secretary-General’s proposal to strengthen the role of the Department and to increase its mediation and conflict resolution capacities. Duplication of personnel and functions should be avoided, and an organizational structure should be evolved, which effectively coordinated all departments involved in field operations.
She welcomed discussion on how the United Nations could best provide unified leadership, supported by a strategic analysis and planning capacity to coordinate the efforts of all of the Organization’s departments and agencies. CANZ looked forward to the day when the Organization could manage the seamless transition from conflict prevention to peacebuilding. While it was cognizant that the restructuring of the Peacekeeping Operations Department had consumed much time and energy, and that some operational matters had been delayed, it hoped to see progress in several areas. First, since the lack of rapid response capacity hampered peacekeeping operations, the Enhanced Rapid Deployment Capacity initiative should be advanced. Second, in terms of civilian field staff, human resources reform was needed, including for peacekeeping operations.
In that regard, she said CANZ sought a system that retained expertise, facilitated mobility between Headquarters and the field, provided the necessary training and reduced vacancy rates in peace operations. Equitable conditions of service to staff should also be sought. In terms of standing police and military capacities, delays in recruiting the standing police capacity were disappointing, and the group requested the urgent establishment and operationalization of the 25 funded posts. Because previous attempts to provide that capacity seemed to have faltered, a new approach should be considered. In the area of security sector reform, CANZ supported the United Nations engagement in activities undertaken in connection with host Governments, and encouraged greater consistency with regard to the inclusion of security sector reform in integrated mission mandates. Fifth, further work on operationalizing the responsibility to protect was crucial.
CANZ commended the work of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in developing the capstone document, she said. The impetus to complete the remainder of the project should not be lost. The problem of sexual exploitation and abuse still stained the integrity of the United Nations and, while work done to prevent it had been notable, the fact that incidents persisted was worrying.
KHALID MOHAMMED OSMAN SIDAHMED MOHAMMED ALI (Sudan), associating himself with the statement by the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the rise in the number of peacekeeping troops over the years, and the approximately $7 billion spent on peacekeeping operations in one year, seemed to indicate an “increased militarization” of the United Nations resulting from increased internal and inter-State conflicts. Perhaps more resources should be invested in preventive diplomacy and promoting a culture of peace. Also, States should be more daring in dealing with those that provoked others into violence.
He said that the Sudan’s National Unity Government welcomed the adoption of Security Council resolution 1769 (2007), which authorized UNAMID. He reiterated the Sudan’s commitment to cooperate with the United Nations, African Union and other stakeholders towards achieving peace in Darfur, noting that the Government was providing the Mission with land, services and other facilities. He also emphasized the importance of having a mission with an African character. Remarking on the negotiations currently taking place in Libya with Sudanese rebels, he expressed regret that some factions were not taking part. The international community must condemn those parties for putting obstacles in the path of peace. In contrast, the Government had declared a unilateral ceasefire as a goodwill gesture.
The Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ capstone document should be looked to as a guideline for the proper conduct of peacekeeping operations, while ambiguous “political aspects” should be avoided, he said. Such guidelines were needed to maintain the credibility and neutrality of United Nations peacekeeping operations, and to preserve a sense of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations. He encouraged the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support to enhance the transparency of peacekeeping operations, and stressed the need to respect host countries, while paying heed to questions of geographical distribution among troops. Also, missions must have built-in exit strategies, in order to avoid having too many missions remaining in one country too long. Further, missions must abide by a code of conduct that prevented them from interfering with the internal affairs of nations.
Finally, he expressed hope that the international community would condemn the immoral acts of some non-governmental organizations that had recently engaged in the trafficking of children. He expressed his condolences to the Governments of Algeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Burundi, whose troops had been killed by rebels at Haskanita camp.
MANAR TALEB ( Syria), also associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the successes of United Nations peacekeeping operations contributed to the integrity of the Organization and played a vital role in reducing tensions and settling disputes. They also contributed to conditions helpful for peacebuilding. Although the operations had proved to be a vital tool capable of meeting the threats to international peace and security, they were not an alternative to settling of disputes, but “a temporary stage” in moving towards the work of building peace.
In the Middle East, he said, the United Nations was still playing a peacekeeping role. Syria appreciated the work of the United Nations peacekeeping operations around the world, particularly in its region. He noted with regret the death of four personnel from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), as well as the Secretary-General’s concern for what had appeared to be the deliberate targeting of those personnel by Israel. He paid tribute to officers and soldiers who had given their lives in performing their duties. Noting that peacekeeping operations had become rather permanent in the Middle East, he said their missions were measured in decades. That was regrettable, and he attributed that to the fact that Israel did not honour a number of treaties.
He reiterated Syria’s position on the principles of the peacekeeping operations concerning the rapid deployment, recruitment and remuneration of the mission personnel. Peacekeeping missions should uphold their mandates. The consent of the host countries was necessary for every operation’s deployment. In that respect, double standards should be avoided. The responsibly to finance peacekeeping operations belonged to the aggressor and the occupying Power, he added. Syria was ready to deliberate on the problems and challenges that peacekeeping faced, now and in the future.
Offering some suggestions, he said that security measures at United Nations Headquarters should be strengthened. Also, a tripartite partnership between the Security Council, the Secretariat and the troop contributing countries was necessary in terms of deployment. He expressed confidence that the issues raised yesterday by Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, during his presentation would be fully considered.
Also aligning himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, MOHAMED SOFIANE BERRAH ( Algeria) said that the safety and success of missions were absolute priorities for his country. Given that the world faced so many destabilizing threats, it was important for the United Nations to modernize its peacekeeping operations, which in turn, depended on clear Security Council mandates. In that context, he welcomed the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, as embodied in the “Peace Operations 2010” programme, and commended the outstanding work of the study group on peacekeeping operations, which contributed to the success of peacekeeping missions.
He said that restructuring the United Nations peacekeeping apparatus required a flexible approach, conducted in broad consultation with Governments. He recognized the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ efforts to draft the so-called capstone document, and he would welcome consultations on its finalization. Upon finalization, it should be submitted to Member States for adoption. That document seemed to take a broad interpretation of three principles underpinning all peacekeeping missions: prior consent; impartiality; and non-use of force except for defence. It had also incorporated new principles relating to national ownership, which needed careful treatment since such concepts were sometimes politically “loaded”.
The dynamic and broad consultations on the guidelines for dealing with victims of sexual exploitation and abuse had been welcome, he said. Indeed, it was important to restore confidence in United Nations peacekeepers, and for countries to work together in defining the concepts to be enshrined in those guidelines. It was similarly important to develop synergies with parallel processes, such as those governing the accountability of United Nations personnel and experts on mission. The United Nations must also develop a punishment regime for perpetrators of sexual exploitation and abuse.
REBECA HERNANDEZ TOLEDANO ( Cuba), aligning herself with the statement made by the Non-Aligned Movement as well, noted that the number of troops deployed in 18 peacekeeping operations and in another 13 field offices and missions had reached 100,000 by August 2007, and said that peacekeeping operations consumed the most resources in the United Nations. Her country endorsed the Secretary-General’s proposal to restructure the Department of Peacekeeping Operations by creating the Department of Field Support, and hoped that the new structure would allow for efficiently meeting the challenges of peacekeeping operations, especially those in the command unit. Yet, it reiterated that the Special Committee on Peacekeeping was the only forum in the Organization entitled to review the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.
She said that the establishment of new and more complex peacekeeping operations was no substitute for addressing and solving the root causes of conflicts. Such operations were but temporary measures to create the security framework necessary for the implementation of long-term strategies for sustainable economic and social development. Observing the principles governing the general framework of peacekeeping operations was a basic condition to strengthen the legitimacy and efficiency of the United Nations in that area. The capstone doctrine being developed by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations did not fully reflect the principles that should govern peacekeeping operations, which should strictly comply with the United Nations Charter, especially those referring to respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the States, as well as non-intervention in the internal affairs of the States. Peacekeeping operations should also have clearly defined, realistic mandates, concrete objectives, and necessary resources.
Regional arrangements were valuable, but those should be in full accordance with Charter VIII of the Charter, she added. In efforts to enhance cooperation among troop contributing countries, she stressed the role of the Security Council and the Secretariat. Most of the time, troop contributing countries were not guaranteed truly active participation in all phases of the decision-making process of peacekeeping operations. Developing countries contributed more than 80 per cent of the peacekeeping personnel on the field and were particularly affected by that lack of coordination. The principle of equitable geographic distribution in personnel recruitment should also be observed, and the transparency of the selection process of personnel should be increased. Also important was a zero-tolerance policy in addressing all cases of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeeping personnel. Hopefully, review of the Memorandum of Understanding between the troop contributing countries and the Secretariat would be completed during this session. Elaborating an action-oriented strategy to protect the victims of sexual abuse was a welcome proposal.
ISMAT JAHAN ( Bangladesh) said that peacekeeping operations were multidimensional: peacekeepers must monitor and enforce peace while protecting civilians and supporting humanitarian assistance in post-conflict situations. Their responsibilities also included organizing elections, assisting the development of political structures, engaging in judicial and security sector reform, and restoring public order. In addition, they were involved in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants and shoring up fragile peace agreements. It was difficult to determine the thin line between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, with those two processes tending to overlap and complement each other.
She said that Bangladesh had around 10,000 peacekeepers deployed in 12 missions worldwide, and it had so far contributed more than 70,000 troops to 37 missions. Since 1988, 81 Bangladeshi peacekeepers had died in the line of duty, but that had “not dented” the country’s resolve to serve in more peacekeeping missions. Hopefully, the recent restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the creation of the Department of Field Support would bring about a new dynamism in peacekeeping operations. Meanwhile, the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission, Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund was heartening.
The reputation of United Nations peacekeeping operations had been tainted by allegations of abuse by peacekeepers, as well as corruption in terms of procurement, she said. Those improprieties must be dealt with firmly, with “zero tolerance”. She noted that Bangladesh -- which was one of the top troop contributors, having consistently provided at least 10 per cent of peacekeepers for the last 12 years -- was underrepresented at Headquarters, particularly at senior level. It was the Government’s expectation that the United Nations would address that issue.
MUNIR AKRAM ( Pakistan), aligning himself with the statement delivered by the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated his country’s belief in multilateralism, saying the United Nations had an irreplaceable and central role in addressing questions of peace and security. Pakistan had participated in 33 missions to date, was a leading troop contributor and one of the top providers of police and military observers. It had also recently begun deploying women in its peacekeeping contingents. Around 95 per cent of its peacekeepers were currently deployed in Africa, and had played major roles in Sierra Leone and Burundi.
He said that additional resources and greater political will were needed to maintain the success of United Nations peacekeeping operations over the long term. To preserve the neutrality and legitimacy of the United Nations, efforts should be made to distinguish United Nations peacekeeping missions from other kinds of peace operations led by non-United Nations entities, such as peace enforcement missions, even though authorized by the Security Council. In that regard, it was unacceptable that the basic principles of peacekeeping -- impartiality, consent of parties, and non-use of force except in self-defence -- could be altered by some other process or mechanism that lacked ownership of Member States. Any peacekeeping “doctrine document” should be apolitical and focus only on operational and practical aspects, while avoiding contentious issues on which there was no consensus among Member States.
The cost of civil wars and restoring peace ran into hundreds of billions of dollars, apart from the tragedy of thousands of people dead or displaced, he said. It was time to invest in conflict prevention, and, for its part, the Security Council had increasingly addressed intra-State conflicts with good effect, especially in Africa. Such action should be carried out in full respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of concerned States. Furthermore, no exit strategy should be contemplated without achieving sustainable peace, and the full potential of the Peacebuilding Commission should be realized.
He said that developed countries must show greater political will to respond to the growing need for professional and well-equipped peacekeepers. Countries should be encouraged by the fact that peacekeeping was the United Nations most cost-effective enterprise. Nevertheless, peacekeeping operations should be regularly reviewed on their ability to engage in proper planning; mobilize resources; gather intelligence; deploy quickly; and provide adequate logistic support. Periodic reviews should take place against well-defined benchmarks. The capacity for rapid reaction should be strengthened, and policy on that issue should be formulated and finalized by Member States in an inclusive and transparent process.
Troop contributing countries, which were the backbone of peacekeeping missions, must be consulted at all stages and be represented at the decision-making and senior managerial levels, both in the field and at Headquarters, he said. Pakistan endorsed the view that the Department of Field Support should be headed by a candidate from the developing countries. With the establishment of the Department of Field Support headed by an Under-Secretary-General, concerns had arisen over the “visible absence of coherence and unified direction” and the increased burden of troop contributing countries to coordinate issues with two different departments. It remained to be seen how effectively the new structure would operate once both departments were headed at the same level, and he looked forward to the mid-term review planned for June 2008.
He said cooperation between the Security Council, troop contributing countries and the Secretariat should be strengthened on a practical basis. There was also scope for enhancing cooperation with regional arrangements, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter. The principle of unified command and control under the United Nations must apply to all missions, including the new breed of missions in Darfur, Chad and the Central African Republic. Any discrimination and unequal treatment between missions, in terms of structures and resource allocations, would seriously undermine efforts to strengthen United Nations peacekeeping. The Special Committee should examine those operations and the draft doctrine document closely.
NOPADON MUNGKALATON (Thailand), associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that peacekeeping operations should remain a relevant and indispensable mechanism for the United Nations and other organizations in promoting international peace and security. Yet, the current surge in the demand for such operations required that those activities be carried out in accordance with the basic principles of peacekeeping enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The progress of the realignment process of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations through the establishment of the Department of Field Support should be evaluated. The decision for realignment needed to be re-examined; it required further improvement and regularized, routine consultations between all major stakeholders, and both departments should be stressed. Further peacekeeping reforms should be based on transparency, coherence, coordination and unity of command. It was crucial that the recruitment of appropriately skilled experts should be sourced according to an equitable geographic distribution.
He said his country welcomed the concept of integrated missions and considered that increasing the role and participation of developing countries were key elements in strengthening United Nations peacekeeping operations. Training to ensure that peace was maintained by well-trained peacekeepers was of paramount importance. In light of its participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations, the Government of Thailand had begun training its military and civilian police forces within the framework of the national plan of action on strengthening African peacekeeping capacity. The Ministry of Defence, through the Peacekeepers’ Training Centre, had trained up to 1,000 troops in preparation for Thailand’s participation in future United Nations peacekeeping operations.
The role of regional organizations in maintaining peace in the world was notable and important, he said. It showed that many countries, particularly in Africa, were increasingly willing and able to take ownership of peacekeeping operations in their regions, despite resource constraints. Yet, the establishment of UNAMID demonstrated that regional arrangements needed to be strong and well-coordinated, and required close cooperation between the United Nations and regional groups. Thus, such regional arrangements should not stand in isolation. Rather, peacekeeping was a collective enterprise that needed greater partnership between the United Nations, regional organizations and other stakeholders. He reiterated the Movement’s long-standing position that the United Nations had central responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. The Organization’s primary role in that regard should be maintained in that new generation of peacekeeping operations.
MONA JUUL ( Norway) said that, while it was too early to assess the realignment of the Secretariat, her country looked forward to the forthcoming update on that issue. She underlined the importance of appointing a head for the Department of Field Support, as soon as possible. The surge in peacekeeping activities increased the pressure on Member States to provide qualified personnel and trained units, and underscored the need to improve the way operations were planned and managed. The Security Council’s high-level meeting on Africa in September had reminded the international community of the daunting peace and security challenges facing the continent and the United Nations. Norway stood by its commitments to Africa and the United Nations in that regard. She commended the African Union for its efforts to develop its peacekeeping capacity, while also taking on very demanding operational responsibilities in Darfur and Somalia. Her country would continue to assist the Union in developing the civilian dimension of the African standby force through its “Training for Peace” programme.
She said that the most pressing need in relation to the new operations in Africa was finding enough properly qualified personnel. If the United Nations standard were not met, the credibility of the Organization would be undermined. The joint operation in Darfur would face a very demanding situation, but both the United Nations and the African Union had substantial in-country experience. While her country acknowledged the call for UNAMID to have a “predominantly African character”, it was essential that non-African nations also participated. Norway was prepared to contribute to a joint Nordic engineering unit for Darfur and had also responded positively to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ request to train African police officers. Meeting the expectations of the people of Darfur would be one of UNAMID’s major challenges and the objective was two-fold: preventing unrealistic expectations and creating local ownership, which was a key part of the operation’s exit strategy.
Norway had just concluded a year-long process, during which it had invited a wide range of stakeholders to discuss issues related to the planning and implementation of integrated missions, she said. Her country hoped that the recommendations of the final report would further develop the reform agenda, including efforts to ensure a more coherent United Nations response on the ground. Still, more than just a coherent response on the ground was needed. Improving the integration and coordination of multilateral and bilateral efforts in countries affected by war was necessary, and Norway supported strengthening relations between the United Nations and regional organizations. To do that, old habits and institutional protectionism should be replaced by an open, transparent and flexible approach, adapted to the situation at hand.
Noting that Darfur was one of a growing number of conflicts in which sexual violence was being used as a weapon of war, she emphasized that UNAMID personnel should comply with the “zero-tolerance” policy. Her country urged Member States to contribute to the finalization of a comprehensive strategy of assistance and support to victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations personnel. Ensuring good working conditions for personnel in the field was an important factor in implementing the zero-tolerance policy. Training and awareness-raising efforts should also continue. Improving intelligence was also necessary, and Norway was currently having discussions with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to develop training programmes for personnel serving in intelligence-related functions. Norway also welcomed the Department’s efforts to finalize its capstone doctrine.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRA VIOTTI ( Brazil), aligning herself with the statement made by the Rio Group, said the Security Council, as it crafted the mandates of different peacekeeping missions, should ensure that they received the necessary resources and troops. The General Assembly, too, played an equally essential role through its Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. The realignment of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the establishment of the Department of Field Support was an important step towards developing a more responsive Secretariat.
She also noted that peacekeeping missions should not be confused or considered as a “subset” of similar types of missions or operations. Also, all peacekeeping missions must respect the basic principles governing peacekeeping, and major changes regarding peacekeeping concepts must be decided by Member States. Most peacekeeping operations were given mandates that comprised several new duties, from electoral assistance to capacity-building. Military aspects were only one pillar of a long-lasting peace, and Brazil believed that particularly important were those activities related to the enabling of development. Lack of employment, poverty, hunger and limited economic growth were the roots of instability and conflict.
Peacekeeping operations might not be equipped or mandated to address those issues directly, but they could support development-related activities and work consciously to help create an environment suitable for economic growth, she said. Peacekeeping and peacebuilding were two dimensions of the same effort, which were mutually reinforcing. Since 2004, Brazil had applied that view of peacekeeping in assisting Haiti through MINUSTAH. In recent months, that Mission had achieved considerable success in fighting criminal gangs and in coordinating initiatives, such as administrative capacity-building, electoral assistance and security sector reform. She encouraged donors to reinforce the work of MINUSTAH.
MAIA SHANIDZE ( Georgia) said her country fully supported the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support since that would contribute to a more effective peacekeeping process. When conducted properly, impartially and professionally, peacekeeping could be one of the most dignified actions. Yet that could not be said of the so-called “CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) peacekeeping operation” in Abkhazia, Georgia. The past 14 years had seen the aftermath of an inefficient and ineffective peacekeeping operation, in which no progress had been made. In fact, the situation had deteriorated.
She noted the “repulsive incident” on 30 October, in which a unit of the Russian peacekeepers in three armoured personnel carriers had surrounded a youth peace camp in Georgia’s Zugdidi region and severely beaten five personnel of the Georgian Internal Affairs Ministry. The guards had only been released after the intervention of Georgian police. The Russian peacekeepers had acted in direct violation of the CIS mandate. That incident had been the latest in a series of destabilizing acts by the Russian side, aimed at undermining the peace process in Abkhazia.
Her delegation condemned those arbitrary acts of “adventurism” by the Russian CIS peacekeepers in the strongest terms, and urged the Russian side to immediately cease reckless acts, which raised tensions in the region and could lead to unintended consequences, she said, adding that the deployment of peacekeeping forces comprised of military personnel of a neighbouring country, which provided political, economic and military support to the separatist regime, was illogical, cynical and controversial in principle.
A long-lasting peace process aimed at solving the conflict in Abkhazia had resulted in no tangible outcome, she said. The situation on the ground was continuously deteriorating. Russia’s introduction of units from Chechnya to the peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia was another potentially provocative trend and could be designed to plant the seed of animosity in complex inter-ethnic relations in the region. The existing format of the peacekeeping operations was no longer adequate to facilitate real reconciliation. The United Nations had the capacity to alter the peace process and move it into a new phase where true progress would be possible. That would require changes in the current peacekeeping format and the beginning of a fundamentally new international peacekeeping operation.
BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said her country strongly believed that international peacekeeping operations under the United Nations aegis remained the most effective tool to prevent and settle crises, and to ensure global and regional stability. The recent crises in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and the current situations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Darfur had proven conclusively the imperative need to further strengthen the authority of the United Nations and increase the responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.
She said that strengthening and enhancing the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations should remain a vital priority of the Organization. Kazakhstan fully supported the “Peace Operations 2010” reform agenda. Noting with satisfaction the increased number of participants in the standby arrangement systems, she said her delegation supported proposals to improve peacekeeping through rapid deployment mechanisms, including of the African standby forces. Recruitment of new participants and new troop contributing countries should be enhanced by creating conditions that engaged their involvement and by providing them with timely information on the standby system.
Kazakhstan supported efforts to develop close partnerships between the United Nations system and existing regional and inter-governmental organizations, she said. The adoption of a coherent concept of peacekeeping partnerships with regional and subregional organizations, with the involvement of the Peacebuilding Commission, could facilitate efforts to develop a coordinated partnership system. She encouraged the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to create coherent, operational strategies and pursue early, integrated mission planning in close cooperation with other relevant actors, within and outside the United Nations system. Kazakhstan supported proposals to further improve the efficiency of peacekeeping training systems at the national and regional levels. It also endorsed the recommendations of the reports of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.
Right of Reply
The representative of the Russian Federation said that, unfortunately, his country had had to take the floor to respond to statements from Georgia in this and other Committees. The Fourth Committee was a place for serious discussion of comprehensive peacekeeping issues. Security Council resolution 1781 (2007) had outlined Georgia’s non-implementation of the mandate determined by the Council. That non-implementation created a threat to the safety of the peacekeepers. Georgia was doing nothing to increase trust and to enact confidence-building measures. That was the real reason for the lack of progress in the Abkhazia region, and it was not the fault of the Russian peacekeepers.
* *** *For information media • not an official record