|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Special Committee on
206th & 207th Meetings (AM & PM)
2009 WILL BE ‘CRITICAL YEAR’ FOR PEACEKEEPING, WITH CAPACITY OVERSTRETCHED MORE
THAN EVER BEFORE, SPECIAL COMMITTEE TOLD, AS THREE-WEEK SESSION OPENS
Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Welcomes Review Initiatives;
Field Support Head Describes ‘Stress and Stretch’ of Huge Operational Demands
With the United Nations peacekeeping architecture under more strain than ever, the head of the world body’s peacekeeping operations today said 2009 would be a “critical year” for the Organization and its Member States to come up with practical ways to make sure ongoing missions were fully supported and to tackle systemic challenges that could encumber or derail future peacekeeping deployments.
After a decade of unprecedented growth, United Nations peacekeeping had essentially become a “victim of its own success”, Alain le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations told the General Assembly’s Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. With some 112,000 field personnel serving 18 military deployments and numerous peacebuilding and political missions, the world body was struggling with “sheer overstretch”, as a wide gap was opening between supply and demand, both for numbers and types of personnel needed for the critical enabling capabilities, and air assets that allowed United Nations peacekeepers to succeed.
“We are often unable to find the resources we need, and we grapple with increasingly complex, robust mandates in difficult and often hostile environments,” said Mr. Le Roy, who took up the top peacekeeping post in August 2008. He warned that, while the Brahimi panel’s landmark reforms nearly a decade ago had envisioned the launch of only one new mission a year, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was today “operating far above that pace”. Indeed, in the past month alone, the Security Council had approved a new mission in Chad and had expressed its intention to set up a United Nations force to take over from an undermanned African Union operation in war-torn Somalia.
Along with mustering for a substantial troop increase for the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), currently the world’s largest peacekeeping operation, he noted that the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) was still in its deployment phase and did not have enough air support to carry out its critical duties one year after its approval by the Council. Moreover, some Member States considered the security conditions inadequate for the robust deployment of that mission.
“We have to ask ourselves if we are properly equipped for the demands we face […] and, even fully equipped, there remains the question as to what are the limits of robust United Nations peacekeeping,” he said, noting that, as had been seen recently in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Nations had limited reserve capacities to call on when faced with extreme hostilities.
Even with those challenges, he highlighted Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste, Liberia, Haiti and Kosovo as places where United Nations peacekeeping had made a real difference by helping “close chapters of conflict and open chapters of development”. Operations in those countries had essentially provided basic security guarantees and responded to crises. They had also supported political transitions and helped buttress or even rebuild fragile institutions.
Nevertheless, he also noted the gap in the commitment of troops across Member States. The Peacekeeping Department continued to rely on a small group of countries for the bulk of troop contributions. The United Nations as a whole must ask itself if that situation was tenable. “With increasing demands for ever more robust mandates, can the Organization manage without more burden-sharing and broader participation of its Members in contributing troops?” he asked.
That said, 2009 would be a critical year, as a number of missions faced risks “that are so significant that I cannot discount the potential for mission failure, with all the consequences that would entail for the United Nations”. At the same time, however, there seemed to be a growing consensus on the need to take stock of the situation and address the challenges the Organization’s peacekeeping architecture currently faced. He welcomed several recent initiatives launched to review peacekeeping, stressing that the exercise was a shared endeavour and the way forward must be charted together by the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Secretariat.
The Peacekeeping Department, for its part, would ensure that the Secretariat’s review was as inclusive as possible. Some key questions must be addressed. What sorts of mandates were appropriate for peacekeeping? What were the benchmarks against which success could be measured? Was the Organization equipped with the right systems, rules and regulations to grapple effectively and accountably the challenges of deploying at huge scale and high speed into remote and dangerous areas? “If we can jointly answer these questions, I think we will be well on our way to best serve the millions of people [looking] to United Nations peacekeeping as their hope for a future in peace and prosperity,” he said.
Also addressing the Special Committee today, Susana Malcorra, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, confirmed that the “stress and stretch” faced by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations applied to the Department of Field Support, as well. Her Department’s biggest challenge lay in managing the huge operational demands placed on it, while taking enough time to think strategically on ways to better address those demands. Most requirements were driven by short-term needs, which left little time to think about the required changes needed to increase efficiency on the support side.
She would continue to engage with States towards a solution and, to that end, the Department was working on a “support strategy” revolving around the following areas: identifying the best means to deliver support services from start-up to liquidation; identifying the best human resources to deliver those services; identifying the means to strengthen its support to peacekeeping operations in the long term; and identifying the means “to optimize the impact on local environments”.
Like Mr. le Roy, she commented on the difficulties faced by specific peacekeeping operations, including in Darfur and Chad, where the supply chain was one of the most difficult to manage. In both situations, supplies must be transported to personnel from distant ports. That supported the notion that aid must be given to develop the capacity of the local economy, so services could be provided through the use of local and regional contractors. Support for the UNAMID functioned through a tripartite mechanism involving the Sudanese Government and the African Union, which had necessitated five visits by Ms. Malcorra so far. The need for support from troop- and police-contributing countries would be great. Although UNAMID had reached its goal of deploying at least 60 per cent of its personnel, the deployment of remaining staff was likely to be a huge challenge.
Among the more than 20 speakers taking the floor today, the representative of Jordan reiterated his belief in the importance of the agreed-upon guiding principles -- consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force except in self-defence -- along with the importance of respecting the principals of non-interference in the internal affairs of the host country, its political independence and the safety and sovereignty of its territories. He reaffirmed the importance of intensifying efforts to address the root causes of conflicts.
He noted that the international financial crisis obliged Member States to focus their efforts on adapting to the challenges resulting from it. States must ensure the allocation of financial, logistical and human resources, and practice good management of those resources. In addition, in light of the hazardous environment in which peacekeepers worked, good planning and clarity of mandate were needed to ensure their safety and security, as were good training and preparation, and a clear command structure. It was important, as well, to ensure that troops were deployed according to agreed arrangements and that stretching the deployment over wide areas was avoided.
Kenya’s representative was among those from the African continent who expressed strong commitment to bolstering the efforts of the African Union. She encouraged the United Nations to strengthen its partnership with the African Union in the area of political and technical cooperation. Since the United Nations could not be everywhere at all times, such a partnership offered opportunities for synergy.
Voicing support for the 10-year plan for capacity-building with the African Union, she noted that coherent and effective coordination called for the involvement of all stakeholders, which should also include donors. Important issues that needed addressing included logistics and the provision of financial resources, so as to facilitate the African Union’s rapid deployment capabilities, particularly through the African Standby Force. Also to that end, she appealed for support for the East African Standby Brigade, the International Peace Support Training Centre and the International Mine Action Training Centre in Kenya.
At the opening of the meeting, the Special Committee elected by acclamation Joy Ogwu ( Nigeria) as its Chairperson. It re-elected by acclamation as its Vice-Chairpersons Diego Limeres ( Argentina), Henri-Paul Normandin ( Canada), Tetsuya Kimura ( Japan) and Zbigniew Szlęk ( Poland), all of whom had expressed interest in continuing on in that capacity from the 2008 session. Amr Elsherbini ( Egypt) was likewise re-elected as Rapporteur.
The Special Committee also approved the provisional agenda for its 2009 session, contained in document A/AC.121/2009/L.1.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Morocco (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), New Zealand (also on behalf of Australia and Canada), Czech Republic (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Mexico (on behalf of the Rio Group), Nigeria, Egypt, Brazil, Indonesia, China, Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, Viet Nam, Algeria, United Republic of Tanzania, Turkey, Thailand, Fiji and Benin.
A representative of the Inter-Parliamentary Union also spoke.
The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations opened its 2009 substantive session this morning. Over the next two weeks, the Special Committee is expected to hold its traditional two-day general debate -– this year covering topics such as the feasibility of creating enhanced rapidly deployable capacities in support of United Nations peacekeeping missions, and the first year of operation of the Standing Police Capacity -- before moving into a series of briefings on general peacekeeping matters. The Special Committee’s programme of work is contained in document A/AC.121/2009/L.2.
ALAIN LE ROY, Under-Secretary-General, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, said that peacekeeping missions could succeed only if they had the support of the major United Nations bodies, including the General Assembly and the Security Council, as well as of the wider Secretariat and relevant host countries and people served by those missions on the ground. When he had joined the Department in August 2008, it was just becoming clear that the Organization’s peacekeeping operations were at a “critical cross-roads”; while peacekeeping remained one of the Organization’s most successful “standard bearers”, it was, at the same time, being stretched to the limits of its capacity.
“We are often unable to find the resources we need, and we grapple with increasingly complex, robust mandates in difficult and often hostile environments,” he continued, adding that, over the years, peacekeeping had “suffered periods of turbulence” followed by reflection and adaptation to the evolving demands for complex, multidimensional operations. In doing so, it had proven to be a flexible tool, assisting States to make the difficult transition from conflict to peace. The Special Committee, over the past decade, had played a critical role in the evolution of the tool of peacekeeping. Further, since the release of the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations -- the Brahimi report -- and the ensuing effort to strengthen and restructure the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and now the Department of Field Services, the Special Committee had taken an active part in that debate, articulating policy goals in the overall effort to strengthen and professionalize the United Nations peacekeeping architecture.
He went on to say that, nearly a decade after the release of the landmark Brahimi report, the United Nations had some 112,000 peacekeepers deployed to 18 missions worldwide. A new mandate had been adopted for Chad in January and the Department was still in the deployment phase of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and mustering for a substantial increase in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Security Council had further expressed its support for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and had, as well, expressed its intention to consider setting up a follow-on United Nations mission in that country. He noted that, while the Brahimi panel’s reforms had envisioned the launch of only one new mission a year, the Department was operating far above that pace, often considering four or five such operations a year.
“In some respects, it may be argued that peacekeeping is a victim of its own success,” he continued, stressing that peace operations offered unique qualities of legitimacy, burden-sharing and relative flexibility. While peace was always fragile after conflict and it was important not to prejudge success, he highlighted Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste, Liberia, Haiti and Kosovo as places where United Nations peacekeeping had made a real difference. Operations in those countries had essentially provided basic security guarantees and responded to crises. They had also supported political transitions and helped buttress or even rebuild fragile institutions. Such missions helped countries close chapters of conflict and open chapters of development.
At the same time, operating at such a level brought new questions and new risks. He said that challenges emanated from “sheer overstretch”, as a wide gap was opening between supply and demand, both for numbers and types of personnel needed for the critical enabling capabilities, and air assets that allowed United Nations peacekeepers to succeed. By example, he said that UNAMID still did not have enough air support to carry out its critical duties one year after its approval by the Council. Moreover, some Member States considered the security conditions inadequate for the robust deployment of that Mission. “We have to ask ourselves if we are properly equipped for the demands we face […] and, even fully equipped, there remains the question as to what are the limits of robust United Nations peacekeeping,” he said.
Among other challenges, he also emphasized the gap in the commitment of troops across Member States. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations continued to rely on a small group of countries for the bulk of troop contributions. While the Department was most grateful for their commitment and contribution, the United Nations as a whole must ask itself if that situation was tenable. “With increasing demands for ever more robust mandates, can the Organization manage without more burden-sharing and broader participation of its Members in contributing troops?” he asked. Highlighting other new risks, he said peacekeeping was increasingly being used in situations where the scale of hostilities threatened to overwhelm the capacities of troops to respond. As had been seen recently in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Nations had limited reserve capacities to call on when faced with extreme hostilities.
Eight United Nations missions were mandated to protect civilians, he continued. Three were operating in an environment of ongoing hostilities, and the Department had increasingly found itself operating in non-permissive environments and even under conditions of withdrawal of consent. He said that, in many cases, State authority was weak or even non-existent and, in such challenging circumstances, United Nations peacekeepers were increasingly called upon to use force to protect civilians. That situation begged an analysis of mandates and the capabilities needed to implement them. In late 2008, the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) had faced difficult contradictions in its mandate to both protect civilians and support the Congolese armed forces in their operations, which had themselves posed a threat to civilians.
There was also the question of whether peacekeeping mandates were becoming too broad and too all-encompassing, evincing a need to revisit the Brahimi panel’s recommendations on crafting “clear and achievable mandates”. He said that where peacekeeping was deployed where there was little peace to keep, there was often the need to consider what other tools the international community had at its disposal, both military and diplomatic, to address the challenges. He went on to highlight new demands on the Secretariat to enhance the effectiveness and impact of the investments Member States made in peace missions. With a budget of well over $7 billion, coupled with the pressure of the global financial crisis, “we must find new and more efficient ways of doing business,” he said.
Further on that count, he said that Department of Peacekeeping Operations officials were discovering that they were not always well-severed by the current administrative rules and procedures, especially while deploying and managing large operations with tight timelines across vast areas of often inhospitable terrain. “Can we find better systems to allow greater delegation of managerial and administrative authority, while improving training, monitoring and oversight to ensure that we achieve the goals you expect?” he asked the Special Committee.
After briefing the Committee on the current state of United Nations peacekeeping, he detailed many of the efforts under way to address broad and fundamental challenges and pressing ahead with mandated reforms, beginning with the Secretariat’s internal review, known as the “New Horizons” study. Through that study, the Department hoped to examine the elements of the Brahimi process and the “Peace Operations 2010” agenda that needed review in light of new realities. That review, which would build on, not replace, the Brahimi and Peace Operations 2010 process, was in its early stages, but the Department intended to engage in a dialogue with Member States as it got under way. The hope was to renew the consensus that had been built in the wake of the Brahimi report around the role of peacekeeping and how it should be supported in order to achieve success.
On departmental restructuring, he noted that the Special Committee was set to hear on Wednesday a briefing from the Chief of Staff, Donna Maxfield, on the implementation of the Assembly’s resolution on strengthening the Department’s capacity to manage and sustain peacekeeping operations. While Member States would hear about the benefits that the recent restructuring was already providing, they would also hear that, 18 months after the initial effort, much work remained to be done, especially regarding the move to establish integrated operational teams as the principle structure for the integration of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support. He also noted other important structural changes, such as the ongoing strengthening of the Office of Military Affairs and the creation of the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions, which was helping to bring stronger strategic coherence and support to colleagues in the field.
Specifically on the “Peace Operations 2010” agenda, he said the Department had continued to build up the effectiveness of United Nations peacekeeping through reforms and institutional strengthening in the key areas of personnel, organization, doctrine, partnerships and resources. Responding to the Special Committee’s recommendations to the Secretary-General last year, the Department had put forward a number of human resources proposals aimed at improving the Organization’s ability to attract, recruit, retain and rapidly deploy skilled and experienced civilian personnel to peacekeeping operations. While the General Assembly had approved the proposals only partially at the beginning of the year, he said the new policies would, nevertheless, promote mobility and offer staff in the field more predictable contracts.
He went on to say that policing was the fastest growing component of United Nations peacekeeping operations worldwide and that, across 18 missions, United Nations police, including formed police units, was increasingly being called on to help reform, restructure and rebuild police institutions, as well as assist fighting organized crime in the aftermath of conflict. The Police Division would, therefore, need to be strengthened, which was essential if it was to deliver on a robust and comprehensive vision for international peacekeeping in the twenty-first century. He encouraged the Special Committee to give full consideration to that issue.
On the newly established Standing Police Capacity, he said that initiative continued to provide rapid start-up capability for police components in new peacekeeping operations, as well as an expert advisory mechanism to support institutional police and other law enforcement capacity-building activities in existing operations. Among other things, he noted that the Standing Police Capacity had established the police component in the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) in 2007-2008 in a timely and professional manner. The Standing Police Capacity had also supported the police components in the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and had participated in the inspection of the police component of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
Turning to the serious problem of sexual abuse and exploitation, he said that the Department of Field Support was working closely with the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) to share data on such misconduct, and the Secretariat routinely provided feedback to concerned Member States on investigations conducted. Considerable efforts had been made to address the issue from both the Secretariat side and on the part of Member States, and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and wider Secretariat would continue working in partnership to ensure such misconduct did not stain the name of the United Nations and the “vast majority of peacekeepers serving honourably and with distinction”.
Concluding, he said the demands on United Nations peacekeeping were greater today than ever before. The Organization’s peacekeeping architecture was not only stretched in terms of the size and number of deployments, but also in terms of the challenges posed by complex mandates and difficult logistical and security environments. That said, 2009 would be a critical year, as a number of missions faced risks “that are so significant that I cannot discount the potential for mission failure, with all the consequences that would entail for the United Nations”. At the same time, however, there seemed to be a growing consensus on the need to take stock of the situation and address the challenges the Organization’s peacekeeping architecture currently faced. He welcomed several recent initiatives launched to review peacekeeping, stressing that the exercise was a shared endeavour and the way forward must be charted together by the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Secretariat.
The Department, for its part, would ensure that the Secretariat’s review was as inclusive as possible, with a view to developing a consensus on the way forward. Some key questions must be addressed. What sorts of mandates were appropriate for peacekeeping? What were the benchmarks against which success could be measured? Was the Organization equipped with the right systems, rules and regulations to grapple effectively and accountably the challenges of deploying at huge scale and high speed into remote and dangerous areas? How could the Organization advance its thinking on the roles of the African Union the European Union and other regional and subregional peacekeeping actors? “If we can jointly answer these questions, I think we will be well on our way to best serve the millions of people [looking] to United Nations peacekeeping as their hope for a future in peace and prosperity,” he said.
SUSAN MALCORRA, Under-Secretary-General, Department of Field Support, said that the Department’s sole purpose was to provide support to the field, under the direction of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Political Affairs. All strategic considerations and decisions related to principles, limits, risks, mission impact and security that applied to field operations were beyond the scope of the Department of Field Support. Its narrow mandate was a strength; in delivering what was required to make peacekeeping missions a success, and in providing troop- and police-contributing countries with the basic requirements needed to carry out their daily operations, the Department of Field Support would not be distracted from the very specific objective of “getting things done in the field”.
She said the Department was actively involved in the “New Horizons Study” and contributed to it by providing its view on the risks and opportunities involved in supporting complex peacekeeping missions. She underscored the excellent coordination that existed between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support at the managerial and operational levels, which was improving by the day, and that the need for unity of command between the two Departments was an important consideration to both.
She said the creation of the Department of Field Support had increased the visibility and understanding of support issues, to allow Member States the ability to conduct more informed decision-making. That needed to be balanced, on the other hand, with the need to concentrate on specific aspects of the delivery process in a way that was very narrow, focused and intense. That process could be strengthened through continuous and open dialogue with Member States, and the Special Committee’s role was critical in that regard.
She said the Department’s biggest challenge lay in managing the huge operational demands placed on it, while taking enough time to think strategically on ways to better address those demands. Most requirements were driven by short-term needs, which left little time to think about the required changes needed to increase efficiency on the support side. She would continue to engage with States towards a solution and, to that end, the Department was working on a “support strategy” revolving around the following areas: identifying the best means to deliver support services from start-up to liquidation; identifying the best human resources to deliver those services; identifying the means to strengthen its support to peacekeeping operations in the long term; and identifying the means “to optimize the impact on local environments”.
Regarding improved means of delivery to field operations, she said the Department would need to optimize its use of technology. Questions arising in that regard included whether it might be best to share certain support components amongst regions, through the establishment of “hubs”. There was also the question of maximizing opportunities through the establishment of highly qualified teams that could be dispatched to various operations, as needed. The hub at Brindisi might exist as a global hub alongside regional hubs. In verbalizing those questions, she also stressed that there were no answers to them, as yet.
She said human resources were critical for the success of any mission, and the Department was working to strengthen the “culture of service” among its staff to ensure a high quality of service to its “internal clients” -- individuals that risked their lives in the course of their work. Their well-being was always a high priority.
She went on to say that there was a need to find technical experts who could be dispatched to the ground speedily, and that working with local and regional contractors, as well as the local population, was one possible way to strengthen that ability. The United Nations must look to long-term solutions to strengthen the organizational aspect of peacekeeping operations, and there must be a way to gauge success or failure. The clear objectives of the Department of Field Support meant that such success or failure could be evaluated relatively easily and, indeed, the Department was already starting to put evaluation systems in place. Once such controls were in place, the Department would be better able to delegate some authority to missions, because, she said, the closer to the field a decision was made, the better those decisions would be. To further increase controls, decision-makers on the grounded should be given the appropriate training.
Another long-term objective of the Department involved looking at ways to “optimize the impact on local environments”. That would be done by procuring peacekeeping needs locally, hiring local professionals, and developing partnerships with local institutions. If resources were not available, the United Nations should look to helping develop local capacity.
The four divisions within the Department of Field Support were working to pursue all those ideas, and were doing so with the full engagement of all peacekeeping missions, as well as partners within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, she said. They all required a great time investment, and managing the challenge of balancing a long-term view, while being mindful of the need to deliver quickly. At the same time, the economic and financial crisis was bringing its own challenges; rising costs, the availability or non-availability of funds, and whether there were enough suppliers were likely to be “key drivers”. The fact that many suppliers were badly hit by the crisis had had an impact on the ability to source from multiple suppliers. Environmental concerns, affecting the availability of fuel, water and land, were also likely to have an impact and needed to be taken into account.
She said safety and security would also inform the Department’s support strategy. Was it necessary to deploy all support people, or could they be based in nearby hubs? Also, delivering “more with less” required integration with actors already on the ground, which would pose additional challenges. She also remarked that, when troops required equipment, it needed to be provided rapidly and with increased oversight -- in compliance with the various transparency requirements placed on the Secretariat by Members States, who were, in turn, being scrutinized by their own tax payers.
She said the Department of Field Support was working to “professionalize” its delivery capacity. General Assembly resolution 63/250, approved in December 2008, was a good step in the right direction; it provided for “unification” between conditions at Headquarters and in the field, and harmonization between peacekeeping and United Nations agencies, funds and programmes. It provided for hardship compensation and measures to compensate for loss of remuneration. She voiced hope that the new package would allow the Department to strengthen its link with staff in the field who were effectively “second class citizens” in the United Nations system. Such changes would go a long way in improving the United Nations ability to recruit and retain staff. The Department would continue to propose a review of conditions of service in field missions.
She commented on the difficulties faced by specific peacekeeping operations, including in Darfur and Chad, where the supply chain was one of the most difficult to manage. In both situations, supplies must be transported to personnel from distant ports. It supported the notion that aid must be given to develop the capacity of the local economy, so that it would be possible to provide services through the use of local and regional contractors. Support for the Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) functioned through a tripartite mechanism involving the Government of Sudan and the African Union, which had necessitated five visits by Ms. Malcorra so far. The need for support from troop- and police-contributing countries would be great. Although the Operation had reached its goal of deploying at least 60 per cent of its personnel, the deployment of remaining personnel was likely to be a huge challenge.
She said an increased deployment in Afghanistan -- with the additional six new provinces to cover -- would increase demand on the support side. A new operation in Somalia was going to place additional pressure on the Department of Field Support. There, the Department must adopt an innovative approach to deliver services under difficult conditions and with little security, while strengthening accountability -- because United Nations resources were to be used by a third party, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). For that reason, it might be necessary to have a minimum United Nations presence on the ground to set up control mechanisms. Making things even more difficult, Mogadishu was currently experiencing a “level-5” security phase.
She said the stress and stretch faced by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations applied to the Department of Field Support, as well. The ultimate goal lay in discovering how to better manage the resources at hand and increase the efficient use of those resources. That goal must be pursued concomitantly with the need to keep an eye on discipline and conduct issues, which was central to the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy and other related issues. The only way to success was to work in close partnership with the Special Committee and Member States in general.
SOUAD EL ALAOUI (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the challenges arising from the expansion of peacekeeping required a concerted response by Member States, while abiding by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ guiding principles. Those principles were consent of the parties; the non-use of force except in self-defence; and impartiality. At the same time, respect for the principles of sovereign equality, political independence, territorial integrity of all States and non-intervention must also be upheld.
She also said the Non-Aligned Movement stressed that United Nations peacekeeping should not be used as a substitute for addressing the root causes of conflict, which should be addressed in a coherent, well-planned and comprehensive manner, with relevant political, social, economic and development instruments.
She said the 2006 Integrated Mission planning process had been developed to provide a “much needed integration framework” for the United Nations presence in the field, but that such efforts were being hampered by “challenges that impair managerial and organizational capacity”. Additional difficulties came about in the way deployments were mandated or planned, especially in places were “there is little or no peace to keep”. Overcoming those challenges required better communication amongst the Secretariat, troop-contributing countries and the Security Council.
She noted that the Non-Aligned Movement provided more that 80 per cent of peacekeeping personnel and hosted most United Nations missions. That entitled its member countries to advocate for full involvement in the planning process, at all stages. That included questions of deployment. The Movement’s experience would contribute positively to assessments on where and when to deploy, where to strengthen and where to cut or draw down. At the moment, troop-contributing countries bore the burden of implementing mandates crafted and authorized without their contribution in the decision-making process. All parties should build on the frequency of private meetings with troop-contributing countries and briefings with the Secretariat to form “a more substantial interaction in which Security Council members were fully engaged”.
Expanding on that view, she said peacekeeping operations could not continue to be supported by only a portion of the United Nations membership. All developed countries, especially the permanent members of the Security Council, must share the burden of peacekeeping and engage their troops under United Nations command and control. Ensuring the appropriate level of response in terms of scope and scale of peacekeeping required the involvement of all Member States, which would in turn ensure unity of vision.
She said the safety and security of United Nations and associated personnel was of concern to the Movement, and she reiterated its position that the best assurance against risk was a well-mandated mission that was not “deployed in a void” or where the “political process was non-existent or compromised”. The Movement was also concerned that troops were being stretched to cover geographic areas that exceeded their capacities, and requested the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to ensure that personnel were deployed in accordance with agreed concepts of operation and deployment. Allegations of medical neglect and incompetence, which had led to the death and injury of peacekeepers, should be thoroughly investigated and brought to closure. She added that the Movement would have liked for that area of concern to have been covered in the Secretary-General’s report.
She reiterated the Movement’s position that the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace lay with the United Nations and that the role of regional arrangements should be in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter and should not substitute for the role of the United Nations or circumvent the full application of United Nations peacekeeping guidelines. At the same time, the Non-Aligned Movement would continue to stress the importance of strengthening African peacekeeping capabilities through the 10 year plan for capacity-building with the African Union, and called on the international community to fulfil its commitment as endorsed by the 2005 World Summit.
She also said the Movement was committed to full observance of the zero-tolerance policy and regretted the delay in the implementation of the model Memorandum of Understanding endorsed in 2007.
Success of the restructuring process hinged on the principle of unity of command, and integration of efforts in the field and at Headquarters, she noted. In that regard, the Non-Aligned Movement would like to see the integrated operational teams be fully functional. At the moment, there appeared to be a need for “strategic oversight” in the Secretariat, which she said was “grappling with the complexities of the new structure”. She noted with regret that the Secretary-General’s report on the restructuring of peacekeeping, due for consideration at the present session, had not yet been issued. The Movement’s inadequate representation in both Departments, especially at the senior and policymaking levels, continued to be a matter of concern.
She reiterated the view that the General Assembly had the primary role in the formulation of concepts and policies related to peacekeeping. The Movement would like to emphasize that the Special Committee had received general endorsement as the only United Nations forum mandated to review the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all its aspects. Its contributions had been diverted to “peripheral issues” and its pattern of negotiations altered.
She said the Special Committee provided a democratic forum to debate the preparations, planning and evaluation of peacekeeping activities, and should remain engaged in the implementation of the 2010 agenda of reform, as well as the restructuring process. Moreover, any new process, whether Member State or Secretariat driven, should be gauged in the context of its relevance and coherence with such ongoing reforms.
MICHAEL MILLAR (New Zealand), speaking also on behalf of Australia and Canada, said “notable” success in strengthening peacekeeping capacities had been matched by increased operational challenges. Never had so many field missions been deployed, and the global community’s capacity for a timely and effective response to emerging crises appeared stretched, a tendency most evident in Darfur. He called on States to insist on continued reform of United Nations peacekeeping operations, and to carefully manage the risks faced by those operations. He welcomed the new initiative to analyse future peacekeeping challenges. In addition, he called for a strong political process between parties in conflict, as the absence of such made it “extremely” difficult for a peacekeeping mission to succeed.
Recalling recommendations to improve the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations outlined in the 2000 “Brahimi report”, he said there was a significant gap between direction provided by the Security Council and the capacity of troop-contributing countries to commit forces. The Council, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and troop-contributing countries must improve their interaction to ensure that mandates adopted by the Council were achievable. The Special Committee, at its 2008 substantive session, had recognized the need for clear guidelines for peacekeeping missions, and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations doctrine was an essential tool for ensuring that States shared a common understanding of field mission operational and management issues, he said.
On the protection of civilians, he said he recognized the importance of an integrated approach within United Nations peacekeeping missions, and that it was vital that such issues were translated into realistic operational guidance for military and civilian actors in the field. The Security Council’s revised aide memoire provided an important framework for defining threats to civilian populations, and he requested the Secretariat, along with States, to develop appropriate guidelines and training material to help facilitate full implementation of “protection of civilians” mandates. Also, he supported enhancing the capacity of the Police Division and looked forward to reviewing the detailed proposal on that issue. Regarding the Office of Military Affairs, which he supported strengthening, he looked forward to considering the implementation report during the General Assembly’s sixty-fourth session, adding that it should revisit the question of a “deployable” Headquarters capacity and possible solutions for its establishment.
Continuing, he said United Nations peace operations must have the mandates and capacity to defend personnel and facilities in high-threat environments, while the Secretariat must have the analysis and crisis capacity to prevent such situations. He urged the Secretariat to consider deploying advanced technology in peacekeeping missions to meet such needs, and sought assurance that efforts would be made to ensure the safety of all United Nations personnel. He also urged States not yet party to the Convention on the Safety of United Nations Personnel to ratify it. He appreciated the “candid” engagement of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support with States, saying also that the complex departmental processes that affected efficiency must be streamlined, and staff must be encouraged to assist in advancing best practices. In closing, he paid tribute to those who had made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of peace.
MARTIN PALOUŠ (Czech Republic), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said the European Union had had a long established partnership with the United Nations, and all Union crisis management was done in the spirit of supporting the United Nations, that cooperation was formalized in the first joint European Union-United Nations declaration signed on 24 September 2003, and today the two organizations worked closely in Africa, the Middle East and the Western Balkans. European Union member States participated actively in United Nations peacekeeping missions, contributing over 40 per cent of the United Nations peacekeeping budget. They were also vital contributors, in close cooperation with the United Nations, to military and civilian crisis management efforts led by other regional bodies, such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
He noted that a surge in peacekeeping had led to an unprecedented level of missions and personnel deployed, and underlined the importance of ensuring the availability of required operational and logistical assets and capabilities, as the Brahimi report had pointed out. As did many Member States, European Union nations shared the same concerns over United Nations peacekeeping operations’ effectiveness and efficiency, and believed that there was a need to seriously discuss the reasons for the difficulties faced by missions like the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), UNAMID, MONUC and MINURCAT.
He said the European Union had noted with satisfaction the reinforcement and restructuring of the Department for Peacekeeping Operations and the establishment of the Department of Field Support, and added that the Union looked forward to implementing the integrated operational teams concept, which would include better communication links with Member States. In that connection, the European Union would suggest that the Secretariat examine the options for establishing a temporary “dedicated mission cell” in connection with the integrated operational teams when considering major changes to complex operations. He welcomed steps taken by the Secretary-General regarding leadership of the integrated mission planning process, which was located within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and the production of integrated mission planning process guidelines, and looked forward to the process’ full implementation in the near future.
He voiced concerns over the high number of vacancies in peacekeeping, both within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and in the field, and said that the recruitment process must be accelerated and there needed to be a speedier approval of appointments. While welcoming the report on the comprehensive analysis of the Police Division, which had underscored the importance of the police function within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the European Union called for further improvement in cooperation between troop- and police-contributing countries, as well as between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Safety and Security. The Secretariat was invited to “emphasize its effort concerning the situation assessment”. The European Union would recommend that the Secretariat improve the quality of information flow, that it organize regular meetings involving troop- and police-contributing countries prior to Security Council consultations, and that it provide reports to those countries on the political and military situation surrounding each peacekeeping operation.
He added that the European Union supported a “comprehensive and multifaceted approach to peacekeeping”, which that body was working to further develop in the context of its own activities. In that regard, the United Nations should -- in its conflict-management capacities and instruments -- put special emphasis on supporting credible political peace processes and immediate post-conflict peacebuilding efforts, notably in the areas of police, rule of law, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and security-sector reform. Greater coherence between peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities was needed, so as to ensure that “we do not revisit the requirement for recurrent peacekeeping operations”. He said the European Union would urge the United Nations to consider, as early as possible, ways to marshal and rapidly deploy civilian experts in support of post-conflict stabilization efforts.
Protection of civilians should be an integral part of peacekeeping operations, he noted, and as such, the United Nations should strengthen its capacity in that area. Violence against women and children must be given “utmost attention in planning, conducting and evaluating peacekeeping efforts”. Gender issues should be focused both on protecting women and ensuring their adequate involvement in crisis-management activities and related peace processes.
He said the document entitled “United Nations Peacekeeping Operations Principles and Guidelines” was considered significant by the European Union in terms of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations coordinating efforts.
He went on to say that the safety and security of all United Nations personnel was of “paramount concern” and recalled the primary responsibility of host States and parties to a conflict for the safety and security of peacekeepers. Attacks against United Nations personnel were absolutely unacceptable, and the European Union strongly condemned recent targeted attacks on them. It also condemned any form of restriction to the freedom of movement of United Nations peacekeeping personnel, especially that which impeded medical evacuation. The European Union supported the use of advanced technology to protect personnel, and took note of information provided in the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the recommendations of the Special Committee on ways to conduct periodic risk analyses.
CLAUDE HELLER (Mexico), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said the increase in the number of peacekeeping operations and troops and personnel deployed, as well as limits in resources characterized the current situation of United Nations peacekeeping operations. Such challenges served to spotlight the important role of the Special Committee, as the single body charged with considering the overall situation of peacekeeping operations.
Among other things, the Rio Group felt that bolstered cooperation between all the stakeholders -- the Secretariat, troop-contributing countries and the Security Council -- was critical to ensuring the success of all peacekeeping missions. It was extremely important to improve the exchange of information, and participation with troop-contributing countries, especially before the characteristics of an operation were defined. He said that the Rio Group had also been closely following the ongoing restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and regretted that the relevant report of the Secretary-General on those reforms was not yet available. Nevertheless, the Rio Group would reiterate that, throughout the reform process, it was important to maintain clear lines of authority, command and control at all times.
He said it was also important to maintain the Organization’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse. His delegation was pleased that the Special Committee had undertaken an in-depth consideration of the policy last year and was concerned that documents spelling out its terms were not yet completed and being made readily available to all Member States. It was crucial to move ahead on that process expeditiously. It was also necessary to ensure the highest standards in hiring and training of United Nations peacekeeping staff. Continuing, he said it was necessary to stand by the Charter requirements of non-use of force, non-interference and State sovereignty in order to enhance the legitimacy of United Nations peacekeeping. He said it was also time to carry out an in-depth study of all peacekeeping mandates and to make a greater effort to ensure that all troop-contributors were reimbursed on a predictable basis.
Highlighting several forms of cooperation in the area of training, he noted the importance of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), especially for countries in the region. At the same time, the Rio Group called for the publication of training documents in both Spanish and Portuguese. The Rio Group also called for greater coordination with the Peacebuilding Commission, especially as mission mandates were expanding into other areas, including promoting reconstruction and socio-economic development. He also supported cooperation between United Nations peace operations and regional mechanisms, where necessary. Expressing support for Haiti, he said that the Rio Group reiterated the need to pay close attention to the security situation in that country, as well as social and economic conditions to ensure long-term stability and development.
BUKIN-OLU ONEMOLA ( Nigeria) said demand for United Nations peacekeeping operations in recent years had increased, as the international community relied more on them as a preferred mechanism for resolving new and long-standing conflicts and disputes. While such reliance was overstretching the Organization’s capacity, Nigeria welcomed the flexible manner in which the United Nations had so far responded to such evolving challenges. He said the deterioration and proliferation of conflicts both within and between States suggested that a new and more proactive approach to conflict prevention, management and resolution was necessary. That would urgently require coming up with new tools, concepts and responses, as well as generating greater political commitment and increased resources from Member States.
As most modern conflicts were multidimensional, Nigeria believed that the maintenance of international peace and security should encompass political, social, humanitarian and other relevant considerations. He said the Special Committee was expected to undertake a comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping. It should pursue that mandate and, at the same time, resist any attempts, however and by whomever conceived, to erode it. Nigeria, like other members of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, was very concerned by the Security Council’s recent consideration of aspects of the Special Committee’s work, and by extension, the General Assembly’s. The principle organs of the United Nations should work in harmony and within the parameters set by the Charter.
He went on to draw attention to what his delegation saw as the selective response to, and treatment of, crises in different regions. He also believed there was a tendency to be less willing to stay the course and contribute effectively to some peacekeeping operations in Africa. Overall, United Nations Member States should be not only even-handed, but impartial, in such instances. Nigeria reaffirmed the Assembly’s decision at the 2005 World Summit that the development of African peacekeeping capacity should be one of the Organization’s major objectives. He hoped that the Special Committee’s work during the current session would contribute to the realization of that objective, especially as the African Union and subregional organizations, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), had endeavoured, within available resources, to bolster Africa’s contribution to global peace and security.
Turning to other matters, he said his delegation reiterated its support for integrated operational teams as a way to ensure cooperation and integration between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support. While noting that seven operational teams had been established, as called for by the General Assembly, he was concerned that, with the exception of the team in Darfur, none of the others were fully operational. Nigeria, therefore, expected the process of establishing such teams to be streamlined for effective and efficient realignment of the two departments.
He went on to note with satisfaction the measures put in place to restore the image and credibility of United Nations peacekeeping missions in the face of ongoing alleged misconduct. At the same time, he cautioned against posting proven or unproven information or allegations of misconduct on the Internet or internal websites, because of the negative effect such posting could have on the host communities and the wider international community. He was also concerned about the backlog of alleged cases of sexual exploitation and abuse, and called for their immediate review and disposal.
Finally, he said that, as the cost of deploying peacekeeping missions continued to grow, it was time to critically examine that process and identify more effective and efficient strategies, especially in light of the ongoing financial crisis. To that end, Member States, especially permanent members of the Security Council, should demonstrate a greater understanding and political will to share the burden of peacekeeping operations in terms of logistics and personnel. “Should this fail, we may risk allowing many of the universally laudable benefits of peacekeeping to slip our grasps,” he said.
MAGED ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt), supporting Morocco’s statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said United Nations peacekeeping activities had seen developments in both concepts and mandates, on the one hand, and the number of operations on the other. That was clearly reflected in the peacekeeping budget, which had increased to $7 billion annually, while the Organization’s regular biannual budget was only $4.2 billion. If the immense “dissimilarity” between those budgets reflected the number of conflicts that required intervention, it also expressed the Organization’s focus on conflict management, as a substitute for conflict prevention and settlement, and the expansion of peacekeeping activities without establishing clear strategies to end missions. A new vision was needed.
He said the General Assembly and the troop-contributing countries must work with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support, and through coordination with the Security Council, to achieve a new vision for dealing with peacekeeping operations. Solutions would not be found by increasing resources and creating new Secretariat posts, but by addressing the roots of the problem, and enhancing the Secretariat’s capacities to face varied situations. Egypt followed current Department of Peacekeeping Operations deliberations on the “New Horizon Project” and ongoing discussions of that issue within the Security Council. He stressed the importance of integrating those discussions -- and others in the Assembly -- that took into account the expertise of troop-contributing countries. The Special Committee was the ideal framework for dealing with such issues, and he rejected any interference by the Council in selecting troop-contributing countries in any of the United Nations peacekeeping operations, as that would represent an “unjustifiable” change in structure.
In addition, ensuring a clear chain of command and accountability in United Nations peacekeeping activities, including in the integration between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support, would be increasingly important, he said, and Egypt looked forward to the Secretary-General’s upcoming report that would review implementation of the sixty-first session resolution on restructuring peacekeeping and establishing the Department of Field Support. The utmost priority must be given to enhancing the safety of United Nations peacekeeping troops and related personnel. He also urged ensuring that all peacekeeping personnel were deployed in line with agreed deployment arrangements, upholding full transparency, adhering to procurement contract regulations and giving priority to regional and national companies.
Strongly supporting United Nations efforts to strengthen the African Union’s peacekeeping capacity, he said Egypt looked forward to the early discussion in the Council and the Assembly of the findings by the panel of international experts on that issue. He emphasized the need to achieve full cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter. He also described Egypt’s deep support for United Nations efforts to address conflicts in Africa, and called for establishing a logistical peacekeeping support base on the continent. Egypt followed the evolution in the mandates given by the Council to peacekeeping operations, and emphasized that the role of regional organizations should not substitute for that of the United Nations, which had the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. He renewed Egypt’s support for all peacekeeping activities, and expressed appreciation for the efforts of the loyal men and women entrusted with carrying out that noble objective.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) said peacekeeping operations were one of the main instruments used by the United Nations for safeguarding international security, and increasing demand for peacekeeping missions seemed to confirm their usefulness and legitimacy. Brazilian military and police were present in nine peacekeeping operations and two special political missions, which demonstrated her country’s belief in the value and service of the men and women in such operations.
At present, the Special Committee was debating peacekeeping operations for the sixth year, she noted, against the backdrop of a significant increase in the number of military and police deployed in peacekeeping missions. That increase, and the corresponding rise in their budgets, placed a significant strain on the Organization and its Member States. At the same time, the Organization could not refuse its assistance to Member States. An appropriate response to that dilemma would involve establishing clear and achievable mandates, ensuring commensurate resources and dedicating the necessary political support to the peace processes. Efforts must also be made to enlarge the base of troop and police contributors.
She said the increasingly volatile environments where peacekeeping took place required special attention to the safety and security of troops. Quick-impact projects might be important, in that regard, since they brought about “peace dividends” in the immediate post-conflict phase, and also contributed to the safety of peacekeeping personnel. A meaningful discussion of that subject within the Special Committee was warranted.
She noted that peacekeeping operations had become increasingly complex, and those mandates had evolved to better respond to the multifaceted needs of the peace process. But, Brazil believed that military operations were simply one pillar of the peacekeeping effort. Peacekeeping must be accompanied by steps to restore conditions for recovery and development, and though peacekeeping operations might not be equipped to address such issues directly, they could support development-related activities and work consciously to help create an environment suitable for the promotion of social and political stability, and for the resumption of economic growth.
Turning to Brazil’s involvement with MINUSTAH, she noted that the difficulties inherent in the peace process had been compounded by the tragic impact of last year’s hurricanes and the food crisis. The international community must continue to assist Haiti by complementing and reinforcing the work of MINUSTAH. The upcoming donor round table was an important opportunity, in that regard.
She also touched on the need to ensure a more expeditious reimbursement process. As most United Nations troops were provided by developing countries, which usually faced serious budgetary constraints, she said expedited reimbursements would allow those countries the necessary conditions to further contribute to peacekeeping operations.
MARTY M. NATALEGAWA ( Indonesia) said the effort to strengthen the triangular partnership among the troop-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat must first include an improvement in the working methods of the Special Committee. That meant having more substantive meetings, where there was an open exchange of views with critical entities, such as the troop-contributors, the host countries, potential donors and so forth. For the Special Committee to conduct a comprehensive review and make result-oriented recommendations, it must interface with all concerned and such an exchange could help build better understanding and coherence. Certainly, greater understanding among delegations could have helped in the timely adoption of the report at the last session.
Continuing, he said the sense of ownership in peacekeeping by the stakeholders was paramount. Therefore, it had to be ensured that the internal documents of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support, which provided guidance, were put into practice only after a through and participatory intergovernmental route. Further, it was imperative to carefully weigh the increasingly multidimensional peacekeeping and peacebuilding tasks being asked of military and police personnel against their training and capacity to perform their roles in a safe and efficient manner. He fully supported pursuing comprehensive peacebuilding in the areas of security, sustainable development, justice, human rights and good governance.
Indeed, he added, comprehensive and timely measures in the post-conflict phase were critical to enabling peace that could actually be kept by peacekeepers. But, the complex multidimensional tasks required the Secretariat to be able to also forge productive partnerships with relevant United Nations entities, including regional organizations and multilateral development and financial agencies. To that end, he was hopeful that the work being undertaken by the partnership capacity instituted at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations would be expanded substantially.
He noted that through greater support from the United Nations peace entities, and their collaboration, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member States could bring about important synergies to the international efforts for peace. He said that, while the United Nations had to be on constant lookout to harness the unique strengths of the relevant regional and multilateral resources, it, alongside the international community, had an obligation to also assist particularly those developing countries that were building their capacities to deliver on today’s multidimensional peacekeeping challenges. In that regard, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ Integrated Training Service needed to provide further support to the national training facilities of troop-contributing countries.
He also stressed that, in order to foster ownership of all Member States, it was essential that qualified personnel from all countries be represented equitably in the staff positions of the United Nations peacekeeping system, adding that he hoped the Secretariat would give special attention to the recruitment of qualified candidates from those troop-contributing countries and financial contributors, which he declared were absent in the middle to top leadership positions of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support.
In conclusion, he urged an improved partnership among the Special Committee, the Secretariat, the troop-contributing countries and the Security Council on the issue of integrated planning process, observing that more work was needed to establish clear benchmarks for measuring the achievement of Security Council mandates.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said his delegation welcomed the reports submitted by the Secretary-General on the current state of United Nations peacekeeping operations. China hoped the Special Committee would continue its review of the entire question of peacekeeping and identify ways to enhance operations in that regard. Those operations, while welcomed around the world, were facing many new challenges, requiring reform of the overall architecture.
China believed that the basic parameters of peacekeeping operations -- consent, impartiality and the non-use of force -- should remain intact. But, the Security Council was now facing new challenges in crafting peacekeeping mandates, especially as countries began asking for the inclusion of new duties, such as the protection of civilians. That demand was reasonable in isolated cases; but the United Nations should consider the needs of specific countries, as well as the impacts of decisions on the entire peacekeeping system.
It was true that peacekeeping doctrine and practice had broken new ground in recent years, but any application or implementation of new doctrine should be approved by the majority of Member States and seek the broadest consensus. China hoped that ongoing discussions to that end would ensure the participation of all States on an equal footing, and be open and transparent, so that all views would be respected. The Secretariat had carried out much work on peacekeeping doctrine and he hoped that officials would keep Member States informed, he said.
He went on to say that the surge in the number and scope of United Nations peace operations had widened the gap between the proposed mandates and the resources needed to ensure their effective and efficient operation. The Security Council and the Secretariat should now carry out assessments of all missions, so that they could enjoy the necessary resources to carry out their functions. The planning, evaluation and supervision of peace missions in a thorough manner would enhance their performance and ensure targeted allocation of resources, which was especially critical as the global economy continued to slow.
He added that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations must consider ways to enhance its cooperation with regional and subregional bodies. By example, he said that the African Union had been playing a crucial role in peace operations on that continent, even as it faced strains in generating human and material resources. China hoped that the United Nations would continue to help the African Union sustain and enhance its efforts in that regard. He also called for greater attention to be paid to the differences between peacebuilding and peacekeeping, and, to that end, for all Member States to cooperate on ways to enhance the participation of the Peacebuilding Commission. Finally, he said China had 2,100 peacekeepers in 14 missions in the field, and would continue working with other countries to enhance its contribution to the cause of peace for all humankind.
ADI KHAIR ( Jordan), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country was proud to be a major contributing country, with over 3,000 peacekeepers deployed in 11 missions. He reiterated his belief in the importance of the agreed-upon guiding principles -- consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force except in self-defence -- along with the importance of respecting the principals of non-interference in the internal affairs of the host country, its political independence and the safety and sovereignty of its territories. He reaffirmed the importance of intensifying efforts to address the root causes of conflicts.
He noted that the international financial crisis obliged Member States to focus their efforts on adapting to the challenges resulting from it. States must ensure the allocation of financial, logistical and human resources, and practice good management of those resources. In addition, in light of the hazardous environment in which peacekeepers worked, good planning and clarity of mandate were needed to ensure their safety and security, as were good training and preparation, and a clear command structure. It was important, as well, to ensure that troops were deployed according to agreed arrangements and that stretching the deployment over wide areas was avoided.
He reaffirmed Jordan’s commitment to maintaining a zero-tolerance policy with regard to sexual exploitation and abuse, and called for the model Memorandum of Understanding to be implemented. Jordan was a major advocate of the triangular cooperation among troop-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Security Council, and would continue to call for enhanced working methods on the part of the Security Council, and for greater interaction between the Council and troop contributors. He recalled that the Special Committee was the only forum mandated to review all aspects of peacekeeping operations.
He voiced Jordan’s willingness to cooperate with the Secretariat on the “New Horizons” plan, which had taken note of efforts undertaken by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support to ensure geographic representation in appointments, in particular representation from troop-contributing countries. However, Jordan was not represented in administrative posts in either Department, and his country looked forward to engaging with the Secretariat on that issue. Jordan also believed in the need to provide the police division with adequate staffing.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said the evolution of United Nations peacekeeping activities, the growing complexity of peacekeeping mandates and the lack of financial and logistical support made it necessary to review existing relevant practices and to formulate an integrated strategy for their planning and implementation. The current discussion had already begun last month in the Security Council and the review of the Organization’s peacekeeping activities was also being carried out by the Secretariat. The Russian Federation expected that the current session of the Special Committee would also contribute to substantive work on important United Nations peacekeeping issues and ways to improve the Organization’s peacekeeping operations.
He went on to say that peacekeeping reforms should be aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of United Nations peacekeeping operations, improving the system of peacekeeping management and oversight, and seeking solutions for their adequate logistical and financial support. Such operations should be carried out in accordance with the Charter, with unfailing respect for the primary role of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security. The Russian Federation believed that the peacekeeping architecture could be most improved in that area of operations management, and advocated further improvement in the Security Council’s consideration of peacekeeping mandates, in active collaboration with troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat, including in the planning stage.
Further, special attention must be given to the issue of ensuring the required level of military expertise and, to that end, he reiterated the Russian Federation’s frequent call for the revitalization of the Military Staff Committee, which would ensure the full membership of the 15-nation Security Council. His delegation remained convinced that a review by that Committee of the security situation in countries hosting peacekeeping missions, its subsequent recommendations, fact-finding missions and inspection teams would make it possible to provide the Security Council with reliable and timely information, and enhance United Nations peacekeeping military expertise as a whole.
He went on to stress the responsibility of the Secretariat in improving integrated mission planning and coordination between Headquarters and the field. While he supported the efforts already under way, he also believed that a systematic approach could be facilitated by the integrated operational teams through a clear division of labour and reporting, as well as their interaction with other departments within the Secretariat, peacekeeping operations and Member States.
Touching on other issues, including the strengthening of the Office of Military Affairs, he also called for the strengthening of the United Nations Police Division, which was facing increased demand. Currently, there was a lack of senior personnel and police experts in specialized areas. There was also a lack of guidelines to ensure smooth and effective implementation of police mandates and police personnel training programmes. Along with bolstering its cooperation with regional bodies, the United Nations must also urgently strengthen its potential in the area of preventive diplomacy, mediation and peacebuilding. There was a need to clearly differentiate between peacekeeping and peacebuilding mandates, and to assign peacekeepers only the task of post-conflict reconstruction, while engaging relevant United Nations agencies and the Peacebuilding Commission in other areas, such as human rights and socio-economic recovery.
BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said the 60-year history of United Nations peacekeeping would seem to prove the effectiveness of such missions in preventing and settling crises. Recent crises in Africa, the Middle East and in Afghanistan had shown that there was a need to strengthen the authority of the United Nations and its Security Council in maintaining international peace and security. When considering ways to improve United Nations peacekeeping capacity, however, it was essential to respect the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of States and non-intervention in matters that were within the domestic jurisdiction of a State. The development of a “capstone doctrine” -- aimed at providing a guide in terms of peacekeeping -- would become very important.
She noted that, beyond monitoring ceasefires, today’s peacekeepers had wide-ranging mandates, including helping to rebuild post-conflict societies. The presence of peacekeepers sent a powerful signal that Member States were working together towards shared solutions. While noting, with satisfaction, the progress made in restructuring United Nations peacekeeping operations, it was equally important to provide those operations with clearly defined mandates, objectives and command structures, as well as adequate resources. Kazakhstan encouraged the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support to continue developing missions in close cooperation with relevant actors within and outside the United Nations system, since regional arrangements offered their own unique complementarities. It supported efforts to develop such partnerships, and welcomed the Secretary-General’s report in that regard.
She added that there was merit in examining standby arrangements in support of procurement activities and in creating conditions for new participants in the process of finding and engaging potential contributing countries. As a member of the United Nations standby arrangements system, Kazakhstan stood ready to provide peacekeeping personnel with armoured vehicles and other transportation assets. There was currently one Kazakh military observer serving the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), and Kazakhstan fulfilled its financial obligations regularly and on time. It also endorsed the Secretary-General’s recommendations and conclusions as contained in his report.
IBRAHIM JAMAL ( Bangladesh), associating himself with Morocco’s statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said standardization of training and the establishment of a common qualitative platform of peacekeepers, especially those of the key appointments, was extremely important. The Integrated Training Service and the Best Practices Section needed to compliment each other. He also believed that the training of peacekeepers was a shared responsibility of the United Nations and the troop- and police-contributing countries. He was pleased to inform the Committee that the Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operations Training had already developed a working relationship with the Integrated Training Service.
With the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support, he called for the swift but transparent filling of the vacancies created by that exercise. His country, being one of the leading troop-contributing countries and the largest contributor of police personnel, expected a “proportionate and fair share” of those staff positions, especially at the higher and policymaking level at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Department of Field Support and in the field, he stated.
Lauding the role of regional organizations in the maintenance of peace as praiseworthy, he recommended that such actions be in accordance with the Charter’s Chapter VIII. The peacekeeping efforts by the United Nations and regional organizations should be complementary and properly sequenced when launched, and their modalities for the transition and transfer of authority had to be meticulously worked out beforehand.
On the safety and security of United Nations personnel and installations, he described incidents of the recent past as “good eye openers” for which Bangladesh recommended the development of “an efficient intelligence system”. Besides a careful assessment, continuous liaison and speedy passage of information would be useful and the issue of the inclusion of protection of civilians needed careful thought and research, he explained. Further, Bangladesh was a strong proponent of ensuring adherence to expected standards of conduct and discipline and the upholding of the image of the United Nations.
He concluded by commending the Secretary-General’s drive in “streamlining” the gender issue in the United Nations system, saying his country appreciated the incorporation of competent female counterparts in the entire system. Bangladesh also denounced all sorts of violence against women and urged full implementation of resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council promoting gender equality.
HOANG CHI TRUNG ( Viet Nam), aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, noted the central role being played by United Nations peacekeepers in defending world peace. As peacekeeping operations expanded, they began acting as bellwethers -- where failure would tarnish not only the mission’s image but also affect the “viability” of the conflict area, as well as the credibility of the United Nations itself. Those new developments required a new approach to peacekeeping, from their establishment, deployment, alteration or exit, to the mobilization of local participation and coordination of resources on the ground. New approaches were also needed in terms of how burdens might be shared within the international community, and should bring about efficient coordination among interlocutors and help the United Nations manage the challenges involved in operational planning, personnel management, logistics, quality assurance, oversight and political engagement.
He said peacekeeping took place in dangerous and complex environments. In order to succeed, peacekeeping missions should observe the universally recognized guidelines, such as consent of the parties, non-use of force except in self-defence and impartiality. There should also be unfailing respect for the fundamental principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of States, and non-intervention in domestic concerns.
He noted the widening gap between demand and existing resources, and commended the Secretariat’s efforts to embark on a “Peace Operations 2010” reform strategy. That initiative should work towards maximum assurance of unity of command, lines of accountability, integration of efforts at all levels and up to Headquarters, as well as safety and security of peacekeepers. The Special Committee, as the only United Nations forum mandated to review the whole question of peacekeeping, was in a unique position to contribute to those issues. Greater interaction amongst United Nations organs, Member States, regional organizations and troop-contributing countries should also be taken into account.
He noted that peacekeeping operations were not intended to engage in reconstruction or to rebuild the countries in which they were deployed. Other organizations were in a better position to carry out such activities more efficiently. In order to achieve sustainable peace, it was important to resolve the root causes of conflicts and to find long-term solutions to political, security, economic and humanitarian dimensions of a given problem. It was also important to maintain the right balance between preventive diplomacy, conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping and post-conflict peacebuilding, with the aid of an early-warning mechanism.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria) welcomed the reports before the Special Committee and considered them a clear example of the ways in which the United Nations was attempting to effectively address and adapt to the challenges facing its peacekeeping operations. Indeed, such work and adaptation was a demanding and continuous process that required in-depth consideration and broad cooperation. It was obvious that the United Nations peacekeeping system, which was already overstretched, was facing more challenges than ever, especially in light of ongoing financial crisis.
For its part, Algeria believed such increased demand called for a relative increased focus on preventive action, preparation of clear and achievable mandates and ensuring rapidly deployable operations, he said. The United Nations must also ensure predictable and stable funding for missions established both by the Security Council and those the Council supported in the field, including those being carried out by the African Union, among others.
The Organization must also consider future training and skills enhancement programmes fashioned to address new and emerging challenges. To that end, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations could, for example, take note of any priorities or requirements identified by the African Union. Algeria also believed in drawing a distinction between the tasks of civilian and military components in missions to avoid overlap. He also called for more cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional bodies acting in the peacekeeping sphere. Finally, he pleaded with delegations to ensure that the maintenance of peace and security did not divert international attention from ensuring sustainable development for all.
JOYCE C KAFANABO (United Republic of Tanzania), aligning herself with the statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said it was important that all peacekeeping deployments be conducted under Security Council mandates. However, it was also important to build the capacity of regional organizations to protect and save lives. In Africa’s case, for example, the United Nations should begin focusing on shortcomings in the region’s capacity to conduct peacekeeping activities, including early warning and rapid deployment. Her country believed it necessary to shore up those capabilities, such as through the 10-year plan for capacity-building in conjunction with the African Union. The plan was to create an African Union standby force with a deployable capacity of 75,000 personnel by 2010, which had received the support of the European Union.
She noted that longer-term support was also needed to ensure that African Union missions were not hampered by lack of equipment, inadequate transport and other operational weaknesses. A clear framework for cooperation between the Security Council and the African Union would contribute to the achievement of those ends and would better ensure fulfilment of protection mandates, including protection of civilians and protection of peacekeepers themselves.
She supported efforts at restructuring within the Secretariat, but said there was a need for much more comprehensive geographical representation within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support, including in senior posts. That was not a new demand, and had in fact been made in General Assembly resolution 56/293. She also underscored the need to avoid a one-size-fits-all policy in terms of deciding force requirements. For example, a force requirement for armoured personnel carriers had been made part of the overriding requirements, even though the operation was to be conducted in a forested deployment area; to ensure more effective implementation, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations should consult troop-contributing countries. Moreover, the safety and security of personnel should figure prominently in those considerations.
FAZLI ÇORMAN ( Turkey) said that, while his Government fully supported the lead role of the United Nations in peacekeeping operations, it was, nevertheless, aware that such operations were facing an ever increasing number of challenges. Indeed, some United Nations missions continued to face serious human, financial and material resource constraints, often hampering their ability to effectively carry out their mandates. Such a situation compelled the Organization to improve the effectiveness of its missions through better preparation, planning, oversight and evaluation. In view of such issues, he added that Turkey had lent its support to the joint French-United Nations initiative launched in the Security Council last month, which had advocated a comprehensive approach to addressing modern peacekeeping challenges.
The United Nations must find ways to maximize global capacity to enhance peacekeeping, especially against a backdrop of global economic recession and the ongoing food and energy crises coupled with an increased demand for peacekeeping. He said that resource generation, capacity-building at local levels and developing effective partnerships with a broader array of stakeholders would be essential to sustain and bolster United Nations peace operations. In order to prevent duplication of efforts, he added that it was imperative to establish more effective arrangements with other regional bodies that had complementary peacekeeping capabilities, such as the European Union, NATO and, especially, the African Union.
Among other things, he also called for more effective use of resources already dedicated to peacekeeping. That could be achieved, for example, by scaling down missions in places where the level of security and political stability had been reasonably high through the years, and beefing up peacekeeping forces in countries were conditions remained precarious and unstable. Here, he noted that carrying out such an initiative would require real-time monitoring of the situation on the ground and good reporting systems. Improving the effectiveness of the peacekeeping architecture also required enhanced cooperation and partnership among the Security Council, the Special Committee, the Secretariat and the troop-contributing countries.
Further to that end, he suggested more detailed and analytical weekly briefings on peacekeeping operations organized by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, including in the summer months when the activities of many missions actually intensified. On other matters, he said that the Secretariat could benefit from better balance in the distribution of professional posts in the peacekeeping sphere. It was rather disheartening that some of the major troop- and police-contributing countries were not adequately represented in the Secretariat. Turkey, for its part, believed that, because of its long-standing peacekeeping experience, it had highly qualified personnel who could provide valuable information and expertise.
NOPADON MUNGKALATON (Thailand), associating himself with Morocco’s statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, observed that, at the strategic level, peacekeeping operations were facing problems of overarching mandates, insufficient resources and diminishing economies of scale, while operating in highly complex and continuing conflict situations.
Noting that today’s United Nations peacekeeping missions were deployed in environments that were more hostile, more dangerous and more difficult to support logistically than ever, he said those missions had increasingly become threatened and attacked. In many instances, the United Nations was compelled to deploy peacekeeping missions in high-risk and unpredictable situations, and many missions had been deployed to situations where there was no peace to keep, due to either ineffective peace agreements or lack of peace agreements altogether. Additionally, many such missions faced the serious problem of insufficient resources to effectively carry out their given mandates. Some still lacked critical mission-enabling assets, which had not only reduced their capability to perform essential tasks, but also put them at great operational risk.
He said United Nations peacekeeping operations clearly faced unprecedented challenges on many fronts, which put international peace and security, as well as the Organization’s credibility, at stake, if those challenges were left unaddressed. It was, therefore, necessary to bring to the Special Committee’s attention the urgency of addressing those “strategic-level” problems facing peacekeeping operations at this “critical juncture”.
He also encouraged the United Nations to further enhance its cooperation with regional organizations and engage them in the maintenance of international peace and security, in particular in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peacekeeping and post-conflict peacebuilding in accordance with the Charter. Thailand believed that comprehensive policy guidance and strategic direction was key to the success of multidimensional peacekeeping operations at the operational and tactical levels. In that regard, a shared common strategy was needed to guide external partners, the United Nations country team and mission components to achieve the overall strategic goals of the mission.
MASON SMITH ( Fiji) said that the surge in peacekeeping had highlighted the widening gap between mandates and human and material resources, which was illustrated by the ongoing search for resources for UNAMID. Unless broader burden-sharing, especially by the global North, was secured, the United Nations might have to consider scaling down its mandates and expectations. More consultations were needed between the Secretariat and Member States when planning and deploying new missions. In connection with a forthcoming review of a February 2008 command and control policy, as a State that contributed to both Department of Peacekeeping Operations- and Department of Political Affairs-led missions, Fiji sought clarification whether the policy could encompass uniformed personnel and civilians in Department of Political Affairs-led missions.
On protection of civilians, he said he did not want a detailed discussion on that issue at this stage, but it was prudent to have a clear understanding of the definition and concept of protecting civilians under imminent threat of physical violence and of the complex challenges and resource constraints that peacekeepers faced in the field, and to facilitate real progress in closing the gap between mandate and implementation. He, therefore, looked forward to the report on the Department of Peacekeeping Operations-Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs study on the protection of civilians in peacekeeping mandates and hoped that its outcome would be debated in an open and transparent manner. He also looked forward to the results of a more formal and extensive evaluation of the integrated operational teams and their reconfiguration.
Regarding training on HIV/AIDS and other medically related issues, he said his delegation looked forward to receiving the peer education training module and the voluntary confidential counselling and testing standard operating procedures. The United Nations peacekeeping training strategy had been a useful tool in augmenting national strategies for pre-deployment training. Updated training material and standards would, therefore, be much appreciated. In connection with police operations, Fiji welcomed the initiative by the Police Division to conduct a strategic review. A recent exercise conducted by the formed police unit mobile training teams and the doctrine development group had been fruitful, and he looked forward to providing further support for that ongoing initiative.
GRACE CERERE (Kenya), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said her country recognized that the primary responsibility for maintaining peace and security rested with the United Nations, and that United Nations peacekeeping was key to discharging that responsibility. Kenya also had an unflagging commitment to the African Union, and would encourage the United Nations to strengthen its partnership with the African Union in the area of political and technical cooperation. Since the United Nations could not be everywhere at all times, such a partnership offered opportunities for synergy. Voicing support for the 10-year plan for capacity-building with the African Union, she noted that coherent and effective coordination called for the involvement of all stakeholders, which should also include donors. Important issues that needed addressing included logistics and the provision of financial resources, so as to facilitate the African Union’s rapid deployment capabilities, particularly through the African Standby Force. Also to that end, she appealed for support for the East African Standby Brigade, the International Peace Support Training Centre and the International Mine Action Training Centre in Kenya.
Turning to the Secretariat’s ongoing restructuring, she noted that Kenya was not fairly represented at the senior and policymaking levels of the United Nations, despite having always contributed to peacekeeping operations. She requested that due consideration be given to Kenya when filling the remaining vacancies, especially in the Office of Military Affairs. Another issue of concern was the length of time taken to process personnel compensation and claims, particularly death and disability claims. Those processes also lacked transparency. She appealed to the Department of Field Support to give that issue urgent attention.
She voiced support for efforts to ensure that peacekeeping personnel behave in a way that preserved the image, credibility, impartiality and integrity of the Organization. She urged full observance of United Nations standards of conduct and discipline, and called for implementation of the zero-tolerance policy. She also looked forward to the implementation of General Assembly resolution 62/214 on a comprehensive strategy on assistance and support for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations staff and related personnel.
She said successful peacekeeping operations were underpinned by a good understanding among the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries, and she called on the United Nations and troop-contributing countries to strengthen their relations. They should hold consultations at all stages of a mission, to ensure troop-contributing countries’ views were factored into United Nations plans before mandating or renewing a mission. It would also enhance ownership over a mission’s shortcomings. Though current efforts to brief troop-contributing countries were commendable, she proposed that more substantial interactions be held at regular intervals so that the Security Council was constantly informed of troop-contributing countries views.
Expressing concern over the safety of personnel, she noted that the best assurance against security risks lay in ensuring that missions were deployed based on realistic assessments, with a clear mandate and with adequate resources. Support should also be given to any ongoing political processes. She paid tribute to peacekeepers that had died, and urged that the United Nations Board of Inquiry -- responsible for ascertaining the circumstances related to death and disability - complete its work expeditiously and that it share its findings with the affected troop-contributing countries in a timely manner to facilitate the claims process.
JEAN-FRANCIS R. ZINSOU ( Benin) said his delegation supported the peacekeeping reforms under way spearheaded by the Secretary-General, as well as the substantial contributions made by the heads of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support. The reforms under way would enable the peacekeeping architecture to ensure that operations would be better managed and integrated and better able to achieve their ever expanding mandates. Further, Benin believed that the increased demands on peacekeeping provided an excellent opportunity to review prevention efforts.
To that end, enhancing cooperation with regional bodies was crucial. Indeed, regional actors were often able to respond faster than the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and, with their knowledge of situations on the ground, better able to contain or head off conflict. He said that Benin would continue to make its contribution to United Nations peacekeeping, no matter how modest, including by deploying some 200 troops to strengthen MINURCAT, in addition to those troops already serving in MONUC and the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI). He said that, overall, improving United Nations peacekeeping operations required enhanced cooperation among the Special Committee, the Secretariat, the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission.
ALESSANDRO MOTTER, of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), said there was a need for more public awareness of what peacekeeping was and was not, as well as for more public input into the ways to make peacekeeping operations more effective and beyond reproach. Also, Parliaments approved the deployment of troops or police for peacekeeping missions, and were also the ones that made funds available to peacekeeping missions and related United Nations operations. Parliaments had a great deal of influence, including in supporting peace negotiations and truces that could determine the outcome of missions on the ground.
He said a joint United Nations-Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting last November -- on effective peacekeeping -- had shown that parliamentarians were both interested and knowledgeable about peacekeeping operations. But, it was also clear that the awareness needed to go deeper. A full report would be made available soon.
In brief, he said IPU members were particularly interested in the political challenges related to peacekeeping operations, such as achieving collaboration with all parties in the host country, strengthening national ownership of peace processes and managing the expectations of local population vis-à-vis the peacekeeping mission. Among other things, members thought it important to gain the consent of actors involved, including non-State actors, for the deployment of peacekeeping missions. Pre-deployment training was thought to be vital to deal with sexual violence, and the zero-tolerance policy was an important aspect of “perception management” -- where peacekeepers must lead by example and show they were part of the solution, not the problem. There was a clear sense that including more women peacekeepers in missions was an important remedy to sexual exploitation and abuse problems.
* *** *For information media • not an official record