|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fourth General Assembly
18th Meeting (AM)
Choice Is Clear: Stall Urgent Peacekeeping Reforms or ‘Bite the Bullet’ for Sake
of Peacekeepers Who Sacrifice under United Nations Flag, Fourth Committee Told
In Some Parts of World, United Nations Has Met Hopes of Affected Populations,
In Others, It Has Not, Overwhelmed by Tasks, Inappropriate Mandates, Weak Resolve
Given the complex threats faced worldwide, the flagship United Nations activity of peacekeeping was at a critical juncture and must be implemented to its fullest potential, or it risked undermining the hope that had been associated with the Organization for more than 60 years, delegates stressed today, as the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) continued its general debate on the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.
States could continue their dialogue and stall urgent reforms, thus further undermining United Nations peacekeeping activities, or they could “bite the bullet” and resolve to truly make a difference for the sake of the hundreds of men and women who lost their lives in the line of upholding the United Nations flag, and the thousands of voiceless civilians who looked to the United Nations for peace and hope, said Singapore’s representative, as the Committee entered day three of the debate. States should make 2010 a year of real change, as it was a crucial time for United Nations peacekeeping, he urged.
More success stories were needed to show that United Nations peacekeeping did not go on forever, the representative said. That would go a long way in bolstering the United Nations image and in attracting more political support and resources in the long run. With limited resources and the urgency of the task before it, Singapore supported the Secretariat’s pragmatic approach of channelling its energy to tackling core issues head-on.
Nowadays, those core issues for peacekeepers, Bangladesh’s representative said, involved helping to organize elections, assisting in the development of political structures, engaging in judicial and security-sector reforms, restoring public order, and facilitating and coordinating the voluntary return of refugees. Peacekeeping had become a multidimensional and complex task compared to what it was a few years ago, and all of those things were now the essential elements of a sustainable peace process.
But while in some parts of the world the United Nations had met the hopes and dreams of the affected populations, Uganda’s speaker underlined, in some others, it had not. Where peacekeeping had not been successful, the operations had been overwhelmed by the tasks, or had lacked the appropriate mandate, and sometimes the resolve. There was also a common misunderstanding about what United Nations peacekeepers could and should do, as they were increasingly mandated with assisting in humanitarian efforts, protecting civilians, training law and security forces, and disarming combatants and armed groups.
The complexity of modern peacekeeping clearly indicated that no single organization -– even the United Nations -– could tackle the challenges of peacekeeping missions on its own, he said, encouraging the Organization to seek coordination both at strategic and operational levels and take maximum advantage of regional groups, such as the African Union.
Putting peacekeeping in a broader historical context, the representative of Malaysia stressed that peacekeeping was an experiment that needed to be “retooled from time to time”, as it represented the first time in human history that nations had chosen to pool their military personnel for the sake of a common peace and not war. To match desire with outcome, however, it was critical for United Nations members to provide firm and unwavering support, especially in the area of human, financial and vital logistical resources to ensure the timely and successful implementation of peacekeeping operations.
Jordan’s representative, honouring the Jordanian peacekeepers who had been killed, expressed great pride in those “martyrs who carried the flag of the country high” and performed their humanitarian duty in loyalty and excellence. United Nations peacekeeping was passing through an important stage. That “fundamental transformation” in the international security environment had led peacekeeping operations out of the traditional military pattern to become multidimensional, as they were forced to adapt to new circumstances.
Mindful of the challenges, Côte d’Ivoire’s delegate expressed a renewed appreciation to the international community, the Security Council, the Secretariat, and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations for their ongoing support of his country, as it emerged “slowly but surely” from crisis. But he cautioned against the employment of “two kinds of peacekeeping” -– one for the poor and one for the rich. The international community should think about a cooperation mechanism that increased participation of those “better-off” countries in peacekeeping operations, as that would strengthen regional capacities.
Also participating in the debate were the representatives of Togo, Mongolia, Fiji, Nigeria, United States, Costa Rica, Kuwait, United Republic of Tanzania, Lebanon, Colombia, Ethiopia, Venezuela, Eritrea, Rwanda, Malawi, Serbia, and Yemen.
The Fourth Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 29 October, to conclude its general debate on the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects, and to take up consideration of assistance in mine action.
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to continue its general debate on the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects. (Documents before the Committee are summarized in yesterday’s Press Release, GA/SPD/437.)
MOHAMMED AL-ALLAF (Jordan), aligning his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that Jordan had great pride for those “martyrs who carried the flag of the country high” and performed their humanitarian duty in loyalty and excellence, referring to those Jordanian peacekeepers who had recently been killed. While appreciating the expressions of condolences from Member States, he assured the Committee that Jordanian peacekeepers would continue to carry the humanitarian message of Jordan to all parts of the world. Jordan’s forces would carry the message from the peoples of Jordan to maintain international peace and security, and demonstrate their sincere expression of commitment to the principles of the Organization.
He said that Jordanian peacekeeping involvement began in 1989, when the late King Hussein had laid down the solid principles of international understanding through the military-observer mission to Angola. After two decades, Jordan occupied a leading place in realizing that noble objective as a troop contributing country. Jordan was now participating in 11 missions, deploying a total of 3,600 troops and international police. Jordanian forces served with “distinction and professionalism” in all missions in which they participated, as they belonged to a school of morals that taught love and peace.
United Nations peacekeeping was passing through an important stage, he said. That “fundamental transformation” in the international security environment had led peacekeeping operations out of the traditional military pattern to become multidimensional, as they were forced to adapt to new circumstances. There had been an unprecedented increase in the number and volume of peacekeeping operations, which were now more complicated and difficult at the international level, as well as at the national level, as experienced by the troop-contributing countries. Naturally, the dangers and challenges facing peacekeepers had increased. The cost to the United Nations had also increased, coupled with a decline in resources, as a result of the international financial crisis.
He said that the increased demand for peacekeeping operations, within the currently restrained resources, and the political challenges reflected in the division among the Member States of the Organization, sometimes made it impossible to reach consensus on important issues, such as the protection of civilians and exit strategies. Those required a continuous review of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects by all parties, notably the Security Council, the troop‑contributing countries and the Secretariat. He applauded efforts to increase the involvement of troop-contributing countries, and emphasized the need to strengthen training centres in contributing countries.
YAWO KPAMATCHOU ( Togo) said that peacekeeping operations had become one of the pillars of the international security system for the good reason that they saved the lives of millions of people around the world and breathed hope into many countries. Nevertheless, peacekeeping operations needed to be rejuvenated to allow them to deal with global changes. That included the many conflicts and their complexity, the lack of cooperation among a number of protagonists of conflicts, and the difficulty in financing such operations.
He said his delegation welcomed the views in the New Horizon non-paper, which sought to find a way to better manage peacekeeping operations and their mandates, up to withdrawal. That included planning, conduct and evaluation. The document presented a more realistic objective for peacekeeping operations, and was of interest because the United Nations was now dealing with enormous difficulties in terms of deploying peacekeeping operations. To come in with a true partnership among all stakeholders, as the document contemplated, seemed to be the best way to go, if States wished to “breathe new life” into peacekeeping operations.
For its part, Togo was fully playing its role in peacekeeping operations, he said. At present, it was in twenty-seventh place among troop-contributing countries. Togo wished to contribute to peace everywhere where it was threatened, and would attempt to continue its efforts. The participation would not be possible without the assistance of traditional partners, including France and the United States, and his delegation thanked them for that.
He noted that the majority of troop-contributing countries were developing countries, and they were well aware of their logistical and financial limitations. As such, their momentum might be curbed if the question of reimbursement for equipment was not settled. His delegation was particularly pleased that the question of resources had been brought up by the two Under-Secretaries-General in their recent presentations before the Fourth Committee.
ONON SODOV ( Mongolia) said that the world had changed over the past decade, and those new challenges required new approaches to peacekeeping. In that regard, she championed the New Horizon initiative to help reconfigure United Nations peacekeeping to meet the challenges, as that would contribute to ongoing dialogue on the future direction of peacekeeping. The mandates now required more swift responses, and new mandates should only be issued when translated into clear guidelines. She cautioned the United Nations community to be careful when pursuing “robust peacekeeping”, to ensure that that did not impinge upon the principles of consent of all parties and the non-use of force.
She said that the best assurance against risks was a carefully mandated and thoroughly planned mission with sufficient resources, and the involvement of troop‑contributing countries in the planning at the earliest possible stage. She also stressed the benefits of reconnaissance visits by troop contributors before pledging to the missions. Additionally, frequent interaction between the Security Council, the Secretariat and the troop-contributing countries was essential.
She reiterated the zero-tolerance policy against sexual violence in peacekeeping missions, stressing that the troop-contributing countries bore the primary responsibly for maintaining their troops’ discipline. She welcomed the continued efforts of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to develop a comprehensive strategy to increase the participation of women in peacekeeping operations. She supported the increased deployment of women, which had included the appointment of a female observer to the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and a squad of female specialists within the contingent in Sierra Leone. Finally, she said that all peacekeeping personnel must have a sufficient degree of training and expertise, as that was a key element to reducing risks while on duty.
SIM TIONG KIAN ( Singapore) said that the resounding message from the debate thus far was that United Nations peacekeeping was at a critical juncture. There were many shortcomings in the manner in which the United Nations conducted peacekeeping, and radical reform was needed, or else States risked undermining the symbol of hope that had been associated with the United Nations blue berets for more than 60 years. The Under-Secretary-General had accurately pinpointed the core issues that must be tackled now, and to the Singaporean delegation, it was secondary whether States continued to debate and refine the New Horizon non-paper. With limited resources and the urgency of the task before it, his delegation supported the Secretariat’s pragmatic approach of channelling its energy to tackling the core issues head-on.
He said that one of the major issues to be tackled in the coming year was the protection of civilians. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ suggestion for a policy discussion in the coming months was not only timely, but necessary. Turning to the subject of peace transitions and exit strategies, he called on the United Nations Secretary-General to re-energize the stalled political processes of many conflict situations -– a “new horizon” for political processes, if you will. More effective political processes to stabilize Darfur, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sudan were needed, as were effective exit and drawdown strategies for existing missions. The point was that more success stories were needed to show that United Nations peacekeeping did not go on forever. That would go a long way towards bolstering the United Nations image and attracting more political support and resources in the long run.
This year was crucial for United Nations peacekeeping, he said. States could continue to have more dialogue and stall urgent reforms, thus further undermining United Nations peacekeeping, or they could “bite the bullet” and resolve to truly make a difference for the United Nations flagship activity. For the sake of the hundreds of men and women who had lost their lives in the line of upholding the United Nations flag, and the thousands of voiceless civilians who looked to the United Nations for peace and hope, States should make 2010 a year of “real change”, he concluded.
BERENADO VUNIBOBO ( Fiji) said there was a need to clarify the critical roles regarding protection of civilians, robust peacekeeping, and peacebuilding tasks. It was also necessary to increase planning and capacity building. In light of the ever-growing demand for delivering peace and security, compounded by pressures such as the international financial crisis, Fiji understood the need to supply properly trained and capable peacekeepers. As a troop- and police-contributing Member State, he echoed the call of other members for the fair treatment of all troop- and police-contributing countries. Although Fiji’s contribution to peacekeeping was relatively small compared to other contributors, it nevertheless was an expression of Fiji’s eagerness to play a meaningful role in the United Nations family and the international community. Modest though Fiji’s role might be, it was not without sacrifice.
He said that since the beginning of their involvement, Fiji’s peacekeeping troops had established a reputation for professionalism, skill and rapport with both the communities in their areas of operation, as well as with fellow peacekeepers. However, relations with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had slumped in recent times, owing to what Fiji perceived to be an unfortunate instance of how the United Nations system worked when pressured by certain powerful political forces. Fiji had naturally been disappointed, therefore, by what appeared to be a unilateral decision on the part of the United Nations to debar Fiji from any new peacekeeping operations. To this day, Fiji had not been able to receive a clear and satisfactory reply on that matter from the United Nations, despite repeated inquiries to that effect. He called on the United Nations to continue to deal equitably and fairly with troop‑contributing countries and, accordingly, he expressed the hope that Fiji’s concerns would be resolved.
BUKUN-OLU ONEMOLA (Nigeria), aligning his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the agenda item on peacekeeping operations was of utmost importance to Nigeria, not only because it chaired the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, but also as a country with a special commitment to United Nations peacekeeping operations. His delegation was ready to continue to join hands with other delegations and make the necessary sacrifices to promote and consolidate those conditions that would enhance peace, security, and human prosperity around the world. For that reason, it welcomed the new strategy to strengthen partnerships between troop-contributing countries and the United Nations and other relevant partners, especially with regard to the provision of adequate resources and capacity to strengthen regional peacekeeping initiatives.
He said that Nigeria, with a view to harmonizing training and bringing synergy to peacekeeping operations, had adopted a Forward Operation Base programme, which contained facilities meant to re-position troops inducted into and de-inducted from mission areas, in line with tactical and operational requirements. Cooperation with other partners, especially Member States that had the required facilities, would deepen the content and quality of training, and he thus encouraged the United Nations, acting in collaboration with Member States, to arrange regional seminars and symposiums for the exchange of best practices. The seminars’ outcomes could be useful in arranging regional peacekeeping operations, thereby resulting in the reduction of the start-up time for operations.
One of the core elements of the New Horizon non-paper was the protection of civilians, he said, emphasizing the need for adequate clarity of the mandate given to peacekeeping missions in that regard, in order to avoid any conflict with the primary responsibility of the host Government to protect civilians. His delegation wished to add its voice to those who had called for measures to enhance the safety and security of all peacekeeping personnel. The United Nations must give utmost priority to enhancing the safety and security of its peacekeeping personnel in the field. He also stressed the need for improved cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, with regard to arrangements in the maintenance of international peace and security, including peacekeeping.
ROSEMARY DICARLO ( United States) called for a strengthened partnership between the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries; the international community’s mutual efforts would not bear fruit unless the parties involved worked together. The United States especially sought to forge a stronger partnership with and among troop-contributing countries, as their insights and experiences were invaluable. In that regard, United States President Barack Obama had convened a meeting with leaders of the top police- and troop‑contributing countries in New York on 23 September.
She said that there were several key challenges facing United Nations peacekeeping. Several peacekeeping operations were expected to function in faltering situations, and must be accompanied by critical peacemaking efforts; peacekeeping mandates and means must be aligned; there was a lack of well-trained and well-equipped troops, hospital engineers, and aviation units; training must be expanded and logistics and supplies be given. Also, missions must be adequately staffed to protect civilians against violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, as that was often the measure by which success was judged, particularly by local populations. United Nations mission-planning must be improved to reduce deployment delays and ensure cost effectiveness. More attention must be given to peacebuilding, particularly reform of a criminal justice apparatus. Peacekeepers must jump start the economy, secure territories, and uphold the rule of law, so that having departed, they would not have to return again. Finally, mission strategies must have the flexibility to adapt to realities on the ground. The United States would do its part to address the challenges and to encourage fledgling peace processes.
JORGE URBINA ( Costa Rica), associating his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the Rio Group, said that 10 years ago, the Brahimi Report had initiated discussions that made it possible for the Organization to overcome challenges facing peacekeeping tasks undertaken by the United Nations from then onward. Today, peacekeeping operations presented new challenges that called for immediate attention. In that context, his delegation was greatly interested in the New Horizon non-paper, and was grateful for presentations made by the Under‑Secretaries-General before the Committee, which deepened the recommendations made in the document.
He said his delegation concurred with the need to have clear policies, standards and practical guidelines for the implementation of mandates on complex issues, such as the protection of civilians. During its service in the Security Council during the past 10 years, Costa Rica had stressed the need for the Council to produce clearer mandates in that regard. His delegation awaited with interest for the conclusions of the independent study commissioned by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations on the implementation of mandates to protect civilians. It also trusted that a detailed consideration of the study would make it possible to reach consensus on the basic capacities and necessary guidelines on that issue.
His delegation also supported efforts by the Secretariat to strengthen its ability to rapidly deploy civilian experts, who could provide support for critical tasks related to the rule of law and security, he said. It was also necessary to strengthen economic development to obtain sustainable peace, and to include rapid‑impact projects that stimulated community development. But such efforts must not be isolated and must be within the broader strategy of the country’s development. His delegation was gratified by the concrete actions taken in recent months, especially the emerging practice of conducting private meetings with troop- and police- contributing countries, with enough time before mandate renewals.
RUHAKANA RUGUNDA ( Uganda) said that while in some parts of the world the United Nations had succeeded in meeting the hopes and dreams of the affected populations, in some others it had not. Where peacekeeping had not been successful, those operations had been overwhelmed by the tasks, or lacked the appropriate mandate, and sometimes the resolve. There was also a gap between demand and supply in some areas. There was a common misunderstanding about what United Nations peacekeepers could and should do, as they were increasingly tasked with assisting in humanitarian efforts, protecting civilians, training law and security forces, and disarming combatants and armed groups.
He said that a clear understanding of the situation on the ground was required, as what was expected of peacekeepers and, in turn, what they required to do the job. The Security Council and the police- and troop-contributing countries shared an objective, and their interaction must be strengthened at the different stages of peacekeeping missions. The complexity of modern peacekeeping clearly indicated that no single organization, even the United Nations, could tackle the challenge on its own. The Organization should seek coordination both at strategic and operational levels, and should take maximum advantage of regional groups, such as the African Union. However, establishment or strengthening of strategic relations with the organizations was required.
When the African Union deployed peacekeeping operations, it was contributing towards maintenance of international peace and security, but it often lacked the financial resources to do so, he said. Of the pledges to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), more than $230 million in pledges had been made in April, but only a small portion had been disbursed. Yet troops were on the ground anyway, and thus, the authorization of a support package for AMISOM by the General Assembly, therefore, had been a welcome and significant contribution.
NG CHIN HUAT (Malaysia), aligning his delegation with the statements made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), reiterated his delegation’s firm belief in the central role of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security. Certainly, recent history had proven once and for all the detrimental effects on the international system as a whole of unilateral military actions. At the same time, United Nations peacekeeping operations were an indispensable instrument that had contributed immensely to resolving many armed conflicts, both within and among States. Indeed, among the many roles performed by the United Nations, peacekeeping, for all its imperfections, was an area in which the United Nations could take pride.
Putting peacekeeping in a broader historical context, he said it represented the first time in human history that nations had chosen to pool their military personnel for the sake of a common peace and not war. It was, therefore, an experiment that needed to be retooled from time to time. His delegation was mindful of the daunting responsibility and expectation placed on the United Nations. It viewed that positively, as it demonstrated the desire of the international community to do more to secure durable and sustainable peace in countries affected by conflict, some of them long-standing.
To match desire with outcome, however, it was critical for United Nations members to provide firm and unwavering support, especially in the area of human, financial and vital logistical resources to ensure the timely and successful implementation of peacekeeping operations, he said. His delegation reaffirmed that economic and social progress would only be possible through maintenance of peace and stability and, in that regard, peacekeeping operations played an important role in conflict-affected countries.
KHALAF BU DHHAIR (Kuwait) associating his statement with that made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations exerted enormous efforts in facing up to the colossal challenges in carrying out its duties under difficult and complex situations. As a result, peacekeeping operations contributed significantly and constructively in supporting the various missions scattered throughout the world.
He said there was a need to thoroughly determine the desired tasks and goals to be achieved by peacekeeping forces, including in their humanitarian operations. The coordination and consultation between the Security Council and troop‑contributing countries must be continued. It was important to provide all financial and technical support to the international peacekeeping forces, and to supply them with the necessary technical equipment and state-of-the-art technology, to perform the missions in a more effective fashion. It was also important to conduct comprehensive and continuous field studies to determine the technological and training needs, including security development in areas of conflict. The United Nations role should also be activated in the field of preventative diplomacy and early warning of regional and international conflicts.
AUGUSTINE P. MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania), aligning his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, commended the creative efforts by the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support to appropriately respond to the emerging challenges and demands of each field operations, from Darfur to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and from Afghanistan to Somalia, as a “no size fit all”. His country was ready and willing to contribute to and participate in multilateral endeavours. Paying tribute to the tenth anniversary of the Brahimi Report, he welcomed the New Horizon non‑paper, which sought to define new directions in peacekeeping, today and tomorrow.
He said that one of the priority areas that required extensive consultations with troop- and police-contributing countries was the protection of civilians. The independent study on that subject -– which he had chaired -– would be issuing its report next week. That should lead to wide discussions by all stakeholders, ranging from the crafting of mandates by the Security Council, to the definition of concepts of operations and rules of engagement by the Secretariat, and to actual implementation in the field. It was instructive to note at the outset that, although the protection of civilians should ideally and primarily be the responsibility of the State, there had been cases where the capacities of States were limited, constrained or even compromised, and United Nations peace missions had to assume that responsibility. That task required requisite resources ‑‑ financial, material and personal –- to implement the protection of civilians in integrated peacekeeping missions. Standardized training of troop and police personnel to perform that task was essential. The protection of civilians must be “the centre of gravity” in the implementation of peace agreements in the maintenance of international peace and security.
DAVID LAUWAH APHANOU (C ôte D’Ivoire) said 2009 was “rich in learning” with respect to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and it was obvious through its activities on the ground that peacekeeping operations had become a vital tool in bringing peace to areas where peace and security were threatened. That responsibility was fully assumed by the Organization, and as a country hosting a peacekeeping operation, Côte D’Ivoire would “hardly say the opposite”. For that, he expressed a renewed appreciation to the international community, to the Security Council, to the Secretariat, and to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations for the ongoing support, as Côte D’Ivoire emerged “slowly but surely” from crisis.
He said that, after more than 60 years, the ongoing evolution of crisis situations and the nature of those operations had led to a growth in the demands for peacekeeping. In that regard, the United Nations was at a crossroads. As the challenges became more significant, diverse, complex, and multidimensional, it was necessary to adapt operations to address the many specific difficulties arising from the environments where the conflicts occurred. The United Nations needed to resolve administrative, economic, and social issues, for which many different types of ideas were needed. Since no operation was like another, the United Nations had no choice but to adapt constantly.
His delegation was convinced that if cooperation was put at the forefront of discussion, solutions could be provided to the various challenges faced by peacekeepers, such as protecting vulnerable peoples and security sector reform, he said. However, he asked how peacekeepers could effectively assume responsibility, if troops on the ground did not take the tactical initiative to “go further” and sometimes use force. The Security Council had the responsibility to continue to improve the mechanisms of cooperation with member countries.
He cautioned against the employment of “two kinds of peacekeeping” -- one for the poor and one for the rich. The international community should think about a mechanism for cooperation that led to a partnership to promote those better-off countries to participate in peacekeeping operations, as that would help strengthen regional capacities.
MAJDI RAMADAN (Lebanon), aligning his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that Lebanon shared the view that the scale and complexity of peacekeeping today was mismatched with existing capabilities. It further shared the view that a renewed United Nations peacekeeping partnership was needed to meet new challenges, and to provide capable and effective results on the ground. Sufficient resources, coupled with timely and logistical support, should be available to implement the mission, and peacebuilding strategies should be built to facilitate successful transition and exit. Any reform effort, however, should conform to the general principles of peacekeeping, including the United Nations Charter principles of sovereignty, political independence and impartiality.
He emphasized the link between peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Peacekeeping should be part of a political solution, and not an end in itself. Comprehensive resolution of conflicts, by dealing with their core causes, should remain the objective. In his region, an end to the Israeli occupation in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon -- the core cause of the conflict -- was a prerequisite to any comprehensive resolution. The pursued reform should not affect strict adherence to the mandate set by the Security Council, the concept of operations, or the rules of engagement, among other things. The new partnership should further ensure the safety and security of United Nations positions. Crimes like the 1996 Israeli attack on the headquarters of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in Qana, south Lebanon, and the 2006 Israeli attack on the post of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), also in south Lebanon, should never be repeated.
The protection of civilians was the primary responsibility of host countries, and it remained an issue for further discussion, he said. UNIFIL had been –- and still was –- the partner of the Lebanese people in the liberation of their lands from Israeli occupation, which had been in place for more than 30 years. Hundreds of UNIFIL troops had sacrificed their lives at the hands of the Israeli occupation. Lebanon highly appreciated0 00000the important role that UNIFIL played in south Lebanon, and fully recognized the grave sacrifices it suffered.
CLAUDIA BLUM (Colombia), aligning her delegation with statements made on behalf of the Rio Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the definition of peacekeeping mandates must be coherent with each political context and should target clear and realist objectives commensurate with available resources.
She highlighted the recent practice established by the Security Council to meet with troop-contributing countries in a timely manner, prior to mandate renewals. That allowed for the respective exchange of opinions to be taken into account in the preparation of the corresponding mandate. She noted the positive way in which several Latin American and Caribbean countries had agreed on several cooperative actions in Haiti, and she looked forward to the achievement of sustainable development and democratic consolidation of that “sister country”.
FESSEHA ASEGHDOM TESSEMA ( Ethiopia) said it was obvious that the United Nations had been using peacekeeping as a viable instrument to maintain international peace and security. However, the recent surge in demand in conflict-affected areas presented enormous challenges to the Organization in its endeavour to provide security and stability for millions of peoples in various parts of the world. The traditional purview of United Nations peacekeeping missions had considerably changed, owing to the nature and scope of today’s conflict. That reality had necessitated a multidimensional approach, including clear and achievable mandates and enormous resources. Notwithstanding that dynamism, he stressed that all United Nations peacekeeping operations should be conducted in line with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and relevant Security Council resolutions. Furthermore, United Nations peacekeeping operations should be undertaken in strict conformity with the principle of sovereign equality, political independence, territorial integrity, and non-intervention in matters essentially within States’ domestic jurisdiction.
He said that the cooperation between the Security Council, troop‑contributing countries, the Secretariat and host countries was an essential element in the effective implementation of peacekeeping mandates. It was of paramount importance for all those actors to have a shared vision and meaningful partnership to bring durable peace and stability in countries where peacekeepers were deployed. In addition, troop-contributing countries should be consulted in the drafting of mandates and all phases of peacekeeping operations.
His delegation shared the concern expressed by many about the recurring problems of partial and late reimbursement, he said. All post-reimbursements must be accounted for, as they were important resources for the preparation and deployment of the next batch of peacekeepers. Moreover, adequate compensation must be paid without unnecessary delay to families of peacekeepers who lost their lives or sustained physical injuries while serving in the missions. Ethiopia, as a troop-contributing country, strongly believed that peace was the concern of all nations, irrespective of their size or level of deployment, and that they had the obligation to contribute in their capacities to the maintenance of international peace and security.
MARÍA-WALESKA VIVAS-MENDOZA (Venezuela), aligning her statement with those of the Non-Aligned Movement and Rio Group, said that peacekeeping operations were an important mechanism to keep international peace and security. The decision to send a peacekeeping operation, therefore, should be taken only when peaceful means to resolve conflicts had not borne fruit. Furthermore, those operations must take place within two major parameters: mission activities must meet the guidelines of neutrality, consent of parties, and use of force only in self-defence; and must also have respect for the principles of sovereignty, equality, and the territorial integrity of all States.
She said that the United Nations had a leading role for maintaining peace and international security, and peacekeeping operations could not replace international cooperative mechanisms to permanently settle conflicts. The consent of the peoples and Governments involved was key. Her delegation did not share the consensus attempting to reinterpret the mandate of peacekeeping operations. The Geneva Conventions for the protection of civilians had established how populations must be protected. The role of the International Committee of the Red Cross had been worthily and deservedly recognized. She fully agreed with the call to restore the image and credibility of peacekeepers through transparent efforts of the Organization to have a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual abuse.
SHARKE CHAMAN KHAN ( Bangladesh), associating her delegation with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that peacekeeping was the flagship activity of the United Nations. It had emerged as a powerful and effective tool for the maintenance of international peace and security, and it had become a multidimensional and complex task compared to what it was a few years ago. Peacekeepers were now also mandated to protect civilians and support humanitarian assistance in post-conflict situations, as well as to enforce peace. Nowadays, peacekeepers helped organize elections, assisted in the development of political structures, engaged in judicial and security-sector reforms, restored public order, facilitated and coordinated the voluntary return of refugees, and so on. All of those things were now the essential elements of a sustainable peace process. Although it was often difficult to determine the thin line between traditional peacekeeping operations and peacebuilding, those two processes complemented each other in a mutually-reinforcing fashion.
As one of the major troop-contributing countries and top police-contributing country, Bangladesh had nearly 10,000 peacekeepers deployed in 14 missions, she said. Her country had consistently provided at least 10 per cent of peacekeepers for the past 12 years. The success of a peacekeeping mission largely depended on the political support it received and also on the adequate and timely provision of financial, logistical and human resources. In that regard, she reiterated the importance of closer and active involvement with troop contributing countries when deciding on new peacekeeping missions, or extending or amending the mandates of current missions. The partnership between the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations Field Support, the troop-contributing countries, and the Security Council should be strengthened and made meaningful and effective. Continuous dialogue among the Security Council, the troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat in all phases of mission planning and implementation could ensure a mission’s success. Full participation of troop-contributing countries in every stage of decision-making and planning of peacekeeping missions, in all their aspects, must be consolidated and institutionalized.
ARAYA DESTA (Eritrea), aligning his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that due to the changing nature of most conflicts from inter-State to intra-State, peacekeeping operations were faced with new challenges. Rehabilitating and building national institutions had been added to the core function of United Nations missions, making peacekeeping operations more complex and more difficult, thus increasing the demand for better capability, more support and more resources.
He said that there was a growing trend for geographical regions to assume more responsibility in peacekeeping operations within their own regions, consistent with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter. While the need for financial and logistical support from the larger United Nations membership was clear for such operations to be carried out effectively, the need for prevention of conflicts must also be bolstered. Peacekeeping should not be regarded as the only available tool to the international community in the attainment of peace and stability. Rather, more efforts should be exerted in averting conflicts instead of managing them. A strategy for early-warning systems and early response would be helpful in the maintenance of international peace and security.
VINCENT NYAKARUNDI (Rwanda), aligning his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the fluid nature of conflicts today, with conflicting actors and divergent objectives, as well as the associated challenges that posed, made a comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations particularly pertinent. His delegation welcomed the New Horizons non-paper and viewed it as a positive way forward. It also looked forward to actively engaging in its consideration, particularly with respect to clearly defining its recommendations. His delegation strongly recommended strengthening regional cooperation, as called for in the Prodi Report, to enhance and support regional peacekeeping efforts. Regional organizations were able to deploy rapidly and, as such, had a unique advantage in the ability to intervene quickly and decisively.
He said that it was equally imperative that the Security Council issue clear and achievable mandates. His delegation urged the Council to consult troop- and police-contributing countries, in order to come up with realistic mandates that took a comprehensive view of the conflict. It was equally important that there be greater coordination between the Security Council and contributing countries on all peacekeeping-related issues. Peacekeeping would also greatly benefit from a larger presence and representation of contributors at the Headquarters and field‑mission level to ensure better and more efficient coordination.
In addition, the rapidly shifting and expanding role of peacekeeping naturally placed an extra burden on peacekeeping budgets, which had been exacerbated by the global financial and economic crisis, he said. It was critical, therefore, to match United Nations peacekeeping mandates with adequate resources to ensure effective execution. The timely reimbursement of troop- and police-contributing countries was essential to the effective execution of peacekeeping mandates. He urged the United Nations to urgently settle any arrears to troop- or police-contributing countries and to constitute measures to ensure timely reimbursement. It was equally important that compensation for death and disabilities was disbursed in a timely manner to reduce the burden on the families of the victims.
STEVE MATENJE (Malawi), aligning his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that international peace and security were prerequisites for achieving the internationally-agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. However, prolonged conflicts and wars in many parts of the world stood in the way of progress towards achieving those goals, and continued to claim millions of lives, displace ordinary peoples from their homes, and cause the untold suffering of innocent people.
He said that although many attempts had been employed to end wars and conflicts, none could surpass the legitimacy of the United Nations peacekeeping process in assisting the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security. However, peacekeeping procedures needed to be reviewed from time to time, in order to improve their effectiveness. The participation of all States, big and small, should be enhanced. While many countries had adequate human resources, they lacked the technical capacity needed for peacekeeping operations.
True peace could not be achieved without the active participation of women in conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and more should be done to increase women’s participation at the highest level of decision-making positions.
IVONA BAGARIĆ ( Serbia) said that peacekeeping operations were one of the most important aspects of the capacity of the United Nations to safeguard international peace and security. The peacekeeping operations mandate was much more diversified today than it was in the past and included prevention and maintenance of peace, as well as post-conflict reconstruction and long-term social development. It was necessary, therefore, to have a comprehensive approach, with the establishment of a solid basis and legal criteria to make peacekeeping operations more efficient and effective. Also necessary was to establish more firmly a principle of analysis and review of each individual peacekeeping operation, together with strengthening cooperation and coordination of the Security Council and other United Nations bodies in the areas of joint responsibility. In addition, an integrated strategy of planning and implementation of peacekeeping missions should be prepared.
She said that, as States were witness to the emergence of an ever-greater number of crises and armed conflicts in the world today, their active participation in peacekeeping operations was of particular importance. Respect for law was crucial for maintaining peace and security, and for preventing the resurgence of conflicts. In order to have a successful peacekeeping operation, mandates must be defined in clear terms, always taking into account the specific situation in which the operation was going to take place, as well as the involvement of external factors. That was particularly true of the deployment of rapid-reaction forces, where it was necessary to define very clearly the role of the troop-contributing countries.
MOHAMMED ALI AL-OTMI (Yemen), supporting the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that peacekeeping operations should not be seen as permanent and lasting solutions to conflicts, but must deal with the root causes. As part if that approach, it was important to provide economic and technical assistance to the communities of the least developed countries to help them overcome their poverty and fragmentation. Tools of peace must include preventive diplomacy, early warning, and post-conflict peacebuilding.
Along with emphasizing preventive diplomacy, Yemen also stressed the need to respect the sovereignty of States and non-interference with unity and political independence of their internal affairs, he said. The root causes ascribed to terrorisms must be confronted, and he hoped the United Nations, with its wisdom and experts, was capable of finding solutions. Without addressing regions of conflict, the entire world would be led into anarchy, after which it would be impossible to find solutions. Regarding peacekeeping operations, host countries should assume the responsibility of the protection of civilians. His delegation strongly condemned the attacks against United Nations staff and expressed condolences to the families of the victims and the countries of Jordan, Uruguay and Pakistan for the men and women who had made the “ultimate sacrifice” for peace.
* *** *For information media • not an official record