|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Special Committee on
212th & 213th Meetings (AM & PM)
Peacekeeping Chief Tells of Secretary-General’s ‘Ambitious Agenda’
for Post-Conflict Rebuilding, as Special Committee Opens Session
Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Calls
Mission’s Frontline Role in Haiti Test Case for Speedy, Flexible Response
With the United Nations peacekeeping architecture stretched and under increasing stress, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had developed an “ambitious, forward-looking” agenda to better enable it to contain violence, protect civilians and help national actors build peace after conflict, the head of the world body’s peacekeeping operations said today as the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations opened its 2010 substantive session.
The new partnership agenda, based on the recommendations of the Brahimi Report and lessons learned, would focus on planning and oversight, field support, and policy and capability development, said Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations. It would aim to fill critical gaps in peacekeeping operations while ensuring that troops were well-prepared, well-equipped and able to deliver on reasonable performance expectations. “I hope 2010 will set us on a path towards providing our personnel with the necessary guidance, resources and political and operations support structures to deliver all of their mandated tasks effectively,” he added.
The Under-Secretary-General said the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the Department of Field Support (DFS) were hammering out strategies to build and sustain all aspects of peacekeeping capabilities, and to forge peace early on through rule-of-law activities, mine action, security-sector reform as well as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes. The Departments intended to work with experienced troop- and police-contributing countries and other interested Member States to create baseline operational standards for specific uniformed peacekeepers.
Susana Malcorra, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, described the Organization’s work in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, saying that DFS was working with the Secretariat and Member States toimprove services while calibrating tools and procedures to needs on the ground. The Secretary-General’s Acting Special Representative in Haiti, the Assistant Secretary-General for Field Support and strong reinforcement teams had been deployed to replace the 92 staff of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) killed in the 12 January quake, Ms. Malcorra said. The Mission was on the frontlines of search-and-rescue as well as humanitarian aid efforts and would continue to play a lead role in reconstructing Haiti.
The tragic deaths of more than 100 United Nations civilian, military and police personnel in Haiti had created a vast gap, she said, adding that 2,000 more troops and 1,500 police personnel would be sent to the Caribbean island nation. “ Haiti has proven to be a formidable test case of our ability to respond with speed and flexibility,” she said. MINUSTAH had the difficult task of combining counselling for survivors and families, mortuary services, forensic identification and assistance to traumatized personnel with targeted joint efforts by DPKO and DFS to overcome logistical and support challenges.
Ms. Malcorra said DFS also faced challenges in Afghanistan, where last October’s attack on the Kabul guesthouse in which five United Nations personnel had been killed and many others injured had prompted an immediate review of housing arrangements for all United Nations personnel, as well as a temporary relocation of non-essential staff to Dubai, pending the strengthening of security measures. DFS supported peacekeeping personnel deployed in 15 missions worldwide -– the most in the Organization’s history. It provided logistical, administrative and management support to 14 special political missions. Its Global Field Support Strategy aimed to ensure more efficient, effective service delivery in four key areas: financial management and oversight; human resource management; creation of global and regional service centres; and innovations in logistics, including modularized service packages.
Among the more than other 20 speakers taking the floor today, Norway’s representative described civilian protection as the most critical task in need of clarification. “We must come to grips with this issue to be able to deliver more effectively in the field. This is vital to uphold faith in the [United Nations], not only in countries wracked by conflict, but also in contributing countries,” she said.
Calling for greater attention to sexual and gender-based violence, and emphasizing the need for more women peacekeepers to gather information about violence in local communities, she said United Nations peacekeeping missions were too often “resourced on the basis of the best-case scenario”. While the Security Council had improved its dialogue with the Secretariat and troop- and police-contributing countries in respect of collective oversight of missions, its recent meeting on transition and exit strategies had not been open to all contributing countries, she pointed out.
Echoing the concerns about civilian protection, South Africa’s representative said mandates must be clearly prioritized and the necessary equipment and resources deployed, pointing out that the high mobility and sophisticated weaponry of rebel forces called for a paradigm shift in United Nations peacekeeping practice. Timely consultations with troop-contributing countries before mandate renewals, more interaction between the Peacebuilding Commission and the Council, and stepped up cooperation between the Council and regional organizations had helped address some of those concerns.
Nigeria’s representative said many missions lacked the mobility and air assets to meet their mandates. Robust peacekeeping -– a strategy to use force only when necessary to ensure implementation of a mission’s mandate -– required effective command-and-control structures, adequate equipment and mission unity, he said, adding that modern technology, responsive logistics support and the delegation of authority to make difficult decisions in the field were crucial for that strategy’s success.
Also during the meeting, the Special Committee elected, by acclamation, U. Joy Ogwu (Nigeria) as its Chairperson, Amr El-Sherbini (Egypt) as Rapporteur, and the following to serve as Vice-Chairs: Diego Limeres (Argentina), Henri-Paul Normandin (Canada), Tetsuya Kimura (Japan) and Zbigniew Szlek (Poland). In other actions, the Special Committee decided that Mr. Normandin would continue to chair its Working Group of the Whole, and adopted its programme of work.
Other speakers today were the representatives of Morocco (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Spain (on behalf of the European Union), Chile (on behalf of the Rio Group), Australia (on behalf of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or CANZ), Egypt, Costa Rica (on behalf of the Human Security Network), Brazil, Syria, United States, Algeria, Switzerland, Rwanda, Russian Federation, Japan, Guatemala, Ukraine, Uruguay, Thailand (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Belarus, Kenya and Benin.
The Special Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 23 February, to continue its general debate.
The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations opened its 2010 substantive session this morning, and is expected to hold its traditional two-day general debate today and tomorrow before moving into a two-week-long series of briefings on general peacekeeping matters and meetings of its Working Group of the Whole.
Established by General Assembly resolution 2006 (XIX) of 18 February 1965 to conduct a comprehensive review of all peacekeeping issues, the Special Committee reports to the General Assembly through the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization). Known informally as the Committee of 34 and originally consisting of 34 members, its membership stands at 144 today, mostly past or current contributors to peacekeeping operations. Participating as observers are 13 other Member States as well as intergovernmental organizations and entities, including the European Community, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).
The Special Committee’s programme of work is contained in document A/AC.121/2010/L.2.
ALAIN LE ROY, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said there had been an intensive dialogue on United Nations peacekeeping throughout 2009. Numerous new missions had been launched since the issuance of the Brahimi Report 10 years ago, leading to unprecedented growth in the deployment of uniformed and non-uniformed personnel, as well as increasingly complex mandates. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the Department of Field Support (DFS) had therefore proposed a new partnership agenda for United Nations peacekeeping, building on the recommendations of the Brahimi Report and drawing on lessons learned.
He said that, based on intensive and fruitful dialogue with all concerned, the Secretary-General had proposed an “ambitious forward-looking agenda” (document A/64/573) founded on four interlinked building blocks: planning and oversight; policy development; capability development; and field support. “I hope 2010 will set us on a path towards providing our personnel with the necessary guidance, resources and political and operations support structures to deliver all of their mandated tasks effectively,” he said.
Together with Susana Malcorra, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, he said, he had issued a directive to all staff in October 2009 instituting improved practices for systematically engaging troop- and police-contributing countries in advance of mandate renewals or changes. Those efforts, along with the Security Council’s own steps to improve its consultations with troop and police contributors, had already borne fruit in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and the United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), among other peacekeeping operations.
“Clear and achievable mandates must, however, also be adequately resourced with the required capabilities,” he emphasized, noting that a central priority of the Secretary-General was ensuring effective mandate implementation by filling critical gaps in peacekeeping operations, and ensuring peacekeepers were well prepared, equipped and enabled to deliver against reasonable performance expectations. DPKO and DFS had been working to elaborate a comprehensive capability development strategy, aimed at building and sustaining capabilities across all peacekeeping components. That long-term project would require sustained support from Member States.
He said he hoped to work with experienced troop- and police-contributing countries and other interested Member States to advance the development of baseline operational standards for specific uniformed peacekeeping components. DPKO would be seeking close engagement with the Special Committee, as well as other bodies of the General Assembly, to advance efforts to strengthen human resources systems and ensure the availability of qualified, rapidly deployable civilian capacities.
The Secretary-General’s report underlined the importance of greater clarity regarding the role of peacekeepers and early peacebuilders, he noted, describing peacebuilding as a broad concept encompassing the provision of help to countries in their transition from conflict to sustainable peace. They included support for basic safety and security, support for political processes, support for economic revitalizations, and support for host Governments in providing basic security and safety, an essential precondition for building sustainable peace.
He said DPKO was developing a strategy for critical early peacebuilding tasks undertaken by peacekeepers, focusing on the rule of law, mine action, security-sector reform as well as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. Close cooperation and coordination with the host Government was essential for sustainable results. It was vital to provide the necessary resources and expertise, and an expanded standing police capacity, complemented by a small number of justice and corrections experts, would be an important step in that direction.
Peacekeeping operations also played a critical role in providing a valuable integrating framework for United Nations system-wide efforts and supporting peacebuilding efforts by the Organization’s partners, he said. A common framework would help achieve clarity on roles among United Nations actors and with key partners such as international financial institutions and regional organizations.
“A final point on peacebuilding is that the provision of adequate resources for early peacebuilding tasks, such as rehabilitation of prisons, equipment and training of police officers is frequently lacking,” he noted, adding that the Peacebuilding Fund could provide valuable catalytic funding for such tasks. Support from Member States in identifying modalities for flexible, rapid and predictable funding for countries emerging from conflict would be extremely valuable.
Pointing out that today’s conflicts involved overwhelmingly intra-State rather than inter-State disputes, he said they were marked by competition for control of populations as much as territory, and the deliberate targeting of the most vulnerable: minorities, women and children. The Security Council had therefore increasingly mandated peacekeeping operations to undertake tasks necessitating a robust approach to implementation. Such an approach was not only a military or police posture, but essentially a political and operational approach signalling the determination of a peacekeeping operation to implement its mandate, sometimes in the face of resistance from spoilers.
The threat and use of force was tactical, aimed at countering specific spoilers, and always used as a last resort, he stressed. “In short, we need to be seen to be credible to meet emerging and more complex threats. We must be resolute, determined and focused in our actions. We need to respond swiftly, effectively and robustly where required, but this takes training and determination both in preparation before deployment as well as when deployed on the ground. If we are engaged, our response must be instantaneous and decisive.” Guidelines for a robust approach had been provided in a draft concept note on robust peacekeeping, he added.
He said the lessons learning exercise had illuminated a number of innovative approaches undertaken by missions in implementing civilian-protection mandates, while also highlighting significant gaps in capabilities, resources, training and guidance, as well as a number of policy and strategy dilemmas. Many such issues stemmed from the lack of a common understanding. While the responsibility to protect civilians rested with national authorities, host Governments were often unable to provide protection. Eight United Nations peacekeeping operations therefore had civilian-protection mandates.
A draft operational concept offered a common framework within which to understand civilian protection, he said. “It is critical that we provide our peacekeepers in the field with the critical resources, training and guidance that they require to implement this extremely complex mandated task.” Through early warning and the ability to respond quickly, the potential need to use force at a later stage could be minimized, he said, adding that monitoring and surveillance technology were therefore important capabilities for effective mandate implementation. The Secretariat would welcome the support of Member States for the development of a policy on monitoring and surveillance technology.
Immense challenges faced peacekeeping operations today, as pointed out in the New Horizon process, he said, pointing out, however, that improving mandate implementation was an ongoing process. In that regard, safety and security, welfare and recreation, children in armed conflict and gender issues were of great importance. Continued engagement by all actors, including the Special Committee, was indispensable to ensuring success on the ground. “Despite the tragedy in Haiti, I start this year with a sense of optimism that we are on a path towards new cohesion and commitment to do what is necessary to strengthen United Nations peacekeeping,” he said in conclusion.
SUSANA MALCORRA, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, said that, while supporting 15 peacekeeping missions, the Department also provided logistical, administrative and management support to 14 special political missions, in addition to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). It was also liquidating 10 missions.
Noting that the number of peacekeepers deployed worldwide had been at an all-time high in 2009, she described her Department’s work in different locations during that year, saying that was working with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to provide the logistical support required for elections. It was also helping the Mission to open regional and provincial offices throughout the country. However, the worsening security situation was forcing DFS to harden its protective posture, thus constraining its mobility, putting pressure on its supply chain and straining its ability to deliver services.
She said last October’s attack on the Kabul guesthouse, in which five United Nations personnel had been killed and many others injured, had led to an immediate review of housing arrangements for all United Nations personnel, as well as a temporary relocation of non-essential staff to Dubai, pending the strengthening of security measures. The Department had deployed a team to support UNAMA’s capacity to expedite recruitment and reduce vacancy rates, but safe, secure accommodations were limited, thought the Mission was working hard to build office space and accommodations for staff.
The evolving mandate of MONUC had important implications, she said, noting that 99 per cent of its military component was now deployed in the eastern part of the country. Due to the absence of reliable roads, MONUC relied heavily on air transport, which pushed up costs. The logistics base in Entebbe, Uganda, had greatly helped with the delivery of support to east Democratic Republic of the Congo. MONUC was working to better understand such needs, and to ensure faster initial deployment, internal redeployment, surge capacity and agility for more expeditious responses.
In Chad, DFS supported the transfer from EUFOR in March 2009 and the development of the Détachement intégré de sécurité (DIS), an important element of the mandate’s humanitarian dimension, she said. In Darfur, the Department supported the deployment of UNAMID as a whole, initiated major construction projects and facilitated a round-the-clock police presence by providing fuel generators, beds and other logistical support. It also assisted the Darfur mediation and the African Union High-level Panel on Darfur. Challenges included long supply lines, poor infrastructure, difficulty in recruiting and maintaining qualified staff, and generating force enablers such as helicopters.
She said the Organization’s support to AMISOM represented a “unique, unprecedented arrangement, which signalled a new level of strategic and operational engagement with the African Union”. As part of the logistics support package approved by the Security Council in early 2009, the Department had helped create a sustainable supply route from Mombasa to Mogadishu. The 5,300 Ugandan and Burundian soldiers deployed in Somalia were now consuming standard United Nations food rations.
The United Nations had also delivered critical medical supplies as well as prefabricated buildings, field kitchens and ablution units, she said. Fuel delivery had commenced last year, and a secure communications network linking Force Headquarters in Mogadishu to Nairobi had been set up. Contracts were in place for the construction of an AMISOM Force Headquarters and a level II hospital. The United Nations Trust Fund for AMISOM had started to disburse funds. “I would not wish to minimize, however, the highly challenging security environment in which we are delivering this support. We face continued attacks against AMISOM facilities and UN-contracted ships,” she added, stressing that the attacks impacted and slowed the Organization’s capacity to deliver.
In 2009, the United Nations had supported the liquidation of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) and the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) in a short time frame, she said. In Kosovo, the Organization had supported the reconfiguration of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) by separating or reappointing to other missions more than 1,000 civilian staff, and deploying and selling or transferring physical assets to the European Union.
Noting that Edmond Mulet, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and Tony Banbury, Assistant Secretary-General for Field Support, had been deployed with strong reinforcement teams after the 12 January earthquake, she said MINUSTAH was on the frontlines of search-and-rescue as well as humanitarian aid efforts. It would continue to play a lead role in reconstructing Haiti, including its political and security institutions. The deployment of 2,000 more troops and 1,500 police personnel was underway.
Within three days of the earthquake, DFS had deployed almost 3,000 temporary shelters and some $3 million in emergency commodities, she said, pointing out that 99 per cent of communications had been re-established within six hours of the catastrophe. An air-bridge between Santo Domingo and Port-au-Prince was in place, and more than nine cargo flights had brought in supplementary supplies.
The tragic deaths of 102 United Nations civilian, military and police personnel had created a vast gap, she said, noting that MINUSTAH had lost 92 staff members, including its leadership and entire sections of the Mission. Its focus was on supporting the Haitian people by creating the conditions for it to continue implementing its mandates. Counselling for survivors and families, mortuary services, forensic identification and assistance to traumatized personnel continued in parallel with targeted joint efforts by DPKO and DFS to provide solutions to logistical and support challenges.
She said more than 300 temporary staff had been sent to MINUSTAH from Headquarters and other missions to replace those who had perished, been injured or who were otherwise unable to remain with the Mission in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. More than 100 additional staff had been temporarily deployed to Santo Domingo to perform a number of “back office” functions for an interim period. “ Haiti has proven to be a formidable test case of our ability to respond with speed and flexibility,” she said, adding that DFS was working within the Secretariat and with Member States to improve services while calibrating tools and procedures to needs on the ground.
Regarding issues of conduct and discipline, she said the revised Model Memorandum of Understanding between troop-contributing countries and the United Nations was considered to be in force. Member States had provided increased feedback on national disciplinary actions in substantiated cases, and it was important to maintain that engagement so as to end all allegations, in line with the zero-tolerance policy. As noted in the Secretary-General’s report on special measures to protect against sexual exploitation and abuse, there had been a significant decline in the number of alleged category I offences relating to sexual exploitation and abuse.
However, the number had risen as of December 2009, she said, expressing particular concern about allegations of rape and sex with minors, which had increased from 2008. Hundreds of allegations of category II offences had been reported in 2009. Misconduct, particularly in its most egregious forms, required constant attention and vigilance. The Department’s Conduct and Discipline Unit and field teams were the best advocates of an environment free of misconduct and abuse. Dedicated resources for training, preventive measures and awareness-raising activities must continue to be made available.
To increase transparency, a new website had been launched in November 2009 and augmented in December 2009 to include a statistical section providing data on allegations of misconduct, she said, before saying in conclusion that the Department’s Global Field Support Strategy envisaged improvements to ensure more efficient, effective service delivery in four key areas: financial management and oversight; human resource management; creation of global and regional service centres; and innovations in logistics, including modularized service packages.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed concern about the shift in terminology from the use of “peacekeeping operations” to “peace operations”, emphasizing that the body was the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, and not the Special Committee for Peace Operations. It was the only United Nations forum mandated to review comprehensively the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects. Peacekeeping had developed gradually from classic operations with mandates limited to ceasefire monitoring into complex, multidimensional missions combining military, police, civilian and humanitarian components, often operating in intra-State contexts.
United Nations peacekeeping should not be a substitute for addressing the root causes of conflict, he stressed, noting that the current debate highlighted the importance of nation-building and development, among other challenges. The Non-Aligned Movement welcomed the acknowledgement by all that peacekeeping operations should be provided from the outset with the necessary political support, sufficient human, financial and logistical resources, clearly defined and achievable mandates and exit strategies. Although the current session would focus on a number of issues raised in the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the Special Committee’s recommendations, its goal should be to determine ways to improve United Nations peacekeeping a decade after the issuance of the Brahimi Report.
Pointing out that the Non-Aligned Movement contributed 87 per cent of deployed personnel to United Nations peacekeeping missions while counting among its members the majority of countries hosting peacekeeping operations, he said that entitled members to advocate for the full involvement of troop-contributing countries in all aspects and stages of mission planning. It was time to seek innovative ways to translate intentions into action, and the Non-Aligned Movement looked forward to engaging in a more focused debate on options for a more structured dialogue and interaction among troop-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat.
Moreover, the “flagship” United Nations activity could not continue to be supported by only a portion of the membership, he emphasized. “All developed countries, especially the Security Council, must share the burden of peacekeeping and engage their troops in the field under United Nations command and control.” The safety and security of United Nations and associated personnel in the field continued to be a matter of concern for the Non-Aligned Movement, he said, adding that the best assurance against risks was a well resourced, equipped and mandated mission that was not deployed in a void or where the political process was non-existent or compromised. Many deployed troops were being stretched to cover geographic areas exceeding their capacities, while reimbursement on account of death and disability on the part of peacekeepers remained a source of concern.
A central challenge for effective peacekeeping was to make full use of the synergies between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, he said. Early advice from and engagement by the Peacebuilding Commission, at the request of the host Government, would ensure early and consistent peacebuilding and sustained engagement beyond the life of a peacekeeping mission. In determining its priorities and jump-starting early peacebuilding activities, the peacebuilding component of a complex mission should aim to achieve the earliest possible transfer of responsibility to local and national authorities.
Stressing that civilian protection was the primary responsibility of the host Government, and that relevant peacekeeping mission should conduct their tasks without prejudice to that primary responsibility, he underlined the importance of a comprehensive approach to that issue, encompassing the provision of timely and adequate resources, logistical support and required training, as well as well defined and achievable mandates. Member States should also agree on a common definition of “protection of civilians”, he said, adding that it was counter-productive to establish a hierarchy among mandated tasks while judging a mission’s success or failure from the sole perspective of civilian protection. If it was conducted properly and supported a pre-existing political process, the protection of civilians would be a guaranteed end result.
Primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security rested with the United Nations and the role of regional arrangements should accord with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, he said. The Non-Aligned Movement supported efforts to strengthen African Union peacekeeping capabilities, beginning with implementation of the Joint Action Plan for United Nations support to African Union peacekeeping. As for the use of force, he said the Movement preferred the concept of “effective peacekeeping” to the expression “robust peacekeeping”, noting the absence of specifics to help Member States clearly understand the difference between the two. Peacekeeping in its existing form was “robust” enough under fundamental peacekeeping principles.
“Peacekeeping missions became heavily mandated and under-resourced,” he said, stressing that improving peacekeeping entailed proactive logistical management and support to peacekeeping missions. Addressing capability gaps was at the core of that challenge. Enablers such as air assets, field hospitals, transport facilities and critical equipment were still not available for critical peacekeeping missions. Questions relating to field support should be treated in a holistic way, he said, proposing the creation of an open-ended working group and a resumed session dedicated to the Field Support Strategy.
JUAN ANTONIO YÁÑEZ-BARNUEVO (Spain), speaking on behalf of the European Union, described the New Horizon non-paper and the direction it provided as invaluable, adding that its implementation was now of critical important. The non-paper and the Secretary-General’s report underlined clearly the political and practical contours of today’s challenges. The European Union was willing to work on building a renewed global partnership, “identifying a shared set of priorities […] within the peacekeeping partnership, to strengthen [United Nations] peacekeeping and to translate them into practical actions and concrete results in the field”.
Noting that the regional bloc had made a special point of sharing the gist of its proposals with members of the Special Committee ahead of the session, he said that identifying and strengthening the links between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, in coordination with the priorities of the host nation, was key to the success of any mission. The European Union could not agree more with the words of Special Adviser Lakhdar Brahimi, “peacekeepers and peacebuilders are inseparable partners”. However, it should also be borne in mind that peacekeepers were not peacebuilders; specialized personnel should be deployed in sufficient numbers early in a mission to help the host country establish the foundations of peace through State-building, thereby reducing the risk of relapsing into conflict.
Turning to the issue of civilian protection, he said protection tasks must reflect and uphold the principles of United Nations peacekeeping. The Government concerned bore primary responsibility to protect its population, while the peacekeeping operation had a “transitory role” to play. At the same time, “it would be unrealistic to suppose that this shouldn’t be a task for peacekeepers”. In line with Security Council resolution 1894 (2009), the protection of civilians was a mission-wide task, and peacekeeping operations should develop comprehensive plans to ensure the implementation of protection mandates. In that context, the European Union welcomed the “DPKO/DFS Operational Concept on Protection of Civilians in UN Peacekeeping Operations”, both as a valuable contributions to the Special Committee’s discussions and as a stepping stone towards consistent implementation on the ground.
On robust peacekeeping, he said it was not only a military issue, but also a political posture. It was also not peace enforcement. The European Union felt that credible deterrence was an essential component of robust peacekeeping. In operations requiring a robust posture, special care should be taken to ensure that relevant troop and police contributors were thoroughly consulted from the earliest stages of planning. As for the midpoint paper on a new field support strategy, he said that, although the European Union looked forward to more detailed and timely information on costs, savings and other issues, it considered the underlying principles and goals to be sound and looked forward to establishing an informal open-ended working group on that strategy.
Concerning the development of more effective arrangements for planning management and oversight, he said the European Union would pay special attention to measures aimed at improving the quality of reporting, including early warning, especially in mandates containing civilian protection tasks. It supported the development of the Secretariat’s ability to respond rapidly to requests for information. An improved chain of commend from Security Council political control and strategic direction to implementation in the field was also of interest, he said, stressing the vital importance of the military function and expertise within the Peacekeeping Department in that regard. The question of safety and security of United Nations peacekeeping personnel was also “very important”, he said, voicing support for efforts to reinforce the existing capability to keep them safe, while developing training, information-sharing and the use of new technologies for that purpose.
He touched also on the need for strengthened cooperation with other international, regional and subregional organizations; gender and peacekeeping; the protection of children; the growing demand for enhanced functions relating to police, rule-of-law, security-sector reform; as well as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. The European Union was ready to work closely with all stakeholders in building a global partnership for peacekeeping, thereby fulfilling the expectations of those who looked to the United Nations for hope and comfort. “If we succeed, this will be the best way to pay tribute to all those brave men and women who served under the UN flag, and gave their lives for the sake of others.”
EDUARDO GÁLVEZ (Chile) speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, began his statement by expressing heartfelt condolences to the people Haiti for the huge loss of life and material damage that nation had suffered from the 12 January, to all other countries that had lost citizens in the quake, as well as to the United Nations and its staff. He welcomed the international solidarity displayed in the wake of the catastrophe, and urged sustained and properly coordinated assistance to meet the long-term needs of the Haitian people.
Turning to the matter at hand, he said that, because peacekeeping mandates were becoming more complex as the need for troops continued to grow, it was essential to strengthen the operational capacity and organizational structure of United Nations peacekeeping, both in New York and in the field. Such a step would strengthen the administration and conduct of those operations, he said, reaffirming that the General Assembly was the highest intergovernmental body for formulating and evaluating peacekeeping policies and guidelines. Moreover, the Special Committee was the only forum that could provide policy guidance to the United Nations system.
The Rio Group considered it appropriate that the Special Committee should begin a substantive discussion of all operational issues relating to peacekeeping mandates, including matters of protection and security in the area of deployment. Emphasizing the need for sufficient capacity, clear and appropriate guidelines and suitable training so that peacekeeping missions would be able to perform all their mandated tasks, he said there was also a need to improve coordination and interaction between all relevant stakeholders -- host countries, the Special Committee, troop-contributing countries, the Security Council, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), and the Secretariat. Such coordination should begin before any decisions were made about a mission’s mandate, as a way to ensure effective deployment and facilitate successful performance of assigned duties.
He went on to note that developing countries provided most of the personnel deployed among the Organization’s peacekeeping operations, which called for their close involvement in all stages of mission planning. Indeed, it was essential to ensure better information-sharing, coordination and consultation with troop-contributing countries. The Rio Group was pleased that recent private meetings between troop contributors and the Security Council were being held prior to the relevant Council consultations, and hoped that practice would continue.
“Successful implementation of all assigned tasks, including protection of civilians, when such a mandate exists, requires integration of efforts at all levels,” he said, emphasizing the importance of a global approach to the topic. It was crucial to consider all political, security and financial implications, since it would be very unfortunate for the United Nations -- and for the countries concerned -- if peacekeeping operations were established without a clear understanding of on-the-ground realities or without the capacity to carry out assigned duties. Urging greater coordination in the area of peacebuilding, he welcomed the General Assembly’s recent creation of a Policy, Evaluation and Training Unit to enhance cooperation with relevant United Nations bodies and with international financial institutions for progress on development and economic reconstruction.
GARY QUINLAN (Australia), speaking also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand (CANZ), said the increasingly complex operational peacekeeping environment and the high expectations of operations demanded sound policy advice and development, clear and achievable mandates, as well as a commitment to the resources needed to ensure successful outcomes. The bedrock principles of peacekeeping mandates would be meaningless if the responsibility of peacekeepers to safeguard human life and protect those acutely affected by conflict were not acknowledged.
He urged the Special Committee, the Security Council and the Secretariat to consider the many recommendations on civilian protection contained in the joint independent study of DPKO and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, including the importance of focusing on civilian protection from the outset of mission planning. That required open, continuous dialogue with many actors. More comprehensive strategies would help coordinate efforts to better effect for those whom the Organization aimed to protect. However, the lack of necessary resources, training or capability to implement those tasks was a challenge. Greater agreement on a standard operational concept would help develop mission-wide and mission-specific strategies that would enable the Council and the Secretariat to more accurately assess what resources and capabilities were needed to effectively provide mandated protection activities.
Efforts to protect civilians or implement a robust mandate would not be successful without a comprehensive approach to ensure that post-conflict peacebuilding resulted in sustainable peace, he said. CANZ recommended engagement by the Peacebuilding Commission at the earliest post-conflict phase, in terms of advice on the peacebuilding aspects of peacekeeping mandates, and for the Commission’s input into DPKO’s draft strategy on critical early peacebuilding tasks, in order to set priorities for implementing complex mandates. CANZ encouraged the Commission to play a greater role in coordinating global organizations and actors in post-conflict settings, and better use of the Peacebuilding Fund to pool financial resources to supplement peacebuilding tasks in post-conflict settings.
He said that, while recognizing efforts to create the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions, there was an overlap between coordinating efforts concerning the rule of law, and the need to review the system and widely apply the rule of law in the Secretariat in order to consolidate policy coherence and coordination. He urged the Secretariat to implement the new Formed Police Unit guidelines and apply the anticipated pre-deployment training and readiness standards, while expressing concern that DPKO continued to endorse troop and police deployments in the field without appropriate pre-deployment training. Greater scrutiny was needed, he stressed.
Calling for timely, transparent efforts to fill vacant DPKO posts, he stressed the importance of pre-mission planning to determine police requirements, and urged the Secretariat to draw on the Department’s recent effort to identify the needs of United Nations police in Darfur in order to work with donors in developing a broad capacity-building clearinghouse to better match training and equipment needs with donor programmes. The Organization could learn from innovative African Union efforts to respond to regional peacekeeping challenges.
Turning to the Field Support Strategy, he said the Special Committee should not holistically endorse the Strategy without hearing more from DFS on a number of key areas. In particular, there was still no clear picture of exactly where the current logistical support system was broken, and what exactly would be done to fix it. Greater transparency was needed on the criteria for determining various aspects of the Strategy, and on command-and-control structures, particularly as they related to the proposed regional service centres.
MAGED A. ABDELAZIZ (Egypt), associating himself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said peacekeeping should always be considered as only one among a series of political tools for maintaining international peace and security, depending on the different circumstances of each situation. For that reason, clear and achievable mandates should be coupled with an integrated approach that combined integrated political and military planning. In that light, mandates covering the protection of civilians should clearly define “civilian” and ensure national sovereignty and ownership.
He said troop-contributing countries should be consulted at all stages of peacekeeping, with sustained dialogue through an institutional mechanism. The capacity of developing countries to contribute to peacekeeping operations must be strengthened. To avoid expanding the use of force, priority must remain on the political process. Transition and exit strategies must be formulated, and the role of peacekeeping within peacebuilding processes clarified to ensure that peacekeeping operations were accompanied by intense efforts for economic development. Cooperation with regional organizations should be further strengthened and the deployment of police better supported. Egypt would continue working to strengthen its long-term contribution to United Nations peacekeeping.
A.U. NWOSA (Nigeria) said that, while action had been taken on many of the recommendations of the Brahimi Report, others, as relevant and vital today as 10 years ago, still awaited action. The recommendations, including the need for clarity, credibility and achievability in mandate-setting, raised an important question: what could be said about the collective desire for coherence and determination for effective peacekeeping in light of failure to act on previous recommendations only to discuss a set of new ones? Nigeria would continue to engage effectively in the dialogue on the New Horizon non-paper, which identified three priorities: protection of civilians, robust peacekeeping, and early peacebuilding.
He said that, as a major troop contributor, his country was committed to addressing the important issues. Demands on United Nations peacekeeping were greater than ever, not only in terms of the size of deployments, but also in terms of challenges, particularly in Africa, where more than 70 per cent of United Nations peacekeeping operations were deployed. Concerned that many of those missions lacked mobility and air assets to meet their mandates, Nigeria welcomed the several initiatives launched by Member States, the Security Council and the Secretariat to meet current and future threats to world peace effectively.
Robust peacekeeping was closely linked to the protection of civilians, he said, adding that it required effective command-and-control structures, adequate equipment and mission unity. Those prerequisites called for modern technology, responsive logistics support and delegated authority to take difficult decisions in the field. That would be possible only when Member States were ready and willing to play their respective roles. Nigeria looked forward to discussing the Secretariat’s draft operational concept paper on the protection of civilians in United Nations peacekeeping operations.
It was also essential for the Security Council to demonstrate strong political will, he continued. Their active, participatory engagement would inspire troop-contributing countries to deploy more personnel, and spur the desire of potential contributors. Peacekeeping operations could only succeed through the adoption and application of integrated measures that would ensure peace, security, stability and development. That implied that sustained growth and development held much promise in tackling many of the economic and social sources of conflict. Development partners could play a major role in averting conflict. Indeed, equitable social and economic development could be more effective than preventive diplomacy.
JAIRO HERNÁNDEZ-MILIAN (Costa Rica), speaking on behalf of the Human Security Network (including Austria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Switzerland, Thailand and Slovenia), said one of its priorities was the protection of civilians in armed conflict. Today, almost all peacekeeping missions had protection-related tasks, and eight were mandated specifically with protecting civilians. However, there were many challenges to ensuring its effective implementation on the ground.
Noting that the DPKO/DFS “Lessons Learned Note” and the “Draft Operational Concept Note” would enrich discussions towards a shared understanding of the implementation of protection mandates, he encouraged the Secretariat to build upon lessons learned in order to develop training standards –- in consultation with the host country, troop- and police-contributing countries, field missions, the Security Council and other relevant stakeholders –- and provide guidance for the development of mission-wide civilian-protection strategies.
Members of the Network stressed the need for clear guidance for effective implementation, without prejudice to the primary responsibility of the host Government in that regard, he said. More substantial interaction between the Security Council, troop and police contributors, the host country and the Secretariat could help bridge the gap between the decision-making process and implementation on the ground. It was also fundamental to address other major constraints faced by peacekeeping operations, such as resources and capability requirements, and pre-deployment training.
He said there was a new era of peacekeeping operations characterized by large civilian components to carry out such tasks as human rights verification, humanitarian relief, capacity-building, restoration of infrastructure and services and security-sector reform. Network members shared the view that protection efforts would be enhanced when all components of a mission -– military, police and civilian -– were involved in a coordinated effort. The Secretariat should produce guidance for missions to help develop comprehensive mission-wide strategies that would effectively implement civilian-protection tasks. Particular attention must be paid to the situation and active involvement of women and youth in the process, as well as to the protection of children.
Peace and development could become mutually reinforcing through the enhancement of human security, including by alleviating absolute poverty, providing basic social services and pursuing people-centred sustainable development, he said. The Human Security Network recommended in that regard the inclusion of sustainable peacebuilding elements from the earliest possible stages of mission planning, and welcomed intensified dialogue and coordination with relevant peacebuilding actors, in particular the Peacebuilding Commission. Maintaining peace and promoting human security also depended greatly on strengthening and reforming the United Nations system’s rule-of-law, security-sector and correctional pillars, construction and strengthening national capacities and promoting social and economic development.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) welcomed the launch of the New Horizon initiative, saying it reaffirmed that peacekeeping was, above all, a partnership. The Secretariat, Fifth Committee, host countries, troop and police contributors, and especially the Security Council had key roles to play. Their respective actions should be mutually reinforcing so that the United Nations could respond with a coherent voice. The New Horizon non-paper also stressed the need for greater conceptual clarity in such areas as civilian protection, robust peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
Success in the task of protecting civilians required understanding of what that meant in each specific case and what resources were required, she continued. In reviewing the draft operational concept, the diversity of protection situations and the need to preserve the autonomy of mission commanders should be kept in mind. The link between peacekeeping and peacebuilding also demanded more clarity, she said, noting that there was a broad consensus that peacebuilding efforts should start as early as possible. However, the question of what peacebuilding role peacekeepers could carry out remained open. They were not responsible for fostering long-term development or long-term security. Helping national authorities to provide basic services, jump-start the economy and create jobs, however, was often critical in ensuring social stability and consolidating peace.
New Horizon also stressed the importance of improving support to peacekeeping operations, she said. The main goal in that regard should be to ensure that Member States had the confidence to continue contributing troops and police to peacekeeping operations. Delays in processing reimbursements were a critical issue in that regard, because it might affect the capacity of developing countries to sustain troop contribution levels. Interaction between the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries was also important, as was leadership, an irreplaceable component of success in peacekeeping. Leaders on the ground must be held responsible for successes and failures. At the same time, they must have a degree of autonomy to implement mission mandates according to their experience and knowledge.
MANAR TALEB ( Syria) stressed the need for clear, documented and viable mandates through an institutional legislative framework, as well as the importance of the fundamental principles governing the work of peacekeeping operations, including agreement of the parties, non-use of force except in self-defence, and the need to be impartial. Peacekeeping operations could not be substitutes for lasting settlements, and must work to ensure conflicts did not escalate. That required a true consideration of all causes.
The continuing growth of the peacekeeping budget must drive new ideas and thinking on the subject and its political dimensions, he said, underscoring also the need to strengthen political operations in areas of conflict, and to involve all parties in such political processes. It was also important for force mandates to be clear and well-planned in order to promote the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel and to better protect civilians. Equally important was the promotion of mechanisms for dialogue between troop-contributing countries, the Council and the Secretariat, as well as better cooperation between DPKO and DFS on the operational aspects of peacekeeping.
Mission were responsible for protecting civilians and must improve their coordination with host States, he said. On the other hand, the concept of robust peacekeeping remained unclear and unspecified, and the relevant concept paper provided no clear definition of such tasks in a way that would justify their importance. Peacekeeping operations were supposed to be short-term, but in the Middle East they had lasted decades. Peace in that region was far out of reach as Israel persisted in defying international resolutions, while continuing to escalate tensions. There must be better coordination between DPKO and the Department of Political Affairs, he said in conclusion.
SUSAN RICE (United States), noting that her country had paid off its peacekeeping arrears and met its obligations for 2009 in full, said the United States was proud to have military and police personnel in six peacekeeping operations, including military forces temporarily in Haiti. Its financial and operational contributions were buttressed by political engagements.
The pursuit of institutional reform and of strengthened United Nations and regional capacities was important in efforts to make peacekeeping operations more effective, she said. United Nations peacekeepers deserved clear and practical guidelines to enable them effectively to implement civilian-protection mandates and support host Governments. All mission components must be equipped with strategies to protect civilians, including against sexual violence. Peacekeepers must have guidance on when to use confrontational tactics, ranging from sanctions to force, adding that they deserved to know what was expected of them in protecting themselves and their mandates.
There was also a need for strategies to address gaps in logistics, transport and formed police units, she said. The existing field support system needed retooling since missions must be deployed more rapidly and economics of scale achieved. The United States supported proposals for the creation of global and regional service centres and a reduced administrative footprint. The concept of integrated operations teams and the integrated planning process were attractive on paper, but not universally accepted.
She underscored the need to address the question of conduct and discipline, and to support the zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse. Deeply concerned by a reported increase of sexual violence and abuse, she said the bad conduct of a small minority could undermine the success of all peacekeepers round the world. Over the years, peacekeeping reform had been seen as an exercise in securing additional resources, but even given the need for those resources, the most important reform would be a change in attitude and practice, and a commitment to greater effectiveness and seriousness of purpose. “Whatever the [United Nations] does, it should do well,” she emphasized.
BASO SANGQU (South Africa) said that, since peacekeeping was not an end in itself but must support a broader political process, his country attached high importance to conflict prevention, mediation and the peaceful resolution of disputes, processes in which the United Nations should invest more. Challenges facing peacekeeping included the high level of mobility enjoyed by rebel forces and the sophisticated arms under their control. Those realities called for a paradigm shift in the Organization’s peacekeeping practice. There had been progress in addressing some challenges through timely consultation of troop-contributing countries ahead of mandate renewals, greater interaction between the Peacebuilding Commission and the Security Council, and increased cooperation between the Council and regional organizations, including the African Union.
Protection of civilians was a responsibility for Governments, with the support of peacekeepers, he said, adding that his country supported the development of a framework that would serve as a clear guideline. Mandates must be clearly prioritized and the necessary equipment and resources deployed. The term “robust peacekeeping” could not be viewed as a military approach, but should be seen as a political and operational strategy showing the determination of a peacekeeping operation to implement its mandate through the use of force where necessary. Robust peacekeeping therefore placed more emphasis on a mission’s posture than on the robust conduct of its operations. Robust peacekeeping could not be a peace-enforcement tool, he stressed.
Underscoring the important and critical role that regional organizations could play in peacekeeping, he said implementation of the Secretary-General’s recommendations on support for African Union peacekeeping operations authorized by the United Nations was a good beginning. South Africa would continue to secure flexible, predictable and sustainable resources for peacekeeping operations through assessed contributions, especially those undertaken by the African Union.
He said his country also supported efforts to promote and strengthen political solutions to conflicts, including through peacebuilding, conflict prevention, management and mediation. Peacekeeping and peacebuilding should not be viewed as linear, sequential processes. Emphasizing both security and development through the delivery of basic services was of critical importance in ensuring long-term, sustainable peace. South Africa hoped that the ongoing restructuring and strengthening of the Office of the Military Adviser and the Police Division would contribute significantly to the delivery of effective and efficient peacekeeping operations.
MONA JUUL (Norway), welcoming the 2009 initiatives by members of the Security Council and the Secretariat to strengthen the Organization’s ability to deliver effective peacekeeping, said still greater Council attention was vital because missions were far too often “resourced on the basis of the best-case scenario”. Norway commended the active endeavours of France and the United Kingdom to improve the Council’s dialogue with the Secretariat and troop- and police-contributing countries on collective oversight of missions. However, it was regrettable that the Council’s recent meeting on transition and exit strategies had not been open to all contributing countries, she noted, stressing the key importance of ensuring coherence among all actors.
Turning to civilian protection as the most critical task that needed clarifying, she said: “We must come to grips with this issue to be able to deliver more effectively in the field. This is vital to uphold faith in the [United Nations], not only in countries wracked by conflict, but also in contributing countries.” She called for greater attention to sexual and gender-based violence, urging also the recruitment of more women peacekeepers to facilitate the assessment of information from all parts of the civilian community, and the fight against impunity by all available means. On mobilizing the capacities necessary for effective field implementation, she stressed the importance of an integrated approach linking training and assessment to performance challenges. That would put the focus where it should be -- on results in the field.
Member States must ensure that incentives in place produced results in line with set standards, she said. Civilian peacekeepers must be given proper attention, especially since the vacancy rate remained unacceptably high. Hopefully the new talent management system under development would make recruitment procedures faster, smoother and more equitable. Finally, she underlined the ongoing need for improved operations planning and management, since coherent and effective delivery in the field required considerable military planning capacity at Headquarters. While the recent strengthening of the Office of Military Affairs was an important step in the right direction, more should be done, including by improving command-and control-structures and devoting more attention to situational awareness and threat analysis.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI (Algeria), noting that the joint DPKO-DFS New Horizons document contained specific proposals that were well-known but not yet implemented, said Member States were primarily being requested to draft policy guidelines in respect of the rules, purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. It was important that the Council remain committed to the missions it deployed until their mandates were fulfilled. Troop-contributing countries had their share of responsibility in implementing Council mandates on the ground. Close, significant consultations would likely improve their success rate. More must be done to involve troop contributors in all phases of a mission so as to reduce the gap between decision-making and risk-taking.
The peacebuilding segment looked like the “poor cousin” in the reform programme, he said, adding that, since that aspect of reform was seen through the prism of security, it constricted the role of the blue helmets to working towards peace and stability. Peacebuilding not only meant an end to violence, but also the building of material and critical infrastructure. It would be simplistic to consider the concept of robust peacekeeping only from a military angle, he said, noting that the Global Field Support Strategy showed there was insufficient logistical and financial support available to the United Nations. That was evident from the slow deployment of troops and from their under-performance. There was a need for greater efficiency and to adapt capacities so as to respond to mission needs. Civilian and military units must be trained at a higher standard of efficiency. The shortage of appreciable and specialized capacities could be clearly seen when missions needed to protect themselves against attack and in troubled, volatile surroundings.
HEIDI GRAU ( Switzerland) said only radical changes would enable the flagship instrument of United Nations activity to continue to arouse hope and contribute to peace. Switzerland considered effective civilian protection in peacekeeping operations to be a priority, adding that whenever such a mandate existed, the task was crucial for the image of peacekeeping and that of the United Nations in general. An “implementation note” could provide guidance for mission planning, resource allocation, and training before and during missions. That was why Switzerland considered the Secretariat’s draft concept note to be a solid basis for work. The independent study jointly commissioned by DPKO and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs -– partly financed by Switzerland –- was a significant contribution to that discussion.
As underlined in the draft concept note, peacekeeping operations in a geographical context were not the only actors mandated to ensure civilian protection, she said. The tasks entrusted to them were specific and circumscribed, and that should remain the case. It was also vital to encourage efforts to arrive at a shared understanding of the term “protection of civilians” by clearly defining it. It was then necessary to clarify the challenges involved in each context, and on that basis, to determine the role of each operation entrusted with such a mandate. The role of senior mission leadership in that area was crucial, as it was in a privileged position to encourage national authorities to exercise their primary responsibility of protection.
She said that privileged position also meant ensuring dialogue among the different actors on the ground and the main bodies concerned with the effective implementation of mandates. That was why sensitivity over the question of civilian protection should be a key aspect of the selection and training of the Secretary-General’s Special Representatives and Deputy Special Representatives, she added, stressing that the distinction between civilian and military personnel was also crucial. Vigilance was warranted in situations where a mission was entrusted with a mandate to use force as a last resort and where, as a result, it risked being perceived as a party to the conflict. In no circumstances should a mission’s activity jeopardize humanitarian principles or impede the protection and assistance activities of humanitarian actors.
MOSES RUGEMA (Rwanda) listed the following factors contributing to a successful peacekeeping operation: a viable peace process; political will; clear and achievable mandates with defined transition and exit strategies; adequate and predictable financial, human and logistical resources; and the will to create an enabling environment before deploying peacekeepers. Firm and dedicated political support was necessary, both as a duty and deterrent to opportunistic endangerment of peacekeepers, as well as for ensuring success. Transition and exit strategies should be developed at the outset of the mission, with clear benchmarks that should be balanced with the need for flexibility.
He said the rapidly shifting and expanding role of peacekeeping placed an extra burden on peacekeeping budgets, exacerbated by the global financial and economic crisis. It was critically important to match United Nations peacekeeping mandates with adequate resources. While the safety and security of the Organization’s peacekeepers also required serious consideration, all stakeholders, including peacekeepers, should accept some degree of risk in order to reduce the suffering of civilians. It was imperative that mandates offer clarity on who was to be protected, and that peacekeepers were equipped with the appropriate skills to effectively execute and implement the protection of civilians.
The timely reimbursement of troop-contributing countries was essential to the effective execution of peacekeeping mandates, he continued, urging the United Nations urgently to settle any arrears owed to troop- and police-contributing countries, and to implement measures to ensure timely reimbursement. It was equally important that compensation for death and disabilities were disbursed in a timely manner. He strongly recommended strengthening cooperation to enhance and support regional peacekeeping efforts as well as ensure the involvement of women in all aspects of peacekeeping.
SERGEY A. ZHDANOV (Russian Federation) said the increasingly complex mandates of peacekeeping operations required a review of existing practices. Reform should include appropriate financial and logistical provisions as well as monitoring mandate implementation. It must be conducted in compliance with the United Nations Charter and with proper respect for the Security Council’s primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. The drafting of guiding principles for the protection of civilians and robust peacekeeping should be carried out with the direct involvement of Member States, bearing in mind that civilian protection was only one part of a peacekeeping mandate. The main objective of a peacekeeping operation was to help advance the peace process.
He said there was room to improve the management of peacekeeping operations and the Security Council’s drafting of peacekeeping mandates with the active cooperation of troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat. The Military Staff Committee’s assessments and recommendations, as well as its participation in preparing for contingencies, would provide the Council with timely information and improve the Organization’s military expertise as a whole. Coordination between Headquarters and the field should also be improved. The Russian Federation supported efforts to train police officers, including those from developing countries, he said, describing the establishment of the Standing Police Capacity as one of the most positive recent developments.
NORIHIRO OKUDA (Japan), emphasizing that his country would continue to support Haitians suffering the effects of the 12 January earthquake, said Japan had an emergency medical team as well as 340 engineering personnel from the Japan Self-Defence Forces to serve as peacekeepers under MINUSTAH.
Notwithstanding recent progress to make United Nations peacekeeping operations more effective, he said, many issues raised in the Brahimi Report remained outstanding, in particular the critical gap between mandate and implementation, which must be addressed promptly. Setting clear and achievable mandates and strengthening the monitoring of their implementation was crucial. Facing broad and complicated mandates, peacekeepers could have difficulty implementing them in the field. Japan supported the Secretariat’s efforts to set guidelines to clarify the core elements and outlines of mandates in the context of civilian protection issues.
He said that, in order to capitalize on experiences and lessons learned from peacekeepers of troop- and police-contributing countries, particularly in terms of implementing robust peacekeeping mandates, it would useful for missions to share their best practices. For example, the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) was now incorporating the best practices of MONUC, which had set up a joint protection team of military and civilian personnel as well as temporary bases near the local population.
Since January, Japan had chaired the Security Council Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations, with the participation of many troop- and police-contributing countries, he said. Two reports had been issued on those discussions. This year, the Working Group would focus on key gaps in capabilities, resources and training, as well as on key lessons from past and current missions regarding the successful implementation of transitional strategies.
GERT ROSENTHAL ( Guatemala) said that, as a country that had directly benefited from a United Nations mission, Guatemala acknowledged the fundamental importance of peacekeeping by the Organisation. While there was an ever-increasing demand for peacekeeping, with diverse mandates and increasing complexity, the United Nations, strongly affected by financial and technical limitations, had been slow to adapt to the changes. To maximize the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations, the Organization must incorporate an effectively integrated and coordinated approach to matters of peace and security at all levels.
Peacekeeping operations needed clear, credible and achievable mandates tailored to the particular circumstances of each situation, he said, noting also that recent incidents had illustrated the insecure environment in which many missions carried out their work. He encouraged the Secretariat to assign the highest priority to improving the safety and security of field personnel. In addition, the reform process must observe strictly the principles and purposes of the Charter. The tasks of multidimensional and complex mandates were indivisible, without a hierarchy among them, and the controversial matter of civilian protection must be dealt with in that context.
Recalling that a previous condition had been to “protect the protector”, he said the limitations on the use of force by a peacekeeping operation were still unclear. As for the meaning of “robust peacekeeping”, Guatemala preferred the idea of a “deterrent capacity” with the ultimate purpose of diminishing, rather than increasing, the likelihood of the need to use force. Peacebuilding tasks should also address socio-economic aspects, he said, adding that an early integration of peacebuilding strategies should not be equated with exit strategies. It was time to move away from piecemeal reforms, stringent management and command systems, and disproportionate mandates and resources. “Through enhanced cooperation and political will we can arrive at a United Nations peacekeeping that lives up to what was envisaged in the Charter,” he said.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA, Director-General, United Nations and Other International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, said the New Horizon road map had brought a new quality to the debate, making it more structured and substantial. Looking forward to discussions on the Global Field Support Strategy and other New Horizon endeavours, Ukraine was “ready and willing” to do its part.
The challenge was to transform the momentum into badly needed practical gains, he said, highlighting issues that should be resolved in the Special Committee in the months ahead, including finding ways to address the capability gaps in current missions. He said he shared the concern about the absence of crucial assets, including military utility helicopters, and its negative effect on the ability of missions to implement their mandates. One underlying cause of the problem was that the rates for flight hours applied to military helicopters were lower than those for civilian helicopter companies contracted by the United Nations. The situation was further complicated by the requirement for higher flight hours for first-time pilots than those stipulated by the national regulations of some troop contributors.
Closely linked to that issue was that of contingent-owned shortfalls faced by some troop- and police-contributing countries, he continued. He took positive note of the Secretariat’s efforts to rectify the problem through various enabling arrangements, including United Nations-provided or contracted support. In that regard, Ukraine welcomed the Secretariat’s positive response to Ukraine’s invitation to explore ways to address the difficulties of its defence forces in reconditioning air support capacity earmarked for peacekeeping operations.
Concerning the safety and security of peacekeepers, he said the repeated calls by Member States for the Secretariat to review its existing policy in that area had gone unheeded year after year. Ukraine invited the Special Committee to consider, as a first step, establishing a group of legal experts to address the matter in all its complexity, including the host country-troop contributor dimension, and to make recommendations to break the current impasse. More details on that initiative were contained in a non-paper distributed by Ukraine prior to the session.
JOSÉ LUIS CANCELA (Uruguay) said peacekeeping operations had been evolving in dynamic ways in recent years. They had to deal with complex scenarios and high levels of violence in situations of limited host State capabilities and operational difficulties due to shortfalls in human and material resources needed to fulfil mandates and meet the expectations of local populations and the international community.
He said Member States could preserve the status quo, analyse strengths and weaknesses and leave places where operations were unable to perform peacekeeping functions, or make a serious, comprehensive and coordinated effort to adapt to the new reality while improving the system. Uruguay was committed to the latter course, he said, noting that 25 per cent of its operational defence forces were committed to United Nations peacekeeping, half of them deployed in the field -- mainly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Haiti -- and the other half in training to replace the first half. Uruguay was among the 10 largest troop-contributing countries to the United Nations.
During 2009, there had been more and better consultations between the Council, troop- and police-contributing countries and greater interaction between the Secretariat and the Special Committee, he said. Troop-contributing countries had provided concrete input and shown greater flexibility in adapting to complex tasks in the field requested by current mandates, such as civilian protection. Uruguay supported more intense actions, such as the early convening by troop-contributing countries of meetings on mandate renewal. It was also important to guarantee a troop contributor’s presence by installing liaison officers. In the last year, Uruguay and Australia had co-hosted two workshops on civilian protection in peacekeeping operations.
NOPADON MUNGKALATON (Thailand), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), highlighted the significance of established basic principles of United Nations peacekeeping, and reiterated that operations must not substitute but only complement political processes seeking to address the root causes of conflict through engagement with all concerned parties. Peacekeeping operations, which were today being deployed in ever more complex situations, must continue to evolve and adapt to new challenges. ASEAN therefore recognized the importance of ongoing efforts to address those challenges while improving peacekeeping operations overall.
He took note of the concepts and initiatives proposed in the New Horizon non-paper, saying he supported the need for continuing reform and for building stronger and more reliable partnerships. ASEAN encouraged the Secretariat to further consult with Member States in order to reach a consensus on various unclear concepts, especially civilian protection, robust peacekeeping and the Global Support Strategy. The Secretariat was also encouraged to take further steps in translating such concepts and initiatives into action plans that could be evaluated practically.
More specifically, he emphasized that all stakeholders in United Nations peacekeeping operation “must have a single and common understanding of the concept of protection of civilians based on achievable mandates”, and recommended that DPKO and DFS be tasked with formulating a clear definition of that concept on the basis of the three paradigms mentioned in the draft concept paper, so as not to create more confusion over correct interpretation. Indeed, the protection of civilians from “imminent threat under physical violence” in armed conflict was an integral part of United Nations peacekeeping operations.
At the same time, a civilian-protection mandate must enjoy the consent of the host Government from the outset of discussions in the Security Council, he said. It should be given adequate resources to guarantee a smooth translation into operations on the ground. As for robust peacekeeping, ASEAN members believed in urgently forging a common view of that concept and the doctrine on the use of force in peacekeeping operations. ASEAN also supported initiatives for a timely response to protect mandates from “spoilers”, while ensuring that a swift response to any situation was carried out with the right tools. Finally, he stressed that security and development were interrelated and it was therefore important to prioritize socio-economic reconstruction alongside the establishment of peace and security.
STANISLAV ZAS ( Belarus) said his country had not yet contributed to United Nations peacekeeping operations, but would gradually increase its participation by sending civilian experts. While Belarus stood ready for a high-level dialogue on a wide spectrum of practical issues relating to peacekeeping activities, further improvement of consultations between troop- and police-contributing countries and the United Nations was necessary. However, since the Organization played the primary role in maintaining international peace and security, Belarus opposed any unsanctioned measure that would bypass Security Council decisions.
Underscoring that peacekeeping should be based on the principles of consent of the receiving Government, impartiality, non-use of force except in self-defence, sovereign equity, political independence, territorial integrity of States and non-interference in internal affairs, he welcomed the ideas contained in the New Horizon non-paper, saying that process must be carried out by strengthening coordination in planning and management. Of increasing importance was the use of preventive diplomacy and mediation and providing humanitarian assistance. There was also a need for further cooperation with regional organizations, including such international structures as the Eurasian Economic Community, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Because peacekeeping operations were based primarily on human capacity, the basis of reform should entail a new staff policy and include training for civil police officers and specialists, he said. Cooperation between troop- and police- contributing countries and the Secretariat was necessary to increase support for regional and national training centres. The numbers of people involved in peacekeeping operations were being unjustifiably increased with administrative and procurement officers. It was necessary to optimize Headquarters resources and pay more attention to the main issues of peacekeeping. Procurement should focus less on a “brand” and more on “quality and price”. Belarus would fulfil its financial obligations for peacekeeping operations in a timely manner, and settle arrears dating back to the 1990s, he pledged.
ZACHARY D. MUBURI MUITA (Kenya), noting that regional organizations were increasingly undertaking conflict resolution in accordance with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, said that the African Union had demonstrated sufficient political will to tackle insecurity challenges. If the regional body was to successfully undertake such responsibilities in the future, there was a need to increase its peacekeeping capacity. The recommendations of the African Union-United Nations panel must therefore be implemented. Strengthening the African Standby Force capacity to include the East African Standby Brigade, based in Kenya, would augment efforts to improve the planning and deployment of African peacekeeping operations.
Strengthening cooperation between the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries would enhance the success of peacekeeping operations, he said. The importance of mutual understanding between those who mandated peacekeeping operations, those who planned and managed them and those who implemented their mandates could not be over-emphasized. However, the process of reimbursing troop-contributing countries and the rates of reimbursement were an issue of concern, and Kenya looked forward to future expeditious processing of reimbursements and the deliberations of the relevant Working Group in 2011.
Contributing troops for peacekeeping operations was commendable, but quality was more desirable than numbers, he remarked. Troop- and police-contributing countries should provide properly trained personnel, and it was important to standardize training modules with that in mind. A growing concern was the safety and security of United Nations field personnel. The best assurance against risks was to ensure that missions were not deployed in a void, but only to support an ongoing political process that enjoyed the commitment of all parties to a conflict. The important role women played in preventing and resolving conflicts explained the importance of their participation in all efforts geared towards the promotion of international peace and security, he said.
JEAN-FRANCIS RÉGIS ZINSOU (Benin) called for the strengthening of the strategic partnership between the United Nations and the African Union in order to improve the effectiveness of peacekeeping on the continent. Noting the link between peacekeeping and peacebuilding in the creation of stable, effective and responsible States, as well as lasting peace, security and human rights in conflict situations, he said there must be coordination among all stakeholders.
United Nations missions were confronting various challenges, he said, pointing out that his country had lost three personnel in the 12 January earthquake in Haiti, which he described as a “second Benin” owing to the cultural ties linking the two nations. It was necessary to mobilize a global field support strategy and strengthen the security of deployed personnel. The Special Committee should pay due attention to the parts of the global strategy that were necessary to the implementation of new structures to improve the effectiveness of field missions. Welcoming the conclusions on restructuring DPKO and DFS, he said attention must be paid to the New Horizon document, as well as to setting up cooperation models to give missions the necessary resources to maximize synergies and address challenges.
* *** *For information media • not an official record