|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations
219th & 220th Meetings (AM & PM)
Delegates Stress Need to Correct Imbalance in ‘Division of Labour’ as Special
Committee on Peacekeeping Operations Concludes General Debate
Speakers also Highlight Civilian Protection, Peacekeepers’ Safety, Security
The United Nations must urgently address the challenges of modern peacekeeping, including a severe imbalance in the “division of labour” between troop and financial contributors, and resource shortfalls that left peacekeepers vulnerable to attacks, delegates said today as the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations concluded its general debate.
Despite those challenges, however, many delegations emphasized their strong support for United Nations peacekeeping operations and offered suggestions for their improvement. “Peacekeeping has continued to deliver, despite imperfections induced by ambitious mandates, resource overstretch, challenges to integration and coherence, and the distances between the field and Headquarters,” India’s representative said.
He added that, in addressing the pertinent issue of personnel overstretch, it was necessary to widen the base of troop-contributing countries. Developed countries, and the permanent members of the Security Council in particular, should “lead by example”, making their troops available for peacekeeping missions under United Nations command and control.
Qatar’s representative agreed, pointing out that about 87 per cent of peacekeeping troops came from developing countries, and warning that relying exclusively on them might reduce the chances of a mission’s success, due to their lack of experience compared with that of military forces from developed countries.
Other delegations, also expressed the view that, in light of that imbalance, the United Nations Secretariat should work harder to ensure the proper representation of troop- and police-contributing countries within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support.
Meanwhile, many speakers spotlighted the need to ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers and to provide them with adequate equipment as another major challenge facing United Nations peacekeeping. On that topic, Iran’s delegate said peacekeeping operations should be provided, from the outset, with political support, full and optimal human, financial and logistical resources, as well as clearly defined mandates and exit strategies.
Nigeria’s representative echoed the calls of many other speakers, saying: “The shortage of critical equipment in United Nations field missions continues to leave yawning gaps between expectation and performance,” in reference to the lack of military helicopters. Ukraine’s delegate added that the shortage of that vital piece of equipment was one of the most dangerous challenges confronting modern peacekeeping operations, adding that it threatened to undermine peacekeepers. Unless action was taken, the shortfall would increase to 56 out of a requirement of 137 as early as April 2011, he warned, emphasizing the urgent need to break with mere rhetoric and “the habit of hollow bell-ringing” exemplified by the listing of statistical resource gaps.
Those gaps in supplies and equipment could leave peacekeepers vulnerable to attacks, some delegates noted, pointing to specific instances involving their own troops. Egypt’s representative described the May 2010 ambush of an Egyptian patrol of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), in which two peacekeepers had been killed, adding that further consultations were needed with Member States on ways to protect peacekeepers.
Benin’s representative said that, since the beginning of 2010, several situations had given rise to questions about the legitimacy and capacity of peacekeeping missions. They included the burning of United Nations peacekeeping vehicles and the ambush and “humiliation” of the Organization’s peacekeepers “in broad daylight”. When peacekeeping troops failed to react to such incidents, it was natural to question their status and capability, he added.
A third issue that resounded throughout the day’s debate was that of civilian protection. Regarding that task, South Africa’s delegate said the United Nations must move beyond “talking shop while the lives of innocent civilians are at stake”. A number of delegations agreed that the protection of civilians was a vital component of the work entrusted to United Nations peacekeepers.
However, other delegates called for caution, stressing that the protection of civilians was primarily the responsibility of host countries. In that vein, one representative said civilian protection should not be used as a pretext for military intervention in conflicts, particularly in light of the current lack of resources for peacekeeping and the difficulty in providing troops and equipment for military combat operations.
Also delivering statements today were representatives of Guatemala, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Uruguay, Israel, Eritrea, Rwanda, Philippines, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Kenya, Ethiopia, Serbia, Republic of Korea, United Republic of Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Russian Federation, Syria, Sudan, Nepal, Cuba, Japan, Ecuador, Lebanon and Montenegro.
Lebanon’s representative spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
New Zealand’s representative thanked delegations for their expressions of support in the wake of the massive earthquake that had struck his country just two days ago, leading to the declaration of a state of emergency for the first time.
The Special Committee will conclude its 2011 session at 3 p.m. on 18 March.
The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations met this morning to continue and conclude its general debate. (See also Press Release GA/PK/206 of 22 February)
MÓNICA BOLAÑOS-PÉREZ (Guatemala) stressed the need for the United Nations to incorporate an effectively integrated and coordinated approach into matters of peace and security, adding that peacekeeping operations should have clear, credible and achievable mandates, tailored to the particular circumstances of each situation. The issue of major gaps in capabilities, resources and training must be addressed through enhanced coordination among the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries. She highlighted the importance of improving the safety and security of field personnel, and of executing the Secretariat’s proposed reform process while taking into account the concerns of all Member States through frank dialogue. She said her country had concerns about the meaning of “robust peacekeeping”, believing that “deterrent capacity” was critical to diminishing the need for force. She also stressed the need to ensure that all stakeholders were consulted on proposed changes to the Global Field Support Strategy.
MARCELA ZAMORA (Costa Rica) said three peacekeeping missions had successfully operated and concluded their work in Latin America. Their success was due to the clear objectives and mandates established by the Security Council, national ownership, regional commitment, as well as broad, transparent and timely communication among all stakeholders involved. Expressing support for the discussion begun in 2010 on the “New Horizon” agenda, she said her delegation would further study the review documents on that initiative, adding that now was the time to endorse what had already been agreed and to learn lessons from past experiences. Costa Rica supported the Special Committee’s focus on the protection of civilians in recent years, she said, describing it as an important component of peacekeeping mandates. Despite progress in developing training modules and a strategic framework for civilian protection, however, challenges remained in the task of keeping civilians out of harm’s way, she said, calling for greater coherence between mandates and the resources needed to carry them out, and emphasized that peacebuilding must be incorporated into peacekeeping missions at the earliest planning stages. The adoption of the Global Field Support Strategy would make it possible to improve the quality and effectiveness of peacekeeping services within five years, she said in conclusion.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA (Ukraine) said his delegation agreed fully that attention must turn to addressing the “peacekeeping-peacebuilding nexus”, and was ready to contribute to that goal as a member of the Peacebuilding Commission. Highlighting the continuing shortage of military helicopters, he described it as one of the most dangerous challenges confronting modern peacekeeping operations, warning that unless action was taken the shortfall would increase to 56 out of a requirement of 137 as early as April 2011. There was an urgent need to break with mere rhetoric and “the habit of hollow bell-ringing” exemplified by the listing of statistical gaps. There should be no more “business as usual” when considering those gaps, which could severely undermine peacekeeping operations, he stressed. Concerning the prosecution of crimes against deployed peacekeepers, Ukraine was concerned that the Secretariat “did not even make an attempt” to advise on the feasibility of applying the relevant United Nations investigative mechanism, as requested by the General Assembly, he noted, urging the Secretariat to look into the matter and draw the proper conclusions in a comprehensive report.
MARÍA WALESKA VIVAS MENDOZA (Venezuela), underscoring the need to recognize the contributions of developing countries to peacekeeping, pointed out that there was a gap between the amount of resources provided to troop contributors and the complexity of their mandated tasks. The success or failure of a peacekeeping operation was related to the legitimacy of its mandate, which must explicitly state the mission’s impartiality and provide assurances that it would not threaten State sovereignty. Peacekeeping operations must not be perceived as occupiers, she emphasized, adding that mandates must be implemented in a way that did not jeopardize their legitimacy in the eyes of local populations. Any political process towards a just, lasting peace was dependent on that level of trust and respect. Expressing concern over the persistent challenges of protecting civilians, she said it was to be hoped that the Global Field Support Strategy would improve the quality and efficiency of peacekeeping services on the ground, limit the environmental footprint of missions and have a positive socio-economic impact on the development of local communities. She stressed that regional missions should not replace United Nations peacekeeping operations.
BASO SANGQU (South Africa) emphasized the importance of adhering to the basic peacekeeping principles of consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force, urging the United Nations to complement existing political missions rather than complicating them. “Peacekeeping is not a panacea to conflicts,” he said, reiterating that missions must strive to complement political strategies and processes. Since Africa was the “theatre of United Nations peacekeeping”, with six countries hosting missions, the Organization must support the role of regional and subregional bodies that had proved themselves in conflict management, particularly the African Union, he said, calling on the Special Committee to consider in greater detail the issue of enhancing the regional body’s peacekeeping operations. Regarding the “sensitive” issue of protecting civilians, he said the United Nations must move beyond “talking shop while the lives of innocent civilians are at stake”, emphasizing that his country fully supported the draft framework on the protection of civilians. Furthermore, South Africa felt the current reliance on interim measures to reimburse troop-contribution countries was unsustainable, he said, calling instead for the creation of a permanent mechanism to address that issue.
JOSÉ LUIS CANCELA (Uruguay) recalled that, over the past two years, the Special Committee had shown that through frank discussion of the issues at hand it could be an increasingly relevant actor in the United Nations peacekeeping architecture and have its views taken into account. There was room to improve the quality of its discussions and the guidelines it set, since the steps taken in 2010 towards that end had not gone far enough, he said, adding that the “capacity gap” must be dealt with frankly and constructively.
Complex missions could not be sustained without seriously considering shortages of resources and equipment needed to carry out their mandates, notably military helicopters, he said, urging a study to uncover the reasons why such contributions could not be made. He called for tangible steps to reduce resource gaps and strengthen the United Nations peacekeeping architecture, adding that it was impossible to resolve the shortage of capacity overnight. The Special Committee should set clear guidelines for the Secretariat and Member States to resolve the problem, and offer Member States better incentives to contribute resources. Developing countries made enormous efforts to contribute to peacekeeping, he noted, calling for change and flexibility in discussions on the peacekeeping budget.
MAGED ABDELAZIZ (Egypt) said all peacekeeping missions must be provided with the requisite financial and human resources to carry out their mandates, which should not be changed without consulting the troop-contributing countries and obtaining their consent beforehand. The Security Council’s commitment to drafting clear, achievable and objective mandates was vital, he stressed. While welcoming the consensus reached on the reimbursement rates for major equipment, self-sustainment, medical support services and procedures for future reimbursement reviews, he said the recommendations fell short of expectations. The Department of Field Support should coordinate better with troop-contributing countries so as to expedite the reimbursement process, he said.
Calling for further consultations with Member States on ways and means to protect peacekeepers, he deplored the 9 January incident in which 35 Egyptian personnel of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) had been detained and had their weapons and equipment confiscated. The Field Support Department had an important role to play in strengthening intelligence capabilities on the ground, particularly in respect of potential hostile attacks on peacekeepers, he said, recalling the May 2010 ambush of an Egyptian patrol of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) in which two peacekeepers had been killed.
He went on to emphasize the need to pay greater attention to exit strategies so that missions could settle conflicts, rather than merely managing them. Furthermore, the protection of civilians should not be used as a pretext for military intervention in conflicts on the part of the United Nations, particularly in light of the current lack of resources for peacekeeping and the difficulty in providing troops and equipment for military combat operations. Egypt called for bolstering the Organization’s financial and logistical support for the African Union’s peacekeeping operations in Africa.
NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER (Qatar) emphasized that peacekeeping operations should take into account the principles of respect for the sovereignty of States and non-interference in internal affairs. He said his country’s belief in the importance of peacekeeping had led it to participate successfully in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). While such operations were no substitute for addressing the root causes of conflicts, missions should nonetheless be well equipped, he stressed, adding that the United Nations should address, as a priority, the challenges of safety and security facing peacekeepers.
Pointing out that 87 per cent of peacekeeping troops came from developing countries, he said that relying exclusively on such forces might reduce the chances of a mission’s success due to their lack of experience as compared with that of troops from developed countries. Despite that imbalance, the United Nations must nonetheless involve troop-contributing countries in planning and formulating policy for the deployment of troops, he said. Cooperation among the Special Committee, the Security Council and the General Assembly’s Sixth (Legal) and Fifth (Administrative and Budgetary) Committees was also important in addressing shortcomings regarding the clarity of critical responsibility during the mission period, not only on the part of peacekeepers, but also that associated with crimes committed against them.
AMIR WEISSBROD (Israel), emphasizing the vital need to find ways to better use scarce peacekeeping resources, said he supported the Global Field Support Strategy’s suggestion on mutual use of the resources of missions in close proximity to each another and on the creation of regional centres to make better use of resources. He also expressed support for the use of benchmarks to track progress, which, however, must be done carefully, taking into account complexities on the ground. Israel recognized the importance of diversifying donors to peacekeeping missions, he said, recalling that his country had made individual contributions to the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) in 2008. Israel had also contributed a formed police unit to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) following the 2010 earthquake, he said, adding that international formed police units were an effective model of better using existing resources because they combined the capabilities of different nations to meet needs on the ground.
Underlining his country’s commitment to the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006) and its continuing full support for UNIFIL, he said Hizbullah continued to build up its military capacity in southern Lebanon, especially in civilian areas, where it stored weapons in mosques, schools and houses, in direct violation of that resolution. Israel called on the Lebanese Armed Forces to take action to halt Hizbullah’s rearmament and on UNIFIL to adapt itself to the current situation. A second growing challenge was Hizbullah’s increasing obstruction of UNIFIL’s operations by so-called civilians, he said, calling for a clear message denouncing that “dangerous and cynical tactic”, which was used by other militias to obstruct other peacekeeping operations. In many ways, UNIFIL’s success was a test cast for the international community’s ability to engage in robust peacekeeping in the Middle East, he noted.
AMANUEL GIORGIO (Eritrea) stressed the importance of securing the parties to a conflict, the non-use of force and respect for State sovereignty when considering the use of peacekeeping operations. Peacekeeping should not be regarded as the only available tool in conflict management, he said, adding that other mechanisms, including early-warning systems, could be helpful in defusing conflicts. Peacekeeping missions should make strong efforts to mainstream gender into their work and include women at all levels of their work, including the highest decision-making levels.
MANJEEV SINGH PURI (India) said that in order to address the peacekeeping staffing gap, it would be necessary to expand the number of troop-contributing countries. The permanent Council members must lead by example, making their own troops available under United Nations command and control, he emphasized. Work on various peacekeeping initiatives over the past year had serious implications for international law and State sovereignty, he said, noting that a key issue was the distinction between Council actions under Chapters VI of the United Nations Charter and Chapter VII. “We must not mislead ourselves to believe that the shifting of mandates to another chapter will distinguish success from failure,” he emphasized.
Peacekeeping stood on the decades-old foundation based on neutrality, impartiality, consent and non-use of force, he said, stressing that the established “rules of the game” should not be altered hastily and without evidence from the ground. Host countries were primarily responsible for protecting civilians, he said, pointing out that peacekeepers could not protect all civilians everywhere all the time. Civilian-protection strategies and guidelines must be realistic and informed of the realities on the ground, he noted. “Peacekeeping has continued to deliver despite imperfections induced by ambitious mandates, resource overstretch, challenges to integration and coherence, and the distances between the field and Headquarters,” he added.
He went on to underline that peacekeeping and peacebuilding were complementary and not mutually exclusive, adding that success depended on coherence, harmony and synergy. The military component of peacekeeping missions must be supplemented, not supplanted, by police and rule-of-law components as well as a capacity for development administration. Projects of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund must not be evaluated on a stand-alone basis, but in tandem with the overall mission strategy. He expressed disappointment over the inability to establish clear, credible and achievable peacekeeping mandates, as called for in the Brahimi Report of a decade ago. He called for enhanced coordination and cooperation among Secretariat departments and harmonization of Headquarter functions. Welcoming the Peacekeeping Department’s gender mainstreaming of all missions, he said the performance of India’s all-female formed police unit in Liberia was a testament to the value of women peacekeepers.
ESHAGH Al HABIB (Iran) joined other speakers in highlighting the need for strict adherence to the basic principles of consent of the parties, non-use of force and impartiality, saying that observing them would maintain confidence and trust in United Nations activities while deviating from them would erode support for peacekeeping. The General Assembly and the Special Committee were the most competent forums in which to discuss peacekeeping issues and policies, he said. United Nations peacekeeping operations should be provided from the outset with political support, full and optimal human, financial and logistical resources, and clearly defined mandates and exit strategies.
He encouraged the Secretariat to continue its efforts to increase its interaction with all stakeholders, including troop-contribution countries, and to ensure their proper representation in the Peacekeeping and Field Support Departments. Regarding the link between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, he stressed the “great importance” of creating locally owned capacity-building processes in order to enable host countries to perform key security and governance functions. Additionally, the protection of civilians was the primary responsibility of the host country and should not be used as a pretext for military intervention by the United Nations, he emphasized. Although peacekeeping should be in line with Chapter VIII of the Charter, on regional arrangements, such arrangements should not in any way involve the use of peacekeeping operations as a substitute for the United Nations, circumvent the full application of the Organization’s guiding principles, or disengage it from its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
VINCENT NYAKARUNDI (Rwanda) said that in order to be successful, peacekeeping operations needed a feasible peace process, clear and achievable mandates with distinctly defined transition and exit strategies, impartiality and adequate financial, human and logistical resources. Rwanda supported efforts to strengthen cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations so as to improve the planning, management and funding of peacekeeping missions, he said, calling also for the early strengthening of the peacebuilding components of such missions.
Welcoming the support of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) in the training of peacekeepers in Africa by bolstering the capacity of regional training institutions, he said a “training the trainers” approach should be expanded and replicated in other regions. When considering civilian protection, it was also necessary to protect peacekeepers and provide them with appropriate accommodations, he stressed, pointing out that his country’s peacekeepers in Darfur had lived in a tent since 2008, while the relevant memorandum of understanding clearly stipulated the responsibility of the United Nations to provide hard-walled accommodation after six months of deployment.
Deploring the lack of consensus during the Special Committee’s recent working session on an agreement and strategy concerning the deployment of military helicopters in the field, he urged the Special Committee to come up with workable, reasonable solutions that would enable Member States to deploy them more effectively and efficiently. Regarding troop costs, he called for increasing the remuneration rates for military troops in order to account for inflation, and for new proposals to resolve that deficiency through a new, more viable agreement.
CARLOS D. SORRETA (Philippines) said his country’s participation in United Nations peacekeeping missions had hit an all-time high in 2010 with peacekeepers deployed to Haiti, Darfur, Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan, Timor-Leste, Liberia and the occupied Syrian Golan. With the urgent need to address the “continued mismatch between mandates and resources”, developed Member States were urged to fulfil their obligations and contribute to the promotion of peace through active participation in peacekeeping missions.
He welcomed the broadening partnership among the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Secretariat, troop- and police-contributing countries and others, as well as the increasing participation of women in peacekeeping operations. There was a need to define the relationship between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, with national ownership of the peacebuilding process as the ultimate goal. “United Nations peacekeepers cannot be considered long-term peacebuilders,” he said, adding that the handover of tasks and responsibilities to national partners must be a priority in the early stages of the peacebuilding process. The Philippines also called for more positive progress in reviewing the peacebuilding architecture.
JASSER JIMÉNEZ (Nicaragua) said the complexity of peacekeeping operations necessitated a new approach, tailored to the specific needs of each situation. He stressed the importance of compliance with the principles of non-interference, non-use of force and State sovereignty. Since peacekeeping operations were conducted in fragile and often rapidly changing environments, they must have, from the outset, political support and the requisite human, financial and logistical resources to carry out their mandates. Troop-contributing countries must be part of the mission planning process, he added. Peacebuilding and peacekeeping tasks could not be separated, but must be carried out in tandem, he said, adding that it was necessary to continue to strengthen the Peacebuilding Commission. His country had recently set up the permanent Nicaraguan Army Humanitarian Rescue Unit to help people locally and overseas, and it had already assisted people in Haiti.
THOMAS ADOUMASSE (Benin) recalled that some situations that had occurred since the beginning of 2010 had given rise to questions about the legitimacy and capacity of peacekeeping missions. When a rebel waving an assault rifle was able to stop a United Nations peacekeeper, or when peacekeeping vehicles were ambushed by armed civilians in broad daylight, or had fire set to them — thereby humiliating peacekeeping troops — and when those troops failed to react, it was natural to question the status and capability of peacekeeping missions, he said. However, the problem was not with concepts, he said. Indeed, debates on “robust peacekeeping” could be cut short by properly equipping peacekeepers and adhering to the principles of impartiality, non-interference and respect for the sovereignty of States, he said. It should also be remembered that a motivated, well-equipped staff produced good results. He went on to point out that one United Nations peacekeeping mission had been shut down in the past year, and the country concerned had not suffered for it. Asking whether that meant the mission should never have been deployed, he urged the Special Committee to consider that and other major questions during the current session.
RAYMOND WOLFE (Jamaica) said the best way to achieve long-term peace was by addressing the root causes of conflicts and developing conflict-prevention methods. Regional organizations could play a significant role in preventing tensions among neighbours from escalating into wide-scale conflict, he said, urging the Secretariat to enhance the capacity of such bodies to assess regional security challenges through mediation, negotiation and other measures.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was concerned over the situation in Haiti, he said, adding that he looked forward to a continuing role for MINUSTAH in that country’s presidential election process. The regional organization would continue to provide electoral monitoring and assistance to ensure a free and fair second round of voting that would allow Haitians to move forward with a strong, democratically elected Government, he said, adding that rebuilding Haiti was also a CARICOM priority. Expressing concern at the slow pace of recovery after the 2010 earthquake, he reiterated his call for the international community to translate its pledges into the tangible funds that were urgently needed for Haiti’s long-term reconstruction and development.
JOSEPHINE OJIAMBO ( Kenya) said peacekeeping remained the flagship activity of the United Nations and, more than any other, that by which the Organization was critically judged. It was also a matter of life and death to those it was intended to protect. She said her delegation was concerned about the rate of reimbursement for troop costs, which were at variance with today’s economic realities, and urged the General Assembly to consider, as an interim measure, an ad hoc increase in troop costs to cushion troop-contributing countries from challenges occasioned by inflation, which was adversely affecting the preparation and maintenance of troops in field missions. “Expanding the current peacekeeping base is a key to successful future peacekeeping operations,” she said, adding that there was a need to explore ways to enhance future collective burden-sharing. Additionally, she said that since regional and subregional organizations — including the African Union — were increasingly undertaking conflict resolution under Chapter VIII mandates, the United Nations should ensure sustained, predictable and flexible financing for them. To that end, Kenya called for the timely implementation of the recommendations of the African Union–United Nations Panel (Prodi Panel) report on modalities for support to African Union peacekeeping operations.
AMAN HASSEN BAME (Ethiopia) said there was no substitute for United Nations peacekeeping, particularly in the case in Somalia, in respect of which the African Union was still awaiting a fair response from the Security Council, in line with the principle of universality, which the Organization was called upon to uphold. Cooperation among the Council, the Secretariat, host countries as well as troop- and police-contributing countries was of paramount importance, he added. Regional organizations were vital in addressing conflict, he said, commending the progress made by the United Nations and the African Union in strengthening cooperation and their efforts to implement the joint action plan for United Nations support to African peacekeeping.
Emphasizing the critical importance of ensuring the safety and security of United Nations peacekeepers, he said: “We are not convinced that the Security Council has done in the past all that should be done in this regard.” There was a need to strengthen the Organization’s safety and security system in order to preserve its credibility and authority, he said, calling for the installation of security systems that would provide maximum safety and protection for United Nations peacekeepers and premises. Meanwhile, Ethiopia would commit five tactical military helicopters to UNAMID, he pledged, expressing serious concern that while helicopter services were still needed, they were being underutilized despite their high maintenance costs.
FEODOR STARČEVIĆ (Serbia), stressing that strengthening United Nations peacekeeping capabilities and resources was essential, called for a more coherent and comprehensive approach as well as an integrated planning and implementation strategy to make peacekeeping operations more effective and efficient. There was also a need for the active involvement of all troop- and police-contributing countries during all peacekeeping phases, he said, adding that missions needed clear mandates, the requisite strategic guidance and a command-and-control framework in order to be successful. It was necessary to maximize existing resources and mobilize critical capabilities so as to minimize gaps and improve the performance of peacekeepers in the field. Sound capability and performance standards and better training, including matching capacity-building resources with priority needs, were essential in helping peacekeepers carry out their mandates, he said, pointing out that Serbia had participated in several missions and stood ready to increase its participation in the coming period.
SHIN BOONAM (Republic of Korea) recalled that the total strength of United Nations peacekeeping operations currently exceeded 98,600 troops, with his country having contributed some 645 soldiers and police. The Republic of Korea had enacted the Law on Participation in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations in 2010 in order to facilitate troop dispatch, and had hosted “Global Clearinghouse for Peacekeeping Capacity Building”, an international forum intended to develop concrete strategies for effective and sustainable capacity-building. There was still a long way to go and much room for improvement, including the introduction of a capability-driven approach and global field support to meet the needs of field missions, he said.
Noting that the United Nations had faced a sustained lack of military helicopters since 2010, he said his country was concerned about the Organization’s short- and longer-term acquisition plan for the mitigation of that problem, including requests for contributions from troop-contributing countries, procurement of civilian assets and organizing United Nations equipment. Additionally, peacekeeping required not only a sufficient quantity of troops, but also high-quality forces with rapid mobility and deployment. He welcomed a pilot project to develop capability standards for infantry battalions, staff officers and medical units, he said, adding that troop- and police-contribution countries should develop a review mechanism for training and educating peacekeepers.
OMBENI Y. SEFUE (United Republic of Tanzania) said peacekeeping operations could not be a substitute for longer-term solutions, and ideally, the various peacekeeping missions should provide the safe space and necessary conditions for longer-term solutions to evolve and take root. One area of concern was the emerging unofficial division of labour between troop- and police-contributing countries on the one hand, and those who were reducing their direct role in peacekeeping on the other. “Peacekeeping is, and has to be, a collective global undertaking,” he emphasized. Unofficial labels such as “troop and police contributors” and “financial contributors” should not be allowed to sow the seeds of discord among Member States, and should not form the basis of their deliberations. The issue of civilian protection was also very important, he said, stressing that the United Nations should discharge that responsibility better. Field commanders needed clear and necessary latitudes for implementation, suitable to the effective conduct of operations. Additionally, he called for sustained efforts to invest more resources in, and place greater emphasis on, preventive measures, early warning and threat-level analysis.
PAUL ROBERT TIENDRÉBÉOGO (Burkina Faso) said the Prodi report, which addressed the reinforcement of African Union peacekeeping capacity, was more timely than ever. Burkina Faso continued to contribute to peacekeeping by helping to manage and settle conflicts in order to create areas of peace and security. Despite its modest means, Burkina Faso had strengthened its actions in the past two years, contributing battalions to UNAMID in 2009 and a formed police unit in December 2010. It had been the first country to provide peacekeeping operations with penitentiary advisers, he added. Commending efforts by the Secretariat and the Security Council to involve as many States as possible in peacekeeping operations, he said forces must be provided with realistic mandates, backed by effective political support as well as human and financial resources. It was essential to broaden the numbers troop-contributing countries, he said, urging the United Nations to continue to develop initiatives in support of countries wishing to provide troops but lacking the necessary resource. The creation of the United Nations Office to the African Union should strengthen coordination between the two organizations, he said.
SERGEY A. ZHDANOV (Russian Federation) said that, given the expanding scope of, and growing demand for, peacekeeping operations, missions had encountered a “host of problems” over the past year. Addressing many of them required the firm commitment of host countries to peacekeeping goals. Any “silent support” for one side of a conflict was inadmissible, he said, emphasizing the need to adhere strictly to the principle of impartiality. The police and civilian components of peacekeeping were increasingly important, he said, urging the Special Committee to pay attention to those aspects during the current session. The Collective Security Treaty Organization was a strong potential ally for United Nations peacekeeping in that regard, he added. Regarding peacebuilding, he said peacekeepers should carry out only the primary peacebuilding tasks, leaving more complex ones to the relevant United Nations agencies.
BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria) said the Charter emphasized the need to respect regional and State sovereignty. Peacekeeping operations must abide scrupulously and consistently by that principle, as well as that of prior consent. Recurrent attempts by some to circumvent those principles would undermine trust in peacekeeping troops and heighten tensions. In no way was peacekeeping a permanent substitute for sustainable solutions to conflict, he said, stressing also that host countries bore primary responsibility for civilian protection, with the support of peacekeeping operations.
He went on to underline that the concept of civilian protection must not be used to interfere in the internal affairs of States, adding that a common definition of the concept was needed. He commended the relationship between Syrian officials and those of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which had existed for more than 50 years, noting, however, that the idea of peace in the Middle East was “farfetched” because Israel continued to occupy Arab lands, thereby necessitating four peacekeeping operations in the region. Calling on the United Nations to pressure Israel to end its occupation of Palestine, the occupied Syrian Golan and southern Lebanon, he said he regretted the Organization’s inability to enforce civilian protection in the region and the enabling of continuing Israeli occupation with impunity.
DAFFA-ALLA ELHAG ALI OSMAN (Sudan) noted several of his country’s achievements in the area of peacemaking, including the successful referendum in Southern Sudan, conducted with the help of the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS). With that success, Sudan had assured the world that it had fulfilled its commitments and moved substantially along the road towards peace throughout the country. As UNMIS continued to implement its exit strategy, the country would continue to host the world’s largest peacekeeping mission, UNAMID, with a view to establishing peace in Darfur, as well. However, under no circumstances were such operations a substitute for addressing and finding solutions to the roots of conflict, which required expanded partnerships and support.
In light of the increasing challenges faced by peacekeeping missions, it was now necessary to define their mandates in a clear and implementable way, he said. Maintaining peace and security remained the responsibility of national Governments under international law, he said, adding that Sudan was concerned about some “unclear” or “cloudy” concepts contained in the draft strategy on civilian protection published earlier this year, including the lack of a definition for the term “civilian” and the mandate to use force independent of the national authorities, which undermined State responsibility. Underlining the importance of State sovereignty in the context of civilian protection, he said that Sudan hoped soon to move from a country receiving peacekeepers to one contributing troops.
GYAN CHANDRA ACHARYA (Nepal) commended the progress made in developing training materials and guidelines on civilian protection, saying the resource matrix under development would help reduce resource gaps in field missions. Better management of information, expectations and public relations, coupled with adequate resources, were crucial for effective peacekeeping, he said. However, cuts in the budget for peacekeeping training were of serious concern for troop- and police-contributing countries, he said.
Mission-wide workshops should be conducted periodically in the field to create common understanding among mission leaders of complex mandated tasks and implementation strategies, he said. Operational challenges in the field could be reduced through training and predeployment briefings, but the safety and security of field personnel was important. Critical resource gaps and management issues relating to military helicopters were of serious concern, he said, calling on the Special Committee to address that issue. The General Assembly should consider increasing troop costs on an ad hoc basis, he said, adding that the reimbursement of death and disability claims was important for troop- and police-contributing countries. Some cases had taken too long to process, impeding timely reimbursement to affected families, he noted, urging the Secretariat to complete reimbursements in a timely fashion.
REBECA HERNÁNDEZ TOLEDANO (Cuba) said United Nations peacekeeping operations faced new challenges, and Member States as well as the Secretariat must address them in strict adherence to the Charter, in particular the respect for State sovereignty, impartiality and the non-use of force except in self-defence. In the current situation, where the Organization’s capacity to respond to new peacekeeping needs was stretched, the Special Committee had a special role to play, he said. The General Assembly had the primary responsibility in formulating peacekeeping concepts and policies, and changes to those must be discussed and agreed in advance and at the international level. Mandates should be clear, containing concrete objectives and establishing a step-by-step approach, he said.
The Security Council should keep peacekeeping mandates in the form of a draft until Member States had decided on troop levels and other deployment issues, he continued. Noting that host countries and troop contributors were not always given a voice in decision-making, he said the United Nations should take the specific needs of host countries into consideration, and consider economic and development issues in their peacekeeping policies. Peacekeeping operations could not be an end in themselves, he stressed, adding that they should be part of a long-term sustainable peacebuilding and development strategy. Peacebuilding strategies were therefore important tools and must be based on national experiences, he said, adding that they should be planned in an integrated and coherent manner, in accordance with the wishes of national Governments.
KAZUO KODAMA (Japan) said that as Chair of the Security Council’s Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations in 2009 and 2010, his country had sought practical ways to address the critical resource gap between mandates and their implementation on the ground. The Council’s good practice of holding private meetings with troop- and police-contributing countries prior to Council consultations on renewing or amending peacekeeping mandates should be further encouraged, in accordance with Council resolution 1353 (2001), he said. Noting that there was insufficient worldwide capacity for typical peacebuilding mandates such as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, security-sector reform, and rule of law, he said he looked forward to the conclusion of the Comprehensive Civilian Capability Review, and wished to see further progress on the integrated planning process and the integrated strategic frameworks meant to achieve coherence and effective resource allocation within and outside the United Nations.
FRANCISCO CARRIÓN-MENA (Ecuador) said his country conducted many necessary functions in peacekeeping missions, including the provision of a school unit that taught peacekeepers to resolve civilian conflicts. Most of Ecuador’s peacekeepers in Haiti were civilian engineers performing tasks in support of the earthquake reconstruction effort, he said. Missions should strengthen the relationship between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, in accordance with the needs and guidance of the host country, he said, stressing that peacebuilding should be instituted early through the development of State institutions in order to deter relapse into conflict. There was also a need for a more comprehensive approach to peacekeeping, including the provision of logistical support, training, as well as well-defined and achievable mandates. Ecuador welcomed cooperation with regional and subregional organizations and encouraged further collaboration in that area. Regarding the security and safety of field personnel, he stressed the need for new technologies and training methods in that area. As for the challenge of protecting children, Ecuador supported Security Council resolutions 1612 (2005) and 1882 (2009) on children in armed conflict, and was monitoring their implementation, he said.
MAJDI RAMADAN (Lebanon) said peacekeeping should not be an end in itself, but part of a political solution to address the root causes of conflicts. In the Middle East, an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestine, Syria and Lebanon, the core cause of conflict in the region, was a prerequisite for any comprehensive resolution and successful transition to United Nations peacekeeping, he said. Respect for the safety and security of the peacekeepers was critical to the implementation of their mandate and a requirement of Security Council resolutions under international law.
Based on the principle of State responsibility, he continued, crimes such as Israel’s 1996 attack on the UNIFIL offices in Qana, south Lebanon, and that of 2006 on the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), also in south Lebanon, should never be repeated. He noted that 18 previous General Assembly resolutions had called on Israel to compensate the Organization for the damage caused by the 1996 attack.
He went on to say that operational guidelines under development by the United Nations for the protection of civilians should enable peacekeeping forces like UNIFIL to safeguard innocent Lebanese civilians from the daily dangers and threats they faced due to Israel’s occupation and overflights. Reiterating his delegation’s full support for UNIFIL and UNTSO, he said his country was fully committed to implementing Council resolution 1701 (2006), and pointed out that the former played an important role in south Lebanon as a partner in mine clearance and development efforts.
AUGUSTINE UGOCHUKWU NWOSA (Nigeria) said recent challenges to peacekeeping, including complexity in terms of political space, global interest, gender issues and others, made the Brahimi Report on United Nations peace operations particularly relevant. International peace and security was a collective duty, for which the Security Council was primarily responsible. It was therefore necessary to ensure the adequate strengthening of regional and subregional capacities so as to enhance the possibility of that shared responsibility.
In that connection, the African Union peace and security architecture also needed adequate support, he said, adding that a State need not undergo a “cyclic fluctuation of the paralysis of war” before the United Nations intervened in peacekeeping or peacebuilding. Additionally, the shortage of critical equipment continued to leave “yawning gaps” between expectation and performance, he said, noting that no enduring peace could be achieved without also tackling the root causes of conflict. The pursuit of enduring peace should be tackled under a more comprehensive “umbrella” comprising the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, he said, stressing that peacekeeping should be given additional impetus for the protection of the most vulnerable in society, particularly women and children.
MILORAD ŠĆEPANOVIĆ (Montenegro) said the New Horizon initiative was a fundamental framework for developing a forward-looking agenda for United Nations peacekeeping and building on previous peacekeeping reform. The Secretary-General’s report on implementing the Special Committee’s recommendations was an important step in that direction. Calling for better integration and coordination between host Governments and international partners, he said that developing and integrating peacebuilding activities into peacekeeping operations could create effective synergy between the two. Montenegro supported efforts to create an early peacebuilding strategy for peacekeepers, he said, adding that he supported the creation of the Global Field Support Strategy, as well as the global and regional service centres for its implementation. He called for steps to ensure civilian protection tasks were carried out in the field, efforts to implement Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women and peace and security, and the implementation of subsequent resolutions on the protection of women’s rights and their participation in conflict resolution.
Right of Reply
The representative of Lebanon, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, recalled that Israel’s delegate had expressed his country’s commitment to UNIFIL and Security Council resolution 1701 (2006). Perhaps Israel could match its words with deeds, including by withdrawing from Lebanon and ending its infringement of Lebanese territorial waters. Regrettably, none of Israel’s actions proved the claims of its representative, made earlier today, he said. Over the years, Israel had threatened the safety and security of UNIFIL troops, and had a lack of respect for international law. In 1996, it had attacked UNIFIL headquarters in Qana, killing hundreds of people, mostly civilians seeking refuge.
Israel’s delegate had also made reference to Hizbullah, he said, pointing out that the latter was part of Lebanon’s caretaker Government today, but had not been in 1978, when Israel had invaded its neighbour. In 1982, when Israel had invaded Lebanon again, Hizbullah had been a resistance movement, he pointed out. Peacekeeping was not just a career, but a mission and a responsibility, based on the principles of peace and justice, not aggression and illegality. How could Israel, which thrived on aggression and illegality, contribute to peacekeeping? How could Israel, which violated hundreds of United Nations resolutions, be part of any United Nations peacekeeping mission?
* *** *For information media • not an official record