|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Special Committee on
222nd & 223rd Meetings (AM & PM)
All Stakeholders Have ‘Common Duty’ to Identify Peacekeeping Components Needing
Improvement, Under-Secretary-General Tells Special Committee
Field Support Chief Stresses Importance
Of Flexibility, Professionalism in Anticipating Security Challenges
The overall structure and systems on which United Nations peacekeeping relied were “not always optimal” and it was a common duty among all stakeholders — Headquarters, regional organizations, United Nations agencies and Member States alike — to determine which components could be improved in the coming years, Under-Secretary-General Hervé Ladsous told the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations today.
“The stakes are high” and the challenges were constantly evolving, Mr. Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, emphasized at the start of the Special Committee’s 2012 substantive session. Some missions had been charged with a traditional role, such as monitoring a ceasefire, while others had taken on the implementation of peace agreements, the protection of civilians, the facilitation of humanitarian assistance and support for electoral processes. While that multidimensional response to conflict had made peacekeeping more robust, it also required identifying diverse capacities and building global partnerships, he noted.
With that in mind, it was essential that mission leaders be empowered to lead through better implementation of the architecture underpinning “command-and-control” arrangements, he said. Gaps in critical assets, such as military helicopters, must be closed, especially in South Sudan’s Jonglei State and in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. A study was under way to determine the feasibility of using unmanned aerial vehicles in South Sudan, he said, noting a belief that their use during the crisis in Jonglei State would have helped the Government of South Sudan protect civilians.
Further, leadership must be able to count on realistic, achievable mandates from the Security Council, adequate resources and professional execution of mandated tasks, he said. A high priority in the year ahead would centre on the conduct of peacekeepers and redoubled efforts to eliminate breaches of discipline, he said, emphasizing that his office needed the full support from Member States in ensuring compliance with the “zero tolerance” policy on sexual exploitation and abuse. For their part, the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support would work to ensure that all peacekeeping components were “well prepared, equipped and enabled to deliver”.
In that context, Susanna Malcorra, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, said it was important to address — and anticipate — security challenges with flexibility and professionalism. Over the past year, the Department of Field Support had continued its implementation of the Global Field Support Strategy, moving towards managing field support through a professional, structured and systematic approach that could easily be adapted to a variety of operational environments.
Acting General Assembly President Jean-Francis Régis Zinsou ( Benin) said on behalf of President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser that, going forward, there would be a need to maximize the use of national capacities from the beginning by providing rapid international civilian assistance. The United Nations would work closely with host countries, which bore primary responsibility for the security of their own territories.
Special Committee Chair U. Joy Ogwu ( Nigeria) said the changing dynamics in the scope and complexity of peacekeeping operations underlined the need to handle each situation according to its “uniqueness”, while bearing in mind the paramount safety of United Nations peacekeepers. The ascendance of specialist peacekeepers over generalists called for a total reorientation for pre-deployment and deployment training, as well as enhancing the national capacities of troop contributors.
On that point, several of the more than 15 speakers participating in today’s general debate said that the role of troop- and police-contributing countries should remain a top priority, emphasizing that their participation in policy formulation and decision-making from the start was vital to the effectiveness of any partnership. India’s delegate described the United Nations approach to peacekeeping as “Headquarter-driven”, calling for a fair division of intellectual and field burdens in peacekeeping, which would strengthen the democratic core of the existing peacekeeping partnership by making it participative and representative. “Our thoughts and theories lack fair representation of the views of the wider membership,” he pointed out.
Other speakers stressed that, while guidance was welcome, too many Secretariat directives on what peacekeeping could and could not do, “killed its very purpose”. Morocco’s representative said peacekeepers had become overburdened in a way that diverted them from maintaining peace. “Peacekeepers are not engineers, they are not doctors; they are certainly not advisers to local populations,” he said. “Let us refocus on what they do best.”
In other business during today’s meeting, the Special Committee re-elected Ms. Ogwu ( Nigeria), by acclamation, as Chair, Mohamed Sarwat Selim ( Egypt) as Rapporteur and the following as Vice Chairs: Mateo Estreme ( Argentina); Gilles Rivard ( Canada); Kazutoshi Aikawa ( Japan); and Zbigniew Szlęk ( Poland).
The Special Committee also decided to create a Working Group of the Whole to consider the recommendations to be included in its report to the Assembly, with Mr. Rivard ( Canada) as Chair.
It also adopted its provisional agenda, a draft programme of work for the current session, and approved, as orally revised, a draft decision on working methods, which took into account comments made at the Special Committee’s informal meeting on 2 February. The representatives of Morocco and Canada spoke after that action.
Speaking during the general debate were representatives of Egypt (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Chile (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), New Zealand (also on behalf of Canada and Australia), Thailand (on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations), Russian Federation, Senegal, Ukraine, Cuba, Norway, Bangladesh, Switzerland, Venezuela and Kenya. A representative of the European Union also delivered a statement.
The Special Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 22 February, to continue its general debate.
Opening its 2012 substantive session this morning, the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations had before it the report of the Secretary-General on Progress in the Implementation of the global field support strategy (document A/66/591) dated 7 December 2011, which outlines a five-year process to transform the delivery of support services to United Nations field missions. It also describes the results achieved during the first year of the five-year implementation timeline of the strategy, and mentions such achievements as improvements in service delivery, efficiency gains and cost savings.
Also before the Special Committee was the Secretary-General’s Comprehensive report on all processes involved in the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed against deployed United Nations peacekeepers (document A/66/598). Dated 9 December 2011, it contains a legal and jurisdictional framework for the investigation and prosecution of such crimes.
The Special Committee also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on United Nations police (document A/66/615) dated 15 December, which describes progress made in managing operations since 2008. It illustrates the growing importance of United Nations police as a central element in the pursuit of sustainable peace and security, as well as current challenges and the best ways in which to respond to them.
In addition, the Special committee had before it the report of the Secretary-General on Implementation of the recommendations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (document A/66/619) dated 16 December. It outlines progress over the past year in clarifying critical roles in United Nations peacekeeping capabilities, strengthening field support arrangements and improving arrangements for the planning, management and oversight of missions. A supplementary report (document A/66/619/Add.1) contains a summary of each recommendation.
JEAN-FRANCIS RÉGIS ZINSOU ( Benin), Acting President of the General Assembly, opening the session on behalf of President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, underlined that the Special Committee was a symbol of responsibility, dedication and peace. Indeed, the United Nations presence on the ground helped stop the escalation of confrontations, pave the way for peaceful dispute settlement and rebuild communities after conflict. Such outcomes could not be achieved without the tireless efforts of military, police and civilian peacekeepers serving under the United Nations flag, he said.
However, United Nations peacekeeping faced many trials, both at Headquarters and around the world, he noted. Peacekeeping mandates were decided by the Security Council while decisions on financing, the elaboration of policies and review of their implementation fell under the auspices of the Fourth (Special Political and Decolonization) and Fifth (Administrative and Budgetary) Committees, as well as the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. The contributions of the Council and the Assembly were crucial for strengthening actions, he stressed.
He went on to point out that the complexity of peacekeeping mandates had increased over the years, and today, missions were charged with both supporting the implementation of peace accords, as well as transitional administration. In addition to multidimensional peacekeeping operations, missions were largely focused on civilian protection. “This requires a renewed global partnership among all stakeholders,” he emphasized, citing among them host countries, troop contributors and regional organizations. “This partnership is key for success,” he added.
Going forward, there was a need to maximize the use of national capacities from the beginning, which would only be possible by providing rapid, effective international civilian assistance, he continued. “The safety and security of United Nations personnel must be a top priority for all involved,” he added. To that end, the United Nations must work closely with host countries, which bore primary responsibility for the safety and security of their territories. No effort should be spared in ensuring that missions had the human and material resources to implement their mandates.
U. JOY OGWU ( Nigeria), Chair of the Special Committee, underscored that relationships must be built on mutual understanding, as well as trust, coherence, transparency and accountability. She said that, as Chair of the Security Council Working Group on Peacekeeping Mandates, she had worked to establish a triangular relationship between the Secretariat, the Council and troop-contributing countries. The changing dynamics in the scope and complexity of peacekeeping operations underlined the need to handle each situation according to its “uniqueness”, while bearing in mind the paramount safety of United Nations peacekeepers, she emphasized.
She went on to underscore also the importance of bridging critical capacity gaps in order to enhance efficiency. The commanding ascendancy of specialist peacekeepers over generalists called for a total reorientation for pre-deployment and deployment training, and the national capacities of troop contributors must be enhanced through the lending of support. While Africa continued to dominate the Security Council’s agenda, the localized nature of the continent’s conflicts required enhanced regional cooperation with the United Nations. In that context, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was a model, she said, adding that such cooperation had enhanced the regional peace and security architecture.
Underscoring the importance of “zero tolerance” for indiscipline, she said the conduct of peacekeepers must reflect the global conscience for honour and integrity in the service of humanity. Apart from the criminality of an offence, misconduct left scars on the collective conscience of those who had placed their trust in the United Nations. Stressing that a country need not experience the “paralysis of conflict” before qualifying for peacebuilding support, she said support should move beyond the traditional approach to allow those with the potential to fall into conflict to benefit, noting that Guinea offered an example of that approach.
The role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes required global peacekeeping to adapt to a new reality by achieving “more with less”, she said, calling in that context for a paradigm shift to a more preventive role whereby mediators would be at least as valuable as peacekeepers. She suggested the creation of a conflict management commission in the Office of the Secretary-General. In closing, she reminded the Special Committee that the fear of change was the greatest obstacle to human development. She also urged negotiators to show a spirit of compromise, the bedrock upon which strong partnership was founded.
HERVÉ LADSOUS, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said that in his first five months in that job, he had been amazed by the contribution that peacekeepers made in the field every day. Indeed, the presence of the “blue helmets” and “blue berets” was a clear sign of the commitment by troop- and police-contributing countries to the cause of international peace and security. “The stakes are high,” he noted. “Peacekeepers serve under incredible hardship and at personal risk every day.”
He said his first five months had also made him aware that the overall structure and systems upon which United Nations peacekeeping relied were “not always optimal”, pledging that he would look to fill the gaps. During field visits, he said, he had been struck by the diversity of challenges that United Nations peacekeepers were mandated to undertake. While some peacekeeping missions were charged with a traditional role, integrated missions took on the implementation of peace accords, the protection of civilians, the facilitation of humanitarian assistance and support for electoral processes. That “multidimensional response to conflict” made peacekeeping a valuable tool in responding to threats and preventing conflict, he said, adding that it also underlined the need to identify diverse capacities and build global partnerships.
The Under-Secretary-General said he had seen diverse models for peacekeeping missions emerging, noting that some were working with partners, such as the African Union, while others collaborated primarily with United Nations agencies. The Organization’s peacekeeping efforts offered a common platform combining political, justice, human rights and other civilian expertise with military, police and corrections expertise, as well as myriad logistical capabilities. Peacekeeping was also a highly cost-effective policy tool, he said, pointing out that an estimated total of $69 billion had been spent from 1948 to 2010. By comparison, the 2010 defence expenditures of the top 15 spenders had hit $1.6 trillion — 23 times the cost of United Nations peacekeeping since its inception more than 60 years ago. Assuring the Special Committee that he was committed to optimizing the use of all resources, he said the consolidated peacekeeping budget submissions for 2012-2013 proposed a 7.8 per cent reduction, or a figure $600 million lower than for the current financial period.
Providing an overview of operations, he said the situation in Sudan and South Sudan required the most attention. The United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) supported the nascent State and its newly created institutions, while the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) assisted in the peaceful management of the new country’s separation from Sudan and provided security in Abyei, contested by both countries. He added that he had visited the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), and was concerned at rising insecurity stemming from criminality.
In West and Central Africa, he continued, the post-electoral crisis in Côte d’Ivoire stood out, testing the ability to implement peacekeeping mandates under extremely adverse circumstances. The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) faced civilian-protection challenges due to a shortage of military helicopters. While the situation in the Horn of Africa was extremely volatile, the Department of Field Support continued to deliver logistical services to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and to the ongoing redeployment of the United Nations Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS) from Nairobi to Mogadishu.
Turning to the Middle East, he said the impact of the “Arab Spring” continued to be felt and peacekeeping missions in the region remained on high alert to deal with potentially rapid changes in the operational environment. Elsewhere, the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) continued to encourage flexibility in the current dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, he noted.
He said he had been impressed by the work of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in promoting international engagement with the Afghan Government in support of the political and development agenda. The Secretary-General would present his report on Afghanistan to the Security Council in March, and make recommendations on the Mission’s future role. There were also signs of progress as the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) prepared to hand over security duties to national authorities, he said. Meanwhile, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) would return to its pre-earthquake troop and police levels, and focus on building the Government’s capacity to ensure good governance.
Providing an overview of the New Horizon pillars, he said that, with regard to mission management and oversight, an internal evaluation confirmed that the architecture of command-and-control arrangements must be more effectively implemented. Regarding capabilities, there was a shortfall of 44 military helicopters, while the lack of road infrastructure in places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo hindered efforts to prevent violence. Another area being explored with a view to filling capacity gaps was in the use of modern technology, he said, noting that the use of drones during the recent crisis in South Sudan’s Jonglei State would have enhanced the Government’s ability, and that of UNMISS, to protect civilians.
In the coming year, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support would work to ensure all peacekeeping components were “well prepared, equipped and enabled to deliver”, he continued. They would improve the “gap list process” and link it more clearly to a systemic response. As for policing, a key challenge was the ability to “backstop” missions, provide guidance and recruit well-trained police units, he said.
Noting that the Special Committee had worked closely with the Department to clarify the roles of peacekeepers, he said there was now a better analysis of the resources required to implement civilian-protection mandates. Progress had also been seen in clarifying the peacekeeping-peacebuilding nexus and in developing a strategy to help missions prioritize early peacebuilding initiatives. The comprehensive reform agenda supported two core objectives: maximizing the prospects for success in achieving peace, and giving Special Representatives of the Secretary-General, Force Commanders and Police Commissioners the tools they needed to deliver on their mandates.
He said his field visits confirmed that most military and police units were performing in an “exemplary” manner, stressing, however, that performance problems must be corrected where they existed. “We must work together to address any shortcomings rapidly and effectively,” he said. However, he expressed concern about the need for continued investment in the security of United Nations personnel and in taking “every feasible measure” to protect them. A high priority this year was related to the good conduct of peacekeepers. “The acts of a handful can tarnish the good name of thousands,” he cautioned, adding that he was determined to eliminate breaches of discipline that jeopardized hard-earned trust.
SUSANNA MALCORRA, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, outlined the challenges and goals for the coming year. She said that, in order to ensure appropriate delivery and oversight of services in Somalia, a rotating team was working hard on a continuous basis to provide the necessary resources, but had been affected by the severe situation and the increased need for medical aero-evacuations and services.
Shortages were affecting peacekeeping operations in some countries, she said, citing Sudan, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Libya. “We are all painfully aware of the continuing shortage of key assets across our missions, and the impact this has on our ability to implement our mandates,” she said. In addition to ensuring strong support services, it was also vital to direct peacekeeping resources where they were needed most.
She went on to emphasize the importance of striving not only to address, but also to anticipate international peace and security challenges with flexibility and professionalism. Over the past year the Department of Field Support had continued its work on the implementation of the Global Field Support Strategy, moving towards managing field support with a professional, structured and systematic approach that could easily be adapted to a variety of operational environments.
Although the proportion of mission staff assigned to family duty stations had increased, a majority of staff in field operations continued to serve in hardship duty stations, she said, acknowledging the sacrifices made by the staff members concerned, while also paying tribute to the many peacekeeping personnel who had lost their lives over the past year. “I cannot but emphasize that this is another clear sign of how difficult is the environment where we operate.” She said the principle of strengthened personal accountability remained a fundamental prerequisite in the conduct of all personnel. As for allegations of rape and sexual relationships with minors, she declared: “Zero tolerance is not enough. We want zero incidents.”
MAGED ABDELAZIZ (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, commended the Moroccan and Canadian delegations for their efforts in compiling a draft decision on the Special Committee’s working methods, but noted that it did not adequately provide a field-driven perspective. The role of troop-contributing countries should remain a top priority, he said, stressing the importance of full participation by troop contributors in policy formulation and decision-making in the interest of partnership and effectiveness.
The increased demand for United Nations peacekeeping operations required improved capacity to assess conflict situations and rapid responses to emergencies, he said, stressing also that the policy development should be done at the intergovernmental level and must be coupled with the necessary resources. He reiterated the importance of consensus on the development of policies, and of ensuring that only ideas and approaches collectively adopted by Member States should be implemented. He called on the Secretariat to refrain from working on streams of policy that had not been agreed through an intergovernmental process, adding that it was also important to have a strong and clear Security Council commitment to drafting clear and achievable mandates. It was also important to pay greater attention to exit strategies.
He reiterated the importance of enhancing integration between peacekeeping and peacebuilding so that the former was accompanied by economic recovery and capacity-building efforts, with a focus on national ownership. The Non-Aligned Movement believed strongly that the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security rested with the United Nations and that the role of regional arrangements should be in accordance with the Organization’s Charter. Specifically, the Movement called for intensified United Nations support for the African Union’s operations by ensuring predictable and sustainable funding. As the single group with most, if not all, top troop- and police-contributing countries, the Non-Aligned Movement continued to support peacekeeping operations, he said. “This presents clear evidence of our commitment to efforts aiming at maintaining international peace and security.”
IOANNIS VRAILAS, Deputy Head of the European Union delegation, stressed that in the current times of austerity, it was important to remember that peacekeeping was about people. As operations stayed the course and focused on implementation, it was also necessary to remain open to innovation, he said. Promoting peacekeeping operations that were consistent with both field realities and today’s financial realities was particularly challenging. “In these times of austerity, we need to make the most out of each peacekeeping dollar,” he reiterated, encouraging United Nations peacekeeping to embrace a “cultural shift” and build on the Secretary-General’s vision of “doing more with less”.
Outlining three peacekeeping actions in the Secretary-General’s second-term agenda, he touched briefly upon the European Union’s priorities for the Special Committee’s present session, citing burden-sharing and strong collaboration with regional organizations; ensuring that peacekeepers had the necessary capacities, capabilities and support to meet the demands of increasingly complex operations with increased speed and nimbleness; and enhancing the United Nations ability to protect civilians. He also stressed the importance of addressing the shortage of military helicopters, which remained an acute problem where areas of operation were vast and infrastructure limited.
Providing peacekeepers with additional training tailored to their specific missions would enhance their ability to perform and allow them “to hit the ground running upon deployment”, he said. With International Women’s Day around the corner, he said, today was a good opportunity to encourage the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to focus further on wartime violence against women, in particular sexual violence. In the long run, the European Union believed that strengthening host State capacity and the rule of law were the best ways to help promote the protection of civilians, he said.
EDUARDO GÁLVEZ (Chile), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin-American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said it was imperative that peacekeeping missions be conducted in full conformity with the United Nations Charter, as well as the principles of consent of the parties, impartiality, and use of force only in self-defence or in defence of the mandate. He also stressed the importance of universalizing participation in peacekeeping operations and enhancing cooperation among all stakeholders.
Expressing commitment to ensuring that the Special Committee’s report was an increasingly relevant tool, he welcomed efforts to promote an informal dialogue to improve the body’s work. Developing countries must be involved in all aspects and stages of peacekeeping operations, he emphasized, calling on the Security Council to take their perspectives into account. Better coordination between the Council, the Special Committee and the Secretariat, as well as troop and police contributors was essential. There should also be clear guidelines and sufficient logistical and financial resources for missions to carry out their tasks, he said. Underscoring the essential importance of guaranteeing the highest level of conduct for all peacekeepers, he said CELAC was committed to the “zero tolerance” policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, and welcomed progress on preventing misconduct through the application of systematic measures.
Also, practical modalities should be explored for crediting reimbursements to troop- and police-contributing countries in a timely manner, he said, taking note of the revised reimbursement rates adopted by the General Assembly. He requested the Senior Advisory Group to make all efforts to reach a positive outcome, stressing the need for the Special Committee to conclude its work in a timely manner. The “capability-driven approach” was also important to improving capabilities across peacekeeping components. For its part, the Special Committee must have a substantive discussion on all aspects of peacekeeping operations, he said, adding that it was also important to strengthen the strategic perspective of the United Nations field presence by strengthening national institutions, among other things. CELAC reiterated its unwavering support for MINUSTAH, he said in conclusion.
IAN GORE (New Zealand), speaking also on behalf of Canada and Australia, stressed that significant gaps remained in the rule-of-law area as a result of inadequate support for the justice sector, uneven implementation and ineffective coordination between actors, which hampered efforts to deliver basic justice to people on the ground. Building national capacity was crucial, he said, calling on the United Nations to focus on developing stronger partnerships with external actors and on improving its ability to identify early peacebuilding priorities.
He said the group was pleased that the Peacekeeping Department’s strategy on women, peace and security was being finalized, he said, strongly emphasizing the importance of child protection advisers in peace operations and the need for them to maintain direct reporting lines to senior mission leadership. He also stressed the importance of learning from past field experiences, and of sharing more broadly the innovative protection practices developed by specific missions. Local communities were best placed to determine protection needs, including through the use of community liaison assistants and civil affairs officers, he said.
Effective peacekeeping required mobility, timely information and logistical support, he said, pointing out that the shortage of helicopters was hampering the implementation of field mandates, as well as limiting the responsiveness and effectiveness of peacekeeping efforts, thus posing potential risks to the security of civilians and peacekeepers. He said training was essential in ensuring that peacekeepers were prepared for the challenges they would face in the field, and emphasized that post-conflict policing was a complex task, requiring expertise from a wide range of policing disciplines. It would be important to consider further how the Police Division could best be equipped to meet the increasingly complex demands being placed on it, he said.
NATTAWUT SABYEROOP (Thailand), speaking on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated his commitment to supporting the United Nations’ primary role in maintaining international peace and security, and the belief that peacekeeping remain a pre-eminent instrument in maintaining sustainable peace. Indeed, peacekeeping operations must be implemented in line with the United Nations Charter and relevant Security Council resolutions, as well as adhere to the three basic principles of consent of parties, impartiality and non-use of force except in self-defence or in defence of the mandate.
He reiterated that, given the increasingly complex nature of peacekeeping, there was a need for clear, credible and realistically achievable mandates, especially with regard to civilian protection. He also stressed that troop and police contributors should be consulted at the earliest stages of mandate drafting, as well as the importance of reviewing civilian capacity and the need to mobilize capacities for countries emerging from conflict. The Department of Field Support had done “tremendous” work in strengthening the Organization’s ability to manage and sustain peace operations, he said, commending that and the Peacekeeping Department for working together to enhance operations.
Recognizing the progress made in developing comprehensive civilian-protection strategies, he said that, to carry them out, appropriate guidance tools and materials must be consistently developed. There also was a need for continued and inclusive dialogue regarding the concept of effective peacekeeping. Speaking in his national capacity, he reaffirmed his country’s long-standing support for United Nations peacekeeping operations, pointing out that it had contributed nearly 20,000 troops and police officers, as well as civilian staff. In closing, he acknowledged with deep gratitude those who had made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of world peace.
AMINE CHABI ( Morocco), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed that peacekeepers could not do everything and go everywhere. They had become overburdened in a way that diverted them from what they had been trained to do, which was to maintain peace. “Peacekeepers are not engineers, they are not doctors; they are certainly not advisers to local populations, less so members of the humanitarian community,” he said. “Let us refocus on what they do best.” Emphasizing the challenges of trying to manage peacekeeping missions around the world from New York, he declared: “Every peacekeeping mission needs its political space and a fluid decision-making process. We have to trust the leaders, the commanders and the practitioners in the field.” Although guidance was welcome, too many Secretariat “policy directives”, telling peacekeepers what to do and not to do, “kills its very purpose”.
While the United Nations enjoyed a comparative advantage over other security arrangements in the linearity and directness of its lines of command, he said, the Organization still needed to step up its efforts to improve the coordination of relations between the political, military, police and humanitarian components of peacekeeping missions. Their military function deserved a high level of attention from the Special Committee as troops made up more than 85 per cent of deployed United Nations personnel, he said, citing major challenges such as force generation, ensuring high readiness of troops and their successful integration with other components. In that regard, he called for “collective brainstorming” on the comprehensive United Nations standby arrangements system, stressing also that the Organization’s civilian personnel needed to attract the brightest mission leadership and civilian expertise for field service. Morocco had launched a series, “Becoming a Peacekeeper in the twenty-first century: opportunities and challenges”, in 2010, he said, adding that the first phase focused on burden-sharing.
MANJEEV SINGH PURI ( India) said the geopolitical context of United Nations peacekeeping, including global capabilities, economic, political, military and social capital had undergone transformational shifts. The very architecture of peace and stability in conflict situations was being tested, he said. As a long-standing stakeholder in United Nations peacekeeping, India believed firmly in aligning peacekeeping mechanisms, including mission planning, mission design, force generation, mandate-making and field implementation, he said.
Describing the doctrinal approach of the United Nations as “Headquarter-driven”, with the field a mere recipient, he said it was unhealthy and unsustainable, and called for a fair division of intellectual and field burdens in peacekeeping, stressing that it would strengthen the democratic core of the existing partnership by making it participative and representative in the true sense. “Our thoughts and theories lack fair representation of the views of the wider membership,” he pointed out.
He went on to call for the objective assessment of financial, operational and logistical field necessities before finalizing ambitious agendas. Noting that his country had contributed more than 130,000 personnel to United Nations peacekeeping, he said troop posture could only be determined with their participation. Calling for a “rightful balance” in the overall scheme of the Global Field Support Strategy, he said the process had gone ahead with intangible outcomes, and warned that its focus on budgetary, financial, and now personnel grounds undermined the purpose of its origin.
ANNA M. EVSTIGNEEVA ( Russian Federation) said United Nations mission mandates had become more complex and peacekeepers had been called to serve in increasingly dangerous circumstances, complicated by socio-economic circumstances and natural disasters. Arms proliferation, organized crime and drug trafficking were becoming increasingly urgent. In that context, the United Nations Charter, as well as the principles of consent by the host, neutrality and non-use of force must serve as guidelines, especially for new and emerging activities. Efforts to enhance peacekeeping operations must serve the main aims of supporting political processes and maintaining security, among other things.
Great importance had been attached to protecting civilians and supporting humanitarian relief, she said, noting that civilian protection fell under State purview. Protecting civilians was just one task for peacekeepers and implementation must be tied to individual mandates, as defined by the Security Council. Using civilian protection to justify international involvement was unacceptable, she emphasized. The timely development of a peacekeeping deployment strategy would enhance the efficiency of mandate fulfilment, she said, welcoming the Secretariat’s efforts to that end. The planning of drawdown strategies must also be transparent, she added.
It was clear that, unless the results achieved by peacekeepers were shored up, the risk of conflict restarting became greater, she said, stressing that peacekeepers must be tasked only with initial peacebuilding objectives. The role played by the Peacebuilding Commission, regional organizations and bilateral donors must be enhanced, and activities appropriately delineated. Indeed, it would be hard to imagine United Nations peacekeeping as divorced from Chapter 8 of the Charter, she said.
Open, equal and mutually beneficial partnerships must make maximum use of the comparative advantages of regional organizations, she said, citing the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union in that regard. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization also were making contributions to regional and international security, she said. However, achieving peacekeeping objectives would not be possible without human and financial support, she warned, adding: “We are facing shortfalls.” Shortages, including of helicopters, dictated the need for optimal use of existing resources, and the potential of a Headquarters coordination role had not been fully harnessed. The Russian Federation would contribute to discussions on peacekeeping logistics, she said, adding that an integrated approach was needed to determine where efficiencies could be made.
ABDOU SALAM DIALLO (Senegal), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed that it was the “right time” to highlight the need to continue to improve the working conditions of field personnel. Senegal was deeply committed to strengthening United Nations peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations around the world, he said, noting that his country had provided 2,340 troops to various operations and was ranked twelfth among troop- and police-contributing countries.
He called for the continuing strengthening of the partnership between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, as well as troop contributors. Specifically, the United Nations and the African Union should meet their peacekeeping commitments in Somalia, where it was to be hoped there would be an end to 20 years of crisis. Stressing the need to raise the wages of deployed military and police personnel in order to enhance their effectiveness on the ground, he said higher wages would also attract higher-quality peacekeepers. He also stressed the urgent need to apply preventive diplomacy so as to neutralize conflict from the outset.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA ( Ukraine) said one of the most immediate priorities of the global peacekeeping partnership was to strike a balance between the concept of “doing more with less” and the legitimate concerns of troop- and police-contributing countries. However, “doing more with less” should in no way be applied to areas where United Nations capacities were already stretched to the limit, he said, noting the announcement earlier today of a global helicopter shortage. Expressing support for the Secretariat’s emphasis on innovative solutions, he agreed that priority should be given to an urgent review of pertinent reimbursement and contracting provisions, which was creating robust incentives for countries contributing military helicopters and was the only sustainable solution to that critical asset gap.
Beyond enabling assets, peacekeepers should be duly equipped with and feel no shortage of legal protection mechanisms, he continued. The Secretary-General’s report on processes involved in the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed against peacekeepers was among efforts to strengthen the safety and security of blue helmets, he said. However, some elements queried by the Special Committee needed more in-depth elaboration, particularly in relation to the feasibility of adapting the United Nations investigative mechanism provided for under the memorandum of understanding with respect to crimes against peacekeepers, into the procedures of internal United Nations investigations of crimes against peacekeepers. “It is of paramount importance for the credibility of the United Nations to ensure that crimes both against and by peacekeepers do not go unpunished,” he said.
Despite greater cooperation, including increased consultations with force commanders and expanding the use of video-conferencing, there was much room for improvement in the interactions between Security Council members and troop-contributing countries, he said, noting a lack of transparency and outreach in decision-making, especially in crisis situations. Ukraine had faced such a situation in 2011 year, when the Council’s decisions on peacekeeping mandates had been taken two days prior to, or even on the very day, of their expiry, he recalled. Under Ukraine’s law, Parliament had a legal right to authorize decisions on the deployment of peacekeepers, and to take up to one month to bring new or modified mandates in line with national legislation, he said. “If the Council takes decisions so close to the expiration of mandates, there is no other option than sending our troops back home and redeploying them in the same peacekeeping operation once the relevant national law is passed,” he said. “This is not only an additional financial and logistical burden both for Ukraine and the United Nations, it also poses serious security challenges.”
YESSIKA COMESAÑA PERDOMO (Cuba), associating herself with CELAC and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that over the years, tackling the challenges of peacekeeping operations must be based on national sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-intervention in internal affairs. Restraint must be practised in the use of force unless in the rare cases of self-defence, she added.
Host and troop-contributing countries were not guaranteed participants in the process and the credibility of the United Nations was based on that exclusion, she noted. In addition, a clear estimate was needed of the resources required for an operation. Furthermore, before the approval and deployment of an operation, there must be an exit strategy based on national experience and planned in a comprehensive and coherent manner.
She went on to warn that establishing new and more complex peacekeeping operations could not be a substitute for resolving conflicts. Conflict areas must be the focus of long-term peace strategies encompassing economic, political and social aspects. Emphasizing the State’s primary responsibility to ensure peace and protect citizens, she said that, even when one such task was to protect civilians, it must in no way become an excuse to change the United Nations Charter. She concluded by calling for a revision of the Special Committee’s working methods, saying they must be analysed periodically to ensure the timeliness of what was happening on the ground.
TINE MØRCH SMITH ( Norway) said it was vitally important that the global financial climate not constrain the peacekeeping partnership. Highlighting key issues in the reform process, she urged strengthening of the United Nations capacity to help host Governments protect civilians, saying that the Security Council should read the draft “resource and capability requirement matrix” for implementing such mandates, as it highlighted the importance of situational awareness.
She emphasized the great importance of developing a strategic guidance framework for United Nations police, urging States to participate in regional workshops to help shape a common vision for police work. States should also nominate women for leadership positions, and ensure that all deployed personnel received training to make operations more gender-sensitive. States should also make full use of all training materials on conflict-related sexual violence, she said.
Welcoming efforts to strengthen the Organization’s ability to recruit and retain civilians, she said her country would co-host a seminar next month on United Nations support in the aftermath of conflict. She concluded by expressing support for the development of effective partnerships with regional organizations, noting that today’s Security Council debate on the impact of transnational organized crime on peace and security in West Africa highlighted an emerging threat that peace operations must be prepared to deal with more effectively.
ANWARUL MOMEN (Bangladesh) said the field of peacekeeping had transformed over the years, and was now mandated to accomplish a range of tasks, among them protecting civilians, supporting humanitarian assistance in post-conflict situations, helping to organize elections, and conducting disarmament and demobilization initiatives in an increasingly complex “ground reality”. He reiterated the importance of closer and more active involvement with troop-contributing countries. Against the backdrop of currently increasing demands on peacekeepers, he noted, the issue of troop costs had not been reviewed for two decades, other than an ad hoc increase in 2002. He said that he expected the current Senior Advisory Group’s recommendations to be effective starting next financial year.
Compensation for death and disability must also be cleared as soon as possible, he said. “There should not be any attempt to micro-define excuses to avoid or delay the compensation,” he added, noting that cases of heart disease had developed from stressful engagement in mission areas. Since 1988, Bangladesh had been involved in 45 United Nations peacekeeping operations with about 102,000 personnel, he recalled, noting that peacekeeping was “a must, not an option” for maintaining future peace and security throughout the world. “Because of changing circumstances, it will take a more complex and multidimensional form,” he said. “Our actions, therefore, must be commensurate to that changing need. The process must be inclusive, decision-making must be representative and burden-sharing must be proportionate in accordance with established criteria.” Troop-contributing countries must be consulted and their fair representation in the Secretariat must be ensured, he concluded.
SERGE A. BAVAUD ( Switzerland) said that the intervention by the United Nations in the violence following the 2010 elections in Côte d’Ivoire had shown its ability to protect civilians. Additionally, the creation of UNMISS had been a major development. Given those examples, it was regrettable that disagreements persisted between States funding peacekeeping operations and those providing personnel, particularly within the Contingent-Owned Working Group. The discussions had complicated debate on other challenges facing peacekeepers, he said. Indeed, peacekeeping must remain flexible in order adapt to changing circumstances and local requirements. States must work in a spirit of global partnership.
He said the Secretariat should be encouraged to pursue its work in formalizing how peacekeeping operations could build lasting peace. It should also continue to address transition management within the United Nations system. On other matters, he said he was pleased that the Special Committee had paid attention to civilian protection over the last four sessions in order to arrive at an improved strategic framework. Such efforts must now lead to results on the ground, he stressed. However, civilian protection could not be conducted in isolation from the rest of the United Nations, he said, adding that coordination among all parties, including humanitarian agencies, was essential and must take each mandate into account.
On gender issues, he said new structures such as UN Women must continue their involvement in peacekeeping discussions, while the Special Committee should “forge ahead” with efforts to prevent and control sexual abuse during peacekeeping operations. Indeed, an improved gender balance would be a cornerstone of lasting peace in United Nations peacekeeping missions, he said. Noting that the Special Committee had been perceived as the locus of prolonged negotiations characterized by rhetoric and frustration, he committed his delegation to achieving the most effective working process, while welcoming today’s adoption of the draft decision in hopes it would help to identify areas where efficiency could be improved.
RAFAEL ESPINOZA ( Venezuela), associating himself with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Non-Aligned Movement, said every peacekeeping mission must take into account and address the historical and cultural aspects of any country within which it was operating, and its people must be convinced of the operation’s legitimacy. Consent of parties must be established, he said, stressing also that force could only be used in self-defence. It was also vital to guarantee the principles of sovereignty and non-interference in internal matters.
Calling for the gap between available resources and the civilian-protection mandate to be clarified further, he said there must be clear coherence between recommendations and the resources available to carry them out. More importantly, the international community’s responsibility lay in strengthening the ability of host countries to be able to protect their own civilians, he said, adding that more must be done to tackle sexual abuse in the field. Finally, it was important to not lose sight of the root cause of conflict, he said, emphasizing that the strategy should be to tackle the primary causes of conflict.
MACHARIA KAMAU ( Kenya), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said low troop costs and reimbursements posed a serious challenge to troop- and police-contributing countries. That and low rates of reimbursement for contingent-owned equipment could significantly affect service delivery in the field, he warned, expressing hope that the recently appointed Senior Advisory Group would review the matter and deliver tangible results.
He said his country supported initiatives by regional and subregional organizations such as the African Union to undertake conflict-resolutions efforts, but such initiatives required cooperation and coordination, with the full support of the United Nations through capacity-building and financing. United Nations peacekeeping missions were currently faced with challenges caused by rising demand, expansion and complex Security Council mandates, all of which required concerted efforts by of all stakeholders. While the United Nations played a major role in peacekeeping and peacebuilding around the world, however, “peacekeepers shall always remain supplementary to the primary responsibility of the host nation to protect its own people”, he said.
* *** *For information media • not an official record