30 October 2013
General Assembly
GA/SPD/542

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-eighth General Assembly

Fourth Committee

17th Meeting (AM)


Shared Expectations in Post-Conflict Regional Settings, Pooling of Resources


By Missions Help Peace Operations Meet Goals, Say Fourth Committee Speakers

 


‘Triangular Cooperation’ Between Security Council,

Troop, Police Contributors, Secretariat Deemed Paramount


Political consensus coalesced today in the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) around the long-held view that United Nations peacekeeping was not only vital for international stability but also for consolidating regional and national gains, aided by shared expectations and the pooling among missions of assets, technologies and resources.


The “number one priority” for South Sudan, the newest country to have joined the United Nations, was a “comprehensive and constant peace with Sudan”, that country’s representative said. She welcomed the Security Council resolution that extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in her country, known as UNMISS, and said that the negative legacy of a long and devastating conflict had left her people “traumatized, militarized and heavily armed”.


As a result, she said, there was a gap between the national goal of peace and security and international obligations under human rights treaties.  Her Government had declared amnesty for all militias, established a Committee for National Reconciliation, Peace and Healing and was fostering inter-tribal dialogue.


There were five peacekeeping missions in the Great Lakes region, she noted, adding that, between them, they “possessed a huge pool of assets, technologies and resources”.  Cooperation among them in deploying assets and sharing data could make a big difference in removing menacing groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the March 23 Movement, thereby substantially improving regional security, she said.


Noting that peacekeeping was heavily Africa-dominated, the representative of Norway welcomed the ongoing strengthening of partnership between the United Nations and the African Union.  The latter organization and other regional African alliances were taking a proactive approach to bring stability and peace to the continent.  Norway encouraged the United Nations and African Union to continue to forge a coherent and effective partnership.


On a cautious note, the representative of Argentina expressed concern about recent developments in the peacekeeping mandates in African nations.  Argentina had expressed its reservations during negotiations on recent resolutions, such as the one authorizing the Intervention Brigade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to carry out peace enforcement tasks.  Such developments must not undermine the principles of the United Nations Charter or endanger deployed personnel.


Along those lines, the representative of Ethiopia agreed that the principle of neutrality was important, but said that that did not mean taking the middle ground between “sheer evil” represented by terrorist groups such as Al-Shabaab in Somalia or Al-Qaida in Mali and legitimate Governments and peacekeeping missions working to keep terrorism at bay.


Also reiterating the advantage of regional partnerships, the representative of Uganda said that the 2010 suicide bombings in his country and the recent attacks on Westgate Mall in Kenya were proof of the “asymmetrical warfare” conducted by the Al-Shabaab.  The region had made enormous sacrifices and those sacrifices should not be in vain.  “Suffice it to say that regional and subregional organizations complemented the United Nations.”


Several delegates also emphasized yet another kind of cooperation vital to the success of peacekeeping, namely, triangular coordination among States, the Security Council and the Secretariat.  The representative of Fiji said that was the most effective mechanism by which to diminish the shortcomings in the capabilities of peacekeeping missions.  The lack of enablers such as helicopters stretched the limits of troops on the ground.


It was also unreasonable, he said, for the Organization to expect smaller Member States, such as his country, to subsidize the peacekeeping budget at the cost of their own developmental efforts.  Many troop-contributing countries were paying their personnel higher rates than United Nations reimbursements.


The peacekeeping agenda, said India’s speaker, was developed mostly outside the General Assembly, which distorted the “peacekeeping policy universe” by prioritizing “material over men”.  Instead of being the preserve of a privileged few, the mandate-generation process should include in-depth consultations with troop- and police-contributors.  The dormancy in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping was hurting the triangular partnership.


Also speaking today were the representatives of Brazil, Japan, Myanmar, China, Uruguay, Kyrgyzstan, Burkina Faso, Iran, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Tunisia and Viet Nam.


The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 31 October, to conclude its comprehensive review of peacekeeping in all its aspects.


Background


The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to continue its comprehensive review of peacekeeping in all its aspects.


Statements


Mr. LEONARDO ( Brazil) stressed Brazil’s long-term commitment to help Haiti meet its priority of strengthening State capacity through capacity-building initiatives, including for the national police.  Brazil’s experience in Haiti had taught it that the volatile scenarios in which peacekeeping missions currently operated posed numerous problems to the security of troops and civilian personnel alike.  This was one of the reasons why clear, responsible and doable mandates were essential for any peacekeeping operation.  The perception that a peacekeeping mission was legitimate was ever more important in facing today’s threats to international peace, especially considering the possibility of unilateral action in Syria.  When crafting peacekeeping mandates Member States should look carefully at the root causes of conflict so that missions could be used effectively as a diplomatic strategy for sustainable peace.  The use of force must be the last, not the first, option in any given circumstance.  While Brazil supported incorporation of modern technical means into the missions it oversaw, it believed the use of unmanned aerial vehicles disregarded State sovereignty.  Questions needed to be answered over how Member States would provide and operate such vehicles; how intelligence gathered by these instruments enhanced peacekeeping operations’ performance; and how Member States could ensure that intelligence they provided was not leaked to third parties.


HIROSHI ISHIKAWA ( Japan) said that his country had provided engineering, police capacity-building and electoral support in Timor-Leste.  Japanese engineering units were supporting nation-building efforts in South Sudan, the youngest nation in the world.  Today’s peacekeeping missions were responsible for leading the host country on a promising development trajectory, and successful transition was very crucial.  Military engineering units could provide essential bridges among all dimensions of peace and development.  Therefore, he reiterated the importance of an in-depth evaluation of the role of military engineering units in today’s multi-dimensional missions.  Japan welcomed the ongoing initiative on capability-standards manuals and was willing to help develop a manual in engineering.  Further, the right-sizing of missions was a realistic approach for responding to the broad demands of peace and security with limited resources.


PHYO THU ZAR AUNG (Myanmar), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the role of the United Nations in conflict prevention, peace building and peacekeeping needed constant strengthening.  It was crucial, therefore, to foster effective coordination between peacekeeping operations and the United Nations peace-building architecture.  United Nations agencies, the Peacebuilding Commission, funds and programmes should coordinate closely to address countries’ needs in keeping with the principle of national ownership.  In that regard, Myanmar welcomed the planned training needs assessment conducted by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ Integrated Training Service to examine how the United Nations drew on comparative experiences of trainers in order to form a comprehensive, coherent approach.  Stronger civilian capacity would also contribute to effective peacekeeping operations and sustainable transitions in partnerships, while enhancing national ownership.  For peacekeeping operations to successfully implement their mandates adequate financial and logistical support was crucial.  Myanmar joined other countries in calling for the fulfilment of overdue contributions to United Nations peacekeeping operations on time and without conditions.


TINE MØRCH SMITH ( Norway) said that innovative approaches to police peacekeeping were necessary.  In Haiti, a specialised team of Norwegian and Canadian police advisers deployed to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was successfully implementing a project on the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence.  His country also welcomed the ongoing strengthening of partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), European Union, and most importantly, the African Union, as peacekeeping was heavily Africa-dominated.  The progress made so far in forging a more coherent and effective partnership between the African Union and the Organization was promising, and must be developed further.  Norway commended the African Union and regional African organizations for their proactive stance to bring stability and peace to the continent.


PETER THOMSON ( Fiji) said significant gaps in the deployment of troops, especially those with enabling capacities, such as engineering companies, had interfered with some of the new peacekeeping missions.  The lack of these supporting contingents had “stretched to the limits of capacity” those troops already on the ground implementing peacekeeping operations.  Peacekeeping personnel should not be made to feel that their contribution was somehow inadequate because of the lack of enablers, such as armed personnel carriers or helicopters.  Triangular cooperation, in the form of partnerships between the Organization and its Member States, would be the most effective way to alleviate the shortfalls.  He regretted that disagreement over formatting and working methods had impeded the negotiation on the Special Committee’s report on peacekeeping policy this year.


Fiji had long held that it was unreasonable for the United Nations to expect smaller, developing countries to subsidize the peacekeeping budget, he said.  Many of these countries were paying their personnel more than what the United Nations was reimbursing them.  Small countries’ sacrifice of their men and women in the line of duty, as well as their financial commitment to peacekeeping, should not come at the cost of these countries’ development efforts.  As peacekeeping moved to 12-month rotation cycles, the welfare of troops, who would be away from home for double the amount of time required at present, must be taken into account.  The current troop reimbursement rate of $1,028 per month, adopted more than 20 years ago, must take into account current costs incurred by troop contributors.


DANIEL YILMA WORKIE ( Ethiopia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that his country had been a major police and troop contributor for the last six decades.  Peacekeeping had become a very complex task and the current trend where policies failed to respond to the actual situations on the ground was bound eventually to undermine confidence in United Nations peacekeeping missions.  The emergence of new security threats, the evolving role of peacekeeping missions, the concept of the use of force, and the deployment of advanced technologies should systematically be considered, taking into account the concerns of the larger United Nations membership.  While it was necessary to devise innovative mechanisms to address those challenges, that should not lead to the abandonment of the principle of neutrality.  However, in Ethiopia’s view, neutrality did not in any way mean taking the middle ground between “sheer evil” represented, for instance, by terrorist groups such as Al-Shabaab in Somalia or Al-Qaida in Mali, and legitimate Governments and peacekeeping missions deployed in those countries to help Governments stand on their feet and keep terrorism at bay.


WANG MIN ( China) said that as international “hotspots” had become more complicated, the Organization’s peacekeeping operations had evolved and faced new challenges.  Member States must work together to do a better job of helping to peacefully resolve disputes, drawing on lessons learned, to aid oversight of peacekeeping operations and contribute to countries’ understanding of them.  Peacekeeping operations should always adhere to the three core principles of their mandate:  State consent, constant neutrality and the non-use of force.  On an exceptional basis, the Council had allowed the use of force in a peacekeeping operation in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).  It was clear this did not adhere to the Organization’s peacekeeping mandate.  Peacekeeping operations should only contribute to the peaceful settling of a conflict.  Some missions lacked necessary assets in terms of resources and equipment to meet their needs and expectations.  Noting the consistent and increasing calls for further resources, he said the United Nations must properly manage such resources and avoid waste.  It must also employ efficiency in supplying missions, expedite deployment of peacekeeping troops, and assess the situation on the ground in order to provide the most pertinent information to the Council.


MARTIN VIDAL ( Uruguay) said that his country maintained a cautious position on the issue of use of force.  Changes to that modality were ad-hoc solutions and should not be a future trend for peacekeeping missions.  What did unfortunately seem to be a trend was the increase in attacks against peacekeepers.  Further, recent developments had highlighted the multidimensional nature of peacekeeping missions and the need to strengthen capacity-building and the rule of law in host countries.  Partnerships were cross-cutting and broad consensus had emerged on the need to revitalize them in peacekeeping.  One of the positive signs of that was the reactivation of triangular cooperation through the Security Council’s working group and the convening of open thematic meetings with members of the Special Committee.  That would improve transparency and interaction between “those who establish and those who implement mandates.”  However, it was crucial to remember that the Special Committee represented the main “reality check of that partnership”.


SALWA GABRIEL BERBERI (South Sudan), welcoming Council resolution 2109 (2011) extending the mandate of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), said that peacekeeping was not only vital for international stability but also for regional and national stability, particularly in post-conflict countries such as hers.  South Sudan’s number one priority was a comprehensive and constant peace with Sudan.  There still remained a gap between the country’s objectives for peace and security and meeting international obligations under human rights treaties.  That could be attributed to the negative legacy of a long, devastating conflict that had left its people traumatized, militarized and heavily armed.  Her Government was making efforts to foster inter-tribal dialogue and conduct disarmament in Jonglei state, which was the most populous and witnessed occasional inter-tribal conflicts.  The Government had declared amnesty to all militias and had established a Committee for National Reconciliation and Healing.


Welcoming the integrated approach in the conduct of UNMISS operations, she said there were five peacekeeping missions in the Great Lakes Region, among them UNMISS in South Sudan, and MONUSCO and the Intervention Brigade in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Collectively, those five missions had a huge pool of assets, technologies and resources.  While the missions were varied in their mandates, if such assets were commonly used and deployed, a big difference could be made in maintaining peace and security in individual countries and the region as a whole.  Data sharing among those missions was critical for removing menacing groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the March 23 Movement.


TALAIBEK KYDYROV ( Kyrgyzstan) noted the improved quality and expanded quantity of peacekeeping operations.  He stressed, however, that they must only be used as a necessary measure if diplomatic negotiations did not work, and they must strictly comply with the Charter, which called for constant impartiality and the non-use of force.  When peacekeeping operations were required, Kyrgyzstan was in favour of introducing more modern mechanisms to fund them and strengthening the operational capacities of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.  Kyrgyzstan supported gender equality and a greater role for women in peacekeeping operations, including in oversight roles.  In that regard, it was pertinent to expand the training programmes for peacekeepers to address the role and contribution of women.  To improve peacekeeping operations’ effectiveness, the United Nations must step up its coordination with regional structures, which played a significant role in the successful implementation of such operations.


MOHAMMED ADEEB, Member of Parliament of India, said the peacekeeping agenda was developed mostly outside the Assembly, which allowed States to be judged by those who did not take part in peacekeeping, a practice that had distorted the policy universe.  Moreover, peacekeeping mandates were the preserve of a privileged few and prioritized “material over men”.  In-depth consultations with troop- and police-contributors should be an integral part of the mandate-generation process.  The working methods meant to smooth the functioning of the Special Committee had only “rusted it up”, he said, noting that that body’s dormancy would hurt the partnership among States, the Council and the Secretariat.  Resource allocation had not kept pace with the expansion in mandates, which increased operational challenges.  Peacebuilding tasks were all premised on peacekeepers’ involvement and strategies, thus, they should aim to capitalize on those strengths.  He looked forward to the civilian capacity review process.


HUSSEIN HANIFF ( Malaysia) said that, with personnel serving in seven peacekeeping missions, his country supported the capability-driven approach to peacekeeping under the New Horizon process.  Mandates had expanded to include a vast set of tasks, from aid distribution to disarmament and demobilization of former combatants to election organizing.  He was deeply concerned that negotiations of the Special Committee had been suspended over disagreement on the report’s format, expressing hope a solution would be found soon.  Malaysia was mindful of the heavy expectation placed on the United Nations.  It was critical for States to support peacekeeping missions, especially with personnel, financial and logistical resources.  Peacekeepers were often “early peace builders”, an approach Malaysia would continue to uphold.


MACHARIA KAMAU ( Kenya) called for an enhanced capacity driven approach and well-resourced operations with better emoluments for peacekeepers.  Clear mandates and planning, and sustainable logistics, were essential before creating a mission.  With that in mind, it should have taken a shorter period of time for stakeholders to agree on the mandate authorizing deployment of the Force Intervention Brigade as an addition to MONUSCO.  The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) required adequate resources to meet the challenges posed by Muslim extremists.  The sooner a host nation received aid for building institutions, the faster peacekeeping transitioned to stabilization, an area that had not been adequately addressed in Darfur, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia.  Missions in Darfur, Somalia, Central Africa and Mali had suffered serious setbacks, due to inadequate logistical backup and poor capacities among African troops.  AMISOM was so poorly resourced that Al-Shabaab extremists had seized on that opportunity to build strongholds in areas not yet liberated.  He urged the Council to approve recommendations from AMISOM’s review to counter the gains made by Al-Shabaab.


RAFAEL HÉCTOR DALO(Argentina), aligning himself with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said that his country considered the issue of the security of deployed personnel very important.  During negotiations on relevant resolutions, Argentina had expressed concern about recent developments in the peacekeeping mandates in African nations, such as the Intervention Brigade which was authorized to carry out peace enforcement tasks.  A broader debate should be held on that issue to ensure that such developments did not undermine the principles of the Charter or endanger the deployed personnel.  Another controversial issue was the use of technology in peacekeeping, particularly unmanned aerial vehicles.  Such technology could enhance the capability of peacekeeping operations but only as long as it was used under the control of the Organization and with strict respect for the Charter.  The Council had recently adopted a presidential statement that referred to improving cooperation with troop-and-police contributing countries.  Argentina hoped the discussion would continue in the Special Committee.


MOHAMED KHALED KHIARI (Tunisia), aligning himself with Egypt and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that international conflicts had changed in nature and most were linked to the inability of State institutions to deliver and perform effectively.  United Nations peacekeepers were early peace builders.  He underlined the importance of Council resolution 2086 (2013), which recognized the importance of multidimensional peacekeeping to prevent a relapse into conflict and to foster sustainable peace and development.  To that end, Tunisia encouraged the United Nations to ensure adequate representation of troop-contributing countries in the decision-making and mandate-drafting process.  These countries should take an active role in devising strategies and developing concepts and policies toward peacekeeping, as this role would contribute to the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations.  He expressed hope for an acceptable resolution in the near future to the issue of delayed reimbursement to countries contributing troops and equipment, as well as compensation for peacekeepers’ deaths.


ROBERT MUGIMBA (Uganda), aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that while there was no doubt that right-sizing of some missions was necessary, it was prudent to take concrete measures to ensure that troop-contributing countries were fully engaged before any action.  He stressed the need to adhere to the principle of transparency while downsizing peacekeeping missions.  Further, the comparative advantage of regional and subregional organizations must be emphasized.  Chapter V111 of the Charter, Article 52 stipulated that nothing in the present Charter precluded the existence of regional arrangements or agencies for dealing with such matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security as were appropriate for regional action.


The establishment of the Force Intervention Brigade in Democratic Republic of the Congo, he added, was a result of a proposal within the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region to create a “Neutral International Force” supported logistically by the United Nations.  Suicide bombings had left 74 dead in Uganda in July 2010 and Al-Shabaab had claimed responsibility for the attacks as retaliation for Uganda’s support for AMISOM.  The recent attack on Westgate Mall in Kenya also reflected the “asymmetrical warfare” conducted by Al-Shabaab.  The nations of the region had made enormous sacrifices and were determined that those sacrifices would not be in vain.  Suffice it to say, he stressed, that regional and sub-regional organizations complemented the United Nations.


HOSSEIN MALEKI ( Iran) said new mechanisms set up to address emerging peacekeeping challenges must adhere to the underlying principles of peacekeeping:  the consent of the parties, impartiality and the non-use of force.  Any deviation from these principles would undermine the image of peacekeeping and erode universal support for it.  To that end, successful peacekeeping was a shared responsibility.  Triangular cooperation between troop-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Council would create extra incentives for Member States to support peacekeeping operations.  Peacekeeping operations should be accompanied by peace building activities aimed at helping countries revitalize and develop economically, build national capacity and seamlessly undertake exit strategies, with a view to prevent the recurrence of armed conflicts.  The use of force must, under no circumstances, jeopardize the strategic relationship between the host country and the peacekeeping mission.  Given that doctrine, the Secretariat’s proposal to use unmanned aerial systems as an experiment in some peacekeeping operations was a sensitive matter and it must not affect the basic conventions of peacekeeping operations.  The protection of civilians required a holistic approach, encompassing timely and adequate resources, logistical support and proper training, as well as defined, achievable mandates.  Protecting civilians, however, should in no way serve as a pretext for military intervention by the United Nations.


ADEL ALREMALLI ( Libya), aligning himself with the Non-Alignment Movement, said that the success of any operation required a clear and appropriate mandate with a structure of cooperation between the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries.  Libya also underscored the link between peacekeeping and peacebuilding through capacity building and restoring national institutions.  Further, proper conduct in peacekeeping was a crucial foundation for any mission because improper behaviour by peacekeepers undermined the image of the United Nations in the host country.  The world was highly interdependent and a threat to peace in any region was a threat to peace in the entire world.


PHAM QUANG HIEU ( Viet Nam) said peacekeeping had extended beyond the traditional focus to include protecting civilians and establishing the foundations for peacebuilding.  It required strict adherence to the purposes and principles of the Charter, as well as universally recognized guidelines, including consent of the parties, non-use of force except in self-defence, total impartiality, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs.  The highest standards of safety and security should be prioritized, with missions receiving sufficient resources to protect their peacekeepers in any situation.  Further, the root causes of conflicts should be addressed through dialogue, reconciliation and peaceful dispute settlement.  He supported all efforts aimed at enhancing United Nations peacekeeping.


Mr. SADOFA ( Mauritania), aligning himself with Egypt and Non-Alignment Movement, noted the role of peacekeeping in the past six decades to maintain international peace and security.  Peacekeeping operations had become an indispensible tool of the United Nations.  Mauritania looked forward to contributing more to the strengthening of the Charter in carrying out this task.  But hovering over the United Nations efforts were terrorist groups that would like to launch their own operations counter to the peacekeeping missions.  Therefore, peacekeeping operations should not be a substitute but rather a complement to political negotiations within the country at hand in order to underscore and enforce stability.  Mauritania would like to extend its hand in the facilitation of that goal to all countries of the region.


DER KOGDA (Burkina Faso), aligning himself with Non-Alignment Movement, said that several countries in conflict were back on the road to development thanks to peacekeeping operations.  The conflicts themselves were evolving and in addition to the traditional peacekeeping tasks such as observation and intervention, missions were now also involved in humanitarian tasks, supporting electoral process, and protection of human rights.  Given the evolving context, Burkina Faso supported reforms such as resolution of personnel and equipment deficits in missions, and also looked forward to an analysis of the use of modern technologies such as drones in peacekeeping.  Operations were focusing on more robust tasks which tested the impartial role of the United Nations.  But it was also necessary to protect civilians.  That issue warranted more analysis.  Further, the United Nations must establish an effective early warning system but also bolster its mediation capacities.  Burkina Faso had participated in peacekeeping operations for two decades and at present was active in eight missions.  He called on other Member States to send contingents and mobilize resources for peacekeeping.


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