IMPORTANT RECOMMENDATIONS TO IMPROVE PEACEKEEPING PLANNING, RAPID DEPLOYMENT ALREADY IN PLACE, UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL TELLS FOURTH COMMITTEE

20 November 2001
GA/SPD/228

IMPORTANT RECOMMENDATIONS TO IMPROVE PEACEKEEPING PLANNING, RAPID DEPLOYMENT ALREADY IN PLACE, UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL TELLS FOURTH COMMITTEE

20/12/2001
Press ReleaseGA/SPD/228

Fifty-sixth General Assembly                                GA/SPD/228

Fourth Committee                                            20 November 2001

20th Meeting (PM)

IMPORTANT RECOMMENDATIONS TO IMPROVE PEACEKEEPING PLANNING, RAPID DEPLOYMENT

ALREADY IN PLACE, UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL TELLS FOURTH COMMITTEE

Committee Also Approves Draft Texts on Information;

Calls for Expanded UN International Radio Broadcasting Capacity

Two of the most important recommendations of the Brahimi Panel on United Nations Peace Operations had been put in place as critical elements in improving United Nations planning and rapid deployment capabilities, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, told the Fourth Committee this afternoon.

As the Committee began its consideration of the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping, Mr. Guéhenno said the recommendations concerned the introduction of Integrated Mission Task Forces (IMTF) and the development of rapid deployment strategies for peacekeeping operations.  The Department now found itself involved in a very active IMTF for Afghanistan, as well as chairing task forces for East Timor and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

He said he had established a Change Management Team, comprising staff of each Departmental area, to guide the various projects designed to build a critical foundation for changing the Department's management culture.  The Change Management Team was accountable to the Under-Secretary-General.  The position of Director, if approved by the General Assembly, would provide the leadership to put the Department on a sound managerial footing.

He said the Department had also attempted to improve its responsiveness by enhancing the Standby Arrangements System, including the development of "on-call" lists.  However, although the Department had approached Member States with initiatives identified in the Brahimi Report, the overall response had been poor.  If the Standby Arrangements System was to function properly, it must be adequately supported by contributions and information provided to the Secretariat must be kept up-to-date.

The Committee began this afternoon's meeting by approving, without a vote, two draft resolutions on questions relating to information and a draft decision expanding the membership of the Committee on Information by appointing Azerbaijan and Monaco as new members.

Fourth Committee                    - 1a -            Press Release GA/SPD/228

20th Meeting (AM)                                      20 November 2001

By the text of draft resolution B -- United Nations public information policies and activities -- the General Assembly would decide to expand the Organization's international radio broadcasting capacity in all six official languages, building on the success of a pilot project.

The Assembly would, by other terms, have the Secretary-General continue reporting on the reorientation of United Nations activities in the field of public information and communications to help bridge the gap between the developing and developed countries in the crucial field of public information and communications.  In other areas, the Assembly would encourage the continuing improvement of the United Nations Web site and the improvement of linguistic parity of all official languages in all activities of the Department of Public Information.

Further by that text, the Assembly would welcome the Department's action to implement the views of host governments on the integration of United Nations information centres with field offices of the United Nations Development Programme.

By the terms of draft resolution A -- Information in the service of humanity -- the General Assembly would urge all countries, the United Nations system and all others concerned to help reduce disparities in information flows at all levels, with due regard for national needs and priorities.

The Assembly would also urge all concerned to ensure that journalists were able to perform their professional tasks freely, support training programmes for broadcasters and journalists in developing countries, and enhance regional efforts and cooperation among developing countries, as well as cooperation between developed and developing countries, to strengthen communication capacities of the latter.

Before the Committee's action on the drafts, the representatives of the United States, Canada and Japan made statements in explanation of position.

Speaking during the discussion on peacekeeping operations were the representatives of Jordan, India, New Zealand, Rwanda, Norway, Chile (on behalf of the Rio Group), Zambia, Bangladesh, Argentina, China, Japan and Belgium (on behalf of the European Union and associated States).

The Fourth Committee will continue its debate on peacekeeping operations when it meets again at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 21 November.

Background

As the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this afternoon, it was expected to take action on two draft resolutions and a draft decision on questions related to information, and to begin its consideration of the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all its aspects.

The draft texts on information are contained in the report on the twenty-third session of the Committee on Information (document A/56/21 and Add.1).

Draft resolution A -- Information in the service of humanity -– would have the General Assembly urge all countries, the United Nations system and all others concerned to help to reduce disparities in information flows at all levels by increasing assistance for the development of communication infrastructures and capabilities in developing countries.  That should be done with due regard for their needs and priorities, and in order to enable them and all their media to develop their own information and communication policies.

The Assembly would also urge all concerned to:  ensure that journalists were able to perform their professional tasks freely and effectively and to condemn resolutely all attacks against them; support the strengthening of practical training programmes for broadcasters and journalists from all media in developing countries; and enhance regional efforts and cooperation among developing countries, as well as cooperation between developed and developing countries, to strengthen communication capacities and to improve the media infrastructure and communication technology in the developing countries, especially in training and dissemination of information.

Also by the draft, the Assembly would urge all concerned to aim at providing all possible support and assistance to the developing countries and their media, with due regard to their interests and needs in the information field and to action already adopted within the United Nations system, including:

-- the development of the human and technical resources that are indispensable for the improvement of information and communications systems in developing countries;

-- the creation of conditions that will enable the developing countries and all their media to have, by using their national and regional resources, the communication technology suited to their national needs, as well as the necessary programme material, especially for radio and television broadcasting;

-- assistance in establishing and promoting telecommunication links at the subregional, regional and interregional levels, especially among developing countries; and

-- the facilitation of access by the developing countries to advanced communication technology available on the open market.

The Assembly would, finally, urge full support for the International Programme for the Development of Communication of Developing Countries of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which should support both public and private media.

By draft resolution B of the text -- United Nations public information policies and activities –- the General Assembly would welcome the Millennium Declaration, which clearly indicates hope and concern in the field of information and communications.  It would call upon States, in accordance with their laws, to make every effort to prevent the use of traditional media and new technologies to incite hatred and contribute to extremism.

While taking note of the Secretary-General's report on the reorientation of United Nations activities in the field of public information and communications, the Assembly would encourage him to continue the exercise, while stressing the need to take into account the views of Member States.  It would emphasize that, through its reorientation, the Department of Public Information (DPI) should improve its activities in the areas of special interest to developing countries and other countries with special needs, including those in transition.  Such reorientation should contribute to bridging the existing gap between the developing and developed countries in the crucial field of public information and communications.

Also by the text, the Assembly would encourage the Secretary-General to continue to take full advantage of recent developments in information technologies, including the Internet, to improve, in a cost-effective manner, the dissemination of information about the Organization, taking into account its linguistic diversity.  It would request the Secretary-General, until a decision had been taken on proposals for multilingual enrichment of the Web site, to ensure, to the extent possible, the equitable distribution of financial and human resources within DPI allocated to the Web site among all official languages on a continuous basis.

The Assembly would also emphasize the importance of ensuring the full equitable treatment of all the official languages in all DPI activities.

By further terms, the General Assembly would welcome the Secretary-General's progress report and the final report on the implementation of the pilot project for the development of an international radio broadcasting capacity for the United Nations.  It would concur with the Secretary-General that the project was one of the more successful examples of the reorientation of DPI.  The Assembly would decide, building upon the pilot programme’s success, to expand the international radio broadcasting capacity in all six official languages and request the Secretary-General to convey the justification of the resource requirements, including the possibility of extra budgetary financing and/or redeployment of resources, for such expansion for the 2002-2003 biennium.

By further terms, the Assembly would encourage the Department to continue to include in its radio and television programming specific programmes addressing the needs of developing nations.  It would emphasize that all publications of the Department should fill an identifiable need, not duplicate other publications of the United Nations system and should be produced in a cost-efficient manner.

The Assembly would, by further terms of the draft, welcome the development of the United Nations News Service and request the Secretary-General to continue to exert all efforts to ensure that the Secretariat's publications and other information services, including the Web site and the News Service, contain comprehensive, objective and equitable information about the issues before the Organization and that they maintain editorial independence, impartiality, accuracy and full consistency with General Assembly resolutions and decisions.

The Assembly would also take note of the report of the Secretary-General entitled “Integration of the United Nations information centres with field offices of the United Nations Development Programme”, welcome the action taken by DPI to implement the views of those host governments as expressed in their replies to the questionnaire provided by the Secretariat, and requests the Secretary-General to take the necessary steps for the continued implementation of those views and report thereon.

By the terms of a draft decision, the General Assembly would decide to increase the membership of the Committee on Information from 96 to 98 and to appoint Azerbaijan and Monaco as members of the Committee on Information.

Also before the Committee were the programme budget implications of draft resolution B (document A/C.4/56/L.19).  Should the General Assembly adopt draft resolution B, an estimated additional appropriation of $2.7 million would be required in the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003 for expansion of the international radio broadcasting capacity.

[For further background on information issues, see Press Release GA/SPD/226 of 19 November 2001.]

Regarding the review of peacekeeping, the Committee had before it a report on the programme budget implications of draft resolution A/C.4/55/L.23. (document A/C.5/55/46 and Add. 1)  In that draft resolution, the Fourth Committee endorsed the proposals, recommendations and conclusions of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, in consideration of the report of the Secretary-General (document A/55/977) on the implementation of the recommendations of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi (A/55/305-S/2000/809).

[The recommendations of that Panel, established by the Secretary-General in March 2000, include:  the extensive restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations; a new information and strategic analysis unit to service all United Nations departments concerned with peace and security; an integrated task force at Headquarters to plan and support each peacekeeping mission from its inception; and more systematic use of information technology.]

The report presents the changes in resources, arising from the proposals, recommendations and conclusions of the Special Committee, for the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003 and the support account for the period 1 July 2001 to 30 June 2002 (approved by the General Assembly in its resolution 55/271 of 14 June 2001).

According to the report, the budget change for the biennium would amount to $2.7 million gross, inclusive of an increase of nine posts, which represents an increase of 0.1 per cent of the proposed budget for that same biennium.  The change for the support account would amount to $25.8 million inclusive of an increase of 207 posts, of which 129 posts are requested for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.  That increase represents 0.9 per cent of the level of peacekeeping costs for the current financial period, which are projected at slightly in excess of $3 billion.

The Committee also has before it a report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) concerning the same resolution (A/56/478).  The report presents a detailed analysis of the estimates and offers a number of recommendations in the budget sections on:  political affairs; peacekeeping; human rights; and management and central support services; internal oversight; special expenses; and staff assessment.

In conclusion, the Committee recommends that the Fifth Committee inform the Assembly that additional requirements of $1.56 million will arise under the draft resolution for the 2002-2003 biennium.  Additional requirements of $16.2 million will arise under the support account for the period from 1 July 2001 to 30 June 2002.

The Committee has recommended approval of 7 additional posts under the regular budget (3 in political affairs and 4 in human rights) and 122 additional posts under the support account (92 under peacekeeping operations, 26 under management and central support, and 4 under internal oversight).

The report also contains annexes on:  staffing resources for the support account for peacekeeping (1 July 2001-30 June 2002); status of temporary recruitment against 93 new posts (as of 10 September 2001); and human rights components in peacekeeping operations.

Action on Information Texts

DAVID TRAYSTMAN (United States), speaking in explanation of position before the vote, said that although the United States supported the goals of the expanded radio programme as outlined in resolution B, it felt that it should be funded through the redeployment of resources from the existing budget.

Mr. SENIOR (Canada), also speaking in explanation of position, supported the statement made by the United States favoring the redeployment of resources to support the radio project.

Mr. MOTOMURA (Japan), speaking as well in explanation of position, supported the previous two statements favoring redeployment of resources to fund the radio project.

The draft resolutions were then adopted without a vote.

Statement by Under-Secretary-General

JEAN-MARIE GUEHENNO, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, gave an update of implementation and completion of Brahimi I -- recruitment formalities for the 93 new Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) posts approved in December 2000.  He said offers of appointment had been made for 88 of the 93 posts and most of the new recruits had already reported for duty.

He said special efforts had been made to improve gender balance at all levels and professional female staff had now reached an overall representation rate of 32.1 per cent.  While not near the 50/50 goal, it must be considered that nearly 20 per cent of the Department's staff were seconded and remained on active military or police service with their home country.

Regarding “Brahimi II”, he said the past year's introspection and self-criticism had culminated in the Secretary-General’s report on the comprehensive review of peacekeeping (document A/55/977).  The Special Committee’s report (document A/55/1024) provided a solid, practical basis on which to build the future of peacekeeping.  The next step was to ensure that the Special Committee's advice was reflected in a realistic budgetary picture.  That had been presented in document A/C.5/55/46 and Add.1 and reviewed by the ACABQ last September.  It was now under consideration by the Fifth Committee.

Outlining strategic goals to underpin the Department's current reform efforts, he said they included moving from a reactive to a proactive approach, improving communications systems and methods, and ensuring a coordinated and supportive approach that empowered field missions to achieve the mandates entrusted to them.  Other strategic goals were:  identifying the financial, materiel and human resource needs and establishing systems and capacities to ensure their availability; building the capacity to deliver the support and ensure the sharing of information; and building partnerships and synergies to take advantage of expertise resident in our “peacekeeping partners”.

He said he had established a Change Management Team, comprising staff of each departmental area, to guide the approximately 75 area-specific and eight cross-cutting projects designed to build a critical foundation for changing the Department's management culture.  The Change Management Team was accountable to the Under-Secretary-General and the position of Director, if approved by the General Assembly, would provide the leadership to steer those projects to a successful conclusion and put the Department on a sound managerial footing.

A change in management could already be seen throughout the Department, he said.  The Military Division and Civilian Police Division were now two separate entities.  The arrival of personnel for the approved posts had allowed the reorganization of the Military Division into four distinct areas:  military planning; training and evaluation; force generation and military personnel; and current military operations.

He said that a degree of "co-location" of elements that had daily normal interaction had been achieved.  That would improve planning and coordination support for missions, while still reinforcing the chain of command.  On a less optimistic note, however, the Department remained dispersed both within the Secretariat building, as well as numerous locations outside.  It was hoped that the efforts underway would address the Department's concerns regarding appropriate working conditions.

Another critical lesson focused on the urgent need to improve planning and rapid deployment capabilities, he said.  Two of the Brahimi Panel’s most important recommendations had been put in place:  the introduction of Integrated Mission Task Forces (IMTF) and the development of rapid deployment strategies for peacekeeping operations.  The Department now found itself involved in one very active IMTF for Afghanistan, and chairing task forces for East Timor and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Concurrently, he said, work was advancing on the Strategic Manual on Multidimensional Peacekeeping.  As an operational tool for all field staff, the handbook was designed to provide an overview of the main components and partners in a modern multidimensional peacekeeping operation.  It also described the strategic rationale linking the various elements and making the whole operation more than the sum of its parts.  A second volume would comprise concrete instructions on how to implement basic and recurrent tasks in a given time frame that, taken together, would form the critical elements in the life cycle of a mission.

He said the Department had also attempted to improve its responsiveness by enhancing the Standby Arrangements System, including the development of on-call lists.  At a number of meetings, the Department had approached Member States with initiatives identified in the Brahimi Report, but the overall response had been poor.  If the Standby Arrangements System was to function properly, it must be adequately supported by contributions, and information provided to the Secretariat must be kept up-to-date.

On the other hand, he said, the Department had successfully created mission training cells in the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) and the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).  They were staffed and functioning and the Department intended to formalize the budgetary requirements in mission budgets and build capacity in other missions next year.

Question and Answer

ZEID AL-HUSSEIN (Jordan) said that, at last week’s meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement there was concern over the staffing structure in the Department of Peacekeeping Operation; out of 93 posts in the expansion, less than a quarter originated from Non-Aligned Movement countries.  He wanted to know what was being done to make future operations broadly representative.

SIGURD SCHELSTRAETE (Belgium) asked whether the budget planning included comparative analysis regarding different reserve expenses and whether there would be stockpiles.  He asked what the consequences of measures not being adopted would have on the reinforcement of the Department.  Finally, he asked how progress could be made on the matter of the on-call roster.

YASHVARDHAN KUMAR SINHA (India) asked for an elaboration of the description of an Afghanistan task force and also asked what kind of planning was being done on Afghanistan at the moment.

TREVOR HUGHES (New Zealand) wondered just how badly the establishment of the on-call list was going and what initiatives might be forthcoming in improving the situation.  His government was looking to participate.

Mr. KANYEMERA (Rwanda) said that peacekeeping operations in his country had not been effective in preventing genocide and asked what remedies were being made, during the current reforms, that would prevent such tragedies from recurring.

Mr. GUEHENNO replied that the way to address under-representation in the Department was to make sure candidates were forwarded who fit the requirements of the various posts available.  He could not speculate on the staffing of any particular mission, but he agreed that operations should always have a degree of universality.

MICHAEL SHEEHAN, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said, regarding different options for the strategic reserves, that an extensive analysis had been made by people with experience in different operations, and then discussions were conducted with vendors on different methods of obtaining rapid supplies.  Contracts that involved fees for holding stock at hand were not cost-effective and a budget for the reserve was currently being prepared along with line-by-line analysis.

Mr. GUEHENNO, returning to the question of the representative of Jordan, said the objective had been to increase the presence of the troop-contributing countries, not the non-aligned countries.  A significant effort had been made, and there had been improvement.

General TIMOTHY FORD, Military Advisor for Peacekeeping Operations, said the objective was to provide a coherent force to deploy in a mission area.  An on-call list of qualified candidates would help greatly in that endeavour and in achieving geographical distribution of staff.  It was important for Member States to work with the Department in that regard; response so far had been fairly low.  As a result of recent recruiting operations, representation had increased and he was hopeful that within the next months there would be representation from all troop-contributing countries in the military division.

Statements

THOR GISLESEN (Norway) said it was important to develop an integrated approach to peacekeeping, since the scope and complexity of operations had expanded.  The political will of Member States for participation had to be mobilized and the planning and conduct of the operations needed to be improved.

He said the success of peacekeeping operations depended on the relationship between those deciding the mandate and its rules of engagement, and those implementing them.  While adoption of Security Council resolution 1353 (2001) had led to improved consultations between the Council and troop-contributing countries, the coordination between them, and further with the Secretariat, still needed improvement.  An institutionalized partnership based on trust and confidence was needed and, for that to occur, Member States contributing military formations must be involved in the operation at key levels of the decision-making process.  Recently instituted consultations between the Council and troop contributors were productive and should continue.

Lessons learned must be taken into account during the planning of new operations, he continued.  The mandate of the Best Practices Unit should be both broadened and strengthened, despite the recommendation of the ACABQ to cut posts.  Regional approaches to conflict management should also be strengthened, though they were no substitute for national or global approaches.  Further, a comprehensive strategy for addressing HIV/AIDS in peace operations was urgently needed.  And, coordination should be improved between military and civilian components in multifunctional peace operations.  Finally, rapid deployment remained a fundamental challenge.

In that regard, he said that, as of 1 June, Norway had assumed the Chair of the Standby Forces High Readiness Brigade for United Nations Operations, an initiative with great potential for strengthening the United Nations in that critical field of peacekeeping operations.  As Chair, Norway would improve the decision-making and force generation processes.  It would expand the force pool, member nations and geographic distribution.  It would implement lessons learned from the United Nations Mission in UNMEE, and it would have the new force available from 1 January 2002.

CHRISTIAN MAQUIEIRA (Chile), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, reiterated the need to constantly assess peacekeeping mechanisms, since their effectiveness enhanced United Nations credibility to promote and maintain international peace and security.  Transparency in decision-making was of utmost importance in gaining the unqualified support of Member States.  Resolutions of the Security-Council were another key element.  The consultation between troop-contributors and the Security Council must continue throughout the peacekeeping operation.  He welcomed the fact that resolution 1353 (2001) had been implemented for several months.  A formal mechanism for promoting linkages and complementarities was still needed to facilitate participation before mandate review or renewal.

Another area of United Nations involvement that was of particular importance was conflict prevention, he said.  Efforts of the Peacekeeping Department would be futile without institutionalizing measures to maintain peace where open conflict had not broken out.  Conflict prevention was primarily a State obligation, but assisting them with tangible measures was essential for moving to a culture of prevention from one of reaction.  The Special Committee should give that aspect further consideration during its next session.

Finally, he said, the safety of personnel was of prime importance.  Strengthening security entailed elements that included training, public information, recruitment, past experience, management and responsibility of parties to a conflict for the security of personnel deployed in the field.  Ultimately, the security of personnel depended on the elements of planning, training and provision of reliable equipment to reduce the risk of accidents.

MWELWA MUSAMBACHIME (Zambia) said the question of gender in peacekeeping operations was of utmost concern.  It was disappointing that the Secretary-General had not been given the resources he had requested for addressing the gender issue.  Women and children constituted the largest number of victims in conflicts.  The need to focus on their human rights and special needs could only be addressed by including gender experts both in the field and at Headquarters.

Further, he urged, demobilization, disarmament and reintegration programmes must be incorporated early in peacekeeping operations.  That had been recognized as an important element to keep parties from sliding back into violence.  Again, it was disappointing that the responsible legislative organs had refused to provide such experts when the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations had recommended them.  The matter should be reconsidered.

Continuing, he said efforts to improve consultations between the Security Council and troop-contributing countries were welcome, but not enough.  Troop-contributors should be able to provide input into the operations and to take part in the decision-making, if the use of force was under consideration.  The imbalance in the distribution of professional posts in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was also of concern, particularly since no visible measures had been taken to address the imbalance.  The Secretariat should make known the measures being taken to redress the imbalance that left the troop contributors under-represented.

Also of concern, he concluded, was the situation of air safety.  Recently a helicopter had gone down in Sierra Leone, killing all on board, including two Zambian lieutenant colonels.  The circumstances have not yet been investigated.  The bodies have not yet been retrieved.  The cause of the unfortunate incident was not yet known.  The investigation should be completed as quickly as possible.

IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) recalled that his country had been associated with United Nations peacekeeping for two decades, its commitment reflected by the number of operations in which it had participated.  Based on that experience, it was obviously necessary to strengthen the overstressed peacekeeping office, but there should be no overlap of duties or proliferation of structures.  An increase in the number of posts did not necessarily strengthen capacity.  Rather, revitalizing structures and clarifying their functions, while funding them adequately, could improve matters.  Other forms of improvement included streamlining of procedures, reform of working methods, adopting efficiency measures and rotating personnel.

Adequate geographic distribution should apply to Headquarters posts as well as to the field, he continued.  In the field, senior military positions should be filled from the mission’s largest contributors.  Force Commanders should be appointed from among the major contributors, particularly of troops.  Of utmost importance was to strengthen the triangular partnership between the Security Council, troop contributors and the Secretariat.  The political will of parties to the conflict should be won on the basis of genuine consensus.  And collaboration should be increased between the Department of Peacekeeping and the Department of Public Information to provide Member States with correct information in a timely and transparent manner.

Finally, he said the goal of peacekeeping should surpass the simple separation of warring factions.  A mission should identify the root causes of conflicts and facilitate their resolution.  Peacekeeping should be pursued as part of a continuous process involving conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peace building within a comprehensive framework.  Peace efforts should be directed toward conflict resolution by disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes.  Member States should live up to their obligations in paying contributions on time.  The national training of troops and civilian police personnel should be augmented by the United Nations capacity-building effort in the form of the Peacekeeping Operation Training Center.

LUIS ENRIQUE CAPPAGLI (Argentina) said that his Government had always believed that one of the priorities of the Organization must be to have an effective rapid deployment capability, a priority that was connected to the unpredictability that characterized the emergence of conflicts.  He highlighted the importance of increasing the level of security for peacekeeping and humanitarian personnel, who had to face more and more dangerous situations.  Security implied a complex system of measures that included planning, improving of public information, providing of reliable equipment and training.  He hoped that, the Fifth Committee would authorize the additional resources to optimize security.

With regard to the consultation process with troop-contributing countries, he said that a group of countries had presented concrete proposals to the Security Council on the way that that cooperation must take place.  It was absolutely necessary to improve cooperation and coordination among the Security Council, the Secretariat and the principal troop-contributing countries.  That cooperation must in no way be construed as interference with the competence of the Security Council.  On the contrary, it must be seen as a contribution to the Security Council, so that it had a more complete picture of the situation before adopting peacekeeping decisions

He was pleased with the consultations the working group on peacekeeping had initiated with troop-contributing countries.  However, he was surprised at the resistance of some permanent members of the Security Council.  Troop-contributing countries were on the same side as those countries who had to take decisions that affected in one way or another those contingents.  He encouraged the working group to complete the analysis of the different possibilities, in order to create an institutionalized consultation mechanism that would allow greater participation for the troop-contributing countries.

SHEN GUOFANG (China) expressed disappointment that the Department officers had left the meeting, and said that it was urgent to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of United Nations peacekeeping operations.  In that effort, it was crucial to better coordinate those operations with post-conflict peace-building activities and formulate a feasible exit strategy.  Priorities at each stage must be clear, with good coordination with the host country.  At the same time, Member States and relevant regional organizations should work hand in hand with United Nations efforts.

The United Nations, he said, must give equal importance to conflicts in all regions, so that the neutrality and effectiveness of peacekeeping did not suffer.  Because the success of peacekeeping depended on political and financial support from Member States, it was essential to strengthen coordination among the Security Council, troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat.  The Security Council working group on peacekeeping operations could serve as a mechanism for such coordination.

China, he said, also actively supported the reform of the Department to maximize its potency and would closely watch the results of the first phase of its expansion.  He hoped that, in the recruiting process for new posts in the Secretariat, there would be more transparency and that the principles of equitable geographical distribution, including balance between developing and developed countries, would be respected.  Most importantly, special attention should be paid to the concerns of countries that were under-represented in some departments.  Efforts so far, in that regard, were far from satisfactory.

YOSHIYUKI MOTOMURA (Japan) noted that there were currently more than 47,000 military and civilian police personnel and some 13,000 civilians deployed in 15 missions.  The total budget had also increased sharply to more than twice the size of the regular United Nations budget.  Japan's peacekeeping assessment for this year was approximately $600 million.  As the importance of peacekeeping operations became greater, thorough accountability was all the more necessary in establishing and managing them.

He said restructuring and staffing of United Nations Headquarters were the two central issues discussed during the last two sessions of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.  Japan had supported many proposals for strengthening the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, despite its own financial difficulties, in the belief that additional staff would truly enhance the effectiveness of peacekeeping.  The additional posts should be encumbered swiftly and in such a manner as to correct the obvious under-representation of some Member States.

While fully acknowledging the very important role of troop-contributing countries, he said consultation and cooperation between the Security Council and troop contributors should not be limited to those countries.  Peacekeeping required military, police and civilian personnel, as well as equipment and financial resources.  Including countries that contributed significant numbers of civilian personnel or made major financial contributions would strengthen cooperation and make consultations more meaningful.  It was, therefore, neither desirable nor appropriate to institutionalize a cooperation mechanism that excluded countries that made contributions other than troops.

Mr. SCHELSTRAETE (Belgium), on behalf of the European Union and associated countries, reaffirmed the Union’s commitment to United Nations peacekeeping operations and to contributing troops, civilian police and military observers.  It currently contributed nearly 40 per cent of the peacekeeping budget, with 5,115 nationals of Union countries taking part in United Nations operations and some 40,000 more in United Nations-mandated operations. 

The Secretariat, he said, needed a more solid and efficient structure for the support of current, more complex peacekeeping operations.  The recent review processes were, therefore, welcome; better coordination and an integrated approach were needed.  He hoped that, in light of the latest report of the Special Committee, the relevant United Nations bodies would release the necessary resources.  The Union was ready to increase its contribution and expected to see tangible improvements.  In that connection, the Department had to apply new working methods, take on a new management culture and become a true meritocracy.  The Union also favors larger increases in human resources for the peacekeeping Best Practices Unit.  Experts on all aspects of operations were needed.

The Union, he said, had hoped for more tangible progress on information collection, strategic analysis and dissemination.  It looked forward to new proposals in that area from the Secretary-General.  In addition, in order to foster real cooperation from other United Nations departments and agencies, there must be changes in resource availability and working methods on all sides.  Beside the Secretariat having adequate staff and high-quality management, operations must have clearly defined, realistic and credible mandates.  Resources and troop-contributions must also be adequate.  There was, in addition, a need for close partnership between the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries.

The Union, he said, urged preparations for rapid deployment and had been calling for a global logistics strategy for some years.  It was time to press ahead.  United Nations capability for security of personnel must also be stepped up, along with capability in conflict prevention, crisis management, humanitarian

aid, post-conflict reconstruction and long-term development.  The Union was creating its own capability in some of those areas to respond better to United Nations needs in the future.  In closing, he urged action and paid tribute to the personnel of peacekeeping operations.

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For information media. Not an official record.