SECURITY COUNCIL WELCOMES STRENGTHENED COLLABORATION BETWEEN UN, REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS IN CONFLICT PREVENTION, STABILIZING WAR-TORN STATES

20 July 2004
SC/8153

SECURITY COUNCIL WELCOMES STRENGTHENED COLLABORATION BETWEEN UN, REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS IN CONFLICT PREVENTION, STABILIZING WAR-TORN STATES

20/07/2004
Press Release
SC/8153


Security Council                                           

5007th Meeting (AM & PM)                                    


SECURITY COUNCIL WELCOMES STRENGTHENED COLLABORATION BETWEEN UN, REGIONAL


ORGANIZATIONS IN CONFLICT PREVENTION, STABILIZING WAR-TORN STATES


Presidential Statement Follows Day-Long Public Meeting;

Secretary-General Calls for ‘Strategic Partnerships’ to Meet Future Challenges


The Security Council today invited regional organizations to take the necessary steps to increase their collaboration with the United Nations in order to maximize efficiency in stabilization processes, according to a presidential statement read out following the adjournment of a day-long public meeting.


In the statement, read out by its President, Prime Minister Adrian Nastase of Romania, the Council also encouraged enhanced cooperation and coordination among regional and subregional organizations themselves, particularly through an exchange of information and sharing experience and best practices.  It invited all Member States to contribute to the strengthening of the capacity of regional and subregional organizations in all parts of the world, including through the provision of human, technical and financial assistance.


The Council welcomed the practice of high-level meetings between the Secretary-General and the heads of regional organizations and the consensus reached over modalities of cooperation in conflict prevention and principles of cooperation in peace-building.  It invited the Secretary-General to give consideration to the relevant views expressed during today’s meeting in preparation for the next high-level meeting.


During the meeting, participants stressed that coordinated efforts in stabilization processes should be based on complementarity and on the comparative advantages of the United Nations and regional organizations, making full use of their experience, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the relevant statutes of the regional organizations.  The participants reiterated the importance of a coherent approach to stabilization processes through improved cooperation and collaboration, including increased and timely exchange of information.


In a statement to the meeting before the debate, Secretary-General Kofi Annan recalled that, in April 2003, when the Council had last met to discuss the issue, he had argued that the Organization must move towards creating a network of effective and mutually reinforcing regional and global mechanisms that would be both flexible and responsive to the complex realities of the day.  Today, the United Nations was cooperating with regional organizations in stabilization processes in many countries.  In Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had played a key role on the ground before handing over to the United Nations and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo), the European Union had provided critical support through Operation Artemis.  In Haiti, the Security Council had stressed the importance of cooperation between the United Nations mission there and the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).


Going on to give other examples of cooperation, he cited the Sudan, Burundi, Kosovo and Afghanistan, stressing that regional organizations could be on the ground much faster than the United Nations.  Indeed, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union and the African Union had either established or were developing rapid response capabilities for peacekeeping operations.  “So while our cooperation is being enhanced, we have to consider more thoroughly the comparative strengths of different organizations, be they global, regional or subregional, and move towards the creation of strategic partnerships that meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges”, he said, adding:  “We still have a fair distance to travel to reach that goal.”


The Council also heard other statements from Luis Ernesto Derbez, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mexico, who chaired the April 2003 meeting on the same subject during last year’s Mexican Presidency, and Cristian Barros, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chile.


Also making statements were representatives of Benin, China, Germany, Russian Federation, Brazil, Algeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Spain, United States, Angola, France and United Kingdom.


Speaking on behalf of regional organizations were representatives of the African Union, League of Arab States, Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Commonwealth of Independent States, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the Economic Community of West African States.


The meeting convened at 10:13 a.m. and suspended at 1:25 p.m.  Resuming at 3:15 p.m., it adjourned at 4:50 p.m.


Presidential Statement


Following is the full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2004/27:


“The Security Council met on 20 July 2004 to consider “Cooperation between the United Nations and Regional Organizations in Stabilization Processes”.  Members recalled that Articles 52 and 53 of the United Nations Charter set forth the contribution of regional organizations to the settlement of disputes, as well as the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations.


“The Security Council recalls its invitation of January 1993 to regional organizations to improve coordination with the United Nations, the Declaration of the General Assembly of December 1994 on the enhancement of cooperation between the United Nations and regional arrangements or agencies, and its meeting on “The Security Council and Regional Organizations: Facing the New Challenges to International Peace and Security” held on 11 April 2003 under the Mexican presidency of the Council.


“On 20 July, members expressed their views on the cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations and acknowledged the important role that can be played by the latter in the prevention, resolution and management of conflicts, including by addressing their root-causes.


“The statements emphasized that the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and that effectively addressing the numerous conflict situations confronting the international community would require an increased level of cooperation with regional organizations, where appropriate.


“MemberStates and heads of regional organizations participating in the meeting stressed their interest in enhancing cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security. They also considered that regular dialogue on specific issues between the Council and regional organizations would bring significant added value in this respect.


“It was stressed that common and coordinated efforts undertaken by the United Nations and regional organizations in stabilization processes should be based on complementarity and their comparative advantages, making full use of their experience, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the relevant Statutes of the regional organizations.


“The statements reiterated the importance of a coherent approach to stabilization processes through improved cooperation and collaboration, including increased and timely exchange of information between United Nations and regional organizations, in accordance with the provisions of Article 54 of the United Nations Charter.


“The Security Council welcomes the ongoing practice of high-level meetings of the Secretary-General with regional organizations and the consensus reached over modalities of cooperation in conflict prevention and principles of cooperation in peace-building. It invites the Secretary-General to give consideration to the relevant views expressed in this debate in preparation of the next high-level meeting and to keep the Council informed as appropriate.


“The Security Council invites regional organizations to take necessary steps to increase collaboration with the United Nations in order to maximize efficiency in stabilization processes and also encourages enhanced cooperation and coordination among regional and subregional organizations themselves, in particular through exchange of information and sharing experience and best practices.


“The Security Council invites all Members of the United Nations to contribute to the strengthening of the capacity of regional and subregional organizations in all parts of the world including through the provision of human, technical and financial assistance.


“The Council invites all members of the United Nations, and other parts of the United Nations system with relevant experience and expertise to contribute to this process.”


Background


The Security Council met this morning to hold a thematic debate on enhancing cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in stabilization processes.


The meeting was initiated by Romania, which holds the Council presidency for the month.  The discussion is expected to follow on the issues and recommendations outlined in a background paper prepared by the President (document S/2004/546), in which he stresses that need to identify new methods of cooperation, as well as more innovative approaches in conflict stabilization measures.


He says that on the eve of the sixtieth anniversary of the Charter, it is clear that the nature of new security risks and threats facing the international community has largely outstripped the global security framework envisioned after the Second World War.  Since the Council bore the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, that phenomenon had called into question the strategies, measures and instruments the 15-nation body had been using to fulfil its mandate.


In response, over the past decade, the United Nations had developed an array of approaches, including the development and promotion of strategic partnerships and cooperative arrangements with regional organizations.  Such organizations were increasingly recognized as instrumental mechanisms in the new system of collective security, playing a central role in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, including the management of stabilization processes.


According to the background paper, contemporary threats no longer emanated exclusively from interstate war.  Rather than armed conflict, intrastate war and failed or failing States dominated the international security environment.  Within the context of increased globalization and interdependence, the protracted and incremental nature of those enmities posed a security risk to regional stability and could become breeding grounds for international terrorism, organized crime and arms proliferation.  Societies emerging from conflict were particularly vulnerable to those threats.


Building a sustainable peace required a new vocabulary of stabilization responses in peace processes.  Stabilization was not only post-conflict. According to the background paper, it was manifest on all points of the peace effort continuum -– a gradual and irreversible process, which integrated the United Nations two priorities:  peace and development.  Stabilization processes encompass three activities, including security of the cessation of hostility; steps towards consolidating peace; and measure for reconstruction and rehabilitation.


Reinforcing cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations demands innovative and pragmatic efforts which pool all available stabilization resources so that optimal use could be made of them in any given situation, the Council President says.  In addition, energetic support from Member States was needed to strengthen the capability of regional organizations in all parts of the world to ensure that they had the institutions, resources, manpower, training, military and logistics to carry out stabilization activities.


Particularly important in this context is the interplay between the Secretary-General, the Security Council and regional organizations.  Whereas each peace operation should maintain its own identity and priorities, policies should be developed and lessons learned derived from past operations to give better support to future missions.


According to the background paper, the President expected the Council to discuss both conceptual and practical issues and to exchange views on recent developments identifying constraints to effective cooperation, as well as suggestions for improvement.  The invited regional organizations would have the opportunity to present their views as well.  Focus could be placed on, among other things, comparative advantage, information exchange, root causes of conflict, smooth transition and monitoring.


Statement by Council President


Council President ADRIAN NASTASE, Prime Minister of Romania, said in his opening remarks that the topic under consideration was neither new nor groundbreaking and certainly nowhere near being concluded.


He said today’s meeting had been convened to improve interaction between the United Nations and regional bodies and determine ways forward for collaborative and reinforced relationships.  Those participating were invited to give consideration to principles and mechanisms for enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in the future.


The President recognized the presence in the public section of three students from Romania who had won a Security Council simulation contest.  With them were students from SetonHallUniversity, School of Diplomacy and International Relations.  The Presidency saluted those young representatives for their enthusiastic interest in the Council’s work.


Statement by UN Secretary-General


KOFI ANNAN, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that in April 2003, when the Council last met to discuss this issue, he had argued that the Organization needed to move towards creating a network of effective and mutually reinforcing mechanisms –- regional and global –- that would be both flexible and responsive to the complex realities of the day.  On that occasion, many participants suggested measures to enhance cooperation to help build such a network.  Those had included proposals to carry out, on a regular basis, a high-level dialogue between the Council and regional organizations to improve the exchange of information and promote any cooperation.


Today, the United Nations was cooperating with regional organizations in stabilization processes in many countries, he continued, noting by example that in Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) played a key role on the ground before handing over to the United Nations.  In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the European Union provided critical support through Operation Artemis.  In Haiti, the Security Council had stressed the importance of cooperation between the United Nations mission there and the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).


He went on to give other examples of such cooperation in the Sudan, Burundi, Kosovo and Afghanistan. He stressed that in many instances, regional organizations could be on the ground much faster than the United Nations.  Indeed, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union and the African Union had either established or were developing rapid response capabilities for peacekeeping operations.  The United Nations welcomed and indeed contributed to those efforts.  But not all regional organizations could sustain their deployments over a long period.  And the legitimacy that flowed from United Nations operations was often needed for longer-term sustainability.


“So while our cooperation is being enhanced, we have to consider more thoroughly the comparative strengths of different organizations, be they global, regional or subregional, and move towards the creation of strategic partnerships that meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges”, he said, adding:  “We still have a fair distance to travel to reach that goal.”  United Nations cooperation with regional organizations had been broad, but often ad hoc and more institutionalized channels of cooperation would help ensure more efficiency and effectiveness and perhaps even economies of scale.


He said that several meetings between the Secretariat and regional organizations had established important frameworks for cooperation.  The fifth meeting of the Security Council on peace-building, held last year, had agreed on a framework for cooperation to confront new challenges to international peace and security, including international terrorism.  The United Nations would soon discuss with its regional partners cooperation mechanisms for monitoring effective protection of civilians in armed conflict, practical measures to build tolerance and to promote a dialogue among civilizations, and lessons learned from field experiences, such as military-civilian cooperation, policing and confidence-building measures.


Mr. Annan said he was committed to implementing the specific points contained in the frameworks that had been laid down.  The next high-level meeting was scheduled for mid-2005, and, of course, as in the past, the Security Council President would participate.  That would be an important opportunity to see how far the Organization had come in implementing the decisions taken at previous meetings.  United Nations officials were also considering making the high-level meetings more frequent -- perhaps even annual -- so that they could focus more on practical cooperation on key issues and follow up more effectively.  That would help strengthen cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations –- not to mention the Secretariat and the Security Council. 


In stabilizing war-torn nations, as in many other areas of peace and security, the United Nations needed the vital contribution of regional organizations, he said.


Statements


LUIS ERNESTO DERBEZ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mexico, said that recent experience had underscored the importance of regional organizations as partners of the United Nations in consolidating peace and stability.  That had been a recurring theme in the debates of the Security Council.  Considering the unprecedented number and scale of recent United Nations peacekeeping operations, there could no longer be any differentiation between crisis management and peace-making approaches.  Ending conflicts deserved equal priority with ensuring stability in the post-conflict period.


He emphasized that once a conflict had ended, regional organizations should assume increasing peacekeeping responsibilities, including for ensuring security and institution-building.  It was necessary to take full advantage of the capacity of each regional organization and its knowledge of local conditions.  Cooperation among regional organizations, as well as between them and the United Nations, should be carried out under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter.


It was also essential to address the root causes of conflict, which included poverty, discrimination and lack of opportunity, he said.  New forms of cooperation would create new opportunities for partnership.  The mere fact of the type of periodic dialogue exemplified by today’s Security Council debate would enrich the process, identifying new forms of cooperation.


SAID DJINNIT, Commissioner for Peace, Security and Political Affairs of the African Union, noted that the debate on cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations had been initiated several years ago owing to the emergence of new threats.  African members of the Security Council could play a crucial role in fostering cooperation, particularly those with a seat on the African Union’s Council on Peace and Security.


He reaffirmed Africa’s commitment to collective security and the Security Council’s primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security.  He noted, however, that the Council was not always in a position to meet that challenge.  That had been evident in certain African crises and more recently in Burundi.  That scenario could be repeated in future, raising questions regarding the Council’s ability to intervene.  The spread of conflicts and their growing complexity, therefore, called for the involvement of regional organizations.  There was also a need to take advantage of the efforts by regional organizations, such as those by the African Union in Darfur, Sudan, and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in the peace talks hosted by Kenya.


CRISTIAN BARROS, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chile, said the increase in peacekeeping-related demands had exceeded the United Nations capacity to confront them, including intrastate conflicts, terrorism, and small arms and light weapons trafficking.  In light of that reality, he stressed the need to strengthen the interaction between regional organizations and the global system.  The new context also required an enhanced capacity at both the global and regional levels, not only to work towards the prevention of conflicts, but also to provide assistance in the aftermath of conflicts.  The Organization should systematize its experiences, improve its policies and adopt a regional peace perspective in its internal reform process.


Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations needed to be guided by certain conditions, he said. Regional organizations had the advantage of physical proximity to threats, as well as a greater understanding of them.  As globalization created a framework that extended the effects of conflicts, the response of local actors could benefit from a more homogenous socio-cultural vision.  Regional action also facilitated the development of formulas for confronting conflicts, which could create a wider range of instruments for the maintenance of peace and security.  Partnership with regional systems was one way of enhancing the legitimacy of actions to maintain peace and security and provided regional actors with incentives to assume responsibility.


Outlining several proposals, he said the Council should seek formulas for incorporating regional organizations in its debates regarding Chapters VI and VII.  The United Nations should be provided with incentives to support and coordinate regional organizations’ activities on issues of peace and security.  He also proposed the coordination, at the level of the United Nations Secretariat, of obtaining international financial resources to enhance regional and global institutional response capacity.  Harmonizing regional identities would facilitate the conduct of a globalized world.


JOEL W. ADECHI (Benin) said the meeting was taking place at a critical time in international relations, and provided a timely manner to give thought to joint strategies to strengthen relations between the United Nations and regional organizations to face the challenges of the day.  Peace and security initiatives were becoming more and more complex, thus, the Organization was beginning to seek more cooperation with regional groups and organizations.


He said that regional organizations, particularly in Africa, should develop rapid reaction capacities to be in a position to deal with threats to and/or breaches of peace.  The United Nations should then step in when the threat or regional requirements went beyond the regional capabilities.  At the same time, while cooperation was necessary in many cases, it was indeed clear that regional organizations held a comparative and strategic advantage in their ability to act quickly on the ground and to keep tense situations from spiralling out of control.  Interaction between the United Nations and regional organizations should be based not only on consultations, but on rational use of resources available and a rational division of labour.


He said ECOWAS and the African Union were examples of initiatives aimed at maintaining peace and promoting economic and social development, which organizations for regional development must promote.  Such organizations could also contribute to addressing the root causes of armed conflict between States through the advancement of sound local-level economic policies.  Conflicts in West Africa for the most part had been spawned by similar circumstances.  In that regard, he welcomed the host of regional and international organizations working to ensure peace in that region and urged Member States to support those efforts wholeheartedly.


DIRK JAN VAN DEN BERG (Netherlands) introduced PETER FEITH, Deputy Director-General of European Security and Defence Policy of the European Union, who spoke on behalf of European Union High Representative, Javier Solana.  He said that the Union’s European Security Strategy (ESS) had been born when Europeans realized that there were more capable and more effective when there was a common perception of the threats and how to deal with them.  That was true for the entire international community.  Threats and risks were never more dangerous than when the international community was divided, he said.


The Union’s strategy rested on two pillars:  preventive engagement and multilateralism.  On preventive engagement, he said that, left alone, toady’s dynamic threats would surely grow.  So the international community needed to be able to act at the first sign of trouble.  That required a strategic culture that focused on early, rapid, and, when necessary, robust intervention.  The ESS of preventive engagement went beyond immediate threats to take account of the environments in which they were generated and sustained.


Regional conflicts fuelled the demand for the spread of dangerous weapons and religious extremism was linked to the pressures of modernization and to the alienation of young people in societies which were experiencing social cultural and political crises.  Many regions were caught in a cycle of conflict, sickness and poverty, he said, stressing that a “world more fair was a world more secure”.  The Union wanted to become more active in conflict prevention.  That was why    Mr. Solana was now in the Middle East, to provide a European contribution and to help contain the violence and tension that was once again unfolding as part of the Palestinian conflict.


Moving on to effective multilateralism, he said Europe would depend more –- not less -– on such a system; a rule based on international order and well functioning institutions.  The United Nations was at the centre of such a system.  But, the Organization, along with the Security Council, could only play its role if States had the will to support it, to equip it to fulfil its responsibilities and to act effectively.  States must also have the courage to act when the Organization’s rules were broken, he added.


Cooperation with the United Nations was essential, and building on the 2003 European Union-United Nations Joint Declaration in crisis management, four priority area had been identified:  planning; lessons learned; training; and communications. As a follow-up, a European Union-United Nations steering committee had been set up with the objective of taking the work forward and developing interfaces between the secretariats.  He added that the Union had the firm intention to continue its tradition of contributing to United Nations-led missions.  But, with continuing low and stagnant defence budgets, the number of deployable military forces and police ready for crisis management duties was still too limited to meet the steadily increasing demand.  That was a problems which all the international community was grappling with, but with political will, it could be overcome.


ZHANG YISHAN (China) said traditional security issues, as well as non-traditional challenges, were expanding and their solution depended increasingly on partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations.  In the post-cold-war era, the United Nations had been steadily developing that cooperation to great effect.


Emphasizing that the United Nations Charter conferred primary responsibility on the Security Council as the core of collective international security, he described it as a guide for action.  Its Chapter VIII provided a role for regional organizations and defined their relations with the Security Council.  It also stipulated that no enforcement action could be undertaken without authorization by the Council.


Regional organizations, particularly those in Africa deserved as much support as possible from the United Nations, he said.  The United Nations must help the African Union, ECOWAS and IGAD with logistics support in order to enhance their general capacity, including their early warning and other capacities.  Regional cooperation in Asia had also been on the rise, and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) had been playing an increasingly important role in maintaining regional peace, security and stability.


AMRE MOUSSA, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, said the regional body was concerned that peacekeeping not be treated as separate from stability.  Peace must first be established, so that stability and reconstruction could be pursued.  Cooperation should encompass peacekeeping and peacemaking, including development and stabilization.


He said there was a network of cooperation that exceeded by far the concept of security in its narrow sense.  Security no longer depended on military means and could no longer be maintained only by military methods.  Regional organizations were part of the United Nations, and the High-level Panel recently appointed by the Secretary-General had been asked to take the role of regional organizations into account, as well as strengthening that role, including by addressing the root causes of conflict such as poverty, underdevelopment and terrorism.


The Arab League had tried to face up to the emerging trends of the modern era, he said.  The basis for its cooperation with the United Nations was to be found in Chapter IX of the Charter.  Regarding horizontal cooperation between regional organizations, the League had a special relationship with the African Union, which had permitted a positive partnership between those two bodies.


He said that the Iraq and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts had proven the difficulty of working outside the Security Council.  The international community, including the International Court of Justice, had taken steps and the Arab League called on the United Nations to confirm its role as had been done in past decades.  As it had done last year, the League called for the convening of an international conference to examine issues threatening compliance with the rule of international law.


GUNTER PLEUGER (Germany) said that regional integration and multilateralism, the two pillars of peace and security, could best join forces and reach mutual benefit on the basis of the complementarity enshrined in the United Nations Charter’s Chapter VII, with the United Nations at the centre of the international security system.  As a member of the European Union, his country had reaffirmed its commitment to a cooperative and effective multilateralism.  The recently concluded strategic partnership agreement for conflict zones and democratic governance between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Commission was a step closer to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, as stabilization was not only a post-conflict task, but also an everyday development effort.


On complementarity, he pointed out that the situations in the Balkans, in West Africa and in Haiti all made the point that stabilization efforts were not confined to the post-conflict phase.  He stressed the importance of enhanced cooperation and collaboration among regional organizations, as well as between those organizations and the United Nations, stating that notably increased exchange of information and dialogue were essential.


He welcomed the practice of high-level meetings between the United Nations Secretariat and heads of regional organizations and was supportive of increasing such meetings, because, if well prepared, and if the results were meaningful, such meetings could be an important contribution to a coordinated and consistent multilateral approach to crisis management and peace-building.  Further, he noted the “important and encouraging institutional developments in Africa”, which he described as “tremendous leaps forward”.  They included the African Union’s creation of its own conflict-prevention mechanism, as well as, since March 2004, its own Peace and Security Council, and most recently ECOWAS decision to create robust task forces.  All those developments nurtured the hope for a particularly effective cooperation between the United Nations and African regional or subregional arrangements, even if, at least for the time being, their capability to deliver still needed to be tested.  A test case for such cooperation and interaction was the horrific humanitarian crisis now unfolding in the Darfur region of the Sudan, he added.


ALEXANDER V. KONUZIN (Russian Federation) said that against a backdrop of ominous challenges facing the international community, particularly in the security area, the notion of enhancing United Nations cooperation with regional organizations was becoming increasingly more important. The successful experience of Council-mandated, regional-led missions had been encouraging, particularly the international initiatives in Kosovo, West Africa and elsewhere.  With that in mind, it was important that the League of Arab States and the Organization of Islamic Conference played a lead role in efforts to bring about peace in the Middle East.


He said that his country was continuing its efforts to coordinate the participation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in international affairs.  Indeed, CIS peacekeepers had assisted in efforts to stem the crisis in Tajikistan and were currently monitoring the region around Georgia.  He added that regional cooperative efforts were also under way in Afghanistan and elsewhere.


He said that United Nations cooperation with regional organizations was becoming ever more diverse.  In addition to the traditional focus on peacekeeping, such efforts were now focused on combating organized crime, the drug trade and curbing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  With the Organization’s expanding duties in mind, he suggested that perhaps it would be helpful to establish a “data bank” on what cooperative plans were under way, and among other things, what resources were available.  That was not an attempt to formalize such cooperation, but rather to strengthen such efforts and to keep all stakeholders informed about initiatives under way.


ALOUNKEO KITTIKHOUN (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), speaking on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the Secretary-General had been exploring modalities for cooperation between United Nations and regional organizations through, among other things, the regular convening of the high-level meeting between the United Nations and regional organizations.  The search for the appropriate modalities for cooperation between regional organizations and the United Nations aimed to promote a speedy response to situations likely to disturb regional or international peace.  Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations could strengthen institutional capacity at the regional level for conflict prevention and post-conflict peace-building.


In the peace-building field, the high-level meeting had identified four main areas for cooperation, he said.  They included:  identification of situations where peace-building was required; definition of political objectives; development of an integrated operational response through mutual consultation; and joint monitoring of peace-building results by keeping all parties informed of progress achieved and obstacles encountered.  General Assembly resolution 57/35 of 2002 on cooperation between the Organization and ASEAN had encouraged more active cooperation between the two.  The landmark resolution was expected to generate activities in various areas, including in political and security issues.  It was difficult, if not impossible, to generalize the comparative advantages of regional organizations vis-à-vis the United Nations.  The present deliberation would generate a new impetus for further enhancing that cooperation, based on the principle of consent and national sovereignty in accordance with international law and the United Nations Charter.


HENRIQUE VALLE (Brazil) said regional organizations were in a better position to detect early symptoms of conflict and act promptly, thus preventing intrastate differences form evolving into intolerance, prejudice, hatred, killings and massive crises.  Human rights monitoring was another example of a task best carried out by organizations closer to the area of observation.  The primary role of regional organizations was preventive and their main efforts should be targeted at root causes, which may be region-specific:  root causes of conflict in Kosovo might be very different from those in Darfur, which might, in turn, differ widely from the Haitian problem.


Noting that not all regional arrangements worked in the same manner, he said regional peculiarities ought to be respected.  However, there was a wide array of areas in which cooperation between the United Nations and smaller regional or subregional organizations could be enhanced.  The spread of small arms trafficking was also an area demanding closer cooperation from the regional organizations.  Many conflicts escalated into major crises because of the widespread access to illegal weapons.  Clashes within societies -– between tribes and different communities –- may be ancient, but the arms available now were modern, much more sophisticated and much deadlier than in the past.  Clashes then escalated quickly into widespread killings and other outrageous human rights violations.


He said that adapting the United Nations and revitalizing its work also meant increasing investment in fighting the root causes of conflict in order to reduce the cost of dealing with the dire consequences of neglecting human needs and development.  Underdevelopment, poverty and hunger were at the core of most conflicts in the world.  Governments, international organizations and civil society must get involved in the fight against root causes of conflict.  Unless sufficient attention was paid to sustained development, the root causes of conflict would recur.  Moral, political and economic wisdom recommended that the underprivileged play a productive role in society.


ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) said promising approaches and ambitious partnerships were taking shape, and it was now up to the Organization and regional actors to work together to ensure that they were effectively and efficiently carried out, in the spirit of complementarity and cooperation.  That was all the more important as the United Nations moved to adapt itself and its mechanisms to better address the challenges of the new century.  A time of globalized threats called for globalized responses, he said.


And while the Security Council remained the primary forum for maintaining international peace and security, broad cooperation between the United Nations and regional groups was vital.  He said that regional security operations should be pursued under a Council mandate with the assumption that regular dialogue between the actors would help with issues such as division of labour and resource provision.  Stabilization processes were among the most complex elements of conflict resolution.  Regional organizations did not often have the required capacity to carry out long-term missions, even if they had the political will to act.  That was where the United Nations could offer its expertise.


He said that with the African Union and the Organization of American States (OAS) playing greater roles in their respective regions, it was perhaps time to consider formulating a realistic and innovative framework for cooperation.  In the case of Africa, he said the stabilization processes, which were by nature complex, must necessarily involve a development side linked with political and economic initiatives.  Division of labour among operations must be derived from open consultations between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Political Affairs, in cooperation with the respective regional counterparts.


Frequent consultations with the Secretariat was another way to adapt international and regional responses.  The time had come for the Security Council to undertake a responsible and fruitful dialogue towards initiating partnerships with regional organizations working for world peace.  To that end, without giving up its central floor, the Security Council should favour the regional approach and rely on regional advantages.


ROBERT F. SIMMONS, Deputy-Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), said the new century offered no shortage of challenges.  Globalization offered the chance for societies to become more prosperous, but it also made them more vulnerable.  Tackling the spread of weapons of mass destruction, addressing regional conflict and the threat of terrorism required the establishment of cooperative framework which took into account political, economic and social concerns.


To put such an approach into practice required cooperation between all institutions -- global, regional and national, he said. As cooperative initiatives began to take shape and begin operation, particularly in the security area, the international community should see that not as a challenge to the United Nations role, but as supporting it.


Although NATO was not a regional organization per se, it had evolved over the years into a “security manager” in a broad sense, first participating in Europe and now beyond.  It had been integral to international security endeavours in the Balkans and Afghanistan, and was currently exploring the idea of training security forces in Iraq, at the Council’s behest.  He went on to say that the Secretary-General had argued that perhaps NATO should participate in African-based initiatives.  And while that was not being currently discussed, he believed that the alliance’s presumptive operations in Iraq and elsewhere should go a long way towards ensuring the alliance’s partners that it was prepared for cooperation in regions other than Europe and Central Asia.


He went on to stress the need for a flexible and pragmatic approach to regional cooperation.  The NATO had discovered that it paid to be imaginative.  It would take innovation and imagination to create the type of institutional architecture to help everyone better face the challenges of the day.  Working together, organizations could bring distinctive approaches, but could also generate strategies and solutions that drew on their respective areas of expertise.


AIZAZ AHMAD CHAUDHRY (Pakistan) said that regional organizations had played a vital role in promoting regional peace and stability.  The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had promoted confidence-building in Europe, and NATO had played a major part in maintaining stability.  Similarly, the African Union had significantly contributed to regional peace, especially in Burundi and Darfur.  The ECOWAS had played an important security and stabilization role in the West African subregion, and the OAS had performed likewise in the Americas.


In the Asian region, several subregional arrangements were working to promote peace and stability, he said.  The ASEAN had no security structure but had a regional forum to discuss security issues.  In Pakistan’s subcontinent, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was playing an important role in promoting economic and social development, and could also contribute to peace and stability.  The Organization of the Islamic Conference, which spanned four continents and represented one fourth of the United Nations membership, could promote solutions to some of the main items on the Council’s agenda, including Palestine and the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iraq, terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.


Stressing that the participation of regional arrangements in maintaining peace and security in their regions must be impartial, he said they must facilitate peace rather than promote the agenda of any regional power.  If such a regional arrangement had existed in south-west Asia, it could have played a salutary role in stabilizing both Afghanistan and Iraq, obviating the need for intervention from far away nations.


LAURO BAJA (Philippines) stressed that the regional approach should come first in preventing conflicts, but that the United Nations should simultaneously monitor developments to identify any obstacles.  In conflict resolution, the Organization should be ready to cooperate in resolving disputes when requested by the concerned regional organization.  The Security Council should assume exclusive authority when peaceful conflict resolution had failed, but post-conflict measures should be open, with the United Nations serving as coordinator of all activities.


Exchanging information on peace and security should form the backbone of a cooperation framework between the United Nations and regional organizations, he continued.  Cooperation among regional organizations themselves should also be encouraged, either through high-level meetings with regional organizations organized by the Secretary-General, or bilateral meetings between two interested regional organizations.  Adding that understanding the root causes of conflict was vital in drawing up strategies for stabilization, he said consultations should not only include the United Nations and concerned regional organizations, but also academics or regional think tanks.


Regarding transition from regional to multilateral peacekeeping missions, he noted that regional ownership dissolved when the Council decided to deploy regional peacekeepers.  Although the United Nations had overall command of regional peacekeepers, transition to an expanded international mission under the United Nations should be planned with regional military commands, as well as with the political organs of concerned regional organizations.


DMITRY BOULAKHOV, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), said that during the formation of the CIS following the collapse of the Soviet Union, several crises had erupted in the region, resulting in several armed conflicts, including a civil war in Tajikistan and the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.  The resolution of the Tajikistan conflict was one example of cooperation between the regional organization and the United Nations.


The CIS was putting in place a regional mechanism for settling disputes and resolving conflicts, he said.  Cooperation was important for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of regional organizations in the struggle against terrorism, the fight against illicit drugs, and trafficking in human beings as well as the war against organized crime.  The experience of the CIS offered an example to other regional organizations regarding improvements to the legal basis for stabilizing conflict situations.


IÑIGO DE PALACIO (Spain) said there was consensus in the international community on the need to support the United Nations in stabilizing conflict situations.  Today’s main threats to the international community were new, often resulting not only from international conflicts, but also from internal crises and failed States.  Such new threats called for new responses, while still complying with international law.  Cooperation under Chapter VIII of the United Nations provided enormous opportunities.


Stressing the need to strengthen the relationship between the Security Council and the regional organizations, he said there was also a need to improve the exchange of information.  The United Nations should have the advantage of the complementarities provided by the regional organizations.  Spain believed more in complementarity, rather than subsidiarity.  Furthermore, stabilization processes should be conceived in a broader and more flexible manner and not be limited to ending hostilities.


SOLOMON PASSAY, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria and Chairman in the Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said his organization was geared towards building peace and security on three continents.  Over the past two decades, political changes had been occurring at an unprecedented rate.  And the OSCE area was still a theatre of unresolved tensions and conflicts and the organization itself, like NATO, was undergoing almost constant change and adaptation.


The OSCE participating States were actively involved in international counter-terrorism efforts, which was also a priority of the United Nations.  In light of Bulgaria’s recent tragic experience in Iraq, he suggested that it was necessary to create a code of conduct to deal with hostage situations.  The international community could go farther than merely condemning that abhorrent practice, he said.  Concerted international action, actively led by the United Nations, could dissuade terrorists from using human lives in that way.


After a brief highlight of the many cooperative initiatives under way, he went on to say that cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE in the South Caucasus could and should be expanded.  More could also be done on joint-crisis management.  He also said that the OSCE was considering how regional early warning systems might also enhance the United Nations early warning capacity.  It was also considering the request of Foreign Minister Abdullah Adbullah to monitor the upcoming elections in Afghanistan.


MOKHTAR LAMANI, Permanent Observer for the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said it had long been engaged in collaborative efforts with the United Nations for the peaceful settlement of disputes that might arise among member States.  The Conference viewed that cooperation seriously, particularly in relation to the issues of Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Jammu and Kashmir and others.


He said the Conference had welcomed the Security Council’s adoption of resolution 1546 (2004) on the restoration of Iraqi sovereignty, as well as other resolutions concerning Afghanistan, and Jammu and Kashmir.  Both the Conference and the United Nations were aware of the growth of Islamophobia and were concerned that, unless it was addressed, it would result in instability around the world.


In its quest for stability, peace and justice, he said, the Conference had proposed several peaceful initiatives, including the Year of Dialogue among Civilizations proposed by President Mohammad Khatami of Iran.  Never before had the United Nations been so necessary and its cooperation with regional systems so useful.  The Organization was the forum where the rules of international diplomacy were being developed


STUART HOLLIDAY (United States) said cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations would continue to be a timely topic, because of the ongoing insecurity in several regions of the world.  The United Nations had an important role to play in regional efforts, particularly towards reaching political settlements.  He noted that in Afghanistan the United Nations was working with NATO to shepherd that beleaguered country towards peace, including stemming the drug trade and preparing for upcoming elections.  It would, likewise, take a broad international cooperative effort to ensure Haiti’s recovery.


As for Africa, he said that during the past few years, surely thousands of lives had been saved because of the quick and effective action of ECOWAS.  But, he warned the Council to be aware that that body had been plagued by a lack of funding for some of its efforts.  Therefore, if the international community wanted to continue to rely on ECOWAS’ proven ability to step in to help maintain or even lead peacekeeping efforts in its region, it would have to ensure that it received the resources and equipment necessary to continue to carry out its important tasks.


He went on to highlight Washington’s commitment to ensure peace, stability and development in Africa.  He said that addressing the ongoing serious problems in the Darfur region of the Sudan would be an important test for the international community.  All stakeholders must work together to bring about peace there, for everyone -- global agencies, regional organizations and governments -- would be judged not only by their expressions of political will, but on their ability to adequately effect those statements of good will, and commitment on the ground.  The United States Government was working closely with the African Union and had given several million dollars towards its efforts to help a fragile ceasefire in the region hold.


Finally, he urged the Council and regional groups to consider the role of women, not just as victims of warfare, but as players and participants of the peacekeeping process.  He also urged everyone to consider the nexus between peace and security efforts and the HIV/AIDS virus.


ISMAEL ABRAÃO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) said the regional organizations were increasingly recognized for playing a crucial role in efforts to ensure and promote stabilization, peace and security.  To complete those efforts and enhance their role, the Council had been actively seeking fruitful cooperation with regional bodies on the African continent, including the African Union, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), ECOWAS and IGAD, among others.  At the political level, broader consultations had led to a better understanding of the root causes of conflict.


He said that enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and African regional bodies had enhanced response capacities, increased coordination and led to greater equity in the allocation of resources needed towards the achievement of important internationally-agreed development goals.  He said that the basic awareness existed that, by themselves, African regional groups could often not sustain their efforts over long periods and that the international community’s help was necessary.


He said that the efforts of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, particularly in Darfur, were models of cooperation between the African Union, the United Nations and other important players, such as the European Union.  Here, he also welcomed the new focus on capacity-building and training of African troops, with the view to creating an African standby force. Future cooperative initiatives should promote increased exchange of information, sharing of experience and wider acknowledgement of best practices, all with the aim of promoting self-reliance.


NANA EFFAH-APENTENG (Ghana), representing the Chair of ECOWAS, said that low-intensity conflicts were often brutal and destructive, as had been the case in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and as was emerging in Côte d’Ivoire.


He said ECOWAS had thought that the United Nations would intervene in Liberia and Sierra Leone under Chapter VI and VII of the United Nations Charter, but the intervention had not materialized and it had been left to ECOWAS.  Both organizations would benefit from collaboration in regular and structured exchanges of information, as well as a regular exchange of visits.  There was much scope for improving the cooperation between the United Nations and ECOWAS.


JEAN-MARIE DE LA SABLIERE (France) said regional organizations had made great progress over the last few months and years in maintaining peace and security, by taking over United Nations operations.  However, all regional organizations did not have equal ability or capacity.  The European Union’s Operation Artemis was still working in Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the African Union’s Observation Mission had recently been deployed in Darfur.  The African Union had made major steps forward in establishing a rapid deployment unit.


He said ECOWAS deserved praise for the role in had played with limited resources in Liberia and Guinea-Bissau, as did the OAS for its role in Haiti.  The question arose as to what more could be done to improve cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, he said.  While there was a need to be far-reaching, as well as pragmatic, the United Nations could not be expected to take on every mission alone, particularly at a time when the number of crises was increasing.  There was, therefore, a need to create mechanisms for crisis prevention and early warning.


AMINU WALI (Nigeria), Chair, African Union, said that the role of subregional organizations in complementing the work of the United Nations was obvious.  Within that context, the African Union had been active in mediating conflicts through its central organ, the Peace and Security Council.  Today, no conflict situation was outside its range of consideration.  In all those crisis situations, the Union had either taken direct action or worked closely with subregional organizations and/or the United Nations.


In West Africa, he said, considerable progress had been made in retooling the machinery for conflict resolution.  The Protocol on Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management, Resolution and Peacekeeping, adopted by ECOWAS in 1999, provided for the creation of several organs, including the Mediation and Security Council, the Council of Elders, and a department in the Secretariat charged with peace and security.  In all those initiatives, African leaders had sought the cooperation and input of the Security Council as the primary organ of the United Nations responsible for peace and security.  It was equally noteworthy that all decisions of regional and subregional organization had promptly been conveyed to the Council for input into its decision-making process.


Much more was needed to reinforce that cooperation, he said, including the needed resources. There was also a need to mobilize support from the international community for post-conflict peace-building and humanitarian challenges, as well as assistance in training troops and standardizing equipment for peacekeeping duties.  Above all, the United Nations should cooperate with regional organization in addressing the root causes of conflicts and the factors that exacerbated them.


EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom), noting that there was no single model for the partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations, said that sometimes the latter would act as sub-contractors for the United Nations in classic Chapter VIII situations.  Sometimes, the United Nations would fulfil a specific role within a regionally led stabilization effort.  In most cases, the roles would evolve over time.  It did not make sense to create heavy formal mechanisms at headquarters level; they needed to be created on a case-by-case basis and kept flexible.


Regarding next steps, he said his country was already involved in important areas of work that had a bearing on today’s debate, particularly with its partners in the Group of 8 industrialized nations and the European Union.  The United Kingdom’s presidency of both those organizations next year would be an important opportunity to promote a joined-up, outward-looking regional approach.  Hopefully, the Commission for Africa established by Prime Minister Tony Blair earlier this year could contribute to meeting the challenges facing the continent.  It would complement the African Union’s efforts through the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the Secretary-General’s Advisory Panel on Africa.  The United Kingdom could also pursue work on justice and the rule of law.


ADRIAN NASTASE, Prime Minister of Romania, speaking in his national capacity, said the Council had several means at its disposal to oversee the effectiveness of cooperative arrangements in different areas of stabilization processes.  Capacity-building in regional organizations was needed, however, to make full use of their potential assets in stabilization processes.  While some States belonged to several regional organizations, others belonged to none.  Support should be given to the creation of regional organizations in all parts of the world, as well as to consolidating emerging regional entities.  Such efforts must begin with the development of standards and norms, as well as the creation of political, military, economic, social and cultural mechanisms to promote them.


As the international body responsible for international peace and security, he said, the Council had a clear role to play in assisting with capacity-building and funding for regional organizations.  It might thus consider appealing for more energetic support from the international donor community to regional peace and security initiatives.  Interaction with regional organizations in stabilization processes should favour a multidimensional strategy focused on preventing regression into conflict, promoting consolidation of peace, and ensuring long-term stability.


Cooperative efforts should also focus on post-conflict economic development, given the link between security and development.  The expertise of regional and subregional organizations with mandates focused on promoting economic integration, such as CARICOM and ECOWAS, could be valuable in ensuring strategies for long-term economic growth and stability.  There was also a great need for coordinated activities between regional organizations and United Nations departments and agencies in addressing the complex issues of conflict-torn countries.


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For information media. Not an official record.