|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-first General Assembly
15th Meeting (AM)
SAFEGUARDING UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPERS AMID MOUNTING THREATS TO SECURITY
AND SAFETY, AMONG CHALLENGES CONSIDERED IN FOURTH COMMITTEE
Proposals for Hostage-Taking Prevention, Disabilities Benefits,
Civilian Peacekeepers Corps, Standing Police Capacity Also Discussed
Issues ranging from the need for close cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in the realm of peacekeeping to increased efforts for improving the safety and security of United Nations peacekeeping personnel took centre stage today, as the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) continued its general debate on peacekeeping operations.
While several speakers urged closer cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in the area of peacekeeping, Iran’s representative stressed that peacekeeping operations should be carried out with United Nations authorization and under the Organization’s guidance, command and control, as the use of non-United Nations forces for the purpose of rapid deployment had not always been welcomed by parties concerned. To avoid such unwanted situations, all countries should contribute to peacekeeping operations through traditional United Nations peacekeeping operations. The capacity of regional arrangements should be utilized as complementary to, and not substitute for, the inalienable role of the United Nations in the field of peacekeeping.
On improving the safety of uniformed and civilian personnel, India’s representative welcomed the Under-Secretary-General’s recognition of strategic priorities, underscoring that progress had been made through the establishment of the Joint Operations Centres and Joint Mission Analysis Centres. He underlined, in that regard, the importance of information sharing with troop contributing countries and field commanders. Headquarters must continuously engage with field missions and positively respond to resolving their problems, rather than creating more problems for them. Improved communication technologies and information technology capacities would also enhance safety of personnel.
The representative of Ukraine also welcomed the establishment of joint operations centres and joint mission analysis centres, noting the need for increased protection and better information gathering and analysis capabilities in the face of mounting threats to personnel. Substantial progress had been seen in the creation of a standing police capacity, and Ukraine was ready to make a contribution in that regard.
Suggesting that reforms had allowed the United Nations to meet challenges posed by the surge in demand for peacekeeping operations, the Philippines’ representative said the Department could do more, however, if it was provided with the necessary resources and personnel. He supported the proposal to create a 2,500-strong corps of civilian peacekeepers, and would also like to see the Military Division reinforced with professional planners. He further backed proposals for the creation of a standing police capacity.
The representative of Nepal, whose country had participated in 29 United Nations peacekeeping missions and contributed more than 55,000 peacekeepers -– losing 55 in the line of duty -- stressed the need for a better procedure to prevent hostage-taking, and suggested that a comprehensive strategy was required for that purpose. He also urged that peacekeepers who sustained injuries be given disability allowances and other benefits by the United Nations.
In other business today, anticipated action on the draft resolution on the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (document A/C.4/61/L.2/Rev.1) was deferred at the request of the representative of France. Following that, Germany’s speaker requested a postponement of action on the draft resolution on international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space (document A/C.4/61/L.3/Rev.1), as he considered the two texts to be linked.
Also speaking this morning in the debate on the question of peacekeeping were representatives of the Sudan, Egypt, Serbia, Algeria, Japan, Cuba, Republic of Korea, Ghana, Morocco, Togo, Namibia and Croatia.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 25 October to consider the draft texts relating to outer space, and to conclude its comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping in all its aspects.
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to continue its comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects. It was also expected to conclude its consideration of international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space by taking action on two draft texts.
By the terms of the first draft resolution, entitled United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (document A/C.4/61/L.2/Rev.1), the Assembly, recognizing that space technology could play a vital role in supporting disaster relief operations by providing accurate and timely information and communication support, would decide to establish a programme within the United nations to provide universal access to all countries and all relevant international and regional organizations to all types of space-based information and services to support the full disaster management cycle.
Also, according to the provisions of the draft, the programme would provide access and services mentioned above by being a “gateway” to space information for disaster management support, serving as a bridge to connect the disaster management and space communities and being a facilitator of capacity-building and institutional strengthening, in particular for developing countries. The programme would be named the “United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (SPIDER)”, and be implemented as a programme of the Office for Outer Space Affairs, as an open network of providers of disaster management support. The Director of the Office would be responsible for the overall supervision of the programme.
The Assembly would endorse the recommendation of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space that the programme would have offices in Beijing, China, and in Bonn, Germany, and a possible liaison office in Geneva. The partners implementing the programme should try to start activities in January 2007, or as soon as practicable. The Assembly would further agree that the programme should work closely with regional and national centres of expertise.
The Assembly would agree that the programme would be supported through voluntary contributions and through a rearrangement of priorities within the framework of the UN reform process, and, if necessary, a rearrangement of priorities of the Office for Outer Space Affairs. The additional activities would not, as far as possible, have a negative impact on the current programme activities of the Office.
Also before the Committee was a draft resolution on international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space (document A/C.4/61/L.3/Rev.1), by which the Assembly would reaffirm the importance of international cooperation in developing the rule of law, including the relevant norms of space law and their important role in international cooperation for the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.
By that text, the Assembly would endorse the report of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and urge States that had not yet become parties to the international treaties governing the uses of outer space, to consider ratifying or acceding to those treaties, as well as incorporating them into national legislation.
Also, according to the text, the Assembly would endorse the Outer Space Committee’s recommendation that the Legal Subcommittee, at its forty-sixth session, consider among other things, the status and application of the five United Nations treaties on outer space; the definition and delimitation of outer space, the character and utilization of the geostationary orbit, including consideration of ways and means to ensure its rational and equitable use without prejudice to the role of the International Telecommunication Union.
The Assembly would also endorse the Outer Space Committee’s recommendation that the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, at its forty-fourth session, consider, among other things, the implementation of the recommendations of the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and matters relating to remote sensing of the Earth by satellite, including applications for developing countries and monitoring of the earth’s environment; space debris; the use of nuclear power sources in outer space; space-system-based disaster management support; and near-earth objects.
The Assembly would, by other terms, agree that the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, at its forty-fourth session, should establish for one year, a working group on near-Earth objects, in accordance with the work plan. It would also note that the African Leadership Conference on Space Science and Technology for Sustainable Development, the first of which was hosted by Nigeria, in collaboration with Algeria and South Africa from 23-25 November 2005, would be held on a biennial basis.
By further terms, it would also emphasize the need to increase the benefits of space technology and to contribute to an orderly growth of space activities favourable to sustained economic growth and development in all countries, including mitigation of the consequences of disasters, particularly in developing countries. Under a related provision, the Assembly would note that space technology could play a central role in disaster reduction.
Further, more should be attention be paid and political support provided to all matters relating to the protection and preservation of the outer space environment, especially those potentially affecting the Earth’s environment. The Assembly would urge all States, especially those with major space capabilities, to contribute actively to preventing an arms race in outer space as an essential condition for promoting international cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.
By further terms, the Assembly would request the Outer Space Committee to continue to consider, at its fiftieth session, its agenda item entitled “Spin-off benefits of space technology: review of current status.” It would also agree to include a new item on the Committee’s agenda at its fiftieth session entitled, “International cooperation in promoting the use of space-derived geo-spatial data for sustainable development,” under a multi-year work plan.
Action on Outer Space Issues
NICOLAS CHIBAEFF ( France) Chairman of the Working Group of the Whole, introduced the two draft resolutions before the Committee: namely, (document A/C.4/61/L.3/Rev. 1), “United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response” and (document A/C.4/61/L.2/Rev.1), “international Cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space”. He asked for a postponement of action on the first draft, as one Member State wanted to amend the text.
W. STOECKL ( Germany), expressing surprise at the development, asked for postponement of action on both draft texts, as he considered them to be linked.
The Committee then decided to defer consideration of both drafts to Wednesday, 25 October.
Statements on Peacekeeping Operations
ANIL BASU (India), noting the recent increase in United Nations personnel to 93,000 in 18 peacekeeping operations, said it was likely the number would climb still further, with United Nations commitments in Lebanon, Sudan and Timor Leste. Today’s peacekeeping problems were partially due to the manner in which missions had been established, with what they were asked to do and the tools they were provided to carry out their operations.
Among the challenges was the need to improve the safety of uniformed and civilian personnel, he said. India welcomed the Under-Secretary General’s recognition of strategic priorities, especially the focus on reform. Progress made through the establishment of the Joint Operations Centres and Joint Mission Analysis Centres must filter down to the missions. Headquarters must continuously engage with field missions, and the creation of a civilian cadre for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations should not result in a mere expansion of job opportunities.
He said that India supported energizing the mechanism of a triangular consultation among troop-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat, noting that troop-contributing countries should be involved early. India also supported deepening the United Nations’ relationship with the African Union, adding that regional arrangements should be in accordance with the Charter. He agreed that peacekeeping elements should be incorporated into new, multi-disciplinary peacekeeping operations from the outset to ensure a seamless transition, and he cautioned against confusing peacekeeping –- which was short term -– with peacebuilding, which was a long-term endeavour.
Sexual exploitation and abuse were totally unacceptable, and India fully supported implementation of a zero-tolerance policy, he stressed. Progress on establishing a standing police capacity had been welcome and he stressed that recruitment should be done in a transparent manner. India had contributed more than 80,000 troops to United Nations peacekeeping and participated in almost every mission.
KHALID ALI (Sudan), aligning himself with the statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the new calls for peacekeeping operations reflected the confidence in the Organization, as well as in the effectiveness of the operations. Mandates should take into consideration the principles upon which the credibility of the Organization was based, namely approval of the Government in question for an operation, non-interference in interior affairs of the country concerned, and respect for its territorial integrity. Safety and security of its own personnel was also important. Abuse of civilians by peacekeepers must be avoided, and more effective financial management was also needed. The government concerned, civil society and the private sector should also be involved, so that experience could be pooled and local personnel be recruited.
He said that the fiftieth anniversary of Sudan’s joining the Organization was coming up. His country had always given its total cooperation to the Organization. Sudan had the largest peacekeeping mission on its territory, namely the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS). The Darfur peace agreement was currently being implemented by the Government. The first part of the agreement had been implemented through a presidential decree, which had created the national authority in Darfur for the transition. A fund for indemnification and reconstruction had also been established. Considerable efforts were being made to draw in the other military factions, in order to establish peace in the region.
His Government had always tried to establish peace in all parts of the country, he said. A peace agreement had been reached with the Eastern Front, which comprised provisions for the sharing of power and the wealth of the country. The Government had announced the elimination of the embargo on the region. The regional organizations were better able to understand the problems and should be provided with the necessary resources to take their role. He underscored in that regard, his Government’s support for the African Union Mission in Sudan of the African Union. Timeframes should be established for missions, in order to achieve the goals of peacekeeping in the framework of a national exit strategy. He hoped that reconciliation efforts at the national level would be crowned with success.
MAGED A. ABDELAZIZ (Egypt), associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said United Nations peacekeeping activities had seen several developments in the past decade, some of which had related to the changing nature of conflicts, while others to changes in relations between States. In that context, it was important to link peacekeeping with implementation of comprehensive peace agreements and balanced partnerships among concerned parties. The Security Council must exercise its authority to maintain peace and security, particularly to avoid recent humanitarian situations, such as the recent tragedy in Lebanon.
He said that maintaining the security of United Nations peacekeeping troops and personnel in the field was important. Further, it was necessary to have increased consultation among the Security Council, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and troop-contributing countries when new peacekeeping missions were approved or when an existing mandate was renewed. On that issue, Egypt looked forward to clarifying the reasoning behind the appointment of almost 20,000 civilians to work in peacekeeping operations. Establishing relationships between peacebuilding and development activities in conflict areas were vital, and that demanded close cooperation between the Organization, its concerned programmes and agencies. Also important was to counter any failures committed by individuals under the command of the United Nations, by upholding accountability and discipline.
Egypt welcomed efforts to consolidate regional initiatives in peacemaking in Africa, he said. As one of the biggest contributing countries of police and military observers, Egypt supported efforts to strengthen the African Union’s task in Sudan through a comprehensive support package. On sexual abuse and exploitation issues, Egypt advocated addressing the problem’s multidimensional aspects, in order to preserve the United Nations’ reputation.
PAVLE JEVREMOVIC ( Serbia), aligning himself with the statement of the European Union, said that over the past several years, there had been a surge in the number of peacekeeping operations with increasingly complex mandates. Despite progress achieved, there were still many shortcomings to be addressed. It was necessary to thoroughly analyze and review each peacekeeping mission, and strengthen the cooperation between the Security Council and other United Nations bodies. The new, revised memorandum of understanding between the United Nations and the troop-contributing countries was an important step towards identifying administrative, logistic and financial conditions and setting the standard of conduct for members of national contingents and United Nations investigation of their alleged misconduct.
He said early deployment of a sufficient number of experienced and qualified personnel was instrumental to the success of peacekeeping operations. In Kosovo and Metohija, the downsizing of some components of the Mission had resulted in the creation of a culture of impunity related to ethnically motivated violence. In the province of Kosovo and Methoija, the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo had failed to provide security for all inhabitants of the Province for more than seven years. The non-Albanian population had been exposed to ethnically motivated attacks and denied freedom of movement. The prospects of a substantive return of a quarter of a million internally displaced persons remained bleak. As Serbs and other non-Albanians were literally struggling to survive and a significant part of the population remained displaced, it was hard to expect that all the stakeholders could participate in the political processes in the Province, aimed at building a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society.
NADJEH BAAZIZ (Algeria), aligning herself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the concept of peacekeeping was in constant evolution, and serious challenges remained for the United Nations and Member States. The success of peacekeeping missions depended on such factors as impartiality and non-recourse to force, except in legitimate cases of defence. A credible mandate and solid financing were essential to the success of all peacekeeping operations.
She said that future intervention in managing post-conflict situations should not mean the disengagement of peacekeeping operations. The Department had recorded successes, including improvement in its capacity to plan different phases of operation. Serious challenges remained. Cooperation between the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries should take into account the concerns of troop-contributing countries, and define practical modalities to bring them into decision-making processes that directly impacted their troops.
Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in peacekeeping operations was equally important, she said. The African Union had demonstrated its commitment to fostering peace, despite its lack of resources. International assistance, however, was essential for it to play its role in stabilization and conflict resolution efforts. Her delegation repeated its condemnation of sexual abuse and exploitation among peacekeepers. A zero-tolerance policy was needed, and missions should be made aware of the norms of conduct.
PETRO DATSENKO (Ukraine), aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union, said the issue of rapid deployment was essential for the success of peacekeeping operations and he encouraged the Secretariat to continue its work in that regard with Member States.
He said that securing financial resources was among the major obstacles for developing countries’ troops in the field and it was important to look for ways to ensure timely reimbursements to troop-contributing countries for troops and contingent-owned equipment. With the mounting threats to United Nations peacekeeping personnel, increased protection and better information gathering and analysis were needed. Ukraine welcomed the establishment of the Joint Operations Centres and Joint Mission Analysis Centres and was ready to contribute to the Standing Police Capacity. His country also supported the proposal to create a substantial capacity of civilian peacekeepers. On sexual exploitation and abuse issues, a zero-tolerance policy was necessary. Ukraine anticipated the conclusion of the revised model memorandum of understanding and National Investigation Officers Concept.
He believed further development of partnerships with regional and subregional organizations could help the United Nations meet peacekeeping challenges. He encouraged the Secretariat to continue work to increase cooperation. He also welcomed the level of interaction between the Security Council, Secretariat and troop-contributing countries, stressing the need for close cooperation between the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and the Peacebuilding Commission. If peacekeeping was to remain an effective instrument, Member States, the Security Council and the Secretariat must work closely together to meet new challenges.
TAKAHIRO SHINYO ( Japan) said the expansion of peacekeeping operations raised issues of personnel and financing. Although his country, as a member of the Security Council, continued to provide maximum support for peacekeeping operations, close attention must be paid to the efficient use of resources and the continuing enhancement of accountability. Securing highly qualified personnel and providing proper training, including on preventing sexual exploitation and abuse, remained important. All troop-contributing countries should make the utmost efforts to maintain strict discipline among their peacekeepers. An exit strategy was also important from the viewpoint of the effective allocation of limited resources.
He said that the Peacebuilding Commission could add value to peacekeeping operations activities, by discussing strategies on peacekeeping and advising on priorities among the various peacekeeping activities. As for recruitment of civilian staff in missions, he expressed concern over the uncorrected imbalance in geographic representation in field missions. An enhanced mutual understanding among Council members, troop-contributing countries, financial contributors and other Members States in the regions concerned, to which Japan had contributed, provided a valuable basis for the smooth discussion of issues raised in the Council. The Council should continue to strengthen its interaction with troop-contributing countries and other contributors.
REBECCA HERNANDEZ TOLEDANO ( Cuba), supporting Morocco’s position on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said peacekeeping had consumed the greatest share of United Nations resources. Some 70 per cent of the $10 billion annual budget had been earmarked for it, compared with only 50 per cent 10 years ago. The establishment of new and more complex peacekeeping operations, however, could not substitute for attention to the root causes of conflict.
She said that the principles that had governed the general framework of peacekeeping operations were fully valid, and observing them was important for efficiency. She underscored that peacekeeping operations must respect the principles of the Charter, especially regarding sovereignty, territorial integrity, and non-intervention in the internal affairs of States. It was also necessary to preserve the principles of consent of the parties, impartiality and the non-use of force, except in cases of defence.
Cuba believed that the deployment of peacekeeping operations must be transparent and inclusive, she said. It was a challenge to United Nations effectiveness that the Security Council abstain from acting selectively and with double standards in the establishment of peacekeeping operations’ mandates. It was further important to increase cooperation between the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries. Often, the latter was not guaranteed participation in all stages of decision-making processes and she urged that participation be fostered.
She said her country maintained zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse and noted progress achieved thus far. On other issues, all States must pay, without conditions, their respective assessed contributions to finance peacekeeping operations, according to their capacity to pay. On personnel recruitment in the field and at Headquarters, there must be respect for the geographic distribution principle and transparency in selection of personnel that hold high positions.
JOON OH ( Republic of Korea) said the past year had been a challenging one for the Department as well as for Member States contributing to peacekeeping operations. The sprit of cooperation and partnership demonstrated by both in the case of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) expansion had been exemplary. A very serious challenge in Darfur was still being faced. The international community could not afford to fail in stopping further pain and agony for the people there. He urged the expansion of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan as early as possible, through cooperation between the United Nations and other parties concerned, including the Government of the Sudan. The overall increasing demand for new peacekeeping operations had substantially burdened Member States. Enhanced cooperation with regional organizations, such as the African Union, the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization could contribute to a more effective and efficient response.
He said that strengthening the peacekeeping capacities of African nations and the African Union was urgently required and he encouraged Member States to provide support to the ten-year plan for capacity-building within the African Union. His country was exploring ways to enhance its contribution to peacekeeping efforts through streamlining domestic procedures for dispatching contingents to United Nations peacekeeping operations and cooperating with neighbouring countries on training. In most post-conflict situations, long-term stability was secured only when upheld by sustained social and economic development. The security situation in such situations often deteriorated once peacekeeping operations were terminated or prematurely curtailed. Coordination between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Peacebuilding Commission was essential in that regard, and the Integrated Mission Planning Process could serve as a strategic framework to facilitate complex peacekeeping operations.
LESLIE K CHRISTIAN (Ghana), aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the next surge in peacekeeping was both an affirmation of the United Nations contribution to international peace and a challenge to the Organization’s ability to perform its role creditably in the face of multifaceted challenges. He noted progress made through effective implementation of reforms outlined in the Brahimi report.
He said that cooperation and consultations among troop-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Security Council were vital. The partnership had deepened, but he called for further cooperation to move beyond the current briefings to constructive discussion. Regional and subregional organizations also played a vital role in conflict resolution. Africa had played a proactive role in resolving conflicts, however, it could not attain its objectives without the support of the United Nations and development partners. Hopefully, at the end of the Union’s 10-year plan, it would have the resources and logistics to efficiently discharge that responsibility.
The need for rapid and effective deployment of peacekeepers was paramount for any successful intervention in crisis situations, he said, stressing that any decision should take into account the peculiar capabilities of Member States and enable the United Nations to react efficiently to developments that threaten missions’ security. Ghana supported the establishment of the Standing Police Capacity and cautioned that selection of personnel should be fair and transparent. He endorsed the decision for Police Units, but stressed that the meagre financial resources of most developing countries could hinder their desire to accede to that request.
He said that the safety of peacekeeping troops was paramount. Until the restoration of relative normalcy in conflict areas was established, the United Nations should assume the responsibility of ensuring the safety of peacekeepers, rather than the host authorities or signatories of an agreement. He encouraged the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to continue enhancing its capacity for gathering and analyzing intelligence information through the Joint Operation Centres and Joint Mission Analysis Centres. Noting that the conduct of troops was a cardinal issue, the United Nations should be vigilant in ensuring achievement of zero-tolerance for sexual abuse and exploitation.
AMINE CHABI ( Morocco), aligning himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said peacekeeping was at a crossroads, as the United Nations was already deploying 90,000 “Blue Helmets”, and some 112,000 troops in total were needed, in order to adequately respond to the recent, agreed mandates for Lebanon and the Sudan. The sustained expansion of peacekeeping efforts required a global vision and long-term strategy to ensure success. In the past year, the United Nations had defined a clear exit strategy for Sierra Leone and Burundi, while overseeing 18 peacekeeping operations, most of them in Africa. In August, the Council had decided on an expansion of UNIFIL, after a devastating conflict. He hoped that in that way, the international community could contribute to the advent of a long-lasting peace.
He said multidimensional peacekeeping operations were often challenged by recurrent violence, requiring more Blue Helmets. Morocco hoped that mechanisms would be developed for a rapid deployment option. As the maintenance of peace and security nowadays was more and more of a multidimensional nature, better preparation and management support were necessary, as well as a clear exit strategy. A transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding required sustained commitment of the international community for, among other things, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, re-establishment of the rule of law and carrying out sustained reconstruction and development activities. The United Nations should increase its capacity for retaining well-trained and motivated personnel by offering job security and promotion on merit. Training for peacekeeping should have a wider scope and be more accessible. He urged a strengthening of the tripartite consultations between troop-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Security Council.
BIAM BIDINABÈ HODJO ( Togo), reaffirming Morocco’s statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said it was regrettable that, for 10 years, peacekeeping operations had proliferated in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and even in Europe. Those operations had become complex, as had the causes of conflict. It was imperative, therefore, to strengthen the means of existing actions and put into practice, as quickly as possible, last year’s reform programme, with a view to making peacekeeping operations more effective. In that context, Togo supported the United Nations’ role in preventing conflict, as well as in building peace.
She reaffirmed the decisions on prevention and mediation instruments made during the 2005 World Summit. Togo was providing contingents in Cote d’Ivoire, Burundi, Liberia and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). It was easy to start a conflict, but difficult to see how it would end. In that context, she urged Member States to give pride of place to dialogue and consultation. Each country must assume its responsibility in contributing to the success of peacekeeping operations. That was a matter of political will.
KAIRE MBUENDE (Namibia), aligning himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, for his country, peacekeeping had a memorable history, as Namibia’s independence had come about through United Nations elections. It had been one of the success stories of which the Organization could only be proud. His country had started contributing to United Nations peacekeeping barely two years after its independence, and currently, it had 610 troops deployed in United Nations peacekeeping operations. The participation of women in conflict resolution processes, including peacekeeping operations, was important. During Namibia’s presidency of the Security Council, the landmark resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security had been passed. Hopefully, troop-contributing countries would increase the number of women deployed as peacekeepers. Also important, in that regard, was the creation of an environment conducive to women’s participation.
He said the continuous surge in demand for peacekeeping operations was stretching United Nations’ resources. It was important, therefore, that the United Nations work closely with other stakeholders, particularly with regional and subregional mechanisms. For example, the United Nations could provide resources for capacity-building for the African standby force to facilitate its rapid deployment for United Nations peacekeeping missions. The establishment of a dedicated capacity of a multi-disciplinary nature in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to assist Africa in its endeavour to establish an African Standby Force by 2010 was highly appreciated. He also welcomed the work of the Peacebuilding Commission under the Chairmanship of the Ambassador of Angola, and he applauded the establishment of the Peacebuilding Fund.
ELMER G. CATO (Philippines), having closely followed the Department’s reform efforts, said he applauded improvements in the way the United Nations had planned, launched and directed peacekeeping operations since the comprehensive review made by the Brahimi report. Reforms not only had allowed the United Nations to meet challenges posed by a surge in demand for peacekeeping operations, but had improved the way the Organization protected civilians, promoted human rights, imposed the rule of law and implemented quick impact projects to ensure post-conflict stabilization. The Department could do more, however, if it was provided with the necessary resources and personnel. He supported the proposal to create a 2,500-strong corps of civilian peacekeepers, noting his country would also like to see the Military Division reinforced with professional planners. He further supported proposals for the creation of a standing police capacity.
He said the Philippines appreciated efforts to increase cooperation with troop-contributing countries and anticipated more interactions within the coming year. He was pleased that the Department had started work on the core policy doctrine that outlined the fundamental principles for successful deployment and disengagement of United Nations peacekeepers. He expected to see improvements in the operational efficiency of peacekeeping missions, including the elaboration of templates that now included mission components such as best practices.
Noting the importance of increased participation by developed countries in peacekeeping, he called for arrangements to allow troop contributors to partner and work together in support of United Nations peacekeeping operations. That would allow States willing to deploy personnel, but lacking equipment, to team up with other Member States.
On sexual exploitation and abuse, the Philippines recently revised the policy framework and guidelines governing its participation in peacekeeping operations, he noted. The country had formalized a zero-tolerance policy on cases that might involve Filipino peacekeepers. The Philippines supported proposals for victim assistance, the draft model memorandum of understanding and national investigation officers.
MIRJANA MLADINEO (Croatia), aligning herself with the statement of the European Union, said that, as a former recipient country, having hosted five peacekeeping missions on its territory, Croatia was now proud to contribute to United Nations peacekeeping efforts in 11 operations. The country would continue and expand its contributions, if possible. In line with its gender policy, her country was strongly encouraging female candidates, in the framework of its armed and civilian police forces, to participate in United Nations-led peacekeeping operations. The country had organized, together with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, eight international workshops on transitional justice, national reconciliation and the building of the culture of peace.
She said that, as a small country with limited resources on the ground, it commended the Secretariat for its useful briefings of the Situation Centre for the troop-contributing countries. She encouraged further progress in transparency and cooperation between the Security Council and troop-contributing countries. She stressed the need to build effective and complementary partnerships with local and international actors, in order to ensure the sustainability of the achievements on the ground. Her country, therefore, would take an active role within the framework of the Peacebuilding Commission.
ARUN P. DHITAL (Nepal), aligning himself with Morocco’s statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said Nepal had participated in 29 United Nations peacekeeping operations and had contributed more than 55,000 peacekeepers, with some 55 having lost their lives in the line of duty. Nepal presently had 3,500 troops in 13 missions, and had committed 850 troops to the extended UNIFIL.
He said peacekeeping operations had seen an unprecedented surge in recent years, as reflected by the current presence of some 93,000 military, police and civilian personnel in 18 missions. Nepal supported the Secretary-General’s proposal in the priority reform areas of partnership, doctrine, people, organization and resources.
Stressing that the safety of United Nations personnel should receive top priority, he said he appreciated the various measures employed by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in that regard. He called for a better procedure to prevent hostage-taking, and suggested that a comprehensive strategy was required. He urged that peacekeepers who sustained injuries be given disability allowances and other benefits by the United Nations. His delegation appreciated the close coordination among the Security Council, Secretariat and troop-contributing countries. On sexual exploitation and abuse issues, he fully supported a zero-tolerance policy. His country was working closely with the Department to make that policy effective.
HOSSEIN MALEKI ( Iran), associating himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said peacekeeping operations should be carried out with United Nations authorization and under the Organization’s guidance, command and control. The observance of the basic peacekeeping principles, such as consent of the parties, the non-use of force except in self-defence, impartiality and respect for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of States was a necessity. The use of non-United Nations forces for the purpose of rapid deployment had not always been welcomed by many States and concerned parties. To avoid such unwanted situations, all countries should contribute to peacekeeping operations through traditional United Nations-mandated peacekeeping operations.
He said he fully supported the implementation of the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations peacekeeping operations. No perpetrator of such misconduct should enjoy impunity. Contributions by regional arrangements to peacekeeping operations should be in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter, and all operations by regional arrangements should be carried out under the full command and control of the United Nations. The capacity of regional arrangements should be utilized as complementary to, and not substitute for, the inalienable role of the United Nations in the field of peacekeeping. As all Member States were potential troop or police contributors to peacekeeping operations, any invitation to meetings on establishing a new United Nations peacekeeping mission, or expanding an ongoing one, should encompass all Member States.
He condemned, in the strongest terms, the killing of any United Nations personnel, especially the recent killing of a number of peacekeepers of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon by the Israeli Defense Forces on 24 July. That deliberate act had outraged the entire international community, including the Security Council. He requested the Secretary-General to continue to give utmost priority to enhancing the safety and security of United Nations peacekeepers, and urged the Secretariat to improve its recruitment process by rectifying the current imbalance of representation of Member States.
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