|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-second General Assembly
15th Meeting (AM)
RISKIER, MULTIDIMENSIONAL UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS INVOLVING MYRIAD
ENTITIES, MECHANISMS REQUIRE EVER GREATER COORDINATION, FOURTH COMMITTEE TOLD
Speakers Call on Governments to Investigate, Prosecute Peacekeepers Charged
With Sexual Exploitation, Abuse Crimes in Timely, Effective, Professional Manner
During the second day of general debate in the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) on the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects, delegations emphasized that ever greater coordination would be needed as riskier, multidimensional peacekeeping operations were undertaken, and as the mechanisms and entities involved in those operations multiplied.
The representative of Morocco, speaking in his national capacity, noted the rise in number, scope and size of peacekeeping operations in the last five years, many of them in Africa, at a time when the Organization’s capacity and resources were being stretched, with one person in New York handling 100 peacekeeping personnel in the field.
To better meet those peacekeeping responsibilities, he said that constant training was needed, as was a military reserve and a permanent police force, ready to be rapidly deployed. Success would also be determined by the realistic nature of mandates, better cooperation among troop contributors, the Secretariat and the Security Council, and the development of exit strategies.
Several speakers echoed the call for enhanced cooperation, as emphasized by Jordan’s delegate, who said that interaction between the troop-contributing countries and the Security Council was, at present, focused on the operational aspects of peacekeeping rather than institutional and political processes.
Along those lines, Singapore’s delegate hoped that the upcoming dialogue between the Secretariat, troop-contributing countries and Member States, which would be organized by the Department of Field Support, would improve their communication. Regarding the capstone doctrine, which was being developed by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and would set out guiding principles for peacekeeping, he commended the Best Practices Section for engaging Member States in its drafting through regional workshops and consultations. The “guiding principles”, however, were no substitute for Security Council mandates, he said.
Other countries stressed the complementary aspects of peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and said that those activities must be pursued together if United Nations peace operations were to be successful.
Nigeria’s delegate said that early action to address the root causes of violent conflict and bring parties together to bridge their differences was more productive than waiting until conflict had erupted. Post-conflict peacebuilding mechanisms should address those root problems, including humanitarian problems, hunger, poverty and other forms of political and social marginalization. Nigeria had finalized all arrangements to play its traditional leading peacekeeping role in the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Force in Darfur (UNAMID), and he called on all stakeholders in UNAMID to address the various challenges faced by the people of Darfur with a sense of urgency and commitment.
The representative of Kenya said that as the line between peacekeeping and peacebuilding was increasingly blurred, peacekeeping operations should be seen as short-term activities that were designed to achieve the restoration of public order, while peacebuilding was a post-conflict integrated operation in which peacekeepers were just one of the actors. Combining both activities into a multidimensional peace operation was required to prevent a relapse into conflict, and urgent peacekeeping missions should reflect that differentiation.
Japan’s representative underscored the nature of the Peacebuilding Commission as a forum to discuss strategy towards achieving sustainable peace and development, and to ensure an integrated approach to those processes. Stressing that consideration by the Peacebuilding Commission did not prejudge the exit of a peacekeeping mission, he said that the Commission should coordinate its work side by side with the peacekeeping missions and work towards sustainable stability.
Several speakers underlined the need to restore the reputation and credibility of United Nations peacekeeping operations, which had been damaged by incidences of sexual exploitation by some peacekeeping personnel. While noting that occurrences of sexual exploitation and abuse had declined, due to the zero-tolerance policy, they were concerned that incidents had not completely stopped.
The representative of the United States, for example, said that sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeepers was a scourge that must be eliminated. Saying every Member State should investigate and prosecute any of their citizens involved in such crimes, he called on the United Nations to help ensure that Member States did so in a timely, effective and professional manner.
In that connection, Nepal’s delegate stressed the need for faster investigations, so troop- or police-contributing countries could take action quicker. In that regard, the recommendations made by the Office of Internal Oversight to improve the efficiency of United Nations Headquarters in all aspects, as contained in its report, should be considered.
Also speaking in the debate were the representatives of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Indonesia, China, Namibia, Ukraine, Iran, Jamaica, Malaysia, Uganda, Philippines and United Republic of Tanzania.
The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m., on Monday, 5 November, to conclude its comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to continue its comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations.
Z.D. MUBURI-MUITA ( Kenya), associating himself with the statement made by the representative of Morocco on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said State failures and the total breakdown of Government institutions had led to more intra-State conflicts. Such conflicts often involved warlords, rebel groups, militias and other extremist groups that disrupted social norms and committed atrocities including rape, systematic killing and forced recruitment of child soldiers. People either became internally displaced persons or international refugees. The United Nations was therefore called on not just to end the conflict, but to re-establish societies and restore institutions.
Noting the growing practice of blurring the line between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, he said peacekeeping operations should be seen as short-term activities that were designed to achieve limited objectives in the restoration of public order. In contrast, peacebuilding was a post-conflict integrated operation in which peacekeepers were just one of the actors. The need to combine both activities into a multidimensional peace operation was required to prevent a relapse into conflict; urgent peacekeeping missions should reflect this differentiation.
Kenya supported the zero-tolerance policy, he continued. It welcomed the recently concluded memorandum of understanding, which comprehensively addressed sexual exploitation and abuse and urged the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations to engage with other organs of the General Assembly to support and assist victims of such abuse.
Turning to the challenges faced when planning for new peacekeeping missions, he urged the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to ensure that the information provided to troop-contributing countries for force planning was as accurate as possible. The tendency of the United Nations civilian organization to be seen as independent, rather than part of a military set-up, worked against the principle of Integrated Mission Planning Process (IMPP) and unity of effort. He called for extreme caution and in-built safeguards in the current realignment of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to ensure that the challenges of that situation were not exacerbated.
Noting the positive impact of effective partnerships between the United Nations and the regional mechanism, he commended the support given by the United Nations for African Union capacity-building. That cooperation should be strengthened, particularly in conflict prevention, while more resources should be directed towards arbitration and mediation. The Secretariat’s initiative to draft the capstone doctrine to guide future peacekeeping missions and shape training was welcome. The views of all Member States, however, should be taken into account. The doctrine should espouse the parameters on use of force and variability of robust rules of engagement based on the complexity of each mandate, and should borrow heavily from lessons learned by troop-contributing countries. The United Nations should also consider measures to reduce cost overruns in its African peacekeeping missions. Use of the administration capacity of the Organization’s offices in Nairobi should also be optimized. The effort by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to explore ways to use technology-based tools in the work of military observers was also welcome.
YUN YONG IL (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said a review of peacekeeping operations should be conducted alongside a review of the Security Council, which was the main organ responsible for international peace and security. It would seem that the number of United Nations peacekeeping operations was increasing, even though there was “growing concern over their proliferation”. Moreover, the practice of using peacekeeping operations to serve the national interest of specific countries on the Security Council could damage the credibility of the United Nations as a whole. The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations should address the unfairness and double standards inherent in the Security Council.
He said that principles such as respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence, non-interference in a country’s internal affairs, and consent of parties should be respected. Those principles had been adopted at the 2007 session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.
The Special Committee should also take practical measures to review all aspects of peacekeeping operations, such as terminating those that were either failing to contribute to peace and security, or were continuing longer than needed, he said. It was also necessary to alleviate the excessive financial burden placed on States by the increasing expense of running those operations. Indeed, financing for development, which was a top priority of developing countries, remained insufficient. The obligatory payment of peacekeeping expenses could be made voluntary, or be funded through extrabudgetary means.
ADIYATWIDI ADIWOSO ASMADY (Indonesia), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said it was critical that the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Operations were effectively geared to meet today’s peacekeeping challenges. The basic principles of United Nations peacekeeping -- consent of the parties, impartiality, non-use of force except in self-defence and in the defence of a Security Council mandate –- remained essential. Coupled with realistic, explicitly clear and responsive mandates, those principles were crucial to successful operations, and the development of a capstone doctrine should be based on them.
She stressed that the Secretariat’s work should focus on planning, deployment, operations and logistics. Introducing the concept of “restraint in the use of force” in place of “non-use of force except in self-defence” was a departure from the values of United Nations peacekeeping. Similarly, the reinterpretation of the meaning of self-defence should be avoided. Supporting the concept of a “pre-emptive strike” or “anticipatory self-defence” by assessing the situation through the parameter of “imminent threat” may also be regarded by many Member Sates as a significant departure from the principles of self-defence. While the United Nations aimed to deploy more peacekeepers and place more responsibilities on peacekeeping operations, it should be accepted that there could be limits.
Turning to personnel matters, she expressed the hope that the establishment of the Department of Field Support would result in improved, comprehensive and well-coordinated responses to peacekeepers’ needs. Regular training on professional matters, including the zero-tolerance policy, was fundamental. While the concept of integrated mission training centres should be supported, the peacekeepers should not be overburdened. In addition, the Security Council should coordinate its cooperation with troop-contributing countries. The Secretariat’s “backstopping” capacity in appropriate safety and security mechanisms was another concern that should be adequately addressed.
Although partnerships and a productive division of labour were intrinsic to peacekeeping, caution should be exercised, she said, welcoming the Secretary-General’s proposal to establish dedicated interdisciplinary capacity for partnerships. Also, the United Nations peacekeeping machinery could only deliver if it was adequately financed and employed the most appropriate human and material resources. It was a travesty that the budget for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was only 0.5 per cent of global military spending.
Welcoming the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, she said the reform focus should be directed at addressing bottlenecks in such critical areas as the safety and security of missions, unity of command at all levels, coherence in peacekeeping policy and strategy, close coordination and communication with troop-contributing countries, and operational capacity, both in the field and at Headquarters.
HAMID CHABAR ( Morocco) said the crossing of the threshold of 60 United Nations peacekeeping operations since 1948 marked an unprecedented phase in an activity that had become the central work of the United Nations today. Reforms begun in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support should continue through constant consultations with Member States, particularly troop- and police-contributing countries. Since 2003, a dozen operations had been undertaken, particularly in Africa. The rise in their number, scope and size had occurred at a time when the Organization’s capacity and resources were being stretched. In fact, it was estimated that one person in New York handled 100 peacekeeping personnel in the field, which served to demonstrate the need for adequate financial, human, material and logistical resources.
He said that constant training was needed, as was a military reserve and a permanent police force, which could be rapidly deployed. Success would also be determined by the realistic nature of mandates, tripartite cooperation between the troop-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Security Council, and the development of exit strategies. Morocco attached particular importance to maintaining stability in Africa, and was training its own forces for effective peacekeeping capabilities. His country called for continued efforts to maintain stability in the continent, which would ensure sustainable development. The implementation of the zero-tolerance policy should move forward and the Secretariat should hold conversations with the troop-contributing countries regarding the memorandum of understanding.
Better coordination with the Department of Public Information and the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General was also needed to help preserve the reputations of the troop-contributing countries, he said. The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations should restore the reputation of the troop-contributing countries when suspicions of misconduct were found to be groundless. Also, there should be fair geographic representation in the Secretariat’s staff, which proportionately reflected the makeup of peacekeeping forces. He proposed holding, in the sidelines of the next session of the General Assembly, a high-level event on peacekeeping operations, at whichrecommendations could be adopted to strengthen Member States’ commitments to the noble goal of serving international peace and security. He reaffirmed his country’s dedication to peacekeeping, and paid tribute to the troop-contributing countries who put their soldiers’ lives on the line in that supreme sacrifice in the maintenance of peace and security.
BAL KRISHNA DAHAL ( Nepal) noted that Nepal was the fourth largest troop and police contributor, with 3,700 personnel serving in 14 missions including Lebanon, Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Moreover, up to 5,000 personnel could be made available, if and when necessary. So far, Nepalese peacekeepers had been widely commended for their professionalism and dedication; 57 had lost their lives. Concerned at the increasing number of casualties among United Nations peacekeeping personnel, he asked the Secretariat to apply all possible measures to ensure their safety and security. The Joint Mission Analysis Centre should be reorganized and given more resources, including intelligence-related equipment, so that the information it collected could be used for early warning purposes.
He voiced support for measures to take legal action against indiscipline or misconduct, including sexual exploitation and abuse, and any other criminal offence by peacekeeping personnel. There needed to be faster investigations, so troop- or police-contributing countries could take action quicker. In that regard, recommendations made by the Office of Internal Oversight to improve the efficiency of United Nations Headquarters in all aspects, as contained in its report, should be considered.
The Secretariat should also ensure proper representation of troop- and police-contributing countries in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support, he said, voicing support for the concept of a geographically balanced standing police capacity. While he appreciated progress made to develop an enhanced rapid deployable capacity to meet sudden troop requirements, he said decision-making regarding period of standby, rates of reimbursement for such deployment, and duration of deployments should be streamlined.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) remarked that there had been significant changes in the area of peacekeeping since the General Assembly endorsed the Secretary-General’s plan to restructure the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. After many rounds of consultations, the drafting of a model memorandum of understanding regarding peacekeeping was basically complete, thus laying the foundation for the norms and conditions governing peacekeepers. The “rationalization” of peacekeeping concerns was proceeding apace -- preparations for the deployment of the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) seemed to be conducted in an orderly manner, while plans for drawing down the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) were steadily being implemented.
However, he noted that peacekeeping operations still faced major challenges in achieving cost-effectiveness and efficiency; narrowing the gap between capacity and expectations; and improving planning and implementation of peacekeeping. In meeting those challenges, the United Nations must always uphold the fundamental principles of peacekeeping, provisions of the United Nations Charter and Security Council mandates. If United Nations peacekeeping operations were to remain credible, they must seek cooperation from Member States while observing the principles of neutrality and non-abuse of force. As peacekeeping needs continued to rise, adherence to those principles was more relevant than ever.
He said that the recruitment of key staff and building the capacity of the new United Nations peacekeeping apparatus must proceed quickly, so that the Department of Field Support could begin its work in earnest. China would continue playing an active role in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, and in its coordination with the two Departments. Hopefully, as the process of peacekeeping reform went ahead, the United Nations would improve the efficiency of its peacekeeping operations, its system of command, and the strengthening of training of peacekeepers. It was also hoped that the United Nations would help strengthen coordination with and among regional and subregional organizations. For example, since most peacekeeping operations were being deployed in Africa, the United Nations could implement measures to strengthen the African Union.
United Nations peacekeeping operations were an important means to realize international security, he said. Blue Helmets played an important role in helping host countries consolidate peace. China actively supported peacekeeping and had contributed 10,000 personnel to 17 peacekeeping operations over the years. It would soon deploy an engineering unit to Sudan.
MOHAMMED AL-ALLAF (Jordan), aligning himself with the statement made yesterday on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said enhancing and improving the capacity to manage peacekeeping operations had always been the mutual goals of the Member States and the Secretariat. His country echoed the voices aimed at enhancing the professionalism, management and efficiency of the operations, and welcomed all efforts aimed at advancing the reform agenda, including the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in ways that reflected the partnership between the Member States and the Secretariat. Jordan was in the process of revising its peacekeeping doctrine, particularly broadening the scope and quality of its female contribution. There was a need to enhance coordination between the United Nations and the troop contributors in terms of training.
He said that the security and safety of peacekeeping troops was a major concern. Jordan supported efforts to mitigate risks, and appreciated the United Nations assessment of threats and associated risks to United Nations personnel, premises and equipment on a regular basis. His country also welcomed efforts to reduce misconduct. The necessary revisions to the existing memorandums of understanding should be implemented, and good contact and information flow with Member States should be maintained to preserve both the reputations of the United Nations and of the contributing countries.
Noting that the nature of peacekeeping operations being mounted became substantially more risky and more politically sensitive, he said that interaction between the troop-contributing countries and the Security Council was still focused on the operational aspect, rather than institutional and political processes. He reminded the Committee of the importance of those meetings in forming an interactive relationship on policy issues affecting peacekeeping operations, and urged all those involved to consider ways to restore the quality and purpose of those meetings. He also reminded Member Sates of the fundamental importance of their timely payment of their assessed contributions.
TAKAHIRO SHINYO ( Japan) said that after undergoing significant expansion in recent years, United Nations peacekeeping had marked several important milestones in the past year. It had been assigned one of the largest and most difficult missions in recent years with UNAMID. It had also seen the realignment of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations with the establishment of the Department of Field Support to address various challenges on peacekeeping operations and to discharge their mandate more effectively and efficiently. The transition to the new configuration was now taking place simultaneously with the establishment of difficult missions, the difficulties of which were what the alignment was intended to address. Soon the new organizational structure would be fully fledged and operational, and Japan hoped that the two departments would harmonize their work as much as possible and closely monitor the current operations to assess whether the rationale behind that realignment had been justified.
He urged the United Nations to make efficient use of all its resources, in order to continue to carry out recent multidimensional operations, in addition to traditional peacekeeping. The enhancement of the strategic cooperation between the United Nations and other international partners, including regional organizations, was one of the more potent options to explore. Close cooperation and coordination with regional organizations was thus one of the most useful measures by which to implement complex and multidimensional operations. At the same time, the rules and standards of the Organization’s management should be observed when an operation was carried out as part of United Nations operations.
The importance of security sector reform, which was needed for host nations to be able to achieve sustainable peace, could not be overemphasized, and Japan had great expectations of the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, he said. The Peacebuilding Commission was also a forum to discuss strategy towards achieving sustainable peace and development, and to ensure an integrated approach to those processes. Japan hoped to continue to advance discussions in the Commission on how peacebuilding could be positioned in that respect. Consideration by the Commission did not prejudge the exit of a peacekeeping mission. The Commission should coordinate its work side by side with the missions and work towards sustainable stability.
Commending the Department of Peacekeeping Operations on its draft capstone doctrine, he said his country was constantly making continuous efforts to contribute more effectively to United Nations peacekeeping and was constantly engaging in serous debate on how to participate in such operations more proactively. The capstone doctrine should be formulated in a way that reflected a broad range of transitional practices and lessons learned in the long history of United Nations peacekeeping, and should also reflect the face of the new challenges. Japan had dispatched several highly trained police officers and arms monitors in different United Nations operations over the last year. It had also launched a programme to train “peacebuilders” in Asia. The imbalance in geographical representation in field missions persisted, and representation in future recruitment of civilian staff for peacekeeping missions should be improved.
Turning to the relationship between troop-contributing countries, other stakeholders and the Security Council, he said his country strongly believed that it was necessary for the Council to continue its efforts to strengthen interaction with major stakeholders when it made peacekeeping decisions. Japan was willing to contribute to that discussion.
SIM TIONG KIAN ( Singapore) recalled that the first United Nations peacekeeping operation took place in 1948 to supervise the ceasefire in Palestine, and involved nearly 600 peacekeepers. That number had grown to more than 130,000. The nature of the process had also evolved from traditional peacekeeping between States, to multidimensional operations involving intra-State conflicts and non-State actors. Such operations now supported peacebuilding efforts, disarmament and demobilization of combatants, security sector reform, and even maritime enforcement.
He said the surge in peacekeeping raised capacity issues, and it was good that the United Nations was investing in tools like conflict prevention and mediation to lessen reliance on peacekeeping. The international community should consider establishing a formal mechanism to review operational requirements and prioritize scarce resources. The use of modern surveillance and monitoring tools might help reduce the reliance on peacekeepers, while non-core services, such as some logistics and maintenance work, should be subcontracted to local communities. He looked forward to learning lessons from the implementation of the “Strategic Military Cell” and the conduct of the maritime enforcement operation by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
He noted that, earlier in the year, Singapore had suggested that the Secretariat, troop-contributing countries and Member States hold informal meetings to track changes and address problems. He therefore looked forward to the upcoming dialogue which would be organized by the Department of Field Support. Meanwhile, the staffing of that Department, as well as the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, must proceed more quickly and in a transparent manner. It must also reflect the principles of geographic representation.
Addressing the capstone doctrine that was being developed by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, he commended the Best Practices Section for engaging Member States in its drafting through regional workshops and consultations. The issue of “guiding principles”, however, warranted more consultations, since it was obvious that there were different views on just how far they needed to be updated. However, no matter what the outcome of that debate, he underscored that such guiding principles were not a substitute for Security Council mandates. Also, the Conduct and Discipline Team needed to act with greater transparency.
Finally, he commented on the “brutal slaying” of a senior Egyptian officer in Darfur and the ambush on the Spanish contingent in Southern Lebanon. Adding that the African Union had also been attacked at Haskanita, Sudan, he said the United Nations must take steps to strengthen the protection of the Blue Helmets.
FRIEDA N. ITHETE ( Namibia) said conflicts in Africa had resulted in $248 billion in losses in the past 17 years. Already meagre resources earmarked for economic and social development were often diverted to purchase military equipment, particularly small arms and light weapons. Member States should abide by international instruments designed to curtail the flow of those weapons. Moreover, it was time for the international community to shift its strategy of conflict resolution to put more emphasis on conflict prevention. It was also important to strengthen Africa’s early warning capabilities, since the continent was often afflicted by strife.
She said Namibia had contributed troops to various countries, and had pledged a mechanized infantry battalion of 860 troops for UNAMID that could be ready for predeployment inspection by January 2008 if selected. Her country had also pledged police officers to the same Mission, and had already contributed military staff and observers to the African Union. Having benefited from many United Nations workshops in the past, Namibia would be grateful if the integrated training service could consider conducting a military observer or staff officer’s course in the country next year.
She also reiterated the importance of the zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, and voiced support for “Peace Operations 2010”. While recognizing the need to finalize the draft doctrine for adoption, wider consultation on the text was needed. Addressing women’s participation in peacekeeping, she said Namibia welcomed the appointment of senior women in the Liberia, Sudan and Burundi operations. That 53 per cent of the Department of Field Support’s staff had been earmarked for women was encouraging, and hopefully questions of geographical representation would likewise be taken into consideration.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA (Ukraine), welcoming the initiative for implementing a comprehensive and integrated approach to mission planning, encouraged the Secretariat to continue its work with Member States on the preparation of mechanisms for effective quick deployment. He shared the concerns on the lack of transparency in the recruitment process for additional posts for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, saying that priority should be given to major troop-contributing countries. As securing financial resources was one of the major obstacles to the deployment of troops in the field, he stressed the importance of ensuring timely reimbursements to those countries.
He said there was an urgent need to strengthen the protection of people in the service of the United Nations. Information gathering and analysis in the field should also be strengthened to prevent and manage threats. He therefore supported the arrangements outlined by the United Nations Security Management System and asked the Secretariat to provide comprehensive data analysis on the circumstances of non-violent action casualties.
Further development of partnerships and interaction with regional and subregional organizations could help the United Nations to meet the challenges of peacekeeping it faced today, he said. Efforts to enhance cooperation with such organizations should continue. It was important for the international community to strengthen the peacekeeping capacities of regional organizations, particularly the African Union. His delegation would also welcome more transparency in the restructuring of the Department, including more consultations with Member States. Cooperation between the Secretariat, troop-contributing countries and the Security Council was an indispensable element for conducting peacekeeping operations in the most effective manner at every stage.
HOSSEIN MALEKI ( Iran), aligning himself with the statement made yesterday by the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the primary responsibility for maintaining peace and security lay with the United Nations. In turn, United Nations peacekeeping operations must strictly observe the principles contained in the Charter and respect the basic principles governing peacekeeping missions: consent of parties; non-use of force; impartiality; and respect for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of States.
He said that, to evaluate the progress of different missions, the newly-established Policy, Evaluation and Training Division of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations should begin building a common platform for policymaking, developing guidance material, and conducting training and evaluation. The two peacekeeping-related Departments of the United Nations should work vigorously to eliminate misconduct among peacekeepers, and indeed, Iran supported the zero-tolerance policy on sexual misconduct.
Turning to the use of regional arrangements to settle local disputes, he said they should not absolve the United Nations of its responsibility under the Charter. Furthermore, any such arrangements should be carried out in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter (which states that the main goal of regional arrangements should be to achieve the peaceful settlement of disputes) and other relevant principles and norms guiding peacekeeping operations. There was no need to change the guiding principles; indeed, they were renewed by the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations by consensus each year, and were endorsed by the General Assembly annually.
He added that the Special Committee was, and should remain, the only United Nations forum in which to review the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects. For that reason, discussion on an important issue such as the guiding principles should be left to that intergovernmental forum. The doctrine being developed by the peacekeeping department should focus simply on planning, deployment, and operational and logistical issues, leaving issues such as the use of force, individual responsibility to protect, and so on, to the proper forum.
Paying tribute to the men and women serving under the United Nations, he encouraged the Secretary-General to identify ways to mitigate the risks they faced. Also, since the credibility and legitimacy of the United Nations depended on the fair representation of its Members in all its activities, he reiterated the concern also voiced by others over the staffing of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and other departments at Headquarters.
BAGUDU M. HIRSE, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, aligning himself with the statement made yesterday on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that early action to address the root causes of violent conflict and bring parties together to bridge their differences was more productive than waiting until conflict erupted. He reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to the principles of resolving internal tensions through peaceful means before they developed into violent conflicts.
Noting Nigeria ranked among the top troop-contributing countries with police, civilian and troop contingents deployed in a number of peacekeeping operations around the world, he said its contribution to UNAMID deserved special mention. It had finalized all arrangements to play its traditional leading peacekeeping role in that operation. He called on all stakeholders in UNAMID to address the various challenges faced by the people of Darfur with a sense of urgency and commitment. Despite Nigeria’s numerous sacrifices in the field of peacekeeping, it would not be deterred in its commitment to peacemaking and peacebuilding in Africa and other parts of the world. Yet Nigeria wished to seize the opportunity today to call on the local parties to the Darfur conflict to respect the neutrality of all peacekeepers in the region, and to give dialogue a chance.
There was no gainsaying the fact that humanitarian problems, hunger, poverty and other forms of political and social marginalization were at the root of most conflicts in Africa, he said. Youth unemployment, bad governance and the resulting debilitating economic situation were also some of the potential causes of Africa’s conflicts, and had further aggravated the existing problems of refugees and internally displaced persons. Any post-conflict peacebuilding mechanisms should address those problems. Condemning the unprofessional behaviour of some United Nations peacekeepers, he assured the Fourth Committee that Nigeria would continue to work with other delegations to implement concrete measures towards eliminating such unwholesome acts.
His country considered the development of a doctrine on United Nations peacekeeping overdue and welcome, yet it hoped that such a doctrine would reflect a clear and concise compendium of policies, procedures and guidelines that would meet future challenges of peacekeeping operations. Like other Member States, it would further urge that the concepts and terminologies to be incorporated in the capstone doctrine being developed by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations were agreed upon by all Member States before it became the concept blueprint on peacekeeping. It fully supported and reiterated the Non-Aligned Movement’s position that affirmed that peacekeeping operations should strictly observe the purpose and principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter. These included the consent of the parties, the non-use of force except in self-defence, and impartiality. While continuing to uphold and recognize the contributions of regional groups in the attainment of international peace and security, Nigeria would similarly support all peacekeeping operations duly authorized under Chapters VI and VIII of the United Nations Charter.
Nigeria also supported the reform agenda aimed at strengthening the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, he said. Yet events unfolding since the split of the Department into two, with the establishment of the Department of Field Support, had not totally allayed the fears of the troop-contributing countries on important issues such as the unit of command and clear lines of responsibilities between and among the two Departments. He urged continued consultations between those countries and the two Departments with a view to sharing experiences and lesson learned so far. Stressing the importance of the underrepresentation of many developing countries in the senior management cadres of the both the Secretariat and in the field, he said the lopsided staff structure of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations should be reviewed with the objective of identifying and recruiting competent hands for top positions from the troop-contributing countries and other stakeholders. The Department should take seriously this concern in ways that reflected the elegant dual partnership.
RAYMOND WOLFE ( Jamaica), associating himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said contemporary peacekeeping operations were “bursting at the seams”. With 140,000 peacekeeping personnel in 18 peacekeeping missions, and the expanding scope of their work, it was evident that demand had risen far beyond the United Nations capacity to respond in an efficient manner. That had taken place in the context of limited resources.
Calling for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to alter its modus operandi, he welcomed measures aimed at enhancing the efficiency of peacekeeping operations, and said the establishment of the Department of Field Support was one step towards that goal. He urged preservation of the chain of command, accountability and maintenance of an adequate system of checks and balances. The integrated operations team was a “welcome development” in helping the entire chain of command operate with a seamless approach, and he also encouraged close coordination with the Peacebuilding Commission.
For its part, Jamaica had police officers in peacekeeping missions in Liberia, Sudan and Timor-Leste, and was preparing to serve in the new United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur, he said. He was pleased that the mandate of United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) had been renewed. On conduct matters, Jamaica strongly supported a zero-tolerance approach to sexual abuse and exploitation in United Nations peacekeeping operations, and welcomed the recent adoption of the draft memorandum of understanding on those issues. He also hoped a consensus document would emerge from the upcoming Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group on Assistance and Support for Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.
While his delegation was pleased with progress in drafting the capstone document on guidelines for contemporary peacekeeping, it remained seriously concerned about the safety of peacekeeping personnel. That should be a priority, and he encouraged efforts to mitigate the risk.
LOH SENG KOK (Malaysia), also aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, underscored his country’s firm support for the central role of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security. Mindful of the daunting responsibility being placed on the United Nations, and the desire of the Organization to do more to secure durable peace in affected countries, he encouraged Member Sates to provide unwavering support in the areas of human and financial resources to ensure success. Economic and social progress would only be possible through maintenance of peace and stability.
He said he fully supported the implementation mechanism established by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to create synergy between the Department and the rest of the United Nations systems and other intergovernmental and non-governmental entities. The willingness to shift from traditional peacekeeping operations to multidimensional tasks was a manifestation the Organization’s maturity and pragmatism. The Malaysian delegation also fully supported the strengthening of the Peacekeeping Best Practices Unit to enable it to play a more active role in developing generic guidelines, procedures and best practices of current and future peacekeeping operations. The capstone doctrine was a living document and would need to be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to reflect the continuing evolution of United Nations peacekeeping.
Efforts of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in enhancing professionalism, management and efficiency of United Nations peacekeeping were welcome, he said. The Department should have, within its pool, high quality personnel able to meet the new challenges of peacekeeping operations. Malaysia wished to see geographical balance in the representation of personnel and troop contributions, particularly at Headquarters. It was also committed to the zero-tolerance policy and would work with other Member States to ensure the implementation of the recommendations of the Special Committee. He called on Member States to increase their voluntary contribution if they had the means, while continuing to honour the financial contributions. He also called on them to actively participate and contribute troops, staff officers and military observers.
The United Nations should also continue to provide all the necessary support through its larger membership, including advisory, logistic and financial support, towards enhancing the capacities of regional organizations or arrangements in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities, he said. Yet it was imperative that missions undertaken on a regional basis be governed by the basic principles of peacekeeping, in full conformity with the United Nations Charter; the involvement of regional solutions would not absolve the United Nations of its responsibility. Malaysia’s commitment to United Nations peacekeeping was not diminished, and it was ready to meet its obligation by contributing troops. It was also setting up the Malaysian Peacekeeping Training Centre to provide training for Malaysian military and civilian policy personnel and foreign participants.
FRANCIS K. BUTAGIRA (Uganda), aligning himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, voiced appreciation for the Secretariat’s efforts at peacekeeping reform, but said Uganda had yet to feel the impact of the two Departments created from that reform. Nevertheless, he was optimistic that the restructuring exercise would increase efficiency. Similarly, the “capstone doctrine” document should be seen as a step in the right direction.
He said that cooperation between the United Nations, other international organizations and regional bodies was “pertinent” in addressing international peace and security issues. Noting that the United Nations and the African Union had signed a Joint Communiqué in June, he urged the United Nations to finalize the modalities for a peacekeeping mission in Somalia, where, for over eight months, Uganda had been the sole troop contributor to the African Union mission. Meanwhile, the United Nations and the international community should provide financial and other resources to strengthen the African Union Mission in Somalia, so that other countries could deploy the troops they had already pledged to that mission. He also reiterated a call made by his Government on other occasions that the United Nations deploy its peacekeepers, even where there was no peace to keep -- as in Somalia and, to an extent, Darfur.
ELMER G. CATO ( Philippines), aligning his country with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, reaffirmed the Philippines’ commitment to the peacekeeping roadmap outlined in “Peace Operations 2010”. While it was too early to tell how efforts to strengthen the peacekeeping capacity of the United Nations by the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations would turn out, he hoped the Department would be able to complete its restructuring by June 2008. He welcomed the creation of the Department of Field Support and the activation of the Integrated Operational Teams, the Office for the Rule of Law and Security Institutions, and the Policy, Evaluation and Training Division, as well as the reconstitution of the Military Division into the Office of Military Affairs. He was particularly pleased with the establishment of a Political Affairs Unit in the front office of the Under-Secretary-General, and he looked forward to the closer interaction between the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Public Information to cater to the information requirements of United Nations missions, host countries and troop contributors.
Noting that sexual exploitation and abuse remained a major area of concern, he expressed unease that misconduct still occurred, despite concerted efforts to address the issue. The zero-tolerance policy was a step in the right direction, but further steps could be taken, including implementation of the revised memorandum of understanding, as well as finalization of the capstone doctrine, which should serve as the reference guide in planning, managing and conducting modern-day peacekeeping. Efforts would be reinforced if Member States would find agreement on the proposed strategy being discussed by the Ad Hoc Working Group on Victim Assistance. While the Philippines appreciated the steps being taken to mitigate the risk of hostile action against peacekeepers, the focus should not be limited to armed elements that posed serious physical harm to peacekeeping personnel. It was crucial to consider lessons learned from the deaths of peacekeepers, especially those casualties that could have been prevented by proper training, supervision and the provision of the necessary support systems.
Noting that his country had 667 peacekeepers serving in nine United Nations missions overseas, he said the Philippines remained ready to contribute more police and military officers to conflict areas where they were most needed, if the Department of Peacekeeping Operations requested it. The Philippines would be able to send more if it could partner with other Member States who had the resources to help enhance the peacekeeping capabilities of his country’s troops. He echoed the Non-Aligned Movement’s call for larger participation of Western States in the peacekeeping effort, and noted the efforts of some to share in the peacekeeping burden by sending troops and other assets to support ongoing and emerging missions. Hopefully, that gesture would inspire others to do the same.
RICHARD A. McCURRY ( United States) said his Government could certainly associate itself with those delegations that had called for greater commitment to responsible management in peacekeeping, especially as it related to conduct and discipline. Indeed, sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeepers was a scourge that must be eliminated. Every Member State must play a role in its solution, since, as Prince Zeid [author of a 2005 report on sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping operations] had said, every Member State was at least partially responsible for the creation of that problem, at one time or another.
He urged all troop-contributing countries to make clear to their contingents that they expected the highest standard of behaviour, in particular, conduct towards the vulnerable populations the United Nations had been deployed to serve, and to discipline any of their members found guilty of improper or criminal behaviour. Every Member State should investigate and prosecute any of their citizens involved in such crimes, and he called on the United Nations to help ensure that Member States did so in a timely, effective and professional manner. He noted the upcoming December meeting of the Working Group on Assistance and Support to Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, and he underlined the importance of reaching an agreement on what steps to take in addressing the needs of victims.
The United States welcomed steps taken by the United Nations to improve its procedures for managing peacekeeping operations, he said. His Government was also pleased that the General Assembly had adopted the main components of the Secretary-General’s restructuring proposals, and it would closely monitor their implementation. The work spent on the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations Principles and Guidelines was also commendable. That capstone doctrine would provide a valuable tool for both peacekeepers and policy makers as the size and number of tasks of peacekeeping operations grew. While there would always be national exigencies to consider when dealing with peacekeeping, Member States must try to leave distractions aside and focus on the initiatives and reforms needed to ensure that United Nations peacekeeping was conducted in the most efficient and professional manner possible. Lives depended on it.
GRACE M. MUJUMA (United Republic of Tanzania) said that the increase in the number and complexity of peacekeeping operations demanded a corresponding administrative capacity to support and manage such operations. The restructuring exercise undertaken by the Secretary-General was thought to be a positive and timely response that would lead to greater efficiency, effectiveness and accountability in the management of peacekeeping operations. In light of the vast resources required for peacekeeping operations, she thanked all troop-contributing countries and other Member States for contributing to the peacekeeping budgets.
She said her country was concerned about the safety and security of the peacekeeping personnel and missions. A report of the Secretary-General in February had said that an increasing number of fatalities had not resulted from malicious acts, but had been due to illness, which was worrisome. Medical evaluations should be conducted prior to deployment, and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations should inform Member States on ways they could help address that problem.
Efforts to increase the number of women in peacekeeping operations were encouraging, she said. While acknowledging the appointments of a female Special Representative for Liberia, and two female Deputy Special Representatives in Sudan and Burundi, more women should be appointed to such positions. As for continued allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers, she reminded those on call for duty in the missions, and those wishing to join, to get proper orientation and training on peacekeeping ethics and the requirements of the zero-tolerance policy. Lastly, she proposed that a minute of silence be held at the beginning of each yearly discussion of peacekeeping operations at both the Special Committee and Fourth Committee.
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