SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENTIAL STATEMEMT RECOGNIZES IMPORTANCE OF REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS IN PREVENTION, MANAGEMENT, RESOLUTION OF CONFLICTS

6 November 2007
SC/9163

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENTIAL STATEMEMT RECOGNIZES IMPORTANCE OF REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS IN PREVENTION, MANAGEMENT, RESOLUTION OF CONFLICTS

6 November 2007
Security Council
SC/9163
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5776th Meeting* (AM & PM)

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENTIAL STATEMEMT RECOGNIZES IMPORTANCE OF REGIONAL

ORGANIZATIONS IN PREVENTION, MANAGEMENT, RESOLUTION OF CONFLICTS

Secretary-General Says UN Partnerships with Organizations Strong, Active;

Enabled More Rapid Response to Crises, More Effective Post-Conflict Peacebuilding

The Security Council this afternoon recognized the important role of regional and subregional organizations in prevention, management and resolution of conflicts and invited all Member States to help those organizations strengthen their capabilities in the maintenance of international peace and security, underlining their importance in peacekeeping, peacebuilding, the fight against terrorism and illicit weapons, and other collective efforts.

The Council’s statement, read out by its November President, Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda of Indonesia, came at the end of a day-long debate in which some 40 speakers participated, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and representatives of regional organizations.

Though the Council also reaffirmed through the statement that it had the primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security, it recognized that regional organizations were well positioned to understand the root causes of conflicts close to home and to influence their prevention and resolution.  It stressed, however, that all such contributions must be made in accordance with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter.

The Council also recalled its determination to further cooperation with such organizations and welcomed recent instances of such cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union.

“Today, our partnerships with regional and subregional organizations are stronger and more active than ever,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as he opened the debate, pointing out that he had already reinforced the ability of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to work with such partners, and had proposed a similar strengthening of the Department of Political Affairs.

This year alone, he said, a joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force was established, joint mediation was being conducted in Darfur, and joint consultations were being held on Somalia.  The Organization had also cooperated with the European Union in the protection of civilians in Chad and the Central African Republic, and had worked with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Myanmar.

Other collaborations had been pursued with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  Such cooperation had made it possible to respond more quickly at the outset of crises and more effectively in post-conflict peacebuilding.  “We need to build on these strengths and, together, find better and more efficient ways of tackling global challenges,” he said.

In the discussion that followed Mr. Ban’s statement, speakers agreed with the importance of regional organizations in maintaining international peace and security.  Most noticed a positive trend in the growth of the United Nations’ cooperation with them and urged further steps to strengthen links between the secretariats and officials of the various organizations.

Some speakers, however, pointed to a failure to adequately support peacekeeping initiatives of the African Union, such as those in the Sudan and Somalia.  The representative of Qatar maintained that suspicion hovered over the Council’s efforts to cooperate more fully with certain regional organizations, pointing to a lack of support given to initiatives of the League of Arab States to settle the Arab/Israeli conflict.

The African Union’s representative welcomed the strong cooperation between the United Nations and her organization, not only in the groundbreaking joint mission for Darfur, but also in joint work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Comoros, Burundi, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.  It was time, however, to carry out commitments that had been made to reinforce the African Union’s capacity.

She stressed the need, in particular, for a sustainable mechanism to fund peacekeeping operations conducted by regional organizations on behalf of the Security Council, which could create an atmosphere conducive to stability and allow a much more timely response to crises, preventing much displacement and loss of life.

Speaking on behalf of ASEAN, the representative of Singapore and other members of that organization offered it as a model of a regional structure that had succeeded during a 40-year period to not only keep the peace, but also to expand to economic, socio-cultural and cross-regional cooperation, through working methods that relied heavily on consensus.  It urged the United Nations system to support regional organizations and their networks as the “building blocks” of the multilateral system.

Also speaking today were representatives of the United States, Italy, South Africa, Congo, Peru, United Kingdom, China, Slovakia, Belgium, Russian Federation, Ghana, Panama, France, Philippines, Portugal (on behalf of the European Union), Kyrgyzstan (on behalf of the Collective Security Treaty Organization), Angola, Kazakhstan, Argentina, Uruguay, Japan, Guinea, Armenia, Spain, Viet Nam, Solomon Islands, Guatemala, Norway, Malaysia,, Honduras, Benin, Thailand and Azerbaijan.

The Observers for the League of Arab States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference also spoke.

The meeting opened at 10:07 a.m. and recessed at 1 p.m.  It resumed at 3:10 p.m. and closed at 5:25 p.m.

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2007/42 reads, as follows:

“The Security Council reaffirms its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

“The Security Council recognizes the important role of regional and subregional organizations in the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, as well as its relevant resolutions, in particular resolutions 1625 (2005) and 1631 (2005), and previous relevant presidential statements on cooperation with regional and subregional organizations.

“The Security Council emphasizes that the growing contribution made by regional and subregional organizations in cooperation with the United Nations can usefully support the work of the Organization in maintaining international peace and security, and stresses in this regard that such contribution should be made in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations.

“The Security Council further recognizes that regional and subregional organizations are well positioned to understand the root causes of many conflicts and other security challenges close to home and to influence their prevention or resolution, owing to their knowledge of the region.

“The Security Council recalls its determination to take appropriate steps to further the development of cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining international peace and security.  It welcomes recent developments with regard to the cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union.

“The Security Council, while maintaining the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, encourages regional and subregional organizations to strengthen and increase cooperation among them, including to enhance their respective capacity, in the maintenance of international peace and security.  The Security Council underlines the importance of the United Nations political support and technical expertise in this regard.

“The Security Council encourages regional cooperation, including through the involvement of regional and subregional organizations in the peaceful settlement of disputes, and intends to consult closely with them whenever appropriate on their role in future peacekeeping operations, as well as political and integrated missions authorized by the Security Council.

“The Security Council stresses the need to develop effective partnership between the Council and regional and subregional organizations in order to enable early response to disputes and emerging crises.

“The Security Council underlines the importance of exploring the potential and existing capacities of regional and subregional organizations in the field of peace and security, covering, inter alia, the spectrum of conflict prevention, confidence-building, conflict resolution, peacemaking, peacekeeping, and post-conflict peacebuilding, and welcomes regional dialogue and the promotion of shared norms, as well as common regional approaches to the settlement of disputes and other issues relating to peace and security.

“The Security Council stresses the potential role of regional and subregional organizations in addressing the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and the need to take into account in the peacekeeping operations’ mandates, where appropriate, the regional instruments enabling States to identify and trace illegal small arms and light weapons.

“The Security Council welcomes the efforts undertaken by its subsidiary bodies with responsibilities in counter-terrorism to foster cooperation with regional and subregional organizations, notes with appreciation the efforts made by an increasing number of regional and sub-regional organizations in countering terrorism and urges all relevant regional and subregional organizations to enhance the effectiveness of their counter-terrorism efforts within their respective mandates and in accordance with international law, including with a view to develop their capacity to help Member States in their efforts to tackle the threats to international peace and security posed by acts of terrorism.

“The Security Council recognizes the importance of promoting the identification and further development of modalities which enhance the contribution of regional and subregional organizations to the work of the Council in maintaining international peace and security in accordance with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter.  For that purpose, the Security Council deems it useful to consider further strengthening its interaction and cooperation with regional and subregional organizations in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations.  The Security Council recognizes the Peacebuilding Commission, in its area of competence, as a forum for coordination in the area of post-conflict between the United Nations system and regional and subregional organizations, in accordance with its resolution 1645 (2005) and General Assembly resolution 60/180.

“The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to include in his report pursuant to its Presidential Statement of 28 March 2007 (S/PRST/2007/7) a recommendation on practical ways and means to increase and strengthen cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security.

“The Security Council invites all Member States to contribute more actively to the strengthening of the capacity of regional and subregional organizations in all parts of the world, in issues relating to the maintenance of international peace and security.”

Background

The Council had before it a concept paper prepared by Indonesia, entitled The role of regional and subregional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security (document S/2007/640, annex), which lays out the primary objectives for the day’s debate as increasing the understanding of the capabilities of regional organizations to address peace and security issues and to identify mechanisms that could be developed to help them meet their full potentials in that area.

The relevance of regional organizations to United Nations activities has grown with the end of the cold war and the coming of the twenty-first century, the paper notes.  In 1992, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s report, entitled “An agenda for peace” (document A/47/277-S/24111), said that such organizations had a significant potential for preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping, peacemaking and post-conflict peacebuilding.  The Secretary-General said that, while the Security Council would continue to have primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, “regional action as a matter of decentralization, delegation and cooperation with United Nations efforts could not only lighten the burden of the Council, but also contribute to a deeper sense of participation, consensus and democratization in international affairs”.

Over the next decade, it says, the Council portrayed the optimum role of such organizations as conflict management and post-conflict stabilization (document S/2005/638).  In 2004, a presidential statement (S/PRST/2004/27) acknowledged the important role that can be played by regional organizations in the prevention, resolution and management of conflicts, by addressing their root causes and other means.  A second statement (S/PRST/2004/44) dealt specifically with measures to strengthen the Council’s relationship with the African Union.

In October 2005, the paper says, the Security Council adopted resolution 1631 (2005), which, for the first time, outlines a coherent guideline for enhancing cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, recognizing their growing contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security.  It recommends better communication between them and the United Nations and reiterates the obligation of regional organizations under Article 54 of the Charter to keep the Council fully informed of relevant activities.

In September 2006, a presidential statement (S/PRST/2006/39) again advocated closer cooperation with the organizations, highlighting their importance in brokering peace agreements.  In a statement in March 2007, the Council welcomed the November 2006 signing of the Declaration on Enhancing United Nations-African Union Cooperation (document A/61/630, annex) and urged cooperation with regional organizations in Africa to support early warning and mediation, risk assessment and efforts to control illegal exploitation and trafficking in natural resources.

While existing regional players in all continents are at different levels of development both in terms of institutions and the scope of cooperation, each has great potential to contribute to the work of the Security Council, the paper says.  This has been proven by the role that the European Union plays in Europe and beyond, and the roles that the African Union, the Arab League, the Organization of the American States (OAS), and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) play in their respective regions.

Statements

BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that:  “Today, our partnerships with regional and subregional organizations are stronger and more active than ever.”  He pointed out that he had already reinforced the ability of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to work with such partners, and had proposed a similar strengthening of the Department of Political Affairs.

This year alone, he said, a joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force was established, joint mediation was being conducted in Darfur, and joint consultations were being held on Somalia.  The Organization had also cooperated with the European Union in the protection of civilians in Chad and the Central African Republic, and had worked with ASEAN on Myanmar.

Other collaborations had been conducted with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  Such cooperation had made it possible to respond more quickly at the outset of a crisis and more effectively in post-conflict peacebuilding.

“We need to build on these strengths and, together, find better and more efficient ways of tackling global challenges,” he said.  In addition to other initiatives, he said that the mediation capacity within the Secretariat was being enhanced and resources were being provided for the 10-year capacity-building programme for the African Union.

ZALMAY KHALILZAD ( United States) said that, while the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security remained with the Council, regional and subregional organizations played an important role in prevention, management and resolution of conflicts.  That role was spelled out in Chapter VIII of the Charter.  Regional and subregional organizations often had first-hand understanding of the underlying causes of the conflict and understood local culture, and it was, therefore, in the interest of the Council to work with those organizations.  In that regard, he supported voluntary contributions to fund the work of those organizations.

Highlighting some contributions of regional organizations, he described the role ASEAN had played in that region for 40 years and was now playing in regards to the situation of Myanmar.  He commended the role of the African Union in Darfur and said the European Union was also contributing to peace and stability in Africa, among other places in Chad.  The OAS had facilitated peace processes in the Western hemisphere, among others in Haiti.  The OSCE had helped the establishment of democratic institutions and promoted human rights and non-violent conflict resolution.  Its election monitoring was a gold standard.  He also paid tribute to the League of Arab Stats and other regional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security.  The Council must be flexible in its approach to working with regional organizations, based on the unique facts of each case.

MARCELLO SPATAFORA (Italy), aligning himself with the statement of the European Union, said he attached the greatest importance to the role played by regional and subregional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security.  Regional organizations should be involved in every stage of peacekeeping, from prevention to post conflict peacebuilding, because they were the main stakeholders in the region and knew the local realities.  They should be involved from the beginning of the process.

He said, in the complex new tasks of the maintenance of international peace and security, the international community must take a multilateral approach.   Italy had promoted a European security strategy and supported strengthening the relationship between the European Union and the United Nations.  In addition to operations in the Balkans, the experience with the Democratic Republic of the Congo had been a useful test.  The mission in Chad was a new example of the Union’s response to its responsibilities.  The Peacebuilding Commission could bring together all actors, including regional and subregional organizations, and represented a model of interaction between the Organization and the regional and subregional organizations.  Capacity-building in regional and subregional organizations was of particular importance, including assisting regional organizations in logistics and training.

MUTLAQ MAJED AL-QAHTANI ( Qatar) said that the role of regional organizations in the maintenance of peace and security had been enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, but that role had recently been endangered.  Suspicion hovered over the Council’s efforts to cooperate more fully with certain regional organizations.  The Council must avoid selectivity and double standards in dealing with such organizations.  There must be a firm stand to achieve the goal of collective maintenance of international peace and security.

Regional organizations must have the priority for efforts in solving regional conflicts, he said.  The League of Arab States, for example, was attempting to prevent conflicts and settle them by peaceful means, but no assistance was given by the Council in strengthening that role.  In fact, some members of the Council belittled the League’s peace initiative in the Arab/Israeli conflict.  There were also failures in supporting the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) and joint efforts in Somalia.

BASO SANGQU ( South Africa) said, over the previous few years, the role of regional organizations in the maintenance of peace and security had gained prominence.  Cooperation between the United Nations and regional structures could improve the maintenance of international peace and security.  However, that cooperation did not absolve the United Nations, in particular the Security Council, of its Charter-mandated responsibility in that regard; collective security efforts should continue to be coordinated by the United Nations.  Regional organizations, with their proximity to and informed understanding of specific conflict situations, could bring greater flexibility and advantages to the maintenance of international peace and security, especially during the initial stages of conflict.  For example, the African Union was able to intervene in some situations where the United Nations could not.  In general, when security situations on the ground were deteriorating and United Nations processes were taking too long to finalize, regional organizations could step in to provide a rapid response and intervention.

Turning to Africa, he said the African Union had developed mechanisms to seek durable peace and sustainable development on the continent.  Those mechanisms were aimed at engaging in conflict prevention, resolution and post-conflict reconstruction and would work in cooperation with the United Nations.  The Southern African Development Community (SADC) also played a critical role in ensuring subregional stability.  He added, however, that the scope of regional peace operations was limited by a lack of funds and logistics capabilities.  That lack of resources often hampered well conceived and timed peacekeeping initiatives.  For that reason, the African Union had asked the United Nations to explore the possibility of funding peacekeeping operations that had been deployed with United Nations consent.

Overall, it was imperative to further define the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations and to be “bold and ambitious” in exploring viable approaches to the question of sharing cost.  The resolution which authorized the deployment of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) was a model of cooperation and would go a long way in providing a strong basis for strengthened cooperation between the two organizations in the future.  In conclusion, he said that practical steps and concrete proposals on the role of regional and subregional organizations were now necessary to move the current debate beyond mere rhetoric.

LUC JOSEPH OKIO ( Congo) said that there was no denying that progress had been made in cooperation between the Council and regional organizations.  However, such organizations needed resources and other support to be able to play their necessary role.  The lack of support to the African Union Mission in the Sudan, along with the situation in Somalia of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), was proof of that.  The Council did not react to the killing of troops in Somalia with the strength that one would expect of a partner.

He noted, though, that the levels and kinds of interventions of regional organizations had been flexible and varied of late, showing many possibilities and demonstrating the importance of expanding partnerships.  In his region, a regional coalition had been mobilized to help stabilize the situation in the Central African Republic with the assistance of France, to which he expressed appreciation.  His country had long supported expanded partnership between the Council and the African Union, along with the kind of mechanisms and Council reform that would support it.

The Peace and Security Council had also made significant contributions to peace in his region and was working on greater cooperation in border zones.  It should be supported.  Finally, he emphasized the importance of regional organizations in post-conflict peacebuilding.

JORGE VOTO-BERNALES ( Peru) said Chapter VIII of the Charter, in Article 51, defined the work, responsibilities and duties to be shared with regional organizations.  That legal framework had been especially important as the Council had carried out joint activities between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations.  Resolution 1631 (2005) had provided for the framework of cooperation.  In addition to their advantageous position in the prevention of conflicts, regional organizations had also participated in peacekeeping operations and were called upon to contribute to peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction, as they had local knowledge.  Their capacities could be strengthened.  Cooperation should be adapted on a case-by-case basis in the framework of the Charter.

He said the interaction between the United Nations and regional organizations was not without error.  That explained why the experience of joint operations in the field was mixed.  In cooperation with regional organizations, their capacities should be taken into account.  As support for the holding of elections and for reconstruction of democratic institutions helped guarantee the stability of a country, regional and subregional organizations were called upon to complement those activities, including by establishment of early warning systems.  They should also continue to provide an international framework that would facilitate, among other things, trade and foreign investment.  Cooperation with regional and subregional organizations was a broad and promising area that could be further developed.

JOHN SAWERS (United Kingdom), aligning himself with the statement of the European Union, said that, although the Charter had recognized from the outset the role of regional organizations, those organizations had never been as active and important as today.  Describing the roles of ASEAN regarding the situation in Myanmar, and the African Union in, among others, Darfur, he said the partnership in Darfur faced a critical test with the hybrid force taking over from the purely African Union force.  He supported the African Union/United Nations proposed composition of that force and looked to the Government of the Sudan to accept it without reservations.  Across Africa, regional and subregional organizations had played an important role in conflict resolution, including ECOWAS and SADC.  As for SADC, he would support any process to improve the plight of the people in Zimbabwe, where human rights abuses, appalling standards of government, brutal intimidation and economic collapse had turned a once rich nation into one of the most desperate places on earth.

He said the European Union had developed new capabilities in foreign policy and defence over the last 10 years.  It was active in military and civilian stabilization efforts in the Balkans, the Middle East and Asia, as well as in Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The European Union stood ready to take on its responsibilities in Kosovo, once the status process was concluded next month.  The NATO was Europe’s second regional organization.  It had stabilized the Balkans and stood ready, as the most militarily capable multinational organization, to consider further demanding security tasks.  It bore the brunt of the operations in Afghanistan.  In that regard, he said he was appalled by the bomb attack this morning there, and condemned all those terrorist acts.  Around the world, the United Nations and the regional and subregional organizations were partners for peace.  The challenges were more complex than ever, but the opportunities for progress were also there.

WANG GUANGYA ( China), noting that States were confronted with both traditional and non-traditional security challenges, said it was imperative for the United Nations to strengthen cooperation with regional and subregional organizations.  Regional and subregional organizations had made an increasingly remarkable contribution to preventing and resolving conflicts, promoting post-war reconstruction, combating terrorism and defusing humanitarian crises.   China firmly supported enhancing cooperation with them to maintain international and regional peace and security.

In that context, he said the United Nations Charter should guide the role of regional organizations in maintaining peace and security, as it stated that regional organizations could take mandatory actions only with Security Council authorization and, further, that the Council should encourage pacific settlement of local disputes by regional agencies.  Next, cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations must be strengthened, as solutions to complex “hot spot” issues often emerged through such interaction.  Recalling that the 2006 Declaration on Enhancing United Nations-African Union Cooperation supported closer links between the United Nations and regional organizations, he encouraged strengthening such cooperation, particularly in identified areas.

Moreover, he said the United Nations should continue to provide assistance to regional and subregional organizations, such as the African Union, to strengthen their capacity-building. The UNAMID had “initiated a new model” through which the Organization could increase capacity building, and that model could be drawn upon to settle conflicts in other parts of the world.  Finally, regional and subregional organizations should be encouraged to “play a bigger role”, as they were “irreplaceable” in resolving local conflicts.   China fully supported the ASEAN’s leadership in settling hot spot regional issues, and supported the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s role in combating terrorism and maintaining regional stability.

IGOR BARTHO ( Slovakia) said that since no two regional organizations were the same, it was necessary to identify the areas where possible cooperation with the respective groups could be effectively enhanced and implemented.  Calls for the establishment of mechanisms that would allow regional and intergovernmental organizations to present their key findings from their respective peacebuilding and post-conflict missions, or otherwise boosting their proactive involvement in collective responses to peace and security challenges, were not new.  Establishing such mechanisms would provide a more regular flow of up-to-date information between the United Nations and local-level actors.

Such cooperation should be intensified, he said, adding that, while ensuring consistency with the Charter, the aim should be to establish effective partnerships and an equitable division of labour that reflected the comparative advantages of each organization involved.  Further, while the Security Council’s responsibility for maintaining international peace and security should be respected, regional and subregional partner organizations had many positives to offer in the areas of conflict prevention or resolution, including local ownership, leverage with/over the parties, and deeper understanding of local–level particularities, as especially had been the case with Africa.

Slovakia, therefore, supported closer operational relationships with regional groups, and, in that regard, would commend the efforts of such groups as the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, ECOWAS and the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), among others.  Here, he took the opportunity to encourage the President of Burkina Faso to continue his invaluable work to facilitate the speedy implementation of the Ouagadougou Agreement on the Ivorian peace process.  He also praised cooperation between the United Nations, the European Union and the African Union, and looked forward to the European Union’s contribution to efforts to address the regional dimensions of the Darfur crisis, chiefly by deploying a “bridging” military operation in eastern Chad and north-eastern Central African Republic.

Referring to Slovakia’s experience as Chair of the Council’s “1540 Committee” (on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction), he said that, following the Council’s debate last February on ways to enhance implementation of that subsidiary body’s founding resolution 1540 (2004), the Committee had undertaken a range of activities with regional and global intergovernmental organizations, such as OAS, OSCE, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), among others.  Those groups played a crucial role in the implementation process, especially through their guidelines, practical experience and lessons learned in areas covered by the resolution, he said.

JOHAN VERBEKE (Belgium), aligning himself with the statement to be made by Portugal on behalf of the European Union, said that effective cooperation between the Council and regional organizations, along with the knowledge of their respective capacities, was essential.  The links between the secretariats and high officials of the United Nations and those of the regional organizations should be strengthened for that purpose.  Improving the preventative and mediation capacities of regional organizations should be considered, along with the strengthening of such capacities in the Department of Political Affairs, to make sure there was a coordination, and not an overlap, of efforts.

Cooperation must be adapted to the available capacity of all organizations, he said, to ensure that quality remained the highest possible and that the chain of command was clear.  The Peacebuilding Commission was the ideal mechanism for enhancing cooperation in post-conflict peacebuilding.  He expressed wariness of institutionalizing relations, but the priority was for creating synergy, not rigid and prescriptive structures.  Flexibility could, in that way, be maintained.

VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said that the continuous growth of cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, consistent with Chapter VIII of the Charter, should be pursued.  It was essential that such relationships be officially sanctioned by the Council, however.  His country had a great deal of experience with cooperative initiatives as part of various organizations.

The African Union, he said, should be bolstered by international support for its activities in Darfur, and elsewhere.  Effective planning and responsibility to the Council should be emphasized.  He spoke of the support provided by the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to United Nations operations in Georgia and elsewhere, and his country’s assistance to regional counter-narcotics efforts. For the further growth of cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, regional organizations must offer their services more, and the relationships between them and the Council should be firmed up.  Stronger links must also be created between the respective secretariats.

LESLIE KOJO CHRISTIAN (Ghana) said that that growing importance of regional organizations in conflict prevention and resolution was not mere a result of a provision in the Charter, but a natural consequence of the international community’s failure to sometimes respond promptly and effectively to some conflict situations.  At the same time, regional and subregional organizations had in-depth knowledge about the root causes of tension and conflict in their respective communities, and often had a better grip on local-level dynamics, parties and persons involved.  Such inside knowledge could be invaluable to United Nations efforts to manage those conflicts, he said, adding that local knowledge and expertise would also be crucial to global anti-terrorism efforts.

He went on to say that some regional bodies were more flexible and could, therefore, allocate and deploy resources, including troops, faster than the United Nations.  Regional organizations could also support United Nations efforts by helping to launch peacebuilding activities and facilitating post-conflict reconstruction.  Further, with peacekeeping demands continuing to rise, and since the United Nations did not have a standing army, regional organizations could be an indispensable resource pool from which to draw troops.

He noted that the Security Council often turned to regional solutions for operations where conflict fell within a traditional sphere of influence or when major Powers were reluctant to deploy their own forces.  That might also be driven by concerns about the perceived difficulty or cost of mustering support within the wider international community and legislative process within the United Nations.  At the same time, he stressed that the growing importance of regional organizations and the assistance they could provide at many levels was by no means a suggestion that such arrangements were suitable substitutes or replacements of United Nations operations.  Instead, regional operations must be seen as a part of the international community’s overall effort to boost effective cooperation between the United Nations and regional actors at local levels.

Indeed, the Security Council had the responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and cooperation with regional organizations must be seen in that context, he asserted, adding that those organizations must ensure respect for the Charter.  Still, the United Nations must also support regional organizations as they endeavoured to address their peace and security challenges.  In that regard, the international community should do more to address the global root causes of conflict, and the United Nations, for its part, should support capacity-building and personnel training at regional and subregional organizations.  On matters of United Nations-sanctioned co-deployment, he added that there should be clearly and carefully defined responsibilities and frames of reference with partnering regional actors.  In the end, the involveme4nt of such organizations should not be seen as diluting the primary responsibilities of the Council.

RICARDO ALBERTO ARIAS ( Panama) said that, in addressing situations of conflict, it was preferable to hear the opinions of the people directly affected, including from the region.  The architecture of security should, therefore, be given concrete form by strengthening regional and subregional synergies.  The Counter-Terrorism Committee had held its fifth meeting in Nairobi with representatives of regional and subregional organizations.  Regional organizations were a natural mechanism for promoting with the local leadership the aspirations of the international community, as they had direct knowledge of root causes of conflicts.

He said the good offices of the OAS had been a demonstration how local know-how could contribute to conflict prevention and resolution, as it had done, for instance, in Haiti.  The Council had not yet given regional and subregional organizations the capacities to be in the front line of conflict prevention and resolution.  Coordination and funding were often lacking, as was the case in Somalia.  The relations with regional organizations continued on an improvised basis, without creating the formal frameworks that would strengthen cooperation.

JEAN-PIERRE LACROIS (France), aligning himself with the statement of the European Union, said the founders of the United Nations had recognized the specific role regional organizations played in contributing to the settlement of disputes.  All over the world, regional solidarity was being strengthened.  That was a positive development, as regional organizations brought critical capabilities to help with crises.  The European Union had made an excellent contribution to peace and security in stabilizing the European continent.  In close cooperation with the United Nations, it had taken up missions in the Balkans, as well as in Africa.  Expressing support for the strengthening of capacities of the African Union, he noted how much the cooperation of that organization with the United Nations had been helpful, particularly in Darfur.  He welcomed the growing role played by ASEAN in settling conflicts and crises, and in particular its commitment to a solution in the situation in Burma/Myanmar.

He said there were three areas where increased cooperation between the Council and regional and subregional organizations would be beneficial.  One area was combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, especially the prevention of access by non-State actors.  Cooperation with regional and subregional organizations was also vital in combating terrorism.  Today’s attack in Afghanistan, which he condemned, illustrated the need to strengthen cooperation with regional organizations.  Illicit trafficking of light weapons destabilized entire regions, and no effort should be spared in helping regional organizations curb those flows.  However, the United Nations should remain vigilant and realize that regional organizations would never be a substitute for the global Organization that was based on the universal values of peace and cooperation.  The United Nations should remain at the heart of the system of collective security.

N. HASSAN WIRAJUDA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, said his country was a consistent and robust supporter of regional organizations, particularly as a founding member of ASEAN, and, in that spirit, had initiated this Council meeting.  As shown by the establishment of ASEAN, which was formed in the midst of war in 1967, regional organization could fundamentally shift the dynamics of the region towards peace and security.  ASEAN members had enjoyed 40 years of peace and security, and had been able to focus on development.

Such organizations must adapt to new challenges, however, to remain relevant, he said.  To meet the challenges of globalization, for example, ASEAN had become an economic and socio-cultural community, as well as a security community.  In addition, he stressed that a regional organization could influence the dynamics for peace and prosperity well beyond its geographic borders.  In that way, ASEAN had fruitful relations with outside countries and with other regional organizations, both on specific political, security and economic issues, as well as on the sharing of the norms and practices in the promotion of peace and security.

ALBERTO G. ROMULO, Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, said that for his country, peace and security in the different regions of the world were very important, also because one tenth of his country’s nationals lived abroad.  Working with the United Nations, regions must strengthen their potential for resolving disputes and maintain peace and security.  Cooperative ventures between the United Nations and regional organizations in the field of peacekeeping, conflict prevention and peacebuilding had proved to be important and useful.  An exchange of information, particularly relating to the maintenance of peace and security at the regional level, should serve as the backbone for such cooperation.

He said regional organizations and the United Nations should also conclude formal arrangements to establish clear areas of responsibilities and more efficient cooperation, such as the Memorandum of Understanding ASEAN had signed with the United Nations.  Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations should be monitored in order to highlight best practices for future guidance.  The Council should always endeavour to open all channels of communications and consult with regional organizations.  Mentioning several of ASEAN’s initiatives that had significantly contributed to peace, security and stability in the region, he said one pressing issue of the organization and the United Nations was the situation in Myanmar, or Burma.  In that regard, he said the ASEAN Foreign Ministers continued to give their full support to the good offices role of the Secretary-General in the person of Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari.

YAHYA MAHMASSAN, Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States, said that, in cooperation with regional and subregional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security, the United Nations should adopt a consistent approach.  The United Nations had developed new approaches, including the establishment of strategic partnerships and cooperative regional arrangements, such as the arrangement with the League of Arab States, as an important tool in the prevention and solving of disputes.  The League of Arab States continued tirelessly to promote peace and security in the Middle East by taking all measures to strengthen cooperation with the United Nations, in order to promote dialogue and settlement of conflicts through peaceful means.  He emphasized the effective role the League could play in maintaining regional peace, as it was doing in the Sudan, Somalia and the Horn of Africa.

He said there was a need to develop the capacities of regional and subregional organizations, as it was vital for the Council to be able to turn to them for help in settling crises in their region.  The United Nations and the Council must strengthen their partnership with regional organizations and make optimal use of their capabilities, given their comparative advantages.  Marginalization or exclusion of such organization would not contribute to the success of international actions.  He called for the holding of an international conference where questions of maintaining peace and security would be discussed.  Regional meetings could be held to prepare for such a conference.

JOÃO MANUEL GUERRA SALGUEIRO (Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that the Union’s long-standing experience, multiple instruments and considerable resources could be used in the context of a deeper and broader cooperation with the United Nations, as expressed in Council resolution 1631 (2005), in such areas as conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, security sector reform, combating terrorism, disarmament and non-proliferation.  The Union was particularly pleased with the signing in June 2007 of the Joint Statement on United Nations-European Union Cooperation in Crisis Management.  Building on the 2003 Joint Declaration, the new document identified four concrete areas for further cooperation:  planning, training, communication and best practices.  Similar cooperation had been building in recent years with the United Nations Secretariat on conflict prevention.

As examples of the Union’s cooperation with the United Nations and regional organizations, he noted, among others:  the European Union Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina; activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; support of the United Nations police force in Chad and the Central African Republic; participation in the efforts to settle the Darfur crisis; and cooperation with NATO structures in the Balkans.  In Kosovo, a European team was carrying out preparatory activities, in close cooperation with the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), for the launch, when the conditions had been met, of a European mission in the rule of law sector.

He said European Union development assistance had been equally mobilized.  In Darfur, the African Union peacekeeping force had been financially supported through the African Peace Facility.  Besides, the Facility had supported African peacekeeping efforts in the Central African Republic, Somalia and the Comoros.  The new instrument for stability now also contributed to peace and security efforts, with support to the Trust Fund for the African Union-United Nations Joint Mediation Support Team for Darfur, to the establishment of a United Nations-trained Chadian police component in the context of the combined United Nations-European Union intervention, as well as, in the case of Somalia, for the planning capacities of the African Union Commission.  National and regional envelopes of the European Development Fund also contributed to the African peace and security architecture -- a key priority for the European Union and its member States.

It was widely recognized that the European Union, in itself, was a structure for peace and security in its region, he added.  The Union took an active role in enhancing regional cooperation throughout the European continent and its neighbouring regions, making use of such mechanisms and policies as the European Neighbourhood Policy, the Stabilization and Association Process and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.  The Union advocated a pragmatic and action-oriented approach, both for the European Union-United Nations cooperation and for the broader context of cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations.  He also suggested that, to strengthen cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations, it was necessary to ensure more frequent dialogue between the two organizations on the aspects of multidimensional peacekeeping, including police, rule of law and security sector reform.  It was also important to pursue specific coordination and cooperation mechanisms for crisis situations where the United Nations and the European Union were jointly engaged; organize systematic joint lessons learned exercises; and reinforce the Union’s participation in the Peacebuilding Commission, drawing on its experience as a leading global player and major provider of funds for peacebuilding activities.

ABDUL WAHAB, Permanent Observer for the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said that regional and other intergovernmental organization were better placed to assess the root causes of conflicts and to devise strategies to tackle them.  It was, therefore, critical to proactively engage them from the very early stages of instability. Greater emphasis must be placed upon multilateralism, where cooperation and dialogue took precedence over unilateralism and division.  About one month ago, the foreign ministers of the member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference had adopted a communiqué where they had reiterated the need for evolving common perceptions and agreed approaches to address both the new and existing threats to international peace and security, in the context of multilateralism.

He said approaching problems solely from the angle of security could not lead to lasting and comprehensive solutions.  There must be a proper understanding of the root causes of conflicts, often consisting of political grievances, backwardness and the underdeveloped situation of societies and their need for good governance.  As a sign of the organization’s commitment to address socio-economic problems that were so often the root causes of conflict, the Organization of the Islamic Conference had launched a special fund for poverty alleviation.  There was a 10-year programme of action to strengthen the organization’s role in conflict prevention, confidence-building, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation.  In working actively within the United Nations, the Organization of the Islamic Conference attached pre-eminent importance to its association with the Peacebuilding Commission.

LILA HANITRA RATSIFANDRIHAMANANA, Permanent Observer for the African Union, said the question today had received significant attention, particularly by the Council.  In that context, she said the Council’s recognition of its primary responsibility was fundamental.  For their part, regional organizations must assume their share of the burden within the framework of the Charter.  They must act quickly to immediately help stabilize any given situation.  Further, they helped to create favourable conditions for deploying operations to maintain peace, within a framework of solidarity with the United Nations.

She welcomed the strong cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, along with its subregional organizations.  That cooperation had produced various positive results, such as the deployment of UNAMID in the hybrid operations in Darfur.  Thanks to concerted United Nations-African Union actions, notable steps also had been taken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Comoros, Burundi, Liberia and Sierra Leone.  Indeed, most resolutions concerning African crises had been adopted by the Council on the basis of recommendations from regional and subregional structures.  Such experiences revealed the international community’s ability to take innovative approaches and to mobilize.  It was time to carry out commitments made in various international instruments, particularly in regards to programmes that would reinforce the African Union’s capacity.

She said realizing a peaceful and progressive Africa was at the heart of the African Union.  To fully assume that responsibility, the Union had taken steps to build a comprehensive architecture for maintaining peace and security on the Continent -- which included the Peace and Security Council, among other initiatives -- and had worked closely with subregional organizations to address crises.  One reality to emerge from the field was the need for a sustainable mechanism to fund peacekeeping operations conducted by regional organizations on behalf of the Security Council.  The absence of such a mechanism could create an atmosphere conducive to hostility.  Also, delays in responding to crises had often resulted in the dislocation of communities.  That meant that the most immediate opportunities for early peacekeeping could be lost, which would necessitate a complex and expensive peace process at a later stage, as reflected in Somalia and the Sudan.  Given that, she reiterated that the Council should take all necessary measures for the effective establishment of a funding mechanism, noting that the Council was familiar with the strengths of regional organizations.  Its ability to fully leverage those strengths would be crucial for the emerging partnership in maintaining international peace and security.

NURBEK JEENBAEV (Kyrgyzstan), on behalf of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, said he shared the interest in improving coordination with the United Nations on matters of peace and security, as regional organizations had greater understanding of root causes of conflicts in their area.  His organization had recently approved an agreement of peacekeeping activity, along with an organizational structuring of a peacekeeping mechanism, and reaffirmed that all its peacekeeping activity would be done in accordance with the United Nations Charter.

ISMAEL ABRAÃO GASPAR MARTINS ( Angola) called for action to match the consensus reached on the central role of regional and subregional organizations in the collective security system.  Regarding the African Continent, he said, special sessions, the adoption of presidential statements and resolutions, and the recent summit on Africa all demonstrated that the problems and possible solutions had been identified, including improved coordination on the ground between the United Nations, the African Union and subregional organizations.  He welcomed the 10-year process for sustained capacity-building within the African Union framework, and the work of the Political Department on improving communications with different regions, particularly through regional United Nations offices on the ground.  He also stressed the importance of cooperating with local bodies, when training police.

The experience of peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding in Africa led to changes at the United Nations, such as the reform of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and in the Organization’s approach to shaping a new vision of global security, he said.  He welcomed hybrid models for peacekeeping that would soon be tested in Africa between the United Nations and the African Union, as well as in concert with the European Union in the Central African Republic and Chad, and hoped that they would promote further strategic partnerships with regional organizations.  He also noted that decisions to form such entities should be implemented quickly.  On peacebuilding, he called for strengthening the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund, and for improving the United Nations peacebuilding architecture.

Africa had recognized the need for regional organizations very early, when it formed the Organization of African Unity, now the African Union, and established subregional bodies, he said.  They were pivotal partners for the United Nations, which should provide adequate structures within the Secretariat, a fluid channel of communications and an enhanced role for the mechanisms established by the Security Council to facilitate their work together.

BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said that, over the last few years, there had been a surge in peacekeeping missions, a trend that was likely to continue.  Peacekeeping operations under the aegis of the United Nations remained the most effective tool to prevent and settle various crises and to ensure global and regional stability.  In situations of escalating humanitarian crises and armed conflicts, such as in Darfur, the possibility of a broader participation of regional and subregional organizations should be taken into account.  In order to achieve close cooperation with regional organizations that possessed a real capacity to prevent conflicts and maintain peace, the Council should formulate a coherent operational strategy and early, integrated mission planning.

Welcoming the United Nations growing engagement with regional organizations, she said a number of them had already received observer status in the Assembly, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization.  On behalf of 18 member States, she had asked the Assembly to grant observer status to the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building in Asia (CICA).  CICA was an intergovernmental forum for dialogue, consultations, consensus-based decision-making and implementation on issues of security in Asia.  It would continue to play its effective role as a collective mechanism for regional stability and security in Asia.

MARTIN GARCIA MORITAN ( Argentina) said the efforts of regional organizations in international peace and security should be complementary to those of the United Nations, especially in areas where the regional organization had a comparative advantage.  In particular, he noted four specific scenarios in which the two could work together towards conflict resolution, namely:  in the deployment of joint missions; when the United Nations took over a peacekeeping operation started by a regional organization; when a regional organization took over a peacekeeping operation started by the United Nations; and when the United Nations delegated the deployment of a peacekeeping operation to a regional organization.  In all those cases, he stressed that the Security Council retained the primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace security.

The relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations was an integral part of collective security, he said.  In that regard, he welcomed the initiative to assist the African Union in increasing its peacekeeping capacity, and the initiatives of ECOWAS and the Community for the Development of Central Africa to create reserve brigades for peacekeeping in the respective subregions.  Of particular note was the collaboration between the Organization of American States and the United Nations, which should serve as a model for cooperation.

Overall, he said, cooperation had the potential to optimize resources and stimulate the political will of the international community, and it was thus important to promote formal and informal consultation mechanisms to enrich those interactions.  Greater decentralization and the delegation of peacekeeping operations to regional organizations would help towards that end, and would also increase efficiency while alleviating the burden placed on United Nations peacekeepers.  Systematic cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, with a clear distribution of functions and adequate capacities, would increase the efficiency of the international community in preventing conflicts and would provide more solutions for sustainable peace, economic growth and long-term stability.

ELBIO O. ROSSELLI ( Uruguay) said open debates were organized to allow members of the Council to receive the considerations of other member States.  He was concerned, in that regard, at a phenomenon that, 90 minutes after the meeting began, an exodus occurred by high-level members of the Secretariat and the permanent representatives of Council members.  He hoped an open debate was not considered a second-class exercise, or a meeting just for show.

He said that participation of regional organizations was part of the international security framework.  As regional organizations were to assume greater responsibilities in military areas, he expressed concern that regional peacekeeping operations had the necessary impartiality and the widest geographical representation necessary.  He appreciated the great possibilities of regional cooperation in the United Nations processes, especially in post-conflict situations and development, where the States of the region had the most information.  In Latin America and the Caribbean, that was best underlined by the fact that the countries of the region and the OAS had joined the United Nations operation in Haiti and supported numerous activities, such as elections, tourism, trade and development, among other things.

TAKAHIRO SHINYO ( Japan) expressed hope that the day’s discussion would lead to concrete steps towards the enhancement of cooperation with regional organizations.  In conflict prevention, that cooperation should include closely monitoring situations on an ongoing basis and practising active preventive diplomacy, as OSCE did with its Minsk Group.  It was essential for that purpose to institutionalize links between regional organizations and the United Nations Secretariat.

In the area of peacekeeping, he said the contributions of organizations such as the African Union, the European Union and NATO had been outstanding.  He welcomed the variety of modalities in which cooperation with the United Nations had been conducted.  He urged all actors to cooperate in the deployment of UNAMID.  To make regional organizations more sustainable in their security activities, he urged the international community to promote their decision-making and operational capacities and expand information-sharing.  Financial support should be only offered on a case-by-case basis, with transparent decision-making procedures.

He encouraged regional organizations to provide their knowledge and assessments to the Peacebuilding Commission and stressed their importance in efforts against terrorism.  Outlining his country’s activities in all areas of international peace and security, he said it intended to continue bilateral and multilateral assistance and to provide capacity-building support to the African Union and subregional organizations in Africa, and was considering other ways to strengthen the peacekeeping capacity of the continent.

ALPHA IBRAHIMA (Guinea) concentrated on the challenges and opportunities faced by the international community in the Mano River basin subregion, an ultra-sensitive region seen as a source of instability in West Africa.  That subregion had seen significant advances, notably the consolidation of peace and democracy in Liberia and Sierra Leone, a reconciliation and peace process in Côte d’Ivoire, and restoration of conditions for good governance and economic growth in Guinea.  There needed to be more progress, however, to avert new conflict and crises, guarantee the viability of States and to consolidate a sustainable peace.

In that context, the Mano River Union ( Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone), which on 3 October 2007 celebrated its thirty-fourth anniversary, was at the heart of the subregion’s transformation, he said.  Its member States had committed themselves to reactivating its secretariat and to revitalizing its operational mechanisms, notably the fifteenth Protocol to the Declaration of the Mano River Union which dealt with defence, security, justice, territorial administration and foreign affairs.  To address interdependent peace, security and development problems, transborder cooperation was being strengthened.  At the initiative of Guinea, a draft pact on good neighbourly relations, stability and solidarity had been submitted to the Union, with Côte d’Ivoire participating.  Adopting a truly regional vision was indispensable; it followed that greater emphasis had to be given to the coordinating role of the Peacebuilding Commission between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations.

ARMEN MARTIROSYAN ( Armenia) said that regional organizations had been important to the United Nations since shortly after its founding, having been instrumental in handling regional challenges and local disputes.  The Council of Europe, in particular, had made a tremendous contribution to democracy and the rule of law in its region, and was thus essential for the development of the new democracies there.

The OSCE, he said, also played a central role in conflict prevention and resolution, using such tools as the Treaty on Conventional Weapons in Europe.  The complete compliance with such agreements by the countries of the south Caucasus was crucial for maintaining stability in the region, where the resumption of hostilities was still possible.  The OSCE’s fundamental principle of consensus gave it an advantage over other international bodies, allowing durable solutions to seemingly intractable problems.  Imposed settlements were not only ineffective, but also fragile.  It was important that regional organizations be allowed to facilitate comprehensive, lasting settlements.

ÍÑIGO DE PALACIO ESPAÑA ( Spain), speaking in his capacity as Chairman-in-Office of OSCE, said that body was an indispensable forum for political and security dialogue.  Over the years, OSCE had contributed greatly to United Nations efforts in conflict prevention and peacebuilding by facilitating settlement of unresolved conflicts.  He described various efforts:  the Mission in Georgia worked to sustain reconstruction efforts in the zone of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, while the OSCE Minsk Group was committed to finding a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  In Moldova, OSCE facilitated talks aimed at peacefully settling the Transnistrian conflict, and in Kosovo, worked with the United Nations Mission in the framework of resolution 1244 (1999) in the areas of human rights, and capacity- and institution-building.

His delegation supported implementation of Security Council resolutions, particularly with regards to combating terrorism and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  The OSCE was strongly committed to providing assistance to the Council and, in that spirit, acknowledged the value of its annual thematic debates with regional organizations.  He hoped the practice of inviting the OSCE Chairman-in-Office to annually address the Council would become a tradition.  Reaffirming the OSCE’s commitment to enhancing dialogue with its 11 Mediterranean and Asian Partners for Cooperation, he said the group also was ready to strengthen exchange with other organizations, including the African Union and the League of Arab States.

HOANG CHI TRUNG (Viet Nam) recalled that the outcome of the General Assembly’s 2005 World Summit had noted that the multidimensional nature of the challenges on the agenda of the United Nations called for a multidisciplinary approach that involved multiple actors at all phases of crisis prevention and management, thus opening the door for interaction with and the contribution of regional players in matters involving collective security.  He said that both the Security Council and the General Assembly had adopted resolutions on expanding the participation of regional organizations in their work, as well as that of the wider United Nations system.

Viet Nam believed that geographic proximity and close historical and cultural ties among their respective memberships gave regional organizations the advantage of better understanding the root causes of local conflicts and of finding peaceful solutions to problems.  Recent experience in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Balkans underscored the growing importance of regional organizations and the United Nations partnering in the prevention, management and settlement of conflict, as well in peacebuilding and stabilizations processes.

He said that resources from regional players also strengthened global efforts to counter the spread of dangerous weapons, tackle the drug trade and combat organized crime, as well as to resolve other destabilizing cross-border issues.  Further, regional organizations should also be encouraged to assume a key role in providing information from the field and in helping formulate relevant strategies put in place by the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission.  While he stressed that joint operations between regional organizations and the United Nations must be further explored on the basis of equality and mutual reinforcement, those organizations, particularly those in Africa, should be able to count on political, financial and logistical support from the United Nations in action they initiated to resolve conflicts.

COLLING BECK ( Solomon Islands) said the changing international climate had redefined all security mechanisms globally, both at regional and international levels.  One of the glaring gaps in cooperation between the Council and regional and subregional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security was the lack of observation of Article 54 of the Charter, which underlined the requirement that the Council be kept fully informed of all activities under regional and subregional arrangements.  At the moment, some regions received more attention than others, which could be addressed by periodic reports of all regional and subregional security mechanisms.

He said that, if regional mechanisms were not properly managed or were unbalanced in their approach, they could only address the symptoms, rather than the causes of conflicts, and could cause the receiving State to slip back into conflict.  Security and development were two sides of the same coin and could only instil real peace if they were implemented simultaneously.  However, issues such as the rule of law, democracy and governance often received more attention.  The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, led by Australia and strongly supported by New Zealand and other Pacific island States, was now in its fourth year.  The Mission had military, police and civil servant supports all rolled into one.  As regional mechanisms were external actors, they faced challenges in aligning their efforts to national political and economic realities.  A review of the Mission by Solomon Islands would increase the partnership between the receiving State and the regional mission.

JORGE SKINNER-KLEE ( Guatemala) said the more complex the challenges were to peace and security, the more crucial it was to have a partnership with other organizations.  Nowadays, the partnership between the Council and regional and subregional organizations was stronger than ever, as many of the organizations had become more robust.  In recent years, cooperation had included the hybrid operation in Darfur, cooperation with the European Union in Chad and the Central African Republic, and partnerships with NATO in Afghanistan and OAS in Haiti.

He said that, in the Western hemisphere, the case of Haiti had been a successful example of cooperation.  The Sistema de la Ingeración Centroamericana (SICA) and Mexico were working on a mechanism to coordinate security measures within their own region.  That mechanism would also address such issues as combating organized crime and narco-trafficking, the illicit trafficking of arms and terrorism.  As for peacekeeping, a single hybrid model was not possible.  Approaches on a case-by-case basis could be discussed in the Special Committee for Peacekeeping.  In order to stimulate greater participation of regional organizations, he proposed that, at the outset of peacekeeping operations, Council members meet with representatives of the regional organization.  Close cooperation with regional organizations and participation of civil society would be crucial to the success of the Peacebuilding Commission.

JOHAN L. LØVALD ( Norway) said that to stimulate a more comprehensive engagement of regional organizations, old habits and institutional protectionism must be replace3d with an open and flexible approach, adapted to the particular situation at hand.  The experience with the African Union mission in Darfur, for which the European Union and NATO provided crucial support, showed the importance of that.  One lesson learned from AMIS was that cooperation in the field paved the way for a strengthened mutual engagement, as shown by the fact that the European Union was on its way to Chad and the Central African Republic, and that NATO was willing to provide airlift support to the African Union’s mission in Somalia.

He said the United Nations and the African Union were now engaged in a joint endeavour to establish one of the largest peace operations ever.  The hybrid model of UNAMID provided a new model of cooperation.  UNAMID was more than just a joint peacekeeping operation.  The United Nations had the institutional experience for peacekeeping operations, while the African Union had the regional anchoring and was still in the process of establishing its peace operational capacities.   Norway would continue to assist the African Union in developing the civilian dimension of the African stand-by force through training of African police and civilian experts.   Norway stood ready to support both the United Nations and the African Union in their important endeavour and was prepared to contribute both military and police personnel to UNAMID.

HAMIDON ALI ( Malaysia) said that regional and subregional organizations could contribute constructively to the work of the Security Council in ensuring peace and security, more so in light of ever-increasing demands placed on the United Nations and the complexities of global politics.  The United Nations, through Chapter VIII of the Organization’s Charter, had recognized the role of regional and subregional organizations in maintaining peace and security.  Without prejudice to the capability and effectiveness of the United Nations, regional arrangements should be seen as complementary towards the mediation and resolution of conflicts, as those arrangements generally had a better understanding of the interplay of local and regional dynamics.

The countries of South-East Asia, including Malaysia, were familiar with the effectiveness of regional arrangements, he said.  The ASEAN had evolved towards achieving regional solidarity, thus contributing to peace and security in that region.  Through political dialogue and confidence-building, ASEAN had prevented occasional bilateral tensions and conflicts among its members.  The policy of “constructive interventionism” advocated by some, involving loud criticism, adversarial posturing and grand-standing, would only bring more harm than good.  Malaysia favoured engaging other countries in its region in a dialogue on peace and security; in that regard, the ASEAN Regional Forum had been useful in fostering dialogue and consultation on political and security issues of common interest and concern.  Too often, the international community took a reactionary, knee-jerk approach, and was preoccupied with the symptoms and consequences of conflicts, rather than the root causes.  A strong and successful ASEAN was a strategic imperative; it was the best guarantee for the security of all of South-East Asia and South Asia.

VANU GOPALA MENON (Singapore), speaking on behalf of ASEAN, said that regional cooperation could play a key role in peace and security, particularly in today’s “messier”, globalized world.  Within the current proliferation of regional initiatives, United Nations agencies should work with those that were sustainable, strengthening their capabilities and encouraging mutual learning.  At their best, regional initiatives created a habit of cooperation and reduced misunderstanding.

ASEAN, he said, had certainly worked that way during 40 years of unity.  Starting out with the modest aim of keeping peace in its region during the cold war, it had grown to include 10 countries and the expanded priorities that included economic and socio-cultural cooperation.  It had also developed relations with the major Powers of the region, other regional organizations and other countries and organizations that had a strong stake in South-East Asia’s future.  ASEAN would have to adapt further to handle new problems, but it was clear that without cooperation inside and between such organizations, such problems would be much harder to solve.

IVAN ROMERO MARTINEZ ( Honduras) acknowledged the progress that had been made in cooperation between the Security Council and regional organizations on issues of international peace and security.  He supported further progress in that area.  He said such progress was important in his region through OAS and should include other regional and subregional organizations.  He thanked the Council for its efforts in that area and hoped it would help future generations avoid the scourge of war.

JEAN-MARIE EHOUZOU ( Benin) said the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Charter had been very explicit in granting an important role to regional organizations in the framework of collective security.  Major progress had been made in that regard in addressing the conflicts in Africa.  The Security Council could rely on continental mechanisms that continued to be developed.  They had become more relevant, thanks to the integration process led by the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).  Support for capacity development of regional and subregional organizations would enable those organizations to respond better and more quickly to warning signs.  Hybrid operations constituted a transitional phase in the achievement of fully operational regional capacities.

He said the United Nations must ensure that the processes under way were in compliance with the Charter and that synergies would be developed to face the challenges in the region, particularly with respect to the root causes of conflict.  The other name for peace was development, which was particularly true for Africa.  Support for regional and subregional organizations should also be aimed at supporting economic integration.  He called for better cooperation between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council in conflict prevention and peacebuilding.  The regional and subregional organizations needed to take their place in the collective security system without encroaching upon the primary responsibilities of the Council.  The goal was greater effectiveness of the United Nations in the area of maintenance of international peace and security.

DON PRAMUDWINAI (Thailand), associating himself with the statement made by Singapore on behalf of ASEAN, said that, as a founding member of that organization, his country affirmed that regionalism could turn enmity into amity by managing differences and emphasizing commonalities.  In South-East Asia, the peace and stability of ASEAN had created some of the fastest economic growth in the world.  The organization could offer the rest of the world its working methods, its gradual institution-building processes, and its culture of consultation and consensus-making as a model.

In addition, he said that for a regional organization to be successful, it was necessary to cultivate a sense of community between its members, and also to reach out and work together with other regional partners on the basis of mutual benefit.  Through its network of regional cooperative arrangements, ASEAN had successfully played a central role in managing regional differences in the larger Asia-Pacific region.  It had also played important roles in efforts that involved regional organizations in Africa, Europe and the Americas.  Because of their importance, he urged the United Nations to attach greater emphasis to encouraging and strengthening what he called the burgeoning regional and cross-regional building blocks of multilateralism.

ILGAR MAMMADOV ( Azerbaijan) said that, recently, United Nations cooperation with regional and subregional organizations had significantly increased, as shown by the establishment of the hybrid force in Darfur, the European Union operation in Chad, NATO’s activities in Afghanistan and Kosovo, and the OAS support for Haiti.  The United Nations was committed to helping build the capacities of regional and subregional organizations for peacekeeping tasks in their region.  With an aim to give a new impetus to the peace processes and final settlement of conflicts on the OSCE agenda, the United Nations should consider those unsettled conflicts.  The consideration of those conflicts in the General Assembly would have a positive impact on existing negotiations.

He said that, as a result of occupation, some parts of his country were beyond the Government’s control, which had led to “black holes” where significant amounts of armament had been deployed, which was a matter of concern.  That and other problems confirmed that there was room for expansion of the cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations.

* *** *

__________

*     The 5775th Meeting was closed.

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.