WITH PEACEKEEPING ARCHITECTURE STRETCHED TO LIMIT, SPEAKERS IN SPECIAL COMMITTEE CALL FOR REASSESSMENT OF OPERATIONAL, STRATEGIC, MANAGEMENT ISSUES
WITH PEACEKEEPING ARCHITECTURE STRETCHED TO LIMIT, SPEAKERS IN SPECIAL COMMITTEE CALL FOR REASSESSMENT OF OPERATIONAL, STRATEGIC, MANAGEMENT ISSUES
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Special Committee on
208th & 209th Meetings (AM & PM)
WITH PEACEKEEPING ARCHITECTURE STRETCHED TO LIMIT, SPEAKERS IN SPECIAL COMMITTEE
CALL FOR REASSESSMENT OF OPERATIONAL, STRATEGIC, MANAGEMENT ISSUES
Committee Hears from More Than 30 Speakers on Second Day of Debate;
Gap between Mandates, Resources; ‘ Mission Creep’ Among Issues Addressed
Concluding its general debate today, members of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations stressed that enhanced United Nations peacekeeping required transparent decision-making processes, in which issues were discussed in the appropriate forum by a diverse range of stakeholders and informed by sound financial, logistical and political considerations.
The representative of the United States said good decisions depended on the quality and timeliness of information on which such Security Council resolutions were based, and on the availability of expert military and police advice, where such matters were concerned. At the moment, troop- and police-contributing countries were doing their best to match means to mandates, but many of the processes and procedures applicable to peacekeeping did not adequately meet all of the operational needs of current and potential troop-contributing countries. Financial contributors were also under “deep strain” in the face of diminishing revenues at home and rapidly escalating peacekeeping costs abroad.
The representative of Nepal, whose country contributed 3,900 troops and police personnel to the peacekeeping effort, was among those suggesting that United Nations peacekeeping had reached a “critical juncture”, saying that operational, strategic and managerial issues needed reassessing. Deployment of missions was becoming an excessively lengthy and clumsy exercise, evidenced by the gap in troop commitment for missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad and the Sudan. Added to that, civilian casualties were increasing, despite a focus on the protection of civilians in the mandates of most missions. Like some, he urged that new principles be considered to tackle such concerns, and that they be developed with as much cooperation as possible among members of the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries to ensure a wide backing.
Rwanda’s delegate, whose country is participating in six peacekeeping missions in Africa, noted that the lines between peacekeeping and peacebuilding were becoming more blurry, which was further complicating matters. That was particularly true in situations of persisting conflict, where peacekeeping missions were prone to a “mission creep” ‑- with missions becoming embroiled in political feuding that they were not mandated to resolve. He suggested that a clear mechanism be established to allow for an exit strategy for peacekeepers and a smooth transition to peacebuilding.
In the face of such growing complexity, some speakers stressed the need for strict adherence to mandates. To that, Syria’s representative added that it was essential that peacekeeping mandates be kept consistent with principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter, particularly respect for the territorial sovereignty of States and political independence, in addition to principles that had historically guided peacekeeping efforts, such as consent of the parties, non-use of force except for self-defence, and impartiality. While it might be necessary to modify the ways in which peacekeeping was conducted, Member States must strive to stay true to such principles. Moreover, Member States must be mindful that the only forum that was empowered to modify those concepts, if at all, was the General Assembly.
Several speakers said the Special Committee had a partially important role in that regard, as the body created by the General Assemblyto review all issues relating to peacekeeping. Advocating that view, the representative of Cuba stressed that the primary responsibility for formulating basic concepts and policies of peacekeeping operations fell to the Assembly, and, in that respect, any guidelines or doctrines elaborated by the Secretariat must be agreed upon through intergovernmental negotiation processes. The very terminology used in United Nations reports ‑- such as “peacekeeping operations” and “peace operations”, which seemed to have been used interchangeably in the Secretary-General’s latest report to the Committee ‑- should be put under scrutiny to leave “no room for doubt or misinterpretation”.
Singapore’s delegate suggested that mistrust and miscommunication in matters relating to peacekeeping stemmed, in part, from inequitable geographic and troop-contributing country representation at the leadership and policy level, within the Security Council, at the Secretariat and in the field. He pointed out that countries of the “West” made up a disproportionate number of permanent and non-permanent seats compared to Asian, African and Latin American countries. Around 70 per cent of high-ranking officials within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support came from those countries. About 80 per cent of peacekeepers, however, came from developing countries.
“Clearly, what we have is a situation whereby the ‘West’ dominates policy and decision-making, while the ‘rest’ serve those decisions,” he said.
Jamaica noted that 2010 would mark the tenth anniversary of the release of the Brahimi Panel’s report on United Nations peace operations. It would also mark the milestone for the implementation of “Peace Operations 2010”. In light of that, several important questions must be asked. What had been achieved and what were key unfulfilled recommendations from the Brahimi report? Had the new structures within the Peacekeeping Department helped or hindered the Organization’s capacity to achieve its peacekeeping objectives? What had been the impact of the Department of Field Support at the operational level? Are there better ways to share the burden between police and military contingents on the ground? Those were among the critical issues that must be addressed in a frank and open manner, in order to move forward, he said.
Others speaking today were the representatives El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Pakistan, Philippines, Ukraine, Iran, Switzerland, Burkina Faso, Norway, India, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Costa Rica, Japan, Sudan, South Africa, Ethiopia, Bolivia, Tunisia, Peru, Uruguay and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
At the end of the morning session, the representative of the Dominican Republic made a clarification to a statement made earlier.
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply in the afternoon were the representatives of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea.
Also today, the delegation of Eritrea became a member of the Special Committee.
The Special Committee will meet next in plenary at a time and date to be announced. It will continue its work tomorrow hearing the first of a series of Secretariat briefings on peacekeeping matters.
The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations met today to continue its general debate. (For background, please see Press Release GA/PK/199.)
MANAR TALEB ( Syria), associating himself with the statement delivered yesterday by the Non-Aligned Movement, said peacekeeping was vital to alleviating tensions around the world and to building a climate conducive to peacebuilding once conflicts had ended. Compared to the past, peacekeeping had become a complex operation. Mandates had gone from managing ceasefire arrangements to “managing territories”. As such, it was more important than ever that peacekeeping operations adhere strictly to their mandates, as laid out in the resolutions that established them and in keeping with principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter, including respect for the territorial sovereignty of States and political independence.
He said peacekeeping operations must be governed by clear mandates based on principles of non-selectivity, and underpinned by criteria that befit each unique situation. It was important to adhere to principles such as consent of the parties, non-use of force except for self-defence and impartiality. Further, peacekeeping should not be viewed as a substitute for genuine resolution to conflicts, but as a means to facilitating a transition to peacebuilding once the causes of conflict had been adequately dealt with. That was only fitting, because the United Nations itself had been established to prevent the proliferation of war and address conflicts peacefully.
Turning to the reports before the Committee, one of which addressed the need to take into account the political context of conflicts, he said it was important to ensure the involvement of all relevant parties. Mandates for peacekeeping forces must be defined clearly and in keeping with whatever political processes were taking place. Such an approach would contribute to strengthening the security of United Nations staff. Meanwhile, relying on private security companies to protect United Nations offices not only undermined the sovereignty of States and laws, it might expose staff to additional dangers and also “distort the message of peace”.
He also stressed the importance of strengthening dialogue among troop‑contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat, as well as between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support to ensure cooperation between contingents. While it might be necessary to modify the ways in which peacekeeping missions operated, that did not mean that the United Nations could adopt concepts contrary to the principles upon which peacekeeping was historically based. Further, States must be mindful that the only forum that was empowered to modify those concepts, if at all, was the General Assembly.
Continuing, he said public awareness must be raised regarding the United Nations’ work in peacekeeping and in protecting civilians in areas of conflict. The first peacekeeping operation was established in 1948 in the Middle East. Since then, the United Nations had continued to play a peacekeeping role in that region, and elsewhere, in a responsible fashion and was carrying out those tasks with great skill. He paid tribute to those forces, especially personnel that had lost their lives. A Belgian officer died last year in the process of clearing non-exploded ordnance, following aggression carried out against Lebanon in 2006. He also noted that the length of operation for United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) had lasted so long, because peace seemed remote. The reason for that was the behaviour of the Israeli terrorist entity, which flouted United Nations resolutions and undermined States in the region by continuing to invade their territories.
MADHU RAMAN ACHARYA (Nepal), associating himself with the statement by the Non-Aligned Movement, said he could not agree more that peacekeeping operations were at a critical juncture: the missions had never been so many and so complex and, despite the focus on protection of civilians in mandates, civilian casualties continued to increase. The deployment of missions was becoming an excessively lengthy and “clumsy” exercise, with the gap in troop commitment for those in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad and the Darfur region of the Sudan far from being met. He agreed that 2009 would be a defining year, and a reassessment of operational, strategic and managerial issues was needed. Nepal supported the “New Horizon Project”, and urged devising new principles that tackled emerging challenges.
Effective peacekeeping doctrines could be developed only with broad membership support, which could be built through increased cooperation among the Security Council, the Secretariat, troop-contributing countries and the General Assembly, he said, also urging a review of the mission planning process. Troop-contributing countries, such as Nepal, were ready to provide needed additional troops, but had no equipment to sustain on their own, and he supported the idea of broadening the base of troop- and police-contributing countries to include the global North.
He said the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support should have better coordination, the integrated mission planning process should be streamlined, and the “cumbersome” reimbursement system improved. Moreover, the safety and security of personnel should be given the highest priority. Nepal would continue to participate in United Nations peacekeeping operations, and was involved in 12 of 18 peacekeeping missions with 3,900 troops and police personnel in the field. It had pledged a special force and sector reserve company to the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), and a force reserve battalion and military police unit to the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), and would deploy them as soon as possible.
ALFRED NDABARASA (Rwanda), also associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said a workshop organized by the Permanent Missions of Australia and Uruguay on 27 January had brought together former peacekeeping commanders, who spoke of the challenges they faced in operational areas. At the political level, the will to create an enabling environment before deploying peacekeepers was still needed. A clear mandate, concept of operation and rules of engagement might not be sufficient; firm and dedicated political support of peacekeeping missions was also needed to ensure success.
He said the line between peacekeeping and peacebuilding was becoming increasingly blurred, which further complicated the work of peacekeepers. A clear mechanism should be established to allow for an exit strategy for peacekeepers and a smooth transition to peacebuilding. Peacekeepers also needed adequate resources to accomplish their duties. Situations of persisting conflict at times led peacekeeping missions to become caught up in political feuding ‑- “mission creep” ‑- that they were not mandated to resolve. Yet, they were often blamed for the types of failures that ought to be addressed by the political leadership. He expressed hope that the Committee’s deliberations would address that issue.
He said Rwanda was a committed supporter of United Nations peacekeeping and participated in six peacekeeping missions in Africa, and he paid tribute to peacekeepers everywhere, especially those that had made the ultimate sacrifice.
ILEANA NÚÑEZ MORDOCHE( Cuba) said that peacekeeping operations were not only increasing in number, but in complexity and, as a result, the United Nations was facing a number of challenges. In dealing with those challenges, Member States and the Secretariat must adhere to the principles of the Charter, especially respect for State sovereignty, and non-interference. They must also adhere to the bedrock principles of non-use of force except in cases of self-defence, consent of the parties and impartiality. At the same time, Cuba would stress that the establishment of new and more complex missions could not supplant the need to address the deeply rooted causes of conflict.
Continuing, she said peacekeeping operations must not be seen as an end to themselves, but rather as a temporary measure towards the creation of a security framework that would enable the implementation of sustainable socio-economic development strategies in host countries. “Otherwise, the vicious circle of new conflicts and operations bringing about high death tolls and considerable resources cannot be broken.” In all this, and especially as the Organization’s peacekeeping architecture became increasingly overburdened, the Special Committee’s role was especially relevant. Indeed, it was the only United Nations body that had been entrusted with the comprehensive review of such questions, including reviewing steps aimed at improving the Organization’s capacity to lead the operations.
She further stressed that the General Assembly had the primary responsibility for formulating the basic concepts and policies of peacekeeping operations and, in that respect, she believed that any guidelines or doctrines elaborated by the Secretariat impacting Member States’ participation in peacekeeping operations must be agreed upon through intergovernmental negotiation processes. On other matters, she noted that peacekeeping operations must have clear and realistic mandates, that there must be greater interaction among troop-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Security Council, and that reports for the Special Committee’s consideration be submitted in a timely manner.
Among other things, Cuba was concerned about the use of terminology not clearly defined by Member States in the Secretary-General’s report (document A/63/615), where the terms “peacekeeping operations” and “peace operations” seemed to be used interchangeably. She said the scope and implication of those terms must be clearly defined, so that the Secretary-General’s proposals would leave “no room for doubt or misinterpretation”. Likewise, that report referred to partnerships of the United Nations with regional organizations that were not internationally recognized, as such. To that end, she stressed that regional arrangements must comply with Article VIII of the Charter and could not supersede the role of the United Nations, or disregard the strict principles of United Nations peacekeeping operations.
CARMEN MARÍA GALLARDO HERNÁNDEZ ( El Salvador) said the Special Committee was an important forum for discussing peacekeeping operations, which made a significant contribution to international peace and security. The increase of peacekeeping operations, resource constraints, the surge in the number of required troops, and increasingly complex mandates were some of the key challenges the Special Committee must address during the current session. El Salvador believed that those challenges could first and foremost be tackled by bolstering cooperation between relevant entities, including the Special Committee, the Security Council and the Secretariat. Such cooperation must begin at the initial planning stages, she added.
She went on to say that United Nations peacekeeping missions must be more sensitive to gender issues and representation at all levels. At the same time, more work needed to be done to deal with cases of misconduct and sexual exploitation. El Salvador staunchly supported the United Nations “zero tolerance” policy for such behaviour. Her country also supported enhanced training programmes, but stressed that all training manuals and relevant information must be issued in the main languages of the Organization, and especially in the main language of the respective mission host countries.
She said that El Salvador was participating actively in United Nations peacekeeping missions and, in 2008, had begun participating in the United Nations Mission in Lebanon, under the auspices of Spain. El Salvador believed that the utmost care should be taken to ensure the safety and security of all mission staff and to bolster all mission operational activities and mechanisms.
VENANCIO CERVANTES SUAZO (Honduras), associating himself with the Rio Group, said United Nations peacekeeping was an important instrument for maintaining peace and security in conflict-ridden areas. In 1965, Hondurans participated in peacekeeping operations in the Dominican Republic and, more recently, was participating in missions in the Western Sahara and Haiti. The world needed a proactive way to deal with disputes and maintain peace, and because of that Honduras would continue to support the United Nations endeavour to maintain that peace. This morning, the Ambassador of Honduras was to sign an agreement with the United Nations consolidating its participation in peacekeeping missions, reflecting the Government’s belief that the only way to contribute effectively to maintaining peace was to stand ready to contribute at any time.
RAYMOND WOLFE ( Jamaica) said that, while his delegation appreciated the timely submission of the Secretary-General’s report on implementing the Special Committee’s recommendations, it nevertheless regretted that a number of other important documents would not be available for the Committee’s review during the current session. The Committee’s work was highly dependent on the timely issuance of documents and Jamaica would, therefore, urge the Peacekeeping Department, to the best extent possible, to ensure that all the reports requested by the Committee were released on time for its respective sessions.
Continuing, he reiterated his delegation’s frequent call on the United Nations to assiduously address the root causes of conflict, including poverty, competition for dwindling resources, and systematic violations of human rights, to name a few, as well as to develop early warning and early response systems, as key ways to ensure lasting peace. Last December, the General Assembly had adopted two important resolutions that would strengthen the Organization’s capacity to further deliver in the areas of conflict prevention and development. While they were but small measures, Jamaica hoped the world body would soon begin to see the benefits of their implementation.
He also reiterated the need for more seamless cooperation among the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Field Support and the Peacebuilding Commission. Ultimately, the entities were working towards the same end ‑- to bring lasting peace and stability to communities torn by war and conflict. While noting the Peacekeeping Department’s participation in the Commission’s lessons-learned working group, Jamaica believed there were greater avenues to strengthen the relationship between those critical bodies and looked forward to participating in future discussions on how to bolster that process.
Stressing that the Organization’s current peacekeeping challenges were being compounded by the deepening global financial crisis and rising levels of unemployment and instability in many countries, he noted that 2010 would mark the tenth anniversary of the release of the Brahimi Panel’s report on United Nations Peace Operation. It would also mark the milestone for the implementation of “Peace Operations 2010”.
In light of all that, several important questions must be asked. What had been achieved and what were key unfulfilled recommendations from the Brahimi report? Had the new structures within the Peacekeeping Department helped or hindered the Organization’s capacity to achieve its peacekeeping objectives? What had been the impact of the Department of Field Support at the operational level? Are there better ways to share the burden between police and military contingents on the ground? Those were, indeed, difficult questions, but they were among the critical issues that must be addressed in a frank and open manner, in order to move forward, he said.
DANIEL CARMON ( Israel) said that, as missions become more involved in the protection of civilians, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, security sector reform, and other functions, they also become increasingly confronted with shortages of personnel and resources. At times, those shortfalls were so acute that they called into question the ability of particular missions to carry out their mandates. He urged realistic evaluations of the situation on the ground, and said priorities should be set in such a way to take into account limited resources.
Commenting on the serious risks to the safety and security of Department of Peacekeeping Operations personnel in the recent spate of attacks, he condemned such attacks. He cited a tactic used by parties in conflict in which they placed themselves in close proximity to United Nations field positions or posts to exploit their immunity. That placed the safety of United Nations personnel at great risk. Also unacceptable were the confiscation of mission equipment and property and the misuse of the United Nations emblem.
Turning to the role of the police component of peacekeeping operations, he welcomed a report of the panel of experts that highlighted the need to strengthen the Standing Police Capacity. A recently completed strategic review had also concluded that there was an urgent need to strengthen the Police Division. He said he looked forward to discussing possible ways to achieve that goal. At the same time, an analysis of United Nations formed police units indicated severe operational deficiencies and he expressed support for the Police Division’s efforts to remedy those shortfalls.
Addressing the issue of the credibility of United Nations peacekeeping missions, he said instances of sexual exploitation and abuse should be prevented by implementing the zero-tolerance policy. Where cases of abuse had occurred, there should be transparent investigations and meaningful action taken against those who were found guilty. Incorporating a gender perspective was an important factor in the success of missions, and Israel looked forward to the further growth of women’s participation in peacekeeping operations. It also looked forward to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ review of training materials for peacekeepers on the protection of women and girls from sexual violence.
He briefly addressed the importance of cooperation with regional groups, and added that such arrangements needed to be standardized, rather than be carried out ad hoc. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ coordination with the African Union was thought to be a particularly important means of strengthening regional capacity.
On the work of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), for whose work he voiced an appreciation, he said the continuing commitment of troop-contributing countries added substantially to regional stability. Nevertheless, Israel was deeply concerned about developments along its northern border with Lebanon. The Hizbullah group was continually training, rearming and redeploying itself in contravention of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006), and actions such as the launching of two missiles towards Israel, as recently as two days ago, presented a challenge to UNIFIL.
On the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), he expressed an appreciation for its efforts to implement ‑- in a constructive, quiet and efficient manner ‑- the ceasefire and disengagement agreement between Israel and Syria. For its part, Israel would continue to engage in a constructive manner on the issues discussed today. It was proud to have provided its first peacekeeper to the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) ‑- a female civilian police officer.
ABDULLAH HUSSAIN HAROON ( Pakistan) said his delegation had remained at the forefront of collective United Nations efforts taken over the years towards the maintenance of international peace and security. It was the top contributor of uniformed personnel to the world body’s peacekeeping operations, with some 11,000 nationals currently participating in 13 missions. Pakistan had been the lead troop contributor since the initial surge in demand in 2003. The United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan had been one of the Organization’s first peacekeeping operations. Some 100 Pakistani peacekeepers had made the ultimate sacrifice serving under the United Nations banner, he added.
Along with vast experience and contributions in the field, Pakistan also advocated conflict prevention, addressing the root causes of conflict, and post-conflict peacebuilding as essential components of a comprehensive strategy for attaining durable peace and stability. He said tools and institutions were not enough to achieve results and that fully implementing a comprehensive peacekeeping strategy required greater political will on the part of Member States and broader consensus on shared objectives, including pooling of resources and burden sharing by all.
“This, in our view is indispensable for achieving success during the current period of unprecedented expectations, demands and challenges,” he said, stressing that collective action must cut across the whole range of activities, from proper planning, objective analysis of ground realities, and crafting clear achievable mandates, to ensuring the safety and security of mission personnel and identifying sound exit strategies. That collective vision must be based on the tenets and principles of the Charter, but must also incorporate a shared understanding of the changing nature of conflict and corresponding required evolution in peacekeeping processes, including the reform and strengthening of peacekeeping capacity.
“These are the fundamental issues that must be at the core of our work,” he said, stressing that the continued success and credibility of United Nations peacekeeping required that Member States had full ownership of policy and strategic oversight. To that end, no body or particular set of countries could monopolize policy-setting in this area; the full engagement of the Organization’s wider membership was essential. Indeed, experience had shown that even the most sensitive issues could be addressed in a non-controversial manner, if there was a genuine effort to seek common understandings. He added that such broad engagement must be accompanied by the elaboration of coherent policies and their consistent implementation.
Speaking on structural and policy issues from the perspective of troop-contributing countries, he advised against any kind of differentiation between missions in terms of operational structures, command and control mechanisms, or any other preferential arrangements. Pakistan expected partnerships to be based on equitable relationships and mutual respect. In light of recent problems, he said there was also a need to carefully review lessons learned from the new breed of United Nations peacekeeping missions, including hybrid operations, in terms of planning, force generation, deployment and overall performance, as compared to traditional mission structures.
While calling for broader cooperation between the Secretariat, the Security Council and troop-contributing countries, he noted his delegation’s disappointment at the persistent lack of adequate representation of major troop-contributors at relevant organizational levels. “We urge the Secretariat to rectify this as a matter of openness and fair play,” he said, stressing that representation of major troop-contributors at top managerial levels in the field and at Headquarters was essential to ensuring greater coherence between those who managed, directed and commanded operations, and those who provided invaluable human resources on the ground.
JOSÉ J.P. MORALES (Philippines), associating himself with the statement by the Non-Aligned Movement, said United Nations peacekeeping had evolved from its traditional role of keeping warring factions apart to helping societies torn by conflict rebuild themselves. Despite the immense tasks at hand, including a surge in deployments, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support had risen to the occasion, to the point of overstretching their limited resources. If States truly believed in the United Nations’ viability for maintaining peace, then more should share the burden, as the responsibility of fielding peacekeepers should not rest only with a handful of nations, many of which were developing countries.
While pleased with progress made in restructuring the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and creating the Department of Field Support, he underlined the need to upgrade policies and structures that would “give flesh” to peacekeeping. He welcomed the “New Horizons” study, but agreed it should not replace “Peace Operations 2010”. He noted ongoing efforts to strengthen the Office of Military Affairs, and said that, as one of the top contributors of police officers to peacekeeping operations, the Philippines hoped it could again be represented in the Police Division. Reiterating his country’s plan to enlarge its contribution of troops and police personnel to peacekeeping operations, he said it also would look at how to match the number of female personnel deployed with the percentage of females in the Philippines’ Armed Forces and national police.
He said his Government had approved new guidelines for participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations, among them the formalization of the zero-tolerance policy against any misconduct, particularly sexual exploitation and abuse. On the safety and security of peacekeepers, he recalled that it had taken the Department of Field Support seven months to inform his Government that Philippine military observer Lieutenant Colonel Renerio Batalla, who had been assigned to the southern district of Rembeck, Sudan, had died in 2007 from complications from malaria as a result of negligence by a United Nations doctor, and another seven months to inform it that the doctor in question had not been removed or barred from future United Nations missions. The Secretariat’s action in that case was sadly lacking, and thus, “totally unacceptable”. In closing, he paid tribute to the thousands of men and women who helped to bring peace to places where there was none, and most especially to Lieutenant Colonel Batalla and others who had offered their lives in the service of humanity.
VASYL MARMAZOV ( Ukraine), aligning himself with the European Union, welcomed progress by States and the Secretariat in peacekeeping reform in recent years. There had been a considerable strengthening of United Nations peacekeeping potential through reform of existing mechanisms and elaboration of new approaches. Peacekeeping operations should be carried out in accordance with the United Nations Charter and international law, with the Security Council bearing the main responsibility for international peace and security. Improvements in the Organization’s structure, backed by additional financial and staff resources, was a “real” investment in the future, and he encouraged the Secretariat to continue its work with States to make all mechanisms for quick-deployment reserves able to operate at full capacity. The Secretariat also must be more proactive in using an integrated mission planning process.
He noted with satisfaction the reinforcement and restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and creation of the Department of Field Support, and supported strengthening the Police Division. On the issue of staff recruitment for those departments, he shared concerns at the lack of transparency and the bureaucratic recruitment process, saying highly qualified nominees from troop-contributing countries were needed. He stressed the importance of ensuring timely reimbursements to those countries, including Ukraine, for troops and contingent-owned equipment. Welcoming the signing of new agreements with regional arrangements and agencies, among other partners, he encouraged strengthening such partnerships. Cooperation among the Secretariat, troop-contributing countries and the Security Council was also indispensable.
He said Ukraine was deeply concerned at the increasing threats to United Nations peacekeeping personnel, and associated and humanitarian personnel. The safety of those staff must be central to any peacekeeping operation. He stressed the need for “basic capacity” to assess risk prior to the establishment of a mission, and during the mission lifecycle. Calling for improved cooperation among troop- and police-contributing countries, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Safety and Security, he also supported continued efforts to improve training capabilities for peacekeeping personnel. The success of peacekeeping operations depended on the deployment of well-trained military and civilian police personnel, and Ukraine provided all such personnel with appropriate training prior to deployment.
ESHAGH AL HABIB (Iran), associating himself with the statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed the importance of adhering to the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter relating to sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-intervention in matters falling under domestic jurisdiction. He went on to note that peacekeeping operations would not succeed unless attention was paid to the root causes of conflicts. Unless action was taken to realize provisions of the Charter dealing with economic, social, cultural and political issues, especially Article 55, peacekeeping would only amount to a temporary or calmative measure, as opposed to the permanent restoration of peace. In sum, the maintenance of international peace was in close, organic relation with the realization of other purposes of the United Nations. Conflicts ought to be addressed in a well-planned manner in conjunction with relevant political, social, economic and developmental instruments.
He stressed the importance of conducting all peacekeeping operations under the aegis of the United Nations, thus rendering any unilateral act taken outside the United Nations as inconsistent with the Charter and international law. There was a dire need for new measures and approaches to repeal or invalidate such unlawful acts, in order to prevent their recurrence in the future.
He stressed, as well, the need for strict observance of the principles of peacekeeping, namely the consent of parties, the non-use of force except in self-defence, and impartiality. Those principles should be viewed as “changeless” and enduring foundations for peacekeeping operations. At the same time, there should be respect for the principles of sovereign equality, political independence, territorial integrity of all States and non-intervention. All peacekeeping operations ‑- regardless of their geographical, regional, political, social and security situation ‑- should enjoy full support from Member States and be provided all necessary human, financial and logistical resources. They should be governed by clear and achievable mandates and exit strategies.
He said any new concepts concerning peacekeeping, arising from the need to meet new demands, should be consistent with principles, guidelines and terminology that govern peacekeeping, as agreed to in intergovernmental negotiations. Moreover, the General Assembly was the primary organ for formulating concepts and policies and dealing with budgetary matters related to peacekeeping. He expressed the view that the Special Committee seemed to have diverted its focus away from urgent policy issues toward peripheral, non-essential issues.
He then addressed several specific issues of concern. On the contribution of regional arrangements under Chapter VIII, he said they should not in any way substitute for the role of the United Nations, or circumvent full application of the guiding principles of peacekeeping. Also, troop-contributing countries should be included as major partners in all peacekeeping activities, from deployment and operational aspects to policy formulation and decision-making. Finally, the United Nations must adopt a policy to address misconduct, especially that of sexual exploitation, and the model memorandum of understanding ought to be implemented through appropriate formal revisions of all existing memorandums of understanding.
PETER MAURER ( Switzerland) said peacekeeping was an effective tool with comparative advantages, but should not be considered a panacea, as there were others available for conflict resolution. He agreed that the international community was too willing to see the establishment of a peacekeeping mission as a “miraculous remedy”, and it was important for the Security Council to mandate a new mission only after sincere attempts to evaluate efforts to achieve peace prior to deployment. That evaluation must be based on an analysis of comparative advantages of other parts of the system, past experience and the possible links with the national reconstruction plan of the country in question. Further, agencies, funds and programmes must be ready to take into account the imperatives involved with the establishment of a mission.
He said Switzerland looked forward to the Secretary-General’s report on peacebuilding and early recovery, and would do its best to ensure that the complementary nature of peacekeeping and peacebuilding was better understood. All mandates for new missions should contain, where appropriate, a clear reference to security sector reform, the implication of which was that measures must be adopted to ensure optimum use of available resources. That meant identifying requirements and ensuring they would be met by the most qualified actors. On the protection of civilians, he said that, in many cases, the gap between mandate requirements and limited resources had made implementation in the field difficult. Switzerland and two other countries were financing a study on mandate implementation vis-à-vis protection of civilians.
Regarding the rational use of resources, he urged giving priority to approaches that made the best use of resources, saying that Switzerland was following efforts of the Department of Field Support to develop a more effective support strategy. He applauded the idea for creating “support hubs” that would offer logistical and administrative services to several missions at once, and suggested improving the use of personnel rosters between missions. At the strategic level, dialogue must be enhanced within the peacekeeping system. He urged seizing the opportunity provided by the Security Council’s discussion of the matter by making better use of all contributions to peacekeeping, and improving coherence within the Organization. The Special Committee could make an important contribution to such a dialogue.
NOUFOU BEREMWOUDOUGOU ( Burkina Faso) said no one should downplay the crucial role played by peacekeeping operations in restoring stability in many countries. As an instrument for managing and resolving conflicts, they had paved the way for many countries to return to the path of peace and development. At the same time, the shortcomings of some peacekeeping missions should not be downplayed either. Acknowledging that such challenges and gaps existed provided an opportunity to strengthen the Organization’s overall peacekeeping architecture, especially in light of the evolving nature of conflicts and the expanded demands being placed on peace operations. Burkina Faso supported all efforts to improve peacekeeping that were in line with the Charter and the agreed principles of impartiality, non-use of force and host country consent.
He said that Burkina Faso was set to participate in African peacekeeping operations in the near future, starting with the hybrid mission in Darfur. In the past, Burkina Faso, like other developing countries, had unfortunately been hampered from participating because of resource or logistic constraints. With that in mind, the United Nations must do more to bolster and facilitate the participation of all countries in peacekeeping operations.
He stressed the need to enhance the tripartite cooperation process between the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries in order to ensure the smooth operation of peace missions. The United Nations must also continue to shore up its strategies to ensure the safety and security of peacekeeping staff, improve management of resources targeted to missions and increase the number of countries participating in such missions.
Before the morning meeting ended, the representative of the Dominican Republic said that he would like to make a point of clarification on a statement that had been made earlier. Stressing that he was not exercising the right of reply, he said that a delegation had earlier referred to an event in the Dominican Republic that had occurred in 1965. That event was a unilateral intervention that had been subsequently endorsed by the Organization of American States, but which had been rejected by a number of countries, including in Latin America. The United Nations had at no time endorsed or approved that operation against the sovereignty of the Dominican Republic.
SUSAN RICE (United States) said the transition to peace and development in over a dozen conflict-affected areas, especially in Africa, depended heavily on the success of the United Nations missions operating in their midst. Increasing the likelihood of the current and future success of peacekeeping operations was one of the highest priorities for United States President Barack Obama’s Administration. The United States remained mindful that United Nations peacekeeping was a global undertaking whose success was not possible without the sacrifice, dedication and cooperation of the more than 100 countries represented in the Special Committee.
The challenges were many, and there was ample opportunity to improve the decision-making processes for the renewal of existing peacekeeping mandates and the adoption of new ones, she said. That included issues such as the quality and timeliness of information on which such Security Council decisions were based, and the availability of expert military and police advice, where such matters were concerned. She said that many troop- and police-contributing countries were doing their best to match means to mandates. Yet, many of the processes and procedures applicable to peacekeeping did not adequately meet all of the operational needs of current and potential troop-contributing countries. “We need to take these needs seriously and not take their contributions or sacrifice for granted,” she said.
Continuing, she stressed that financial contributors were also under “deep strain” in the face of diminishing revenues at home and rapidly escalating peacekeeping costs abroad. Those contributors ‑- the United States included ‑- understandably sought cost-effectiveness and efficiency, transparency and accountability for resources entrusted to the United Nations for peacekeeping. Moreover, she said, those countries needed to be able to reassure their taxpayers that able leadership and oversight mechanisms were in place and working to eliminate waste, misconduct and abuse.
“The Secretariat, in turn is being tasked with more complex missions,” she said, stressing that United Nations administration must be provided with the necessary resources, support and latitude to execute complex mandates successfully. And, last but not least, regions, countries and ordinary civilians emerging from conflict sought assurances that United Nations peacekeepers would be ready, able and willing to address their immediate needs, but also to respect their long-held customs, traditions, aspirations and dignity. While it was only natural that the qualitative and quantitative increase in United Nations peacekeeping activity would elicit heightened concerns across the range of such diverse stakeholders, she was convinced that such concerns could be met if the international community worked together seriously on them.
“The United States is ready to do just that,” she continued, adding that her Government was proud to take a leading role in helping to build peacekeeping capacity, particularly with regard to military and police programmes. The United States also looked forward to exploring the development and expansion of broad partnerships to respond to critical emerging peacekeeping needs. It was also ready to consider fresh practices and approaches on the mandates of individual mandates as they arose and to contemplate the launch of new reforms wherever they held the promise of bringing all key constituencies together to address collective challenges.
MORTEN WETLAND ( Norway) said that, while his delegation emphasized the United Nations prime responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, it nevertheless supported the present trend, where regional organizations and others were willing and able to shoulder greater responsibility. As that was the case, it was necessary for the United Nations to continue strengthening its dialogue and cooperation with all relevant partners, which was absolutely necessary to meet the seemingly ever-increasing demand for peacekeeping.
He stressed, however, that even with such broad cooperation, the challenges were many. For example, he said that one frequently recalled dilemma was whether it was appropriate for the Security Council to authorize new missions when ongoing operations lacked mandated resources. He welcomed the initiative to review peacekeeping activities launched last month by two of the Councils’ permanent members, France and the United Kingdom, and added that the Security Council, and the wider United Nations, could not ignore outbreaks of conflict, even if resources were stretched thin.
“We need to consider alternative models,” he continued, noting the Joint Military Commission in the Sudan’s Nuba Mountains as an example of an unarmed mission where strong ownership by the parties had led to the best possible use of limited resources. He welcomed the Security Council’s intention to follow up its meeting, but stressed that more countries needed to be involved, more in line with the Organization’s universal mandate. Turning to other challenges, he highlighted the complex issues surrounding the protection of civilians, which he said lay at the heart of United Nations peacekeeping.
Indeed, the Organization’s ability to protect civilians was seen by many as the test of its relevance in crises management. At the same time, the United Nations could not be an absolute guarantor of safety and security for all civilians in all areas of its operations; but, all Member States nevertheless had the responsibility to ensure that all that could be done was done. He noted that civilian protection was not just about military operations; it also included protection from sexual violence and abuse. He applauded Australia and Uruguay for organizing a workshop on the implementation of civilian protection mandates in the run-up to the Special Committee’s session, and looked forward to the release of the joint study on the issue by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Overall, on the issue of civilian protection, the key message should be that such protection was not, and should not, be regarded as the exclusive province of the military. A successful outcome required early, integrated planning that involved all relevant actors. Among other challenges that needed to be addressed, he emphasized the need to ensure that all missions were adequately resourced, that analytical capacities at Headquarters were strengthened, and that the Police Division was strengthened. He also urged the Security Council to focus on effects and capacities, rather than on “numbers” when deciding on troop levels. The United Nations must break with the “rather static approach” to mission planning, he added.
ANUPAM RAY (India), associating himself with the statement by the Non-Aligned Movement, recalled that the number of United Nations peacekeepers had increased almost tenfold in less than a decade, an expansion that showed no signs of abating. Added to that were complex mission mandates, evolving operating environments and the ever-changing nature of conflict. Much action was needed to ensure that the United Nations had the ability to bear that burden, and States had the duty of giving clear instructions to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Field Support and peacekeepers. The mission mandates, available resources and command structures should not, by themselves, become burdens. The first step was to ensure that troop-contributing countries had a clearly defined role in shaping mandates. Consultations among the Security Council, troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat must become part of a meaningful process to achieve clear mandates.
Moreover, he said troop-contributing countries had the intellectual capital and range of operational experience to deal with situations that many missions sought to improve ‑- a fact that had not been reflected in the policy formulation of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations or Department of Field Support. The deficit in representation from those countries at all stages required urgent rectification. He wished to learn more about the capabilities augmented by the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, particularly the functioning of the integrated operational teams. On the role of the police in bridging the security gap, he said civilian police and paramilitary capacities were often more suited for dealing with situations the United Nations would likely face. India favoured the introduction of more female peacekeepers, and a zero-tolerance policy vis-à-vis disciplinary issues.
Taking up the principles of impartiality and consent of the parties, he said peacekeepers should go only to places where there was a credible peace agreement. Reversal of that sequence had led to disastrous consequences. To strengthen United Nations peacekeeping, duplication must be avoided and the experience of those who participated in the field must be harvested.
India was committed to assisting the United Nations in the maintenance of peace and security, having contributed nearly 100,000 troops and participated in over 40 missions, he said. Peacekeeping was a prime example of how innovation could be applied to the principles of the Charter: that the word was not mentioned in the Charter had not prevented construction of an edifice that had become a cornerstone of international diplomacy. Unless States applied that sense of innovation to United Nations structures, the Organization’s ability to bear its peacekeeping responsibilities would be handicapped in years to come.
NURBEK JEENBAEV ( Kyrgyzstan) said the “noble purpose” of peacekeeping efforts had a long history. The United Nations had repeatedly confirmed the importance of such operations to strengthening international peace and the maintenance of stability. He hoped the Special Committee’s current session would bring forth a spirit of confidence, and “hope in tomorrow” for the world’s peoples. In recent years, the United Nations had been criticized for failures in the field of international security, and it was extremely important that the Organization achieve its purpose: peace through the preservation of international security. To sustain people’s hopes, the United Nations could not lag behind a rapidly changing world; it must respond to the maximum degree and create more effective prevention mechanisms. Kyrgyzstan urged the reform of peacekeeping operations and strengthened efforts to maintain safety.
Highlighting Kyrgyzstan’s candidature to a non-permanent seat on the Security Council for 2012-2013, he said his Government fully understood the responsibility of such membership, and would make every effort to strengthen cooperation with States and be a reliable partner in addressing global policy issues. Kyrgyzstan was the only Central Asian country that widely participated in United Nations peacekeeping efforts by sending military observers and police officers to missions in Liberia, Kosovo, Timor-Leste, Sudan, Chad, Central Africa and the Darfur region of the Sudan. The country was ready to raise the level of its participation in such operations, including by sending non-military professionals, such as doctors, to missions. In closing, he paid tribute to all peacekeepers and expressed sincere condolences to the bereaved families of those who perished in the defence of peace.
PARK IN-KOOK ( Republic of Korea) said that United Nations peacekeeping had reached a critical crossroads. Missions were growing in importance, size and scope, with two prominent examples being the hybrid operation in Darfur and the strengthened United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC). Meanwhile, peacekeeping missions were overstretched, with increased demands made on resources and troops. The process of institutional reform presented challenges as well, as did the need for effective coordination among key constituencies.
He said that, according to the Brahimi report, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was supposed to launch one United Nations peacekeeping mission per year. In reality, the Department had initiated or expanded six peacekeeping missions in the past three years. Extraordinary efforts in the Sudan, Lebanon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Chad and Liberia were causing strain and fatigue to those in the field and at Headquarters that could not be ignored. There was a need for sustainable alternatives to meet evolving circumstances, and, in light of that, the outcome to the “New Horizons” internal review was much anticipated. It was also hoped that the Department’s restructuring, including the Office of Military Affairs, would be implemented in a timely manner.
He voiced hope that troop-contributing countries would engage constructively on issues relating to a strengthened operational capacity for rapid reaction, as recommended in the Special Committee’s 2008 report. In addition, while the United Nations should remain as the leading global actor in planning and implementing peacekeeping operations, regional organizations and donor countries could complement its efforts. For that to happen, partnerships with Member States, regional organizations and regional arrangements should be strengthened and used as extensively as possible. It was especially important that efforts be expended to strengthen the peacekeeping capacities of African nations, given that a majority of new demands for peacekeeping came from Africa.
Commending the Secretariat’s efforts in peacekeeping-related matters, he said the integrated mission planning process could serve as a strategic framework to strengthen and better coordinate the Department’s work and that of the Peacebuilding Commission and Peacebuilding Support Office. The importance of holding meetings with potential troop-contributing countries could not be overemphasized, as demonstrated with the establishment of UNIFIL.
He added that the Republic of Korea was the tenth largest financial contributor to United Nations peacekeeping and that it had hosted an international conference last July to provide an opportunity for participating countries to share peacekeeping experiences.
CAROLINE ZIADE (Lebanon) said the Special Committee’s current session was vitally important, not only because it was set to review the recommendations of the Brahimi panel, but also because it was taking place during the convergence of serious crises, including the deepening financial crisis, increasing instability in some regions, and climate change with all its impacts. The demands on the Organization’s peacekeeping architecture were rapidly increasing and mandates were becoming more complex. It was, therefore, necessary to ensure more cooperation, coherence and transparency in mission planning and operation. Further, Lebanon supported the continued reform of the peacekeeping architecture, including through boosting management and training mechanisms.
Lebanon had a long history with United Nations peacekeeping, including hosting the current United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which was valiantly carrying out its renewed mandate under Security Council resolution 1701 (2006), as well as its founding, decades-old mandate. All parties needed to reaffirm their support for the implementation of that resolution aimed at forging a lasting ceasefire in Lebanon. The citizens of southern Lebanon still lived with the bitter memories that Israel had left when it used internationally banned cluster munitions and landmines, causing heavy civilian casualties in that area. Israel must live up to its obligations under resolution 1701 (2006). Nevertheless, UNIFIL was cooperating closely with the Lebanese Government to carry out its duties in a professional manner. Lebanon greatly appreciated the contributions of all those countries that had provided troops to UNIFIL.
SIM TIONG KIAN ( Singapore) said United Nations peacekeeping was at a critical juncture, with 120,000 personnel and an $8 billion budget. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations was struggling with the start-up, or augmentation of, four missions, and the Organization itself was increasingly challenged in the field by State and non-State actors alike. Singapore was pleased at recent initiatives to review that state of affairs, the “New Horizon” project and the France-United Kingdom review at the Security Council level, among them. However, he regretted that the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support had not produced a review report, as required by the General Assembly. Singapore looked forward to contributing to those efforts, and urged the Secretary-General to build on the Brahimi reform proposals.
The Special Committee was well placed to contribute to that process, and he hoped it would focus on matters of operational relevance. He suggested streamlining this year’s report by focusing on a few major issues, rather than taking the traditional “buffet-style” approach, which created the risk that the Secretariat would be unfairly criticized for failing to deliver on unrealistic targets. He also proposed adopting a biennial report. He welcomed the France-United Kingdom initiative to review the Security Council’s planning, execution and supervision of peacekeeping operations, as there was a gap in the Council’s oversight of operations, which impinged on its ability to provide timely strategic guidance.
With peacekeeping mandates set by the Council, and implemented by the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries, the need to strengthen the relationship among those bodies could not be overemphasized, he said. Imbalance in that relationship contributed to the mistrust in decision-making, and indirectly contributed to problems encountered in peacekeeping. The “West” occupied a disproportionate number of permanent and non-permanent seats in the Council, and held almost 70 per cent of leadership posts in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support, if Under-Secretary-General to “P5” ranks were considered. “But, where danger is closest to our peacekeepers, in the field, it is the direct opposite. About 80 per cent of peacekeepers come from developing countries.”
“So clearly, what we have is a situation whereby the ‘West’ dominates policy and decision-making, while the ‘rest’ serve those decisions,” he said. That inequity was unhealthy and it was time for the Organization to reflect on and reverse that trend.
On the issue of protection of civilians, he said several issues had emerged at last month’s informal workshop, including that different commanders had different interpretations of the protection mandate. Unfortunately, when a peacekeeping mission failed to protect civilians, the finger invariably pointed at peacekeepers and the country they represented, rather than at the larger systemic problem: a lack of clear guidelines. He urged the Special Committee to discuss the independent study commissioned by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and take its findings forward. On safety and security issues, he was concerned at the Brahimi report’s finding that the United Nations was perceived as not impartial. He urged the Department of Field Support to study the findings and implement lessons for enhancing the safety and security of peacekeepers.
JORGE URBINA ( Costa Rica) said his delegation valued the potential of the Special Committee, because it was the single forum where countries gathered to discuss problems related to the implementation of the complex mandates given by the Security Council. Quite often, the Special Committee discovered that such mandates faced gaps, due to a lack of resources, lack of understanding and lack of support for the missions in question. As an elected member of the Security Council, Costa Rica believed that it was absolutely necessary to ensure that mandates were clear, concise and understood by the relevant parties. The mandate elaboration process needed to be as broad and inclusive as possible, and he hoped that one of the outcomes of the French-British initiative would be more progress to that end.
He went on to say that, since 1999, at least 10 United Nations peacekeeping operations had been given mandates that included civilian protection elements. There had been 10 years of wrangling with the matter, coupled with 10 years of difficulties expressed in implementing civilian protection mandates. The Special Committee must address such issues frankly and openly. It also must work to ensure that every mandate was crafted with clear and achievable guidelines and that all peacekeeping staff were trained to carry out their duties. He noted that clear guidelines were crucial to the implementation of civilian protection mandates. Finally, he emphasized his delegation’s staunch support of the United Nations “zero-tolerance” policy regarding sexual exploitation and abuse and looked forward to the completion of the report on the review of that Organization-wide strategy.
NORIHIRO OKUDA ( Japan) paid tribute to all individuals that had ever served a peacekeeping mission, saying that the United Nations needed to pay attention to their safety and security. Peacekeeping operations were increasingly asked to do much more than impartial monitoring tasks. Their mandates covered such activities as providing protection to civilians, assisting humanitarian activities, rebuilding reliable national institutions and capacities, and coordinating international efforts for socio-economic stability. Such mandates required diverse skills and expertise, as well as proactive responses to the changing situation on the ground.
He said Security Council resolution 1863 (2009), in which the Secretary-General was requested to provide logistical support for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), presented the chance to hold further discussions on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations. In that regard, Japan would carefully consider the report of the African Union-United Nations panel on the modalities for supporting United Nations peacekeeping operations. For its part, Japan was committed to instilling the highest level of skill, morale and discipline in its personnel prior to deployment. It had begun a pilot programme for human resource development in peacebuilding, for Asia, in September 2007.
He noted that the world economic crisis was affecting the contribution of Member States to United Nations peacekeeping operations. In that light, the Organization should exercise maximum flexibility and seek the most efficient use of available resources in peacekeeping operations. Those operations seemed to be greatly overextended and overstretched. He requested that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support communicate proactively with military and police personnel and provide them with timely logistical support, rather than have them act at the pace dictated by Headquarters.
He said it was important that troop- and police-contributing countries, the Security Council, the Secretariat and other stakeholders such as financial contributors interact in a meaningful manner. The Security Council’s Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations, created after a review of the Brahimi report, could be used as a forum for exchanging views among Council members and others. Japan was Chair of that Working Group and intended to use it to review certain aspects of current peacekeeping operations, while coordinating with other forums within the United Nations.
ABDALMAHMOOD ABDALHALEEM MOHAMAD ( Sudan) stressed the importance of ensuring that all Member States adhered to the principles set out in the Charter regarding peacekeeping, including the territorial integrity of States, impartiality, the non-use of force and consent of the host countries. He went on to say that the current cost of peacekeeping had now crept above the $7 billion mark, even as many recommendations in the Brahimi Panel’s report remained unfulfilled. It was, therefore, high time that the United Nations bolstered its conflict prevention and diplomacy mechanisms. Raising its profile in that area would not only boost confidence in the Organization, it would also be a very effective use of its resources.
On the ongoing deployment of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, he said his Government reiterated its strong and continuing cooperation with the United Nations to ensure the full deployment of that operation. The Sudan also pledged its support to the negotiations under way in Qatar, led by the African Union, which had, just two weeks ago, led to the signing of a statement of agreement between one of the main armed groups and Khartoum. He hoped that those negotiations would continue and bring on board all groups, aimed at ensuring peace and stability in that region and throughout his country. Finally, he encouraged the Secretariat to ensure broader cooperation between all stakeholders in United Nations peacekeeping activities, especially troop-contributing countries.
PETRUS SIPHO SEAKAMELA (South Africa), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said United Nations peacekeeping faced one of its most critical moments, with unprecedented demands to assist countries emerging from conflict. Despite its constraints, peacekeeping continued to perform commendably in difficult situations. The nature of conflicts had changed. Conflicts were no longer merely between States, but intra-State, and there were multiple players, which compelled the Committee to revisit the mechanisms and principles in place to deal with them. More often, shortcomings had provided an excuse to defer taking action on various conflicts, including in Somalia, on grounds that there was no peace to keep, as required by peacekeeping principles. The question was whether such principles were still relevant.
He said South Africa agreed on the need to consider where the limits of robust United Nations peacekeeping lay, supported the peacekeeping reform plan, and particularly welcomed the Secretary-General’s resolve to strengthen partnerships with regional organizations. For its part, the African Union was redoubling efforts to make its peace and security architecture operational. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Brigade, launched in 2007, would stage a training exercise in October in South Africa. He trusted that such cooperation would not be perceived as absolving the United Nations of its responsibility for maintaining peace.
He hoped the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations would help maximize efforts to bring peace to conflict areas, adding that peacekeepers should uphold the values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity. He applauded the efforts of the conduct and discipline unit to ensure that United Nations credibility was not damaged by allegations of misconduct, and welcomed work being done to strengthen the rule of law and security institutions, particularly the security sector reform unit.
On gender mainstreaming in peace operations, he commended the work to ensure an increased number of women in leadership positions, but said there was still a need to enrol women in the whole spectrum of conflict prevention, resolution and management. In closing, he said South Africa looked forward to discussing the interaction between peacebuilding and peacekeeping. Peacekeeping must be a vehicle towards the creation of better conditions for sustainable development and good governance.
RETA ALEMU NEGA ( Ethiopia), associating himself with the statement by the Non-Aligned Movement, noted that the environment in which peacekeeping missions were deployed had become increasingly hostile and complex. There was a growing request for peacekeeping, which was not being met with the required urgency. Those challenges must be addressed through joint efforts by all stakeholders, not only ones that were part of the United Nations peacekeeping machinery. In addition, the ongoing internal review exercise being undertaken by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support could bring many benefits, especially if it could help simplify and streamline the organizational and operational structure of peacekeeping operations. For instance, it could result in greater unity of command, control and coordination. In that regard, he stressed the importance of integrated operational teams in helping peacekeeping missions carry out their mandates effectively. The speedy deployment of missions in remote areas was particularly important.
Focusing on the situation in Africa, he spoke in favour of strengthening the partnership between the African Union and United Nations in the context of the 10‑year capacity-building programme. The mission in Somalia was to take place within the context of such a partnership, in the form of AMISOM, although he expressed a belief that the ultimate long-term solution lay in the transition from AMISOM to a United Nations peacekeeping mission. He urged the Security Council to expedite consultations on that issue before the situation deteriorated any further.
Turning to the safety and security of United Nations peacekeepers, which he said was of concern to Ethiopia, he noted that those personnel were under growing attack by terrorists and extremists. Such attacks were taking place in Somalia and other areas. The Department of Safety and Security should take the initiative to study and explore a new mechanism for addressing that challenge.
ERIC YOSHIDA CÉSPEDES ( Bolivia) said his delegation hoped that the recommendations to be agreed by the Special Committee during its current session would benefit all personnel working in United Nations peacekeeping operations, who were carrying out vital humanitarian duties with the utmost professionalism for the benefit of the entire international community. He said that his country’s new Constitution classified it as a “pacifist State” and, as such, it rejected “wars of aggression” to settle disputes and likewise rejected any intervention in the sovereign integrity of States.
Bolivia welcomed advances, especially in the area of management, that were aimed at improving the implementation of robust and complex mission mandates. Coordination processes within the Peacekeeping Department and including the troop-contributing countries, should be streamlined, especially towards integrating new military personnel. He also hoped that the vacancies in the Department, and other relevant entities at Headquarters, would be filled quickly and with the utmost transparency. Candidates for those posts should be drawn from among all Member States, including those that were the leading troop-contributing countries.
He also stressed the need to ensure the smooth implementation of the zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse and exploitation, as well as management and training programmes. Planning with a strategic vision would allow the reimbursement of troop and supply contributors in a timely manner. The General Assembly was the only forum that could provide policy guidance in the United Nations system. “The cause of peace brings us all together,” he said, stressing that the strategies and initiatives ultimately decided upon must benefit those that carried out the noble cause of peacekeeping.
HABIB MANSOUR ( Tunisia) said, given the ever-increasing involvement of the United Nations in conflicts around the world and the increasing complexity of mandating, managing and maintaining peacekeeping missions, the current session of the Special Committee was vitally important, especially as it sought to remedy some of the drawbacks that had been noted over the past two days. Here, it would be important to improve coordination among the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Department of Field Support and troop-contributing countries, who could provide a unique overview of the situation.
He went on to call for increased support for enhancing the capacities of, and cooperation with, the African Union. He also called for a reaffirmation of the Organization’s commitment to ensuring peace and security in Africa. On other matters, he said it was vital to ensure that the mandates of missions were clear and achievable, especially regarding the protection of civilians. Such mandates must also be flexible and adaptable to the current unstable security environment in some regions of the world. Tunisia, which had been supporting United Nations peacekeeping operations since the 1960s, would continue to do so, and would work through the Special Committee to ensure that the Organization’s efforts in that sphere were strengthened.
LUIS ENRIQUE CHÁVEZ (Peru) aligning himself with the Rio Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, welcomed the opportunity to discuss the issues brought up by the Brahimi report nine years ago. At the moment, Peru was participating in four peacekeeping missions in Africa and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). A Peruvian was currently heading the operation in Cyprus. Peru was guided by the belief in helping countries gain ownership over their peacekeeping needs, with full respect for national sovereignty. In addition, Peru believed that all cooperative arrangements in peacekeeping upheld the principles contained in Chapter VIII of the Charter, including in terms of their administration and funding.
He said peacekeeping existed alongside various tools for conflict prevention, such as the good offices function of the Secretary-General and the Peacebuilding Commission. Those other instruments should be kept in mind when deciding whether peacekeeping missions were needed or not, especially in places where there was not yet a peace to keep. In addition, the Security Council must take account of concerns from troop-contributing countries, so that it could craft realistic mandates and not raise expectations that were beyond the Organization’s ability to deliver. Council resolution 1840 (2008), in which the Council decided to move ahead with the reconfiguration of MINUSTAH and called for a framework to evaluate progress, was a good example to follow.
He noted that the Special Committee was useful as a forum where troop-contributing countries, the Security Council, donors and the Secretariat could hold dialogues on peacekeeping. Discussions in the forum should be substantive and comprehensive, and should tackle matters such as, among others: the gap between mandate and resources; ways to bridge gaps in understanding between Headquarters and the field; issues of troop security and protection of civilians; doctrines that had not been discussed at the intergovernmental level; the Council’s views; and the views of those involved in the conflict, as well as of countries in the region in question. He also stressed the importance of a clear chain of command, better management of operations, and the introduction of effective controls for procurement. Other issues included the possibility of a rapid response capability, troop discipline and a review of compensation and claims policies.
JOSÉ LUIS CANCELA ( Uruguay) said this session of the Special Committee was taking place during challenging times, as the costs of peacekeeping missions had increased, mission mandates were becoming more complex and peacekeeping troops and workers faced more threats in the field than ever. The Special Committee, indeed, played a “special” role as an inclusive deliberative body that could influence development on the main issues that affected peacekeeping operations.
While he welcomed the ongoing initiatives in other forums to review the Organization’s peacekeeping architecture, he emphasized that the Special Committee’s views must be included in the broader discussions. Further, those discussions should also include the voices of the troop-contributing countries, which could provide a unique outlook, especially their on-the-ground experiences in peacekeeping arenas and in training peacekeeping troops. He said the Secretariat should also work harder to address the lack of developing country representation at the managerial level in the Organization’s peacekeeping architecture.
Continuing, he said Uruguay was the second largest troop-contributor to MINUSTAH. His country was working alongside the Haitian Government to finally bring stability to that country, and he looked forward to the upcoming visit by Security Council members, which was certain to further clarify the way forward. Uruguay was also actively participating in the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), he added.
Turning to “more practical matters”, he noted that Uruguay was among those troop-contributing countries experiencing delays in reimbursement for supplies and services. Such delays seriously impacted developing countries like Uruguay, which were often already coping with limited resources to address their development needs and activities. Finally, he stressed that the Special Committee must also carry out an operational discussion of the implementation of civilian protection mandates in the field. He appreciated the level of participation in a workshop his delegation had led on that issue in the run-up to the Special Committee’s session, and looked forward to further discussions in the near future.
YUN YONG IL (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said nothing was more urgent than putting an end to wars. Despite an increase in peacekeeping operations, both in number and in scope, conflicts continued unabated. Of great concern were the series of attacks in which United Nations peacekeepers and officials were being targeted.
He said there was a need to tackle the root causes of conflict, since there could not be a durable peace without it. Some root causes lay in the mindset and confrontational policies that had their start during the cold war era. In addition, United Nations peacekeeping activities should be conducted on the basis of full respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and to the guiding principles of peacekeeping. If peacekeeping missions were decided in terms of the interests of a few countries, and if they were used as a way to interfere in another’s internal affairs, they were sure to aggravate conflicts. For that reason, it was important to consider the position of all parties to a conflict where peacekeeping was concerned, and that efforts be carried out in an impartial manner. There needed to be a review of peacekeeping operations that did not seem to contribute much to ending a conflict.
He then drew attention to the establishment of the “UN Command” in South Korea that was set up illegally by the United States in 1950, which received neither instruction nor financial assistance from the Untied Nations. The Command was totally out of the control of the United Nations, but remained in South Korea more than half a century after the Korean War. The “UN Command” was nothing but the “US Command”. The United States seemed adamant in maintaining “UN Command”. He reiterated that the United Nations Command in South Korea must be dismantled, in accordance with a resolution adopted by the Assembly at its thirtieth session.
Right of Reply
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of the Republic of Korea then spoke to correct what he called a distortion of facts by the representative of the Democratic Republic of Korea. In its resolutions 84 and 88 (1950), the Security Council had recognized “UN Command” as an entity to carry out functions related to the maintenance of peace on the Korean peninsula, as entrusted by the United Nations. In 1975, the General Assembly passed resolution 3390 A and B, by which the parties were urged to negotiate a new arrangement to replace the 1953 Military Armistice Agreement. That new arrangement had yet to be realized.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said Security Council resolution 84 (1950) did not provide any provision for creating a United Nations Command, but simply mentioned a “unified command” under United States auspices. It had no validity. It was in contravention to paragraph 3 of Article 27 of United Nations Charter, which demanded the approval of all five permanent members of the Council.
As for Security Council resolution 88 (1950), he said it was “cooked up” by the United States. Individual States should not be allowed to use the United Nations flag for their own purpose. The United Nations Command received neither instruction nor assistance from the United Nations. It did not comply with the provisions of the Charter. The United Nations Command was illegal and an anachronistic mechanism. Its withdrawal was a better guarantee for sustainable peace.
As for General Assembly resolution 3390, he said it urged that the United Nations Command be dissolved, according to the situation on the Korean peninsula. That resolution had considered it necessary to dissolve the Command and withdraw all foreign troops from South Korea, in order for peaceful reunification between the two countries to take place. Moreover, a declaration signed by both sides in 2007 opened the way for the Korean people to pursue reunification without foreign interference. He expressed regret that South Korea had tried to justify the legality of the United Nations Command.
He said the Republic of Korea, in disregard of the principles of the relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, aimed to keep United States troops stationed at the United Nations Command so that foreign forces ‑- not the Korean people themselves ‑- could resolve problems facing the Korean peninsula.
Responding, the representative of the Republic of Korea said that, unlike the “false allegations” levelled by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Security Council’s resolutions had clearly allowed the use of the United Nations flag at the United Nations Command. It was regrettable that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was using the forum provided by the Special Committee to raise the issue. He would remind that delegate that the Special Committee was a forum for a comprehensive review of all matters related to peacekeeping, not one to “air ill-intended political propaganda”. He was “sorry and saddened” that the Special Committee’s precious time was being “wasted meaninglessly” by the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said that, as he had already explained, the Security Council’s resolution contravened Article 27 of the Charter. That was why it had no validity. Moreover, it was already an established fact that the United Nations Command had been set up illegally and was not even considered a United Nations entity. He regretted that the Republic of Korea tried to justify the existence of the Command. Finally, he said that the Special Committee was indeed the forum to address such an issue, as it bore on peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. “The United Nations Command must be dismantled,” he said, calling on the Republic of Korea to implement the Joint Declarations signed in 2000 and 2007.
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