|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6153rd Meeting (AM & PM)
top peacekeeping officials brief Security Council on need to strengthen links
between organization, contributors of military, police forces
Under-Secretaries-General Unveil Initiative to Help Form New ‘Partnership Agenda’
With demand for United Nations peacekeeping continuing to grow, conflict situations becoming more complex and resources more scarce, the success of current and future operations depended on strengthening relationships between the Organization and its Member States, especially those providing troops and police, senior peacekeeping officials told the Security Council today.
Calling for a new partnership to ensure the requisite support and resources, Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said: “When all the partners are strongly united behind a peacekeeping operation, it sends an unequivocal signal of international commitment which reinforces the authority of the Security Council and the credibility and effectiveness of any individual operation.”
Briefing the Council with Susana Malcorra, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Mr. Le Roy said the theme of today’s meeting -- “The relationship between the Council and the police and troop-contributing countries” -- reflected the central fact that United Nations peacekeeping was a global partnership that brought together the Council’s legal and political authority with the essential personnel, material and finances of the Member States. “It also draws together the Secretariat ‑‑ which must plan and manage the operations ‑‑ and the leaders and people of host countries, whose ongoing commitment to peace is perhaps the single most important factor,” he said. “Each one of the partners brings a vital contribution to peacekeeping,” he added.
“Each depends on the other. Together, the partnership brings UN peacekeeping its strengths of legitimacy, burden-sharing, adaptability and reach, he said,” cautioning, however that if one element of the partnership was weak, the entire project was weak. “Therefore, any efforts to strengthen peacekeeping must be holistic and comprehensive.” In the current global environment, financial constraints required a review of the basic models of peacekeeping. The costs, troop numbers and capability requirements could not all continue to rise indefinitely. “And there is no sign that demand is decreasing.”
The Departments for Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support were working jointly on New Horizon, an initiative to help form a new “Partnership Agenda” for peacekeeping, he said. “The objective is to arrive at a set of achievable immediate, medium- and long-term goals to help configure UN peacekeeping to better meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges,” he added.
He said the initiative focused on critical peacekeeping tasks and functions requiring a renewed consensus on issues such as the role of peacekeepers in delivering on the civilian protection mandate; measures to improve mission design, resourcing and deployment; proposals on assessing and building the capacities needed for future peacekeeping; and a strategy to create a stronger, more flexible support system. He added that as mandates grew more demanding and dangerous, a strong sense of common purpose and close linkage between the Council’s intent and what troop and police contributors were ready to deliver was essential.
Turning to another critical concern, he said that, out of necessity, stakeholders had focused force generation on numbers rather than the capabilities necessary to fulfil the mandate of a certain mission, citing the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) as a vivid example. The exercise must shift the focus to operational requirements and how to better generate capabilities, rather than just numbers. “We need to jointly identify the type of capacity required, including agreed minimum standards for troops and police carrying out UN peacekeeping while also delivering essential improvements to the UN training system.” The new partnership agenda would require cooperation with the Council and other key stakeholders. “Together we must set the agenda for the peacekeeping of tomorrow.”
Ms. Malcorra noted that the past decade had seen several useful innovations, including the creation of Strategic Deployment Stocks that allowed the United Nations to equip and supply missions more quickly than before, and the establishment of a peacekeeping reserve to allow for “commitment authority” of up to $50 million in advance of a Security Council mandate. “But both these innovations are not calibrated to the current demands,” she pointed out. “Their ceilings remain static while the overall peacekeeping budgets have more than tripled.”
She echoed the need for a new agenda for partnership, stating that “more of the same” simply would not do. “We envisage a more nuanced, targeted approach ‑‑ with elements of mission support provided globally, others from a regional centre and others at the level of the individual mission. The current model of full-support components for each and every mission needs to be re-visited.”
Among other things, she cited the need to explore options that would lead to, among others, “a lighter mission footprint”, faster turnaround without compromising accountability and oversight, greater use of local staff and local suppliers, and revisiting the current contingent-owned equipment model, including rates of reimbursement.
She went on to say that one way to build capability and performance without increasing the in-mission headcount was to invest more in technology-driven solutions, such as better information analysis, improved communications and higher-performing equipment, among other things. There was also a need to develop a truly global and mobile workforce that would be faster, have more targeted recruitment, better skills and career-development options, and greater agility across functions and locations.
Among other speakers taking the floor was Council President Baki İlkin of Turkey, who spoke in his national capacity, highlighting the challenges facing United Nations peacekeeping, including financial shortfalls, shortages of military and other personnel, and general overstretch. He said the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) had approved a peacekeeping budget of some $8 billion, a record amount set during a time when other crises, including the ongoing economic slowdown, were straining global capabilities and exerting pressures on efforts to maintain complex and long-running missions.
“We definitely need a compass setting out the agreed and achievable goals and a collective determination of the future of UN peacekeeping,” he said. Implementing reforms, generating resources, building up the necessary capabilities and developing effective partnerships among all stakeholders, as well as improving inter-operability, had turned out to be essential to that end. More rapid and flexible peacekeeping operations required institutional and operational reforms to command-and-control mechanisms, procurement and supply systems.
However, Pakistan’s representative said that, while efforts to reform United Nations peacekeeping activities were clearly under way, Member States had not yet had the opportunity to fully and properly assess and review the results or impact of that exercise. “We do not have a clear idea of how effectively the new mechanisms and structures are performing,” he said, adding that, in the meantime, new plans by some Member States and the Secretariat continued to be put forward.
Pakistan’s preliminary analysis of such initiatives was that, while they could become catalysts for discussion, they presented little new by way of dealing with the major lingering issues or challenges, he said. Pakistan, the Organization’s largest troop contributor, wondered whether that was a question of exposing the limitations of past reforms or one of fully implementing them through a sustained effort. If Member States regarded peacekeeping as an indispensable instrument, then they should all take a strategic decision to support it fully and wholeheartedly, with the political will to ensure burden-sharing and pooling of resources, and equitable decision-making to ensure its success.
Agreeing, Nigeria’s representative said Member States needed to forge a consensus on strategies to address such challenges as gaps between mandates, inadequate planning, fluid exit strategies and imprecise relationships between troop-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Council. It was imperative to involve troop contributors from the conception and resolution-drafting stages of an operation to its deployment and final exit, she said. In addition, resource constraints dampened the morale and enthusiasm of peacekeepers and the political will of troop contributors.
Furthermore, it was important to ensure adequate and predictable resources to accomplish mandated tasks, she continued. Adequate pre-deployment training should be a prerequisite to the successful implementation of any mandate. Nigeria supported intensified dialogue and consultations involving the Fifth Committee, the Peacebuilding Commission, the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and the Security Council Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations in order to overcome some of the clearly delineated challenges facing United Nations peacekeeping.
Other speakers today were the representatives of France, Austria, Japan, Uganda, Burkina Faso, China, Mexico, United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Libya, United States, Russian Federation, Viet Nam, Croatia, Canada, Italy, Brazil, Jordan, Morocco (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Czech Republic (on behalf of the European Union), Rwanda, Spain, India, Republic of Korea, Ghana, Nepal, Germany, Egypt, Bangladesh and Uruguay.
Also addressing the Council was the Political Affairs Adviser in the Office of the Permanent Observer of the African Union.
The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and suspended at 1:15. Resuming at 3:05 p.m. it ended at 5:30 p.m.
The Security Council met this morning to take up matters relating to United Nations peacekeeping operations.
BAKI İLKIN (Turkey), President of the Council, said in opening the meeting that his delegation had proposed the debate during such a busy month as part of the Organization’s ongoing effort to review and enhance its peacekeeping strategies, and in the ambit of the ongoing reform of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Reforms could only be carried out in an atmosphere of mutual, transparent and interactive dialogue.
Expressing his delegation’s satisfaction with the attendance of the major contributors of troops, police and financing to United Nations peacekeeping operations, he reminded the Council that many efforts were under way in various forums to enhance peace operations, including the Secretariat-level New Horizon initiative. Hopefully today’s debate would inform such discussions with the aim of strengthening and enhancing the Organization’s peace operations.
ALAIN LE ROY, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said the theme of today’s meeting ‑‑ “The relationship between the Council and the police and troop-contributing countries” ‑‑ reflected the central fact that United Nations peacekeeping was a global partnership that brought together the Council’s legal and political authority with the essential personnel, material and finances of the Member States. It also drew together the Secretariat, which must plan and manage the operations, and the leaders and peoples of the host countries, whose ongoing commitment to peace was perhaps the single most important factor. It also drew together the entire United Nations system with the broad range of regional and multilateral organizations that worked alongside the Organization.
“Each one of the partners brings a vital contribution to peacekeeping,” he said. “Each depends on the other. Together, the partnership brings UN peacekeeping its strengths of legitimacy, burden-sharing, adaptability and reach.” When all those partners were strongly united behind a peacekeeping operation, it sent an unequivocal sight of international commitment, which reinforced the authority of the Security Council and the credibility and effectiveness of any individual operation. Of course, if one element of the partnership was weak, the entire project was weak, he cautioned, adding, “Therefore, any efforts to strengthen peacekeeping must be holistic and comprehensive.”
The Organization could not advance new concepts, such as formed police units, without an ongoing dialogue with contributing countries as to the tasks that they would carry out and the standards they must maintain, he said. There were critical political connections between mandates, planning, budgets and force generation, all of which were addressed in different forums of the United Nations. Commitments in one forum needed to be translated into resources in others, and support on the ground, he said. Such interdependence meant that “we need strong frameworks for communication and dialogue to reach a common, shared assessment of the challenges and potential for peacekeeping”.
He said peacekeeping today was five times larger than it had been following the release of the Brahimi report nearly a decade ago, said, pointing out the greater complexity of today’s mandates and the lack of consensus on how certain tasks should be fulfilled. There were political differences as to the overall goals and direction of a number of missions, while limited consent from key parties hampered a number of others, he said, stressing also that needed capabilities, such as helicopters, were not available in sufficient quantity. “Our logistical and administrative systems are overstretched by the scale and tempo of operations in some of the world’s most difficult terrain […] and overarching all of this is the reality that, in the current global environment, financial constraints press us to review the basic models of peacekeeping.”
Costs, troop numbers and capability requirements could not continue to rise indefinitely, but in the meantime, there was no sign that demand for United Nations peacekeeping was decreasing, he said. On the contrary, factors such as environmental shocks, transboundary organized crime and extremism might well contribute to political instability and lead to new demands. “This means the peacekeeping partnership has to be broad and strong, in terms of the participants and their contributions, as well as deep, in terms of its consensus and unity of purpose.” Aside from peacekeeping, the full spectrum of responses must be available to the international community, including prevention, mediation and multinational force deployments.
Going on to highlight the priorities of such a new partnership agenda, he said the Department of Peacekeeping Operations/Department of Field Support New Horizon initiative, the agenda’s linchpin, aimed to arrive at a set of achievable, immediate, medium- and long-term goals to help configure United Nations peacekeeping to better meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. The Council had already received an executive brief of a non-paper to be released in July, which focused on critical peacekeeping functions requiring renewed consensus; measures to improve mission design, resourcing and deployment; proposals on assessing and building the capabilities needed for future peacekeeping; and a strategy to create a stronger, more flexible support system.
Focusing on a few of those issues, he said there was a need for a clearer consensus on the role of peacekeepers in delivering on the civilian protection mandate. There was also a need to establish a common understanding of the political, strategic, and operational aspects of “robust peacekeeping”, building on discussions currently under way among Member States. As mandates grew more demanding and dangerous, a strong sense of common purpose and close linkage between the Council’s intent and what troop and police contributors were ready to deliver was essential. As the number of mandated tasks grew, greater clarity would also be needed on the extent of the peacebuilding activities that peacekeeping missions should carry out and the resources required for that. Security-sector reform and strengthened rule of law were essential in helping to develop national capacity in host countries, in forming an important part of the exit strategy and in helping host countries rebuild the institutions that would allow them to exercise their own sovereignty.
With respect to the design, resourcing and deployment of missions, he emphasized the need to ensure sustained political support, and underscored the critical importance of an active, functioning political process to address the conflict. “Where our peacekeeping operations are struggling, it is usually the case that there is a lack of an inclusive peace process. Darfur illustrates this point,” he said, stressing that, no matter how well trained and specialized United Nations peacekeepers might be they could not be successful in the absence of a viable peace process. One way of contributing to such sustained support was through informal coalitions of Member States focused on providing political and materiel support through the life individual missions.
On building future capacity, he said too many peace missions lacked critical capabilities, noting that troops in dangerous environments lacked the information and mobility critical to force protection and mandate implementation. “I believe a priority will be to agree on the nature of capabilities required for modern peacekeeping […] there must also be sufficient incentives to allow UN peacekeeping to obtain these.” Peacekeepers operated simultaneously in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the deserts of Chad and Darfur, and urban centres such as the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. Different capabilities were needed in each setting, and there was a need to review the reimbursement procedure for contingent-owned equipment so as to ensure it reflected today’s reality.
“Out of necessity, we have focused our force generation on numbers rather than what capabilities have been needed to fulfil the mandate of a certain mission,” he continued, citing the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) as a vivid example. Stakeholders must shift their focus to operational requirements and how to better generate capabilities, not just numbers. “We need to jointly identify the type of capacity required, including agreed minimum standards for troops and police carrying out UN peacekeeping while also delivering essential improvements to the UN training system.”
One critical goal of the overall strategy to ensure peacekeeping had the capacities it needed was to expand the base of troop- and police-contributing countries, he said. There must be more equal burden-sharing throughout the United Nations system, and the Secretariat must also ensure that it addressed outstanding command-and-control questions that potential troop- and police-contributing countries might have.
While it was clear that United Nations peacekeeping was the instrument of a hyper-operational Organization, its support systems had not caught up to that new reality, he said. “We have to make adjustments in how we support our missions to increase flexibility and efficiency,” he said in reference to field support. The new partnership agenda would require cooperation with the Council and other key stakeholders. “Together we must set the agenda for the peacekeeping of tomorrow.”
SUSANA MALCORRA, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, said the “New Horizon” initiative was a joint exercise between her own Department and that of Peacekeeping Operations, with the two fully in sync. The broad strategic outlines of the initiative would have major implications for the support side over the next three to five years. A new agenda for partnership was needed to address problems in delivering increasingly complex and varied mandates in difficult, often isolated and inhospitable locations, and innovations to the support model could not move ahead without the full engagement and buy-in of Member States.
“We are not starting from scratch,” she stressed, elaborating on the broad support implications of the initiative, while noting that the past decade had seen several useful innovations in peacekeeping tools and systems. They included the 2002 creation of the Strategic Deployment Stocks, which allowed missions to be equipped and supplied more quickly than before, and the establishment of a peacekeeping reserve to allow for “commitment authority” of up to $50 million in advance of a Security Council mandate. Yet neither innovation was calibrated to current demands and their ceilings remained static while overall peacekeeping budgets had more than tripled. More of the same simply would not do.
She said a more nuanced, targeted approach was envisaged, with some mission-support elements provided globally, some from a regional centre and others at the level of individual missions. The current model whereby each and every mission had a full support component should be revisited. Options for consideration should lead to: a lighter mission footprint; faster turnaround without compromising accountability and oversight; smarter deployment within security ceilings, with more favourable substantive/support staff ratios; greater use of local staff and local suppliers; development/continuity of staff/ professional expertise in safer, more stable locations; creation of centres of excellence; decision-making and supply closer to the point of delivery; and revisiting the current contingent-owned equipment model, including rates of reimbursement.
It was becoming increasing important to calibrate support to the different stages of the mission life cycle, with different deployment and staffing priorities, as well as equipment and financing needs, she continued, adding that specific support challenges in the start-up had been identified. But even if such improvements were introduced, the Department would still face a system of financing approvals and procurement timelines that limited rapid deployment. Possible ways to address that included: pre-positioned stocks and turn-key service contracts; modular approaches; fast-track, standardized resourcing approaches for a mission’s first year of operation; greater financial flexibility; and more asset-sharing between missions, particularly in the area of aviation.
She went on to say that one way to build capability and performance without increasing the in-mission headcount was to invest more in technology-driven solutions, such as better information analysis, improved communications and higher-performing equipment, among other things. There was also a need to develop a truly global and mobile workforce that was faster, had more targeted recruitment, better skills and career development options, and greater agility across functions and locations. The Department would be developing those themes in the support strategy on which it was working. Following an informal exchange of views with delegates at the end of May, a departmental team was now “drilling down to the detail”, examining the costs and benefits, with a view to sharing a more comprehensive set of proposals in the next session of the General Assembly. It would be a major proposal presented alongside the peacekeeping budget.
JEAN-MAURICE RIPERT (France), associating himself with the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union, reiterated his country’s suggestion that the two Departments should submit a regular report on both the operational and financing levels. In the three-pillar initiative launched with the United Kingdom, France had called for further improvements in establishing mandates and setting objectives and benchmarks for measuring success in peacekeeping operations. There was also a need to improve command-and-control systems, as well as those for planning and follow-up. It was also important that the Council hold regular meetings with the Military Staff Committee with the involvement of troop-contributing countries. The United Nations should be ready to carry out robust operations and it would be wrong to deny the Organization such capabilities.
Noting that his country was the fifth largest financial contributor, with 200,000 blue helmets, he called for the incorporation of civilian protection in peacekeeping operations. The United Nations must protect those lives since it was on that basis that the Organization would be judged. Internal mission structures must, therefore, be adapted to their mandates. Pointing to the establishment of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), he said a major effort must be made in the context of mandates in the early stages of peacekeeping. Establishing levels of priority was particularly important. A coherent approach was absolutely crucial and must be borne in mind when considering every Mission.
Stressing the need for better resources, as well as improved and more economical costing, he said the New Horizon initiative was of key importance in an overall environment of tension and general troop shortages. Underlining the European Union’s efforts to help the African Union, he said further training was needed, as was the participation of staff who could speak local languages, particularly in French-speaking areas. The establishment of reserves and flexibility in financing should be encouraged where viable. France was resolved to continue with the three-pillar initiative and trusted that general guidelines would be adopted in August, during the United Kingdom’s presidency of the Council.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING (Austria), voicing his delegation’s support for the ongoing focus on peacekeeping reform, noted that it had already witnessed the first changes in the Council’s approach to mandate extensions, including the more systematic use of benchmarks and progress monitoring. Austria had also studied the executive summary of the New Horizons non-paper, which identified key challenges facing United Nations peacekeepers, and looked forward to further details of that most timely initiative. While the Brahimi report remained relevant nearly 10 years on, some of its core issues should perhaps be revisited.
He said that, as a long-standing contributor to peacekeeping operations, his country supported initiatives aimed at improving the Council’s cooperation with troop- and police-contributing countries. Austria called for greater participation by those contributors when the Council was planning or reviewing peacekeeping mandates. Clear and achievable mandates were of key importance to the success of United Nations peace operations and their formulation must take into account all available tools and be based on needs assessment. Given the unprecedented expansion of United Nations peacekeeping and the limits of human and financial resource, other available options for responding to conflicts, especially preventive action, must be considered very seriously.
Lessons learned and the experience of various missions on the ground, particularly national contingents, could provide the Council with comprehensive information for its deliberations on the review and extension of mandates, he said. The early and consistent involvement of force commanders, as well as police and troop contributors, would help create common understanding and trust, as well as increased willingness to effectively implement the mandates adopted by the Council. While the Council bore the main responsibility for crafting achievable mandates, troop and police contributors, as well as other actors, were responsible for delivering on the ground and must, therefore, be given an adequate hearing.
He said that, during last Friday’s debate on civilian protection, his country had reiterated its support for the strengthening of protection mandates in peacekeeping operations. Their role in ensuring physical protection, especially of women and children, was of utmost importance. Their contribution to the promotion of human rights and the strengthening of the rule of law, as well as the increased role of women in peace processes, peacebuilding and the fight against impunity were invaluable. The independent study commissioned by the Peacekeeping Department and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on protection mandates in peace operations would make important recommendations and add to the overall reform of United Nations peacekeeping operations.
NORIHIRO OKUDA (Japan), welcoming the New Horizon initiative, said his country had three observations on the issue of mandate implementation. First, there should be a common and clear understanding among all stakeholders ‑‑ including major troop- and police-contributing countries, countries in the region and host nations ‑‑ of the tasks given to a mission and the extent to which they were expected to be achieved. Realistic evaluation of the situation in the field was of key importance in formulating a realistic mandate, as seen in Timor-Leste, where the views of countries with direct and broad contact with that country had been highly valuable.
Second, complex and robust peacekeeping mandates required more capable, well-trained troops, he said. Indeed, the quality of personnel was more important than their numbers, and for that reason, the contributor base should be broadened. It was also necessary that the international community further develop the training of troops in a coordinated manner. Japan was working with training centres in Africa to build the capacity of the continent’s forces. Even though they were under United Nations command, the engagement and oversight of the troop-contributing countries over their contingents was essential and should entail the political commitment of those countries to the host nation.
Lastly, he said gaps between expectations and implementation, particularly in the area of civilian protection, could quickly disappoint and undermine the Organization’s credibility, which would in turn make the implementation of assigned mandates more difficult. To avoid that downward spiral, it would be useful to establish a common understanding among relevant partners, including the local population, about the role of peacekeepers on the ground. Sufficient attention to returning to normal life through the early restoration of socio-economic stability would help alleviate any building frustration. The international community should also strive to make accurate assessments of developments on the ground so as to avoid arriving at premature decisions regarding a mission’s mandate and work.
He said that his country, in its capacity as Chair of the Council’s Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations, would spare no effort to facilitate an exchange of views among all stakeholders in order to arrive at workable solutions to current challenges. Recent discussions had focused on formulating a clear and achievable mandate and the provision of necessary resources, the importance of political mandates setting conditions for mission activities, implementing complex mandates such as civilian protection, planning the whole mission cycle, and reviewing the posture of United Nations peacekeeping from a broader, more holistic perspective. Japan was preparing an interim report on those discussions which it would submit to the Council next month.
RUHAKANA RUGUNDA (Uganda) said the number and scope of peacekeeping operations was now stretching capacity, and for many people, the arrival of United Nations peacekeepers, whether or not there was a mission on the ground, played a big role in restoring hope. Many peace missions had been able to live up to those expectations while others had not. Where they had not been successful, they had been overwhelmed by their tasks, and lacked assets, troops or resolve. Overall, unsuccessful missions had lacked a holistic approach to handling specific challenges. The result had been a population with mixed feelings of frustration and often hostility towards the United Nations.
It was, therefore, clear that it was time for a “reality check” so the Organization could learn lessons from the past and build a better future for peacekeeping, he said. Among other things, there was a need for greater and better coordination between the Council, troop- and police-contributing countries, and those facing risks. There was a need for a common understanding of what United Nations peace operations were and what peacekeepers were mandated to do. The Council had been mandating ever more robust missions, of which MONUC was a prime example. There, in addition to traditional duties, peacekeepers where charged with, among other things, monitoring political processes, training law enforcement and disarming foreign combatants, as well as promoting human rights and the rule of law.
Given those challenges, the Council should consider the degree of robustness required of modern United Nations peace missions, as well as the extent of civilian protection initiatives, he said. That would require a clear understating of the situation on the ground before mandates were designed. Clear exit strategies must also be laid out. The Council must also ensure a strong understanding between troop- and police-contributing countries about what was required of peacekeepers and what tasks they would fulfil on the ground. The Council should also expand its working relationships with partners on the regional and subregional levels so as to take advantage of their capacities. It was now clear that no single entity, not even the United Nations, could tackle peacekeeping on its own. The Organization should, therefore, take advantage of the strengths of regional organizations, especially the African Union.
MICHEL KAFANDO (Burkina Faso) said the United Nations should have the tools to perform the task of maintaining international peace and security as effectively as possible, and the Brahimi report was a fundamental document in that respect. However, as time passed, there was a need to give new thought to addressing new challenges. Welcoming the increasing number of Member States getting involved, particularly as troop contributors, he said it was of paramount importance that the Organization be able to mobilize, in good time, as many troops as necessary. All Member States should be able to contribute, as peacekeeping was a collective responsibility, but at present, there was a gap between realities on the ground and the mandates given to missions.
Missions needed realistic mandates and rules of engagement, as well as sufficient deterrent capacity to ensure the success of their operations, he said. With better trained troops and mandates, he said, the Organization would be able to attain short-term goals, but there was also a development aspect, because it was not possible to ensure the durability of the process without addressing the root causes of conflicts. Encouraging the strengthening of partnerships between the United Nations and the African Union, in particular, he called also for the strengthening of the regional body’s capacity.
He said he was disturbed by attempts to impose certain subjective criteria for closing missions, noting that early withdrawal could be costly and sometimes tragic. Financing should be provided for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration. There was also a need for greater efforts to prevent conflicts from breaking out. Mediation and early warning systems were very important in that regard. Troop contributors, the Secretariat, regional organizations and financial partners all had a part to play, and it was important to reduce the gap in communications among all those players, and to involve them at all stages. That would help strengthen trust and enhance the effectiveness of United Nations action.
LIU ZHENMIN (China) said United Nations peace missions now covered traditional tasks, as well as peacebuilding and human rights. As such, the Council must continue to monitor and coordinate the participation of all relevant partners in reforming peacekeeping. Indeed, the effort must be to ensure the overall strategic design and planning of mandates. The Council must also take into account the need for early warning measures and political processes, and ensure there was a peace to keep on the ground.
The Council must also explore other preventive measures, especially given the rising costs of peace missions and the deepening global economic and financial crisis, he said. China also emphasized the need to enhance capacity to raise personnel and equipment in a timely manner. “This is key to the success of United Nations peacekeeping missions,” he said, encouraging more Member States to participate in peacekeeping missions, while at the same time calling on the United Nations to step up its effort to bolster national-level training capacities.
He went on to urge the Council to promote the strengthening of the African Union’s capacity and to enhance its cooperation with that regional body. The Council should also ensure that all its peacekeeping operations adhered to the principle of impartiality. Missions must also be properly managed and have targeted mandates. Furthermore, there was a need to strengthen coordination between Headquarters and field operations. China had always participated actively in United Nations peace operations and supported reasonable reforms. It remained ready to work with others in that regard.
CLAUDE HELLER (Mexico) said special attention should be given to the proposed establishment of a new partnership agenda to strengthen the unity and cohesion of various actors, ensure greater credibility for the missions themselves and strengthen their capacity. In the past, Mexico had drawn attention to the need to identify good practices, given the greater complexity of peacekeeping challenges. Among the main aspects of peacekeeping were centralizing decision-making on the establishment of missions, ensuring leadership in order to determine success, and seeking collective approaches, based on greater coordination. Protecting civilians was also a priority, as was the need to establish greater coordination.
Underscoring the importance of including troop-contributing countries in decision-making while incorporating their knowledge, experiences and practices, he said the current structures and mechanisms for dialogue should be assessed. As the largest Latin American contributor to United Nations peacekeeping, Mexico found merit in the proposal to request the Secretary-General to establish a support mechanism for dialogue with troop-contributing countries within the Secretariat, which could provide support for the process prior to the establishment of specific mandates. It would be also useful to enhance the participation of the Peacekeeping Department and troop-contributing countries in analysing Council-authorized mandates, allowing for timely review of the achievements and challenges of each mission.
The complexity of peacekeeping operations underlined the need to seek flexibility and complementarity among various bodies, he added. In the future, those who contributed through such activities as building of hospitals, support for electoral processes and training could be included. It was important to take advantage of those experiences in designing operations. It was also crucial to enhance dialogue with major financial contributors. In the midst of a global financial crisis, ensuring financial commitments was of ever greater importance. To ensure the credibility and legitimacy of the United Nations, it was necessary to establish peacekeeping operations with proper financial and military resources to fully comply with their mandates.
JOHN SAWERS (United Kingdom) said his delegation supported a new effort to ensure a meaningful dialogue involving the Council, the Secretariat and police- and troop-contributing countries. That would ensure, among all relevant actors, full understanding of the goals of peace missions, more coherent and integrated mission planning and the best use of resources. On the joint United Kingdom-French initiative to improve the Council’s approach to its overall peacekeeping activities, he said progress had been made to ensure the Council was doing its part in managing United Nations peace operations. The goal of that discussion was not to infringe on the wider debate regarding peacekeeping operations, which remained the prerogative of the General Assembly. All bodies of the Organization should work to ensure the best results possible, he stressed.
The evolving nature of peacekeeping called for more comprehensive use of the meetings and structures established by earlier Security Council resolutions, he said, adding that the thematic challenges facing peacekeeping required greater clarity on what could be expected in respect of civilian protection. To that end, the United Kingdom hoped civilian protection could be discussed during the next session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. He also stressed the importance of devoting more attention to peacebuilding efforts. Indeed, if the Council was to achieve the national ownership it sought, all actors must strive to ensure that peacebuilding initiatives, particularly those driven by local assets, were in place at the start of a mission.
CHRISTIAN GUILLERMET (Costa Rica) said the Council’s relationship with troop and police contributors had been discussed for more than 15 years, but the level of interaction was still very limited. There was a large gap between the Council, the contributors, the Secretariat and even host countries, though effective interaction was a crucial element of success on the ground. To strengthen that partnership, there was a need for proactive and specific action.
Underlining the importance of changing the Council’s exclusive institutional culture, he said ensuring full compliance with existing standards would continue to be a priority for his country, as would promoting steps to increase the quality of interaction. Costa Rica hoped that one of the results of the United Kingdom-France initiative would be a deepening of interaction among all actors. Costa Rica also viewed positively the efforts by Japan, as Chair of the Working Group on Peacekeeping. Similar meetings would be useful on each specific mission before a mandate renewal was considered.
Noting that the Secretariat could play an important role, he said the Group of Experts on the Protection of Civilians had interacted with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs prior to mandate negotiations though similar interaction was lacking with such entities as the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support. Strengthening relations among the main players was everyone’s responsibility. The Secretariat must provide timely information, especially in the times of crisis, and that information should be shared with all Council members, not only the permanent ones.
Host countries should also take advantage of the Council’s public meetings to make their views known, he said, emphasizing the important roles of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and the Fifth Committee. More substantive interaction among all actors would enable the Council to take better decisions and guarantee more effective implementation of its decisions on the ground. It would also increase confidence and strengthen the partnership that supported and legitimized peacekeeping.
Calling for more creativity in preventing and resolving conflicts, he thanked the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support for sharing the principal points of the New Horizon initiative document, saying he looked forward to receiving proposals on strategies to support peacekeeping missions. Costa Rica agreed on the urgent need to build consensus on such policies as civilian protection. The country had long advocated the need to begin a process to define clear and realistic guidelines and training requirements for such additional peacekeeping tasks.
IBRAHIM DABBASHI (Libya) said that, for the past 60 years, peacekeeping operations had been used, with diplomacy and peacebuilding, to ensure broad-based security and stability. Some missions had been outright successes, as in Burundi and Sierra Leone, while some had failed to secure stability and protect civilians in time. Despite that mixed picture, the demand for United Nations peacekeeping had continued to grow, leading to increased focus on adequate mission planning, civilian-protection mandates and the availability of resources. As reform of the Organization’s peace operations continued apace, Libya hoped to hear more about the New Horizon initiative and looked forward to an expanded open debate with troop- and police- contributing countries, as well as other Member States.
Calling for the expansion of the base of troop contributors by providing resources, among other means, he said missions must respect the principles of impartiality, sovereignty and non-use of force. The growing need for such operations required more coordination between the United Nations and regional-level actors, such as the African Union. That regional body had established a Peace and Security Council, which was a special mechanism to monitor peace and stability on the continent. Overall, peacekeeping mandates must include support for strengthening State institutions and security sectors, and shoring up justice and administrative sectors.
SUSAN RICE (United States) said it was clear that United Nations peacekeeping operations saved lives, stopped wars from escalating and spreading, and provided hope to countless civilian populations after decades of despair in such places as Sierra Leone, Haiti, Liberia, and others. But for all the good it did, United Nations peacekeeping faced serious challenges. Indeed, host countries warned that violence might return if missions left too soon. Civilians told of marauding gangs and rebel groups that were often quick to sweep in once peacekeepers withdrew. Troop- and police-contributing countries often complained of a gap between what was asked of them and their level of participation in the drafting of mandates. Meanwhile, Member States struggled with dwindling finances, especially in the face of the ongoing global recession.
Rather than ending when a mandate was outlined, that was when the Council’s responsibilities began, she said. It must, therefore, seek mandates that were credible and achievable, while continuing to weigh the full range of responses to challenges. Rebels and marauding gangs should not be allowed to thwart a mandate or block a United Nations deployment. Peacekeepers must be willing and able to carry out the mandates they had been given. At the same time, the Council must recognize challenges, since peacekeeping missions were not always the right answer. Indeed, regional groups or multinational forces operating under a lead nation might be better options. For example, it had been decided that Somalia was still not yet ripe for a United Nations mission, and the Council had, therefore, supported the African Union-led mission in that country, which urgently needed sustained, if not increased, international support.
Looking ahead, she said her country would strengthen its efforts, with the United Nations and others, to expand the pool of troop- and police-contributing countries. While that would require a lot of work, the United States was willing to consider directly providing more military observers, military and civilian staff officers and other personnel, including women, to United Nations peace operations. It was also prepared to generate the missing force capacity in UNAMID, the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINURCA) and MONUC to help ensure the protection of civilians in those respective difficult situations. In the meantime, it would continue its global training programme, which had thus far trained some 75,000 peacekeepers and facilitated the distribution of some 40,000 others to 29 operations around the world, mostly in Africa.
She said her country was also prepared to engage in longer-term discussions on rapidly deployable, brigade-sized forces that could help buy time for the United Nations in times of crisis. The United States would also participate more actively in discussions on renewing existing peacekeeping mandates and seek more comprehensive assessment of progress made. The United States planned to launch its new approach in September, within the framework of Council discussions on Liberia and Haiti. At the same time, the United States would not support arbitrary efforts to downsize or terminate missions before such action was warranted. It planned to keep an open mind about reform proposals, including the New Horizon initiative, but remained ready to work with the Council, Secretariat, troop contributors, peacekeepers and all other partners upon whom success depended.
KONSTANTIN DOLGOV (Russian Federation) said any reform should increase the effectiveness of peacekeeping and be carried out in accordance with the United Nations Charter and international law, while taking into account the Council’s primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. There was potential for reform, primarily in the areas of management and more effective use of regional organizations. Mandates must be clear, implementable and appropriate to the situation. There must be continued improvement in consultations with troop contributors and the Secretariat on all matters relating to peacekeeping, including the level of planning. He advocated greater use of the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations and called on troop-contributing countries to make more active use of the dialogue format already in place, to keep the Council and Secretariat informed of their assessment of operations under way. That dialogue should be a real two-way communication process.
The Council had a special responsibility to drawing up realistic mandates, he continued, saying such decisions should be based on prior agreement with potential contributors to ensure full staffing and speedy deployment. It was particularly important clearly to define functions in both peacekeeping and post-conflict situations. Peacekeepers should be involved only in the initial stages of reconstruction, and other relevant bodies, including the Peacebuilding Commission, regional organizations and bilateral donors at a later stage. There was a need to ensure the necessary level of military expertise and to involve military experts from Council members in reviewing mandates. Russia had consistently advocated making the Military Staff Committee more active. Its recommendations on operational aspects and in determining the readiness of contingents and infrastructure would provide the Council with reliable information and increase the military expertise of peacekeeping.
He went on to stress the Secretariat’s responsibility for improving the comprehensive planning of operations and coordination between Headquarters and the field, with special attention to improving day-to-day coordination within the Secretariat, while assuring a clear distribution of responsibilities and unified command-and-control. It was important to develop criteria for adjusting mandates, as well as mission deployment and drawdown. The Russian Federation agreed fully with the United States that it would be counter-productive to wind down operations too early. That key approach should be applied to all operations without exception. He also advocated using the expertise of regional organizations, provided their activities were in accordance with the Charter. Alongside traditional partners like the African Union and the European Union, it was important to build up relations with other regional partners, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
HOANG CHI TRUNG (Viet Nam) said that, with the annual peacekeeping budget exceeding $8 billion and the mounting pressure of the global financial crisis, missions had been forced to shoulder a daunting agenda of deploying at a rapid pace into remote areas, maintaining economies of scale, laying the groundwork for sustainable peace dividends and ensuring achievable mandates with clear benchmarks within specific timelines. In the meantime, looming gaps remained between those taking decisions and those implementing them; and those allocating resources and those implementing decisions on the ground, as well as recipient countries.
Calling on the Council, Secretariat and other stakeholders to engage in a thorough consideration of the New Horizon initiative, he said it was important to review existing practices and formulate a comprehensive strategy that would cut across the whole range of activities from concept design to proper planning; from objective analysis to formulation of clear and realistic mandates and provisions of commensurate resources.
Since the Brahimi report, he said, the Secretariat had undertaken a number of initiatives, and a good number of efforts were also under way among various bodies involved in decision-making, including the Fifth Committee, the Special Committee on Peacekeeping, the Peacebuilding Commission, United Nations agencies and programmes and the Working Group on Peacekeeping. Thus, it was fundamentally important to improve the coordination of those efforts to avoid duplication, share best practices and maximize complementarity.
He said reforms should be carried out in accordance with the Charter and universally recognized guidelines, including the consent of the parties, non-use of force except in self-defence, impartiality, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, and non-interference in their internal affairs. Troop- and police-contributing countries, most of which were non-aligned and developing countries, should be involved early and fully in the preparation, planning, monitoring, conduct and evaluation of operations.
It was crucial to strengthen the triangular communication among contributors of police and troops, the Council and the Secretariat, he said. Cooperation with regional and subregional organizations could bring added value if they had full understanding of the nature of the situation. It was also important to address the comprehensive political, security, economic and humanitarian dimensions of a given problem. In the final analysis, a lasting solution to a conflict implied the need to go beyond military and security measures, incorporating broader and more effective long-term responses to address the root causes of conflict and promote national ownership.
RANKO VILOVIĆ (Croatia) said traditional peacekeeping was becoming more robust and multidimensional in its approach. It was now often tasked with rebuilding societies from the ground up. Cognizant of that new reality and the need to ensure unity and coherence among all relevant actors, Croatia fully supported the principle that security, development and the protection of human rights should be the focus of all efforts by the United Nations. At the same time, missions must have targeted, clear and achievable mandates, as well as full support from all relevant actors.
The aim must be to help the countries concerned take over ownership of peace processes so that the international community could slowly withdraw, he said. Development ‑‑ civilian protection, security-sector reform, justice and administrative reform ‑‑ was crucial to the success of all peace missions. Meanwhile, troop- and police-contributing countries must be confident that their assets would be supported and their opinions taken into account. The United Nations must improve its cooperation and coordination with regional organizations such as the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
There had been much discussion of the differences between multidimensional and traditional peacekeeping, while very little had been said about preventive efforts, he noted. One example of such a mission was the United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP), which had been successful in preventing wide conflict in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia during a time of strife in the Balkan region. With that in mind, the Council must consider seriously whether prevention was better and how many lives and resources would be saved if it acted to prevent serious challenges to international peace and security.
Council President İLKIN (Turkey), speaking in his national capacity, said that, while it was preferable to prevent conflict by investing more in preventive efforts such as diplomacy, the need for peacekeeping operations in the real world would not cease to exist. Thus, in conjunction with efforts to better determine when and how best to authorize peacekeeping mandates, the Council must also ensure that the necessary political will and capabilities were in place.
The United Nations faced challenges, including financial shortfalls, shortages of military and other personnel, and general overstretch, he said, noting that the Fifth Committee had approved a peacekeeping budget of some $8 billion. That record amount had been set during a time when other crises, including the ongoing economic slowdown, were straining global capabilities and exerting pressures on efforts to maintain complex and long-running missions. Moreover, the pool of troops was also dwindling as the traditional troop-contributing countries faced increasing difficulties in providing the necessary capabilities. Those contributors were also growing increasingly uneasy with the way in which the Council mandated and ran peace operations.
On the way forward, he said: “We definitely need a compass setting out the agreed and achievable goals and a collective determination of the future of UN peacekeeping.” Implementing reforms, generating resources, building up the necessary capabilities and developing effective partnerships among all stakeholders, as well as improving inter-operability, had turned out to be essential to that end. More rapid and flexible peacekeeping operations required institutional and operational reforms to command-and-control mechanisms, procurement and supply systems.
He stressed that the two central tenets of the Brahimi report should be the guide: deployment of forces should be tied to a viable political strategy; and mandates should be linked to the reality of available resources. “To meet the challenges before us, we need a new coalition, a strategic dialogue, which will include all stakeholders, particularly the Security Council, the Secretariat, the Committee of 34, Fifth Committee, Peacebuilding Commission, and, in some cases, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as well as troop- and police-contributing countries,” he said.
JOHN MCNEE (Canada) said that, since the Brahimi report, much of the peacekeeping machinery had been overhauled, but the intervening time had not been wasted and the document’s core logic still prevailed. To achieve peacekeeping goals, it was necessary to complement the partnership between “those who decided, those who paid and those who did”. The participation of regional partners and wider support from the United Nations membership was also important.
The renewed attention to peacekeeping reflected the way in which conditions had changed since 1999, he said. Canada had recently launched an informal thematic series of discussions on the main challenges of peacekeeping, intended to complement the work by Japan, as Chair of the Working Group, the joint United Kingdom-France initiative and the work of the Secretariat. The country would host an upcoming series of follow-up meetings on the future of peacekeeping.
The Security Council was deploying missions in response to the widest complex of challenges in history, he said. However, in many cases, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Darfur, there was a mismatch between mandates and resources. It was important to improve cooperation in dealing with that challenge, which involved the Secretariat and the host Government, among other players. There was a need for improved capacity for strategic planning and for a two-phase approach to mandate-making.
On the political dimension, he pointed out that, while peacekeeping could not substitute for effective peacemaking, many missions were called upon to do just that. There was a need to recognize the critical relationship between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and to enhance cooperation between the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission. A renewed commitment by the Council was also needed to ensure that fragile peace was not derailed by local or regional disputes.
Ensuring appropriate resources and recognizing the increased role of regional players was also vital, he stressed, citing also the need to address logistics, procurement and human resources issues. Clearly, there were no easy answers, but sustained efforts by the Secretariat, the Council and the United Nations membership as a whole would make it possible to renew the Organization’s ability to meet new challenges. Canada stood ready to support that effort.
JOY OGWU (Nigeria) said reform had become inevitable, given the rapid expansion, complexity and multidimensional scope of peacekeeping and humanitarian relief missions. Several operations were constrained by the lack of basic equipment, transport, food and medical supplies, a situation compounded by gaps between mandates, inadequate planning, fluid exit strategies and imprecise relationships between troop-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Council. Member States needed to forge a consensus on strategies for addressing those challenges, particularly the latter. Consensus was particularly required on the issues of mandates, resources, deployment, exit benchmarking and strategic long-term planning. Considering the relationship between troop-contributing countries and the Council, she noted that the broader and more sustained dialogue envisaged by resolutions 1327 (2000) and 1353 (2001) had not been truly realized.
It was imperative to involve troop-contributing countries from the conception and resolution-drafting stages of an operation to its deployment and final exit, she said. In addition, resource constraints dampened the morale and enthusiasm of peacekeepers and the political will of troop contributors. It was important to ensure adequate and predictable resources to accomplish mandated tasks. Furthermore, adequate pre-deployment training should be a prerequisite to the successful implementation of any mandate. Nigeria supported intensified dialogue and consultations involving the Fifth Committee, the Peacebuilding Commission, the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and the Security Council Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations in order to overcome some of the clearly delineated challenges facing United Nations peacekeeping.
GIULIO TERZI DI SANT’AGATA (Italy) said the Council, General Assembly and Secretariat, as well as outside experts, had undertaken strenuous efforts to review and reform United Nations peacekeeping with a view to making it more effective and efficient and to strengthen its management and financing. As the review turned to the ongoing discussion of a full-time, rapidly deployable peacekeeping force, the Council should consider proposals to use the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy, which had been successful as a deployment hub for equipment and other resources, as the permanent command centre of such a force.
He said there was a need for greater cooperation among the Council and countries contributing troops, police personnel and financial resources. While it was ultimately up to the Council to craft mandates, it must take into consideration the views of those who would carry out its edicts on the ground. As had been shown in Chad, shared strategies could be implemented even in very complicated situations.
Further, since most missions were in Africa, the Council should consider ways to strengthen crisis-management capacity on that continent, he said. It could also consider ways to generate more adequate financial support and ensure better coordination among decision-making bodies within the United Nations and relevant regional actors such as the African Union. Italy, currently President of the G-8, planned to focus on strengthening peacekeeping capacities and structures, particularly in Africa.
REGINA MARIA CORDEIRO DUNLOP ( Brazil) said that chief among the current challenges was the need for the Security Council to provide sustained political attention and guidance not only to missions with accrued responsibilities and needs, but also to peace processes they were requested to support. That was also relevant in dealing with the scarcity of troop-contributing countries. There was a real need to identify new contributors, encourage old ones to resume their contributions and persuade current ones to increase theirs. With more than 85 per cent of mission troops coming from developing countries, it was crucial that the general membership participate in the collective response to meet increased demand for peacekeeping.
She cautioned against generating “a sense of an impeding crisis of peacekeeping or raising doubts about the Organization’s ability to face such challenges”. Rather, it was necessary to reform what must be reformed in a systematic, inclusive and transparent manner, without dispersing efforts in too many initiatives, however well intended. There was also a need to implement fully decisions already made. Higher financial costs were but the logical consequence of establishing new missions and enlarging existing ones, which, in turn, derived from Council decisions.
Closing needed missions or avoiding the establishing operations that the Council considered necessary did not seem to be a judicious response to the financial problem, she said. Rather, host countries and the United Nations must work together to create conditions that would allow for timely drawdown and closing. Also, the term “financial contributors” should not be used in connection with peacekeeping: all Member States contributed to the peacekeeping budget in accordance with their capacity to pay. No hierarchies should be established or encouraged in an issue directly linked to international peace and security.
Emphasizing the importance of close interaction between the Security Council and troop-contributing countries, she said that, in the current reform efforts, it was preferable to improve existing consultation mechanisms than to invent new ones. The key to a mutually beneficial relationship among the Council, the Secretariat and troop contributors was to give their views extensive consideration. First and foremost, that should translate into making better use of the discussions prior to mandate renewal. It behoved the Council to show the political will to mainstream suggestions and perspectives derived from the valuable experiences of troop contributors. Another important step was to engage them in a consistent and sustained manner and not in sporadic fashion. That was particularly true with regard to reform initiatives.
KHALID ABDULLAH KRAYYEM SHAWABKAH (Jordan), endorsing the statement to be made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country’s commitment to the maintenance of international peace and security was reflected in its role as one of the Organization’s main contributors of troops and police personnel. Among the main challenges that must be addressed today were the Council’s relationship with troop contributors, financial contributors and host countries. The Council must involve troop-contributing countries in the new peacekeeping initiatives and invite them to participate in meetings and consultations. The success of efforts to develop and support United Nations peacekeeping also required fostering confidence among regional groups.
Calling for a reform of the Council’s modus operandi as far as its relationship with troop contributors was concerned, he emphasized the significance of particular procedures to enhance that dialogue. It was important to foster the relationship between those who planned and determined mandates on the one hand and those who carried them out on the other. Troop contributors must be involved in decision-making early in the planning stage and participate at all stages of missions, especially before mandate renewal. There was also a need for complete implementation of resolution 1353 (2001) and the Memorandum of the President dated 14 January 2002 in a manner that would lead to maximum use of existing mechanisms.
SAADIA EL ALAOUI (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said Member States had not had sufficient time to assess the impact of such recent reforms as the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the creation of the Department of Field Support. The merit of any new initiative or process, whether driven by Member States or the Secretariat, should be carefully gauged in the context of its relevance and coherence with ongoing reforms. Peacekeeping should observe the purposes and principles of the Charter and abide by the guiding principles of consent of the parties, non-use of force except in self-defence, and impartiality. Also important were sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity of all States and non-intervention in domestic matters.
Troop-contributing countries should be involved in the planning process and in all aspects and stages of peacekeeping missions, she said, stressing that their first-hand experience would contribute to an objective assessment of where and when to deploy or strengthen and where to cut or draw down. Triangular consultations between them, the Security Council and Secretariat must be energized in a meaningful manner. It was important to build on the frequency of private meetings with troop contributors and briefings by the Secretariat.
Peacekeeping operations could not continue to be supported by only a portion of the United Nations membership, she emphasized. All developed countries must engage their troops in the field under United Nations command and control. The entire membership should deal with the difficulties stemming from deployment in hostile environments and difficult political contexts. Furthermore, much broader contributions by all Member States would ensure unity of vision. Also required was a comprehensive planning process to ensure mission coherence, clear lines of command and control, integration of mission components, training, deployment, resources and guidance for the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support to manage the missions. Troop-contributing countries could provide much-needed expertise on the way forward.
MARTIN PALOUŠ (Czech Republic) speaking on behalf of the European Union, said it was in the international community’s collective interest to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of United Nations peacekeeping. The European Union had actively participated in the discussion on how to address the current challenges to peacekeeping, launched this year by France and the United Kingdom, and welcomed the consultation process launched by Canada. It also welcomed the launch of the New Horizon, as well as the momentum that initiative and others were gaining. It looked forward to the upcoming debate during the United Kingdom’s presidency in August, which would focus on the Council’s efforts “to get its house in order”. That should spark a wider debate throughout the Organization on complex mission mandates.
He went on to say that, as the complexity of peacekeeping missions and their operational environment increased, it was important that decisions about appropriate responses by the United Nations were taken in consultation with those who carried them out. While recognizing the Council’s primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, the European Union would stress the need to improve and expand existing consultation mechanisms between those who planned and managed operations and those who contributed troops and funding. That would ensure more coherent and integrated mission planning, improved command and control of operations, and smoother and more effective mandate implementation.
Calling for improvement in the cooperation between troop- and police-contributing countries, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support, he said the Secretariat should improve the timeliness and flow of information by organizing regular meetings of troop and police contributors prior to Security Council deliberations on specific mandates. The European Union concurred that there was a need to broaden the base of contributors and in that regard, would welcome greater calibrated incentives for providing necessary capabilities. The European Union contributed some 40 per cent of the peacekeeping budget and 12 per cent of the troops, but it recognized at the same time that there might be more it could do to make smarter use of available capabilities.
FARUKH AMIL (Pakistan) said peacekeeping was the face of the United Nations and its flagship enterprise. While retaining its traditional purpose, peacekeeping had also evolved over time, reflecting the increasing complexities of conflict. Success in recent years, especially that of multidimensional operations, had led to raised expectations, increased demand and the attendant planning and management challenges, including the need to bridge the gap between mandates and resources. While efforts to reform United Nations peacekeeping activities were clearly under way, Member States had not yet had the opportunity to fully and properly assess and review the results or impact of that exercise.
“We do not have a clear idea of how effectively the new mechanisms and structures are performing,” he said, adding that, in the meantime, new plans by some Member States and the Secretariat continued to be put forward. Pakistan’s preliminary analysis of such initiatives was that, while they could become catalysts for discussion, there was little new in respect of dealing with the major lingering issues or challenges. Pakistan wondered whether it was a question of exposing the limitations of past reforms or a question of fully implementing them through a sustained effort. The value of those initiatives lay in considering them in an open and transparent manner, within the framework of ongoing processes to ensure coherence and the best results. “Apart from the Security Council, the C-34 remains the best forum to discuss all these issues in a comprehensive fashion,” he said.
He went on to say that it would be more productive if meetings between the Council and troop-contributing countries were held more regularly and coincided with the Council’s consideration of new missions, as well s its review and renewal of existing mandates. Moreover, focused discussion of ground realities, operational issues and challenges could benefit from the participation of, and feedback from, troop-contributing countries. Pakistan, the largest contributor of troops, was in favour of expanding the base of troop contributors and decision-makers. Such expansion was essential for maintaining the credibility and legitimacy of peacekeeping operations. Matters of command and control were not limited to “consultations”, he said, calling for enhanced and visible representation of troop-contributing countries at the highest level at Headquarters and in the field.
ALFRED NDABARASA (Rwanda) said his country’s commitment to peacekeeping was born of the 1994 genocide and the international community’s failure to respond in a timely and decisive manner. Rwanda’s experience should not be revisited anywhere and the country was proud to support United Nations peacekeeping operations in the Sudan, Liberia, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire and Haiti. Given the changed nature and complexity of peacekeeping, it was imperative to undertake a complete rethink of peacekeeping operations.
In light of today’s challenges, force preparation was essential for a successful mission, he said, adding that a well-prepared force was in a much better position to effect adequately the mandate assigned to it. A number of Member States, particularly from Africa, were committed to peacekeeping, but the international community had failed to provide equipment such as helicopters to missions like UNAMID. That impeded the mission’s mobility and effectiveness and had an impact on force protection.
Timely reimbursement of troop- and police-contributing countries would certainly go a long way in sustaining and maintaining available equipment and ensuring that peacekeepers were able to execute their mandates, he said. It was also important to have access to accurate real-time information in conflict areas. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations should urgently explore partnerships with regional organizations and countries to share such information. In view of the Prodi report, the international community should also consider strengthening regional standby forces, particularly in Africa, in coordination with regional organizations.
A review of peacekeeping policy through consultations with Member States and relevant United Nations organs was crucial, he said. It would, for example, be advisable for the Secretariat to have the flexibility to review policy on contingent-owned equipment instead of waiting for the relevant working group to sit every three years. Resolution 1353 (2001) recognized the need to strengthen cooperation between the Council and troop-contributing countries. Through strengthened cooperation and political will it was possible to achieve effective and credible United Nations peacekeeping into the future.
JUAN ANTONIO YÁÑEZ-BARNUEVO (Spain) said the Council should schedule at least three meetings per year to update the wider membership on the state of peacekeeping reform efforts, and deepen its interaction with troop- and police-contributing countries. At the same time, the Charter provided that the General Assembly should receive regular reports from the Council on its efforts to maintain international peace and security. To that end, the Council should enhance its cooperation with the Assembly’s Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, as well as other bodies dealing with the subject.
He said his country had been participating in United Nations peacekeeping initiatives for some 20 years and welcomed the initiatives highlighted today by Under-Secretary-General Le Roy. At the same time, Spain would stress the need for all such initiatives to be closely coordinated so as to avoid duplication of efforts, especially in light of the ongoing global economic downturn.
The United Nations must work in coordination with regional and subregional organizations, he said, noting that peacekeeping operations were expensive. The Organization must use all mechanisms at its disposal, including preventive diplomacy and regional-level contacts. It must bolster its efforts to enhance local-level training and capacity-building to assist in its peacekeeping efforts. Continued involvement by all players in all peacekeeping activities, including mandate creation and review, was crucial to ensuring the success of such missions.
HARDEEP SINGH PURI (India) said that, as one of the main contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations, his country brought to the table a unique combination of commitment, knowledge and experience. It was a self-evident truth that there was no scarcity of personnel and capacities of the type that the Organization required. The problem was the reluctance on the part of Member States to make them available. A major issue that must be tackled in that connection was the nature of the Council’s mandates and the manner in which they were generated. Related to that was the question of whether the mandates had any correlation to the Organization’s ability to deliver. India endorsed fully Under-Secretary-General Le Roy’s statement that peacekeeping mandates had become too broad and all-encompassing, and that the limits of “robust” peacekeeping were not properly defined.
He said unrealistic mandates had led to situations where mission personnel were forced to ask national contingents to undertake tasks and utilize contingent-owned equipment in a manner that was inconsistent with the legal framework under which they were deployed. Mandates must be clear and achievable, but that would not be possible without substantively involving countries that could contribute manpower and resources. Consultations with and briefings for troop- and police-contributing countries were pro forma in nature and skirted around substantive issues, with little or no scope for meaningful discussion. The most recent change in the rules of engagement and concept of operations for MONUC had been communicated to troop contributors after they had been notified during a consultation meeting. Being informed was not the same as being consulted.
In conclusion, he reiterated the imperative of involving troop and police contributors early and fully in all aspects and stages of mission planning. The future of peacekeeping, and at least a part of peacebuilding, lay in the development of police and the rule-of-law capacities of missions. The most relevant capacities in that regard were present in Member States that had gone through successful post-colonial nation-building. Training national security personnel was a key determinant of success in enabling national capacities. Training capabilities must be built into the force generation process by which contingents were raised. Attention should also be paid to mission support.
In connection with the creation of the Department of Field Support and the realignment of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, he stressed the requirement of unity of effort and the establishment of clear command-and-control structures, coherence in policy and strategy, effective coordination and integration. India would like the New Horizon initiative to be an exercise that took “a clear, hard look” at where the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support required focusing. India had engaged with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations on the study, but did not have the impression that the product of that exercise would influence the manner in which the fundamental issues were being addressed.
PARK IN-KOOK (Republic of Korea) said the magnitude and complexity of today’s peacekeeping transcended what the Brahimi report envisaged 10 years ago. It was clear that the current overstretch would continue to be aggravated in the coming years. Welcoming the New Horizon project as one of the answers to the new set of challenges, he said Canada, his own country and many other Member States had organized brainstorming sessions to discuss and share their views on the future of United Nations peacekeeping.
Missions needed clear mandates, priorities and political strategy, he continued. The importance of clear, credible and achievable mandates had already been raised in the Brahimi report, but only a few missions had been given a developed list of mission priorities. Without that, the effective mapping of resources with mandates was not possible. Maintaining the balance between consensus and efficiency would be crucial. Also required were clear exit points and responsible exit strategies.
In that connection, the role and early engagement of the Peacebuilding Commission might be explored, he said. Among its many functions, the Commission’s country-specific mechanism could work as a responsible exit. To fully integrate that potential, peacebuilding activities should be integrated into peacekeeping operations from the earliest stage, and a strategic partnership between the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission should be activated in a more genuine sense. Preventive actions or alternatives to “heavy” peacekeeping operations must be actively pursued. Although a peacekeeping mission was less costly than other military options, mediation, civilian and military observers, police observation and preventive deployments were more cost-effective.
He also advocated the development of partnerships with regional organizations, civilian partners and the private sector, calling for the development of a concrete and comprehensive model or modality of such cooperation. The Prodi report would serve as a good basis for the discussion. Also of key importance was a global, responsive and rapid deployment system. The Government of the Republic of Korea was considering establishing a standby force that could be deployed in a timely manner. On the support side, the creation of the Department of Field Support was one of the major reform successes.
LESLIE K. CHRISTIAN ( Ghana) said the Organization’s ability to surmount current and emerging challenges, while also bridging gaps between its capacities and the expectations of the international community, depended largely, though not exclusively, on the adoption of unambiguous, realistic and achievable mandates and exit strategies, in tandem with parallel and inclusive peace processes. It was incumbent on the Council, within the ambit of its responsibilities, to consider refining mission mandates to account for envisaged challenges in the field, including by adjusting the rules of engagement for field personnel, as and when needed, practical deployment timelines, and increased authority for field operations.
Since a mandate was not an end in itself, its objective could only be realized through the provision of requisite human, financial and logistical resources, he said. The logistical difficulties faced by troop-contributing countries had been identified as a major impediment to prompt and effective deployment. To that end, those countries should be involved early, at all stages and in all aspects of mission planning to contribute to a more inclusive decision-making process. The Council must, therefore, examine critically its current working methods with the aim of eliciting the views of troop- and police-contributing countries before it adopted a mandate.
The safety and security of peacekeepers was a major concern, he stressed. Ongoing fatalities were indefensible in light of the selfless services the peacekeepers rendered. Given the grave and dangerous atmosphere created in the current era of intra-State conflicts, and until the restoration of relative normality in such conflict areas, the United Nations should assume responsibility for the safety and security of peacekeepers. Ghana welcomed the progress made to that end, thus far and encouraged the Secretariat to continue enhancing its capacity, especially in the gathering of operational and tactical intelligence, which was essential to pre-empting potential threats and ensuring the safety of both peacekeepers and civilians.
MADHU RAMAN ACHARYA (Nepal) said the ability of the United Nations to deploy peacekeeping missions in time and where they were most needed faced serious challenges. Indeed, missions were often left without political support or a workable exit strategy. In some missions, moreover, there was a gap between peacekeeping and peacebuilding. The Council and the Peacebuilding Commission were both operating without clearly defined responsibilities and as such, the entire Organization’s peace operations required comprehensive review in order to help close gaps in failed or failing States or transition societies following conflict.
At the same time, he said, any recommendations emerging from such a review would only have real meaning if they enjoyed broad-based support from the Organization’s wider membership, including the General Assembly, troop- and police-contributing countries and the Council. As things stood now, Nepal, a troop-contributing country, was at the end of the spectrum. “Our troops are called to participate in missions in which we are not involved in mandating and planning, let alone in determining the political strategy,” he said, adding that his country’s troops were also asked to implement complex mandates without much operational flexibility and through the application of rules they had not helped develop.
He said his country’s troop strength was becoming overstretched and by the end of 2009, its troops in the field, numbering some 3,800, would jump by a third after it sent peacekeepers to take part in UNAMID. There was, therefore, a strong case for building the capacity of willing troop-contributing countries for swift deployment with the required equipment and professional capability to undertake complex and robust peacekeeping operations. At the same time, enhancing the pool on key equipment was also important. “We should not undermine the importance of having developed countries share some of the burden of troop contribution in difficult peacekeeping missions so as to make peacekeeping a truly effective global partnership,” he added.
MARTIN NEY (Germany), associating himself with the European Union, said United Nations peacekeeping was a success story, while not free of setbacks and criticism. Such an endeavour required focus, which would separate the urgently necessary from the long-term desirable ‑‑ a separation made necessary in part by limited availability of resources to cope with all the crises at hand.
Among the most important elements discussed today was improving and expanding existing consultation mechanisms, he said. An intensive dialogue with all stakeholders, above all the Member States contributing to peacekeeping, was absolutely essential. Before the Council adopted a resolution, it needed a clear understanding of the operational assets available. The Council should be fully advised on the availability of operational and logistical capabilities prior to making a decision on a new mandate or a major change to an existing one.
With regard to the New Horizon project, he proposed that it should not end with another non-paper. It was necessary to aim for a document based on the consent of all, thus providing a tangible basis for decision-making and execution. Germany would also like the principles and guidelines of peacekeeping finalized and made accessible to all contributors, “rather sooner than later”.
MAGED ABDELAZIZ (Egypt) said a major part of today’s situation stemmed from non-implementation of the Organization’s expected role in preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention, and from its inability to address the root causes of conflict and transform peacekeeping missions into missions for managing conflicts. Egypt proposed addressing peacekeeping as one of the tools available, within a series of political tools that started with preventive diplomacy, mediation and reconciliation, continued with peacekeeping, and finished with peacebuilding and supporting developmental long-term capacities.
He also emphasized the need for clear mandates and cohesive political and military planning, the importance of exit strategies and parallel political processes, and the need to enhance trust among peacekeeping parties in the Council, the troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat, as well as trust and consent on the part of host countries. The partnership among those parties represented the base of the United Nations peacekeeping’s legitimacy and sustainability. The participation of troop contributors should be expanded from the beginning of planning and establishing missions to the end of their assignment.
It was also important to expand the base of contributors and partners in peacekeeping and invest in developing the capacities of interested countries to be more capable of contributing, he said. Addressing peacekeeping should not be limited to its financial scope, but should also strengthen the links connecting peacekeeping, financial and political frames, peacebuilding and comprehensive development.
He said other important elements of peacekeeping included strengthened cooperation with regional organizations under Chapter VII of the Charter, improvement of the procurement system and field support, early deployment, development of Secretariat-related bodies, and increased coordination among the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Field Support and the Department of Political Affairs. It was also necessary to avoid disputes between the Security Council and General Assembly, and to strengthen the role of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. The Council should not attempt to micromanage the Secretariat’s work, particularly in the area of selecting contributing countries to any operation.
SHABBIR AHMAD CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said it was now more necessary than ever to develop a genuine and meaningful relationship between those who planned, mandated and managed peacekeeping operations and those who implemented the mandates. The issue of consultations with troop-contributing countries had seen many initiatives and consequential arrangements, in particular, the Council’s adoption, in June 2001, of its landmark resolution 1353, which provided the format for such consultations. After eight years, it was prudent to examine whether the scope provided by that text had been explored.
While taking decisions on peacekeeping operations, it was important for the Secretary-General to include in his regular reports to the Council information on the views expressed by troop-contributing countries, he said. At the same time, it was necessary to take into consideration the provisions of resolution 1327 (2001), which underlined the importance of an improved system of three-way consultations to foster a common understanding of the situation on the ground, the mission’s mandate and its implementation. That text provided for private meetings with troop contributors when considering amendment, renewal or completion of a peacekeeping mandate, or when a rapid deterioration in the situation threatened the safety and security of peacekeepers. However, any Secretariat briefings to the troop-contributing countries should take place well ahead of mandate renewals and new mandates.
In order to develop effective interactions, it was important to make operational the available courses of action, as specified by the Council and other bodies like the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, he said. A meaningful consultation with troop contributors was a necessity. Their views had to be taken into account. Given their wealth of experience and expertise, as well as their commitment, troop contributors were in the best position to contribute to the process of mandating, planning and implementing peacekeeping operations. The sense of ownership could be an added asset. As for the New Horizon initiative, any new reforms should include a thorough assessment of the recent restructuring. It was the prerogative of Member States to consider any proposal.
JOSÉ LUIS CANCELA (Uruguay) said there seemed to be a consensus on the necessity of a more fluent, substantive and consistent exchange of views with troop-contributing countries. In that respect, first-hand data, as well as the experience and perspective of countries with troops on the ground could be quite useful to the process undertaken by the Council to gain an understanding of the situation and in considering threats and opportunities in the field. Moreover, one could not underestimate the value of broad-based support for mandates approved by the Council, particularly in light of the new tasks incorporated into them, such as civilian protection.
By large, developing troop-contributing countries were the ones that had to implement the mandates on the ground, he emphasized. However, they had very limited possibilities of participating or influencing the mandates. In that sense, he highlighted the important effort made by Member States last March, when the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations had decided to address the issue for the first time. From the briefing on the New Horizon non-paper, the idea of building a new agenda for partnership would follow in the same direction.
Advocating better use of the opportunities already in place, he said the dialogue with troop-contributing countries should precede the approval and renewal of mandates. In that connection, he highlighted the positive experience of a meeting of the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations, convened by Japan several weeks ago, saying Uruguay had presented its perspective and concerns about the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and MONUC, two missions in which its troops participated. For a small developing country like Uruguay, it was difficult to uphold the intensity of its participation, when delays in reimbursement were so significant, he said. That situation affected many troop-contributing countries, most of which were also developing countries. In spite of the global economic crisis, and the fact that the peacekeeping budget had increased to $8 billion in 2009, it represented only 0.55 per cent of the global military expenditure for 2008.
ALICE AGHENEBIT MUNGWA, Senior Political Affairs Adviser, Office of the Permanent Observer, African Union, said issues of peace and security ranked high on the regional body’s agenda. The African Union peace and security architecture, monitored and implemented by the Peace and Security Council, had been based on past lessons learned and would ultimately be supported continent-wide by the African Standby Force, and a “Panel of the Wise”.
However, she stressed that the launch of that effort was facing the expected “teething problems” in its administrative capacities, field experience and general operation, and suggested that the Security Council place a special emphasis on strengthening coordination and support for all regional organizations, including the African Union, especially as the New Horizon initiative got under way.
She said the African Union had always reaffirmed the Council’s responsibility in the maintenance of international peace and security, and considered that joint missions with the United Nations were operated on behalf of the Council. Welcoming the partnership framework introduced by Under-Secretary-General Le Roy, she said the African Union was a “natural and integral part” of that initiative. The regional organization’s activities had clearly demonstrated its resolve to take its fair share in ensuring international peace and security, ownership in building new hopes for peace and stability, and in development in Africa and around the world.
Mr. LE ROY, responding to comments, said the debate had been very “dense” and would certainly inform his Department’s ongoing efforts regarding the New Horizon initiative and towards enhancing coordination and cooperation with troop- and police-contributing countries. At the same time, the New Horizon non-paper was not the end but the beginning of the process, and consultations on it would continue, including with the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, for final submission to the wider General Assembly before the end of its sixty-fourth session.
Ms. MALCORRA, in her concluding remarks, outlined the next steps in connection with peacekeeping, saying that the New Horizon initiative was “a chapeau work” that integrated different initiatives, including the support strategy briefly addressed today. The non-paper would be issued in July to serve as a basis for further consultations. “We have listened and we’ll continue to listen so that by the time the final document is submitted, the concerns of Member States are well understood and taken into account.”
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