Secretary-General Says ‘Successful Peacekeeping Is a Shared Responsibility’ as General Assembly Marks Tenth Anniversary of Brahimi Reform Report

22 June 2010
GA/10953

Secretary-General Says ‘Successful Peacekeeping Is a Shared Responsibility’ as General Assembly Marks Tenth Anniversary of Brahimi Reform Report

22 June 2010
General Assembly
GA/10953
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fourth General Assembly

Thematic Debate on

Peacekeeping (AM & PM)

Secretary-General Says ‘Successful Peacekeeping Is a Shared Responsibility’

as General Assembly Marks TENTH Anniversary of Brahimi Reform Report

 

Thematic Debate Theme:  ‘UN Peacekeeping – Looking Into the Future’

Panels Address Political Dimensions; Nexus between Security, Development

“While long-term peace is difficult to achieve, it is more likely when a peacekeeping mission is part of the picture,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a special General Assembly meeting today, as he emphasized the need to ensure that the United Nations was equipped with the requisite human, material and financial resources, and political backing of its Member States, to deploy successful peace operations.

“Successful peacekeeping is a shared responsibility.  We must engage those who mandate peacekeeping operations, those who contribute, and those who manage activities on the ground,” the Secretary-General said in his opening remarks to the Assembly’s one-day thematic debate on “United Nations Peacekeeping — Looking into the Future”, an event that also marked the tenth anniversary of the release of a landmark report on the issue.

The Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, more commonly referred to as the “Brahimi Report” after the committee’s Chair, Lakhdar Brahimi, recommended sweeping changes in the way the world body’s peacekeeping activities were conceived, planned, and executed in the wake of tragic failures in Rwanda and Srebrenica.  “Thanks to the reforms proposed by the panel, [United Nations] peacekeeping has been able to grow, incorporate the lessons learned from those experiences, and continue to serve as a cost-effective and flexible tool — a flagship [United Nations] activity, a mission of hope for people caught in armed conflict,” the Secretary-General said.

Still, it was necessary to continue strengthening the Organization’s peacekeeping machinery and, in that context, he was encouraged that the Assembly’s various committees had expressed general support for the proposals included in the New Horizons reform agenda.  “The process has helped to reinvigorate the peacekeeping partnership through dialogue between troop- and police-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat,” he stated.  “Today we have reached a better understanding of what [United Nations] peacekeeping should and can do.”

Peacekeeping had been “a unique and uniquely successful experiment,” but there was a perpetual need to sharpen our tools, he added.  “We can do this, but only with continued engagement from Member States, not only in terms of contributions of personnel and financing, but with strong and consistent political support.”

Delivering a keynote address via video link from Paris, Mr. Brahimi, former Special Adviser to the Secretary-General and former Special Representative for Afghanistan, said:  “If our recommendations were well received, it was not because they were particularly profound and original, but because they closely echoed fair, justified criticism levelled at some [United Nations] action, or lack thereof, and suggestions that we commonly heard in this Building and elsewhere.”

He went on to spotlight ten points of concern articulated by the panel — from systemic challenges and lack of data and on-the-ground intelligence to staff recruitment difficulties and the need for broader participation by developed countries — and to provide his insight on current challenges and the way forward.  He said many of the decade-old report’s observations held true today; then, as now, the United Nations “cannot go everywhere and do everything”.  Indeed, one of the reasons its missions had failed in the past was that they had been sent into situations that were not — or not yet — suitable for peacekeeping treatment.

The panel had also stressed that, once deployed, such operations needed to be mandated to do the job and do it properly.  “We believed then, and I believe strongly now, that whatever the [United Nations] does, it should do well,” he asserted, stressing that if the Organization said it was going to protect civilians from imminent threat, then it must do so.  “And if it can’t, then it should think twice about making such commitments.  In essence, we called for an end to the half-measures that had been the hallmark of past tragedies.”

“When it seems that [United Nations] Peacekeeping is overstretched and nearing a breaking point, then all needed to do what they can to lessen the load and preserve this indispensable tool,” he said, adding that stakeholders must take advantage of lulls in activity to invest in and re-tool United Nations peacekeeping and prepare it for the future.  Indeed, the future might hold many surprises — such as the tragic 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States and their fallout, which led to the “dire consequences” existing in Afghanistan — and unexpected demands were certainly in store.  “I am fairly certain that one thing will remain constant:  that [United Nations] peacekeeping shall continue to be in high demand,” he said.

For his part, General Assembly President Ali Treki noted that the bulk of the Organization’s peacekeeping presence today was in integrated missions, mostly deployed in complex crises and conflicts often having military, political, humanitarian and other dimensions.  “To build and sustain peace in such complex and fragile situations, we require a broader, holistic strategy that synergizes the peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts to address the interlinked issues of security and development in a comprehensive manner.”

Noting that peacekeeping was a collective undertaking, he said that the thematic debate was intended to not only provide guidance on policy, but also to galvanize the full engagement, participation and commitment of Member States for the smooth and effective functioning of peacekeeping operations.  He also noted the need to reassess the ways in which the United Nations and other partners engaged in assisting countries emerging from conflict.  “The record of the [United Nations] and the international community is mixed and we are all struggling over how to get it right,” he said.

“We must uphold the principle of ‘do no harm’.  We must candidly review how we operate in these situations, to ensure that our actions and support do not undermine the national authorities.  One size fits all approaches do not work.  We must do better in catering to the specific requirements of individual situations keeping the national priorities and perspectives in the forefront,” said President Treki.

The opening remarks and keynote address were followed by a special session on “Building Partnerships and Securing Capabilities”, which featured presentations by senior officials from key troop contributing countries, Luis Almagro, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uruguay, and Major General (Rtd.) Tarique Ahmed Siddique, Cabinet Minister of Bangladesh, as well as the United Nations Ambassadors of Pakistan, India and Nigeria.

While they each highlighted their unique connections to United Nations peace operations, they all generally agreed on the need for bolstering the triangular exchanges between troop- and police-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat.  They also backed larger roles for women in peacekeeping.  Supporting ongoing reform efforts, the speakers pointedly called on rich nations to step up their involvement in peacekeeping operations, since developing countries now shouldered the bulk of that responsibility.

Nigeria’s representative noted that peacekeeping, while effective, held no answers for the root causes of conflict and instability, such as poverty, social injustice and ethnic divisions, among others.  It was, therefore, imperative to forge an international partnership to address the inherent social and economic roots of fragility in the world.  She also suggested that, given the political and social pressures some countries faced in generating such resources for United Nations peacekeeping operations, preventive diplomacy might prove to be a more effective tool for protecting succeeding generations from the scourge of war.

Rounding out the special session were Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, and Anthony Banbury, Assistant Secretary-General, Department of Field Support.  Mr. Le Roy underscored that the environment had changed since the launch of the Brahimi report, explaining that ten years ago, there were only some 20,000 blue helmets in the field.  Today, there were 124,000 peacekeepers on the ground in 15 operations, representing one of the United Nations’ largest commitments.  Without the report, which had identified many issues that continued to be topical, the Organization would not have been in a position to make such unprecedented efforts.

The day’s events also featured two panel discussions.  The first dealt with the political dimensions of peacekeeping, including questions of political will and support for the operations and the interlinkages and mutual impact of peacekeeping missions and political processes. 

Moderator Terje Rød-Larsen, International Peace Institute President, was joined in that discussion by Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (2008), now Chairman, Crisis Management Initiative; Alvaro de Soto, Senior Fellow, Ralph Bunche Institute, Associate Fellow, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, and former United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process; and Ibrahim Gambari, Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

The afternoon panel, subtitled “Towards sustainable peace, peacebuilding and the nexus between security and development”, emphasized links between the security and economic aspects of sustainable peace, and addressed how peacekeeping operations could be rooted in “dynamic and early partnership with all relevant actors in the field”, according to the Office of the Assembly President.

Moderated by Jamal Benomar, Chef de Cabinet, Office of the President of the General Assembly, panelists included:  John Agyekum Kufuor, Former President of Ghana, Former Chairperson of the African Union and Chairman of Interpeace; Ashraf Ghani (participating via videoconference from Kabul), Chairman of the Institute of State Effectiveness in Afghanistan and Former Minister of Finance; Justin Yifu Lin, World Bank Chief Economist; and Ellen Margrethe Løj, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Liberia and head of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

Background

The General Assembly met today for a day-long thematic debate entitled “UN Peacekeeping:  looking into the future”, which featured presentations by senior peacekeeping officials and a special session on “Building Partnerships and Securing Capabilities”, which intends to examine the important role of partnerships in securing the required capabilities for peacekeeping missions commensurate with their mandates.  Troop Contributing Countries were to share their experience on the best ways to establish a meaningful partnership between those who authorize, those who implement and those who host peacekeeping operations.

The day was also to feature two panel discussions.  The first panel — on “Political dimensions of UN Peacekeeping” — was to focus on questions of political will and support for peacekeeping operations and the interlinkages and mutual impact of peacekeeping missions and political processes.  The second panel — on “Multidimensional Peacekeeping Operations:  Towards sustainable peace, peacebuilding and the nexus between security and development” — was to focus on peacebuilding perspectives in the design of complex and multidimensional operations, and examine how early peacebuilding tasks reinforced medium and long-term peacebuilding and development.

Opening remarks

General Assembly President ALI ABDUSSALAM TREKI, of Libya, said the high-level participation in today’s meeting was a strong sign of the interest and importance attached to the debate.  Indeed, peacekeeping was a collective effort whose success required the full support and political backing of all States, which were also called upon to provide the human, material and financial resources essential for the smooth functioning of peacekeeping operations.  The Assembly sought to provide guidance for peacekeeping operations and invite countries to cooperate in support of such objectives.

From a modest beginning in 1948, peacekeeping had evolved into a major activity of the United Nations, he said, a vital tool for the maintenance of peace and security.  Peackeeping had played an important part in well-known achievements of the Organization in managing conflicts, maintaining stability and helping to create conditions for durable peace and development in nations emerging from conflict.

“Together we must also be willing and able to cope with the diverse and daunting challenges of effectively planning and effectively managing peacekeeping operations,” he said, many of which stemmed from increased expectations, an extraordinary surge in demand and the growing complexity of mandates, especially in multidimensional missions.

On the operational side, the question of resources and “overstretch” in capacity must be addressed, he said, as the larger objective of achieving durable settlements could be achieved only through a comprehensive approach that included political and other tracks, as well as investment in prevention, political facilitation and mediation.  The evolution in peacekeeping operations had entailed reform.  The reshaping of operations had stemmed from the landmark report, in August 2000, by the panel on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi, which identified the shortcomings of United Nations efforts and launched institutional change that continued today.

Today’s interactive debate offered an opportunity for a thorough consideration of core issues, he said:  the political dimensions of peacekeeping and peacebuilding; as well as the nexus between security and development.  It was, indeed, crucial to address issues like the mutual impact between peacekeeping missions and political processes.  The military means and political goals of the mission should complement each other.  To avoid failure, missions also must have resources commensurate with their mandates.  United Nations efforts could not be isolated from regional dimensions and he highlighted support for regional stakeholders, including neighbouring countries.

Indeed, the bulk of United Nations’ peacekeeping presence was in integrated missions mostly deployed in complex crises involving military, political, humanitarian and other dimensions, he continued.  To build peace in such fragile conditions required a holistic strategy that addressed issues of security and development.  It was also important to ensure sustainable national capacities that could assume responsibility for development and, in that regard, there was a need to reassess the way in which the Organization and others helped those nations emerging from conflicts.  The United Nations’ record had been mixed and “we’ve all been struggling over how to get it right”, he said.

In addition, the principle of “do no harm” must be upheld and a candid review of how to operate in such situations must be undertaken, to ensure that actions did not undermine national authorities.  “One-size-fits all approaches do not work,” he said, noting the importance of doing better in keeping national priorities and perspectives at the forefront.

Drawing attention to the tens of thousands of blue helmets, he lauded their professionalism, courage and sacrifice, which had been instrumental in transforming mandates into tangible progress on the ground.  Troop-contributing countries also had an important role to play and he urged that their capacities be fully utilized, including through their participation in decision-making and cooperation with the Security Council and Secretariat.  With that, he urged pooling resources for the success of such endeavours and expressed hope that today’s meeting would advance both a common vision of peacekeeping and the credibility of United Nations operations.

BAN KI-MOON, United Nations Secretary-General, called the Brahimi Report a milestone in the evolution of United Nations peacekeeping operations.  The High-Level Panel headed by Mr. Brahimi had emerged after a period of unprecedented challenges for the Organization’s peacekeeping activities — a period when the number of deployed personnel had increased sharply, as well as the increases in new degrees of ambition and complexity in the mandate and tasks with which the United Nations was entrusted.  That period had also been characterized by “new depths, too — frightful episodes that no one would ever wish to see repeated.”

Thanks to the reforms proposed by the Brahimi panel, United Nations peacekeeping had been able to grow, incorporate the lessons learned from those experiences, and continue to serve as a cost-effective and flexible tool — a flagship United Nations activity, a mission of hope for people caught in armed conflict.  “We continue to support peace processes and national authorities in the aftermath of conflict.  We monitor ceasefire arrangements, and provide security and protect.  Our presence gives critical space for negotiators — and a crucial boost of confidence for people,” he said.

Numerous studies had shown, he continued, that while long-term peace was difficult to achieve, it was more likely when a peacekeeping mission was part of the picture.  “But of course, we need to continue to strengthen the peacekeeping machinery,” he said, highlighting the “New Horizon” process launched by the Secretariat last year, and noting that he was encouraged that various committees of the General Assembly had expressed general support for the proposals that were part of that agenda.

The process had helped to reinvigorate the peacekeeping partnership through dialogue between troop and police contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat.  “Today we have reached a better understanding of what [United Nations] peacekeeping should and can do,” he said, adding:  “Successful peacekeeping is a shared responsibility.  We must engage those who mandate peacekeeping operations, those who contribute, and those who manage activities on the ground.”

He said that the United Nations regional and subregional partners had important comparative advantages.  In addition, the international financial institutions and other development actors had major contributions to make.  Host Governments must set the tone.  And Member States must formulate clear and achievable mandates — and match them with adequate resources and logistical support.

“And the entire [United Nations] family must work in concert,” he said, adding that peacekeeping would continue to raise difficult issues, such as exit strategies and host-country consent.  The international community must also consider the broader picture — how to strengthen mediation, conflict prevention and post-conflict peacebuilding; how to promote international criminal justice; and how to address the economic drivers of conflict.

He said that, while peacekeeping had been a unique and uniquely successful experiment, there was a perpetual need to sharpen the Organization’s tools.  That could be done, but only with continued engagement from Member States, not only in terms of contributions of personnel and financing, but with strong and consistent political support.  The Assembly had an important role to play bringing all Member States together around this common enterprise. “Only together can we make sure that the blue helmets continue to bring hope to people around the world,” he said, adding that:  “Ten years since Brahimi, we have much to be proud of; and much still to do.”

Keynote Address

Participating via video link from Paris, LAKHDAR BRAHIMI, former Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, and former Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, delivered the keynote address on the theme “United Nations Peacekeeping:  Overview of Challenges and Opportunities since the Brahimi Report of 2000”.  He began his address by saluting the other distinguished participants on that panel “representing a vast and diverse experience” in the fields of conflict resolution, mediation, peacekeeping, humanitarian work, human rights, economic and social development, peacebuilding and State-building in general.

He also recognized contributions from “inside and outside the United Nations,” which had helped the members of the panel fulfil the mandate given to them by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to submit recommendations to the Millennium Summit on how to improve the capacity of the United Nations to rise to the demands of a new generation of peace operations “and put behind the terrible failures of the 1990s in Rwanda, Srebrenica and elsewhere”.

“If our recommendations were well received, it was not because they were particularly profound and original, but because they closely echoed fair, justified criticism levelled at some [United Nations] action, or lack thereof, and suggestions that we commonly heard in this Building and elsewhere,” he said.  Depending on whether people preferred to see the glass as half empty of half full, they would say the implementation of the reports recommendations were either disappointing or remarkably effective.  He was happy they had been endorsed by the Millennium Summit and widely discussed among the Organization’s permanent missions and the Assembly’s “much feared” Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).

Even before he left the United Nations four years ago, he had been among those calling for another review of how the world body was acquitting itself when faced with conflict and its consequences.  In that context, he was delighted that the New Horizon project was doing just that.  Therefore, the best contribution he could make to today’s discussions was to look back at some of the observations and recommendations put forward by the Panel that remained relevant today.  He went on to spotlight ten points of concern articulated by the panel — from systemic challenges and analytical deficiencies to staffing challenges and the need for broad cooperation — and to provide his unique insight on current challenges and the way forward.

He said the decade-old report had stressed that the United Nations “cannot go everywhere and do everything”.  Indeed, one of the reasons the world body’s missions had failed in the past was that they had been sent into situations that were not, or not yet, suitable for peacekeeping treatment.  Yet, the panel had also stressed that, once deployed, such operations needed to be mandated to do the job and do it properly.  “We believed then, and I believe strongly now, that whatever the [United Nations] does, it should do it well,” he asserted, stressing that if the Organization said it was going to protect civilians form imminent threat, then it must do so.  “And if it can’t, then it should think twice about making such commitments.  In essence, we called for an end to the half-measures that had been the hallmark of past tragedies.”

On another point, he said the panel had bluntly noted that the United Nations was often taking very serious decisions about how to respond to crises that it did not know enough about.  The panel had stressed the importance of seriously upgrading the Organization’s regional-expertise and its general analytical capacities.  Part of that upgrade envisaged “more staff and different ones,” he said, adding that while the Assembly had agreed to many of the additional staff the panel had requested, it had refused to give the Secretary-General the quality, analytical capacity he needed.

Further, experience had taught everyone that, even if capacity did exist, it was not advisable to rush into a new mission or face changed circumstances in existing ones, without taking the time to assess properly how a crisis was evolving.  “Far too often, critical decisions are taken, even mandatory resolutions adopted, when information is just trickling in, and then it takes years to undo the damage,” he said.

Mr. Brahimi said the panel had also urged the Secretariat to tell the Security Council what it needed to know, rather than what the 16-member body wanted to hear.  He acknowledged that was perhaps easier to say than to do, when faced with the pressures to propose troop numbers, budgets and objectives according to what the public or the media clamoured for, or what the market would bear, rather than what the task required.  If the Organization wanted to avoid the failures of the past, such pressures needed to be relaxed or resisted.

Continuing, he said that once decisions had been taken on troop and police levels, those personnel needed to be deployed in force, quickly.  “It dooms a mission’s credibility for uniformed personnel to trickle in over the course of several months, when the host community and the ground realities are begging for a modicum of security to be restored, immediately,” he said, noting that when he had headed up the United Nations mission in Afghanistan in 2002, that operation had been refused some 10,000 troops that would have been deployed outside Kabul.  “I am certain that, did we get them, and taken some political initiatives that were also on the table, the situation in that unhappy country would have evolved much more positively that it did,” he said.

“And we saw in the summer of 2006 that when the will is there, thousands of peacekeepers from Western countries can be deployed under Blue Helmets in a matter of weeks, as was the case with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL),” he said, stressing that such will and capacity needed to be summoned more predictably, especially to respond to crises in Africa.  That was a burden that needed to be shouldered by the entire membership, not just the world’s developing countries.  “Another slogan of mine is that it is not an acceptable division of responsibility that the rich contribute money and the poor contribute blood to the common cause of maintaining peace and security,” he said.     

Mr. Brahimi went on to sight other concerns and highlight areas of progress, including the strengthening of triangular cooperation involving the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries.  He also noted the importance of ensuring that elections were conducted to the maximum benefit of peace processes; the need to involve more outside actors in the peacekeeping process and to resist temptations to be primarily guided by bureaucratic rivalries, institutional profile or fund-raising considerations; and the need to accept peacekeeping as a “permanent and indispensable activity of the organization,” rather than a temporary phenomenon.

Further, he said the panel’s call for a “light footprint” in peacekeeping efforts had been “resisted, misunderstood of intentionally distorted”.  It had really been a call for quality, rather than quantity, as far as foreign staff was concerned, and it went hand-in-hand with the call to invest in systems to attract the best and brightest mission leadership and civilian expertise for the job.  “There is no substitute for getting the right people into the right job, at the right time and only for the time that is necessary,” he continued, adding, however, that many peacekeeping veterans had reported that the civilian personnel system was failing the missions, as well as the personnel themselves.  If there was only one problem to fix, they had said, it would be that one, and he feared that 10 years on, many might say the same thing today.  While he did not have the answer to why that problem persisted, he was struck that the question deserved serious attention and debate.  

“When it seems that [United Nations] Peacekeeping is overstretched and nearing a breaking point, then all need to do what they can to lessen the load and preserve this indispensable tool,” he said, adding that when there was a lull in activity, stakeholders must take advantage of the opportunity to invest in and re-tool United Nations peacekeeping and to prepare it for the future.  Indeed, the future would hold many surprises, and unexpected demands were certainly in store.  He recalled that ten years ago, when the panel had wrapped up its work, the experts had never envisaged that just one year ahead, the international community would face the consequences of September 11, 2001.  In Afghanistan, neither the initial success of the Bonn Conference, nor the dire situation that existed today, had been on anyone’s radar.

Continuing in that vein, he said that no one could have imagined that Western European troops would don Blue Helmets in Southern Lebanon.  Nor had anyone considered that there would be a three-fold increase in United Nations peacekeeping activity, with approximately 100,000 uniformed personnel deployed around the globe under the United Nations flag.  “There will be plenty of surprises over the next decade, I’m afraid.  I am fairly certain that the one thing that will remain constant though is that [United Nations] peacekeeping shall continue to be in high demand.”

In all that, the General Assembly had a key role to play, he said, drawing Mr. Treki’s attention to the appeal made by the panel a decade ago at the Millennium Summit, for world leaders to commit to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations to fully accomplish the mission which was its reason for being:  to help communities engulfed in strife, and to maintain or restore peace.

Special Session on Building Partnerships, Securing Capabilities

Special presentations were made by Luis Almagro, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay; Major General (Rtd.) Tarique Ahmed Siddique, Cabinet Minister of Bangladesh; Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations; Hardeep Singh Puri, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations; and U. Joy Ogwu, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations.

Speaking first, Mr. ALMAGRO said that, although the Security Council had the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, “we should look for the broadest possible understandings, especially in sensitive matters”.  The importance of broad support among States, especially troop-contributing countries, should not be underestimated.  That was especially important, considering the features of complex tasks, such as the protection of civilians under imminent threat.  That would lead to greater legitimacy and more commitment among various actors involved in implementation.  The General Assembly and the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations constituted the appropriate framework in that approach

He recalled that in the last 18 months there had been positive signs, citing consultations between the Security Council and the troop- and police-contributing countries, as well as greater interaction between the Secretariat and the Special Committee.  However, “this is not enough to build a genuine sustainable global alliance necessary to provide comprehensive and effective answers to peacekeeping challenges”, he stressed.  Actions, such as the early convening of the troop-contributing countries before mandate renewals took place, should be consolidated, in line with Council resolution 1353 (2001).  Informal mechanisms had proven much more productive and he highlighted the informal coalition of countries committed to the success of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).  The Group of Friends of Haiti also provided an example of how productive close cooperation with troop-contributing countries could be.

Moreover, the triangular exchange between troop- and police-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat had been very productive in the framework of the Security Council Working Group on peacekeeping operations, he said.  If that interaction was to remain useful, it must be conducted in an open manner to acknowledge threats and correct weaknesses.  In the field, the presence of troop contributing countries in the mission’s staff was important and could be arranged through a liaison officer.  Complex missions could not be sustained, however, without serious consideration of the resources needed for adequate performance.  The case of the military utility helicopters was a clear example of the capabilities gap and the causes hindering such contributions must be tackled.  Finally, he said a restructuring of the field support system was needed, as today’s missions needed better quality in logistical support, mobility and information.

Mr. SIDDIQUE, noting that peace missions had become more complex, said the stabilization of countries and full recuperation of their sovereignty, such as in Sierra Leone or Haiti, could take more time than anticipated.  Given such long periods of engagement, missions could not sustain without strong partnerships and secured capability.  In addition to maintaining peace and security, peacekeepers had been increasingly charged with assisting in political processes, reforming justice systems, training law-enforcement and security forces and disarming former combatants — all of which could only be done through building effective partnerships.

In that context, he emphasized various measures for building partnerships, saying that broader political partnership must be made between the United Nations and the host Governments. Troop-contributing countries’ views must be reflected, especially in deciding on mission start-up and bringing change to the mandates of existing missions.  Their fair representation in the Secretariat’s decision-making must be ensured.  Doctrine must be developed to guide the United Nations activities in relation to a wide range of civilian actors.  Moreover, the United Nations must create political partnerships with host authorities, while a communications strategy to ensure clarity within the mission and among the population must be formulated.

With that, he shared thoughts on what must be reflected in the start-up, operation and expansion of peacekeeping operations, saying that mandates must be clear.  At the field level, mission planning must engage the United Nations country team and local partners from the start of the planning process.  The rule of law and capacity-building for the host country might start concurrently, while the collection and dissemination of intelligence must be continuously undertaken.  Strategic policy and operational plans must be subjected to systematic real-time reviews, clearly defined exist strategies must be formulated early and, to ensure mission accountability, an independent oversight capacity should be established.

For its part, Bangladesh had played a cardinal role in the maintenance of international peace and security, he said, noting it would host the annual conference of the International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres in November. The country had expertise in the field of women’s empowerment, microcredit financing, non-formal education and electoral processes, among other sectors, and was ready to share its experience for sustainable peacekeeping.  In closing, he reiterated that “United Nations peacekeeping is a must, not an option, for maintaining peace and security throughout the world”.  Change was indeed needed, and the process must be inclusive.  Decision-making must be representative and burden sharing proportionate, in line with established criteria.  He expressed hope for fair representation of troop- and police-contributing countries in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support.

Next, ABDULLAH HUSSAIN HAROON (Pakistan) said peacekeeping today was integral and vital to the United Nations as never before.  It was one of the Organization’s flagship activities, and indeed, for the suffering humanity in a conflict zone, the “sight of a blue helmet is a beacon of hope”.  Across the globe, that beacon had illuminated the lives of millions buy igniting the flames of peace and alleviating their pains and sorrows.  Underscoring Pakistan’s long-time support for United Nations peacekeeping, he said there were today some 11,000 of his country’s uniformed personnel serving in peace operations.  Over the past five decades, some 114 had lost their lives in the field, including an engineer, who died just two days ago in Côte d’Ivoire.

He went on to say that United Nations peacekeeping operations faced three distinct challenges:  expectations were high to maintain the trajectory of past successes, together with a surge in demand for peacekeeping in diverse situations; the imperatives of forging coherent and coordinated responses to conflict situations, based on objective analysis and the formulation of clear, realistic and achievable mandates; and omnipresent challenges to conceive a seamless transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding.  The basic inspiration to ensuring long-term success must be derived from the United Nations Charter, which provided “an edifice of legitimacy to our peacekeeping efforts”.  Respect for the Charter must not be compromised at the altar of political expediency.

Peacekeeping reform was a continuing exercise, and as the Organization was marking the tenth anniversary of the release of the Brahimi Report, it was time to examine current strategies in light of that landmark document.  Similarly, he said that the New Horizon non-paper compiled by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support needed to be thoroughly analysed with a view to ensuring continuity in the reform process.  Such continuity was essential to address future challenges in a logical and coherent manner.     

HARDEEP SINGH PURI (India) highlighted his country’s vast experience with United Nations peacekeeping, noting that it had contributed more than 100,000 troops and personnel over the past six decades.  As that was the case, he felt that the subject of the special session captured the essence of the challenges peacekeeping now faced.  Much had changed since the first major operation had been deployed and, indeed, the very formula that had been the basis of the Organization’s creation “is now obsolete”.  Global capacities, whether military or economic, were distributed in a significantly different pattern.  “The talk of partnership and capabilities reflects the changes that have occurred and the need for these changes to be accommodated in the global division of labour in the maintenance of international peace and security,” he said.

Continuing on that point, he emphasized that under the current formula, countries that were not represented in the Security Council were supposed to “get their say” on peacekeeping matters by taking part in the work of the Assembly’s Fourth (Special Decolonization) and Fifth (Administrative and Budgetary) Committees.  In addition, troop-contributing countries were consulted through meetings convened by the Council.  In all that, he was pained to point out that attempts were often made to bypass the General Assembly’s Special Committee on Peacekeeping, including the recent effort to fundamentally alter the organization’s peacekeeping support structure with no substantive engagement with the Special Committee or troop-contributing countries.

“Peacekeeping, in our assessment, will remain the major [United Nations] activity for the next few years.  It will need more partners, not less; more capabilities, not less,” he said adding that the tendency in some quarters to avoid, in the name of expediency, intergovernmental discussions on such matters was counterproductive.  There was no shortage of capacities in the world today.  The challenge for the United Nations was to harness them, and India believed that involving a greater number of Member States to that end, not fewer, was the best way of attaining those capacities for the benefit of all.

U. JOY OGWU (Nigeria) recalled that her country had dispatched its first contingent of peacekeepers just after its independence.  Since providing troops for the United Nations mission in the Congo in 1960, Nigeria had remained involved in the Organization’s peacekeeping efforts and would continue to expend every effort to ensure that vital aspect of the United Nations work was carried out effectively.  Moreover, she said, Nigeria had “spent a treasure and shed much blood” in the West African region to stop near successive wars in neighbouring countries during the 1980s and 1990s.

The core lesson that had been learned was that peacekeeping was a vital instrument to meet a global need:  to maintain international peace and security, she continued.  Yet, only 11 countries now provided most of the troops and field personnel for United Nations peacekeeping operations.  Only by expanding that breadth and depth of participation across all member States would the Organization be able to provide the right combination of actors and capabilities to ensure a dynamic and comprehensive response in the field.

Moreover, she said that peacekeeping, a tool for stabilizing conflict, was not capable of addressing the root causes of war and instability, such as poverty, political instability, social injustice and ethnic divisions, among others.  It was, therefore, imperative to forge an international partnership to address the inherent social and economic roots of fragility in the world.  Peacekeeping and peacebuilding were inseparable and both activities should be mandated concurrently, with emphasis on respective duties.  Paying tribute to the major financial contributors to peacekeeping operations, she said the limitation of resources, financial and otherwise, placed a duty on all Member States to explore viable options together.  In that context, she suggested that given the political, social and economic pressures some countries faced in generating such resources, preventive diplomacy might prove to be a more effective tool for protecting succeeding generations from the scourge of war.

Rounding out the special session, ALAIN LE ROY, Under-Secretary-General, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, underscored that the environment had changed since the launch of the Brahimi report, explaining that, at that time, some 20,000 blue helmets had been deployed.  Today, ten years later, there were 124,000 peacekeepers on the ground in 15 operations, representing one of the United Nations’ largest commitments.  Without that report, the Organization would not have been in a position to make such unprecedented efforts, as it had identified many issues that continued to be topical.

While peacekeeping might be headed towards consolidation, perhaps a slight contraction, he said that operations continued to be deployed in inhospitable places, sometimes without adequate resources.  There were expectations about what they should deliver and mandates were growing complex and multi-dimensional.  The responsibilities covered a wide range, including supporting elections; disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration initiatives; strengthening the rule of law; and security sector reform.  Increasingly, peacekeepers were being called upon to implement complex mission mandates, including the protection of civilians, which carried serious policy and operational challenges.  They were expected to initiate early peacekeeping activities and to carefully manage transitions to ensure that resources supported peacebuilding efforts.

He said the aim of the new process was to strengthen partnerships and create greater consensus on tackling new challenges.  It identified the central challenges that required urgent attention.  The priority agenda for 2010-2011 was comprised of four building blocks:  policy development (for modern United Nations peacekeeping); capability development; field support strategy; and planning and oversight to ensure a more effective arrangement for such purposes.  The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) had expressed its support for that agenda, as had the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).  In addition, more consensus had been achieved around the protection of civilians.

To improve coherence, a process of identifying early tasks in the areas of security and stabilization was under way, with a special focus on security sector reform; disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration; and mine action, he said.  There was also a focus on filling credibility gaps.  “We have to move from quantity to quality and take advantage of the time to make lasting our capacity to fulfil mandates,” he said, adding that the Department of Field Support underpinned such efforts.  Today’s debate would contribute to the ongoing dialogue on the future of peacekeeping, he said.  For the peacekeeping-peacebuilding nexus to be calibrated, it was essential to keep the end goal in mind. Also, there was now an opportunity to find solutions to challenges and to consolidate achievements in the area of peacebuilding.  He concluded by paying tribute to all United Nations peacekeepers.

Speaking next, ANTHONY BANBURY, Assistant Secretary-General, Department of Field Support, said that, having spent years on the ground, he was convinced of the profound impact of United Nations peacekeepers on peoples’ lives, and paid special tribute to troop- and police-contributing countries.  Meeting peacekeeping expectations of the Security Council and Governments often was not easy, and certainly could not be done without a genuine partnership among all stakeholders.

The Department of Field Support would do its part, he said, recognizing that its mission was at once vital and “tremendously challenging”:  to provide cost-efficient support.  That component ensured that troops had the necessary life support assets to carry out missions.  The Department undertook such tasks against a backdrop that was different from 10 years ago.  Today, the United Nations faced unprecedented challenges and, to keep pace with demand, the Organization was committed to transforming the way it conducted business.

Recalling that a recommendation of the Brahimi panel had been that the Secretariat prepare a global logistics support strategy, he said “we have now done that”, noting efforts in Chad, the Darfur region of Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The strategy had been designed to enhance support delivery — to make it faster, cheaper and more effective, in partnership with troop- and police-contributing countries.  Focusing on needs, he said that, while it was true that progress had been far too slow, today, thanks to the General Assembly, there was a field support strategy in place and focus would now be on implementation.  The challenges were large and the only hope of overcoming them was to work in close partnership with Member States.  The Department was committed to doing so, especially with troop- and police-contributing countries, to help secure the capabilities necessary for effective United Nations field operations.

Panel One:  Political Dimensions of United Nations Peacekeeping

The first panel dealt with the political dimensions of peacekeeping, including questions of political will and support for the operations and the interlinkages and mutual impact of peacekeeping missions and political processes.  It addressed the centrality of political processes in multidimensional and complex operations; their evolving nature, from the signing of a peace process to the launching of a democratic process; the fostering of national reconciliation; and the building of national capacity to sustain political processes after the end of the conflict.  It also considered the role of international and regional actors.

Moderator Terje Rød-Larsen, International Peace Institute President, was joined by Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (2008), and now Chairman, Crisis Management Initiative; Alvaro de Soto, Senior Fellow, Ralph Bunche Institute, Associate Fellow, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, and former United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process; and Ibrahim Gambari, Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

Mr. Ahtisaari, drawing attention to what he deemed the United Nations first “attempt at engaging in multidimensional peacekeeping”, the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) in Namibia, said that, from the outset, the operation needed to be linked to, and supported by, broader political mechanisms, at the Security Council and beyond, which reinforced its political role and brought weight and authority to bear on United Nations messages.  In the current debate, host country consent was a key issue on which common understanding must be found.  Intra-State violence had become the major form of armed conflict, with Governments opposing non-Government forces, or non-Government factions opposing each other, in cases of State collapse.  That challenged the principle of consent, which had initially been based on a reality dominated mainly by inter-State conflicts.  Host country consent in the Namibia case suggested that the warring parties’ consent for peace implementation “is not always present but can be created and sustained through a continuous dialogue with the parties”. 

He said that in order to establish UNTAG as a legitimate authority with all Namibians, the United Nations strategy was to have staff of the 42 districts and regional offices interact as much as possible with the locals.  The UNTAG operation had also demonstrated the critical role of partnerships with and engagement of regional stakeholders — front line States on behalf of the Organization for African Unity (OAU).  The Namibian transition, he said, had also positively impacted the regional situation, facilitating the peace process in Angola and stimulating reform in South Africa.  Also, in Namibia, the concept for civilian policing had been introduced, and the lesson had been learned that, without sufficient police and civilian resources, any peace operation was bound to leave behind it an “unconsolidated peace”. 

He was fully aware that the favourable conditions and sometimes also the good luck present in Namibia were not always present in most cases.  Sometimes the lesson of the Brahimi report was forgotten; namely, that peacekeeping was not a substitute for an effective political process.  There was no magic remedy to the peacekeeping challenges, but there were things that Member States could do, if there was a political will.  He also pointed to the need to reform the budget process to increase preparedness and flexibility, improve involvement of troop and police contributing countries, increase Secretariat authority, and increase transparency of the Security Council’s work.   

Mr. De Soto said that, 20 years after the end of the cold war, clarity was still lacking about how, to what end and according to what criteria the international community wished to use the set of tools available to it.  While Security Council resolutions often had lengthy and detailed preambular sections, they provided little basis to predict whether and if so, when and how, the Council would choose to act, even though circumstances appeared to be similar, or analogous.  First, political will must be the premise underpinning any Council decision to undertake a United Nations peacekeeping operation, together with the determination to see the operation through in a manner that substantially reduced the risk of relapse.  The Council should not initiate an operation unless the resources and capabilities existed — a point made forcefully in the Brahimi report.

He said that maintaining consensus around an operation was a challenge in a world composed of an ever-growing proportion of democratic States, for it was difficult to reconcile the exigencies of the electoral calendar with the strategic patience required to see through an operation.  “Beware of fixed-calendar exit strategies that might be interpreted by less enthusiastic parties to a conflict that is approaching denouement as indicating how long they must wait to reverse the process,” he warned.  As for political challenges to peacekeeping, he said the best way to ensure that an operation advanced peace was for the Council to stand behind it and to “make absolutely certain” that the parties to the conflict knew that.  As for how the United Nations should deal with “spoilers”, he reminded participants that one man’s spoiler might be another man’s candidate for inclusion in a doomed, narrow, exclusionary process — not a felicitous way of embarking on a peace process.  If the United Nations lent itself to exclusionary policies, it was not only unlikely to succeed, but it could imperil its work in other situations. 

Mr. Gambari, speaking in his personal capacity, said the United Nations faced the growing challenge of maintaining public confidence in maintaining peace and security everywhere in the world.  In the midst of the challenge, the issue of the Organization’s own impartiality must be addressed.  Parties to conflict had become increasingly reluctant to involve the United Nations and its peacekeepers, preferring other actors instead.  There was also a strongly held view that the Security Council, which rightly authorized peacekeeping missions, was itself in dire need of reform, in order to correct its “democratic deficit”, as it continued to function in concentric circles of interest.  There were the elected members, or outer circle, and the inner circle, or P-5, and the P-3 and then the P-1.  At the same time, there was the growing belief in the importance of effective multilateralism or “collective legitimization”, which only the United Nations provided. 

Still, lessons learned, he added, had concerned, first, the role of regional and subregional organizations, which had grown more mature, including as political actors.  It was in the United Nations interest not to regard them as nuisances to be tolerated, but as partners to be embraced.  Among other advantages, those organizations could be leveraged in terms of the trust, capacities and resources they brought to the table, and they could limit the number and impact of potential “spoilers” and increase the “buy-in” of neighbouring actors.  A look at the situation on the African continent showed that the continuation of pure, traditional peacekeeping operations “is not looking very good”, whereas the potential for those international peacekeeping operations that really took the African Union on board as partners “looks quite promising”. 

Turning to the need for robust operations, he said the missions must be prepared to “ward off violence and not to cede initially to the attackers”.  UNAMID, for example, had as a key part of its mandate the protection of civilians, but if its members were unable to protect themselves, they could not be expected to be credible in terms of the civilian population.  “If people attack us we have to attack back and inflict the maximum damage so they will think twice before attacking us again,” he said.  He also focused on the issue of spoilers, actors in the region and the need to avoid a multiplicity of actors, which could complicate the search for durable peace. 

In the interactive discussion that followed, the need for a political consensus, both coalescing around the activities of the parties on the ground and at Headquarters, was emphasized.  Some also stressed that practical action should be taken to lead peacekeepers to become “early peacebuilders”, when the time was ripe.  The link between peacekeeping and peacebuilding was seen by one representative as political and as needing to be “programmed at an early stage when the guns fell silent” and when an embattled population sought the benefits of the end of hostilities.  The role of neighbouring States was also stressed and, in that, the view was expressed that they could not be neutral, as they were indeed fundamental to either the success of a national political process, or impediment to a peacekeeping operation. 

Note was taken that today’s debate was not only about the political support lent to missions, but also about the impact of missions on the political process under way in a country emerging from conflict.  It was widely held that the Secretariat should possess a clear and comprehensive overview of all peacekeeping operations deployed throughout the world, as when links with Headquarters were “too distant”, an operation would fray.  Then too, it was stressed that an operation could not exist in isolation from its environment and, in that connection, it was deemed equally important that the local population understand the political processes under way in the country.  Inclusion of all segments of society in peacebuilding was emphasized, as was the important economic and financial component of peacekeeping; a mission with insufficient resources could not discharge its mandate or ensure support for the implementation of peace agreements.

Responding to comments, Mr. Rød-Larsen noted that the search for a peacekeeping operation might become the enemy of a political solution, and the search for a political solution might re-ignite conflict.  The “devil’s dilemma”, he called it; “damned if you do and damned if you don’t”.

Elaborating on his point about the need to inflict maximum damage under certain circumstances, Mr. Gambari explained that a Chapter VII mandate meant a mission had to robustly defend itself from attack.  Its soldiers could not be seen as “sitting ducks”, picked off or kidnapped or killed at will.  That was not what the troop or police contributors expected of the United Nations.  So far, under UNAMID, Nigeria had lost 27 peacekeepers, Rwanda 8 now, and Egypt 2.  In Darfur, a political, as well as an economic, war was being fought.  So, the root causes had to be addressed, and that included the economic dimension of the crisis.  He agreed with speakers that peacekeeping was not substitute for peacemaking, citing as an example the Cyprus peacekeeping force, which had been in place since 1964. 

Mr. Ahtisaari wondered why it had been possible for everyone to have cooperated in the case of Namibia, why there had been no spoilers.  The whole international community had worked together, he recalled, adding that a lesson should be drawn from that.

The notion that post-conflict peacebuilding was slightly different and went beyond continuing business as usual was beginning to be understood, said Mr. De Soto.  That should facilitate avoiding some embarrassing clashes between the international community’s players on the ground.  There was an urgent need to reintegrate former combatants and to give priority to the kind of institutions that would provide future potential insurgents with the means to address their legitimate grievances. 

Delegates participating in the discussion included representatives of Brazil, Morocco, France, Finland, Peru and Senegal.

Panel Two:  Multidimensional Peacekeeping Operations

The afternoon panel, subtitled “Towards sustainable peace, peacebuilding and the nexus between security and development”, emphasized links between the security and economic aspects of sustainable peace, and aimed to address how peacekeeping operations could be rooted in “dynamic and early partnership with all relevant actors in the field”, according to the Office of the Assembly President.

Moderated by Jamal Benomar, Chef de Cabinet, Office of the President of the General Assembly, panellists included:  John Agyekum Kufuor, Former President of Ghana, Former Chairperson of the African Union and Chairman of Interpeace; Ashraf Ghani (participating via videoconference from Kabul), Chairman of the Institute of State Effectiveness in Afghanistan and Former Minister of Finance; Justin Yifu Lin, World Bank Chief Economist; and Ellen Margrethe Løj, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Liberia and head of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

Mr. Benomar said that, unfortunately, parallel rather than unified structures were frequently created for post-conflict assistance, resulting in contradictory objectives and short-term perspectives, often without national ownership.  For that reason, the need for strict coordination of all actors under national strategies was becoming more and more evident.  He cautioned that applying a one-size-fits-all strategy on elections and too-quick conversion to market competition could lead to further instability.  For that reason, it had been seen that it was most important to first strengthen the legitimacy of State institutions and their ability to provide security and basic services.

Mr. Kufuor said that peace and security were necessary for development and that was why peacekeeping must have multisectoral, long-term perspectives.  Noting Ghana’s extensive contributions to United Nations peacekeeping, he described the multiple causes of conflicts, such as weakened States and competition for natural resources, which he said were exacerbated by the easy availability of small arms.  Broad media coverage then put public pressure on the United Nations to act — not always in the wisest way. 

He said that peacebuilding activities must be integrated with peacekeeping operations, and it was most important to include the local peoples in all those activities.  In the future, it was critical that mandates be clear and robust and human rights observers and other specialists be employed after careful analysis.  Partnerships were ever more important, as was better information gathering, including what he called a “global watch” mechanism based at United Nations Headquarters, which could also help with early warning.  It was certain that, in such multidisciplinary responses, the military would only be one part and should only be designed to create the conditions in which humanitarian and diplomatic activities could take place, allowing economic development to occur on a sustained basis and mankind to be saved from the scourge of war.

Dr. Ghani, recalling the development of United Nations peacebuilding activities in Afghanistan, described an extreme lack of accountability, coordination and transparency, resulting in “sordid practices on the ground”.  He said that peacemaking began when parties in a conflict realized that they could not win.  Different strategies could then apply.  The quest for an inclusive state then could occur, as had often happened in Latin America, or decentralization could begin, which was often seen in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and Sudan, and which required an understanding of government function and levels.  In failed states, such as Somalia, the centre could collapse, and restoring that centre was among the most difficult of tasks.  The imposition of peace, such as happened in Kosovo, represented yet another category. 

The skill set required in all those cases included an understanding of the political process, he said, which included an understanding that elections and democracy were not the same thing.  All peace agreements also required legal skills, for reframing “the rules of the game” in a way that was organic to a particular context and not “off the shelf law”.  Skills in economic management were also critical.  Because there were no standard rules in the international system in all those areas, ad hoc strategies were constantly being improvised by consultants. 

Capacity-building, he added, could not remain abstract; institutions must be built within an agreed-upon time.  In that endeavour and elsewhere, there were often conflicting perspectives between the international financial institutions and the United Nations agencies.  For that reason, Governments needed to first and foremost be empowered to manage international assistance, lest they fall prey to its ever-changing strategies. 

In addition, he said, standard guidelines for statecraft and delivery contracts must be provided to the Secretary-General’s representatives.  Finally, he added, it was important to realize that design mattered, as was learned early on in the Marshall Plan.  The current machinery of the United Nations in all those areas was broken, he stressed, and must be seriously reformed.

Mr. Lin said that there had been progress in building stability in much of the world, but there were many countries in which persistent conflict continued to hold back development over decades.  The World Bank acknowledged that many so-called post-conflict countries were actually experiencing continuous, recurrent conflict.  In addition, it was important to realize that there were connections between disparate kinds of violence in a country, including both crime and political conflict.  All such instability was integrally tied to economic factors, however.

Peacekeeping, he said, offered economic benefits, particularly in the case of multidimensional missions.  However, economic growth would not build stability if it was not inclusive.  Institutional reforms and transitional justice were also crucial, but it was important not to try to accomplish reform of all sectors within a short period of time.  He warned, in that context, of quick fixes.  More realism was needed in the timing of reform, with patience and flexibility applied.

Ms. Løj assured Dr. Ghani that she was always cognizant in Liberia that results on the ground were all-important, as was building long-term stability and development.  In those efforts, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development were not seen as sequential processes, but as integrated.  Her mission was a peacekeeping mission, but it was heavily involved in peacebuilding.  She said that peace dividends must be seen early by the people, but not all objectives could be achieved in the short-term, and priorities must be decided upon by the Government concerned.  Such national ownership, she agreed, was key.  In addition, for that reason, what she called “the capacity challenge” must be met early on. 

No one disagreed about the critical need for integration of all United Nations post-conflict activities, but it was not easy to achieve, because of a host of differences in procedures and funding.  Bilateral activities were also difficult to coordinate with each other, and with United Nations activities, but such coordination was crucial for any individual effort to become sustainable.  Finally, she acknowledged that recurrent costs for services and other expenses must be eventually borne by Governments to be sustainable, but commented that Governments could be assisted with those expenses, in the short-term and not necessarily through direct funding, in order to help provide a peace dividend.

Following those presentations, Peter Wittig of Germany, Chairman of the Peacebuilding Commission, was asked to say a few words.  He agreed that an organic and fluid relationship between peacekeeping and peacebuilding was needed, and that peacebuilding should be foreseen in peacekeeping mandates.  For those purposes, short- and medium-term peacebuilding tasks should be undertaken simultaneously and partnerships should be forged early with humanitarian actors.  The General Assembly had a large role in advocating the long-term perspective in building peace and development. 

In addition, Judy Cheng-Hopkin, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, also took the podium to stress the importance of implementing security reform and employment projects, as well as the importance of monitoring projects in those areas to ensure the desired results were obtained.  Litmus tests must be designed to determine the nature of success.  For example, in security, it was important to see whether women and children ran to security personnel when they were in danger, rather than away from them.

In the ensuing discussion, delegations agreed with the need for integrating peacekeeping and peacebuilding, as well as the need for cooperation between all actors.  Many emphasized the strong link between security and development for consolidating peace, as well as the necessity of building strong state institutions, assuring national ownership and leadership and providing peace dividends on the ground in conflict situations.  Difficulties in providing direct budgetary support for state institutions were discussed in that context.

Clear and achievable peacekeeping mandates, as well as ongoing consultation between troop and police contributors and the Security Council, were both called necessary, as was preventive diplomacy.  In addition, mandatory consultations between the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission were proposed, and delegates discussed how funding could be mobilized better and structured in a way that integrated peacebuilding and peacekeeping and expanded civilian and police cadres, in the interest of longer-term stability.

Representatives of Indonesia, Japan, South Africa, Portugal, Italy, Singapore, Slovakia, Lebanon, Venezuela, Senegal and Benin spoke in that discussion.

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