|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Special Committee on
214th & 215th Meetings (AM & PM)
Special Committee Members Commend Performance of United Nations Peacekeepers
Faced with Complex Mandates, Lacking Key Capabilities
Delegates Express Views on Early Peacebuilding,
Civilian Protection, ‘Robust peacekeeping’ as General Debate Concludes
United Nations peacekeepers were performing commendably despite the complexity of mandates and the lack of key capabilities, the representative of Bangladesh told the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations today as it concluded its general debate.
He said that prevailing mismatches between complex mandates and resources might be overcome through careful study and building up the required capabilities. Mission planning and review should be carried out in collaboration with all related organs of the United Nations, actual and potential contributors of troops and police personnel to United Nations peacekeeping, as well as financial contributors and mission leadership.
Training was a shared responsibility between the Organization and troop- and police-contributing countries, he said, adding that Bangladesh, one of the leading troop contributors, expected a proportionate share of staffing in permanent and seconded posts, especially at the higher and policymaking levels of the Peacekeeping and Field Support Departments. As for the peacekeeping role of regional organizations, it should be in accordance with, and complement, Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, he stressed.
During a wide-ranging discussion of issues that also included early peacebuilding, the protection of civilians and “robust peacekeeping” –- based on the new partnership agenda, an initiative launched by the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support and also known as “New Horizon” –- many speakers emphasized their support for United Nations peacekeeping operations based on the fundamental Charter principles of neutrality, respect for State sovereignty, consent of the parties and non-use of violence except in cases of self-defence.
They said Security Council-issued peacekeeping mandates should be clear, realistic, achievable, and underpinned by commensurate resources. They stressed that countries contributing troops and police personnel to peacekeeping operations should be involved in all stages of deliberations involving peacekeeping missions, from planning through implementation to exit. Other speakers said there was a role for early peacebuilding activities within peacekeeping missions, but stressed that peacekeeping was no substitute for long-term peacebuilding or addressing the root causes of conflict.
Speakers emphasized that the development of operational concepts on civilian protection and robust peacekeeping required further discussion as they had serious implications for international law and State sovereignty. Other speakers stressed the need to examine the legal aspects of the concept, noting that primary responsibility for the protection of civilians lay with the host country.
Pakistan’s representative said there was a distinction between the concept of civilian protection and that of robust peacekeeping. The important elements of the interim definition of robust peacekeeping were the “willingness” and “capability” of a peacekeeping operation to “deter and confront” obstructions to mandate implementation through the “use of force”. Since, by that definition, the protection of civilians was not the mandate, it could create misperceptions of the Organization’s neutral image, he warned.
On the question of peacebuilding, Cuba’s representative described it as a fundamental tool for helping countries emerge from conflict and achieve sustainable development. Any peacebuilding strategy must be based on national experience and integrated planning, in line with national needs and the principle of national control, he emphasized, adding that the Peacebuilding Commission must have a principal role in setting priorities and ensuring the implementation of related activities.
India’s representative noted the distinction between Security Council actions under Chapters VI of the United Nations Charter -- addressing the peaceful settlement of conflicts -- and Chapter VII, on binding decisions for peacekeeping operations. “There is a time and a place for both and there should be no back-door method to obliterate the Council’s responsibility to attempt peaceful settlements of disputes,” he said. “The temptation to augment the theory and practice of intervention as a convenient short cut must be avoided at all costs.”
Nepal’s representative said coordination and mobilization were critically important in meeting realities on the ground, adding that mission leadership must ensure that the concept of operations and operational guidelines were pragmatic and matched by commensurate resources.
Most representatives of troop- and police-contributing countries expressed their concern over delays in reimbursement for their contributions and in settling death and disability claims.
Jamaica’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the current session was set against the backdrop of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, which had taken the lives of more than 230,000 citizens and over 100 personnel of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). He extended the Community’s sincere gratitude to the Mission and other members of the United Nations family whose “heroic efforts have undoubtedly been instrumental in saving countless lives”.
Sudan’s representative, taking the floor to deliver his statement, announced a “historic agreement” between his Government and the Darfurian Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), signed today in Doha, Qatar.
Others speaking today were the representatives of the Philippines, Peru, Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Jordan, Venezuela, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Turkey, Serbia, United Republic of Tanzania, Iran, China, Lebanon, Zambia, Sri Lanka, Niger, Tunisia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Qatar and Israel.
Taking the floor in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of Syria and Lebanon.
The Special Committee will reconvene at a date and time to be announced.
The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations met this morning to continue its general debate. (For background information, see press release GA/PK/203 of 22 February).
HILARIO G DAVIDE, JR ( Philippines) said peacekeeping missions in Burundi, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire and Haiti had made progress in establishing security and supporting political processes, but others continued to face difficulties due to deployment issues and a lack of key capabilities. The shortage of aviation assets had prevented the missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Darfur and the wider Sudan from fulfilling their mandates. More positively, he took note of the New Horizon initiative, and expressed his support for the three-tiered framework proposed by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support to conceptualize the role of United Nations peacekeeping in protecting civilians. Its goal of providing protection against physical violence through the political process, while creating a protective environment, must be implemented simultaneously and efficiently, he said.
Expressing support for the interim definition of “robust peacekeeping”, he stressed the need for a common understanding of “robust peacekeeping” and what the “use of force” entailed. United Nations peacekeepers should not be considered long-term peacebuilders because national ownership of the peacebuilding process was the ultimate goal. The handover of tasks and responsibilities from peacekeepers to national partners must be given priority in the early stages of the peacebuilding process. As for the Department of Field Support proposal to introduce a Global Field Support Strategy to address the increasing demand for peacekeeping worldwide, the Department’s focus on a new global service delivery model as the cornerstone of that Strategy must be carefully considered since it would constitute a change in practice. It must be studied to see whether it would bring about positive results.
SHANKER DAS BAIRAGI ( Nepal) said United Nations peacekeeping was at a crossroads and it had become urgent to bridge the critical capability gap. Nepal would welcome the early development of a comprehensive capability development strategy, he said, adding that issues such as planning and oversight, policy development, capability development and field support must be addressed in a holistic manner.
A robust approach must aim to make peacekeeping operations more effective and credible, he said, calling on the Security Council to ensure that mandates were matched by resources and capability, while maintaining a higher level of political commitment. Uniformed peacekeepers should have clear guidance and strong rules of engagement, and it was essential to ensure the substantive and continuous involvement of troop- and police-contributing countries at all stages of peacekeeping operations.
Turning to the protection of civilians, he said coordination and mobilization were critically important in meeting realities on the ground. Mission leadership must ensure that the concept of operations and operational guidelines were pragmatic and underpinned by adequate resources. Timely reimbursement to troop-contributing countries was vital for the maintenance of troops and equipment, and the reimbursement of disability and death claims must receive urgent priority.
Expressing support for the implementation of some early peacebuilding tasks during the peacekeeping phase, he also called for the fair and equitable recruitment of senior personnel from troop- and police-contributing countries, which would enhance the inclusive character of the Secretariat as well as field missions. Nepal had contributed more than 81,000 peacekeepers to 35 United Nations peacekeeping missions since 1958. It had a long-standing peacekeeping training centre where all its troops and police personnel underwent three months of pre-deployment training.
IBRAHIM JAMAL ( Bangladesh) said peacekeepers were performing commendably despite the complexity of mandates and the lack of key capabilities. In the pursuit of a lasting and sustainable peace, United Nations peacekeeping operations had proved themselves beyond doubt as the most efficient. The current theme of addressing the root causes of conflict and building national capacities was desirable, and the holistic and integrated approach to accomplishing multifaceted and complex tasks deserved appreciation. The Police Division had undertaken the task of doctrinal development, to be finalized shortly in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, with the doctrine for the management of formed police units.
Welcoming the New Horizon initiative, he reiterated that peacekeeping operations must be in consonance with the goals enshrined in the United Nations Charter, be coherent, maintain continuity and fulfil their mandates. Prevailing mismatches between complex mandates and resources might be overcome through careful study and building up the required capabilities, he suggested, as he welcomed efforts by the Department of Field Support to improve the logistics system and timely delivery of services to peacekeepers. Mission planning and review should be carried out with all related organs of the United Nations, potential troop- and police-contributing countries, financial contributors and mission leadership.
Peacebuilding, especially security-sector reform, must be incorporated at the earliest possible moment, he said, stressing the importance of constant engagement among troop- and police-contributing countries, the Council and the Secretariat in all phases of mission planning, implementation and exit. Training was a responsibility shared by the Organization and contributors of troops and police, and Bangladesh, one of the leading troop-contributing countries, expected a proportionate share of staffing in permanent and seconded posts, especially at the higher and policymaking levels of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Department of Field Support and in the field. As for the role of regional organizations, it should be in accordance with, and complement, Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter. He concluded by calling for a more rational and expeditious reimbursement mechanism for death and disability claims.
PEDRO NÚÑEZ MOSQUERA ( Cuba) said there must be greater coordination on peacekeeping issues between the Special Committee and the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary). The Assembly bore primary responsibility for developing strategies and policies for peacekeeping operations, and an intergovernmental process was necessary for approving them. The aim must be for maximum efficiency in peacekeeping, and the nature of the mandates must be clearly defined in line with realities on the ground. They must contain specific tasks and the necessary resources to carry them out. A step-by-step approach was more effective in drawing up mandates, which should take the form of a draft resolution until details were clear, and there must be a clear exit strategy. Peacekeeping operations should not be an end in themselves, but a temporary measure to create security for a long-term strategy of sustainable economic and social development, he said.
Describing peacebuilding as a fundamental tool for helping countries emerge from conflict and achieve sustainable development, he said that any peacebuilding strategy must be based on national experience and integrated planning, in line with national needs and the principle of national control. The Peacebuilding Commission must have a principal role in setting the relevant priorities. Cuba supported efforts to improve the Organization’s capacity to manage peacekeeping operations on the basis of strict respect for the relevant Charter principles. The Global Field Support Strategy was an important initiative that Member States must study further, he said, noting that new initiatives must be seen as part of the reform process under way.
Governments bore primary responsibility for protecting civilians, he said, emphasizing that although peacekeeping operations contained civilian-protection mandates, the United Nations must continue to be seen by all as impartial as well as respectful of State sovereignty and the principle of non-intervention. Peacekeeping missions must have the capacity and necessary resources to comply with their mandates. However, the concept of robust peacekeeping was not clear in terms of respect for State consent to the use of force, he said, adding that the United Nations would appear to be preparing to impose peace rather than maintain it. It was crucial to respect basic peacekeeping principles, as set forth in the Charter, he emphasized, expressing concern about the use, in the Secretary-General’s report, of such terminology as “peace operations” and “strategic consensus”, which was not clearly defined by Member States.
LUIS ENRIQUE CHÁVEZ ( Peru) said his country had been committed to peacekeeping for more than 50 years, and had contributed personnel to four operations in Africa, in addition to a unit in Haiti. Peru supported the strengthening of peacekeeping operations so they could better discharge their mandates. Adequate resources and clear, attainable mandates should be the focus of the Special Committee’s session. Any discussion on developing the concept of the use of force by peacekeeping operations should tackle such questions as explicit consent of the host country, clarity or certainty in using force as a last resort, priority for the physical security and safety of civilians and mission personnel, and total respect for the Charter.
Stressing the primary role of the host country in protecting civilians, he said that required an integrated approach at all levels. Furthermore, the presence of a peacekeeping operation did not erase the need to tackle the root causes of conflict. An operation must be well planned and coordinated, and use the instruments of political and social development. When the situation merited, peacebuilding elements should be incorporated into peacekeeping mandates to ensure that when a State emerged from conflict it would have the resource capacity it needed. Calling for better coordination among the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Peacebuilding Support Office and other United Nations agencies, he said there must be an integrated approach to all aspects of peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
Expressing concern about the fragile situation of many missions, he said that strengthening security on the ground should be a top priority. He strongly condemned attacks that had caused the deaths of peacekeepers and all acts of violence against them, while hoping that that all efforts would be made to draw up guidelines on security issues affecting peacekeeping. He also called for better coordination between the Council and troop-contributing countries, which should be involved in discussions on changing mission tasks, operational concepts or command and control structures impacting on logistical needs and training. The increasingly complex nature of peacekeeping called for specialized knowledge and experience that most Member States lacked, he pointed out, encouraging cooperation on training for troop-contributing countries.
PARK IN-KOOK ( Republic of Korea) said there were many shortcomings in the Organization’s conduct of peacekeeping operations and lots of room for improvement. The New Horizon non-paper took into account new challenges, including the major issue of civilian protection, he said, stressing that there must first be agreement at the policy level on the concept itself. Another major undertaking was developing the concept of robust peacekeeping. Policy agreement was also needed on such fundamental issues as defining the concept and determining when to use force in enforcing the United Nations mandate. Although the protection of civilians and robust peacekeeping were separate matters, there could be some overlap between the two, and the Secretariat must coordinate both endeavours in order to avoid duplication and confusion.
Regarding peacebuilding tasks, he voiced his support for the Secretary-General’s recommendations on questions relating to the rule of law, security-sector reform, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, as well as the development of benchmarks and exit strategies. However, those tasks were not the sole responsibility of the Peacekeeping Department but involved the wider United Nations system as well as other international and regional organizations. Looking forward to the continued support of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and other bodies, he said all relevant entities of the Organization should also work together to achieve the safety and security of United Nations and humanitarian personnel. The integrated mission planning process could serve as a strategic framework for strengthening and better coordinating the work of the Peacekeeping Department and the various other United Nations bodies involved in peacebuilding, including the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Support Office.
HASAN KLEIB ( Indonesia) said that, with the manifold demands, complexity and risks facing peacekeepers, robust international support and cooperation must match the challenges confronting the brave “Blue Helmets”. Indonesia had participated actively since 1965 in United Nations peacekeeping, which should be based on the principles of consent of the parties concerned, impartiality and non-use of force except in self-defence. To that end, there was a need for the Security Council to set clear and achievable mandates with clearer priorities. It should also act swiftly to develop appropriate responses, including through mandate modification, to deteriorating security and humanitarian situations on the ground, or where the protection of civilians was at stake.
Underscoring the need for realistic and practical guidelines governing the protection of civilians, as well as for the requisite force numbers and resources to execute such mandates, he said resource requirements for robust peacekeeping should also be met. Additionally, it was important that Force Commanders, national contingents and host Governments be on the same page in identifying “spoilers” and the civilians they were supposed to protect. He welcomed the new global service delivery model introduced in the Global Field Support Strategy, and expressed support for the proposal to hold special deliberations on an open-ended working group of the General Assembly plenary.
Bringing peace to conflict-scarred regions required a comprehensive approach entailing a robust political process and requiring a seamless transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding, he said. Since peacekeepers were not peacebuilders, it was critically important to develop a rapidly deployable civilian capacity comprising experts from all regions, he stressed, announcing that Indonesia and Slovakia would host a workshop under the theme “The role of the United Nations in multidimensional peacekeeping operations and post-conflict peacebuilding: towards an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) perspective”, in Jakarta on 29 and 30 March.
KHALID ABDULLAH KRAYYEM SHAWABKAH (Jordan), noting that the Middle East had for decades suffered from instability and conflict, acknowledged the debt it owed to the men and women of the United Nations who had worked to preserve peace in the region. Peacekeeping had contributed to the prevention and management of violent conflicts and to support for peacebuilding efforts. However, United Nations peacekeeping operations were no substitute for permanent solutions to conflicts or for addressing their underlying causes, he said, adding that they should therefore be accompanied by an inclusive peace process. It was also of the utmost importance to clarify for Member States key questions about peacebuilding and robust peacekeeping, and to sustain dialogue among all stakeholders on the issue of civilian protection.
The New Horizon document contained a number of useful recommendations that should be implemented, but some proposals merited further discussion, he said. Despite enhancement of the trilateral cooperation between troop- and police-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Security Council, there was a need to improve the cooperation between contributors of peacekeeping personnel and the Secretariat. Greater transparency was needed in that regard, he stressed, noting that his delegation had been unable to obtain answers to inquiries about the reduction in the number of Jordanian peacekeepers in Haiti before the 12 January earthquake. Furthermore, Jordan was not sufficiently represented in the Peacekeeping and Field Support Departments, he said, urging the Secretary-General to deal with the current geographic imbalance in staffing and the underrepresentation of troop-contributing countries.
HARDEEP SINGH PURI ( India) said peacekeeping budgets had risen 27-fold in the past 20 years, the number of peacekeepers had grown 10-fold and that of peacekeeping operations was at an all-time high. However, peacekeeping had delivered results, despite serious shortcomings. The holding of meetings with troop-contributing countries at least a week before mandates were renewed was a welcome development and the practice must be further strengthened. Meetings must be predictable and structured, with predetermined agendas. That would enable troop-contributing countries to provide meaningful input, he said, adding that the system of consultations must be extended to cover all stages of mission cycles.
The base of troop contributors must be expanded further, he continued, calling for enhanced efforts to encourage more countries to provide troops and police personnel. Permanent members of the Security Council must also show their political commitment by contributing troops under United Nations command and control. The Peacekeeping Department must integrate gender dimensions into all missions, he said, drawing attention to the effectiveness of the all-female Indian formed police unit in Liberia. Work on drafting the New Horizon document and developing operational concepts for civilian protection and robust peacekeeping had serious implications for international law and State sovereignty, he added.
The distinction between Council actions under Chapters VI and VII of the Charter was a key issue, he continued. “There is a time and a place for both and there should be no back-door method to obliterate the Council’s responsibility to attempt peaceful settlement of disputes. The temptation to augment the theory and practice of intervention as a convenient short cut must be avoided at all costs,” he stressed, pointing out that civilian protection was the primary responsibility of the host country. Peacekeepers found that their presence helped improve situations but did not lead to lasting peace owing to the Council’s tendency to move into certain conflict areas without adequate deliberation. Quick fixes and short cuts were not appropriate. Reform, unless driven by national rather than donor priorities, would not produce good results, he warned.
AMJAD HUSSAIN B. SIAL ( Pakistan) said his country had long been at the forefront of United Nations peacekeeping and hosted the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), one of the Organization’s first missions. With the United Nations peacekeeping mechanism having historically been successful, collective action should cut across a whole range of activities, from the formulation of concepts and policies to proper and comprehensive planning. It should also include objective analysis of realities on the ground, the formulation of clear, realistic and achievable mandates and the provision of commensurate resources. Peacekeeping today suffered from an avoidable disconnect between the planning and implementation phases, which must be addressed through greater emphasis on participation by Member States in all stages of a peacekeeping mission.
Although the protection of civilians was one of the objectives of modern peacekeeping, the role of the host country as the primary actor should be emphasized, he said. Peacekeepers must guard against overstretching their role to the detriment of the principles of territorial integrity and sovereign equality of States. The legal aspects of civilian protection should also be examined, he said, pointing to a distinction between that concept and that of robust peacekeeping. The important elements of the interim definition of robust peacekeeping were the “willingness” and “capability” of a peacekeeping operation to “deter and confront” obstruction to mandate implementation through the “use of force”. In that definition, a civilian-protection mandate could create misperceptions of the Organization’s neutral image.
Noting the Secretary-General’s view that “mobility of personnel was undermined by the lack of surface and aerial mobility assets”, he said he had difficulty in understanding the need for unmanned aerial vehicles for such mobility. There was a need for careful and detailed understanding of the problems facing the United Nations support system with regard to the evolution from “managing support to individual missions as independent entities to managing a global support operation”, as laid out in the Global Field Support Strategy. There was also a need to avoid building parallel United Nations institutions in conflict areas, he stressed, expressing strong support for greater coordination and synergy among the Assembly, the Council, the Special Committee and the Secretariat. Closer interaction was also required with the Peacebuilding Commission, as was enhanced interaction between the Security Council and troop-contributing countries.
ILENIA R. MEDINA-CARRASCO ( Venezuela), emphasizing that peace was fundamental to the existence of the human race, said it was important to recognize the contributions of developing countries to peacekeeping operations. The success or failure of peacekeeping operations and how people in host countries viewed them was linked to their mandates, she said, adding that operational and financial resources must be commensurate with mandates. Peacekeeping operations must ensure that the parties concerned complied with the peace plan, she said, stressing that it was essential for mandates to express, explicitly in each objective, respect for the absolute consent of the parties and the non-use of force except in self-defence.
Expressing concern about the national conditions in which some peacekeeping missions operated, she said a mission could not turn into an occupying force or a State within a State because the host population would reject such a change. In order to strengthen United Nations legitimacy in peacekeeping, it was necessary to study the mandates of current peacekeeping operations to ensure that new mandates did not repeat the errors of earlier ones. The new concepts proposed were causing profound uncertainty, she said, adding that, while people wanted dialogue, inclusion and their basic needs met, some of those proposals called for sophisticated strategies to support regional and international service and equipment stations. That was not a matter that should distract the Special Committee from studying existing mandates.
She also expressed concern about the focus on militarization of peacekeeping, saying that the sophisticated strategy package was complicated by concepts lacking any legal foundation and that could create a gap between peacekeeping mandates and objectives. A good example of that was the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which was not defined as a peace operation although the Peacekeeping Department was involved. It had a strong focus on the robust peacekeeping approach, she said, asking why there was such great focus on “semantics”. The presence of United Nations agencies was the ideal way to move ahead in peacekeeping. As for civilian protection, the force of national law should be applied in cases of sexual violence.
JOHNNY ÓSCAR SANTA CRUZ ARANDIA ( Bolivia) said his country’s support for and active participation in peacekeeping operations was based on the fundamental principles of consent of all parties, impartiality, non-use of force except in self-defence, and the sovereignty of States. Bolivia’s participation in peacekeeping operations was part of its international efforts to create the conditions of peace and stability that were essential to the development of States. There was a need to provide troops in the field with clear guidelines, to improve mandates and to ensure that resources were commensurate to the mandated tasks, he said, calling also for improved interaction and coordination among the host countries, the Special Committee, troop- and police-contributing countries, the Council, the Fifth Committee and the Secretariat.
He expressed hope that the reforms proposed in the New Horizon initiative and other concept documents would be brought together through coordination with troop- and police-contributing countries, and be geared towards overcoming the lack of resources. Restructuring should be geared towards generating dynamic leadership as well as an integrated and balanced approach involving troop- and police-contributing countries. Welcoming the Council’s meetings with troop and police contributors in consultations, he noted also the sensible provisions adopted on the zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse, and voiced support for measures to assist victims of sexual abuse by United Nations or associated personnel. However, he expressed concern about the delays in reimbursing some troop- and police-contributing countries, which could impact on the prestige of peacekeeping operations.
FEDERICO ALBERTO CUELLO CAMILO ( Dominican Republic) thanked the United Nations for its support following the earthquake in neighbouring Haiti, adding that his country was very involved in assisting the Haitian people. The operational and logistical facilities in Santo Domingo made it possible to ensure communication between the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and Headquarters. Expressing his disappointment that there was no Spanish-language version of the New Horizon document, he pointed out that Spanish-speaking countries accounted for the bulk of all troop contributors. They should have the document in Spanish so they could study and comment on it.
There must be clear exit strategies for peacekeeping operations, he said, adding that there was a need for a sense that missions would withdraw after meeting their goals so that peace could prevail without an indefinite stationing of troops. It was necessary to avoid confusing mandates and to establish time frames for troop withdrawal. Peacekeeping operations had many challenges to face, including urban violence due to marginalization and poverty, and there was therefore a need to give police components priority over military components. Noting that it was essential to create the necessary conditions for transition and exit strategies, he said there must be something tangible left behind when missions withdrew. Police components must therefore be involved from the start in training local and national police.
Outstanding matters must be dealt with before peacekeeping troops could be withdrawn, he stressed. Civilian components must work with local people, while local police remained in rural, isolated areas. Describing the peacekeeping missions previously in El Salvador and Nicaragua as successful examples of such operations in the Latin America and Caribbean region, he said a local community approach helped in depressed areas, as did action by bilateral and multilateral donors. The same level of inter-agency coordination could prove fruitful in other regions. People in conflict-affected countries must be involved in the peacekeeping process in order to create a national foundation and a firm basis to determine the success of the process and whether peacekeepers were ready to leave.
ERTUĞRUL APAKAN ( Turkey) said the renewed enthusiasm among Member States for reforming the United Nations peacekeeping architecture reinforced the conviction that 2010 could be a milestone year for peacekeeping operations. It was time to develop a clear strategy that would help chart a viable road map leading to peace in conflict situations. Expressing support for the New Horizon non-paper, he said there ought to be a shared vision as well as clarity on the desired end state of peacekeeping missions and the scope and content of mandates. All elements should be dealt with under an integrated, coherent and well-coordinated political strategic framework. It must merge the tools of peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding into one single strategy while being adapted to the needs of each specific situation and aligned with a broad coalition of support.
The United Nations could develop clear, credible and achievable mandates, matched with appropriate resources, and provide a sound political direction to troops and police on the ground, he said. Definitive answers were needed to key questions such as those relating to robust peacekeeping, civilian-protection mandates and early peacebuilding. None of those questions could have a solely military solution, he stressed, calling for a political strategic compass to frame political and operational guidance. Turkey was ready to contribute to the discussions on the Global Field Support Strategy, which was an excellent way to address the challenges of United Nations peacekeeping.
The increasingly complexity of mandates had heightened demand for quality police officers, specialized skills and police units with strong tactical capabilities, he said, underscoring the vital importance of enhancing the capacity of the Peacekeeping Department’s Police Division so it could perform mandated tasks more effectively. Turkey had recently deployed a formed police unit to MINUSTAH. He said his country’s Partnership for Peace Training Centre conducted several courses for peacekeepers, six of them accredited by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
RAYMOND WOLFE ( Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the current session was set against the backdrop of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, which had taken the lives of more than 230,000 citizens and over 100 MINUSTAH personnel. Extending sincere gratitude to the MINUSTAH contingents and other members of the United Nations family whose heroic efforts had undoubtedly been instrumental in saving countless lives, he said Haiti’s long-term stability, growth and socio-economic development remained a major priority for CARICOM. Despite their limited means, regional States and the Caribbean diaspora had given unwavering support to Haiti, and the international response had been heartening.
He said that maintaining the legitimacy of peacekeeping missions as well as the trust and support of populations on the ground should be the basis of all actions to make peacekeeping more effective and efficient. However, it should be acknowledged that resources for peacekeeping operations were finite, and there was a need to create an international environment in which peacekeeping would no longer be needed. To that end, there was a need to strengthen conflict-prevention mechanisms at the national, regional and international levels, while addressing root causes of conflict, including poverty, competition for scarce resources, unemployment and systematic human rights violations. A conflict early-warning and early-response system should also be developed, he said, adding that such efforts must be accompanied by the political will to secure and enhance peace.
One of the critical issues before the Special Committee was the nexus between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, he continued. Both peacekeeping and peacebuilding worked to achieve the same goal, but peacekeeping was not a static enterprise as today’s peacekeepers were required to protect civilians and support humanitarian actors while striving to achieve sustained peace, security and development in many places. The Special Committee must develop new strategies to meet those challenges. Problems were best fixed from the “bottom-up”, starting with the design of clear and achievable mandates based on adequate consultations between the Security Council, the Secretariat and the troop- and police-contributing countries, while ensuring that the mandates were in line with available resources.
MILAN MILANOVIĆ ( Serbia) said his country saw United Nations peacekeeping operations as an important international obligation and would make contributions to safeguarding international peace and security and the promotion of human rights. The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) had been deployed in a part of Serbia’s autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija, and the country supported its achievements in an indirect way. By participating in peacekeeping operations, Serbia sought to provide clear proof of its intention to become a member of the European Union and to intensify its cooperation with the bloc’s member States as well as with States participating in the NATO Partnership for Peace programme.
He said that as United Nations peacekeeping continued to evolve, both operationally and conceptually, there was a need for a coherent and comprehensive approach and for an integrated strategy for implementing peacekeeping operations. There was also a need to establish more firmly a principle of analysis and review for each individual peacekeeping operation, coupled with the necessity of strengthening consultations between the Security Council and troop- and police-contributing countries in all phases of mission planning and implementation. Council mandates must be defined in clear terms, taking into account the situation on the ground. There was a need to maximize the use of existing resources and mobilize additional capabilities to ensure full mandate implementation.
AUGUSTINE P. MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania) said his country had contributed troops and police to five peacekeeping operations. This month it had sent, for the first time, a fully deployed battalion to the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), and was set to deploy under MONUC to help train the armed forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The United Republic of Tanzania was joining the family of United Nations peacekeepers at a time when there were serious discussions at all levels on how to improve peacekeeping operations in an era of predominantly internal conflicts. United Nations peacekeepers were challenged in different situations with implementing mandated tasks according to established peacekeeping principles.
Civilian protection was, first and foremost, the responsibility of the host country, irrespective of its weakened or degraded capacity to fulfil that responsibility, he emphasized, adding that the objective of United Nations peacekeeping should be to help the host country protect civilians and build capacity. Recalling that he had chaired an independent study commissioned by the Peacekeeping Department and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to examine civilian-protection issues, he said it showed gaps in the peacekeeping chain, from the Security Council to the field, which must be addressed. Hopefully the study would give rise to useful ideas on improving the protection of civilians in different and evolving post-conflict peacekeeping and peacebuilding situations.
He said the report had been well received by several major troop- and police-contributing countries in Africa and Asia as a useful contribution to the debate on civilian protection. All agreed that the Council should have more frequent and closer consultations with troop- and police-contributing countries to craft mandates, and that the contributing countries should meet more often with the Secretariat to develop operational concepts and guidelines. He stressed the importance of clarifying the concept of robust peacekeeping and its relevance to enhanced civilian protection, noting that several countries had expressed the need for a dialogue on that subject in regional organizations involved in peacekeeping, such as the African Union.
AMIR HOSSEIN HOSSEINI (Iran) said that, given the dramatic changes in the nature of United Nations peacekeeping operations, the Organization needed to cope with new realities and challenges on the ground. Guided by its Charter, it should always act as the main international body responsible for responding to conflict and post-conflict situations. Any unilateral action taken outside the United Nations was not consisted with the Charter or international law, he stressed, noting that many Member States had expressed serious concern about political manipulation of new concepts and the selective application of double standards in invoking them.
He said that all peacekeeping operations, regardless of geography, region, political, social and security situations, should enjoy the full support of all Member States, be provided with all necessary human, financial and logistic resources, and be assigned clearly defined and achievable mandates and exit strategies. The General Assembly and the Special Committee were the most competent forums in which to discuss issues and policies relating to United Nations peacekeeping operations and to make contributions to the formulation of tailored responses to new and emerging challenges.
However, peacekeeping operations would achieve no tangible results unless the root causes of conflicts were duly addressed, he emphasized. Peacekeeping missions should be complemented with strong political resolve to find objective solutions to economic and political problems. They should be planned as a way to serve preparations for the sustainable development of communities trapped in the vicious cycles of violence. All peacekeeping mandates should be established in consultation with all parties concerned, in particular the troop contributors.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said the scale of peacekeeping had reached record levels in 2009, with the peacekeeping budget standing at $7.8 billion. United Nations peacekeeping operations were confronted with rapidly changing issues and numerous challenges, and a balance was needed between demand and supply. Since 2009, many Member States had made suggestions on improving peacekeeping efficiency, and the Secretariat had submitted the New Horizon non-paper. China welcomed those initiatives and was ready to discuss them.
A new peacekeeping doctrine should be based on traditional peacekeeping principles, he stressed, recalling that some countries had recently proposed that those principles could no longer meet the realities of peacekeeping. However, 50 years of peacekeeping had repeatedly shown their value, he said, adding that robust peacekeeping and civilian protection were complex, sensitive concepts warranting careful consideration. Any discussion of emerging peacekeeping concepts should give equal importance to the development of innovative tools such as conflict prevention, crisis management and mediation, he said.
There was a need to devise coherent and comprehensive guidance, he said, calling for a strengthening of coordination between peacekeeping and peacebuilding. The division of labour should be identified, he added, pointing out that peacekeeping was not a panacea for ending conflicts. Greater consideration should be given to addressing their root causes, and the Council should also consider the transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding in a more balanced manner. Peacekeeping operations could be seen as the early stage of peacebuilding, he said, urging all parties to make the most of this year’s full evaluation of peacekeeping operations.
United Nations specialized agencies should be mobilized to help countries of concern emerge from conflict and restore long-lasting peace and security, he said. Underscoring the need for the United Nations to step up capacity-building, he noted that most peacekeeping troops currently came from developing countries. China encouraged more countries to join peacekeeping, and the United Nations should help with staff training. The Organization needed more police and civilian personnel who could be deployed rapidly, which required tapping into the talent pools of regional organizations. Peacekeeping logistics systems must be made more efficient, he stressed, adding that his country had 2,100 peacekeepers in various missions.
MAJDI RAMADAN ( Lebanon) said peacekeeping should not be an end in itself but rather part of a political solution. An inclusive political process was the guarantee for the protection of civilians, the achievement of sustainable peace and a successful exit. The scale and complexity of peacekeeping today were mismatched with existing capabilities, and there was a need to set realistic goals in order to prevent misleading expectations. Missions must be provided with sufficient resources and timely logistical support, he said. Regular consultations with troop- and police-contributing as well as host countries were necessary, including before the renewal and modification of mandates.
Reform of peacekeeping operations should be a continuous effort that must not affect strict adherence to mandates set by the Security Council, he emphasized. The development of new peacekeeping concepts required consultation with the wider United Nations membership as well as broad consensus, in order to avoid confusion between peacemaking and peacekeeping on the one hand, and the use of Chapters VI and VII of the Charter on the other. The safety and security of United Nations peacekeepers and positions must be respected, and crimes like the 1996 Israeli attack on United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) positions in Qana should never be repeated, he stressed. Early recovery activity and peacebuilding tasks were critical, even in the early stages of peacekeeping. The full potential of the Peacebuilding Commission was yet to be utilized, and there was a need to strengthen the role of regional and subregional organizations, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter.
Turning to the Middle East, he said an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian, Syrian and parts of Lebanese territory -- the core cause of the conflict -– was a prerequisite to any comprehensive resolution, and to the success of any United Nations peacekeeping exit strategy in the region. He said his country fully supported UNIFIL and the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), and was strongly committed to implementing Council resolution 1701 (2006). The development of operational guidelines for the protection of civilians should enable UNIFIL to safeguard innocent Lebanese civilians from the daily dangers and threats of the Israeli occupation, he said.
MUYAMBO SIPANGULE ( Zambia) said it had been argued that “robust peacekeeping” was necessary to protect United Nations peacekeeping missions from spoilers, and that it would be an effective means by which to protect civilians. However, there was no convincing reason to change the way in which peacekeeping operations were currently carried out, he said, adding that the outcomes of robust peacekeeping could still be achieved, given the necessary defined and achievable mandates, supported by the requisite financial and human resources and clear exit strategies. He said he did not see the difference between robust peacekeeping and peace enforcement, as outlined in the New Horizon non-paper. Zambia would have difficulty in finding political support for contributing troops to robust peacekeeping operations that targeted nationals of sovereign States, described as “spoilers” and with whom Zambia had no quarrel.
Asking who determined who the “spoilers” were, he said one man’s terrorist was another man’s freedom fighter. The protection of civilians should not be a task solely for military peacekeepers, he said, adding that it should be shared, and well coordinated by all United Nations organs in the theatre, as well as international financial institutions. Only national institutions could understand such factors as cultural, social, religious and economic patterns in societies where civilians needed protection. That was why it was imperative to let national authorities take the lead on civilian protection, supported by United Nations entities. Political solutions to conflicts were the only guarantee for the protection of civilians.
PALITHA KOHONA ( Sri Lanka) said international peacekeeping operations were an important mechanism in the international community’s approach to ending conflicts, dealing with crises and maintaining the peace. It was necessary to address carefully such issues as security-sector reform and growing personnel and resource shortages. At times such shortfalls were so acute that they called into question the ability of particular missions to carry out their mandated functions. To increase the likelihood of a mission’s success, it was necessary to carry out realistic evaluations of situations on the ground and to set priorities, given the limited resources available.
Serious risks remained to the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel, he said, encouraging all countries to sign up to the United Nations Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel. The best assurance against risk was a well-resourced, well-equipped and mandated mission that was not deployed in a void or where the political process was non-existent or compromised. Member States should take early action to pay their assessed peacekeeping contributions and make outstanding payments and reimbursements to troop-contributing countries.
Commending the Peacekeeping Department’s efforts to promote accountability and improve the conduct of troops through increased awareness and training, he said his country had made a modest contribution of troops to United Nations peacekeeping. However, Sri Lanka had successfully defeated one of the most ruthless terrorist organizations, rescuing almost 300,000 civilians held hostage, and providing large-scale humanitarian aid. The country’s armed forces and police were now prepared to step up their contributions to United Nations peacekeeping.
ABOUBACAR IBRAHIM ABANI ( Niger) said that despite progress made since the issuance of the Brahimi Report 10 years ago, much more effort was needed to improve United Nations peacekeeping operations. However, Niger welcomed the New Horizon initiative, which focused on agreement by different partners on strengthening peacekeeping operations. He said four priority areas identified by the Secretary-General should also be highlighted: guidance on critical tasks; mobilizing required resources; adapting the United Nations support system; and stronger planning and oversight. That approach would make peacekeeping operations more efficient.
Underscoring the need to define clear peacekeeping mandates, he said host countries bore primary responsibility for protecting civilians, adding that more clarification was needed on the concept of robust peacekeeping, reflecting the complex nature of the issue. The establishment of peacekeeping operations should be based on political consensus. Peacebuilding activities were also crucial as they helped to preserve what had been achieved and to establish sustainable development. Niger welcomed the partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations as well as the world body’s support for the African Union in peacekeeping tasks.
GHAZI JOMAA ( Tunisia) said that, for several years, the United Nations had faced increasingly complex missions. The ongoing need for peacekeeping missions, as well as the logistical and material challenges facing them, called for innovative thinking. Different initiatives, including the joint study by the Peacekeeping and Field Support Departments and the New Horizon non-paper, aimed to establish a consistent strategic approach to making peacekeeping operations more effective. It was crucial to ensure observance of the guiding principles governing peacekeeping operations, particularly consent of parties, non-use of force except in self-defence, sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and non-intervention.
Processes aimed at improving peacekeeping operations must be perceived as a partnership between various stakeholders, he said, adding that transparency, cooperation and coordination between the various United Nations bodies involved in peacekeeping would lead to good results. The General Assembly remained the most appropriate forum for discussion on reforming peacekeeping operations, in partnership with other United Nations bodies. He reiterated his country’s position on the importance of troop-contributing countries participating in all phases of mandate-setting. Hailing the Peacekeeping Department’s readiness to cooperate fully with Member States, he said that shared thinking on the difficulties facing peacekeeping operations and ways to make missions more effective was more than ever an absolute necessity, as new challenges arose. It was also important to strengthen the world body’s cooperation with the African Union, he said, expressing hope that recommendations made over the past two years would be followed up with specific, appropriate measures. It was also important to pool the efforts of regional institutions, he added.
CARMEN MARIA GALLARDO ( El Salvador) called for the provision of sufficient resources to support the increasing complexity of peacekeeping operations. There was also a need for greater clarity for transition and exit strategies, and to better define the difference between peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Adapting peacekeeping operations to new challenges should be a continuous process in which troop- and police-contributing countries participated in all stages. Noting her country’s contribution to UNIFIL, she pointed out that most troop contributors were also developing countries but their participation in decision-making was minimal in all phases of peacekeeping operations.
She said peacekeeping operations should continue strictly to respect the principles of the Charter and the basic principles guiding peacekeeping, such as impartiality, respect for sovereignty and non-use of force except in self-defence. A substantive debate should be held on all peacekeeping issues, including that of protecting civilians. Peacekeeping should entail reconstruction, economic development and capacity-building in the host country, she said, calling for greater interaction and coordination among all major United Nations bodies, including in particular the Peacebuilding Commission.
RETA ALEMU NEGA ( Ethiopia) said it would be appropriate for the session to take stock of what had been achieved in past years on strengthening peacekeeping. The increase in the number of operations and the expansion of modern peacekeeping mandates required a more comprehensive approach to address challenges. All peacekeeping missions should be endowed with the necessary financial and logistical resources, he said, adding that the Secretariat’s efforts to strength peacekeeping through reforms required in-depth discussion. The reform agenda laid out in the Brahimi Report set forth key areas for successful peacekeeping operations.
Troop-contributing countries should play a significant role in policy formulation and deployment planning, he said, adding that the Council should be cognizant of their concerns. The Council should take action to involve them in particular issues and to install additional consultation mechanisms. That would be a significant step in the right direction, he said, stressing that strengthening its collaboration with troop-contributing countries should be a priority. The partnership among the Council, the Secretariat and the troop-contributing countries was at the heart of the ongoing reform of United Nations peacekeeping, he said, adding that troop contributors could help the Secretariat come up with innovative approaches to effective mission deployment in a certain time frame based on the contributors’ experiences.
The framework for cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union could serve as a model for the future work of the Peacekeeping and Field Support Departments, he said, adding that it would enable the Organization to consolidate its activities with regional actors. The United Nations-African Union partnership must be streamlined more in order to build the regional body’s capacity for mission planning, deployment and management. It was also important to enhance the African Union’s training mechanisms and provide financial and logistical resources. Ethiopia had sent five MI-35 helicopters to the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and contributed a transport company, an engineering unit and a logistics company to help the mission carry out its mandate, he said.
NASSER ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER ( Qatar), noting his country’s contribution to UNIFIL, said peacekeeping operations were no substitute for addressing the root causes of conflicts. In establishing missions, it was necessary to coordinate with and consult the host country and to respect fully its sovereignty over its territory. Peacekeeping operations should be neutral, professional and complementary to a political process, he said, stressing also that the protection of civilians was the responsibility of the host Government.
The challenges facing peacekeeping operations were not limited to the lack of resources, he said, pointing out the need to address the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel. Attacks against peacekeepers were among the biggest risks for them, as demonstrated shown by the air violations perpetrated by certain occupation forces. Moreover, human, financial and logistical resources should be compatible with mandates. In establishing peacekeeping operations, care should be taken to familiarize deployed personnel with the prevailing culture and language of the area concerned in order to facilitate communication and interaction with the local population.
Taking into account that 87 per cent of peacekeeping troops came from developing countries, troop-contributing countries should be involved in the planning of all stages of peacekeeping operations, he emphasized, calling for enhanced use of Chapter VIII of the Charter on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations. Cooperation between the Special Committee, the Security Council and the Fifth Committee was necessary in addressing the lack of clarity regarding the criminal responsibility of peacekeepers and those who committed crimes against them.
ABDALMAHMOOD ABDALHALEEM MOHAMAD ( Sudan), announcing the historic agreement between his Government and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) signed in Qatar today, said Sudan had met its obligations under the Council resolution that had created UNAMID. The war in Darfur had ended, the will for peace was clear, and thousands of internally displaced persons had started to return to their villages. The framework agreement had been signed in Doha today and an agreement would be signed on 15 March, he said, thanking Qatar for its help in facilitating the agreement and the country’s Emir for pledging $1 billion to assist Darfur.
He said the principle of non-use of force except in self-defence was part of the Charter, and there was a real need to respect its principles and guidelines for peacekeeping operations. Impartiality and non-interference in the internal affairs of host countries should be observed. Mandates must be achievable and the resources to fulfil them provided, he said, adding that his country’s cooperation with the United Nations and the African Union was the most telling indicator of the consultation mechanism’s success.
Urging the Secretariat to study the transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding, and socio-economic development to appropriate exit strategies, he emphasized that peacekeeping missions could not remain in the field forever. Regional peacekeeping arrangements were also important, as was strengthening the abilities of the African Union. When national Governments called for assistance they should receive the requisite training, he added, expressing concern over the procedures adopted when the State concerned had not consented to the deployment of a mission. Civilian protection was a laudable aim, but there was no clear definition of its scope or the manner in which civilians were to be protected. Why was a double standard applied in some regions when it came to civilian protection?
DANIEL CARMON ( Israel) said that as peacekeeping mission grew in size, scope and complexity, resources should be effectively prioritized in order to face emerging challenges. Israel welcomed the New Horizon initiative as well as the Global Field Support Strategy, and supported clearly defined mandates, robust peacekeeping and mechanisms to increase consultations between troop- and police-contributing countries and the Peacekeeping Department.
Ideas such as joint use of resources by missions in close geographic proximity and the establishment of regional centres to make better use of resources were also compelling, he said, adding that he was encouraged by efforts to build capacities for high-performance peacekeeping operations, effective allocation of resources and strong planning and management of peacekeeping operations. The formulation of concrete and measurable benchmarks must be done in a sensitive and prudent manner in order to secure a positive outcome.
He said that, given the growing challenges to the safety and security of United Nations personnel, particularly those deployed in complex missions, the Special Committee should consider allocating additional resources to deal with such challenges. Peacekeepers and their commanders must not be deterred from fulfilling their duties due to obstacles posed by State or non-State actors, as had been the case in Lebanon, where the Hizbullah terrorist organization often employed civilians and so-called civilians to obstruct UNIFIL operations. There was a need to create innovative ways to establish rules of engagement that were more adaptable to realities on the ground, he said.
Pointing out that his country was no stranger to peacekeeping operations, he said three United Nations forces served in Israel’s vicinity, and expressed his appreciation for the important work of UNIFIL, UNTSO and the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). He encouraged the Special Committee to continue to work in partnership with the Peacekeeping Department, bearing in mind that improving peacekeeping operations benefited the cause of world peace everywhere. “UN peacekeeping provides essential security and support to millions of people and the fragile institutions emerging from conflict,” he said.
Rights of Reply
The representative of Syria said that the lies contained in the Israeli delegate’s statement sought to change the nature of things and were in accordance with the daily practices of Israeli policy. The lies sought to warp public opinion about Israeli actions in occupied territories. Israel had committed crimes within the United Arab Emirates by using a group of Israeli terrorists and passports from other Member States to carry out its crimes.
It would seem that the Israeli delegate had tried to turn a blind eye to UNIFIL’s reports, which underscored the cooperation between the Force and all parties, including Hizbullah, he said. Nevertheless, Israel continued to violate Council resolution 1701 (2006) so as to create problems for peacekeeping forces and the local people. Israel had a blacklist of successive acts of aggression against those working for peace. Since its inception, UNIFIL had lost 285 personnel to Israeli fire, he said, adding that Israel recognized that and had declared such incidents to be due to involuntary acts of fire. The problem was that those actions had been repeated over the last three decades.
The representative of Lebanon, describing the Israeli delegate’s concern about the safety and security of United Nations personnel as “interesting”, reminded the Special Committee that Israel had targeted a United Nations position in Qana, Lebanon, as well as an UNTSO position. It had also carried out attacks against United Nations positions in Gaza. He also pointed out that there had been no Hizbullah in 1978, when Israel had invaded Lebanon for the first time. Hizbullah had emerged as a popular resistance movement responding to occupation, and the only threat to civilians in Lebanon was the Israeli occupation.
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