‘Creeping Perception’ in Peacekeeping that Countries Are Either Troop Contributors or Troop Funders Can Hinder Multilateral Engagement, Fourth Committee Hears
‘Creeping Perception’ in Peacekeeping that Countries Are Either Troop Contributors or Troop Funders Can Hinder Multilateral Engagement, Fourth Committee Hears
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-sixth General Assembly
16th Meeting (AM)
‘Creeping Perception’ in Peacekeeping that Countries Are Either Troop Contributors
or Troop Funders Can Hinder Multilateral Engagement, Fourth Committee Hears
Speaker Says Mismatch between Peacekeeping Resources,
Mandates Risks Shifting Problems from ‘Classical’ to ‘Chronic’
Even as peacekeeping mandates increased in complexity and number, resources allotted to them were becoming scarcer, the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) was told today during its consideration of the whole question of United Nations peacekeeping operations in all their aspects, which also brought to light the variance between developed and developing country contributions to the missions and the issue of including civilian protection in their mandates.
Peacekeepers must be “adequately resourced, realistically tasked and delimited to avoid operational over-stretch,” said the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania. It was necessary to “resist the creeping perception that there were troop-contributing countries on the one hand and troop-funding countries on the other”. That was an “artificial and unfortunate” classification, which, if entertained, “will pull us farther apart, making multilateral engagement on an overwhelmingly important matter unnecessarily difficult”, he said.
The shortage of military helicopters, the representative of Ukraine said, represented a “classical case” of the mismatch between resources and the broad mandates given to contemporary missions. The effectiveness of some of the most ambitious operations was in jeopardy as the shortages risked shifting the problems from “classical” to “chronic”. He called for pragmatic and swift solutions that would address the way in which countries contributing military helicopters, for example, were reimbursed.
Reminding the international community that United Nations peacekeeping had a “very positive cost-benefit ratio” when compared to other national and regional systems, the representative of Uruguay stated that the economic and financial crisis had affected, not only budget discussions for the missions, but even the operational and conceptual aspects of peacekeeping.
He pointed to strong downward pressure on expenses, while maintaining or even increasing the demands put on the peacekeeping system. “Do more with less” was the motto of the Secretariat. But, probably no other area in the peacekeeping agenda garnered more consensus. Thus, the missions needed to be appropriately equipped to meet their mandates and to improve their performance on the ground and ensure the security of their personnel. In that area, there was consensus too on the considerable gap between mandates and resources.
Sounding a note of caution, however, was China’s representative, who said that some countries had become dependent on peacekeeping operations. As a result, the conflict between supply and demand was growing. In addition to what he described as overly broad mandates, there was also the phenomenon of low efficiency and resource waste. Also crucial, in China’s view, was diligence to ensure peacekeeping operations did not engage in regime change. Protecting civilians should not be used as an excuse to create more civilian casualties.
The protection of civilian populations, stressed Côte d’Ivoire’s delegate, was in line with the spirit of the United Nations Charter’s preamble. Commending the Security Council’s “robust mandate” for Côte d’Ivoire, he said that reservations on the part of some Security Council members had in fact strengthened the defiance of the former Ivoirian President, whose troops had committed atrocities against the population. He pointed out that traditional ceasefire operations had given way to integrated missions, whose complex mandates also included restoring public order, protecting human rights, and women and children.
Although national Governments had the primary responsibility to protect civilians, said Norway’s representative, she supported ongoing efforts to implement the protection of civilian mandates in peacekeeping missions, regardless of the source of the threat. Similarly, the United States’ speaker noted that the Secretariat had produced invaluable resources to help missions protect civilians, including the resource matrix and detailed planning framework.
Also speaking were the representatives of the Philippines, Qatar, Malaysia, Switzerland, Ethiopia, Algeria, Iran, Benin, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, and Uganda. The representative of Syria exercised his right of reply.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 27 October, to conclude its debate on peacekeeping.
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to continue its general debate on the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects. (For background, see Press Release GA/SPD/490 of 24 October.)
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA (Ukraine), aligning his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the European Union, said that despite last year’s prediction of consolidated peacekeeping, the emergence of fresh crises had warranted a steady if not increasing demand for United Nations-led peacekeeping operations. That was likely to continue or even rise in the coming years. Far from being static, the flagship activity of the Organization was constantly changing to address dynamic developments in the most turbulent parts of the world.
In that context, he said that the “New Horizon” Second Progress Report could help to better appreciate peacekeeping’s distinctive features, challenges and opportunities today.
Military helicopters, which were the most critical asset for carrying out increasingly complex mandates in hostile environments, and their shortage represented a “classical case” of the mismatch between resources and the broad mandates. The effectiveness of some of the largest scale and most ambitious operations were in jeopardy. If not addressed decisively, those shortages risked shifting such problems from “classical” to “chronic”. Peacekeepers needed all the necessary capacities to cope with increasingly challenging situations and tasks, especially in such a vast theatre of operations. He called for pragmatic and swift solutions, which should address the way in which countries were reimbursed for military helicopters. The existing method of doing so needed to change, so as to offer genuine incentives to contributors.
To ensure greater partnership between the Security Council, the Secretariat and all contributors to the peace operations, the latter needed to have a stronger voice in the decision-making process at all stages of the process. Ensuring safety and security of United Nations personnel should be a central element in peacekeeping, and he expressed a deep concern for the increased threat to the “blue helmets”. Further, physical security should be accompanied by legal protection. Legal safeguards did not equal a lack of accountability, and the troop- and police-contributors should be involved in investigations of crimes committed against the life and health of their peacekeepers. As a police- and troop-contributing country, Ukraine looked forward to further study and discussion of the Global Field Support Strategy.
JEFFREY DELAURENTIS (United States) said that over the past few years, the United Nations community had become cognizant of the human, material and financial challenges faced in preventing and responding to armed conflict. Reaching an agreement on how to meet those challenges had been a challenge in itself. The United States was doing its part to support peacekeeping, having facilitated the deployment of more than 138,000 peacekeepers from 31 countries to 19 peacekeeping operations around the world. The United States had also sustained its annual commitment under the annual $2 billion peacekeeping budget.
Among the significant accomplishments of peacekeeping in the last year, he said, were the new State of South Sudan, the democratically elected Government of Côte d’Ivoire and the first round of elections in Liberia. The Secretariat had produced invaluable resources to help missions protect civilians, including the resource matrix and detailed planning framework. The Global Field Support Strategy was resulting in accelerated services, savings and operational effectiveness. The United States welcomed the Secretary-General’s intention to develop additional regional service centres.
He stated that it was also necessary to consider the things that were not working as well as they should. The United States wished to see more clarity about how missions’ operational resources – personnel and equipment – corresponded to mandated tasks and the ability to fulfil mandates. It was necessary to combat sexual misconduct on the part of peacekeeping personnel. Force generation remained slow and cumbersome, and the United States welcomed the views of regional and subregional organizations on how to respond to emergency situations.
CARLOS SORRETA (Philippines) said that as a long-time partner of the United Nations in peacekeeping operations, he was confident that as long as there were brave and dedicated men and women intent on pursuing peace, the international community would be able to overcome the challenges posed by harsh and hostile conditions. The Philippines had contributed thousands of men and women to at least 23 United Nations missions in 15 countries since its first involvement 50 years ago. Its commitment was grounded on the national policy to uphold multilateral peacekeeping, as was reinforced in 2002 with the signing of Executive Order No. 97, which provided the legal and policy framework for the participation.
He said that of the Philippines’ deployed personnel, 10 per cent were women – a number that his country intended to increase. In general, the Philippines strongly advocated for the continuous training and development of peacekeepers to make them more effective and successful in their missions. To that end, the country had hosted the first training-of-trainers in Asia last June in Manila. That course had been designed specifically for post-conflict environments and ensured that United Nations police officers acquired knowledge of procedure and the necessary skills to assist their counterparts in the host State in preventing and investigating sexual crimes and gender-based violence throughout the process of investigation, prosecution and trial.
The surge in demand for peacekeeping was not often matched with the necessary capabilities and resources. That was not only a budgetary problem, but also involved careful and methodical planning and effective execution of the mandates given by the Security Council. The solution to the challenges lay in collective will and action. He reiterated full cooperation with and support for the United Nations and its peacekeeping activities, as well as its unwavering commitment to international peace and security.
OMBENI Y. SEFUE (United Republic of Tanzania) said that it was necessary to “resist the creeping perception that there were troop-contributing countries on the one hand and troop-funding countries on the other”. That was an artificial and unfortunate classification, which, if entertained, “will pull us farther apart, making multilateral engagement on an overwhelmingly important matter unnecessarily difficult”. His country supported the efforts of the Secretary-General to convene a senior advisory group to deliberate on the question of troop cost reimbursements, but it wished to point out that a sustainable resolution would be based on unity of purpose.
Calling for clarity of peacekeeping mandates, he stated that terminologies such as “robust peacekeeping”, which remained undefined and ambiguous, could create confusion, endangering clarity of command and control in the field. Further, ensuring the safety and security of the peacekeeping personnel was a top priority. Peacekeepers must be “adequately resourced, realistically tasked and delimited to avoid operational over-stretch”. Provision of critical assets, such as military helicopters, needed to be resolved sustainably. Peacekeeping must, as much as possible, be in sync with national and regional efforts that supported an overarching, holistically inclusive political process and outcome. Sustainable conflict resolution and reconciliation could not be imposed on a people.
HAMAD AL-HAJRI (Qatar), aligning with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that Qatar’s belief in enhancing the credibility of the United Nations was the reason why the country had participated successfully in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Peacekeeping operations were not a substitute for addressing the root causes of conflict and it was necessary to bear in mind the importance of coordination and consultation with the host country.
He stressed the importance of ensuring the safety of peacekeeping personnel in all the 16 missions, who often worked in harsh and risky situations. Attacks against peacekeepers were one of the biggest risks that imperilled their lives. Earlier this year, 86 peacekeepers, including 29 civilians, had been killed. Since it was not possible for the United Nations to prosecute those suspected of committing crimes against peacekeepers, Qatar called on Member States hosting peacekeepers to investigate those crimes and prosecute the perpetrators.
Instead of relying exclusively on military forces from developing or least developed countries, developed countries whose military forces were highly trained, professional and experienced should contribute troops to peacekeeping operations, he said. Relying exclusively on military forces from developing countries might reduce the chances of success due to their lack of experience. Further, the selection of experts and civilian personnel should be characterized by transparency and clarity. The experts needed to know the recent history of their host countries and the specificities of the culture and society. Taking into account that a significant proportion of peacekeeping operations were present in Arab countries, Qatar emphasized the need for the United Nations to ensure that the experts selected spoke Arabic and knew the countries’ recent history.
JOSÉ LUIS CANCELA (Uruguay) said beyond merely defending strictly national interests, as regarded the participation in peacekeeping operations, it was equally important to Uruguay to work towards the strengthening and improvement of the United Nations peacekeeping system as a whole. That was one of the most concrete and tangible contributions to be made towards defending international peace and security, and in respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law. Administering that system, however, had become increasingly difficult for the Member States, the Secretariat and the thousands of men and women deployed to implement the ever-more complex mandates. Being up to the expectations required ever-more concerted efforts, as well as teamwork. Yet, the “global partnership” was progressing quite well considering the difficulties that so many countries working together might face.
He said that substantial progress had been made in such sensitive matters as the protection of civilians, implementation of the Global Strategy for Field Support, and increasing the quality and intensity of the interaction between the Security Council, the Secretariat and the troop-contributing countries. That had not been the result of some “magic trick”, but of the creativity and courage of institutions and people eager to improve things. Unfortunately, he feared there was a serious possibility that that virtuous cycle of momentum could come to an end, and the international community could begin to move backwards unless it redoubled its commitment to the system. The economic and financial crisis had affected, not only budget discussions for the missions, but also operational and conceptual aspects of peacekeeping. There was strong downward pressure on expenses, while maintaining or even increasing the demands put on the system. “Do more with less” was the motto of the Secretariat.
It was true that there was margin for improvements in the United Nations peacekeeping system, he said. However, the international community must not forget that United Nations peacekeeping had a very positive cost-benefit ratio when compared to other national and regional systems. Discussion of financial aspects hung over the entire substantive discussion of cross-cutting matters in the system, as well as in the role of specific missions. He believed there should be a deepening of debate on that topic in the appropriate forum, but it was not advisable for the substantive discussion of peacekeeping to become an overly financial one, focused only on financial resources.
He said there was probably no other area in the peacekeeping agenda that gave rise to more consensus — missions needed to be appropriately equipped to meet their mandates and to improve their performance on the ground and ensure the security of their personnel. In that area, there was consensus on the considerable gap between mandates and resources.
WANG MIN (China) said that the fundamental purpose of peacekeeping operations was to serve the political settlement of regional conflicts. Peacekeeping was a military action as well as a political action. It was crucial to prevent conflicts as well as to facilitate the political process and national reconciliation. Neutrality, consent of parties, and use of force only in self-defence were the guiding principles of peacekeeping and fundamental reasons why Member States trusted United Nations peacekeeping operations. China believed that it was especially necessary to be diligent against peacekeeping operations engaging in regime change. Protecting the civilians should not be used as an excuse to create more civilian casualties.
He said that providing reliable and sufficient logistical support was crucial to the sustainable development of peacekeeping operations. Some countries had become dependent on peacekeeping operations and, as a result, the conflict between supply and demand was growing. Overly broad mandates had also caused implementation to become difficult. Further, there was the phenomenon of low efficiency and resource waste. China appreciated the active efforts made by the United Nations logistical support department to support the missions, and the efforts of the Secretariat to deepen reforms by building regional service centres.
China believed in strengthening partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations, such as the African Union, he said. Regional organizations had an in-depth understanding of the history and reality of their regions. The Security Council should strengthen communication with relevant regional organizations and encourage them to play an active role. Since many peacekeeping operations were currently focused on Africa, and the African Union was performing peacekeeping operations authorized by the United Nations, the Organization should pay special attention to the special needs of Africa and provide more assistance for mechanism building, information exchange and finances.
YOUSSOUFOU BAMBA (Côte d’Ivoire) said that crises had shifted from inter-State to intra-State, and that traditional ceasefire operations had given way to integrated missions with complex mandates. Operations encompassed a broad scope, including conflict prevention, peacemaking and peacebuilding, and also included restoring public order and stability, protecting and promoting human rights, protecting women and children, and taking into consideration the particular situation of child soldiers, among an array of other issues.
He said that the presence of a peacekeeping mission did not ensure that peace would be established, but it made it much more likely. His delegation would never tire of congratulating the Secretary-General for his remarkable leadership and unambiguous commitment to peace and security at the international level, and said Hervé Ladsous possessed exemplary qualifications to carry out his tasks.
Peacekeeping operations were the most effective and efficient way of handling conflicts, and illustrated the principle of collective security, he said. The Security Council was the most appropriate venue for the formulation of mandates, particularly as mandates need to be adapted to address intra-State conflicts. The Council had adopted resolution 1975 (2011), which had included a robust mandate for Côte d’Ivoire. He believed that the spirit of the Charter’s preamble must be implemented to protect civilian populations in danger. The hesitation and reservations on the part of some Security Council members in fact strengthened the defiance of the former Ivoirian President, whose troops had continued to commit atrocities against the population, in turn, exposing United Nations mission personnel to danger.
He reminded the Security Council members of their responsibility to protect populations in danger. The Council must base decisions on the need to respect the desires of peoples in light of experience, and he deplored the lack and absence of operational cooperation between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI). If the institutional arrangements that would have enabled action to be taken had been initiated, by giving a role to the ECOWAS peacekeeping force, the Economic Community of West African States’ Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) would have had a dissuasive impact when it came to protecting populations.
Côte d’Ivoire was coming out of the crisis of the past 10 years, which had led to a violent post-electoral crisis. The initial results were encouraging after the recent election and were a source of optimism as the economy recovered and security was restored across the national territory.
NG CHIN HUAT (Malaysia), associating his statements with those of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that among the many roles performed by the United Nations, peacekeeping, with all its imperfections, was an area in which the Organization could take pride. To match the expectations placed on the United Nations, it was critical for members to provide firm and unwavering support for the United Nations peacekeeping work, especially in the areas of personnel, financial and vital logistical resources. Peacekeepers were often said to be “early peacebuilders” because peace and stability enabled countries to focus their resources on the pursuit of socio-economic development. Malaysia believed, therefore, in undertaking activities, whenever permitted, “to win the hearts and minds” of the local populace.
Condemning the killing and targeted attacks of United Nations peacekeepers, he stressed the need to ensure the safety of those serving in the missions worldwide. Further, as a troop-contributing country, Malaysia reaffirmed its highest commitment to the zero-tolerance policy on all forms of misconduct, including sexual exploitation and abuse. As a manifestation of that commitment, Malaysia would continue its long-standing effort to emphasize that matter in the trainings organized and conducted by the Malaysian Peacekeeping Training Centre. Malaysia would also continue to participate actively in matters relating to United Nations Police and Formed Police Units (FPU) doctrinal development and standardized pre-deployment curriculum.
TINE MØRCH SMITH (Norway), also speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden, welcomed the progress towards peace, which had been made in a number of countries through United Nations peacekeeping assistance, but missions were still facing profound challenges. The security of United Nations personnel must be at the top of the agenda, and she strongly condemned the recent killing of three peacekeepers in Darfur.
She supported ongoing efforts to strengthen United Nations peacekeeping capacity to implement the protection of civilian mandates, notwithstanding the primary responsibility of national Governments and regardless of the source of the threat. She deplored the sad fact that United Nations personnel continued to breach the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, and while considerable progress had been made, more needed to be done, such as through the Department of Field Support initiative to develop new recommendations and to take renewed action to reduce the number of those abhorrent cases.
It was vital that the international community continued to strengthen United Nations peacekeeping, so that it could serve effectively in times of change, she said. Financial constraints made it an urgent priority to “work smarter” and to do more with less. The Nordic countries shared the common vision that the United Nations should “deliver as one”, with the integrated mission as a key concept. She emphasized the importance of building and developing national ownership, including the primacy of local capacities. National ownership was of special importance with regard to highly sensitive areas, such as security sector reform and the rule of law.
She said the recent awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to three female leaders should serve as an inspiration for Member States to nominate more females from peace operations. The number of women among Special Representatives of the Secretary-General was on the rise, and her delegation wished to see a woman as force commander and, more often than was seen today, as police commissioners in missions. All leaders, both men and women, were responsible for ensuring full integration of the gender perspective in all peacekeeping activities.
SERGE A. BAVAUD (Switzerland) said that it was regrettable that disagreements remained between Member States, particularly between those which funded peacekeeping operations and those which provided personnel. The last year in fact had been marked by difficult discussions regarding the financial aspects of peacekeeping operations: within the Contingent-Owned Working Group, during the session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, and in the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary). These discussions had complicated the debate on many of the other challenges facing United Nations peacekeeping operations. Peacekeeping must remain flexible so it could be adapted to changing circumstances and local requirements. Switzerland wished to stress the notion of global partnership, a fundamental principle of peacekeeping.
With regard to the protection of civilians, he stated, Switzerland was pleased that the Special Committee on Peacekeeping, Committee of 34, had paid attention to that issue. He pointed out that those considerations could not be conducted in isolation from the rest of the United Nations system. Coordination among all parties, including humanitarian actors, was essential. The forthcoming debate on the Security Council agenda in November was an opportunity to consolidate and develop the recommendations of Council resolution 1894 (2009) and would offer lessons that could be capitalized at the next session of the Committee of 34.
He stated that there was a growing perception that in recent years, the Committee of 34 had been the locus of prolonged negotiations, characterized by stronger rhetoric and a great deal of frustration on all sides. Switzerland committed itself again to optimizing the efficiency of working methods during the forthcoming session and had launched initial measures for a dialogue to intensify the efforts of the working group. The possible areas of improvement included working methods, the structure of the report, the role and support of the Secretariat and the Bureau, and assistance for countries that found it difficult to participate in the work.
NEGASH KEBRET BOTORA (Ethiopia) said that as a major troop-contributing country, Ethiopia strongly believed that there was a need to comprehensively address the multidimensional challenges facing United Nations peacekeeping. It was critical that the legal mandate, and amendments to it, within which “blue helpmates” were expected to operate, should be made abundantly clear at the outset. Such mandates should reflect the factual realities on the ground, the intention of the Council, and the views and capacities of the troop-contributing countries. The international community must resist the temptation to attempt a “quick fix” or to adopt a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
He urged strengthening of the triangular cooperation between the Security Council, the Secretariat and the troop-contributing countries. A more efficient exchange of information and consultation between those three was indispensable, through regular meetings. As pointed out by many delegations, the critical need for adequate and timely provision of financial, logistical and human resources could not be overemphasized. Obviously, missions would be in a far more difficult situation to carry out their mandates without the requisite resources. Further, the United Nations must ensure that countries willing to contribute had the necessary capacity and material conditions to prepare, train and equip them in adequate fashion, as well as to fully understand the administrative processes of peacekeeping operations.
Missions, he said, should be supported wholeheartedly, not only in words, but in deeds, which should not be limited to resources only. Missions, sadly, were sometimes left in the lurch, and left to be humiliated. He stressed that support for missions needed to be sustained even when “the going gets tough”.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI (Algeria), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that there was often a gap between the overly ambitious objectives of the missions and their capabilities. It was necessary to establish a triangular dialogue, and for the Security Council to frequently review mandates and peacekeeping resources in order to adapt to changing needs. The complexity of the conflict or temporary difficulties must not affect the commitment to peacekeeping. The troop-contributing countries had an important role to play in evaluating mandates. They should also be actively involved in the reform of peacekeeping operations. It was also important to bolster the role played by the Committee of 34 by improving its working methods.
He said that peacekeeping must continue to align with its guiding principles, notably that of not using force except in self-defence. Peacekeeping missions must also consider political solutions, such as negotiation. The promotion of a structured partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations was of the essence to create an independent system responsive to the challenges of peacekeeping. The important role of the African Union in peacekeeping efforts was a litmus test in that regard. It was clear that the leaders of the African Union intended to shoulder greater responsibilities and to back up the decisions they made during various summits with operational actions in the field. Far from qualifying for total autonomy, the African Union’s actions suffered from a lack of resources. Algeria believed that it was crucial to provide foreseeable and reliable financing to enable the Union to carry out its work.
ESHAGH AL HABIB (Iran) stressed that the establishment of any peacekeeping operations or mandate extensions should strictly observe the purposes of principles of the Charter, and the basic principles of peacekeeping. Those consisted of the consent of parties, the non-use of force in self-defence, and impartiality. While confirming the advisability of adopting new concepts to address emerging needs and demands emanating from the complex and multidimensional nature of peacekeeping operations, he said that any new ideas should be consistent with the principles, guidelines and terminology governing peacekeeping.
He said that United Nations peacekeeping operations must be provided with political, human and logistical support from the outset. Successful peacekeeping was a shared responsibility, and all measures should be taken to ensure the success of mandates by establishing communications with all parties, especially the troop-contributing countries. Peacekeeping and peacebuilding were interrelated, and peacekeeping activities should be accompanied by peacebuilding, in such a manner that facilitated the economic revitalization and development, and enabled national capacity-building on the basis of national ownership.
It was important to prevent peacekeeping from turning into peace enforcement, he said. The use of force in operations must, under no circumstances, jeopardize the strategic relationship between the host country and the mission. Protection of civilians was the primary responsibility of the host country, and successful conduct in protecting civilians required a holistic approach, encompassing the provisions of timely and adequate resources, logistical support and the necessary training. It also required defined and achievable mandates. His delegation, along with the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed that the primary responsibility for the maintaining of international peace and security rested with the United Nations, and the role of regional arrangements and agencies in that regard should be in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter.
THIERRY ALIA (Benin) welcomed the establishment of a regional service centre in Entebbe, which would provide the missions deployed in Africa with a rapid response capacity. Benin supported inter-mission cooperation as evidenced recently in the case of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), and hoped that that could be extended to other missions, such as the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Also, consultations were needed to ensure that all Member States arrived at the same understanding of the concepts underpinning “robust peacekeeping”.
Welcoming the increase in rates of reimbursement to the troop-contributing countries, he added that they made great sacrifices when they made troops available for peacekeeping purposes. Peacekeeping missions should be endowed with adequate human, material and financial resources. The number of missions had also increased. The recommendations contained in the Brahimi Report on the launching of new peacekeeping operations must be followed. While Benin welcomed the efforts of non-governmental organizations, which were doing very valuable work in relieving the suffering of populations in conflict zones, it was important for there to be some “distance” between civil society organizations, which, in order to obtain sponsorship and funds, were slandering troops with unfounded allegations.
CHITSAKA CHIPAZIWA (Zimbabwe) expressed condolences to the people and Government of Turkey over the death of many Turkish citizens in the devastating earthquake, and associated his delegation with the statement delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. He said that the New Horizon was a non-paper, and asked why some delegations were insisting that operations should be carried out on its basis. He asked if it was not better to wait until the document had been endorsed by the General Assembly, as short-cuts were not needed. There were already existing guidelines to peacekeeping, and it was not proper to hurriedly and blindly conduct peacekeeping based on a non-paper, as if there was currently no guide on which to base actions.
He said that when Security Council reform was being discussed in the Committee of 34, before there was a consensus, the Secretariat had established a unit on security sector reform, and soon troop-contributing countries were being invited to hear what progress had been made by the security sector reform units in the missions. However, despite all the development in that sector, there was no common understanding within the United Nations system of what that reform actually meant, and there was no common approach to it. It was clear that such reform had yet to gain acceptance among Member States, which exposed the folly of haste. Security sector reform was a nationally owned project, where the host was free to invite the United Nations Member States or regional groups to participate.
New concepts in peacekeeping must only be implemented when the Committee of 34 had comprehensively reviewed all its aspects; no “stampeding” was required in the adoption of new procedures, he said. That was also true for the protection of civilians mandate, where it was unclear whether training or implementation should come first. When implementation failed, the troop-contributing countries were blamed, and yet there was no opportunity for them to fully understand and train in terms of how implementation should be carried out. Similarly, robust peacekeeping was still under discussion in the Committee of 34, and yet it was already being implemented and given prominence. That practice was creating animosity between the forces and the civilians they were supposed to assist.
Calling for increased security for peacekeepers and denouncing sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations personnel, he said that all problems faced in peacekeeping could be minimized with an effective triangular approach. If planning was carried out and mandates given without consultation with those who would be doing the implementing, so that tasks can be matched with resources and capabilities, then peacekeeping operations would not succeed.
ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN (Bangladesh) said that mediation and peacekeeping had contributed to an 80 per cent decline in total armed conflicts since the end of the cold war. Unlike traditional operations, peacekeeping had now turned out to be a multidimensional and complex task. Nowadays, peacekeepers helped to organize elections, assisted in the development of political and civil service institutions, and facilitated the early start of economic activities. The future success of peacekeeping missions would largely depend on the political support and commitment they received and on the adequate provision of financial, logistical and human resources.
Based on his visit to the Central African Republic and discussion with all the stakeholders on the ground, he suggested that broader political partnership between the United Nations and the host Government through dialogue and consensus was necessary, as there still existed a disconnect between Government ownership and that of the United Nations agencies. Specific timelines must be stipulated, in consultation with the troop-contributing countries, while finalizing the memorandums of understanding. Fair representation of the troop-contributing countries in the decision-making process within the Secretariat, as well as in the process of implementation, also must be ensured. At the operational level, it must be ensured that, through partnership, the minimum peace was kept, thereby creating workable conditions for the peacekeepers in which to operate, and necessary coordination among United Nations and other bilateral and regional stakeholders.
Bangladesh, he added, had participated in 36 peacekeeping operations in 52 countries involving more than 100,000 personnel. One hundred and three of the country’s peacekeepers had laid down their lives in the cause of United Nations-sponsored peace efforts. He paid homage to the peacekeepers and troop-contributing countries who made supreme sacrifices for the cause of international peace and prosperity.
ARTHUR KAFEERO (Uganda) commended the Secretariat on the New Horizon Initiative, which had reinvigorated dialogue about peacekeepers, whose actions continued to make an important contribution to the cardinal role of the United Nations in maintaining peace and security. It was important to recognize, however, that ineffective United Nations peacekeeping capability anywhere around the world greatly hurt the Organization, particularly in the eyes of an affected population. For peacekeeping operations to achieve their intended purpose, the root causes of conflicts needed to be carefully identified and appropriately addressed.
He said that the triangular relationship was crucial, because the political objectives and peacekeeping mandates for missions needed to be clear, credible and achievable. The challenges faced by peacekeeping today showed that not even the United Nations was capable of dealing with new challenges on its own, and he thus stressed cooperation with regional groups, which could play strong roles. While he welcomed the developments in the field of cooperation so far, there was nevertheless a need to strengthen strategic relationships with such organizations consistent with Chapter VIII of the Charter. The early inclusion of some aspects of peacebuilding, especially socio-economic reconstruction, was vital for durable recovery and success. People affected by conflict needed to get tangible peace dividends through the provision of basic services, like health care, education, shelter and improved living standards. In that regard, he called for greater coherence in peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development.
Right of Reply
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Syria said he was replying to the statement made yesterday by Israel. He said the false allegations included in that statement were a desperate attempt to cover the fact that the occupation was the reason behind several peacekeeping missions in the region, including the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The allegations made by Israel were also an attempt to divert attention from the criminal acts perpetrated by Israel, including the attempt by the representative in the statement yesterday to turn upside down the facts about the criminal acts of Israel affecting unarmed civilians, who had demonstrated peacefully on 15 May and 5 June this year in the occupied Syrian Golan, Palestine and southern Lebanon, in memory of the occupation of their land by Israel and to reaffirm their natural and legal right to their liberation and restoration.
He further said that Israeli occupying soldiers had used live ammunition against them, in an inhumane way and with the attempt to kill. That had wounded and martyred a large number of them. Peacekeeping forces there had witnessed those murders, and the last report of the Secretary-General referred to the murder of 234 unarmed civilians on 5 June in the occupied Golan alone. The representative of the Israeli occupying authority claimed that Israel respected peacekeeping operations. That was astounding in the view that Israel did not respect the United Nations itself, which was the Organization behind the very existence of Israel.
That was also astounding considering the long criminal history of Israel, which had the “biggest grim record” of attacks against peacekeepers. Those were not just words, but offences corroborated with documented evidence. Among other offences, in 1996, Israel had targeted UNIFIL forces in southern Lebanon, and killed 106 civilians who had sought shelter in the United Nations building.
He said he wished to quote the former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, when he said: “I am stunned and deeply concerned by the apparent deliberate targeting of the Israeli forces of the post of the United Nations observers.”
Similarly, he said that the report of the Canadian army, which had studied that criminal act, said that Israel had deliberately shelled the post. The representative called on all those present to notice the word “deliberately” — deliberately targeting the post. That was in addition to other suspicious acts in southern Lebanon, especially against the Tanzanian and Spanish contingents. That was also in addition to the murder of a Belgian officer, a victim of the attacks in Lebanon, who had died in September 2008 when he was searching for remnants of cluster bombs left there since 2006. Israel had so far refused to hand over the maps concerning those bombs, even though five years had passed since hostilities had ended. That opened the door for more innocent victims, civilians or peacekeepers.
He went on to say that there were many documented figures about the attacks by Israel against peacekeeping forces, but his remarks would suffice, owing to lack of time now. Syria maintained good relations with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) and UNDOF, and cooperated with them in a positive and constructive manner, as had been documented by relevant United Nations reports over the years, and as had been acknowledged by the two forces.
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