Harmonizing Mix of Roles and Responsibilities in Fragile, Conflict-Affected Countries Served by UN Peacekeepers Focus of Debate in Fourth Committee
Harmonizing Mix of Roles and Responsibilities in Fragile, Conflict-Affected Countries Served by UN Peacekeepers Focus of Debate in Fourth Committee
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-seventh General Assembly
18th & 19th Meetings (AM & PM)
Harmonizing Mix of Roles and Responsibilities in Fragile, Conflict-Affected
Countries Served by UN Peacekeepers Focus of Debate in Fourth Committee
‘Winning Hearts and Minds’ of Local Populations, Triangular Cooperation,
Civilian Protection Mandates, Timely Reimbursement to Troop Contributors Discussed
Debate today in the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) amplified a wide range of issues underpinning improvement in both the operational and doctrinal aspects of peacekeeping, including the need to address deficiencies in staff, funding and equipment, the value of further engaging regional and subregional organizations, and the multidimensional aspect of peacekeeping mandates that might now encompass human rights, civilian protection and peacebuilding components.
Among the nearly 50 speakers who took the floor today in the Committee’s annual peacekeeping debate was the delegate of Fiji, who said that as conflicts became more complex, the international community’s response had become more multifaceted and nuanced. Yet, he warned against giving in to the temptation to overreach, which stretched financial and human resources. Above all, he called for the requisite political will, reminding the Committee that it was ultimately the peacekeepers on the ground who had to implement decisions made in New York.
In that context, many delegates stressed the need for greater “triangular cooperation” in that strategic partnership among the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop- and police-contributing countries, in order to better harmonize the mix of roles and responsibilities in the often fragile and conflict-affected countries in which peacekeepers served.
Among them was the representative of Pakistan, who said that increased representation of the troop-contributing countries in operational and managerial positions in the field and at Headquarters could facilitate partnership. More open communication could improve administrative and logistic arrangements, particularly for drawdown or inter-mission transfer. The complementary role of peacekeepers in peacebuilding should be clarified, as the existing narrative was insufficient to properly understand the linkage between the two functions.
In that vein, Malaysia’s delegate said that peacekeepers were often “early peacebuilders” and must “win the hearts and minds” of the local population, in an effort to create the conditions for socioeconomic development. To “match desire with outcome” in light of the heavy responsibility and expectations placed on the Organization, it was critical for Member States to provide the personnel, financial and logistical resources vital to peacekeeping operations.
Lebanon’s speaker highlighted the growing importance of regional and subregional organizations, which “enjoyed a better understanding of the cultural specificities and background of conflicts”. Echoing the call to enhance their role was South Africa’s speaker, who noted the valuable contribution of the African Union in the Sahel region, but said that as it assumed more complex responsibilities in difficult circumstances, it must be properly resourced.
Non-Alignment Movement members, such as the representative of Iran, however, made the point that the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security rested with the United Nations and that regional arrangements should not be involved in peacekeeping operations as a “substitute” for the Organization, nor should that practice circumvent full application of United Nations’ guiding principles on peacekeeping.
Around the room, delegations raised the longstanding issue of reimbursement to troop-contributing countries. The delegate of Norway welcomed the recent compromise on reimbursement rates, as lack of consensus sent a bad signal. How could host countries have faith in United Nations peacekeeping when Member States could not agree on proposals to enhance the capacity of the United Nations to fulfil its responsibilities in that field? she asked.
Calling into question the nature of those responsibilities, the representative of the Russian Federation called it “counter-productive and dangerous” to broadly interpret Security Council mandates. There had been unjustified concentration on protection of civilians, and his country had no appetite for interpreting peacekeeping exclusively through that prism.
Equally inappropriate, he said, was the trend for arbitrary interpretation of international humanitarian law to achieve political ends and as a pretext for interference in internal affairs. There were also attempts to insert new formulas in the international community’s response to crises. The experience in Libya should not be considered a model for future crises. Peacekeeping operations had a legitimate role, and when blue helmets cast aside their neutrality, as in Côte d’Ivoire, they were in danger of losing that legitimacy.
Above all, said the delegate from India, peacekeeping today stood on a firm foundation built over decades on the principles of impartiality, consent and the non-use of force. Convictions, he said, “must emanate from our own belief systems, but also from what we observe and learn on the ground” and any alterations in the established “rules of the game” should not be undertaken with undue haste.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Indonesia, Kenya, Ukraine, Israel, Bangladesh, Viet Nam, Morocco, Syria, Mongolia, Senegal, Venezuela, Myanmar, Lesotho, Brazil, Singapore, United States, Ethiopia, Cameroon, China, Eritrea, Kuwait, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, South Sudan, Guatemala, Burkina Faso, Serbia, Nigeria, Dominican Republic, Niger, Gabon, Cambodia, Nepal, Algeria and Japan.
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of Syria, Morocco and Algeria.
The representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also spoke.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. 9 November to consider the report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices.
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met today to conclude its general debate on peacekeeping. For background on that subject, please see Press Release GA/SPD/516.
YUSRA KHAN (Indonesia), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said it was crucial that missions were well-equipped and supported as they were increasingly entrusted with multidimensional tasks, such as those under mandates to protect civilians and support the restoration and extension of State authority and political processes. In regard to protecting civilians, efforts by peacekeepers were not a substitute for efforts by host Governments.
Referring to the report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, he underscored three points, the first of which was the importance of modern technology for enhancing the safety and security of peacekeepers, he said, adding that intergovernmental understanding on the technical, financial and operational aspects of applying such technology was yet to materialize. The second was engaging with all Member States in the development of a strategic framework on United Nations police capacity. Third, the issue of troop costs should continue to be examined, and he hoped that the work done by the Senior Advisory Group would engender significant progress on the issue. He also stressed the importance of comprehensive peace- and institution-building and the development of civilian capacities. In closing, he highlighted his country’s contributions to United Nations peacekeeping operations and efforts to modernize its own peacekeeping capabilities, and said he remained concerned by the non-transparency in the recruitment, selection and appointment process for senior positions in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and other missions.
DOCTOR MASHABANE (South Africa), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, stated that as different priorities and views had emerged in the recently concluded session of the Special Committee on peacekeeping best interests, it was important to move in a common direction during the sixty-seventh session. Countries such as South Africa, which contributed troops, were committed to finding a permanent solution to the reimbursement question to replace the current ad hoc manner. If peacekeeping was to be the global partnership that it aspired to be, collective commitment by the international community would be required, and he urged all Member States to join that partnership by availing their men and women to join the noble cause of United Nations peacekeeping.
Turning to hybrid peacekeeping missions, he said, for example, that the African Union and subregional organizations had made valuable contributions in the Sahel region. It was vital to ensure that the United Nations Office to the African Union was properly resourced. Increasing demands were being placed on those United Nations peacekeeping partners, and meeting required strengthening the capacities of their deployed troops. The African Union was taking on complex responsibilities in difficult circumstances, he added.
Peacekeeping mandates should be adequate and achievable, he stressed, adding that given the current critical resource gaps, South Africa was concerned about the proposed cuts to the peacekeeping budget. Further, funding for special political missions should not impact negatively on peacekeeping budgets. He reminded delegation that peacekeeping was not a panacea to conflicts but one of the mechanisms available to assist countries in achieving a durable peace. A dynamic, innovative and flexible response should inform an integrated approach that encompassed all United Nations components.
MACHARIA KAMAU ( Kenya) stated that while his delegation appreciated the important role the United Nations was playing in supporting peacekeeping missions around the world, it was worth noting that to achieve sustainable stability in conflict areas, more emphasis should be geared towards drafting clear and achievable mandates, and providing required human resources, logistic and financial support to field missions. Any review or amendment of mandates should be in full consultation with the troop contributing countries. His delegation was also cognizant of the fact that regional and subregional organizations, such as the African Union, were increasingly taking a central role in conflict resolution. Kenya supported such efforts, in particular those by Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), and he regretted the delay in reimbursing funds spent on Contingent Owned Equipment (COE) and Self Sustainment by the troop contributors, which he understood occurred when Member States did not honour their assessed contributions.
Based on experience, his delegation believed that effective mediation was the cornerstone of sustainable dispute settlement, he said, expressing appreciation for the efforts of the Secretary-General in that regard. In order to stem the recurring tide of conflict in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region, the role of Member States, regional and subregional organizations must be fully supported, especially in terms of capacity building. Noting that the establishment of the United Nations Office to the African Union had enhanced coordination between the two entities, he said much still needed to be done to strengthen the negotiating capabilities of various stakeholders in peace settlement and to adapt mediation processes to local cultures and norms to ensure national ownership of the peacebuilding architecture. In conclusion, he lamented the low rate of troop reimbursements in light of their personal sacrifice and risks, and hoped that the agreed draft of the Senior Advisory Group would lead to a sustainable resolution of the problem.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA (Ukraine), aligning with the European Union, expressed his concern about procrastination in the work of the Special Committee, saying it was “unsustainable” and noting that for two years in a row it had been unable to finalize its report on time. At the same time, there must be no “bad blood” in the strategic partnership between troop- and police-contributing countries, the Security Council, Secretariat and fragile and conflict-affected countries. In spite of the late submission of the report, he strongly encouraged the Secretariat to do its best to deliver on the recommendations contained therein, in particular, the one relating to the enhancement of the legal mechanisms of investigation and prosecution of crimes against deployed United Nations peacekeepers.
Supporting the concept of “doing more with less”, he said that austerity measures should in no way be applied to areas where United Nations capacities were already scarce, such as the case with the shortage of military helicopters. On that subject, he also noted the positive recommendations of the Senior Advisory Group, but said that a real long-term solution required the creation of more robust incentives for countries to contribute military helicopters. He also endorsed, among others, the Group’s recommendation regarding the need for the reimbursement system to recognize the risk levels incurred by troops in different missions, in order to secure greater participation in all operations, including the most difficult ones. Further, he called for strengthening United Nations police capacities and policies, and noted that his country had the necessary expertise to contribute to the Organization’s efforts in Liberia with its Formed Police Unit. In conclusion, he recalled that this year marked the twentieth anniversary of Ukraine’s contribution to United Nations peacekeeping operations.
IDIT ABU ( Israel) said that the changing environment on the ground had created new challenges for peacekeeping forces, including shortages of personnel and resources, making it more important than ever to prioritize the objectives for each mission – and look for new approaches to help them succeed. In that regard, the progress of the New Horizon Initiative was encouraging and should continue. Further, while her country had responded to the call for contributions to peacekeeping missions by sending a specialized police unit to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), and was in the process of preparing to send more police officers into peacekeeping forces, the turmoil in her region, and particularly the situation in Syria, was a source of great concern. Peacekeeping forces, both in Lebanon and on the Israel-Syria border, were crucial to maintaining stability in the region.
She expressed her country’s appreciation to UNFIL, but said that despite its achievements, it faced many challenges. Recent attacks on the mission forces were a serious concern, and a clear message must be sent that violence towards peacekeepers would not be tolerated. She also highlighted Hizbullah’s increasing hindrance of the force’s operations, and said that the international community must unequivocally denounce its use of dangerous tactics. She also cited evidence that Hizbullah was rearming itself in direct violation of resolution 1701 (2006).
The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), she said, had been essential for maintaining security along the Israeli-Syrian border since 1974, and had also served as liaison for other projects, such as imports and exports, and facilitating the cross-border movement of students and others. Israel was very concerned about the effects of the situation in Syria on UNDOF’S Work – especially attacks by Syrian troops against civilians — and she called on the international community to encourage the Syrian Government to fulfil its international obligations and ensure the safety of peacekeepers and its citizens.
NAZARI ABD HADI ( Malaysia) said that his country was supportive of the “capability-driven approach” to peacekeeping as proposed under the New Horizon Initiative, and the implementation of the Global Field Support Strategy. Over the years, peacekeeping operations had expanded to play a multidimensional role, ranging from helping to build sustainable institutions of governance to human rights monitoring and security sector reform. Peacekeeping, for all its imperfections, was an area in which the United Nations could take pride. He was mindful of the heavy responsibility and expectation placed on the Organization, and said to “match desire with outcome”, and it was critical for Member States to continue their support of peacekeeping, especially by providing the personnel, financial and logistical resources vital to their operations.
He said that economic and social progress was only possible through the maintenance of peace and stability, and peacekeepers were often said to be “early peacebuilders”. With that in mind, Malaysia had the experience and training, and was undertaking activities whenever permitted, to “win the hearts and minds” of the local people in order to create a conducive environment for socioeconomic development. However, socioeconomic development plans were solely the responsibility of host nations; Malaysia was there merely to facilitate.
He paid tribute to those who had made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the United Nations and the noble cause of peace, and expressed his concern with the increasing challenges and threats to the security of peacekeepers. Further, as an active troop-contributing country, Malaysia maintained the highest commitment to a zero-tolerance policy on all forms of misconduct, including sexual exploitation and abuses, and emphasized this in its training of peacekeepers.
MUSTAFIZUR RAHMAN (Bangladesh), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the success of a peacekeeping mission largely depended on the political support it received, and on the adequate provision of financial, logistical and human resources. In that regard, he reiterated the importance of closer and active involvement with the troop-contributing countries when deciding on new peacekeeping missions and extending or amending the mandates. Partnership among the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support, the troop contributors, and the Security Council should be strengthened, and it should be ensured that the troop-contributing countries participated in every stage of the planning and decision-making.
He highlighted the importance of ensuring peacekeepers’ safety and security and of avoiding actions that might compromise their neutral image. Peacekeeping should be accompanied by peacebuilding, and he looked forward to greater synergy between the Peacebuilding Commission and its fund. In times of austerity, cost effectiveness was appreciable, but he cautioned against cost cutting that might affect the overall performance of peacekeeping operations, or that might weaken peacekeepers’ morale. His delegation would like to examine in a comprehensive manner any new reform proposals in the appropriate forum with the participation of the larger membership, and believed that interactions on such matters should stay in New York. In general, his delegation supported the “capability-driven” approach undertaken by the Peacekeeping Department. In closing, he noted that his country had been an active and dedicated partner in peacekeeping efforts for the last 20 years and was today one of the top contributors with more than 9,000 peacekeepers in the field.
PHAM VINH QUANG ( Viet Nam), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said that peacekeeping was a core function of the United Nations that had started from a modest operation and had grown into one that helped to create the conditions for peace, security and development for millions of people in war-torn countries. It was now facing diverse and daunting challenges from the rising surge in demand, growing complexity of environments on the ground, and the question of resources and capacity. After a decade of considerable surge, it appeared that peacekeeping might now be headed towards a period of consolidation, and he supported the concept of “right-sizing” and periodic review of each mission.
During the course of reforming peacekeeping, it was vital, he said, not to forget that it was guided by basic principles that still remained relevant and should be preserved, such as the respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of States. To meet the challenges of today and tomorrow, it was crucial for peacekeeping to have a shared agenda and a renewed global partnership between Member States, United Nations system entities, regional and subregional organizations and others. Events over the past years had also underlined the importance of building civilian capacity in the aftermath of conflict. Particular attention should be paid to mobilizing capacities from developing countries and keeping close consultations with countries from the global South, which had successful experiences in post-crisis situations.
LALLA SOUMIA BOUHAMIDI ( Morocco), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, stated that peacekeeping was at a crossroads, and the current debate was an opportunity to discuss the actions to be undertaken and current challenges. It was not possible to have a debate on peacekeeping without underscoring its financial aspects, she stressed, calling for broader triangular cooperation between the Security Council, the Secretariat and the donors, as well as between and among Members States. It was also important to reflect on the difficulty of evaluating peacekeeping in 2012 – “are we expanding or consolidating or both?” she asked.
She said that peacekeeping must move from a situation marked by the classic hierarchical definition to a true partnership, she added. Morocco as a troop-contributing country and as the chair of the working group on peacekeeping in the Council believed that it was necessary to enhance partnership between emerging contributors and those countries that had savoir faire and expertise. It was time to systematize that cooperation, particularly in training. The Secretariat had a key role to play in convincing the decision-makers in those countries.
The media had always been quick to expose the failures of peacekeeping, but not its successes, she said. In that regard, she was pleased to announce that Morocco and Italy would together launch a series of conferences on the impact of media on peacekeeping, the first of which would take place at the end of the month. For a global partnership in peacekeeping, the United Nations must engage think tanks and civil society as well.
HASSAN ABBAS ( Lebanon) said that his country attached utmost importance to peacekeeping missions, and viewed peacekeeping not as an objective, per se, but rather as a basic step on the way to a permanent solution. In that regard, he believed that there were several conditions necessary to guarantee the missions’ success. Among the first was the need to enhance regular consultations between the Security Council, the Secretariat, troop- and police-contributing countries and host States. Given the rather complex and multidimensional nature of modern peacekeeping, there was also a need for precision in the formulation of mandates and the provision to missions of the requisite financial resources and field support, despite the repercussions of the global financial crisis on donors. The basic objectives of the mandates must address the causes of conflict and contribute to the establishment of a permanent peace and a successful transition.
In that regard, he said it was necessary to emphasize peacebuilding in the early phases and to provide States with technical and financial support to improve their national capacities, especially when it came to such matters as institution-building, disbanding militias, and disarming non-State elements. Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations was also essential, as it was well known that those organizations enjoyed a better understanding of the cultural specificities and background of conflicts. Boosting women’s central role was also imperative, as was building and enhancing civil capacities. Further, there was the need to preserve the security and safety of the peacekeepers and to guarantee their freedom of movement, responsibilities that were incumbent upon the host country. In closing, he noted Lebanon’s long history of collaboration and support of peacekeeping missions, particularly with UNIFIL, to which he paid tribute, and affirmed his country’s adherence to the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 (2006).
IHAB HAMED ( Syria), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, stated that peacekeeping operations were a key aspect of the work of the United Nations. The Charter of the United Nations underscored respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty and non-interference in domestic affairs. Peacekeeping must respect those principles rigorously. Further, his country reaffirmed the importance of the principles of consent of the parties, non-use of force, and impartiality. The attempts by some countries to skirt those principles under numerous pretexts undermined the work of peacekeeping operations around the world. Syria was convinced that peacekeeping operations could not replace, in any way, the lasting solutions that must be brought to any crisis and which required finding solutions to the root causes in an objective manner.
Numerous peacekeeping operations were charged with protecting civilians, he added, but the primary responsibility for that was incumbent on host countries and, hence, the missions should fulfil their mandate without undermining the host country. Syria stressed the importance of not using the concept of civilian protection to interfere in the domestic affairs of States. Further, he pointed out, the United Nations had begun its first peacekeeping operation in the Middle East in 1948 and, since then, there had been many operations, some lasting for decades. For example, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) had gone beyond half a century. Peace was still elusive in his region because of Israel’s occupation of Arab territories in defiance of United Nations resolutions. That was also the reason for the presence of four missions in the region, heavily burdening the Organization.
AMARSAIKHAN SERDARI ( Mongolia) highlighted the dramatic increases in the number, scope and complexity of peacekeeping operations. Today’s activities had evolved from “pure” peacekeeping missions, such as patrolling buffer zones and monitoring ceasefires, into multidimensional lines of operations that facilitated political dialogue and reconciliation, protected civilians, conducted disarmament, supported security sector reforms, prevented human rights abuses, strengthened the rule of law, and promoted economic development. Although the Special Committee had addressed many issues during this year’s session, Mongolia shared the disappointment of many States that common ground had not been found on such issues as review of troop costs, development of early warning indicators, and use of monitoring and surveillance technologies.
He said his country had contributed more than 3,000 peacekeepers worldwide since its participation began in 2002. Currently, Mongolia was contributing a composite infantry battalion to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), among its many other engagements. In addition, Mongolia had become a training ground, with several peacekeepers from the Asia-Pacific region taking courses at the “Tavan Tolgoi” Peacekeeping Training Centre. Peacekeeping needed further improvement in some areas, and peacekeepers on the ground and Headquarters officials must receive clear guidance and have the means and resources to implement it. Civilian protection must be part of a mission’s mandate, including addressing the political rationale of the violence. It was also important for regional United Nations headquarters to cooperate with other regional and subregional organizations. Peacekeeping operations should have clear exit strategies to create conditions for national reconciliation, strong governance, peacebuilding and development. Lastly, he called for adequate representation of the newly emerging troop- and police-contributing countries, such as his, in the relevant global and regional United Nations headquarters.
FATOU ISIDORA MARA NIANG (Senegal), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, and paying tribute to the remarkable work and sacrifices made by the “blue helmets”, said that while the three fundamental principles governing peacekeeping operations had become increasingly difficult to apply in the post-cold war environment and the increasing complexity of missions, the growing challenges should not call into question the Organization’s resolve to maintain peace, but rather usher in new approaches. Senegal, despite its relatively small size, had placed more than 2,000 personnel in various peacekeeping operations.
She stressed the importance of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes as strategic components of peacebuilding efforts, as well as the role of women, who should be included in decision-making. Further, she called for greater triangular cooperation and for strengthening the role of regional organizations, especially the African Union. She also called for increased support for African peacekeeping centres. In conclusion, she reiterated her delegation’s support for the increase in peacekeepers’ salaries and benefits in accordance with the Advisory Group’s recommendation to the Security Council in February, and said that the United Nations must address the issue of outstanding contributions.
JORGE VALERO BRICEÑO (Venezuela), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said that peacekeeping operations must maintain irreproachable ethical conduct and shoulder an unshakeable commitment to the zero tolerance policy to sexual abuse and exploitation. Turning to the subject of “so-called robust peacekeeping operations”, he stated that those were scarcely any different from military missions, which sought to impose peace and security by force. “It is worth asking about the real motives of such operations.” Were they seeking to establish peace or to protect one of the parties to the conflict? So-called robust operations were predicated on moral judgements, separating countries into “goodies or baddies”. The political and military interests of the imperial Powers, having chosen the winner of the conflict, were exploiting the institutions of the United Nations and the good will of troop contributing countries.
He said that the guiding principles of neutrality and use of force only in self-defence had been supplanted by neo-colonial hegemony, he said. An inevitable consequence was the loss of credibility of the United Nations. Respect for the principles of territorial integrity and sovereignty contributed to the maintenance of peace and security in the international arena, and any process that aimed at attaining a just and lasting peace must be based on those principles.
MOHAMMAD REZA SAHRAEI (Iran), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, stated that the principles of peacekeeping, including the consent of parties, impartiality, and the non-use of force except in self-defence or defence of the mandate were of crucial importance. Any deviation would undermine the image of the United Nations and erode the universal support for peacekeeping operations. Further, successful peacekeeping was a shared responsibility. The necessary political, human, financial, logistic, and information resources for the achievement of the mandates could be mobilized and sustained only when there was a constant effort to cooperate, consult and coordinate between all stakeholders. In that regard, Iran called for effective triangular cooperation.
At the heart of most conflicts, he went on, were matters of deprivation, injustice, inequitable distribution of resources, bad governance and other forms of abuse. Effective peacekeeping must therefore integrate peacebuilding strategies, to facilitate economic revitalization, development and national capacity-building, paving the way towards a seamless exit strategy and preventing recurrence of armed conflicts. Further, along with other members of the Non-Aligned Movement, Iran believed that the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security rested with the United Nations and that regional arrangements should not be involved in peacekeeping operations as a substitute for the Organization, nor should that circumvent full application of United Nations’ guiding principles on peacekeeping.
PHYO THU ZAR AUNG ( Myanmar), associating with the statements made by the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said that whether in a phase of growth or of consolidation, peacekeeping remained dynamic and continued to develop. While the protection of civilians, especially the most vulnerable ones, should always be a priority consideration, there was a growing need to ensure the safety of the more than 110,000 personnel serving in the most dangerous and difficult environments in the world. Given the increasing complexity of threats peacekeepers faced, mandates should be based on timely assessment and sound intelligence, and troops should be provided with the adequate resources to match those mandates.
She noted the importance of working to prevent and address the root causes of conflicts, saying it was necessary to invest in institution-building and national capacity-building in the areas of security, justice and governance, while at the same time finding innovative ways to reform, rationalize and strengthen the Organization’s peacekeeping capacity. She called for the fulfilment of outstanding financial contributions on time and without conditions, noting that despite its own resource constraints, Myanmar had made its financial contributions on time. Further, last year, her Government had once again decided to contribute military observers to United Nations peacekeeping operations and had taken preparatory steps towards that end.
MAFIROANE MOTANYANE (Lesotho), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, underscored the importance of long-term planning to the success of peacekeeping missions, and said that, prior to a mission being instituted, there should be clear criteria that guided decisions on the necessary conditions, in order to configure the mission properly and avoid situations in which missions either went on indefinitely without an exit strategy, or were terminated abruptly and in such a way that they precipitated the return of conflict. He appreciated the milestones reached by the Department in integrating peacebuilding into its peacekeeping architecture, and supported its policy and reform priorities.
He said that intensive consultation with all stakeholders was another important ingredient for the operations’ success. While noting with appreciation that the Security Council had recently improved its engagement with troop and police contributors, he said there was room for improvement throughout the entire process – from planning to termination of the missions – as well as engagement with relevant regional organizations. Moreover, the Special Committee was an indispensable forum for a comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping in all its aspects, and he encouraged its members to demonstrate renewed political will as they decided on peacekeeping’s future direction. Regarding civilian protection, while that was primarily the duty of host countries, the possibility of developing multilaterally negotiated guidelines for the use of force by peacekeepers should be further explored. Matching resources with mandates was vital to ensure peacekeepers’ safety and effectiveness.
REGINA MARIA CORDEIRO DUNLOP ( Brazil) stated that much had been said about improving the Special Committee’s working methods, and her country was particularly keen to explore the possibility of making the best possible use of the time before its next session, in order to refine proposals, do preliminary work on substance, and better understand the priorities of negotiating partners. Concerning special political missions (SPM), their growing importance brought the issue of their oversight by the General Assembly to the forefront. Brazil was ready to examine all options, with a view to finding a way to allow Member States their proper role in guiding those missions, without disrupting existing processes. In that connection, the expertise of the Special Committee could provide useful lessons on the governance of Special Political Missions.
She said that the fundamental link between peace, security and development would remain a priority for Brazil. A clear dimension of that relationship was the role of peacekeeping operations as early agents of comprehensive peacebuilding strategies. A lot had been said about the importance of integrating the whole United Nations spectrum in that regard, yet, much remained to be done. Very often, particularly during economic crises, the drawdown of peacekeeping missions correlated with less financial support for the remaining United Nations presence on the ground. That trend posed structural challenges to the collective thinking about effective exit strategies and comprehensive peacebuilding architecture. Effective strategies that could break the conflict cycle for good were the ones that linked sustainable security, political stability, reconciliation and development, and bind them together through strong national ownership.
KEITH TAN ( Singapore) said his country fully supported United Nations efforts to uphold the rule of international law. The Singapore Armed Forces and Police Force had served in 15 peacekeeping and observer missions since 1989, despite the country’s size constraints. The shifting threats of the twenty-first century meant that the safety of the 118,000 peacekeeping personnel carrying out precarious yet crucial assignments could not be overemphasized. The high mean number of more than 100 fatalities among peacekeeping personnel over the past decade was a stark indicator of the need for adequate protection and security. Capacity development efforts would improve the safety and livelihoods of the peacekeepers operating in hazardous situations and the civilians living in those war-torn territories.
He said his country recognised the one key problem in United Nations peacekeeping, as outlined in the Brahimi Report, namely, the challenge of adequately supporting field operations in the areas of human resources, information and communications technology, administration, and logistical and financial management to enable the missions to accomplish their objectives. In that regard, Singapore welcomed the progress reached during the first year of the five-year implementation of the Global Field Support Strategy. He called on the Department of Field Support to seek further improvements in its governance, risk management and control processes by including appropriate key performance indicators and related benchmarks. He urged the Secretariat to continue its informal quarterly meetings on the Strategy to provide meaningful communication with all Member States, particularly troop- and police-contributing countries.
JEFFREY DELAURENTIS ( United States) said that everyone’s contribution was necessary for the success of peacekeeping operations. Disagreement over peacekeeping priorities in the last two years had made things difficult in several New York forums, and he hoped everyone could work together to more productively resolve differences to enable the necessary support to reach peacekeepers in the field. Eight of the peacekeeping operations had explicit civilian protection mandates, which were indispensable for success. People must feel and be safer when the blue helmets arrived, and they, in turn, must be as effective as possible. In that regard, he lauded the efforts of the Secretariat and Member States to develop training, guidance and practice tools for the missions’ increasingly complex work. To ensure civilian safety, it was necessary to better implement standards, ensure peacekeepers had proper equipment, provide the capabilities and resources essential for carrying out the mandate, and develop “whole-of-mission” strategies. Despite substantial progress, there was more to do.
He underscored the need to show appreciation for the dedicated professionalism demonstrated daily by the vast majority of peacekeepers, often in very difficult environments. He was concerned, however, over persistent reports of misconduct by a few, whose lack of respect for themselves and the people they serviced stained the reputation of thousands of peacekeepers. United Nations leaders and managers in the field and Member States’ Governments must enforce the standards to which they had agreed and discipline those who fell short. Discussing special political missions in the Fourth Committee distracted from its consideration of peacekeeping policy. Those missions, which included special advisors and envoys, expert panels, regional political offices, and peacebuilding support offices, differed significantly from peacekeeping missions in their composition and objectives.
TEKEDA ALEMU ( Ethiopia) said peacekeeping was becoming a much more complex task, with missions often being called upon to help protect civilian populations, monitor and protect human rights, and build fledgling police forces and judiciaries, among others. As a major troop- and police-contributing country for the last six decades and the fourth largest troop-contributing country, including more recently in United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), his country saw a need to comprehensively address multidimensional challenges facing the United Nations in that regard. The legal mandate, within which blue helmets were expected to operate, should be clarified at the outset, in order to reduce the possibility of disagreement and confusion. Triangular cooperation must be strengthened, he said, adding that regular meetings would be an opportunity for the Council to understand, not only where gaps in resources lay, but also how those gaps affected a peacekeeping operation’s ability to fulfil its mandate.
He stressed the need to address the current mismatch between resources and mandates, despite current global economic difficulties. Without requisite resources, missions would find it very difficult to carry out their already complicated mandates, while operating in hostile and dangerous situations. In that regard, his delegation welcomed the formation of the Senior Advisory Group, which had been established to study the issue of periodic review of troop costs. Stressing that the United Nations should ensure that countries willing and able to contribute peacekeepers had the capacity and materials to do so, he said there must be direct support to troop-contributing countries and cooperation to enhance the capabilities of regional organizations, such as the African Union.
MAMOUDOU MANA ( Cameroon), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, stated that the principles and legal framework underpinning peacekeeping operations had become increasingly complex. Cameroon remained committed to the principles of consent of the parties concerned, non-use of force, and the need for clearly defined mandates. On capacity-building, his country had, in 2008, created a school for training peacekeeping personnel. It was crucial to provide peacekeeping personnel with comprehensive training, especially in crisis management and knowledge of the host country,
He said that a new vision was necessary for peacekeeping operations. The United Nations must make swifter progress in meeting the expectations of troop-contributing countries, especially with regard to reimbursement. That issue was especially important to African countries, which constituted the backbone of the peacekeeping troops.
PETER THOMSON ( Fiji), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that as conflicts had become more complex, the response of the international community had become more multifaceted and nuanced. Although those nuances were welcome, it was important to distinguish between peacekeeping mandates and those that addressed the roots of conflict or facilitated development work. While such efforts could be complementary to peacekeeping, they should not be undertaken by peacekeeping personnel. Additionally, the role of the Department of Field Support in backing special political missions should be encouraged, and the administrative arrangements provided by troop-contributing countries should be clarified. The temptation to overreach through peacekeeping operations, which resulted in overstretched financial and human resources, should also be avoided.
He said the role of troop- and police-contributing countries in providing guidance was vital, and he encouraged triangular cooperation and information-sharing. A key concern for troop contributing countries, like Fiji, was the rate of reimbursements. It was difficult to accept that Fiji had to bare the responsibility for funding its participation in peacekeeping missions so disproportionately. The international community could not expect troop-contributing countries, particularly developing States, to provide troops and, at the same time, subsidise the cost of United Nations peacekeeping. Additionally, the role of female peacekeepers was valuable, and Fiji consciously aimed to increase the number of female police peacekeepers. Calling for requisite political will in the international community to reach agreement on outstanding issues, he reminded the Committee that it was ultimately the peacekeepers on the ground who had to implement decisions made in New York.
WANG MIN ( China) stated that United Nations peacekeeping was facing new challenges today as it confronted the gap between mandates and resources. The fundamental purpose of peacekeeping was the political settlement of regional disputes. While priority should be solving conflicts, United Nations peacekeeping should strictly follow the principles of consent of the host country, neutrality, and non-use of force. The size of peacekeeping was growing with ever-expanding mandates, and the resources were limited, he added, urging countries with relevant human resources and technical capacities to contribute to overcoming that gap.
He said that mandate planning should be strengthened, and there should be better coordination between peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Enhancing partnership with regional organizations was also crucial to success. In that, the African Union and other organizations should be encouraged to play a stronger role.
NEBIL SAID IDRIS (Eritrea), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that peacekeeping was one of the best tools at the United Nations disposal for maintaining international peace. It had become an increasingly complex task and while it must adapt to meet the current challenges, that should be in keeping with the principles of territorial integrity, impartiality, and non-use of force.
He reminded delegates that peacekeeping was no substitute for addressing the root causes of conflict. Synergy between peacekeeping and early peacebuilding was a prerequisite. Today, several peacekeeping missions had civilian protection mandates. At the same time, extra caution was needed to ensure that national sovereignty was not undermined.
TINE MØRCH SMITH ( Norway) said that underlying differences that were threatening the peacekeeping partnership must be overcome, and while her country fully recognized that Member States had legitimate concerns with regard to troop costs, much-needed reforms could not be held hostage to that issue. She welcomed the recent compromise by the Senior Advisory Group on reimbursement rates, which she hoped would break the negative pattern of protracted negotiations, as the lack of consensus sent a bad signal. She asked how host countries could have faith in United Nations peacekeeping when Member States could not agree on proposals to enhance the capacity of the United Nations to fulfil its responsibilities in that field.
She said that United Nations peacekeeping was at a crossroads. The overall trend was pointing towards a reduction in the number of both operations and personnel, but at the same time, troops were gradually returning from Afghanistan, which might result over time in an increase in Western troops in United Nations peacekeeping operations. That window of opportunity should be used to improve performance and speed up the New Horizon reform process. Special attention should be directed towards ensuring that mandates were realistic and matched with appropriate resources, especially in regard to the protection of civilians; improving the force-generation system by developing a mid-term and a long-term planning process; enhancing the impact of missions through the development of capability standards; engaging women in all aspects and at all levels of peacekeeping; seeking partnerships with other key actors in responding to the rising demand for civilians in peace operations; and exploring innovative approaches to developing national capacity in host countries.
In conclusion, she highlighted that innovation was a prominent feature of the evolving relationship between the United Nations and the African Union, and that lessons learned from African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) must be taken into account in discussions on peacekeeping. The ultimate task was to enhance United Nations capacity to fulfil its responsibilities in peacekeeping, whether it was in the lead or supporting other organizations.
MANJEEV SINGH PURI ( India) said that the evolving and adaptable nature of United Nations peacekeeping remained its core strength. Evaluations based on cost considerations alone did not capture the entirety of mission mandates and the obligation of the international community to peace and security. Ambitious mandates, resource overstretch, and field-headquarters gaps continued to challenge the ability of peacekeeping to deliver. Yet, peacekeepers often protected civilians and supported national elections, among others, including in the Great Lakes region, within existing resources.
He said that peacekeeping today stood on the firm foundation built over decades on the principles of impartiality, consent and the non-use of force. Alterations in the established “rules of the game” should not be undertaken with undue haste. Convictions, he said, “must emanate from our own belief systems, but also from what we observe and learn on the ground”. His delegation firmly believed in the inter-governmental sanctity of the peacekeeping reform and policy process, and he therefore called for efforts to capture views from the wider membership. In regard to protracted conflicts that resulted in enduring peacekeeping missions, it was necessary to think through the challenges before launching the operations. He called for more dialogue between the peacekeeping and peacebuilding departments, and said that the peacekeeping reform agenda should strive for greater balance. Police, rule of law, security sector, and disarmament were some critical areas that had received little attention due to the focus on field support.
HASAN ABULHASAN ( Kuwait), associating with Non-Aligned Movement, stated that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations contributed constructively to keeping peace around the world. He reiterated the need for a careful definition of the functions and objectives of peacekeeping and other humanitarian operations. The Security Council and troop-contributing countries should coordinate their efforts and seek new mechanisms, to ensure completion of all stages of an operation and share best practices and lessons learned.
He said that the basic principles for the deployment of any mission, including consent of the host country, neutrality, and non-use of force, must be respected. Reiterating the position of the Group of 77 countries and China, he said that when it came to contributions to the peacekeeping budget, the difficult situation of developing countries must be considered.
MOHAMMAD ABDO ABD ELKARIM TARAWNEH (Jordan), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that his country had contributed more than 3,500 blue helmets around the world. He stressed the importance of the contribution made by troop-contributing countries in developing policy and making decisions, and called for efforts to be focused on resolving conflicts at their source. He also called for strengthened security for the peacekeepers, including through the better risk assessment data-gathering in the field. Peacekeepers should not be deployed in areas so vast as to expose them to danger. The safer the blue helmets, the better able they were to protect civilians.
He expressed support for the Senior Advisory Group in regard to providing financial compensation for peacekeeping operations, and urged it to complete its task as quickly as possible. Further, impartiality was an integral part of peacekeeping operations, and discipline should be ensured in cases of misconduct. He said he was proud of the contributions of all peacekeepers, including the men and women of Jordan.
PETR V. ILICHEV ( Russian Federation) stated that as the Security Council responded to global realities, the basic function of the blue helmets continued to be ensuring peace and security in the countries of deployment. The New Horizon Initiative should not undermine the mechanisms and institutions that had been in use for decades. Additionally, it was counter-productive and dangerous to broadly interpret Security Council mandates. Recently, there had been unjustified concentration on protection of civilians. Russia had no appetite for interpreting peacekeeping exclusively through that prism.
Equally inappropriate, he said, was the trend for arbitrary interpretation of international humanitarian law to achieve political ends and as a pretext for interference in internal affairs. It was evident that the issue of human rights ceased to be interest to some countries after attaining their political ends. There were also attempts to insert new formulas in the international community’s response to crises. The experience in Libya should not be considered a model for future crises. Peacekeeping operations had a legitimate role, and when blue helmets cast aside their neutrality, as in Côte d’Ivoire, then they were in danger of losing that legitimacy.
NURBEK KASYMOV ( Kyrgyzstan) said that peacekeeping operations were one of the fundamental tools for the effective maintenance of peace and security throughout the world and an important and necessary element in the settlement of conflict. Today, it could be clearly noted that the peacekeeping potential of the United Nations had been solidified, both quantitatively and qualitatively. However, it was crucial to adopt a comprehensive approach to peace, and his delegation supported a harmonious mix of military, diplomatic and other necessary measures. He also called for fine-tuned mechanisms to improve resource mobilization efforts.
He stressed the importance of strict compliance with the purposes and principles of the Charter, and expressed support for increasing the effectiveness of peacekeeping, including through measures aimed at stepping up women’s participation. In that regard, he thanked the Secretary-General for his efforts to increase women’s presence in high-ranking positions. Given the large scale of peacekeeping operations, he also called for more effective cooperation with regional and subregional organizations. In conclusion, he noted that Kyrgyzstan, whose contributions to peacekeeping had begun in 1998, continued providing support today; it had been among the first countries to send observers to Syria and was working to sharpen the legal basis for its continued participation.
FRANCIS GEORGE NAZARIO (South Sudan), noting that on 9 July 2011, South Sudan had declared its independence and had become the newest country in the world, he said that one day earlier, on 8 July 2011, the Security Council had unanimously adopted the resolution establishing the United Nations Mission in the South Sudan (UNMISS)to lend support to meeting the political, security and protection challenges, building a legitimate authority, and creating an enabling atmosphere for long-term peace building, State building, and socioeconomic development.
He said that a civil disarmament process called “Operation Restore Peace” had been launched in Jonglei state, one of the volatile regions of the country. During that process, the Government and UNMISS undertook sensitization campaigns to encourage communities to voluntarily and peacefully surrender their weapons. The peacekeeping mission had closely monitored that process and deployed an integrated monitoring team comprising police, civilian and military staff. In the security sector, UNMISS was working closely with the South Sudan Police Service at the national, state and country levels to develop community policing implementing programmes. He thanked the peacekeeping mission and the international partners for their role in building a viable, peaceful, and democratic South Sudan.
MASOOD KHAN ( Pakistan) said that realistic and achievable mandates must be articulated with due legal scrutiny, and adequate and timely resources must be deployed to implement them. It was also vital to devise efficient entry and exit strategies for seamless transition from conflict to post-conflict stability, peacebuilding and long-term politico-economic recovery. Undertaking operations within the given financial constraints was another imperative.
He said that Pakistan, a leading troop-contributing country, could offer several suggestions to address those issues. Triangular cooperation among the Security Council, troop contributors and the Secretariat must be strengthened. More open communication could improve administrative and logistic arrangements, particularly for drawdown or inter-mission transfer. Increased representation of the troop-contributing countries in operational and managerial positions in the field and at Headquarters could facilitate partnership. The complementary role of peacekeepers in peacebuilding should be better understood, as existing narrative was insufficient to properly understand the linkage between two functions.
Furthermore, he said, the scope of activities must be better defined. Peacekeeping could neither substitute a viable political process nor bypass the need to address root causes of conflicts. Peacekeeping should also be distinguished from traditional law enforcement, which had been rooted to the ideals of protecting civilians. Peacekeepers protected civilians, only in close liaison with the local authorities. The “right-sizing” or downsizing of missions should be based on the realities in the field, and not on systemic financial constraints. The peacekeeping budget should match the results achieved so far. In that regard, troop costs must be evaluated, taking into account payments and remuneration for the rest of United Nations presence in the field.
GABRIEL ORELLANA ZABALZA ( Guatemala), associating with the statements made by the Non-Aligned Movement and CELAC, said that his country, as both a beneficiary of and a provider to peacekeeping operations took great interest in the subject and gave its support to the Global Field Support Strategy. In improving peacekeeping operations, it was important to continue interaction with delegations in New York and in the field, and for all involved to share their knowledge and understand the implications of any changes. He stressed the importance of “clear, feasible, and verifiable” mandates adapted to the unique situation of each case. Major gaps in capacity, resources and training, must also be addressed.
He said that periodic assessments by the Secretariat of any peacekeeping operation must be shared with troop-contributing countries. Also important was to recognize that each country had its own special contribution to make to peacekeeping, and while roughly 90 per cent of the peacekeeping budget was provided by a small set of industrialized countries, most of the troops came from a different set of developing countries, which might eventually lead to a clash. The way that troop contributors were reimbursed should be rationalized. The benefit of saving lives and keeping the peace could not be expressed in dollars and cents, but the costs were real. It was not useful to view peacekeeping as an “outsourcing” exercise whereby developed countries borrowed troops from developing ones; that view was derogatory to troop-contributing countries. In Guatemala, peacekeeping was not considered a well-paid service, but rather participation in a genuine mission, driven by pride and commitment to United Nations principles.
MAMADOU COULIBALY ( Burkina Faso), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that peacekeeping operations were an irreplaceable tool in managing conflicts. They had become complex and diverse, which had led to the production of more robust mandates and the participation of new international actors. Financing remained crucial. Nevertheless, Burkina Faso believed that the evaluation of mandates should not be guided solely by budgetary reasons. Further, the United Nations must endeavour to ensure that women were better represented in missions.
He said that the situation of civilians in armed conflict remained a matter of great concern to his delegation, as they were subjected to all kinds of atrocities. “Life is priceless and should not be subordinated to the will of warring parties,” he said. Calling upon all parties of conflict to uphold the principles of international humanitarian law, he said that his delegation was pleased that the protection of civilians was at the heart of several peacekeeping missions today. Finally, the matter of reimbursement of troops was important and needed to be resolved immediately. Burkina Faso had participated in peacekeeping since 1993. Its presence in various missions was evidence of the country’s commitment to serving peace and security.
RADIŠA GRUJIĆ ( Serbia), associating with the European Union, said that peacekeeping was a unique and valuable tool in assisting countries to transition to durable peace. Bearing in mind the increasingly difficult environments and challenges, strengthening peacekeeping operations and resources was essential. Peacekeeping operations in the twenty-first century needed to be equipped to deal with current tasks, more efficiently and effectively. It was necessary to more firmly establish a process of analysis and review, in dialogue with all stakeholders, throughout the lifecycle of the mission. Taking into consideration the advantages of each troop-contributing country could help improve effectiveness of burden sharing. Better training of military, civilian and police was another important element.
He stressed the need to minimize gaps and improve the performance of peacekeeping in the field. The continued engagement of all involved actors was necessary in order to better meet current and emerging challenges, and to promote unity of purpose and a shared vision, and coordinate efforts to strengthen peace and convert it into concrete actions.
AUGUSTINE UGOCHUKWU NWOSA (Nigeria), recalling that his country had become involved in United Nations peacekeeping shortly after its independence in 1960, said that the continuing escalation of crises around the world was indicative that such operations remained an important tool for the maintenance of international peace and security. “We all have shared a collective responsibility to make peace happen,” he stressed. He emphasized the need for “sound and timely interaction” among the United Nations Security Council, the Secretariat and the troop- and police-contributing countries, with a view to creating a common ground for the achievement of peacekeeping mandates in consonance with the 2012 report of the Special Committee. The particularities and circumstances of disputes made regional and subregional initiatives imperative; efforts towards peace and security must therefore begin at the regions and subregions where the breach to international peace occurred.
If any lesson had been learned so far, he continued, it was the need to pay more attention to conflict prevention and crisis management. Tackling crises before they erupted into conflict had proven to be a less financially intensive yet more effective and powerful tool. In addition, troop cost – no matter how it was “wished away” as a topic of discussion – was an important component and determinant for the motivation of peacekeepers. “Without adequate funding, troop contributing countries will find it extremely difficult to sustain the level of their participation in peacekeeping operations,” he warned. Nigeria, therefore, welcomed the conclusion of the discussion on the review of the methodology for rates of reimbursement for troop costs.
HECTOR VIRGILIO ALCANTARA (Dominican Republic), supporting the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, stated that the changes in the nature of peacekeeping missions from the very first one in 1948 to the 16 that existed today were enormous. The international community had learned several lessons. In order to keep the peace in an area of conflict, actions must be taken to build the peace. Peace was strengthened by development and rule of law, and building it was a concerted task involving many stakeholders, including civil society, private sector, international organizations and the Diaspora. It was also important to remember that peacebuilding took time.
In order to ensure the effectiveness of peacekeeping missions, he said, it was important to respond to crucial challenges, such as the need for timely deployment. The Brahimi Report had stated that the success of operations called for troops to be in the field within six weeks. Other important recommendations included the need for the mission to be commanded by officials with experience in the region of operation, as well as the need for States to be able to make troops available at the regional level with the necessary training. Even 12 years after it presented its 57 recommendations, the Brahimi Report was relevant as a major reference platform to improve the effectiveness of United Nations peacekeeping.
Turning to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which operated in the Dominican Republic’s neighbour, he said that Haiti had been struck by every imaginable calamity including natural disasters. The original aim of the Mission had been to prevent conflict, but now, it had the secondary vocation of assisting a nation afflicted by natural disasters. For the Dominican Republic, which shared the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, MINUSTAH’s success in guaranteeing a minimum level of stability was of special relevance, but its work would not be complete if it did not result in national ownership.
HASSANE MAI DAWA ( Niger) said that of the 63 missions deployed since 1948, 25 were in Africa. The continent was still one of the core concerns in current peacekeeping, he said, noting the increasing commitment by the African Union, as well as of subregional organizations, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). However, financial and resource considerations were a challenge to those organizations and, thus, a global partnership was needed to build African peacekeeping capacity.
He said that his country had considerable experience as a troop contributor and had actively participated in operations in seven countries. Because of the complexity of the operations, Niger hoped to see reforms in the level of resources and looked forward to the implementation of the New Horizons recommendations.
CHARLES LEMBOUMA ( Gabon) recalled the significant contribution of peacekeeping was in Sudan, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire and many other regions of the world. Given peacekeepers’ critical role, it was crucial to bolster their funding, technical support and equipment. The complexity of the crises led to difficulties in implementing the missions, and some were seriously lacking in capacity. That situation called for improved funding arrangements and reimbursement schemes.
Concerning cooperation with regional and subregional organizations, he said that bolstering triangular cooperation was sine qua non for improving effectiveness. Synergy between the United Nations and the African Union was a most apt illustration. He hailed the progress accomplished in Somalia, and said the United Nations should continue along that path. Also important was multilingualism in peacekeeping missions, he said, noting that the “language factor” should be taken into account throughout the chain of command, which would instil confidence. In conclusion, he advocated for better integration of aspects of prevention in peacekeeping, since settling conflict was far more costly than its prevention.
LT. COLONEL DARA HIM ( Cambodia), aligning with ASEAN and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that peacekeeping mandates had became more complex and peacekeepers encountered more complications in the field. Cambodia, which used to host peacekeepers, had now become a troop-contributing country and, since 2006, had dispatched personnel to several missions around the world in a variety of capacities, including engineering and mine clearance. Further, Cambodia had established a national peacekeeping centre in 2006, and was training peacekeepers for future contributions to missions when they arose.
He noted the increase of women in peacekeeping, and stressed the need to encourage that participation. He reiterated the longstanding position that the primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security rested with the United Nations and that operations should be in accordance with the Charter. As a country that used to receive peacekeepers, he shared the concern of many regarding the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse. He supported the zero tolerance policy and encouraged work to improve training of peacekeepers and conduct investigations on abuses. All troop-contributing countries should maintain high discipline among peacekeepers. He paid tribute to the “unsung heroes” of United Nations peacekeeping from all nations, who had served in spite of the difficulty and danger, and he expressed sympathy and gratitude to the families of peacekeepers who had paid the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of peace.
SEWA LAMSAL ADHIKARI (Nepal), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that her country, as a major troop-contributor, believed that all peacekeeping operations matters were very important and required strengthened efficiency and management of the increasing challenges and strains of operating in complex environments. Peacekeeping gave the United Nations the most visible credit compared to its other functions, and it was the most important instrument of multilateral exercises for maintaining international peace and security.
She said that, under the United Nations flag, peacekeeping missions had to remain an effort in partnership and shared responsibility among the General Assembly, Security Council, troop- and police-contributing countries, regional partners, the host country and Secretariat. Yet, work had to be consolidated in several areas, one of which was ensuring that the Security Council was guided by a unity of purpose. Its entire “political capital” should be mobilized to ensure that a coherent strategic framework was in place to achieve objectives that were explicitly articulated. Another goal was strengthening the Organization’s use of its civilian capacity. In addition, troop-contributing countries should be given leadership positions equal with their contributions, and the morale and dignity of peacekeepers should be kept high with appropriate incentives.
IDRIS LATRECHE (Algeria), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, stated that regardless of the different mandates given to each mission, the United Nations peacekeeping operations were usually deployed with three critical purposes: stabilizing a situation; supporting implementation of Security Council resolutions; and providing independent information on conditions on the ground, in particular on the human rights situation, to the Secretariat, the Council and the international community as a whole.
Regarding the last point, he added that the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) remained one of the rare peacekeeping operations that did not include a human rights monitoring component. What was more alarming was that all of the genuine efforts to bring MINURSO in line with other peacekeeping missions by ensuring that it included regular monitoring and reporting of human rights situations had faced arguments based more on “realpolitik” rather than on international legality.
Concluding, he said that the African Union had demonstrated renewed determination and willingness to deploy peace support operations to help stabilize fragile environments. However, it still faced serious resource, logistical and capacity constraints, which hampered the ability of its operations to fully achieve their objectives. It was important to strengthen the African peacekeeping capabilities by ensuring predictable, sustainable, and flexible funding.
KAZUTOSHI AIKAWA ( Japan) said that the role of United Nations peacekeeping had evolved from ceasefire observation to multifaceted operations, which kept both the peace following a conflict and established a foundation for peacebuilding. They also had an emerging role in protecting civilians. To achieve those ends, civilian expertise was needed in the field in the areas of public safety and policing, the rule of law, and economic recovery and development. He welcomed progress in that regard in strengthening civilian capacities, and supported the Secretariat’s ongoing initiatives in that area.
To strengthen the morale of peacekeeping personnel and prevent misconduct, he offered to share the know-how of the Japanese Self-Defense Force on developing morale and building good relations with the local community, which was valued by the international community. Towards the financial sustainability of peacekeeping, Japan would welcome tangible progress on improving the efficiency of operations. That required collective and unified efforts of all key players. In closing, he expressed regret at not having reached consensus on the Special Committee’s report within the official timeline, but hoped that the solid outcome that ultimately had been reached would move things forward.
PIERRE DORBES, International Committee of the Red Cross, pointed out that peacekeeping missions had grown more complex and ambitious, and the environments in which they operated had become more difficult and violent. As a result, peacekeeping had moved beyond its traditional role and had become increasingly involved with matters such as the rule of law, humanitarian assistance and protecting civilians. Although the primary responsibility for protecting civilians rested with States and the parties to an armed conflict, the role of peacekeepers as mandated protection personnel was growing. Integrated missions, which now included political, military and human rights components as well as agencies with protection mandates, risked blurring of roles and responsibilities. It was essential that local authorities, armed actors and the communities affected could distinguish between the roles of those different components and between the various groups working in protection.
He said that the ICRC had followed with interest the recent elaboration of a conceptual framework for clarifying the role of those different components and looked forward to intensifying its dialogue with peacekeeping missions in the field on protection-related issues. At both headquarters and at the field level, the ICRC and Department of Peacekeeping Operations had held discussions on uniform pre-deployment and in-mission training. Along with the necessary equipment, such training was critical, as was adherence to international humanitarian law, which governed the military operations of United Nations forces. His organization remained committed to further dialogues with the Peacekeeping Department and relevant States on international humanitarian law and civilian protection.
Right of Reply
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Syria said that the representative of the Israeli authorities had, in the morning, made allegations with its misleading fabrications. However, that was but a desperate attempt to cover up the fact that Israel’s occupation in the Arab territories was the reason for the peacekeeping missions in the region. It would have been appropriate for that representative, instead of expressing a hollow and insincere support for those missions, to put an end to the occupation of those Arab territories so that peacekeepers could return to their homelands and families in peace.
He said that the remarks by the representative of the Israeli occupation authorities were surprising in view of the fact that Israel had the worst record of acts of aggression against peacekeeping forces and United Nations premises; there was documented evidence of that. Such acts included, in 1996, the targeting by Israel of the premises of the Fijian contingent in South Lebanon, which resulted in the deaths of 106 civilians. In addition to other suspect operations perpetrated against United Nations forces in South Lebanon, Israel still refused to deliver the maps regarding the location of bombs there, despite that several years had elapsed since the end of hostilities in 2006. That opened the door for further casualties of peacekeepers operating in the region. Abductions by the Israeli occupation forces of Syrian citizens from the Syrian side of the line of demarcation had also increased.
Concluding, he indicated that the occupation Israeli authorities, in the context of their policies to harass citizens chafing under occupation and threaten their livelihood, recently had not allowed Syrian farmers in the occupied Syrian Golan to transfer their harvest to their homeland, Syria. All those violations were conveyed to the Secretary-General and to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
Also speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Morocco said that he was surprised to hear a reference made by the Algerian delegate to the issue of the Sahara in the context of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). That Mission remained only an observer mission in an artificial conflict to which it was not a party and it was one of the rare missions that did not have a human rights component. It was a peacekeeping operation, not a multidimensional operation that included monitoring. MINURSO’s mandate was articulated by the Security Council. Bearing in mind Algeria’s background, it had nothing to teach other countries about human rights.
The representative of Algeria, also speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that the Moroccan delegate should be called to order since, in the last part of her right of reply, she used a term that had nothing to do with the Committee’s discussion, namely, agenda item 54 concerning peacekeeping. During its statement on peacekeeping, Algeria’s delegation had brought up the case of MINURSO based on the fact that the Committee was currently considering peacekeeping operations in all their aspects. It was important to discuss the case of MINURSO, as well as others, because it was the responsibility of the Committee to discuss the work of all peacekeeping operations. However, when it came to MINURSO, the Committee had a duty to deplore the double standard being applied to that particular operation.
Speaking in a second right of reply, Morocco’s representative said the Algerian delegate did not have the right to bring up those issues and this was not the place to discuss the mandates of missions. It was up to the Security Council to decide whether or not a multidimensional peacekeeping operation was to be put in place. That was the essential body responsible for those issues, and it had decided it was not useful to include such a component in MINURSO because of the composition and mandate of that particular operation.
Also speaking in a second right of reply, Algeria’s representative said he did not understand why the Moroccan delegate continued to think that the point was not relevant to the Committee’s discussion, especially when the Organization was receiving overwhelming reports from non-governmental organizations handling the Western Saharan issue, describing how the grassroots of Saharan society was suffering on a daily basis.
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