United Nations Peacekeeping, Seen as Confronting Lingering Forces of Conflict, Remains Effective Tool in Transition to Peace, Fourth Committee Told

28 October 2013
GA/SPD/540

United Nations Peacekeeping, Seen as Confronting Lingering Forces of Conflict, Remains Effective Tool in Transition to Peace, Fourth Committee Told

28 October 2013
General Assembly
GA/SPD/540
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-eighth General Assembly

Fourth Committee

15th Meeting (AM)

United Nations Peacekeeping, Seen as Confronting Lingering Forces of Conflict,

Remains Effective Tool in Transition to Peace, Fourth Committee Told

Heads of Departments of Peacekeeping Operations, Field Support Brief

Peacekeeping was one of the most effective tools at the disposal of the international community to assist countries in the difficult transition from conflict to peace, the Fourth Committee heard today as it began its comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations, with briefings by the heads of the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support.

The probability of any given country successfully avoiding a relapse into conflict was doubled if a peacekeeping operation was deployed; the 65-year history of peacekeeping proved this, Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations told the Member States.

At the same time, the changing nature of conflict itself, increased regional partnerships and financial pressures were changing the nature of peacekeeping, he said, citing Mali as an example, where peacekeeping had been called upon to operate in a context of unconventional threats, alongside a parallel military force conducting ongoing targeted counter-terrorism operations.

As for the economics of peacekeeping, “the investment of United Nations members in peacekeeping was a sound one,” he stressed.  Despite financial challenges, United Nations peacekeeping delivered “a great deal in an efficient and cost-effective manner”.  At the moment, 114,000 personnel were serving in 15 United Nations peacekeeping operations and one political mission.

He noted that nine operations now had a civilian protection mandate, representing 95 per cent of deployed peacekeeping personnel.  That, along with the complex task of peacebuilding, was another priority area for the coming year.  Supporting the development of national institutions required an understanding that the political, security, and economic drivers of conflict were closely linked.

Also briefing, Ameerah Haq, United Nations Under-Secretary for Field Support, said that the loss 79 peacekeepers in the field last year brought home the reality of the high stakes involved.  It was therefore incumbent to “push the envelope” in improving mission support, to refine the systems that shape the pace and parameters of life at mission level and to maximize both the productivity and the efficiency of mandate implementation.  In this area, the past year had brought forth an uninterrupted sequence of new challenges and new operational demands.

Without genuine partnership, she said, United Nations peacekeeping was deprived of the critical lifeblood that allowed it to take on new challenges.  Partnership involved all United Nation Member States, which not only consisted of contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat in New York, but also national authorities.  The Department’s collaboration with the African Union, in particular, reflected a complementary partnership that allowed the international community to make progress in bringing peace to war-torn countries.

To manage conflict and consolidate peace, she said, the United Nations peacekeeping partnership must be given the resources needed to deliver in the field; it must be empowered by Member States to be flexible and responsive; and it must be energized by their political will.  While the Department sought to use its limited resources with responsible stewardship, its overarching priority was safe and secure conditions for its personnel.  As peacekeeping deployed to more volatile environments, the costs associated with safety and security would rise.

Then too, she added, start-up of difficult missions in challenging operational environments clashed with the stark reality that the Department did not have the necessary enabling capacities in time.  Planning had to go “hand-in-glove” with the identification and provision of enablers and force multipliers.  In Mali, for example, the best intentions did not help when limited military air assets and a shortage of engineering teams to build and maintain runways combined to cause a bottleneck.

In the ensuing debate, representatives of regional associations voiced support for United Nations peacekeeping and offered prescriptions for its improvement.  Speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Egypt’s speaker said peacekeeping should neither be used as an alternative to addressing a conflict’s root causes nor for managing the crisis, but should be based on a vision to secure smooth transitions to lasting peace, security and sustainable development.

The representative of New Zealand, also speaking on behalf of Canada and Australia, called for the integration of planning and operations among national and international partners to ensure suitable resources for success in post-transition stabilization.  Further, civilian protection remained central to the credibility and overall effectiveness of multidimensional peacekeeping missions.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) had nearly 4,000 troops serving in peacekeeping missions around the world, said Thailand’s delegate, speaking on the group’s behalf.  He noted that the Security Council, in several missions, had authorized protection of civilians, particularly women and children, in an attempt to curb sexual violence.  The Organization’s commitment to a zero tolerance of sexual abuse must be enforced.

On behalf of Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Cuba’s delegate agreed with several speakers that peacekeeping was one of the most efficient tools at the United Nations’ disposal to help countries drive through the harsh path from conflict to peace.  She stressed that truly effective operations depended on political support, human, financial and logistics resources, a clearly defined mandate and a clear exit strategy.

United Nations peacekeeping faced an increasingly challenging environment, and the European Union, said its representative, favoured the “capabilities-driven” approach.  Focusing on performance, standards and targeted training would allow the operations to respond to more demanding situations within constrained resources.  Despite scarce capacities, inter-mission cooperation should be strengthened.  A Director of Strategic Partnerships was useful in that context.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 29 October to continue its consideration of peacekeeping in all its aspects.

Background

The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to begin its consideration of a comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.

Briefings

HERVÉ LADSOUS, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said that peacekeeping was one of the most effective mechanisms to have been created by the international community to assist countries in making the transition from conflict to peace.  Over its 65-year history, the probability of any given country avoiding relapsing into conflict doubled if a peacekeeping operation was deployed.  In the current global context, several factors impacted United Nations peacekeeping.  The first concerned the changing nature of conflict.  In Mali, for example, the mission had to operate in a context of unconventional threats, alongside a parallel military force conducting targeted counter-terrorism operations.  Peacekeepers must be trained and equipped to operate effectively and safely in such settings.  With potential engagement in the Central African Republic, Somalia and elsewhere, careful reflection was needed on how to fulfil multidimensional mandates, drawing on experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and elsewhere.

Another factor, he added, was that engagement with regional organizations, which continued to deepen and diversify, particularly in Africa, from the hybrid United Nations-African Union (UN-AU) operation in Darfur to the joint UN-AU benchmarking effort in Somalia.  The Department of Peacekeeping Operations would continue to work with the African Union to ensure predictable and sustainable financing for the Union’s peace support operations under a United Nations mandate.  More flexible arrangements and intensified strategic engagement at the global level were needed when working with those and other regional partners.  The third factor was the Department’s optimum use of resources, especially given the financial pressures on many Member States.  He added, however, that the investment of United Nations members in peacekeeping was “a sound one”.  United Nations peacekeeping delivered “a great deal in an efficient and cost-effective manner”.  Plus, multiple safeguards were in place to ensure oversight of resources.

There were presently 114,000 personnel serving in the 15 United Nations peacekeeping operations and one political mission supported by his Department, he said.  In Mali, after supporting and ultimately “re-hatting “the African-led International support Mission, the new multidimensional integrated stabilization mission, known as MINUSMA, had been established, albeit with rapid deployment challenges, owing to gaps in the generation of required capacities, particularly aviation assets.  The African Union—United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) continued to work to protect civilians and support humanitarian operations under difficult conditions.  The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) had been working with the Government to support the extension of State authority, albeit hampered by violent local clashes and a shortfall of helicopters and armoured vehicles.  The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) had contributed to the stabilization of Abyei and supported the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism.

In West Africa, he went on, the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) was working to improve the political environment, advancing access to rights and improving the security environment, as it looked towards the national elections in 2015.  The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) continued to support the political process, constitutional reform, and peace consolidation, and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) was supporting strengthened governance and human rights monitoring, while addressing the crisis in eastern Congo.  With the support of three countries from the region, the Intervention Brigade had helped MONUSCO to deal with armed groups, and while the next few months would show whether the new effort would yield results in a situation where conflict was deeply entrenched, “initial signs were positive”.

In the Middle East, the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) maintained its operations under intensified security conditions, while the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) continued to work closely with the parties to ensure that the prevailing “cautious calm” in southern Lebanon was maintained.  In Syria, the department had completed the swift deployment and liquidation of United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS).  The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) continued to work with the Haitian Government to ensure a stable environment.  The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) had completed its mandate on 31 December 2012 and his Department along with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had conducted a joint review of the transition, which yielded several valuable lessons for transitions in other missions.

In addition to currently authorized missions, the Security Council had directed the Secretary-General to explore, jointly with the African Union, options for the configuration of a possible mission in the Central African Republic and benchmarks toward a peacekeeping mission for Somalia.

“I see several priorities for the year ahead,” he said.  Ensuring that peacekeeping had adequate capabilities by strengthening military and police capabilities on the ground required a collective effort.  The military component of the missions faced shortfalls in force enablers, including transport helicopters, military helicopters, armoured personnel carriers, and night-vision equipment.  Female police officers and female formed police units, as well as French-speaking police officers and units remained in short supply.  Further, unmanned aerial systems could improve surveillance and situational awareness and enhance information gathering and force protection.

Common United Nations standards were essential, particularly for new contributors to United Nations peacekeeping, he added.  His department would soon be launching the development of new manuals for 11 critical military areas.  Further, a Force Headquarters Manual was being developed to support the effective preparation and employment of Force headquarters and the military.  Rapid deployment and force generation in start-up missions should be strengthened.  MINUSMA, six months after its authorization, still lacked two infantry battalions, an airfield engineer company, an information operations unit, and a special forces company.  Missions faced similar challenges when they required rapid reinforcement to meet a major operational challenge or due to an unanticipated deterioration in the security environment.  The international community must explore realistic and effective measures to provide the peace operations with standby or response capabilities.

In the coming months, he said, the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support would examine with Member States to improve the existing training architecture amid limited resources.  His department also looked to the Organization’s internal mechanism to strengthen capabilities.  Implementation of General Assembly resolution 67/261 on reimbursements to troop-contributing countries was vital.  The Department would also soon announce the appointment of the first Director for Peacekeeping Strategic Partnership, who would identify gaps and make recommendations on systemic issues, including safety and security, and ensure regular dialogue with Force Commanders, Police Advisors and Member States.

Concerning protection of civilians, he noted that nine peacekeeping missions had that as part of its mandate; seven missions now had a mission-specific protection of civilian strategies developed in close consultation with host States, communities and partners.  MINUSMA would develop such a strategy in 2014.  Coordination was also crucial, he said, noting the establishment of the civilian protection coordination unit at Headquarters and the progressive deployment of a set of dedicated civilian protection advisers in missions.  His Department was working to improve early warning and rapid reaction processes.  Operational and tactical mission-specific training materials on civilian protection had been prepared in consultation with Member States.

In terms of early peacebuilding, he said that missions must help to build strong national capacities, particularly in rule of law and security institutions, which could serve as the foundation for peacebuilding and longer-term development. This year, the Security Council had directed two missions, MONUSCO and UNOCI, to identify civilian tasks that could be handed over to the United Nations team or national authorities as appropriate.  Such requests merited collective reflection.  On the one hand, it was important to recognize the complementarities and comparative advantages so that the mission could focus on its core tasks.  On the other hand, it was challenging that United Nations country team partners were at times not able to raise the voluntary funding to assume new responsibilities.

In general, he stressed, civilians in multidimensional peacekeeping played a critical advisory and bridging role.  Support to the development of national institutions was complex and required an understanding that the political, security, and economic drivers of conflict were closely linked.

The Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections, since its establishment in 2012, had supported joint assessments in six countries, leading to joint rule of law projects, deployment of specialized personnel and advice on funding streams, he said.  In Mali and Somalia, mission concepts, plans and programmes had been co-located and jointly designed with UNDP.  The work of the Mine Action Service had assumed new relevance as missions were deployed into environments with unconventional threats, such as improvised explosive devices.  Across all of those areas, efforts to build national capacity must begin from the early stages and carry through into transition planning.

He said that peacekeeping remained a political tool that permitted the international community to engage deeply with all parties to lay the foundation for a lasting peace.  Member States had communicated their support, through their “diplomatic engagement, financial contributions and most tangibly, through the contribution of personnel to serve in the operation”.  In conclusion, he paid tribute to the “service and sacrifice” of the 79 women and men who had died this year while serving in missions, far away from home and from their loved ones.

AMEERAH HAQ, the United Nations Under-Secretary for Field Support, said the loss of 79 peacekeepers in the field last year brought home the reality of the high stakes involved.  It was therefore incumbent to “push the envelope” in improving mission support, to refine the systems that shape the pace and parameters of life at mission level and to maximize both the productivity and the efficiency of mandate implementation.  In this area, the past year had brought forth an uninterrupted sequence of new challenges and new operational demands.

Over the past 18 months, she said, the Department had supported six newly authorized operations, in Abyei, Syria and Mali, and three political missions in Libya, Somalia and the Great Lakes.  Most recently, the Department had worked closely with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in Syria.  Without genuine partnership, United Nations peacekeeping was deprived of the critical lifeblood that allowed it to take on new challenges.  Partnership involved all United Nations Member States, which not only consisted of contributing countries; the Security Council and the Secretariat in New York; as well as national authorities.  The Department’s collaboration with the African Union, in particular, reflected a complementary partnership that allowed the international community to help bring peace to war-torn countries.

She said that the overall budget for United Nations peacekeeping for 2013 to 2014 stood at approximately $7.5 billion, but per capita costs for peacekeeping were expected to be at least 15 per cent lower than the 2008-2009 budget, when measured in terms of the number of deployed personnel.  Had the Security Council not authorized new missions last year, the Organization would have achieved an overall reduction of five per cent, amounting to $320 million in the peacekeeping budget.  While the Department sought to use its limited resources with responsible stewardship, safe and secure conditions for peacekeeping personnel were its overarching priority.  As the Department deployed to more volatile environments, the costs associated with enhanced safety and security measures would likely rise.

The upcoming report of the Global Field Support Strategy, now in its fourth year of implementation, she noted, would set out the end-state vision for the Strategy’s pillars of: shared services; supply chain management and modularization; human resources and finances.  It was time to ensure that those established systems were sustained for years to come.  In the remaining 20 months until the end of the Strategy implementation period, the United Nations must ensure that all planning and deployment procedures for new missions explicitly drew on the Strategy’s tools and best practices.  In addition to the Strategy, the Field Support Department was rolling out the International Public Sector Accounting Standards and anticipated benefits from the launch of Umoja.  That would be a major milestone to streamline the quality of support to and within missions.

Another key challenge to enhancing her Department’s impact in the field was securing enabling capacities, she said, adding that with each start-up, planning had to go “hand in glove” with the identification and provision of enablers and force multipliers.  Too often during the past year, optimistic timetables for the start up of difficult missions in challenging operational environments had clashed with the stark reality that the Department did not have the necessary enablers in time.  In Mali, for example, the combination of limited military air asserts and a shortage of engineering teams to build and maintain runways proved a bottleneck despite the best of intentions.  Death and disability claims also remained a priority area for the Department, in connection with the risks Department personnel assumed upon deploying to dangerous environments.

Earlier this month, she said, the Security Council adopted resolution 2122 (2013), which sought to strengthen women’s participation in all aspects of conflict prevention and response.  There were qualified women in all countries well-suited to serve at high levels.  Working to bolster the capacity of national staff would support the legacy of peacekeeping missions as well, and to that end, the Department was exploring opportunities for transferring responsibilities for mission tasks to locally recruited staff during the mission life cycle.

In the past two years, she said, the United Nations had set up non-negotiable thresholds for personal conduct for its staff.  The Human Rights Due Diligence Policy and the Policy on Human Rights Screening of United Nations Personnel would complement primary screening responsibilities of Member States by sharing known information on senior-level candidates’ human rights backgrounds.  Her Department was fully committed to preventing and addressing misconduct in peacekeeping operations, bearing in mind the zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse.  In that context, cooperation with Member States was crucial, especially to ensure that those who had committed sexual exploitation and abuse were sanctioned, including through national criminal prosecution.

She said that for too long the Department had not attached enough importance to minimize its environmental footprint.  Technologies today could improve that footprint while also reducing cost.  The Senior Advisory Group had put in place a revised framework for comprehending the actual costs incurred by troop and police contributing countries when they put forward vital national resources.  Her Department was currently implementing a survey of personnel costs involving a representative sample of 10 troop- and police-contributing countries.  In addition, General Assembly resolution 67/261 approved a number of other changes to the reimbursement regime, including the introduction of two potential premium payments for units that operated without caveats and that performed well in circumstances of exceptional risk.  Detailed proposals would be presented to the General Assembly next year.

The Department was also engaging with Member States and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations on preparations for the upcoming Contingent Owned Equipment System Working Group in January 2014.  Indeed, next year presented a unique convergence of opportunities to institute long-overdue improvements in the United Nations’ compensatory system.  With various mechanisms for deliberation, fairness, transparency and efficiency, Member States’ contribution to United Nations peacekeeping would become more centralized.  When the United Nations peacekeeping partnership was provided with the resources to deliver in the field, when it was empowered by Member States to be flexible and responsive and when it was energized by political will, the effort had proven to be a powerful resource for conflict management and peace consolidation.

Statements

MOHAMED SARWAT SELIM (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed grave concern that the Special Committee on Peacekeeping had failed to produce an annual report, and he stressed the need for all partners to improve working methods.  The role of troop-contributing countries in peacekeeping remained a priority, including through their full participation in policy formulation and decision-making, and their confirmation that it was no longer sustainable for them to subsidize United Nations operations.  Despite increased demand, peacekeeping should neither be used as an alternative to addressing a conflict’s root causes nor for managing the crisis, but should be based on a vision to achieve and secure smooth transitions to lasting peace, security and sustainable development.  Elaboration of concepts, policies and strategies must be done at the intergovernmental level, and the Secretariat should refrain from working on policy “streams” that had not been agreed via that process.

He said, with a view to host country laws and regulations, mandated mission tasks should not be changed without prior consultations with troop-contributing countries.  Integrated planning and consistent approaches to achieve the link between policy formulation and implementation on the ground were paramount to achieving success, he said, underscoring a need for triangular cooperation among troop-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Security Council.  Any unjustified expansion in the capacity of operations to use force could easily blur the line between peacekeeping and peace enforcement.  The dispute settlement process should pay more attention to the exit strategy.  Enhancing integration between peacekeeping and peacebuilding was also important, as was the protection of civilians and support for mission police activities.

The primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security rested with the United Nations, and regional arrangements should be based on Chapter VIII of the Charter, he said, calling for intensified United Nations support for the African Union’s operations.  The Movement looked forward to achieving progress in addressing issues of modernization of administrative support, human resources management, procurement and service centres.  Since the Special Committee was the only body entitled to review United Nations peacekeeping operations, clearly, more political will was needed to ensure effectiveness.  The senior advisory group must complete its work in a timely manner so as to establish a system for periodic review of reimbursement rates to troop-contributing countries.  As the Movement represented the group of countries with the most, if not all, top military and police troop-contributing countries, it continued to support peacekeeping operations; its member States had kept increasing their contributions to missions, which was clear evidence of the group’s commitment to efforts aiming at maintaining international peace and security, he said.

LILIANA SANCHEZ RODRIQUEZ,(Cuba), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said peacekeeping was one of the most efficient tools at the United Nations’ disposal to help countries drive through the harsh path from conflict to peace.  The United Nations Charter must be strictly observed when establishing or extending the mandate of operations.  Truly effective operations depended on political support, human, financial and logistics resources, a clearly defined mandate and a clear exit strategy.  The Special Committee was a unique and irreplaceable intergovernmental body; CELAC was strongly committed to its revitalization and regretted its failure to have produced draft recommendations.  All efforts should be made to ensure that the report was relevant, especially given recent complex developments, including the establishment of offensive operations in MONUSCO.  CELAC supported the Special Committee’s growing interaction with the Security Council, Peacebuilding Commission and the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) and expected that to extend to other relevant bodies, such as the Department of Political Affairs.

Highlighting the Security Council’s meetings with troop-contributing countries prior to consultations, he called on Council members to consider views presented in the renewal of mission mandates; troop- and police-contributing countries should participate during the policy and decision-making processes.  CELAC was committed to making special political missions more transparent, accountable and efficient.  Ethical conduct of personnel was also essential, progress was welcome on the prevention of misconduct through systematic measures, registration of complaints and follow-up.  He stressed the need to promote women’s full participation in the maintenance of peace and security, and emphasized that sustainable peace required efforts to fight poverty, hunger and inequality.  Coordination must be strengthened between peacekeeping and peacebuilding.  As MINUSTAH entered its consolidation phase, he highlighted the importance of sustained international engagement to Haiti’s development as a key dimension of long-term stability.

NATTAWUT SABYEROOP, ( Thailand), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed the indispensible role of the Special Committee.  However, he was disappointed at this year’s deadlock on procedural matters, and urged all sides to work to overcome the impasse.  Protection of civilians had become a crucial component of peacekeeping.

He noted that the Security Council had authorized the mandate to protect civilians, particularly women and children, in a number of missions, and to make an attempt to curb sexual violence.  Peacekeeping personnel should be well-equipped and knowledgeable of international law, and understand different local cultures.  The United Nations’ commitment to a zero tolerance policy of sexual abuse must be fully enforced at all levels.  ASEAN had been following closely the shift of mandates towards peace enforcement, and supported regular monitoring.

At present, he said, the Association’s member States had almost 4,000 troops serving in various peacekeeping missions around the world, which was a testament to their commitment to international peace and security.  To promote confidence building, conflict prevention and peaceful resolution of disputes, ASEAN also attached great importance to cooperation with dialogue partners on peacekeeping issues through the ASEAN Regional forum and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus.  Thailand had always been committed to peacekeeping and had lent personnel to 20 missions around the world.  Its support was based on the linkages between security, human rights and development.  It also attached great importance to the role of women in peacekeeping.  Currently, women constituted only 3 per cent of the military personnel and 10 per cent of the police personnel in missions.  Their greater presence would significantly benefit existing missions, particularly where violence and exploitation of women and children were prevalent.

JIM MCLAY (New Zealand), also on behalf of Canada and Australia, said attacks on United Nations personnel were becoming increasingly common and that United Nations troops, police and civilians were, more than ever, targets of insurrection, insurgency and terrorism.  Peacekeepers should be given a greater ability to track and manage illicit weapons flows and implement arms embargoes.  They should also be given the capacity to examine policies that governed the deployment, utilization and operation of military helicopters in missions, and encourage the Secretariat to use modern technology in the operations.  The peacekeepers should also be entrusted with the competency to find more innovative approaches to generate and manage available resources.  The ability of the United Nations to more rapidly start up or reconfigure missions could also help to ensure Peacekeepers’ defence.

Civilian protection, he said, remained central to the credibility and overall effectiveness of multidimensional peacekeeping missions.  While the primary responsibility to protect civilians rested with the host Government, threats posed by armed groups and other illicit organizations often necessitated that unformed personnel adopt deterrent postures and utilize force to protect civilians.  In that regard, New Zealand welcomed efforts to finalize guidance for United Nations military and local police on protecting civilians, as well as examine the actions taken to safeguard them.

United Nations peacekeeping operations required women’s active participation at senior levels and the incorporation of a gender perspective in the training, planning and conduct of operations, he said.  Security Council resolution 2122 (2013) acknowledged that the inclusion of women’s experiences and their engagement in peace and security processes was “smart policy” and enhanced the effectiveness of peacekeeping missions.  Also necessary was the integration of both planning and operations among national and international partners to ensure suitable resources for success in post-transition stabilization.  In both matters, the United Nations and the host Governments should realistically assess national capacities, base assistance on nationally identified needs and priorities, tailor resources to the local cultures and circumstances and advance those efforts through a jointly owned and managed process.  The Special Committee was essential to setting the overall policy direction and, despite its failure to have produced a substantive report in 2013, New Zealand counted on the Group of Friends of the Chair for a substantive, pragmatic and focused session next year. 

IOANNIS VRAILAS, representative of the European Union delegation, recognising the demanding conditions confronting peacekeepers, said that he valued the partnership between all actors involved.  United Nations peacekeeping faced an increasingly challenging environment, and the Union supported the key priorities presented by the Under-Secretaries-General, in particular, efforts by the Secretariat to enhance a “capabilities-driven” approach.  Focusing on performance, standards and targeted training would allow the operations to respond to more demanding situations within more constrained resources.  Despite scarce capacities, inter-mission cooperation should continue to be enhanced.  The new post of Director of Strategic Partnerships was useful in that context.

He commended the Secretariat’s wider use of modern technologies in peacekeeping operations, including the use of unmanned aerial vehicles by MONUSCO.  Such technologies should be considered in other missions, where they could contribute to peacekeepers’ safety and security. The European Union put a strong focus on civilian protection, which was often decisive for the success and legitimacy of peacekeeping operations.  Likewise, women, peace and security was important, and the Union encouraged further work on gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping mandates.  Zero-tolerance must similarly be ensured.  The international community must ensure that the Special Committee remained a functional forum that was able to produce relevant and meaningful guidance.

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