Fifty-fifth General Assembly
29th Meeting (AM)
FOURTH COMMITTEE CONCLUDES FIFTY-FIFTH SESSION,
APPROVES PEACEKEEPING COMMITTEE REPORT
The General Assembly's Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) concluded its fifty-fifth session this morning, as well as its consideration of United Nations peacekeeping operations, with the adoption of the report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and approval of a draft resolution urging Member States and the United Nations to implement the proposals, recommendations and conclusions it contained.
The Special Committee is the only United Nations forum that comprehensively reviews the whole question of peacekeeping operations, including measures aimed at enhancing the capacity of the Organization to conduct such operations.
The draft resolution, approved without a vote, would have the General Assembly endorse the Special Committee's proposals, recommendations and conclusions.
The report adopted today notes that, during the past two years, there has been a sudden surge in peacekeeping efforts of the United Nations in different parts of the world, requiring participation by the Member States in various activities. The Special Committee, therefore, considers it essential for the United Nations to be in an effective position to maintain international peace and security, including by improving the capacity to assess conflict situations, by effective planning and management of peacekeeping operations, and by responding quickly and effectively to any Security Council mandate.
The Special Committee stresses the importance of an effective Department of Peacekeeping Operations that is structured efficiently and staffed adequately.
In a related recommendation, the Special Committee urges the Secretariat to continue to work towards the goal of being able to deploy peacekeeping operations within 30 days after the adoption of a United Nations mandate and to deploy complex peacekeeping operations within 90 days after the adoption. It stresses the importance of peacekeeping operations being provided with clearly defined mandates, objectives and command structures, as well as secure financing, in support of efforts to achieve peaceful solutions to conflicts.
Acting Rapporteur Walid Haggag (Egypt) presented the report and the draft resolution. He highlighted, from the report, the Special Committee's request to the Security Council to consider the possibility of implementing the recommendations of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (the Brahimi
Panel) on strengthening the cooperation between troop-contributing countries, the Council and the Secretariat. It also asked for serious and timely consideration to be given to proposals for a new mechanism of consultation between troop contributors and the Council. A number of initiatives were also recommended to strengthen the planning, management and the mission support functions of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guehenno, said the report presented today was a timely statement on support for peacekeeping. Noting that there had been a remarkable rise in the responsibilities given to United Nations peacekeeping operations over the years, he said the challenge would be daunting if full support was not enjoyed.
Before the Fourth Committee this morning was the report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (document A/55/1024), which reaffirmed that the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security rests with the United Nations, in accordance with the Charter, and affirms that peacekeeping continues to be one of the key instruments available to the United Nations in discharging that responsibility.
The report of the Special Committee contains a section on guiding principles, definitions and implementation of mandates. It stresses that peacekeeping operations should strictly observe the principles and purposes enshrined in the United Nations Charter. Among other points, it holds the view that peacekeeping operations should not be used as a substitute for addressing the root causes of conflict.
Also under guiding principles, the Special Committee states that respect for the basic principles of peacekeeping, such as the consent of the parties, impartiality and the non-use of force except in self-defence, is essential to its success. It stresses that the Security Council's primary responsibility is the maintenance of international peace and security. Concerning a smooth transition to a successful post-conflict phase, the Committee stresses the importance of those elements being explicitly defined and clearly identified before they are incorporated into the mandates of peacekeeping operations, whenever appropriate. Also emphasized is the role of the General Assembly in the formulation of post-conflict peace-building activities.
The Committee's section on guiding principles, recommendations and conclusions contains the following categories: cooperation with troop-contributing countries; enhancing the capacity of the United Nations for peacekeeping -- management, strategic planning, policy and capacity development, operational planning and Integrated Mission Task Forces, mission leadership and in-mission planning, mission support, rapid deployment, recruitment processes for civilian staff in peacekeeping operations, organizational structure, and baseline staffing levels.
Also before the Committee was the draft resolution endorsing the Special Committee's report (document A/C.4/55/L.23).
In a further provision, the text reiterates that those Member States that become personnel contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations in years to come or participate in the future in the Special Committee for three consecutive years as observers shall, upon written request, become members at the following session of the Special Committee.
The programme budget implications of the draft text (document A/C.4/55/L.24) was also before the Committee.
Presentation of 2001 Report of Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations
WALID HAGGAG (Egypt), acting Rapporteur, presented the 2001 report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. He said the document began with a narrative account of the general debate and then presented proposals, recommendations and conclusions of the Committee. It also emphasized the guiding principles that remained essential for peacekeeping.
He said the report asked the Security Council to consider the possibility of implementing the recommendations of the Panel on United Nations on Peace Operations pertaining to strengthening the cooperation between troop-contributing countries, the Council and the Secretariat. It also asked for serious and timely consideration to be given to proposals for a new mechanism of consultation between troop-contributing countries and the Council. A number of initiatives were also recommended to strengthen the planning, management and the mission support functions of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
Those measures included: the creation of a Director of Management in the Office of the Under Secretary-General; strengthening the front offices of the Assistant Secretary-General; strengthening the Peacekeeping Best Practices Unit; and creation of a small new unit in the Office of Mission Support to assist in developing overall policy guidance for administrative support.
In the area of operational planning, the Special Committee reiterates its support for Integrated Mission Task Forces and recommends further strengthening of the Office of Operations, so that the latter could give due attention to planning, mission support, and consultation with Member States. The Special Committee reiterated its call for the Secretariat to continue working towards the 30/90-day rapid deployment goals, and endorsed the concept of a strategic reserve at the United Nations Logistic Base in Brindisi.
He said the report also called for recommendations on how strategic lift could be better prearranged, and for consultations on the elaboration of mechanisms to enhance the United Nations Standby Arrangements System. It supported further strengthening of the Department's civilian recruitment processes, including through creation of a new section in the restructured Personnel Management and Support Service.
The report, he said, expressed support for an upgrade of Mine Action Service and supported the creation of limited capability in the Civilian Police Division to assist on criminal law and judicial issues. Overall, the Committee recognized the need for additional personnel and resources to accomplish peacekeeping objectives, subject to post-by-post justification submitted to the appropriate United Nations bodies. The Committee further recognized the need for sufficient
resources for all the departments and offices that play a role in peacekeeping support.
He said the key issue of safety and security of United Nations and associated personnel was also stressed. Moreover, the report further recommends more attention to security issues by the Secretariat in the planning phase of operations, as well as by the Council, when formulating mandates. Attention to gender awareness and gender mainstreaming for peacekeeping personnel at Headquarters and in the field was also encouraged.
He said the report also underlined the importance of consultation on issues such as investigations into misconduct allegations and the observance of international humanitarian law. It recommended various measures to enhance the training of peacekeepers and called for the establishment of a small support secretariat to service the Executive Committee on Peace and Security.
He said the Special Committee believed that this report offered a clear and timely expression of the Committee's priorities, and provided a valuable blueprint for the enhancement of the United Nations peacekeeping capacity.
He then presented the draft resolution, entitled “Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects” (document A/C.4/55/L.23), for adoption.
YASHVARDHAN KUMAR SINHA (India) drew the Committee’s attention to statement submitted by the Secretary-General (document A/C.4/55/L.24) on the programme budget implications of draft resolution A/C.4/55/L.23. He urged Committee members to carefully read paragraph 2 in which there were recommendations on the strengthening of other departments and offices outside of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. He then requested the Secretariat, in its preparation of detailed resource requirements, to pay close heed to paragraph 85 of the Special Committee’s report (document A/55/1024) on the strengthening of departments and offices that provided backstopping services.
JOHN NICKIE MUSONDA (Zambia) supported India’s proposal.
Action on Draft
The Committee then adopted draft resolution A/C.4/55/L.23 without a vote.
JEAN-MARIE GUÉHENNO, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said the report presented today was a timely statement on support for peacekeeping. Noting that there had been a remarkable rise in the responsibilities given to United Nations peacekeeping operations over the years, he said the challenge would be daunting if full support was not enjoyed.
He said the team in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was encouraged by the fact that the international community had been able to forge a shared vision of what peacekeeping should and could do. “It is now up to us to deliver your expectations”. He said the Department was committed to continuing close cooperation the international community as efforts to enhance peacekeeping continued. Success would depend on collective will and efforts.
The Committee also welcomed its new Secretary, Leslie Wilkinson.