Fifty-seventh General Assembly
13th Meeting (PM)
REFORM, PEACEKEEPER MISCONDUCT, CRITERIA FOR SENIOR-LEVEL APPOINTMENTS
AMONG ISSUES RAISED IN FOURTH COMMITTEE DEBATE ON PEACEKEEPING
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) began its general debate on the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping this afternoon, with speakers addressing a wide range of issues in the ongoing reform of peacekeeping operations.
The representative of Jordan, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, raised the issue of peacekeeper misconduct, saying that while it was not specific to one country or group of countries, it was a stain on the reputation both of the contributing country and the United Nations. For that reason, he advocated clarity regarding the legal status of all categories of peacekeeping personnel, especially police, to reduce the likelihood of confusion over subsequent actions to be taken.
Egypt’s representative expressed the need to better define the status of international observers who lost their immunity and fell under the jurisdiction of a host countries’ national judiciary. The representative of the Republic of Korea, condemning what he called the “deplorable” conduct of some peacekeepers, called on the United Nations Secretariat to take comprehensive measures to prevent such regrettable practices.
Speakers also cautioned against a disparity in the geographical representation of senior-level appointments in both Headquarters positions and in the field. Jordan’s representative was concerned over what appeared to be a growing “right” of certain regional groups, or even countries, to specific senior posts in the Secretariat. Three senior military positions in the field -- the Force Commander, the Deputy Force Commander and the Chief of Staff -- should come from the largest contributors to that force. He warned against a situation where the industrialized world began to supply the commanders, while the developing countries only supplied the commanded -- the troops.
Canada’s representative, while commending the achievements made so far in the reform process, said that the reform was an ongoing process and never completed. Stronger management was a tenet of the reform outlined by the Brahimi Panel Report. To achieve the change agenda, Canada called for the position of Director of Change Management and for the quick replacements in such critical posts as the Military Adviser and Civilian Police Adviser. While he was pleased that the Best Practices Unit would soon be able to fully assume its central role, he was less satisfied with the issue of gender mainstreaming. As there were now
Fourth Committee - 1a - Press Release SPD/245
13th Meeting (PM) 21 October 2002
gender advisers in a number of United Nations missions, he could not understand why there continued to be no focal point for policy and support for that crucial function in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
Speakers also addressed the changing nature of peacekeeping operations and stressed the importance of new developments to keep pace with those changes. The representative of Costa Rica, on behalf of the Rio Group, said that peacekeeping operations were no longer exclusively military operations, but included political, legal and humanitarian elements. In that regard, the Rio Group supported the development of training programmes and said that Member States must participate in the design of those programmes. Japan’s representative welcomed the fact that since the Committee last addressed the question of peacekeeping, measures to enhance a rapid deployment capability in the dimensions of personnel, materiel and finances were now being put into practice.
The representative of the United States said that peacekeeping no longer consisted of United Nations forces manning a line between hostile factions. Over the past decade, peacekeeping had evolved into a greater force for lasting peace, a framework for civilian and military activity, for institution-building, transitional justice, economy-building and education. Civilian police were a critical tool for the development of sustainable peace. A critical element of any mission was demobilization, disarmament and reintegration of former combatants. An "end of mission" component or exit strategy should be built into every mission strategy, he said.
The representative of the Russian Federation welcomed progress in the diversification of logistical support for peacekeeping operations and the rationalization of procurement. He was concerned, however, about continuing shortages of troops and logistical support. One way to approach that problem was through the strengthening of the Military Staff Committee, which would give practical substance to the work of that Committee as a body of the Security Council as whole. Such an initiative would not impinge on the United Nations Secretariat, but could supplement other measures being discussed.
Also speaking this afternoon were the representatives of Algeria, China, Yemen, Lebanon, Peru, Ukraine, Denmark (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Georgia, Belarus, Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico.
The Fourth Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. Tuesday, 22 October, to continue its consideration of peacekeeping operations.
As the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this afternoon, it was expected to begin its general debate on the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects. [For further information, see Press Release GA/SPD/244 of 18 October 2002.]
GLYN BERRY (Canada), while commending the achievements made so far in the reform process, noted that the reform was an ongoing process and never completed. In the spirit of the Brahimi reform, there was still much to do and many challenges ahead of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. There was no substitute for direct input into the planning and implementation of missions from those States with troops on the ground.
He said interaction was required when missions were being planned, when a mission’s mandate changed during crisis situations and upon mission drawdown. There had been significant progress in the cooperation among the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries, adding that Canada was pleased to have played a role in achieving the current progress. He observed that the coordination that took place on the missions would be of great value when replicated at the United Nations Headquarters. Improvements were also needed in information flow from the field through the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) to troop-contributing countries. Member States should not have to depend on the media to stay informed, and the Special Committee should find a creative solution to the issue of information flow.
Commending the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Canada said stronger management was another tenet of the Brahimi reform. To achieve the change agenda, Canada called for the position of Director of Change Management, saying establishing change would be difficult otherwise. He called for the quick replacements in such critical posts as the Military Adviser and Civilian Police Adviser, and also welcomed assurances by the Under-Secretary General that the Best Practices Unit would soon be able to fully assume its central role. He was less satisfied with the issue of gender mainstreaming. Since there were now gender advisers in a number of United Nations missions, why did there continue to be no focal point for policy and support for that crucial function in DPKO?
He said in today's world Africa was the place where the international community faced its greatest peacekeeping challenge. African nations themselves had recognized the challenges and resolved to address them. The question then was how the United Nations’ collective peacekeeping experience -- as well as the myriad of bilateral, multilateral and indigenous efforts under way to build Africa's peacekeeping capacity -- could best be applied. Referring to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), he said the Group of Eight industrialized countries had agreed to an extensive action plan that includes measures to enhance peace and security in Africa, including developing its peacekeeping capacity.
ZEID RA’AD ZEID AL-HUSSEIN (Jordan), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the establishment of any new peacekeeping operation -- or the extension of an existing mandate -- under Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter must be based on several principles, including consent of the parties; the non-use of force, except in self-defence; impartiality; clearly defined mandates; and secure financing. It had proven most useful when it had contributed to the maintenance of a ceasefire or a cessation of hostilities. In those cases, peacekeeping operations had not only lessened the possibility of future escalation, but had also provided an atmosphere for a peaceful end to the conflict.
Regarding misconduct, he welcomed the Department’s commitment to dialogue with Member States on how to coordinate efforts on that delicate matter. Misconduct was not specific to a country or even a select group of contributing countries; and it was a stain on the reputation both of the contributing country and the United Nations. For that reason, he advocated clarity regarding the legal status of all categories of personnel, especially police, to reduce confusion over actions to be taken. Also, the United Nations position on the issue of United Nations police personnel should be provided in writing. In the case of possible prosecution, lawyers from the contributing country should join United Nations-led investigations to ensure that sufficient evidence existed in the first place.
On the issue of Headquarters and mission leadership, he congratulated the appointment of the incoming Military Adviser. While recognizing the prerogatives of the Secretary-General to make senior appointments, however, it was the fifth successive appointment from the same regional group and the second from the same country in five years. He was concerned with what appeared to be a growing “right” of certain regional groups, or even countries, to specific senior posts in the Secretariat. The three senior military positions in the field -- the Force Commander, the Deputy Force Commander and the Chief of Staff -- should come from the largest contributors to that force. No force commander or senior officer, whatever their competence, should be appointed to a mission where his or her country was not making a sizeable contribution in the form of troops. He did not want to see a situation where the industrialized world began to supply the commanders, while the developing countries only supplied the commanded -- the troops.
Regarding rapid deployment, the Movement harboured serious reservations over the multinational initiative called “SHIRBRIG”, he said. The Movement opposed that multinational initiative because, by referring to a “brigade”, the authors of the scheme appropriated for themselves the authority of the Secretary-General to decide the composition of the entire United Nations peacekeeping force. He welcomed the Department’s attempts to improve the representation of developing and troop-contributing countries in it. Regarding reimbursement, all Member States must pay their assessed contributions in full, on time and without conditions. All countries participating in a United Nations peacekeeping operation must abide by the United Nations rules of engagement. The Movement was proud to have been represented in almost every operation since 1948. In recent years, it had provided the majority of troops to United Nations peacekeeping worldwide.
NADJEH BAAZIZ (Algeria) commended those who risked their lives to strengthen world peace. Peacekeeping activities had seen substantial progress, and the concept was evolving just as the international community made the effort to implement it. The non-use of force was an essential tool in the success seen so far in peacekeeping operations. Further peacekeeping operations also had to be based on clear mandates. The Brahimi report, for its part, made it possible to identify the challenges of peacekeeping missions and how to better respond to them.
She said the recruitment of qualified personnel and training were essential before deployment, so as to be able to fulfil the needs and, among others, provide humanitarian assistance to civilian populations. Close cooperation between the Security Council and troop-contributing countries was also important. Saying that wider consultations between the Security Council and the troop-contributing countries had to be taken into consideration, she called for a larger consultation process that took into consideration not only troop-contributing countries, but also regional bodies. That was important for effective conflict management and regional development. Calling for additional impetus for regional peacekeeping efforts in Africa, she noted that African Union had peacekeeping mechanisms as an initiative from within the continent. But such mechanisms needed more impetus.
ZHANG YISHAN (China) said that the United Nations had made significant progress in peacekeeping. The United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone had helped to disarm some 47,000 combatants, ensuring smooth elections and laying a foundation for peace. Progress had also been made in other countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola. In Timor-Leste, a new chapter had opened up following the success of the Mission there. China favoured peacekeeping reforms based on past lessons, with a view to improving the planning and response capacity of United Nations peacekeeping operations. He supported the establishment of work priorities based on actual needs and taking into consideration the different requirements of each peacekeeping operation and the requests of the countries concerned.
The international community should not only demonstrate the necessary political will, but also provide human and financial resources, he said. The deployment of peacekeeping operations was only a means for achieving peace, not an end in itself. Issues such as poverty, disease and the environment must also be addressed. Peacekeeping operations in Africa fell short of the expectations of African countries and called for greater effort by the international community. China supported increased cooperation with regional and subregional organizations to enhance Africa’s capacity in peace-building.
China was concerned with the continuing cycle of violence between Israel and Palestine, he said. The international community must pay as much attention to that conflict as to others. It was his hope that the enhanced capacity of the United Nations would break the cycle of violence. China had advocated greater consultation between the Security Council and troop-contributing countries. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations was a competent department responsible for planning peacekeeping operations. Increased cooperation between the Department and troop-contributing countries was also important. The principle of equitable geographical distribution must be followed in selecting peacekeeping personnel.
YOSHIYUKI MOTOMURA (Japan) said, given that peacekeeping had become an increasingly complex activity, it was necessary to reflect on achievements and experiences gained from recent multifunctional peacekeeping operations, such as those in Kosovo and Timor-Leste. He welcomed, therefore, the fact that the Secretariat was working on a handbook for multidimensional peacekeeping and standard operating procedures. Last month, in cooperation with others, Japan had hosted a conference on lessons learned from the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). Japan also attached great importance to extending post-conflict assistance for the consolidation of peace and nation-building to prevent the recurrence of conflict.
He said conflict resolution required multifaceted efforts. Cooperation was essential between the Security Council and countries that contributed military, police and civilian personnel, as well as equipment and financial resources. The new consultative mechanism established by the note of the Council President in January must be operated in an inclusive manner. Safety and security of all peacekeeping personnel remained important. He encouraged, one again, DPKO to take concrete steps based upon its own security review and the recommendations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, and in cooperation with the Office of the Security Coordinator, on information sharing, pre-deployment and in-mission training, equipment and legal measures. He requested the Secretary-General to include in his next report detailed information on the specific measures taken for the consideration of the Special Committee.
He welcomed the consensus reached during the last session on measures to enhance a rapid deployment capability in the dimensions of personnel, materiel and finances, which were being put into practice. He said the current stock level of the Strategic Deployment Stocks was sufficient for the establishment of one complex mission and was appropriate at the current stage. Regarding the current imbalance in the geographical representation in DPKO, he urged the Secretary-General to take immediate measures to improve the representation of under-represented Member States in future recruitment. He hoped the Secretary-General would, as required by the Special Committee in its report A/56/863, provide the specific information to the Committee at its forthcoming session on the geographical distribution of the Department's personnel, both before and after its recent expansion. In conclusion he noted that Japan had entered a new stage in its cooperation with peacekeeping operations. That was manifested in its deployment since February of 690 troops and staff officers to Timor-Leste.
MOHAMED ALI SALEH ALMAJAR (Yemen) said that nations must pool their efforts to strengthen the ability of peacekeeping operations to carry out their noble goals. The DPKO must be strengthened. It was incumbent on the Security Council to build peace, so that all countries could enjoy its benefits. Peace remained a mere slogan for same States. While it was important to mention successes, it was also necessary to acknowledge shortcomings. All countries were duty bound to contribute to a peaceful world.
He said Yemen was aware of the importance of peacekeeping and wanted to build and expand “zones of peace”. The most capable personnel must be recruited for peacekeeping operations. Yemen stood ready to participate in humanitarian missions. Yemen condemned terrorist attacks and reiterated its support to rid the world of the scourge of terrorism. The challenges to peace were many, but so were the number of countries that wished to see a peaceful world.
IBRAHIM ASSAF (Lebanon) commended the Special Committee’s efforts and the statement of the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations. Since its creation, the United Nations had been pursuing and maintaining peace. He said the resources spent on the peacekeeping missions right now was worthy, considering the amount spent on military expenditure by other countries
Expressing satisfaction with the Under-Secretary-General’s statement and the Special Committee’s report, he said there was a need to strengthen DPKO's personnel and resources to continue the reform process. The challenge ahead was still great and more measures were needed for the development of a rapid deployment capacity, maritime transport capacity and better management of missions on the ground, among others. Deployment should be done respecting neutrality, non-partiality and sovereignty.
He recalled that Lebanon hosted the first peacekeeping operation of the United Nations in 1948. That mission was deployed in Lebanon as a military observer, but until now had not fulfilled its mission, because Israel had conducted several wars and occupied more Arab countries. Israel continued its occupation in the Middle East. More international pressure must be applied on Israel.
BRUNO STAGNO (Costa Rica), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, endorsed the central role played by the United Nations system regarding peacekeeping operations. Managing peacekeeping operations must not undermine the consideration of other subjects on the United Nations agenda, however. The Group supported the proposals put forward by the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations in its report. Peacekeeping was a cornerstone of the entire United Nations system. The Special Committee was the only United Nations forum for reviewing the whole question of peacekeeping. Clear communication between the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Secretariat was essential.
Peacekeeping operations had expanded in recent years, both quantitatively and qualitatively, he said. The nature and character of peacekeeping operations from a military perspective had expanded to include political, legal and humanitarian elements. The Rio Group acknowledged the work done by the civilian police and supported the development of training programmes. Member States must participate in the design of those programmes. The financing of peacekeeping operations remained a concern, and troop-contributing countries continued to face problems regarding reimbursement. The negative impact of delayed payments compromised the willingness of many countries to participate in peacekeeping operations. The success of peacekeeping operations depended on the provision of clearly defined mandates and command structures, along with secure financing and the safety of peacekeeping personnel.
AHMED ABUZEID (Egypt) praised the Under-Secretary-General’s statement, and remarked that financing of the peacekeeping missions had to be improved. The wounds of Somalia and Bosnia and Herzegovina had not yet healed, and a regional response could not be the permanent response to crisis. Only through collective response could international peace and security be assured and maintained.
He expressed concern over the involvement of a number of international bodies in grave situations. Such observers, with consultant status, lost their immunity and, thus, fell under the jurisdiction of the national judiciary. Egypt looked forward to the resolution of that problem through the efforts of the United Nations Secretariat and Member States, in order to better define the status for such observers in the discharge of their duties. Her called for the implementation of lessons learned from peacekeeping missions. Also, he reaffirmed the need for all countries to honour their financial commitments to peacekeeping missions, noting that was the only way that international peace and security could be assured.
RICHARD S. WILLIAMSON (United States) said that any lingering doubts after 11 September 2001 that it would be possible to return to more familiar terrain were destroyed by the terrorist attacks last week in Bali. In that unstable global environment, where there was an Afghanistan, a Congo, and a Bosnia, there was an important role for a comprehensive peacekeeping model. The international community must play a role, not only in peacekeeping, but also in peace-building. United Nations peacekeeping missions, with all their flaws, offered hope for achieving that. The goal was greater than just eliminating threats and containing resentments; it was the quest for hope and opportunity for all.
He said that peacekeeping no longer consisted of United Nations forces manning a line between hostile factions. Over the past decade, peacekeeping had evolved into a greater force for lasting peace, a framework for civilian and military activity, for institution-building, transitional justice, economy- building and education. Peacekeeping provided the context and the security within which a civil society could take root and grow. Mission mandates had become increasingly robust and sophisticated. In that new international landscape, mandates set specific, individual mission goals and benchmarks, by which a decision could ultimately be made to phase it out, turn over the powers of government to the governed, and go home.
Some basic axioms must be considered, he said. Among them, that civilian police were a critical tool for the development of sustainable peace. A competent legal system could also deal with war crimes and ethnic cleansing, which helped heal society’s internal wounds and ended the culture of impunity. Where the root cause of the conflict was ethnic hatred -- as in the Balkans and Central Africa -- efforts must be made to create multi-ethnic societies and provide opportunity for citizens regardless of gender. In addition to post-conflict humanitarian assistance, the economy must be jump-started if peace was to be sustained. Governance must also be strengthened and corruption rooted out. A critical element of any mission was demobilization, disarmament and reintegration of former combatants. Built into every mission strategy should be an "end of mission" component or exit strategy.
MARCO BALAREZO (Peru) welcomed the progress in the reform of DPKO and noted the creation of a strategic reserve unit at the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi. All Member States must become active partners in the reform process. He noted efforts to simplify the system of reserve agreements to attract new troop-contributing countries, and Peru appreciated steps to increase training for future members of peacekeeping operations. The harmonization of training standards was a matter of priority. In that regard, he welcomed the holding of regional seminars to set up standardized training modules. The difficulty of developing countries in meeting timetables for rapid deployment must also be addressed.
He recognized that efforts were under way to streamline the exchange of information between the Security Council and troop-contributing countries, he said. The machinery to guarantee the formal involvement of those countries must be strengthened. Joint efforts would contribute to the establishment of a modern, efficient and capable peacekeeping system that could meet current challenges to peace and security.
MARKIYAN KULYK (Ukraine) said his country had always supported United Nations peacekeeping as one of the main instruments through which the Organization discharged the principles and responsibilities outlined in the Charter for the maintenance of peace and security. And with the changing nature and character of conflicts, the vital necessity and potential of United Nations peace operations to effectively meet the unexpected challenges of the new century had been underscored. Ukraine, therefore, supported the significant changes that had been made since the landmark report of the Brahimi Panel was released two years ago. Thanks to the efforts of Member States and the Secretariat, the United Nations peacekeeping potential was being considerably strengthened through the genuine reform of its existing mechanisms and new approaches, he said.
The improvements -– in systems and procedures, backed with additional staffing and resources –- had been a real investment of the future United Nations peacekeeping. Now, the Secretariat, and particularly DPKO, must effectively apply the new working methods and new management culture, and to improve the quality and substance of is activities. Ukraine supported the five strategic goals set out by the Secretary-general in his last report. He said the issue of equitable geographic distribution should not be overlooked, and Ukriane believed that in the search to fill vacant positions within DPKO, priority should be given to major troop-contributing countries. Ukraine welcomed the substantial progress after the last session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations towards the goal of enhancing the United Nations rapid deployment capability.
He said substantial progress had also been achieved in improving consultation mechanisms among troop contributors, the Security Council and the Secretariat. It was crucial that the Secretariat’s capacity for information collection, strategic analysis and dissemination be strengthened, not only to ensure the safe conduct of peace operations, but for the maintenance of peace and security. He regretted that the safety of peacekeeping personnel remained a pressing issue and welcomed the DPKO review of security requirements. To honour the important role played by peacekeepers around the world, Ukraine reiterated its proposal to set aside a day of recognition -- 29 May -– each year.
SONG SEONG-JONG (Republic of Korea) supported the invigoration of rapid deployment, saying that as a member of the United Nations Standby Arrangements System, the Republic of Korea would continue to cooperate with peacekeeping activities. He was pleased that additional resources would help the DPKO in its peacekeeping activities, but stressed that human and financial resources did not alone guarantee effective management and planning. The DPKO should adapt to change and engage itself in self-examination, so as to reorientate its mission in close cooperation with troop-contributing countries. He said his country was ready to share lessons learned in past peacekeeping missions. Also, cooperation between the United Nations Secretariat and troop-contributing countries was important, in order to strengthen peacekeeping. He condemned the “deplorable” conduct of some peacekeepers, and called on the United Nations Secretariat to take comprehensive measures to prevent such regrettable practices. He reaffirmed his country’s willingness to continue to play its role as an active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions.
KURT MOSGAARD (Denmark), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that as a common feature of peacekeeping operations in recent years, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes could be critical to the success of peacekeeping missions. Many actors shared responsibility for their implementation. A strategy for securing the effective coordination of such programmes could be pursued by the DPKO, and the Best Practices Unit would play a critical role in that regard. The Unit’s work would be fundamental in establishing an effective channel for collecting and analysing lessons and best practices and transforming them into clear policies for DPKO’s leadership.
On the issue of civilian police, he said the United Nations civilian police played a major and growing part of most peacekeeping missions. Civilian police must be available in the right numbers and with the right training. Their status must also be well defined. Fundamental to the process was effective training and preparation of personnel. The Union wanted to focus on the effective coordination of planning peacekeeping operations with civilian police components. A comprehensive approach to the establishment of a “rule of law” in mission areas was also important.
Focus on the enhancement of African peacekeeping capacities must be renewed, he said. Member States, together with the DPKO, should explore ways and means to better coordinate efforts, with an emphasis on better training and deployment. With many existing and new African troop-contributing countries, their needs must be assessed. The issue of training must be approached from several angles. While there had been improvements in the development of Standardized Generic Training Modules, coordination of training for military, police and civilians continued to be limited to the Headquarters level.
Regarding rapid deployment, he said a number of improvements had been made. The Strategic Deployment Stock, pre-mandate commitment authority and “on-call lists” for a generic Mission Headquarters were important elements. The Union fully supported the principle of gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping and encouraged the establishment of the proper back-up capacity in the Secretariat to support the needs of the gender focal points in the field. He welcomed the recent introduction of two new mechanisms to improve cooperation between troop-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat. The effectiveness of those measures should be kept under review.
Armed conflicts were resulting in terrible conditions for millions of innocent people, he said. Peacekeeping would continue to be an important tool for managing conflicts. It was increasingly important to see the whole continuum of crisis management, from conflict prevention to conflict management and actual peacekeeping, which included both military and civilian aspects. While much had been achieved to implement the recommendations of the Brahimi report, much more remained to be done.
REVAZ ADAMIA (Georgia) said that the DPKO should have adequate resources for enhancing rapid deployment, strengthening its relationship with Member States and their legislative bodies, reforming its management, reorienting its relationship with field missions and strengthening its relationship with other parts of the United Nations system. For rapid deployment, he supported the establishment of a readiness brigade and a civilian police on-call list. Equally important, he said, was the integration of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme into peacekeeping operations.
He said that his country’s experience with international peacekeeping could be summed up as, unfortunately, any peace at minimal cost. Since the ceasefire with Abkhazian separatists in 1994, more than 2,000 Georgians had been killed in the zone of conflict, and the Russian military contingents were of dubious value and seemed to have a partisan agenda. The Georgian population in the conflict zone was still experiencing a lack of security, despite the Brahimi report’s statement that United Nations peacekeepers who witnessed violence against civilians should be presumed to be authorized to stop it.
The Brahimi report also stressed the importance of establishing transitional civil administration in the course of the settlement of “transnational conflicts”. What was the use of such recommendations, if the establishment of transitional administration in the Gali District remained beyond the reach of the peace process in Abkhazia? It was futile, he said, to relegate all responsibility for peacekeeping solely to one neighbouring large Power that had too many stakes in solving the conflict in a specific way. The displaced persons from Abkhazia were entitled to the same international protection that had been given to other displaced persons on numerous occasions.
OLEG SERDYUKOV (Belarus) said the momentum in the reform of peacekeeping operations must be maintained. He attached great importance to constructive interaction between the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Secretariat to plan and deploy peacekeeping operations. The need to develop clearly defined mandates that took into account the specificities of the venue of the proposed mission was critical. Belarus favoured the timely and effective use of preventive diplomacy tools. Dialogue with troop-contributing countries must be further strengthened. New mechanisms for strengthening cooperation between the Security Council, the Secretariat and principal troop-contributing countries must be strengthened in all stages of planning and deployment.
He welcomed DPKO’s progress in enhancing the United Nations potential for rapid deployment. He also supported measures to rationalize procurement procedures to speed up the procurement process and make it more accountable. His Government was working to increase its participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations. His country had taken a number of specific steps to expand its cooperation in the non-military components of peacekeeping operations and was interested in holding a two-week training course in 2003 to enhance its national capacity. It also hoped to create its own base to train specialists in carrying out a number of peacekeeping-related tasks.
DONILO ANWAR (Indonesia) associated himself with the statement of Jordan on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. He said the United Nations peacekeeping role was important; however, concerns existed regarding peacekeeping missions. Reviewing various developments in the missions in Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in Prevlaka, he said, while there has been optimistic developments, United Nations peacekeeping operations continued to face daunting tasks and challenges. In that regard, Indonesia attached great importance to the formulation and implementation of exit strategies for protracted missions.
He quoted from a study that indicated more than 30 active conflicts were now taking place, and said United Nations peacekeeping would continue to be an important means for the international community to address inter-State conflicts. But, peacekeeping operations should not be used on the basis of partial or double standards. When conflicts required the use of United Nations peace missions, such an operation should be deployed without any delay.
Reaffirming his support for the Brahimi report, he noted that the process of reform should adhere to the principles of transparency, effectiveness and efficiency. The capacity of the United Nations for rapid deployment should be developed, and he was pleased that the tripartite consultations that included troop-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat had been held regularly. Indonesia gave special attention to international cooperation as mandated in Security Council resolution 1353, but noted that not all troop- contributing countries had sufficient resources to support their programmes for strengthening national capacity. In his view, international assistance in peacekeeping operations could be provided not only by the United Nations, but also by regional organizations or individual countries. The relevance of regional organizations in conflict resolution was indisputable.
RAMLI H. NIK (Malaysia) expressed gratitude to the Under-Secretary-General for his presentation and associated his country with the statement by Jordan on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. He noted that implementation of the Brahimi report would strengthen the capacity of the DPKO in terms of rapid deployment and improving the Department’s management culture to meet future challenges.
He strongly believed that peacekeeping operations were relevant and one of the important instruments for maintaining international peace and stability. Such operations should strictly observe the principles and purposes enshrined in the United Nations Charter and respect the principles of prior consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force, except in self-defence. He said impartiality was the quality that gave peacekeeping operations their distinctiveness.
He also stressed the issue of impartiality in the selection of mission leadership. The appointment of candidates to senior positions in the field, such as force commander, should be based on specific requirements, such as the candidates’ credibility, capability, experience in peacekeeping operations and the level of troops contributed by the country. It also supported a coordinated approach in training for United Nations peacekeeping operations. Interregional cooperation between training centres was another important aspect, which would further enhance the level of professionalism in training and develop a common understanding of operating procedures.
GENNADY GATILOV (Russian Federation) said the General Assembly and the Security Council had adopted a number of important decisions to enhance the peacekeeping potential of the United Nations. Today, the international community expected the practical effect. The Special Committee’s report must reiterate the fundamental criteria for peacekeeping operations, including the principal responsibility of the Security Council in maintaining international peace and security. The Charter identified the key role of the Security Council in all phases of peacekeeping operations from authorizing an operation to its completion. Any operation that included coercion and the use of force generally was only acceptable with the Council’s sanction and control.
The effectiveness of United Nations peacekeeping would increase if the opinions of troop-contributing countries were taken into account, he said. The Council had adopted steps to accomplish that task, in particular the adoption of its resolution 1353 (2001). The main effort should now be the implementation of measures already agreed upon. Time must be given for the mechanisms to work, before passing judgement on the need for further improvements.
He stressed the importance of preventive diplomacy as a tool for maintaining stability. It was essential to build a comprehensive approach for the task of maintaining international peace and security, which closely linked efforts with the smooth transition to post-conflict peace-building. Russia rejected the idea of humanitarian interventions that circumvented the United Nations Charter. Humanitarian problems should be solved not through the use of force, but through further enhancing the potential of the United Nations peacekeeping and the practice of multifunctional operations, including those with humanitarian components. The Special Committee and the Security Council working group on peacekeeping operations should cooperate, not compete. The working group had been created for the Council to be able to consider both general questions and the specific needs of peacekeeping operations.
He noted progress in the area of diversifying logistical support for peacekeeping operations and the rationalization of the procurement system, saying that positive trends in that field would be solidified. He was concerned, however, about the continuing shortage of troops and logistical support. The Brahimi report had concluded that the shortage of military expertise was a shortcoming. One way to approach that problem was through the strengthening of the Military Staff Committee, which would give practical substance to the work of that Committee as a body of the Security Council as whole. Such an initiative would not impinge on the United Nations Secretariat, but could supplement other measures being discussed.
LUIS ALFONSO DE ALBA (Mexico) associated himself with Costa Rica’s statement on behalf of the Rio Group. He said the United Nations’ role of peacekeeping had grown in size and complexity, just as there had been a proliferation of conflicts. The United Nations had taken new responsibilities, as it maintained a presence in 21 countries in virtually all continents, but not 21 peacekeeping operations. Some missions were focused on promoting human rights and others on ensuring new States emergence, as in Timor-Leste.
He said because peacekeeping was no longer only military in nature, but more and more of a civilian and humanitarian nature, United Nations peacekeeping and peace operations should reflect current realities. All the United Nations organs involved in peacekeeping had to do more and must coordinate their efforts with the main bodies that planned operations. Exclusive handling of peacekeeping was no longer the best approach. The Special Committee, therefore, must strengthen its policy-defining role, as the only United Nations body that brought a broad range consideration to peacekeeping in all its ramifications. The Committee should also harmonize its work with the Security Council and the troop-contributing countries.
While appreciating the efforts of the Special Committee to encourage dialogue within the United Nations on issues of peacekeeping, he said the flow of communication had to be in both directions. Also, he was convinced that the Security Council had to stay in close touch with the Committee in order to deal with issues of shared responsibility in a complementary and responsible way.