11 September 2012

More Effective Planning, Management of Critical Missions Essential to Maintaining International Peace, Security, Special Committee Says in Adopting Report

11 September 2012
General Assembly
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Special Committee on

 Peacekeeping Operations

226th Meeting (AM)

More Effective Planning, Management of Critical Missions Essential to Maintaining

International Peace, Security, Special Committee Says in Adopting Report

Chair Welcomes ‘Tenacity’ of Members despite Long Delays during 2012 Session

The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations – adopting the final report on its 2012 substantive session, held from 21 February-16 March – stressed today that maintaining international peace and security called for improved capacity to assess conflict situations, more effective planning and management of critical United Nations missions, as well as quick and effective responses to Security Council mandates.

Among the issues covered in the more than 200 paragraphs of proposals, recommendations and conclusions adopted by consensus, were the safety and security of peacekeepers; conduct and discipline; restructuring of peacekeeping; strengthening operational capacity and strategies for complex operations; as well as peacebuilding issues and the Peacebuilding Commission.

Other issues discussed included rule of law; gender and peacekeeping; children and peacekeeping; and HIV and other health-related issues and peacekeeping.  The report also contains sections on triangular cooperation between the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop- and police-contributing countries; cooperation with regional arrangements; enhancement of African peacekeeping capacities; and developing stronger United Nations field support arrangements.  The report also covers military and police capacities; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; security-sector reform; rule of law; the protection of civilians; and financial issues.

In the latter section, the Special Committee expressed its concern over the significant amounts of outstanding reimbursements currently owed to troop-contributing countries, noting that there were still contributors who had not been reimbursed for their participation in various ongoing and closed missions, going back more than a decade.  Stressing the importance of ensuring timely reimbursement for peacekeeping contributions, the Special Committee urged the Secretariat to ensure rapid processing and payment of reimbursements, bearing in mind the adverse effects of delays on the capacities of troop-contributing countries to sustain their participation.

Under the section on safety and security, the Special Committee condemned, in the strongest terms, the killing of United Nations peacekeeping personnel and all acts of violence against them, recognizing that they constituted a major challenge to the Organization’s field operations.  The Special Committee condemned, in particular and again in the strongest terms, targeted attacks against United Nations personnel as well as all criminal acts against them, including kidnapping and carjacking.  It stressed the importance of respecting fully the obligations relating to the use of vehicles and premises of United Nations personnel, as defined by relevant international instruments, as well as the obligations relating to distinctive emblems recognize in the Geneva Conventions.

On conduct and discipline, the Special Committee noted with regret that despite measures to establish and enforce a zero-tolerance policy for misconduct, substantiated allegations of serious misconduct persisted, including but not limited to the most egregious forms of sexual exploitation and abuse.  It noted, however, an overall decline in the number of such allegations, and requested continued efforts to enforce the rules and regulations governing misconduct in order to preserve the image, credibility, impartiality and integrity of the United Nations.

The Special Committee welcomed progress made in implementing measures to enhance its working methods and those of its Working Group of the Whole, in accordance with a decision adopted in February 2012.  It encouraged members to hold an informal dialogue before its next session, with a view to identifying further improvements, while also addressing recommendations already made.  The Special Committee further encouraged the Secretariat to continue to improve the timeliness of its submissions.

A number of delegates expressed their views on the report’s core issues, and on the lengthy delays that had plagued the Special Committee’s work this year.  The representative of the European Union delegation expressed deep regret the process that had led to such a late adoption of the final report.  The fact that the question of reimbursements had been one of the sticking points had not contributed to the Special Committee’s relevance, but “to the contrary”, she said.  “If we wish to have a meaningful report which serves the peacekeeping community […] we will have to improve our focus drastically next year, and deliver in a timely manner,” she emphasized.  Allowing negotiations to drag on did not improve either the process or the substance.

Mexico’s representative said that, despite its flexibility, the Special Committee had not been able to include even a single reference to the important relationship between peacekeeping operations and special political missions.  As Mexico had pointed out on several occasions, that relationship should be addressed, with specific consideration of the size and complexity of special political missions as well as their overall impact on global peace and security, she stressed.  It was also important to promote accountability and transparency in special political missions, as there was so far no specific General Assembly mechanism for doing so.  For those and other reasons, Mexico was not in a position to join in the consensus, and while not standing in the way of the consensus decision, instead expressed its reservations.

Special Committee Chair Joy Ogwu (Nigeria), agreeing that there had been serious delays this year, pointed out that members had been warned of the “enormous task” ahead as they had set out to explore “novel ideas and novel proposals” aimed at improving working methods.  In the context of such a unique session, the fact that States had come together in partnership to adopt an outcome document reflected the Special Committee’s tenacity, she said.  “What we were able to achieve today does not necessarily close the door to future discussion” on key issues, she added.

Also making brief closing remarks was Vice-Chair Gilles Rivard ( Canada).

Others speakers today were representatives of New Zealand (also on behalf of Canada and Australia), Egypt (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement) and the United States.

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