|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Special Committee on
227th & 228th Meetings (AM & PM)
Growing Demand, Emerging Conflicts Dominate Debate as Special Committee
on Peacekeeping Operations Opens 2013 Session
Members Hear from Heads of Peacekeeping, Field Support
As Chair Urges ‘Spirit of Give and Take’ to Avoid Repeating 2012 Impasse
With the United Nations peacekeeping machinery confronted by increasing demands and a range of emerging conflicts — and potentially poised to consider new engagements in Mali, Syria and the Horn of Africa — the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations opened its 2013 substantive session today amid discussion of critical and evolving issues, including reimbursements for troops and equipment, and civilian capacity in the aftermath of conflict.
“We have increased our engagement in contingency planning … for potential requests for peacekeeping operations in Mali, Somalia and Syria,” said Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, pointing to new challenges on the Special Committee’s 2013 agenda. The United Nations must nevertheless remain focused on current operations, he said.
The situation in Syria was likely to remain a major factor in the volatility and uncertainty across the Middle East, he said. “Continued intense violence is a human tragedy of untold proportions,” he stressed, warning that the situation would continue to threaten the safety and security of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) personnel deployed in Syria. The Organization was currently engaged in planning for various contingencies should the involvement of United Nations peacekeeping become necessary and viable at any point, he said.
He went on to say that Mali faced an extremely grave political, security and humanitarian crisis. With the adoption of Security Council resolutions 2071 (2012) and 2085 (2012), the United Nations was pursuing a multi-pronged approach to help facilitate a resolution of the crisis, in close participation with the Malian authorities, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union, as well as other key stakeholders. “With rapidly unfolding developments in Mali and the Sahel, the [United Nations] anticipates investing significantly more efforts and resources in the coming months,” said the Under-Secretary-General, emphasizing that the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation was a “very real possibility”.
Ameerah Haq, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, called attention to the emerging concept of civilian capacity in the aftermath of conflict. Recalling that General Assembly resolution 66/264 requested the United Nations Secretariat to conduct a comprehensive review of civilian staffing requirements for peacekeeping operations, she said the civilian capacity initiative — aimed at facilitating national ownership, improving post-conflict nimbleness, and ultimately focused on delivering stronger support in the field — was one issue that the Special Committee would have to tackle in the context of evolving demands on the United Nations peacekeeping machinery.
She also addressed the long-standing and thorny question of reimbursement policies, noting that a Senior Advisory Group had been convened to consider the rates of reimbursement to troop- and equipment-contributing countries and related issues. The Group’s report, currently before the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and then the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), represented the best opportunity in more than a generation for the United Nations to come together and find a way forward on an issue that had proven divisive and difficult, she said, adding that the report was a good basis upon which Member States could consider how to further develop and strengthen peacekeeping as a global public good.
Ms. Haq pointed to a number of changes in other areas of peacekeeping, including efforts to improve results on the ground. In that regard, she said the Special Committee was scheduled to consider the Global Field Support Strategy, a five-year plan launched in 2010 and aimed at transforming the delivery of services to peacekeeping missions. The Strategy was about providing timelier help to peace operations, a vision that required each level of service provision — from Headquarters to global and regional service centres to the missions — to fulfil specific and complementary roles.
Egypt’s representative, speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, declared: “United Nations peacekeeping is passing a critical juncture due to increased demand and the expansion of its mandate with responsibilities beyond the nature of its role.” The continually increasing activities of peacekeeping operations required improved capacity to assess conflict situations, effective planning based on accurate information, and rapid responses to emergencies, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, he stressed.
He joined other delegations in calling for the full participation of troop-and police-contributing countries in policy formulation and decision-making. A full review of the current system of reimbursement was needed, he said. It was also important to achieve consensus among Member States on the development of peacekeeping policies. “Only ideas and approaches that have been adopted by Member States collectively would be implemented,” he said.
Thailand’s representative, speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), noted the new and challenging environments for peacekeepers, from Sudan to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Syria. ASEAN was pleased that United Nations missions had performed well in such contexts, but “we must continue to push ourselves to do better”. Effective responses could only be achieved through the concerted support and involvement of all relevant parties, he stressed.
While more regularized briefings for troop- and police-contributing countries was a good step, he said, it was also critical to involve them in all stages of peacekeeping operations, especially in the early stages of drafting mandates. He also underlined the need to respect the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-intervention in matters of national jurisdiction, and, while recognizing the expanding scope of peacekeeping, reiterated the need to keep mandates “clear, credible and achievable”, and to match them with sufficient resources.
In opening remarks, newly re-elected Chair U. Joy Ogwu (Nigeria) said the Special Committee — the preeminent review forum for United Nations peacekeeping operations — was facing a host of new tests around the world. In 2012, for example, no one could have foreseen the magnitude of the turmoil in Mali, which demonstrated the immense challenges confronting the global peacekeeping community. “The future of peacekeeping is ours to shape in this Committee,” she said.
While the Special Committee’s recent discussions on reform had culminated in a “more purposeful, action-oriented agenda” this session, there remained many crucial topics to discuss, she said, calling on Member States to negotiate in a “spirit of give and take”, and to leave behind the divisive arguments that had led to a seven-month impasse in 2012. Indeed, the session’s outcome must be reached in a spirit of consensus, she said, adding that the core United Nations principles of fair and equitable participation must permeate the Special Committee’s work.
Also speaking today were representatives of Cuba (for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), European Union, Australia (also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand), United States, Guatemala, Chile, Switzerland, Rwanda, Ukraine, Senegal, United Republic of Tanzania, Argentina, South Africa, Mexico, Serbia, Iran and Brazil.
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply was the representative of Morocco.
The Special Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 20 February, to continue its general debate.
Opening its 2013 substantive session this morning, the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations had before it the report of the Secretary-General civilian capacity in the aftermath of conflict (document A/67/312-S/2012/645), dated 15 August 2012, which describes progress made in that area since his last report in August 2011.
Also before the Special Committee was the report implementation of the recommendations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (document A/67/632) and an addendum (document A/67/632/Add.1). Dated 12 December 2012, they outline the past year’s progress in implementing recommendations made during the 2012 substantive session, and provide an overview of recent operational developments and their implications for evolving policy and reforms relating to United Nations peacekeeping.
The Special Committee also had before it the third annual progress report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the global field support strategy (document A/67/633), which presents his vision for the end state of his five-year plan to transform the delivery of support services to United Nations field missions. It also highlights the progress madesince the issuance of his last progress report, in December 2011, and identifies critical next steps towards attaining the desired end state.
Elections and Other Matters
At the meeting’s outset, the Committee re-elected U. Joy Ogwu (Nigeria), by acclamation, as Chair. She expressed her determination to fulfil the mandate given to the Special Committee by the General Assembly and to guide its work to a successful conclusion.
The Committee then elected the following Vice-Chairs: Mateo Estreme (Argentina), Gilles Rivard (Canada), Kazutoshi Aikawa (Japan) and Tomasz Kaszyński (Poland), as well as the Rapporteur, Mohamed Selim (Egypt).
It went on to adopt its draft programme of work (document A/AC.121/2013/L.2) before welcoming the delegation of Papua New Guinea as its 148th member.
U. JOY OGWU ( Nigeria), Special Committee Chair, said that in the last year, the world could never have foreseen the magnitude of the turmoil in Mali, which demonstrated the immense challenges confronting the global peacekeeping community, in which “the burden of one is indeed the burden of others”. Mali was beginning to return to normality in a “paradigm shift” from strategic uncertainty to strategic hope. In the context of peacekeeping, she said auto-evaluation was not a source of weakness, but a demonstration of strength. Nigeria supported such reforms in the belief that they would add value to the Special Committee’s work, she added.
She said recent discussions on reform had culminated in a reduced number of topics for the Special Committee to negotiate, as well as in the number of its working groups, resulting in a “more purposeful, more action-oriented agenda”. Emphasizing that the overriding United Nations principles of fair and equitable participation must be applicable in the Special Committee’s work, she said Nigeria had therefore decided to lead the process of change and transformation by recommending that all members of the Bureau consider creating room for entirely new members next year.
The Chair went on to recall that, in spite of her plea for compromise in 2012, the Special Committee had been unable to reach any agreement until September. In that regard, she called again for “the spirit of give and take” to characterize this year’s negotiations. Indeed, the Special Committee’s outcome document must be based on a spirit of consensus, not least because the future of peacekeeping was “ours to shape in this Committee”, she stressed.
Statements by Under-Secretaries-General
HERVÉ LADSOUS, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, recalled that, during a recent visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, he had seen the considerable risks that all peacekeeping agents confronted on a daily basis. In 2012, 111 women and men had paid the ultimate price for the cause of peace, he said, adding that the safety and security of peacekeepers was of primary importance.
While the host country bore the primary responsibility to protect peacekeepers, the United Nations Secretariat was also responsible for developing ways to mitigate and manage risks. In that regard, the continuous improvement of the Security Incident Notification System was important, as were efforts to improve workplace safety for peacekeepers, he said, adding that a new policy on the management of workplace risks and the direct application of force had been approved and was now being implemented.
Discussing key developments and trends in peacekeeping, he said the Organization was involved in four countries and 15 operations under chapters VI, VII and VIII of the United Nations Charter. In Sudan and South Sudan, there were several outstanding issues, particularly the implementation of effective security safeguards, agreements on petrol and finances, governance, and the demarcation of contested borders. Inter-communal conflict and other challenges were still very much present, he said, citing the global economic crisis and continuing competition for scarce resources as sources of greater instability.
He said the security situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo had clearly worsened over the past year, particularly with the rise of the 23 March Movement (M23) armed group. It now required a greater focus on both the country and the region, he said, noting that the Secretary-General had proposed a new global initiative involving regional, national and international actions to get to the roots of conflicts. It would potentially include a reconfiguration of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).
Turning to Côte d’Ivoire, he said the political and security situation there remained fragile as the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) continued to support national efforts to stabilize the situation, monitor and discourage illegal armed groups, and respond to challenges in the security sector. Security Council resolution 2062 (2012) had set the protection of civilians as a priority for the mission, calling for a greater emphasis on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, as well as reform of the security sector.
As for the Middle East, he continued, the situation in Syria would likely remain a major factor in the volatility and uncertainty across the region. “Continued intense violence is a human tragedy of untold proportions,” he said, adding that, in particular, the situation would continue to pose a threat to the safety and security of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) personnel deployed in Syria. If the situation further deteriorated, it would also have an impact on the operations of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), he warned.
The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) continued to play a political role in facilitating the peaceful resolution of disputes, especially in the north, he said. Meanwhile, the drawdown and transition of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) had been completed at the end of December 2012, while in Liberia progress in consolidating peace had allowed the Organization to consider reducing the military component of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) by approximately 4,200 troops by July 2015.
In Haiti, he said, some progress had been made in improving the security situation as well as in institution-building, allowing for a handover of responsibilities that should translate into a phased withdrawal of approximately 1,000 infantry and engineering units, as well as police personnel from the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). The Mission would concentrate on the development of the Haitian National Police Force and support the consolidation of political stability, in addition to improving accountability and oversight mechanisms.
He stressed that, while the United Nations must remain focused on current operations, it must also be prepared for a potential future role in its peacekeeping. “We have increased our engagement in contingency planning … for potential requests for peacekeeping operations in Mali, Somalia and Syria,” he said, adding that such efforts were necessary to enable rapid and effective engagement, if mandated by the Security Council to do so.
Mali was currently facing an extremely grave political, security and humanitarian crisis, he continued. With the adoption of Council resolutions 2071 (2012) and 2085 (2012), the United Nations was pursuing a multi-pronged approach to help facilitate the resolution of the crisis, in close participation with the Malian authorities, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union, as well as other key stakeholders. Resolution 2085 (2012) also called for the involvement of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations on issues relating to security and the extension of State authority. “With rapidly unfolding developments in Mali and the Sahel, the [United Nations] anticipates investing significantly more efforts and resources in the coming months”, he said, emphasizing that the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Mali was a “very real possibility”.
Turning to the Horn of Africa, he said the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) had made significant progress in dislocating the Al-Shabaab militant group from key locations. While active combat operations were likely to continue for at least one more year, following the completion of the United Nations Strategic Review and the African Union Review of AMISOM, the two organizations were jointly looking at areas of convergence so as to place greater emphasis on the maintenance of public safety and security in recovered areas and the development of Somali security institutions.
The Organization was currently engaged in planning for various contingencies in Syria should involvement by United Nations peacekeeping become necessary and viable at any point, he said before going on to describe important policy developments over the past year. They included the unanimous adoption of Security Council resolution 2086 (2012), the first wide-ranging resolution on peacekeeping in more than 10 years. At the same time, the Secretariat had finalized a policy on transitions, such as mission drawdown or withdrawal, which would help to ensure the smooth handover of tasks to partners and host-country counterparts. Additional steps had been taken in relation to inter-mission cooperation, which had proven useful in maximizing the use of mission assets, including helicopters, ground troops and formed police units. Such cooperation could play an important role in possible future operations, he said.
Partnerships with regional and subregional organizations continued to grow in importance, he said, adding that United Nations peacekeeping was enhancing its strategic and operational cooperation with the African Union, a long-standing partner. Among other things, it continued to assist the African Union as well as subregional economic communities and regional mechanisms by providing training, expertise and resources to ensure the development of the African Standby Force by 2015.
The past year had also seen a number of significant developments regarding institutional partnerships with the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, he said. Of particular importance were the European Union’s approval of the plan of action to enhance its support to United Nations peacekeeping, and the revitalization of the United Nations-European Union Steering Committee on Crisis Management. He also welcomed the achievements of the Senior Advisory Group on reimbursement to troop-contributing countries and related issues, which addressed the fact that the system for reimbursing uniformed personnel had not changed fundamentally since 1974.
Turning to priorities for the coming year in the area of transforming the New Horizons policy reform agenda into concrete deliverables, he said the Peacekeeping Department continued to develop its approach to capability development, including the development of standards and guidance, the identification of essential gaps, the use of modern technology, as well as addressing issues of performance and evaluation. Work on the ongoing development of a strategic guidance framework for international peacekeeping police continued, he said, adding that the Office of Military Affairs was working to identify military capability gaps in support of mandate implementation and enhanced efficiency and effectiveness on the part of deployed capability. An operational readiness framework was also under development, he said, adding that it was designed to support the readiness of military components, both before and during deployment.
Underlining the importance of monitoring and evaluation for effective mandate delivery, he said there was currently no mechanism for regular review and monitoring of uniformed peacekeeping components. The Department had therefore recommended the inclusion of a Director for the Evaluation of Field Uniformed Personnel function in the 2013-2014 Department of Peacekeeping Operations Support Account proposal. Working closely with troop- and police-contributing countries, that independent advisory function would support and advise uniformed United Nations personnel and play a key role in ensuring the continued performance of peacekeeping operations.
He said many missions dealt with extremely complex challenges related to the protection of civilians, pointing out, however, that much of their good work went unpublicized. It was a challenging area, due in part to the often limited capability of host countries, their varying levels of willingness and, in some cases, elements within their military ranks responsible for harming civilians. Nonetheless, supporting host-country efforts to protect civilians was fundamental to joint efforts to establish lasting and sustainable peace, he stressed.
Reviewing progress made in the past year on the protection of children and women, peace and security and conflict-related sexual violence, he underscored that engagement in early peacebuilding, particularly activities aimed at strengthening rule-of-law and security institutions, was a critical element in the successful implementation of peacekeeping mandates. Over the past year, the Secretary-General had endorsed the Department’s agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) jointly to form the Global Focal Point for police, justice and corrections.
In addition, he continued, the United Nations Mine Action Service had led development of the Strategy of the United Nations on Mine Action 2013-2018, which had expanded the Service’s remit into weapons collection and management. In the related field of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, efforts had been concentrated on facing second generation, non-traditional disarmament, demobilization and reintegration as well as new challenges, including how to manage armed groups, particularly as part of contingency planning for possible new peacekeeping operations, he said.
AMEERAH HAQ, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, called attention to the work of the Senior Advisory Group on rates of reimbursement to troop-contributing countries and related issues. The Group’s report, currently before the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and then the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), represented the best opportunity in more than a generation for the United Nations to come together and find a way forward on an issue that had proven divisive and difficult, she stressed. The report served as a good basis upon which Member could consider how to further develop and strengthen peacekeeping as a global public good.
Updating the Special Committee on how her Department, in close cooperation with the Peacekeeping Department, was working to realize that vision, she focused on four broad areas: implementation of the Global Field Support Strategy; issues pertaining to peacekeeping personnel; strengthening accountability; and securing critical field capabilities. The Global Field Support Strategy was about assisting peace operations in a timelier manner and by providing high-quality support, she said, noting that the Secretary-General’s third progress report on the Strategy’s implementation outlined its end-state vision and envisaged improved support with fewer redundancies and bottlenecks.
Achieving that vision required each level of service provision — from Headquarters to the global and regional service centres, to the missions — to fulfil specific and complementary roles, she continued. The Global Service Centre in Brindisi, Italy, had deployed some 100 mission-support personnel to meet a range of requirements in logistics, administration and information and communications technology for 12 missions. For instance, the Centre had successfully supported the testing and roll-out of pre-defined modular service packages to the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM in Mogadishu.
She went on to recall that General Assembly resolution 66/264 (2012) asked the Secretariat to conduct a comprehensive review of the civilian staffing requirements for peacekeeping operations. It also called for particular attention to the feasibility of nationalizing some field service posts. There was a need to do more in seeking better representation of troop- and police-contributing countries in the Secretariat, as well as to address the challenge of improving the recruitment and retention of women in peacekeeping, she emphasized, noting that they comprised only 29 per cent of current international and 17 per cent of national civilian field staff.
Describing accountability as an organization-wide concept spanning financial, managerial and personal responsibilities, she said implementation of the Global Field Support Strategy, the International Public Sector Accounting Standards and Umoja would provide the Departments of Field Support and Peacekeeping Operations with common data sources that would improve the ability of senior management as well as Member States to monitor financial performance at all levels of the Organization. Key performance indicators would make it possible systematically to track and report progress in that regard.
Noting that 60 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse had been reported in 2012, she said they were down from 74 cases in 2011. Still, the percentage of allegations involving the most egregious forms of sexual exploitation and abuse remained high and, therefore, extremely concerning, she said. She also underlined the critical importance of military helicopters for force protection and sustainment, protection of civilians, electoral assistance and efforts to stem the activities of spoilers, among other things.
In conclusion, she said her Department would continue to be guided by its highest priority — providing top-quality support to the field, even in the context of diminishing resources. The nature of conflicts facing the United Nations today required missions with more agility and nimbleness at start-up, as well as greater capacity to respond to changing environments. With the implementation of the Global Field Support Strategy entering its “homestretch,” the Department, in close partnership with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, was redoubling its efforts to provide the type of support necessary to enable missions to serve the interest of peace, she said.
M.S. SELIM (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, noted that the Movement comprised most, if not all, the world’s top troop- and police-contributing countries, emphasizing that the role of troop-contributing countries in peacekeeping remained a top-priority. “We stress the importance of full participation for troop-contributing countries in policy formulation and decision-making to achieve the required effectiveness of the activities of United Nations peacekeeping.” A full review of the current system for reimbursing troops was needed, and the Movement looked forward to the report of the Senior Advisory Group on reimbursement rates. “United Nations peacekeeping is passing a critical juncture due to increased demand and the expansion of its mandate with responsibilities beyond the nature of its role,” he stressed.
The increase in peacekeeping activities required improved capacity to assess conflict situations, effective planning based on accurate information, and rapid responses to emergencies, in accordance with the Charter, he said, underscoring a number of key points, including the importance of consensus among Member States on the development of peacekeeping policies. “Only ideas and approaches that have been adopted by Member States collectively would be implemented,” he emphasized. It was also important to provide all necessary support to peacekeeping missions, and to ensure strong Security Council commitment to drafting clear and achievable mandates “without rushing into adopting mandates that lack political basis or sufficient resources”. In addition, he warned that the unjustified expansion of peacekeeping operations to enable the use of force could easily blur the line between peacekeeping and peace enforcement, or jeopardize the impartiality of a mission’s military component.
It was critical to pay more attention to exit strategies, and to enhance integration between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, he said, stressing also the importance of protecting civilians, taking duly into consideration the fact that States bore the primary responsibility. “This protection should not be used as a pretext for military intervention by the United Nations in conflicts,” he emphasized. He called for extensive consultations on implementation of the Global Field Strategy so as to ensure full support for efforts to address the logistical and administrative challenges of peacekeeping. He concluded by underlining that “the [Special Committee] is the only body entitled to review United Nations peacekeeping operations in all its aspects”. However, it was clear from the proceedings of the last session that more political will was needed to ensure effectiveness and achieve the desired goals of the United Nations and the troop-contributing countries.
OSCAR LEÓN GONZÁLEZ (Cuba), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, highlighted the importance of strengthening the operational capacity and organizational structures of United Nations peacekeeping to ensure proper fulfilment of mandates. Legitimacy was important, and meant adherence to the United Nations Charter and the governing principles of peacekeeping, he said. Noting the need for more troop-contributors, he called on the Peacekeeping and Field Support Departments to facilitate enabling efforts to broaden the contributor base. Troop- and police-contributing countries needed broader and more effective participation in mandate design, implementation and renewal, he said, calling for more private meetings between contributors and Security Council members in order to boost exchanges of information.
Emphasizing the need to improve working methods, he expressed support for closer interaction between the Special Committee and the Security Council, the Peacebuilding Commission and the Fifth Committee. Adequate capacities and resources were vital for operational effectiveness, as were appropriate guidelines and training, he said, stressing that due consideration must be given to longer-term peacebuilding objectives and sustainable transitions because peacekeeping was intended only to establish adequate security frameworks within which longer-term sustainable economic and social development strategies could be implemented.
Although responsibility for protecting civilians lay with States themselves, it was important to integrate peacekeeping mandates at all levels to ensure that they were fulfilled, he stressed, also expressing hope for further discussion on new technologies, including unmanned aerial systems, and reiterating his delegation’s strong commitment to the zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse. There had been good progress on that front, he said, while calling for greater recognition of women’s pivotal role in preventing and settling conflict. Noting that long-term sustainability depended on the capacities of troop-contributing countries, he stressed the importance of timely reimbursement, saying that to help in that respect, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States would continue to follow up the issue in the Working Group on Reimbursement of Contingent-Owned Equipment. He reaffirmed his country’s solidarity with the people of Haiti as well as Cuba’s support for the vital role of MINUSTAH and the international community in support of that country’s Government.
NATTAWUT SABYEROOP (Thailand), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) while associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, from Sudan to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Syria, there were new and challenging environments for peacekeepers. While ASEAN was please that United Nations missions had performed well, “we must continue to push ourselves to do better”. Effective responses could only be achieved through concerted support for and involvement by all relevant parties, he said. Holding more regularized briefings for police- and troop-contributing countries was a good step, but it was also critical to involve them in all stages of peacekeeping operations, especially early mandate drafting, he said.
He also stressed the need to respect the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-intervention in matters of national jurisdiction, and, while recognizing the expanding scope of peacekeeping, reiterated the need to keep mandates “clear, credible and achievable”, as well as matching them with the available resources. Recalling that the Special Committee’s 2012 consideration of its report had taken longer than expected, he expressed hope of averting “divisive and lengthy negotiations” this year, saying he would seek common and consensual ground, and stressed the need for the Departments to implement the recommendations that would emerge from the present session. Noting that peacekeeping operations played a critical role in preventing relapse into conflict and creating the requisite environment for development, he called for an integrated and coherent approach to post-conflict reconstruction.
Among other things, he also highlighted the important roles played by the Peacebuilding Commission as well as South-South and triangular cooperation in mobilizing resources, pointing out that civilian capacity must complement, not replace, peacekeeping personnel. ASEAN was strengthening regional cooperation through such efforts as the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting, he said, expressing hope that, through better coordination, more synergies would be created between its member States and the individual countries in support of United Nations peacekeeping efforts. Speaking briefly in his national capacity, he said his country realized the need to constantly reassess and review its role in United Nations peacekeeping. Thailand had always supported the role of women peacekeepers, and had recently created a national mechanism to further develop such efforts in a more meaningful manner. Later this year, the Government would host an important seminar to draft strategies to enhance Thailand’s role and contributions to United Nations peacekeeping.
IOANNIS VRAILAS, Deputy Head, Delegationof the European Union, said an agreement among Member States not to discuss certain topics during the current session would enable greater focus and more substantive discussion of topics remaining on the agenda. Efforts to improve working methods must continue, he said, welcoming the Special Advisory Group’s report on troop costs, which the Fifth Committee would address in March and which would not be on the Special Committee’s agenda in the current session. In a time of austerity, a focus on efficient and effective use of existing capabilities was vital, he said, praising efforts to “right-size” peacekeeping operations and to improve performance standards, training and overall quality in the field.
Expressing his support for a continuing focus on the protection of civilians and children, he called for further implementation of civilian-protection mandates through enhanced training and resources for missions on the ground, and welcomed the Security Council’s request for an assessment of concrete measures taken to implement such mandates. Recalling that the importance of the rule of law had been highlighted during the 2012 high-level meeting, he welcomed the establishment of the joint Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO)-UNDP Global Focal Point as well as the strengthened field leadership on rule-of law-issues.
The European Union encouraged full implementation of Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security, as well as the further strengthening of the tools to prevent and respond to sexual violence, he said. The peacekeeping-peacebuilding nexus remained important, he said, welcoming work on the United Nations policy on transitions and expressing strong support for the Civilian Capacity Review. Particularly important was the emphasis on South-South cooperation and the increased attention given to the role of regional organizations. He said he was pleased to have been able to support the establishment of the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) and to offer cooperation on Mali.
GARY FRANCIS QUINLAN ( Australia), speaking also for Canada and New Zealand, emphasized the importance of matching skills and expertise to needs. The recent completion of the Infantry Battalion Manual and staff officer training materials, as well as the soon-to-be-finalized standards for medical support units, represented good progress, he said, encouraging the Secretariat to continue its leadership on those projects. The force-generation process must be more responsive in identifying capabilities and addressing existing gaps, he said, welcoming efforts to improve the United Nations Standby Arrangement system, including through the use of electronic and real-time information. He also welcomed the establishment of the online matchmaking platform CAPMATCH, intended to broaden and deepen the supply of specialized civilian capacities in key areas.
He expressed concern that some missions might not be prepared for situations threatening the safety and security of peacekeepers, saying responses to threats were most effective when missions had the necessary critical enablers for nimble reaction. Timely information and analysis could greatly help missions to prepare for and respond to emerging crises that may threaten civilians. Effective early-warning systems would improve situational awareness in peacekeeping missions, while modern technology could improve overall situational awareness. Welcoming plans to deploy drones in the Democratic Republic of Congo, he urged the Secretariat to draw on lessons learned to ensure the most effective use of modern technology.
Helicopters were another critical enabler, he continued, adding that his delegation was pleased with the progress made in reducing the shortfall of helicopters in peacekeeping missions. As forshort-term security needs and longer-term capacity development, he said the Special Committee had played an active and critical role in supporting the development of guidance and training materials for peacekeepers on the protection of civilians over the last three years. The focus must be on making those materials operational and on evaluating their effectiveness in support of overall protection efforts, he stressed. That should be a priority over the next 12 months. Efforts by peacekeeping missions to protect civilians would only be sustainable in the longer term if there was trust and confidence in the judicial and security institutions of the host State, he said, emphasizing the essential need for a professional and accountable security sector.
JEFFREY DELAURENTIS ( United States) welcomed the Special Committee’s more focused approach this year as compared with 2012. He said his delegation recognized the contribution of troops and police, ranging from unarmed operations in Syria, to helicopter pilots in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to electoral support officers in Afghanistan. Peacekeepers upheld the protection of civilians and helped to build rule-of-law institutions, he said, noting that the Special Committee’s job was to enable their successes.
Recalling that 111 peacekeepers had been killed in the line of duty in 2012, he said that had brought the total to more than 3,000 since the inception of peacekeeping operations. To address security risks, the use of advanced technology should be promoted as an enabler, he said, citing the use of unmanned aerial vehicles as a case in point, and underlining that all perpetrators should be brought to justice. He went on to stress the need for clearly-defined policy and strategy, paired with the necessary funding and resources, as well as the importance of a benchmark-driven approach.
There had been tentative progress in providing badly-needed helicopters in the field, he said. Describing the gap between demand and supply as unacceptable, he said it had prevented effective responses by peacekeeping missions, noting that such capacity gaps had allowed a massacre to take place in South Sudan. The United States asked the Peacekeeping Department to institutionalize a mechanism for the deployment of military helicopters, and the Field Support Department to develop training tools. He also underscored the importance of streamlining duplicate functions, among other overhauls, before stressing the need to investigate allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse. The actions of a few “bad individuals” should not tarnish the credibility of the “blue helmets”, he said.
GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala), associating himself with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country’s interest in peacekeeping arose from its dual role as a beneficiary and provider of peacekeeping support, as well as a member of the Security Council. Given the changes arising in the global security field, many peacekeeping operations were now multidimensional in nature. Indeed, in some cases, peacekeeping must be complemented by activities to help improve the living conditions of the affected population. With those changes, however, peacekeeping mandates were becoming more complex and difficult to implement, both for the Organization and for troop-contributing countries, he said. At the same time, peacekeeping operations had become more costly and increasingly dangerous for the personnel involved, he said.
Since the Organization’s adaptation to those changes had been slow and affected by technological and financial restrictions, the Special Committee must discuss how to increase the efficacy of peacekeeping operations, he stressed. In that vein, he called for feasible, verifiable mandates adapted to each unique situation, and urged the United Nations to address gaps in capacity, resources and training. There should be better coordination between the Security Council, the Secretariat and the troop-contributing countries, including in decision-making and mandate implementation, he said, adding that all periodic evaluations should be shared with troop contributors. “We must recognize the value and courage offered by [those countries].” Concerned about so-called robust peacekeeping operations, he emphasized that the use of force under the United Nations flag should always be a last resort, stressing further that peacekeeping operations should not be understood as an exercise in subcontracting troops from developing countries.
OCTAVIO ERRÁZURIZ (Chile) welcomed the Secretary-General’s report on building national civilian capacity as well as his recommendations, expressing his delegation’s commitment to the establishment of guidelines and norms for peacekeeping missions. In that regard, he urged Member States to improve the level of interaction, participation and transparency, not only within the Special Committee but also across the United Nations system. He stressed that peacekeeping operations must adhere to the United Nations Charter, adding that there was also a need for clear guidelines to ensure that missions were in a position to fulfil their mandates. Consistency between mandates and resources was also vital, as was coordination between the Special Committee, the Security Council, troop- and police-contributing countries, the Peacebuilding Commission and other organs, given the difficult security environment in the field. He also emphasized the importance of creating national institutions for building lasting peace.
FRÉDÉRIC MARC-ANDRÉ TISSOT-DAGUERRE (Switzerland) said that debates about the complex relationship between peacebuilding and peacekeeping, alongside Secretariat initiatives, had laid the groundwork for a better definition of the necessary ties between those essential activities. A sustainable approach to conflict resolution should embrace all peacekeeping and peacebuilding tools coherently while taking advantage of the skills and added value of each. Implementation of the United Nations civilian capacities review should be pursued, with one aim being the more balanced participation of men and women in missions, including in managerial positions, and increased sensitivity to gender issues. Additionally, the Peacebuilding Commission’s role must be reinforced to ensure that its contribution was meaningful. He said he was pleased with the implementation of the Global Focal Point for police, justice and corrections, which, among other things, could allow country teams and missions to develop joint programmes in those areas. The Peacekeeping Department’s security-sector reform efforts and the recent completion of the so-called technical guidance notes should improve evaluation of the impact of United Nations activities and help it better design transition strategies. Although civilian protection was not currently on the agenda, it was important not to lose sight of its importance, he stressed.
VINCENT NYAKARUNDI ( Rwanda), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said there was a need to institutionalize early peacebuilding as part of the peacekeeping cycle, to enhance cooperation among the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, and to close the gap in capabilities that undermined the Organization’s efforts and put peacekeepers at risk. “Equipping communities with the capacity to ensure long-term peace and stability […] has proven not only a necessary condition for civilians and former combatants, but also for the safety and security of our peacekeepers and those they are protecting.” In addition, strengthening multilateral cooperation and collaboration with regional and subregional organizations would ensure that troops were deployed to missions with resources that reflected the mandate’s tasks and in an environment to which they were accustomed, thus enhancing overall efficiency.
The role of troop-contributing countries could not be overstated, he continued. Describing elements that continued to hamper the invaluable efforts of those countries, he said the “letters of assist” process was a hindrance to timely deployments, with particular regard to procurement procedures. “What should be accomplished in three weeks instead takes several months or longer due to the number of departments the process involves,” he said, urging the Secretariat to consider a more streamlined approach. Secondly, delayed death and disability payments impeded the ability of troop-contributing countries to sustain their peacekeeping contributions. Third, Rwanda had taken note of the report of the Senior Advisory Group as well as the Secretary-General’s recommendations and believed that the views of troop-contributing countries would be heard during further discussions in the relevant committees. Fourth, Rwanda looked forward to the outcome of efforts by the Field Support Department to involve troop-contributing countries in the recruitment of senior seconded officers. Finally, he urged the Secretariat to ensure that its policy on human rights screenings for United Nations personnel was based on a more transparent process “rather than on unfounded and often speculative claims”.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA (Ukraine) saluted the adoption of Security Council resolution 2086 (2013), saying it clarified the evolving peacekeeping-peacebuilding nexus, including the improved integration of early peacebuilding tasks into peacekeeping mandates, and enhanced cooperation and consultation with troop- and police-contributing countries. He also welcomed progress on force requirements, noting the progress on the use of combat helicopters and the regular review process established through mission capability studies. “Doing more with less” was not the right option in areas where United Nations capacities were already stretched, but innovative solutions to challenges were necessary, he said, emphasizing that peacekeepers needed good equipment and legal protection from crimes. Equally, the credibility of peacekeeping could only be preserved if crimes committed by peacekeepers did not go unpunished. Ukraine would host a regional workshop in March to help build a common vision of future United Nations policing, with experts from the Euro-Atlantic and Central Asian regions sharing their views, he said.
He welcomed the standard operating procedures on assessment of operational capability for formed police units and on assessment of individual officers for service in United Nations peacekeeping operations. He also noted efforts by the Peacekeeping Department’s Police Division to implement the revised policy on formed police units, recognizing the power of formed police units to give operational and security support to host State police, thereby helping to reduce the military components of peacekeeping missions. Ukraine would send a formed police unit to Liberia as a practical follow-up to its membership of the Peacebuilding Commission and of the Steering Group of its Liberia Configuration, he said. Calling for closer and more transparent and effective cooperation between Security Council members and troop-contributing countries, he said the Council’s decisions on mandate renewal must be taken earlier, pointing to the situation in Ukraine, where Parliament must authorize the renewal of deployments. That could take up to a month, leaving no option but to send troops home and then to redeploy once a new national law was passed. Such a financial and logistical burden would pose a security challenge to any given peacekeeping operation, he said, requesting the Council to make the adoption of peacekeeping mandates more “friendly” to troop- and police-contributing countries.
ABDOU SALAM DIALLO (Senegal), reiterating his delegation’s commitment to enhancing the capacity of peacekeeping missions and its ability to put quality personnel at their disposal, said his Government had provided troops to 6 of 15 missions. Peacekeeping operations were becoming more complex, requiring more robust responses, he said, stressing in that regard that clearly defined mandates were vital in an ever-changing context. He called on all stakeholders to place an emphasis on sustainable peace. Emphasizing the importance of division of labour between international, regional, and subregional organizations, he said that joint African Union-United Nations operations, for instance, were of key importance in responding to crisis situations in Africa as they could ensure better access to local capacity. Anticipating a crisis was also essential to rapid deployment. In post-conflict situations, building civilian capacity, such as in the areas of policing, justice, demining and public service, was crucial to the sustainability of peace. He commended the Peacekeeping Department for placing the protection of civilians at the heart of its work, as well as for establishing the CAPMATCH online system, which he described as “a real innovation”. He recognized the Senior Advisory Group’s efforts towards increasing the salaries of military and police personnel, and urged the Secretariat to pay outstanding reimbursements to troop- and police-contributing countries.
RAMADHAN MWINYI (United Republic of Tanzania), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed the importance of national ownership of peace processes, of broadening the pool of international civilian capacity and of ensuring timely and effective United Nations support. Noting that the Peacekeeping Department and UNDP were the joint Global Focal Point on the rule of law, he cautioned that Peacekeeping Department staff should not operate in countries for which there was no mandate. Citing two specific issues among the Senior Advisory Group’s recommendations, he said troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat must be involved in determining the minimum time required for the rotation of contingents deployed in peacekeeping missions. If cost-cutting was the only factor in determining the length of rotations, the balance between costs and troop morale might not be met, he warned. It was also important to consider the recommendation on non-functional contingent-owned equipment. Contingents must meet their operational and self-sustainment commitments, remaining within 90 per cent of operational capability, but no reimbursements for unserviceable or un-deployed equipment should be withheld if contingents remained within the accepted range, he said.
MARIA CRISTINA PERCEVAL (Argentina), associating herself with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said her country provided 850 military officers and 40 police officers in seven peacekeeping missions around the world. One crucial reason for its involvement was the close link between peacekeeping and the protection of human rights, she said. Noting that a number of missions today were more multidimensional in nature, she said meeting the needs of more complex and integrated missions was one of the greatest signs of progress in the past decade. The United Nations should preserve that progress and fine tune it. Whatever the characteristics of a peacekeeping mission, however, it was critical that the affected populations have “certainty and proof” that the mission’s mandates were designed to improve their situation and future prospects.
She said the delegations of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay had coordinated the presentation of a number of issues on the Special Committee’s agenda, including the worrying increase in the number of security incidents occurring in missions. On training, she said the design of training materials must bear the efforts of troop-contributing countries and regional training centres in mind. Indeed, “we must deepen our plans and our didactic materials that are targeted at peacekeepers”, in particular with regard to the human rights of women and children. Argentina was also concerned about the Senior Advisory Group’s recommendations on troop reimbursement, she said. While understanding that the current troop repayments would require a typical 12-month rotation, such a lengthy period would raise a number of challenges. “We believe that this matter is not merely a budgetary matter, but is essentially political in nature,” she said, stressing that it affected the very credibility of the United Nations.
DOCTOR MASHABANE (South Africa) said “we must always remember the 93,000-plus uniformed personnel who serve under the United Nations flag, thousands of miles from the comfort of New York.” South Africa had recently lost two of its nationals in the line of duty, he noted, emphasizing that the safety and well-being of United Nations troops was as important as the civilian lives they served to protect. Additionally, Security Council resolutions mandating peacekeeping missions must be realistic, achievable and well-resourced. There was also the need for a firmer human rights component in peacekeeping operations, and thus for consistent application of human rights standards, rather than its avoidance, as in the case of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).
Underscoring the importance of global partnership, he said Africa continued to play a meaningful role in the context of United Nations-African Union cooperation, a partnership bolstered through Security Council resolution 2033 (2012) which South Africa had facilitated during its Council presidency in that year. When the African Union took on responsibilities in complex political and security environments, and under difficult financial and logistical circumstances, the United Nations should respond swiftly and adequately, he stressed, highlighting the need for support packages identical to the assistance provided to United Nations peacekeeping operations. The financing of African peace support operations authorized by the Security Council must be predictable, sustainable and flexible, he added.
Mr. GONZALEZ PEREZ (Mexico) said today’s peacekeeping operations were diverse and complex, bringing together civilians, police and troops. They all worked in a volatile environment, with their mandates including peacekeeping, protection of civilians, peacebuilding, capacity-building and improving services on the ground. He went on to stress the importance of national ownership and sufficient resources, as well as the necessity of clear entry, transition and exit strategies. There was a need to recognize the contribution of troop- and police-contributing countries as they saved countless lives each year, he said.
DANIJELA ČUBRILO (Serbia) said that, in an ever-more complex environment, it was of the utmost importance to provide United Nations peacekeepers with systematic and comprehensive strategic guidance attuned to on-the-ground realities, an area in which the Special Committee could play an indispensible role. Peacekeeping operations must be properly equipped to deal comprehensively with twenty-first century challenges. They must be provided with adequate human, financial and logistic resources, as well as clearly defined and achievable mandates, and matching field conditions which could be effectively implemented. She said better use should be made of the advantages of systematic outreach and innovative practical measures to disseminate information about capability gaps among current and potential troop- and police-contributing countries. The use of modern technology and electronic databases could be a way to enhance the effectiveness of the force-generating process and to ensure that it remained broadly transparent. Continuous dialogue and coordination among all involved stakeholders throughout the entire lifecycle of a peacekeeping mission, based on unity of purpose and common priorities, were essential to paving the way for stability and addressing the linked issues of security and development, she said. “Enhanced focus on preventive diplomacy, early warning and conflict resolution is also needed.” Peacekeeping operations should also incorporate elements of early peacebuilding, based on national ownership and the aspirations of conflict-affected countries.
GHOLAMHOSSEIN DEHGHANI (Iran), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, warned that if peacekeeping operations deviated from the United Nations Charter, or from the fundamental principles of peacekeeping, universal support could be eroded. Preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention must play a bigger role in United Nations activities, with peacekeeping just part of the solution, but not the solution itself. Peacekeeping was a shared responsibility, requiring consultation, cooperation and coordination among all stakeholders in order to mobilize the resources necessary to fulfil mandates. Contributing countries needed a bigger say in the decision-making process, he said, adding that that would considerably increase the incentives for supporting operations.
Effective peacekeeping required the building of strong peacebuilding efforts in order to facilitate economic revitalization and development and to enable national capacity. He emphasized that peacekeeping should not turn into peace enforcement, and called for a thorough discussion of the uses of new technologies such as unmanned aerial systems. The protection of civilians required a holistic approach, encompassing resources, logistical support and training, as well as well-defined and achievable mandates. It should not be used as a pretext for military intervention by the United Nations, he emphasized. While the Organization bore the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, arrangements with regional organizations must abide by Chapter VIII of the Charter, he said, adding that regional organizations should not substitute for the United Nations in peacekeeping operations.
LEONARDO LUÍS GORGULHO NOGUEIRA FERNANDES (Brazil), associating himself with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said the Special Committee was once again embarking upon its discussions in a context of renewed challenges and growing demands. The point that peacekeeping was one of the most cost-effective investments in peace was often made; indeed, “the world is over-armed and peace is under-funded”, he said, quoting the Secretary-General. Nevertheless, the real importance of United Nations peacekeeping would be lost if excessive reliance was placed on considerations of cost-effectiveness. “[United Nations] peacekeeping is unique because of the unique legitimacy it carries,” he said, adding that, in order to retain their unique character, it was essential to reaffirm the peaceful, diverse and multidimensional nature of the operations.
He said his country was among many that had long stressed the need for the Security Council, at the earliest possible stages of drafting peacekeeping mandates, to look beyond the immediate horizon of events and into the root causes of conflicts. Brazil therefore welcomed the fact that Security Council resolution 2086 (2013) highlighted the need to incorporate key peacebuilding objectives from the very beginning and throughout a mission’s entire existence, and to ensure that those priorities were reflected in mission planning and force generation. “The [Special Committee] brings together a lot of expertise,” he added, cautioning the body not to shy away from finding solutions that would enable consensus while at the same time providing a more solid political basis for the development of partnerships. In that spirit, Brazil had, together with Argentina and Uruguay, put forward proposals on language and would remain constructively engaged in all relevant discussions, with a focus on improving the conditions under which blue helmets performed their invaluable work.
Right of Reply
The representative of Morocco, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said she was surprised to hear her counterpart from South Africa mention MINURSO in the context of human rights. Noting that it was not part of the Special Committee’s purview to review each particular peacekeeping mission, she said the Security Council had not judged it necessary to include a human rights mechanism in the Mission’s mandate. Such mechanisms were typically put in place where systematic violations of human rights had occurred, she stressed.
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