Troop Contributors’ Views Must Be Reflected in Field, at Headquarters, Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations Told as General Debate Concludes

20 February 2013

Troop Contributors’ Views Must Be Reflected in Field, at Headquarters, Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations Told as General Debate Concludes

20 February 2013
General Assembly
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Special Committee on

Peacekeeping Operations

229th & 230th Meetings (AM & PM)

Troop Contributors’ Views Must Be Reflected in Field, at Headquarters, Special

Committee on Peacekeeping Operations Told as General Debate Concludes


The views of troop- and police-contributing countries must be reflected at all levels of United Nations peacekeeping operations — not just on the ground but also at Headquarters — the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations heard as it concluded its general debate today.

Bangladesh was among the top troop contributors whose representative voiced concern about inadequate representation in decision-making and mandate-drafting processes, as well as insufficient funding for the growing tasks of peacekeepers, which could also entail peacebuilding activities.  “Modern peacekeeping operations go far beyond their traditional roles of truce supervision,” he said.  Today’s peacekeepers supported safety and security and political reconciliation processes, in addition to providing electoral assistance, conflict-management expertise, basic services, economic revitalization and core Government functions.

He went on to propose the establishment of a permanent monument or honour board bearing the engraved names, titles and nationalities of those who had “laid down their lives” while working for the United Nations.

Many of today’s 35 speakers highlighted the important connection between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, with Indonesia’s representative saying that the Special Committee’s 2012 report and Security Council resolution 2086 (2013) once again underlined the imperative of strengthening the interlinkages between the two types of operations.  “Without comprehensive, sustained, well-supported and nationally owned peacebuilding and institution-building from the outset, peacekeeping alone cannot reduce instability and the risk of conflict,” he said.

Nigeria’s representative agreed, saying that “the umbilical cord between security and development cannot be severed”.  It was for that reason that “peacekeepers are also early peacebuilders”, he added, stressing that their capabilities must be enhanced so that they could play the two roles.

Still, peacekeeping operations must be in compliance with such United Nations Charter principles as sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in domestic affairs, several delegates said.  Syria’s representative, pointing out that his country was host to a United Nations peacekeeping operation, warned that “repeated attempts to circumvent those principles only increase risk of instability”.

The representative of Japan, a key financial contributor to the United Nations peacekeeping budget, strongly urged that the United Nations “do more with less and do it better”.  Enhancing mission performance called for clear operational guidance and a systematic evaluation cycle, he said, adding that Japan supported the ongoing initiative on capability standards, as well as the strengthening of the evaluation system.

Nepal’s representative wondered whether United Nations peacekeeping operations had sufficiently learned their lessons, stating:  “Even after more than six decades of experience in peacekeeping missions, United Nations peace operations are still starting from scratch and enduring the same pain and hurdles each time.”  There was a strong need for institutional memory to minimize errors and enhance best practices to the extent possible, she said.  That could be improved through streamlined proactive planning, anticipatory budgeting, adequate resource allocation, operational flexibility and clear-cut mandates.

Other prominent issues in today’s debate included delayed reimbursement of troop and equipment costs to contributing countries and compensation for deaths.  Pakistan’s representative stressed the critical importance of revising the compensation policy on death and disability of United Nations peacekeepers to ensure timely reimbursements.

Also speaking today were representatives of the Russian Federation, Lebanon, Cuba, Venezuela, Jordan, Burkina Faso, Republic of Korea, Fiji, Morocco, Haiti, Norway, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Papua New Guinea, Uruguay, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Uganda, Tunisia, India, Zimbabwe, Philippines, China, Algeria, Ethiopia, Ecuador and Turkey.

Also delivering a statement was the observer for the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

The Special Committee will reconvene in plenary the afternoon of Friday, 15 March, to adopt its report to the General Assembly.


The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations convened this morning to continue the general debate segment of its 2013 substantive session.  (For background information, please see Press Release GA/PK/212 of 19 February.)


PETR V. ILIICHEV ( Russian Federation) said that, despite their widening geographic scope, growing cross-border challenges and the increasingly complex conditions for deployment, the fundamentals of peacekeeping should be strictly observed.  Missions must clearly define their tasks and withdrawal time frames, he said, adding that his country was committed to the use of peaceful resources for the settlement of disputes.  Amid ongoing discussions on enhancing peacekeeping’s effectiveness, peacekeepers should be used cautiously in order not to undermine the conflict-resolution process or provoke threats to “blue helmets”.  The main criteria should include on-the-ground compliance with mandates and a realistic strategy, he said.

He went on to warn that it would be dangerous to expand Security Council-authorized mandates in preparing missions, recalling the recent unjustified focus on the protection of civilians.  While protection was important, peacekeeping should not be regarded through that prism alone, he emphasized.  Additionally, peacebuilding mandates were important and closely linked to ensuring the rule of law.  The contribution of peacekeepers in addressing such challenges was difficult to overestimate.  From the time that a peacekeeping mission was deployed, it was important to ensure long-term socio-economic stability and development, and to recognize national ownership in the areas of peacekeeping and peacebuilding.  It was necessary to avoid the involvement of international personnel in internal host-country situations.

Emphasizing that duplication of efforts must be avoided, and the mandates of various United Nations presences on the ground delineated, he also touched upon the importance of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, pointing out that regional and subregional bodies, including the Collective Security Treaty Organization, were now playing a peacekeeping role.  The security of peacekeepers should remain an absolute priority for Member States, the Secretariat and individual missions, he said, stressing in that vein, the need for a full investigation of the recent incident in which a Russian helicopter had been shot down in South Sudan.  For its part, the Special Committee should develop political recommendations for the Secretariat on all aspects of peacekeeping operations.  Finally, he called on Member States to show the will to approve the Special Committee’s outcome document in a timely fashion.

CAROLINE ZIADE ( Lebanon) highlighted the evolving nature of conflict saying it required multidimensional peacekeeping operations and mandates that met such needs.  In that regard, she reiterated the need to give full consideration to the drafting of mandates, adding that close consultations were vital to creating a suitable environment since the success of peacekeeping operations depended on how well the United Nations system and all other stakeholders coordinated activities and formed partnerships.  There was a particular need to strengthen coordination among the Special Committee, the Security Council and the Secretariat, as well as troop- and police-contributing countries, she said.  Recent events highlighted the need for the United Nations and regional organizations to cooperate in seeking peaceful solutions to conflict.

The world body could “do more with less” by investing strategically and optimizing resources, she said, adding that Lebanon looked forward to the implementation of the Global Field Support Strategy.  Concerning the nexus between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, she underlined the importance of institution-building, the rule of law and security-sector reform, as well as civilian capacity-building and national ownership.  Women had a crucial role in preventing and resolving conflict and in building peace, she said, commending the United Nations peacekeeping machinery for incorporating a gender perspective into its work.  Noting that her country hosted the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), she said that provided a telling example of partnership.  Lebanon expected the launch of a new mine action strategy this year as many lives had been lost to cluster munitions and other explosives, she said.

GUILLERMO SUAREZ BORGES (Cuba), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said today’s multidimensional peacekeeping operations were a constant challenge for the United Nations.  They required thorough and systematic analysis in order to maintain their effectiveness, as well as the Organization’s legitimacy.  In particular, references to sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-intervention must be respected, he said, emphasizing the importance of according the same respect to the principles of respect for conflicting parties and impartiality.  In addition, “peacekeeping operations must have clearly defined mandates […] and sufficient resources” to carry out their functions effectively.

The Special Committee must discuss in depth the experimental use of unmanned aircraft in some operations, he said.  A phase-by-phase approach to establishing peacekeeping mandates would be much more productive, and the mandates should not be drawn up until Member States had discussed the number of troops required and available.  At the moment, troop-contributing countries lacked full access to policy formulation and decision-making in the area of peacekeeping, a situation that should be reversed.  “It is essential that there be a clear exit strategy,” he stressed, noting also the need to respect national strategies and ownership.  Reiterating that the primary responsibility for the protection of civilians lay with States, he said that issue could not be used as an excuse for military intervention, for promoting regime change or for altering the fundamentals of peacekeeping.

KAZUTOSHI AIKAWA ( Japan) applauded Council resolution 2086 (2013) on the multidimensional nature of peacekeeping and called for further thematic improvements during the current session.  Highlighting aspects of his country’s 20-year role in peacekeeping, he said it had provided engineering, built police capacity and electoral support in Timor-Leste; provided engineering units to help national recovery in the immediate aftermath of Haiti’s 2009 earthquake; and sent engineering teams to South Sudan.  Uniquely among Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) contributors to peacekeeping, Japan maintained a significant engineering contingent on the ground, he said, adding that it aimed to further improve peacekeeping by sharing lessons learned.

Military engineering now played a critical role in United Nations peacekeeping, he continued.  An in-depth evaluation of the evolving role of engineering units in peacekeeping tasks such as humanitarian aid and reconstruction was important in identifying future opportunities and challenges.  Japan, Brazil and the International Peace Institute would host a seminar on that topic on 20 March, he announced.  To sustain peacekeeping amid financial constraints, Japan strongly recommended that the United Nations “do more with less and do it better”.  Enhancing mission performance called for clear operational guidance and a systematic evaluation cycle.  Japan supported the ongoing initiative on capability standards and the strengthening of the evaluation system.  Close cooperation with Member States, particularly troop-contributing countries, was vital, he stressed, calling for continuous efforts to strengthen logistical support for field mission.

ALFREDO FERNANDO TORO-CARNEVALI ( Venezuela) said civilian protection was the primary responsibility of States, and that peacekeeping operations must be part of, not substitute for, a political settlement.  They must respect the primacy of States.  He expressed worry that greater use of force by peacekeeping operations, including for civilian protection, could weaken the legal and political framework of the United Nations, particularly the principles and purposes of the Charter and those governing peacekeeping operations.  The General Assembly was the body empowered to frame new peacekeeping concepts and policies, and any doctrine developed by the Secretariat that could have an impact on the participation of States in peacekeeping must be agreed through an intergovernmental process.

He called for more interaction between host countries, troop-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Council in designing and implementing missions.  Each operation must begin with a plan fully coordinated with the host Government and have a clear, achievable mandate.  It was necessary to ensure that peacekeeping operations promoted ethical conduct and zero tolerance of sexual abuse and exploitation in their ranks.  United Nations peacekeeping efforts must be accompanied by sustained global cooperation and economic aid aimed at reducing poverty and inequality, he emphasized.  Peacekeeping operations must view the host State not as a victim in need of protection, but as a key player in defining and implementing long-term peace and development, in line with the principle of self-determination.  Regional peacekeeping operations could not, under any circumstances, replace United Nations peacekeeping operations or circumvent their full application, he stressed.

FIKRY CASSIDY ( Indonesia) said the Special Committee’s 2012 report and the adoption of Security Council resolution 2086 (2013) once again underlined the imperative of strengthening interlinkages between peacekeeping and peacebuilding.  Without comprehensive, sustained, well-supported and nationally owned peacebuilding and institution-building from the outset, peacekeeping alone could not reduce instability and the risk of conflict.  Peacekeepers played a highly important role as early peacebuilders, he said, adding that, in order to achieve the best outcomes, civilian experts with specific experiences and skills might be more suited for highly specialized and longer-term tasks.

He also reiterated that in order for missions to fulfil the wide-ranging nature and scope of their mandates, they needed explicit guidelines, as well as equipment, training and resources.  As for the divisive issue of using modern technology, he said the Special Committee should explore more inclusive intergovernmental discussions on the related legal, operational, technical and financial aspects.  Finally, he stressed the necessity of adopting the Special Committee’s report, saying there was a need to improve its working methods.  Indonesia’s contribution to United Nations peacekeeping operations dated back to 1956, he recalled, adding that, having participated in 26 missions, and with 25,874 personnel deployed to date, the country was keen to expand its contribution.

MOH’D KAIS MUFLEH ALBATAYNEH ( Jordan), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country actively participated in peacekeeping operations in order to promote its values of peace and security around the world.  However, practical policies, as well as resources, were required in order for States to contribute to peacekeeping, he said, citing several unmet needs in peacekeeping operations, including the lack of Arabic-speaking personnel on the ground and the imbalance in the representation of troop-contributing countries within the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support.

Each year, Jordan underscored the importance of addressing the root causes of conflicts and of integrating peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities, he said.  That could only be achieved through effective interaction between troop-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Security Council, he stressed, also highlighting the importance of ethical conduct by all personnel.  Jordan supported the proposal to appoint an evaluation director on the ground, as well as the implementation of the Global Field Support Strategy, and remained committed to increasing the participation of women in peacekeeping operations, to improving living conditions on the ground, and to encouraging more countries to contribute to peacekeeping operations in the future.

IHAB HAMED ( Syria) said no one could deny that peacekeeping was the task of the United Nations.  Peacekeeping operations played important roles, such as defusing tension and creating an enabling environment for sustainable peace and development in post-conflict situations.  However, they must adhere to the Charter principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference.  Prior consent of the host Governments was required when deploying peacekeeping missions, he added, warning that “repeated attempts to circumvent those principles” only increased risk of instability.  Reiterating the need to tackle the root causes of conflict, he said his country had good relations with representatives of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).  Generally speaking, peacekeeping operations were intended for short periods, but that mission had been in operation for a long time.  He said Israel’s violence and occupation of Arab land had led to the creation of three such missions and constrained the United Nations budget.  “The United Nations has not been able to create a mechanism to prevent repeated Israeli attacks,” he noted.

DER KOGDA ( Burkina Faso), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Special Committee’s substantive annual session was now acknowledged to be an ideal forum for Member States to exchange views on peacekeeping and to formulate policy.  There was a greater need for experienced and professional soldiers on the ground, he said, adding that the Committee must contribute to that goal by formulating guidelines to strengthen peacekeeping overall.  New developments in conflict had given rise to new dimensions of peacekeeping, including disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, demining, human rights, cooperation with regional and subregional originations and other areas.

The protection of civilians was an emerging issue that deserved particular attention, he continued, stressing that missions must have appropriate rules and procedures to enable them to deter violence against civilians.  Concerning gender mainstreaming, he welcomed the Police Division’s goal of deploying a force of which 20 per cent would be women by 2014.  Burkina Faso had approved a gender strategy for the deployment of its own police officers, he added.  “Above all, we need to work to identify and eradicate the root causes of conflict,” he emphasized.  Burkina Faso had been involved in peacekeeping since 1993 and ranked twenty-first in troop contributions globally, he said, calling on Member States to continue to provide the necessary resources for the deployment of peacekeeping troops and the implementation of mandates.

SHIN DONG IK ( Republic of Korea) said United Nations peacekeeping operations — totalling 67 on five continents since the first in 1948 — were more complex than ever, with increasingly diversified and multidimensional mandates.  Despite common efforts to curb conflicts, millions of innocent people were still dragged into new armed clashes, and some of the oldest feuds persisted, with 7 of the existing 14 having continued for more than 10 years.  In several cases, hard-earned progress had been reversed and the countries concerned had lapsed back into armed conflict.  United Nations peacekeeping operations faced increasingly complex challenges, for which the Republic of Korea offered several recommendations.

First, civilian protection should be at the core of peacekeeping activities, as separate treatment of the issue would stymie attempts to restore peace, he said.  Second, inter-mission cooperation was an effective response to multifaceted emergencies and could fill gaps arising from delays in decision-making.  Third, the Global Field Support Strategy merited further development and, in particular, detailed budgetary data.  Fourth, the Republic of Korea supported the introduction of contemporary technology, including the use of unmanned aerial systems, to implement mandates.  Fifth, it also encouraged enhanced coordination with host nations, regional and subregional organizations, as well as key development partners in responding to the rising demand for peace operations.  Lastly, he said the protection of peacekeepers must be paramount.

ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN ( Bangladesh) noted that modern peacekeeping mandates went far beyond the traditional role of truce supervision.  Today, peacekeepers addressed both inter- and intra-State conflicts, and missions had become more diversified, multidimensional and complex, involving military, police and civilian personnel.  Among other things, they supported safety and security and political reconciliation processes, provided electoral assistance, and ensured inclusive dialogue and reconciliation, conflict management, basic services, economic revitalization and core Government functions.  In other words, they were the principal actors to lay a firm foundation for peacebuilding activities.  In that regard, he called for adequate resources and capabilities to enable peacekeepers to fulfil their mandates.  He re-emphasized several measures for building effective partnerships at the decision-making and implementation levels.  The views of troop- and police-contributing countries must be reflected in deciding mission start-ups and in changing the mandates of existing missions, he said, adding that any change must be in compliance with the views of those working in the field.

Underscoring the need to ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers, he stressed also the importance of balanced representation among troop contributors in the Secretariat’s decision-making and implementation.  Noting that reimbursement for troop and equipment costs had not been paid in a timely manner, potentially jeopardizing the capacity of troop-contributing countries.  “Death is the highest form of sacrifice that a human being can make for any cause,” he said, adding that compensation for death and disability must be cleared without delay.  There should not be any attempt to microdefine excuses to avoid or delay compensation, he stressed.  He went on to propose the establishment of a permanent monument or honour board bearing the engraved names, titles and nationalities of those who had “laid down their lives” while working for the United Nations.  Some 3,085 personnel had died in the line of duty, he said, adding that his country had been involved in 45 United Nations peacekeeping operations, with roughly 115,000 personnel, since 1988.  Today, Bangladesh stood as the “number one” troop contributor, with 8,781 peacekeepers in the field.

PETER THOMSON ( Fiji) said Fiji would work constructively to help the Special Committee finish its work on the reduced number of items for negotiation this year within the time allotted.  Emphasizing his country’s “steadfast” commitment to peacekeeping, he said it would continue to provide soldiers, police and corrections officers, although the cost of doing so was much higher than the amounts reimbursed by the United Nations.  He called for updating the reimbursement system, and noted the report of the Senior Advisory Group on that matter, saying he looked forward to its timely consideration.

Women’s involvement in peacekeeping was crucial, he said, stressing the importance of mainstreaming gender and of providing guidance in the form of clear instructions or single-policy manuals, rather than a multitude of generic or voluminous modules.  Training manuals in other areas should also be streamlined to address operational challenges.  Fiji supported increasing the number of women police and had made a special effort to nominate female officers, he said.  In 2012, women had made up 60 per cent of one rotation of Fijian police officers.  Despite its small size and domestic needs, the country would continue to nominate women police forces whenever possible, he said, emphasizing the crucial importance of their role working in communities and building local police capacity.

MASOOD KHAN (Pakistan), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country had consistently been the largest contributor to United Nations peacekeeping in many parts of the world.  Pakistan condemned the killing of peacekeepers, as well as targeted violent attacks against them, and called on the Peacekeeping and Field Support Departments to continue to strengthen measures to improve their safety and security.  “Modern peacekeeping increasingly aims to control violent conflicts, stabilize post-conflict fragility, catalyse internal political processes and engage in peacebuilding,” he said, adding that peacekeeping had evolved as the nature of conflict itself had changed.  He pointed to three elements that could ensure the future success of United Nations peacekeeping.  First, peacekeeping must adhere strictly to the United Nations Charter, especially with regard to the principles of consent of the parties and the non-use of force.  Second, peacekeeping mandates must be realistic and achievable.  Third, the operational success of peacekeeping was predicated on timely and assured deployment of human and material resources.

“Peacekeeping is a means to an end, and not an end in itself,” he continued, emphasizing that it could not substitute for viable political processes or replace efforts to address the root causes of conflict.  Additionally, peacekeeping could not be an alternative or substitute for the necessary building of the host State’s robust security and defence forces.  He also called for due diligence in the use of new technologies, such as unmanned aerial systems, and in defining the concepts of peace enforcement, based on the “use of force” and deterrence.  “These ideas need to be considered within the framework of the guiding principles of peacekeeping and various constraints placed on the system,” he warned.  Touching upon the role of troop-contributing countries, he stressed the critical importance of revising the compensation policy on death and disability of United Nations peacekeepers so as to ensure timely reimbursements.  It was equally necessary to improve the working modalities of casualty evacuation from field missions.  Finally, he said it was necessary to demonstrate the utility and interoperability of the training modules under development by the Secretariat, and to send manuals through a credible validation process.

SEWA LAMSAL ADHIKARI ( Nepal) called attention to the fact that even after more than six decades of experience in peacekeeping missions, United Nations peace operations were still starting from scratch and enduring the same pain and hurdles each time.  There was a strong need for institutional memory to minimize errors and enhance best practices to the extent possible, she said.  That could be improved through streamlined proactive planning, anticipatory budgeting, adequate resource allocation, operational flexibility and clear-cut mandates.

She said her country attached high importance to peacekeeping operations and had conveyed its willingness to provide up to 5,000 peacekeepers, including a stand-by arrangement of 2,000 troops, to the United Nations.  Since 1958, Nepal had provided more than 100,000 troops in complex and challenging missions around the world.  While serving under the aegis of the United Nations, 68 Nepalese nationals had lost their lives, she noted.  Given such dangerous circumstances, the morale of peacekeepers must be kept high at all times, through monetary and other incentives.

SOUMIA BOUHAMIDI ( Morocco), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said peacekeeping had been undergoing successive waves of reform.  “Although the situation of peacekeeping is far from ideal, this tool remains the most cost-effective tool to maintain international peace and security.”  Today’s peacekeepers undertook a wide variety of tasks, she said.  In that regard, an integrated approach to multidimensional peacekeeping operations was no longer a luxury.  While great strides had been made in integrated mission planning, challenges remained, she said.  There was a need to synchronize the vision of Headquarters with that of the field, while ensuring that “ New York doesn’t micromanage missions”.  It was also necessary to clarify military, political, police and humanitarian tasks.

Morocco, an African troop-contributing country, had consistently provided peacekeepers to the United Nations since 1960, she said.  It had invested successfully in building and maintaining peace by contributing to several missions around the world alongside such partners as the United Nations, European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).  Peacekeeping operations should be provided, from the outset, with political support and adequate human, financial and logistical resources, as well as clearly defined and achievable mandates.  They should strictly observe the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter, ensuring respect for the sovereign equality, political independence and territorial integrity of all States.  As a non-permanent member of the Security Council, Morocco had participated actively in all its recent discussions on issues related to peacekeeping and aimed at ensuring its effectiveness.

FRITZNER GASPARD ( Haiti) said that, while the existence of many conflicts had made United Nations peacekeeping operations unavoidable, “we are all in agreement that peacekeeping is not an end in itself”, adding that missions must respond to unfolding events.  Haiti had made progress in the rule of law, as mentioned in the statement delivered by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.  The Government had established the Supreme Council of Judicial Power, the security budget had increased by 10 per cent, and the number of police officers would rise from 10,000 to 16,000 in 2016.

As demonstrated by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the success of peacekeeping depended on partnerships, he said, expressing appreciation to friendly countries, particularly those in Latin America.  He went on to welcome the assessment mechanism set up by the Security Council.  The adoption of the standards of conduct was timely as the success of peacekeeping missions hinged on the credibility of personnel on the ground.  It was imperative to take into account the socio-economic situation of a country hosting a peacekeeping operation, he said, adding that, despite the presence of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the involvement of peacekeepers in the social and economic spheres was vital.

TINE MØRCH SMITH (Norway) emphasizing the need to address underlying differences in the peacekeeping partnership, said there were legitimate concerns about troop costs, but reform could not be hostage to that issue.  Expressing hope that a compromise on reimbursement would break the pattern of drawn-out negotiations in the Special Committee, he said the lack of consensus sent a bad signal to host countries.  The trend in peacekeeping was towards reducing operations and personnel, he noted, adding that Western troops might be better placed to shoulder the peacekeeping burden following the end of deployments in Afghanistan.  Noting that there was a window of opportunity to speed up the New Horizon reform process, he said six essential elements could help improve peacekeeping.  Mandates must be realistic and supported by appropriate resources, and the protection of civilians must be formulated to prevent the false impression that assistance would never materialize, he said.

He went on to urge the development of medium- and long-term force-generation planning processes, pointing out that early information on United Nations needs would make it easier for contributors to meet the requirements.  Capability standards could enhance the impact of missions, he said, encouraging the Secretariat to work with Member States on developing standards.  Women must be engaged in all aspects of peacekeeping, and the United Nations must improve their recruitment and retention, especially from the global South.  He called for innovative approaches to developing national capacities, citing the “team model” used to help build the capacity of the Haitian National Police to combat gender-based violence.  Norway would provide police advisers to help apply the same approach to addressing serious crimes, he said, pointing out that such innovation had featured prominently in the evolving relationship between the United Nations and the African Union, with several cooperation models having been tested in Darfur and Somalia.

DRAGANA ANDELIĆ (Bosnia and Herzegovina), associating herself with the European Union, said that the increasingly challenging operational environments and the complexity of mandated tasks required adequate and predictable resources matching mission priorities.  That made the Special Committee, as the only forum addressing peacekeeping comprehensively in all its aspects, even more important.  “In that regard, we believe that improved working methods of the [Special Committee] will bear fruit during this session,” she said.  More analysis should be done in terms of comprehensively defining gaps and helping Member States to prepare and develop their capacity to respond better to the specific requests of missions.

She went on to emphasize the links between peacekeeping, peacebuilding, economic recovery, capacity-building and national ownership.  “The ultimate objective must be enhancing the host country’s capacity, as well as strengthening institution-building in order to avoid relapse into conflict,” she stressed, adding that host-country priorities must be taken into account.  Building the capacities of regional and subregional organizations was another significant aspect in which the transfer of knowledge, training and application of lessons learned from previous peacekeeping missions was crucial.  On its path from host country to police and troop contributor, Bosnia and Herzegovina considered it crucial to provide sufficient capacity for the host country gradually to take over the responsibilities of peacekeeping missions, she said.

ROBERT G. AISI ( Papua New Guinea) said today heralded a “watershed event” for his country, having taken its rightful place as the latest and 148th member of the Special Committee.  “As we continue to evolve and mature as a country and consolidate our domestic capacities and capabilities, we envisage a future expanded role,” he said, adding that it would include the contribution of police and civilian personnel to United Nations peacekeeping operations.  As the largest Pacific small island developing State, Papua New Guinea was making a “modest contribution” to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), he said.  Enhancing the Government’s peacekeeping capacity contributed not only to promoting and preserving international peace and security, but also helped Papua New Guinea build the competence necessary for nation-building and security enforcement.

JOSÉ LUIS RIVAS ( Uruguay) stressed the importance of dialogue, consultation and other actions that affected the blue helmets, saying the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel was paramount, as were training, good conduct, discipline and the availability of necessary financial and other resources.  Uruguay favoured a holistic approach in implementing some of the most complex tasks, such as civilian protection, and the incorporation of a solid component for early peacebuilding development.  He said there was a need to increase the relevance of the Special Committee within the United Nations peacekeeping system, emphasizing, however, that it could not be imposed from the outside, but must come from within.

He said the six extra months needed to reach agreement on the Special Committee’s 2012 report showed that it was not easy for its 140 members to reach consensus.  Recognizing the momentum that Canada had provided by standardizing and stabilizing chapters and sections of this year’s report, he said it was necessary nevertheless to move towards more methodical and systematic efforts, in which Member States would not have to wait until February every year to discuss paragraphs.  Uruguay called for frank, open discussion and analysis of substantive matters on the agenda throughout the year, he said, adding that it was necessary to identify redundancy in the report.

MELISSA JOHNSON (Jamaica), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement and CELAC, said her country’s participation in the Darfur, Timor-Leste and Haiti operations was a testament to its commitment to bringing peace and stability to troubled countries, despite Jamaica’s limited financial resources and size.  Regional organizations had a significant role to play in preventing tensions from escalating into large-scale conflict, she said, urging the Secretariat, through its cooperation with regional institutions, to address peace and security challenges by focusing on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration and the rule of law, and by identifying and responding to tensions in mediation and negotiations.

It was crucial to mainstream women into peacekeeping and to ensure that their concerns were adequately addressed in all aspects of peacekeeping policy, she said, commending the gender initiatives of the Police Divisions and the Peacekeeping Department, as well as their efforts to increase the number of female officers.  Jamaica had deployed several, including contingent commanders and teachers, she noted, adding that they had been instrumental in conducting confidence-building sessions with local women and in sensitizing local men to abuses against women such as rape, domestic violence and genital mutilation.  Women must also be truly active participants in every stage of peacekeeping and peacebuilding, she stressed.  To that end, Jamaica supported strengthening consultations with civil society in host communities, and fully supported the process to ensure sufficient senior-level gender expertise.

AUGUSTINE UGOCHUKWU NWOSA (Nigeria), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the dynamics of modern peacekeeping, reflected in its scope and complexity, had made global partnership imperative.  They must be reflected in the planning of mandates, the generation and management of resources, and the reorientation of peacekeepers through functional capacity-building in such a manner as to optimize coordination, coherence and cohesion among the Security Council, General Assembly, troop- and police-contributing countries, regional organizations, host countries and relevant non-State actors.  “It is only through this synergy that the international community can maximally reap the dividends of global peacekeeping efforts and security,” he said.

He went on describe peacekeeping as a “concerted reaction to societal anomalies”, but not a substitute for the root causes of conflict.  It followed, therefore, that global peace could best be pursued by addressing the root causes of conflicts, he said, adding that it was no accident that Nigeria, during its July 2010 Security Council presidency, had chosen “Preventive Diplomacy” as a theme.  Despite the reality of poverty, hunger and disease affecting the lives of more than 65 per cent of the world population, the stark truth was that top 15 military spenders had expended $1.6 trillion three years ago.  Neither the balance of power nor the balance of terror offered the world any prospect for sustainable peace and security, he emphasized.  Turning to the nexus between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, he said:  “The umbilical cord between security and development cannot be severed.”  It was for that reason that peacekeepers were also early peacebuilders, he added, stressing that their capabilities must be enhanced to enable them to play those dual roles.

PALITHA KOHONA ( Sri Lanka) said the successful transition to peace could only be guaranteed through the implementation of clear, credible and achievable mandates.  Cooperation among the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop contributors was integral to the successful implementation of peacekeeping mandates.  Peacekeepers should be deployed only after a careful assessment of a given conflict situation and with the recipient State’s consent, he stressed.  Effective planning must be based on accurate information.  An exit strategy was essential and must be drawn up with the safety of peacekeepers in mind.

The necessary resources must be provided to guarantee effective implementation of peacekeeping mandates, he said.  From planning to actual deployment, close consultations and a careful evaluation of resource gaps was important, he said, urging a full review of the current reimbursement system.  Peacekeepers had a crucial transition role in preventing a relapse into conflict by providing essential services, helping to build institutions and assisting economic revitalization.  Criteria for selecting peacekeepers should always include proven and recognized professionalism, integrity and readiness, he emphasized, adding that Sri Lanka conducted continuous training and assessment of peacekeepers in order to uphold the highest standards.

GANKHUURAI BATTUNGALAG ( Mongolia) said her country’s troops had served in many hotspots around the world, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Darfur.  Mongolia currently had a composite infantry battalion of 850 military personnel in South Sudan, and a Level 11 hospital supporting UNAMID.  Last week the President, in his capacity as Chief of the Armed Forces, had visited South Sudan in order personally to thank the troops serving in UNMISS for their service and dedication, and to meet with his South Sudanese counterpart.  That visit marked the first visit of a Head of State to UNMISS since its inception in 2011, she noted.  Peacekeeping operation mandates should be achievable, implementable and provided with the requisite resources, she said.

She went on to stress that contingent commanders should be given clear missions and task statements to enable effective planning and successful implementation.  Troop- and police-contributing countries should be involved in drafting mandates, and their representation in the Secretariat must be increased, she said.  Stronger cooperation between the Security Council, troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat were needed to increase common understanding of policy matters and address existing gaps between mandates and their implementation on the ground.  She expressed support for using regional service centres to better administer peacekeeping resources, and updating reimbursement rates since those approved 10 years ago no longer met current realities.

ARTHUR KAFEERO ( Uganda) said the events of late 2012 in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo highlighted the gap between supply and demand in terms of mission mandates, troop levels and assets.  The credibility of the United Nations had been greatly undermined by ineffective capability, he said, welcoming current efforts to renew the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), including the possible redeployment of its contingents and additional force multipliers to improve its ability to implement its mandate effectively.  He commended the Organization’s ongoing efforts to strengthen partnerships with regional and subregional organizations in Africa on matters of peace, security and development.

He went on to call on the United Nations to continue supporting regional initiatives and strengthening their capacity to maintain global peace and security.  Uganda supported efforts to strengthen cooperation and interaction among all peacekeeping stakeholders in order to improve operations and on-the-ground implementation of mandates.  Priority attention should be given to strengthening national ownership and building national capacity, he emphasized.  The prospect of peace, as was occurring in Somalia today, must be seized in order to increase the ability to build sustainable peace.  The Global Field Support Strategy was yielding measurable gains in mission deployment, service provision and effective resource use.  As the host country of the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda was committed to working with all partners and stakeholders, he said.

RIADH BEN SLIMAN ( Tunisia) welcomed the Secretary-General’s recent report on the implementation of the Special Committee’s recommendations in 2012.  “Reaching consensus in a timely manner will positively impact on our ability to adapt peacekeeping missions to a different range of situations in more complex and unstable environments, and increase the much required flexibility and dynamism to respond to new challenges,” he said.  Collective efforts required the full participation of troop-contributing countries in developing concepts, formulating policies and decision-making, as well as in defining mandate implementation through coordination with the Security Council and the Secretariat to ensure effective peacekeeping.  It was the responsibility of the international community as a whole to provide the resources.  Tunisia welcomed the Security Council’s recent adoption of a comprehensive resolution reflecting the expanding scope of peacekeeping to include peacebuilding tasks, he said.  The strong link between peacekeeping and peacebuilding must be supported with the aim of achieving the host country’s economic recovery and enhancing its potential in order to avoid its relapse into violence.

MANJEEV SINGH PURI ( India) his country was a long-standing provider of troops and the largest contributor to peacekeeping.  India appreciated the Peacekeeping Department’s efforts to address challenging situations in areas covered by MONUSCO and UNDOF over the last year, he said, also expressing appreciation of the Department’s focus on developing a better media strategy.  It was important to influence the storyline with the true facts on the ground.  The involvement of regional organizations, particularly the African Union, in peace and security was inevitable, he said, noting that the Mission’s important role in the past year could not be overemphasized.

He went on to state that his country had contributed $2 million to AMISOM in 2012 and its support would continue this year.  Emphasizing that the African-led Independent Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) needed predictable, sustained funding to carry out operations, he said that, during the recent donor conference, India had pledged $1 million for the AFISMA trust fund.  He also expressed strong support for the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The ability of peacekeeping forces to stand up to situations on the ground over the long term was vital, he said, expressing support for the Under-Secretary-General’s statement that peacekeeping requirements must be met.  India welcomed the introduction of technology into peacekeeping to secure the safety of ground forces.  Command and control should remain firmly invested with those on the ground, he said, emphasizing also that national ownership was vital.  Inclusivity in peacekeeping management was equally vital, he said, calling on the Peacekeeping Department to create the space for all to participate.

SIMON NYOWANI ( Zimbabwe) said the legitimacy of United Nations peacekeeping operations was essential for their long-term effectiveness.  It was of the utmost importance that peacekeeping missions were conducted in accordance with the principles and purposes of the Charter and relevant Security Council resolutions.  In addition, missions should ensure adherence to the three basic principles of peacekeeping — consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force except in self-defence, and defence of the mandate.  They must also respect the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-intervention in domestic matters.

In that regard, it was important to provide clearly defined mandates, a unified line of command and efficient use of available resources, he continued.  He went on to warn against changing the mandated tasks of peacekeeping missions without first consulting with troop contributors.  The Security Council must draft clear and achievable mandates, based on objective assessment and without rushing to adopt mandates that lacked political support or sufficient resources.  Unjustified expansion in the capacity of peacekeeping operations could easily blur the line between peacekeeping and peace enforcement, or jeopardize the impartiality of a mission’s military component, he warned, adding that it was also important that all missions have clear exit strategies.

LIBRAN N. CABACTULAN (Philippines), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said nearly 800 Filipino peacekeepers were currently at work in eight missions.  “These are real people — real lives — that confront head-on the challenges we have taken as an international community,” he said, emphasizing that the efficiency and effectiveness of peacekeepers deserved “our full support”.  To sustain the progressive advancement of peacekeeping in all its aspects, it was necessary to understand fully its complex and evolving nature, as well as the dynamic parameters attendant to each specific mission.  The international community should conduct a “frank and honest” assessment of what was needed in view of the gaps identified and the volatility of situations on the ground.

The nexus between peacekeeping and peacebuilding must be reinforced, and the Security Council must produce coherent and achievable mandates.  There was a need for periodic reviews of peacekeeping to ensure that missions were adequately resourced, and the alignment of mandates and resources was critical, he said.  Partnerships between developed and developing troop- and police-contributing countries could be better tapped, as the confluence of human-resource capability and equipment capacity could redound to the success of missions.  The Philippines acknowledged the need to deploy increasing numbers of judges, prosecutors, military justice experts, investigators and corrections officers, he said, adding that gender mainstreaming remained one objective to which the peacekeeping community must commit.

WANG MIN ( China) said United Nations peacekeeping operations played an “irreplaceable role” in maintaining international peace and security, and that the international community must consider carefully how to enable them to better address conflict.  Raising a number of points in that regard, he stressed that missions must adhere to the fundamental pillars of peacekeeping, while further developing concepts and strategies.  Missions must respect the primary responsibility of host States for the protection of civilians, and properly address the relationship between peacekeeping to peacebuilding, as well as the seamless transition from one to the other.

Mandates should be clearly defined and have a long-term vision, he continued, adding that exit strategies must be formulated in good time.  Peacekeeping missions should listen to and respect the opinions of host countries, he said, noting that their priority tasks were to ensure the availability of the appropriate resources for successful implementation of peacekeeping mandates while improving deployment and planning.  In addition, it was important to support regional organizations such as the African Union, and to strengthen cooperation and coordination in that area.  Overall, China had sent some 21,000 troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions, and almost 2,000 Chinese peacekeepers were currently active in nine missions.

MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria) said peacekeeping had evolved to provide more appropriate responses to conflict situations.  Missions were responsible for supporting stabilization and providing independent and credible information, particularly about human rights, to the United Nations and the wider international community.  That reporting had enabled the Security Council to review mission mandates and respond better to requirements, he said.  However, the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) did not conform to such parameters, he said, adding that it did not even have a human rights component to monitor and report on conditions on the ground, in spite of the centrality of promoting and protecting human rights as “a critical component of achieving sustainable peace”.

He went on to note that MINURSO had been unable to monitor the situation at the Gdim Izik protest camp when it was dismantled in November 2010.  That incident had led to the current trial of 25 Saharan civilians in a military court.  The Secretary-General had noted that Moroccan authorities had impeded peacekeepers’ access to the camp, he said, calling for reaffirmation of international legality by bringing MINURSO into line with other peacekeeping missions, especially with regard to human rights monitoring.  He also urged United Nations cooperation with regional organizations, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter, and noted that the African Union continued to face serious resource, logistical and capacity shortfalls, which hampered the ability of its operations to fully discharge its mandated tasks.  He called for predictable, sustainable and flexible funding to help strengthen its efforts.

TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) said the principle of neutrality did not in any way mean taking the middle ground between sheer evil, represented by terrorist groups such as Al-Shabaab in Somalia on the one hand, and on the other, the legitimate Government of Somalia and those deployed in that country like AMISOM.  The claim that too close an association between the United Nations and peace support missions such as AMISOM would undermine the Organization’s neutrality appeared not to be a valid proposition, he said, adding that it was also “artificial” to posit a dichotomy between troop-contributing countries and financial contributors.

The Senior Advisory Group established to examine reimbursement rates to troop-contributing countries emphasized that point in its report, he continued.  The report should be taken seriously because it was the result of a strong consensus and contained specific proposals to address some of the fundamental problems of peacekeeping.  Recalling the three potential operations mentioned by the Under-Secretary-General, he said the situation in Somalia should not be given short shrift.  Most of that burden had so far been carried by the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and neighbouring countries, he pointed out, emphasizing that the requisite steps should be taken to reduce that burden.

JENNY LALAMA FERNANDEZ (Ecuador), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement and CELAC, said that in order for peacekeeping operations to reach their objectives, they needed adequate resources, defined directives and training to use force only in self-defence.  Missions should only be conducted with the consent of the parties, and all mandates, including the protection of civilians, should fall under international standards.  The Special Committee was the only body able to review and draft the policies of peacekeeping operations, she said, adding that its working methods should, therefore, be agreed in a reasonable time frame.  Both troop- and police-contributing countries should be more closely involved in the process, she added.  Ecuador was committed to the “zero tolerance” policy on sexual abuse in United Nations peacekeeping missions, and favoured systematic measures to prevent misconduct, as well as to report and follow up on such incidents.  Ecuador did not limit its efforts to sending troops, she said.  It had also adopted a comprehensive peacekeeping policy and had established a national peacekeeping academy to train its troops.

LEVENT ELER (Turkey), noting that his country was currently participating in nine United Nations peacekeeping missions, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire and Haiti, stressed that the safety and security of peacekeepers was of primary importance.  Turkey was concerned about attacks on them, which could be dissuaded by providing peacekeepers with sufficient deterrent force, highlighting their neutrality and strengthening accountability for attacks on them.  Welcoming the understanding that peacekeeping could not be approached solely through a military prism, he said:  “Security is a precondition for development, and development generates more security.”  Therefore, supporting national peacebuilding efforts should be at the heart of peacekeeping operations.

The importance of clear, realistic and achievable mandates that were flexible enough to accommodate changing circumstances on the ground, could not be stressed enough, he continued.  While formulating and planning mandates, it was important to listen more closely to the host country, regional countries and organizations, troop-contributing countries and other relevant stakeholders active in the crisis area.  “They have a better understanding of the difficulties on the ground, as well as the cultural differences and sensitivities of each country,” he pointed out.  He said a geographical balance in United Nations staffing would be a good way to enhance the pool of potential troop- and police-contributing countries, adding that the Secretariat could benefit from a more balanced distribution of professional peacekeeping–related posts.  Indeed, it was disheartening that troop- and police-contributing countries were still not adequately represented.

JAMES BUCKLEY, Sovereign Military Order of Malta, described the Order’s rich history of providing medical support to United Nations peacekeeping missions through Malteser International, which had provided 15 medical teams for the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM).  It had given health care to 1,400 peacekeepers and trained United Nations military observers.  In addition, Malteser had provided €1.4 million annually to ensure that UNIKOM fulfilled its mandate.  Describing the development of the medical start-up kits used in transitional phases of peacekeeping operations, he said the modules were deployable within five weeks, anywhere around the world.  In 2003, they had served as the base for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Malteser had also constructed a new medical service for the Afghan police and provided €3.5 million to cover the costs, he continued.  In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malteser had provided medical and psychological care to 49,000 women, in addition to having built or renovated 21 health-care facilities in South Kivu Province.  He emphasized that where the protection of civilians failed or was made impossible, it was imperative that civilians at least had access to critical care and psychosocial services.  Eleven Malteser-run dispensaries and health centres across Mali had seen demand for services increase as the conflict there had heightened, he said, asking the international community to place civilian access to health care on its list of priorities in addressing the conflict in Mali.

Right of Reply

The representative of Morocco, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, responded to her counterpart from Algeria, noting that his statement had focused entirely on Western Sahara.  It had deviated from the Special Committee’s discussion by discussing a particular peacekeeping mission — MINURSO.  Algeria was inherent to conflict in the region, she emphasized, adding that, if its representative wished to talk about a particular peacekeeping mission and human rights, there were other forums appropriate for such discussion.  Algeria had no right to preach human rights, she stressed.

The representative of Algeria responded by saying that it was his Moroccan counterpart who had completely departed from today’s debate by referring to Algerian diplomacy.  MINURSO was a United Nations mission, not a Moroccan one, he pointed out.  The Special Committee provided an opportunity to discuss the principles of peacekeeping, he said, adding that Morocco’s representative had not listened carefully to his statement.

The representative of Morocco said MINURSO was on Moroccan territory.  If the Algerian speaker wished to discuss Western Sahara, why did he not talk about refugees and other issues as well?  Furthermore, the human rights situation in Algeria was deteriorating, she said.

The representative of Algeria responded by saying that he had not discussed Western Sahara and human rights specifically, but he had talked about a peacekeeping mission.  In fact, several other delegations had spoken about particular peacekeeping operations, and he did not understand why he was forbidden to talk about the principles of peacekeeping.

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