|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7196th Meeting (AM)
Delegates Argue Merits of Unmanned Arial Vehicles, Other Technologies
as Security Council Considers New Trends in Peacekeeping
‘Robust Mandates’, Use of Parallel Forces among Main Topics of Open Debate
With some United Nations peacekeeping operations deployed in increasingly hostile environments, battling asymmetric unconventional threats where there was no peace to keep and no viable political process upon which to build, speakers in the Security Council today wrestled with the potentially injurious implications of “robust” mandates for the peacekeepers themselves.
As the debate got under way with nearly 50 speakers, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that two thirds of the Organization’s peacekeepers were deployed where there were significant levels of violence, including Darfur, South Sudan, Mali, Central African Republic and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite a patchwork of separate missions and mandates, however, United Nations peacekeeping must operate in full compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law, while building on the Council’s renewed commitment to respond to a changing world, he stressed.
Encouraging broader discussion of how peacekeeping could adapt to new demands, he said the groundwork should be laid for extending State authority, reinforcing efforts to ensure adequate force protection, and using all possible forms of technology to ensure that peacekeeping personnel operated more safely and cost-effectively. The Organization would continue to consult with legislative bodies on the deployment of unmanned unarmed aerial vehicles (UAVs) on the basis of experience gained from their deployment to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO). Amid rising concerns that the global peacekeeping budget was approaching $8 billion, it was essential to make the necessary investments in peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
In the ensuing debate, many participants shared their concerns about the difficulties inherent in robust mandates. However, New Zealand’s representative emphasized that the solution was not simply to “retreat to the old-fashioned peacekeeping of the past”. Nigeria’s delegate agreed, saying that although the use of UAVs was sometimes criticized, modern technology should be considered, given evolving peacekeeping challenges. The United Nations must not persist in using twentieth-century tools in the twenty-first century.
Seeking to define the parameters of “robust mandates”, some speakers stressed their crucial importance, not only in protecting civilians, but also peacekeepers. However, many others called for an examination of related concepts, including the issue of third-party impartiality. The representative of the Republic of Korea pointed out that neutrality did not guarantee peacekeepers’ safety, but sometimes triggered anti-United Nations sentiment. They all agreed that prolonged crises tested the capability of peacekeeping missions.
Many delegations shared the view that new technologies had potentially useful applications. Rwanda’s representative highlighted their ability to identify and monitor the movements of armed groups and weapons, to assist patrols in hostile territory, and to assess refugee flows. Other delegates held that peacekeeping operations must have all the tools needed to carry out their mandates, pointing out that the intervention brigade deployed within the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) had helped to neutralize M23 and other armed groups.
The latter country’s representative spotlighted the “notable and effective” role played by both MONUSCO and the intervention brigade, noting that surveillance drones (UAVs) had “broken the mould of traditional concepts” of peace operations and opened the way to the use of modern technology. For the long-suffering populations of countries in the region, today’s meeting was evidence of the will to evaluate remaining challenges “together and without complacency”, she added.
Several speakers said the concept of inter-mission cooperation was helpful, while support for regional and subregional groups — seen by many as an imperative — elicited a cautionary note that the use of parallel forces was not always in accordance with the principles of United Nations peacekeeping. The practice could create confusion and lead to friction and competition, they said. Finding themselves on the frontlines, parallel forces sometimes took the “upper hand” in command, which was not always conducive to unifying actions.
The Russian Federation’s representative, who organized today’s debate in his capacity as Council President for June, stressed the need for normative texts and benchmarks, in line with the United Nations Charter. He warned that the use of the MONUSCO force brigade raised several legal, technical and logistical issues, while impacting the Organization’s image, as well as the security of peacekeepers themselves. He rejected the “picking of sides” in conflicts, saying it could endanger the protective status of peacekeepers, while agreeing that although peace operations must keep pace with the times, frontline technologies such as UAVs, while important, were not an end in themselves, he said. Maintaining the neutrality of peacekeepers was an imperative, and it was time now to rethink the “operating calculus” in establishing priorities.
Also speaking today were representatives of Chad, Chile, Luxembourg, France, United Kingdom, Lithuania, Jordan, United States, China, Australia, Argentina, India, Japan, European Union, Sweden (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Pakistan, Italy, Guatemala, Thailand, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Spain, Ukraine, Philippines, Peru, Uruguay, Ethiopia, Malaysia, Brazil, Morocco, United Republic of Tanzania, Senegal, Viet Nam, Egypt, Indonesia, Malawi (on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)), Netherlands, Turkey, Ireland Bangladesh and Cyprus.
The meeting began at 9:36 a.m. and ended at 3:40 p.m.
Meeting for an open debate this morning, the Security Council had before it a letter dated 1 June 2014 (document A/68/899–S/2014/384) from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation, containing a concept note on “United Nations peacekeeping operations: new trends”.
VITALY I. CHURKIN (Russian Federation), Council President for June, opened the meeting in his national capacity, calling attention to the Secretary-General’s upcoming travels to a “most important” international capital and then on to Brazil for the World Cup. All present would support his many activities and move forward energetically and with human ideals at the core. There was no doubt that Ban Ki-moon’s activities were serving the international community, he emphasized.
BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, highlighted the aspects of peacekeeping pertaining to the discussion. He said peacekeepers were increasingly mandated to operate where there was no peace to keep. There were significant levels of violence in Darfur, South Sudan, Mali, Central African Republic and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, where more than two thirds of the Organization’s peacekeepers were deployed. Some operations had been authorized in the absence of clearly identifiable parties to conflict or viable political processes, and were increasingly operating in more complex environments marked by asymmetric and unconventional threats, he said, emphasizing, however, that peacekeeping must operate in full compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law. “We must build on what I see as the renewed commitment of the Security Council to respond to our changing world,” he said. Council resolution 2098 (2013) on the Democratic Republic of Congo was a milestone signalling the Council’s resolve to address the changing nature of conflict and the operating environment of peacekeeping.
He went on to say that a broader discussion was needed on how peacekeeping should adapt to new demands, what its limits should be and whether it was always the right tool. As the fifteenth anniversary of the Brahimi report approached, it may be necessary once again to take stock of the evolving expectations of peacekeeping. To that end, he said, he had requested the Secretariat to conduct a review of United Nations peacekeeping, adding that areas warranting review included political leverage, logistical support, training, accountability, rules of engagement and technological innovations. There was need to lay the groundwork for extending State authority, reinforcing efforts to ensure adequate force protection, and using all possible forms of technology to ensure that peacekeeping personnel operated more safely and cost-effectively. The Organization would continue to consult with legislative bodies on the deployment of unmanned unarmed aerial vehicles (UAVs) on the basis of the experience gained from their deployment to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).
Additionally, despite improvements in the speed and mechanisms of uniformed personnel, the United Nations still lacked a standing reserve force capable of deploying at short notice, he continued. “Peacekeeping will need to be more mobile, flexible and adaptable.” The Council must address significant capacity gaps. The new Office for Peacekeeping Partnership had enabled the Organization to better assess the deployment of uniformed personnel, he said. The United Nations had the mechanisms to identify areas that needed to be adapted and improved. There was a vital need for cohesive, unified command structures and engagement with regional organizations in order to allow the world body to draw more effectively from regional standby capacities in responding rapidly to new and changing environments. To that end, the Organization was engaged in dialogue with the African Union, European Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. The demand for peacekeeping would remain amid rising concerns as the global peacekeeping budget approached $8 billion. “We must be responsible and accountable stewards of the financial and human resources entrusted to us.” It was, therefore, essential to make the necessary investments in peacekeeping, as well as in peacebuilding.
EUGÈNE-RICHARD GASANA ( Rwanda) said that, as a dedicated troop and police contributor, and as current Chair of the Security Council Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations, his country appreciated triangular cooperation. He said technology used in peacekeeping theatres could help to mitigate threats to peacekeepers and civilians alike. It had the potential to identify and monitor armed groups and weapons trafficking, assist patrols in hostile territory and assess refugee movements. However, related concepts must be addressed, including the question of third-party impartiality. The armed assistance used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was one such trial, and once its efficacy was confirmed, Rwanda could support its systemic integration as mandates warranted. However, the latter required a comprehensive framework based on international data, he said. Robust peacekeeping mandates were essential, not only to protect civilians, but also peacekeepers whose mandates were not always commensurate with resources and training. For example, they might be called upon to conduct medical evacuations and airlifts, whereas in some cases, they should not have been deployed in the first place.
MAHAMAT ZENE CHERIF ( Chad) said his country had participated in 16 peacekeeping operations across the world, having deploying more than 1,600 troops. Chad’s modest participation confirmed its strong commitment to the principles of the United Nations Charter. Acknowledging the need for robust mandates, intervention by international forces in support of peacekeepers, including the use of drones, he noted in particular the deployment of the United Nations intervention brigade within MONUSCO, which had facilitated the vanquishing of M23 and the return of stability and security in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, other negative forces continued to run rampant, posing an ongoing threat in the Great Lakes region, he noted. While Chad encouraged the Secretary-General in creating a rapid intervention force within certain operations in certain conflict areas, particularly where civilian protection was challenged, he emphasized that while the use of such parallel forces could provide support in regions and subregions with limited resources, it also demonstrated that Security Council mandates were not always in line with United Nations principles because they sometimes created confusion and overlap, which in turn led to friction and competition. Sometimes parallel forces found themselves on the front lines, during which time they took the “upper hand” in command, which was not always conducive to unifying actions, he said, adding that the issue required further examination.
OCTAVIO ERRÁZURIZ ( Chile) said the United Nations should consider the creation of a structure to strengthen peacekeeping’s civilian component, and emphasized that more precise regulatory frameworks were needed. Chile shared concerns over the Organization’s use of force, which led to unforeseen consequences. The mechanisms for the use of force must be clarified, in consultation with troop-contributing countries, and it must be carried out in line with mission capacity, public perceptions, humanitarian impact, and the security and protection of peacekeeping personnel. Operations should aim to de-escalate violence and use the power of persuasion to that end, and neighbouring countries should not carry out actions involving the use of force, he emphasized. Unarmed unmanned aerial vehicles were a good tool, but it was vitally important to create a legal framework for their use, he said.
SYLVIE LUCAS ( Luxembourg) said the intervention brigade deployed within MONUSCO had been fruitful in neutralizing and disarming M23 and other armed groups, and its mission should be continued. Emphasizing that the heads of peacekeeping operations must have all the tools needed to carry out their respective mandates, she noted that the use of UAVs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had enabled MONUSCO to obtain information essential for improving the security of civilians. That positive experience should encourage the Organization to use such vehicles in similar situations. The temporary transfer of staff and equipment from one operation to another was necessary in certain circumstances, but the situation in South Sudan showed the limits of that approach. Before deploying to the field, “blue helmets” should have specific training on preventing violations against children, she said.
GERARD ARAUD ( France) said classic theatres of deployment had become more ambiguous, and peacekeeping forces had a military, as well as a political, role in facilitating peace processes and addressing the root causes of a conflict. Civilian protection must always be at the fore, he said, pointing out that 20 years after the Rwanda genocide and many years after the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, United Nations peacekeeping had made considerable progress, including in the deployment of complex operations in “non-permissive” environments. Robust mandates on the protection of civilians were essential as was the need for sufficient force capacity. At the same time, peacekeeping operations should support the host State in preserving the objectives of transitions, especially in failed States. Clearly, peace operations could not and should not substitute national or international efforts, or those of international donors and other partners. Rather, they should focus on ending crisis. Similarly, mandates should not only be strong, but also more flexible, he said.
OH JOON ( Republic of Korea) said it was incumbent on the Council to seek prudent and realistic strategies in upgrading United Nations peace operations. On the proper balance between classic peacekeeping principles and new demands, he said regional and subregional ownership of the process was crucial to carrying out robust mandates. Also, impartiality did not guarantee the safety of peacekeepers, but sometimes triggered anti-United Nations sentiment. The quantitative expansion of operations should be balanced against the need for focused mandates and for streamlining staff, he said, adding that mandates must be clear and achievable. He commended the sequential deployment of troops and civilians, as in MONUSCO, adding that the recent experiences of the United Nations in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) had demonstrated that expectations must shift in line with the need for more time and additional forces.
MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom) said there were currently seven different peacekeeping models at least, which showed that the Organization was adapting, but not all of them had proven equally effective. Inter-mission cooperation should help peace operations implement their mandates, not provide a pretext for budget wrangling. Unarmed unmanned aerial systems could provide information vital for the deployment of a rapid reaction force, he said, recalling their positive impact in MONUSCO. Their use should be considered in other places where peacekeeping operations were expected to cover large areas with limited troops, such as South Sudan and Mali. The strategic goals of deploying peacekeeping operations should be made clear, and exit strategies should be part of the discussion from the start. Peacekeepers must be willing to take the necessary risks to protect civilians and ensure effective peacekeeping, and the Organization must remain flexible in mandating operations, while working in partnership with those willing to address new conflicts, he said.
RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ (Lithuania), associating herself with the statement to be read out on behalf of the European Union, said that due to the multidimensional character of modern peacekeeping, troops on the ground must be able to respond quickly to the challenges at hand, while effectively protecting civilians, providing humanitarian assistance and engaging in early peacebuilding or State-building. The operational readiness of troops and their preparedness for rapid deployment were an increasing necessity and pre-deployment assessments were critical to ensuring that peacekeeping contingents met United Nations standards. Peacekeeping should not be seen as a patchwork of separate missions, but as a global enterprise in which efficiency gains and synergies should be identified. The range of advanced technologies that could be used to enhance effective implementation of complex peacekeeping tasks was much wider than it had been in the past, she noted, adding that technology could generate substantial resource efficiencies, although it could never replace the important role of troops and police officers on the ground.
U. JOY OGWU (Nigeria) said the current nature of inter-State conflict, in which ceasefires and peace agreements were often absent, made it difficult, if not impossible, to achieve peacekeeping goals. Emphasizing the need to ensure the well-being of peacekeepers increasingly subjected to harsh and risky conditions, she noted that in several instances, they had been fired upon, abducted, ambushed and killed, their weapons snatched. They were also attacked with improvised explosive devices, which had led to a need for the more robust mandates that exemplified the Council’s determination to meet such new challenges. Among other new trends was the deployment of United Nations peace operations in parallel with foreign military forces already on the ground, she said, citing the situations in Mali and, soon, the Central African Republic. While the use of UAVs was sometimes criticized, modern technology should be considered, given evolving peacekeeping challenges, she said, stressing that the United Nations must not persist in using twentieth-century tools in the twenty-first century.
ZEID RA’AD ZEID AL HUSSEIN (Jordan) said the current peacekeeping trend was a repetition of previous cycles, and only the challenges posed by transnational organized crime and international terrorism accentuated overall demand on United Nations peacekeeping. Yet, the means to address challenges to peacekeeping were diminishing, and at the heart of the growing incapacity was the fact that fewer countries than ever were willing to field troops and formed police units for peacekeeping duty, even to serve a noble cause such as the protection of civilians. Fewer countries were willing to accept causalities when no direct national interest was at stake. It was disastrous that the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations could not agree on outcomes, he said, emphasizing that the international community must come together with a view to reaching agreement. A successful peacekeeping operation required more than equipment or soldiers; what was needed above all else were remarkable field commanders and officers, and a United Nations academy to train them should be considered.
JEFFREY DELAURENTIS ( United States) said that the MONUSCO intervention brigade demonstrated that the use of force could be successful. However, decisions concerning access to new technology should be made by peacekeeping missions, not the Council. Greater inter-mission cooperation could be a way to use resources more efficiently, as illustrated in South Sudan. Noting that the March report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) on peacekeeping missions found that force was almost never used by peacekeepers to protect civilians under attack, he said the Council would benefit from discussing that issue, warning that the wider the gap grew, the more vulnerable civilians would become.
WANG MIN ( China) emphasized his country’s continued adherence to the basic principles of neutrality and non-use of force except in self-defence, which were vital to ensuring the smooth conduct of peacekeeping operations. Any practice deviating from those principles would turn the United Nations into a party to conflict and undermine its ability to resolve conflicts. Peacekeeping operations must abide strictly by Council resolutions, and could not substitute the responsibilities of host Governments, he stressed, adding that the Council should prioritize security and stability in the countries involved while focusing on their long-term needs. Making peacekeeping more effective required continuous improvement of the skills and management of operations, he said, noting that more than half of the missions deployed had a strength exceeding 10,000 troops. China called for enhanced coordination and cooperation among missions, troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat. There was also need for an in-depth study by Member States of the use of UAVs and related legal implications. He said that over the years his country had dispatched more than 20,000 peacekeepers, and currently had more than 2,000 troops in the field. It was poised to increase that number for UNMISS.
PHILIPPA KING ( Australia) said that a record number of United Nations military, police and civilian personnel were currently serving in more peacekeeping missions than ever before. They were often deployed to remote and volatile environments and facing non-State actors using deadly unconventional tactics. Missions should therefore be planned in a more flexible manner, she said, calling for the strengthening of ties with regional and subregional organizations, which were often the “first responders”. New technologies, including UAVs, and simple measures such as perimeter lighting and cameras around United Nations bases, must be embraced. There was also need to improve training so as to better prepare personnel. “Ultimately, peacekeeping will only ever be a Band-Aid measure without a stable peace,” she said, emphasizing the crucial importance of coordinating peacekeeping and other Council instruments, including the partnering of peacekeeping with preventive and protective sanctions.
MARÍA CRISTINA PERCEVAL (Argentina), emphasizing that the principles of United Nations peacekeeping were clearly defined, expressed concern that recent practices contravened them. Missions must not be used to wage war, but to maintain international peace and security. Argentina recognized the growing need for missions to have effective mandates in light of higher risks and unconventional threats, but they were not designed or prepared for peace to enforcement, she said, stressing the importance of defining what was meant by “robust mandate”. The United Nations should take command and control of financing, among other aspects, and a rigorous debate should shape the mandates for exceptional tasks. At the same time, peacekeeping principles should not be modified because that could endanger the security of mission staff. It was not a matter of suffering “some scrape or scratch”, she said, adding that they were trained for exceptional situations in which violence was a reality. At the same time, the United Nations must not multiply the risks due to ineffective use of the rules of engagement. As for UAVs and other new technologies, they could bring greater capacity to peacekeeping operations as long as they were assessed on a case-by-case basis, were under United Nations control and were operated with strict respect for international law.
Mr. CHURKIN ( Russian Federation), Council President, spoke in his national capacity, emphasizing that peacekeeping operations should be strengthened, particularly in terms of preventive use of force. The use of the MONUSCO intervention brigade raised several legal, technical and logistical issues and impacted the Organization’s image, as well as the security of peacekeepers. The Russian Federation rejected “picking of sides” in times of conflict, which could also endanger the protective status of peacekeepers. At the same time, he made clear that his delegation was not disputing the positive contribution of national and regional forces, but there was need for solid cooperation among them under a United Nations-led operation. On frontline technologies such as UAVs, he said peace operations must keep pace with the times. However, unmanned vehicles were not an end in themselves, but just one instrument. Given their multifunctional nature, a question arose about oversight of the information they collected, he said, adding that it was also imperative to maintain their impartiality. He welcomed the establishment of an expert panel on the use of new technologies, saying he expected impartial and sound results. However, the Russian Federation was not convinced of the suitability of handing over “decision mandates.”
ASOKE KUMAR MUKERJI ( India) said that by mandating peace operations to address internal conflicts, the Council was compromising the Charter principles of consent, impartiality and non-use of force except in self-defence. Mixing traditional peacekeeping mandates with interventionist ones, as with MONUSCO, exposed traditional peacekeepers to the dangers posed by internal armed conflicts. By deploying peacekeepers to tackle them, the Council was endorsing a short-sighted and unsustainable approach to the maintenance of international peace and security. He called on the Council to reconsider the use of interventionist mandates until all troop-contributing countries were given an opportunity, under article 44, to participate in its decisions on such operations. The Council should ensure the mandatory inclusion in all peacekeeping mandates of legally binding provisions for prosecuting, penalizing and neutralizing non-governmental armed groups and armed militias causing or threatening to cause harm to peacekeepers. Before deploying “hybrid” operations, it should conduct transparent, rigorous assessments in open debate of compliance by regional arrangements with the Charter provision favouring the peaceful settlement of disputes. Furthermore, it should unanimously agree to increase reimbursement rates for peacekeepers, which would send a strong signal that the Council was fully prepared to pay for new peacekeeping mandates.
MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA ( Japan), focusing on making peacekeeping operations sustainable in both financial and human resources, said that the budget for 2014/15 would likely exceed a historical high of $8 billion. Right-sizing was a promising approach. When considering a new mission, to investigate if it was cost-effective or not, its mandate should be elaborated based on the reality on the ground and be responsive to a changing field situation. In that regard, the Secretary-General should keep a close eye on developments and make timely and realistic recommendations to the Council. Turning to human resources, he noted it was a struggle to meet the requirement of the large number of qualified peacekeepers essential to a mission. Human resources were overstretched. Broadening troop contributors would increase numbers and the provision of a full spectrum of training could increase qualified personnel.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, Head of the European Union Delegation, stressed the need to ensure peacekeepers were well trained, equipped with the most up-to-date tools and benefited from the necessary certified training before deploying. A more robust mandate and new capabilities had illustrated that peace enforcement could support the success and legitimacy of a United Nations operation. He commended efforts to ensure more modern technology in peacekeeping operations. Its use in MONUSCO had enabled better delivery of the protection mandate and increased situational awareness. Efforts to fully implement Council resolutions on women, peace and security and integration of a gender and child protection perspective into the peacekeepers’ training were encouraged. Better planning of support to missions, and improving ways to help host States protect civilians, was vital to carrying out protection mandates. In that regard, the Council should consider the important recommendations presented in the OIOS report.
He stressed the importance of partnerships in peacekeeping and welcomed the adoption of the first-ever presidential statement encouraging the United Nations and regional organizations to strengthen their institutional relations and strategic partnerships. The European Union Training Mission in Mali was working alongside the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The European Union had also developed a strong partnership with the African Union in Somalia through the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and played an important role in Mali and the Central African Republic by financially supporting African-led missions that had paved the way for United Nations operations.
MÅRTEN GRUNDITZ (Sweden), speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries, including Demark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, acknowledged the important progress made by African States within the framework of the African Peace and Security Architecture. The Nordic countries stood ready to support the ability of African States to deal with peace and security challenges on African soil. The countries had a tradition of participating in and contributing to United Nations peacekeeping, an engagement that would continue. Technology would strengthen the ability to protect civilians, and had the potential to improve operational efficiency. Inter-mission cooperation, including through the use of military reserve forces, could enhance the efficiency of peacekeeping operations. The complexity of peacekeeping required appropriate training for police and military personnel. The countries welcomed the systematic integration of human rights components into peacekeeping operations.
MASOOD KHAN ( Pakistan), noting that peacekeeping was the “mainstay” of the United Nations, said contemporary conflicts were much more complex, chronic and lethal. It was a collective responsibility to forge common ground in evolving peacekeeping. He called for greater triangular cooperation, adding that his country had contributed more than 150,000 personnel to more than 41 missions. It must be ensured that a robust mandate had two caveats — that it not constitute a precedent or prejudice the principles of peacekeeping, and that peacekeeping and peace enforcement not be confused operationally. The trend was not new, as such operations had been authorized in conformity with the basic peacekeeping principles, including the non-use of force except in self-defence or when authorized in mandates. That must continue. The United Nations kept peace; it did not seek military solutions and it should not be seen as partisan. Nor should it take actions in contravention of humanitarian law. As for new technologies, unmanned vehicles were being used in MONUSCO to provide early warning and assist in protecting civilians. Such technologies were a growth industry, but their deployment should not be industry-driven. They must be tailored to specific environments and consistent with peacekeeping principles.
SEBASTIANO CARDI ( Italy) said maintaining international peace and security was the “core business” of the United Nations. His country had been the first troop contributor from the Western European and Others Group and the seventh financial contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations. Most of today’s operations had a civilian protection mandate, and noted that since the eruption of the South Sudan conflict at the end of 2013, more than 70,000 people had been rescued and hosted in peacekeeper camps. That was humanitarian aid in action for which peacekeeping gained credibility and praise. At the same time, the disparity between the expectations of the United Nations and its capacity to respond had grown starker. In times of budgetary constraints, the only possible solution was innovation. MONUSCO was a case in point, with the creation of new tools, such as the intervention brigade and the use of special high-tech equipment, including UAVs. Those tools had delivered to the highest expectations. He noted Italy’s funding of a project with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) for the use of satellite images to verify compliance of Security Council resolution 2139 (2014) concerning humanitarian access in Syria. To explore those and other applications in terms of how they could help peacekeeping, save lives, enhance international security and save money, he called for more private-public collaboration.
GERT ROSENTHAL ( Guatemala) supported complex multidimensional mandates. To prevent fragmenting and overworking troops, operations must have clear, achievable and verifiable mandates, tailored to each particular situation. He expressed apprehension over the implications and scope of “robust” peacekeeping operations. The deployment of peace enforcement forces raised questions, particularly how to reconcile their functions with basic peacekeeping principles. He recognized the added value of modern technologies to protect civilians, as well as the risks involved, particularly the application of core international humanitarian rules on the distinction between combatants and non-combatants. Such technologies must adhere to the principles of the Charter. The Council should be cautious when using inter-mission cooperation; it was vital to respect the mandate of each of the missions, as well as previous memorandums of understanding on specific operations between troop contributors and the United Nations. He called for a cost-benefit analysis of implementation of such measures, with a focus on lessons learned, as well as the legal, operational and financial policy implications for troop-contributing countries.
NORCHIT SINHASENI ( Thailand) noted that consideration of the outcome document after the debate allowed Council members to hear both Council and non-Council members’ views, especially those from troop- and police-contributing countries. Among several points made, he said that because many missions operated in protracted intra-State conflict, the concept of “consent of the parties to the conflict” and the principle of impartiality brought forward serious legal implications on the protected status of peacekeepers, as well as their safety. Furthermore, durable peace could not be achieved if women were not included, yet they represented approximately 10 per cent of United Nations police personnel and less than 3 per cent of the total United Nations military personnel. Gender mainstreaming efforts must continue to be prioritized in peacekeeping.
YURY AMBRAZEVICH ( Belarus) said the international community had worked to improve the shape and methodologies of peacekeeping operations so that the Organization could respond in a timely way to threats facing mankind. United Nations peacekeeping operations were key stabilizing factors in areas of tension. It was clear that the nature of conflicts today had changed significantly due to the existence of non-State groups and terrorist organizations. Those new threats meant that the Organization respond with flexible mandates for peacekeeping operations. Belarus noted United Nations efforts to adapt the nature of peacekeeping operations to face those new realities, including cooperation with regional organizations and the use of new technologies. Peacekeeping operations must be conducted with strict adherence to their mandates, including non-interference with host States. Sending troops abroad was a sensitive issue for Belarus, although the country was studying the possibility of broadening its participation in future peacekeeping operations.
KAIRAT ABDRAKHMANOV ( Kazakhstan) said that given the new trends in peacekeeping, coordination, streamlining and a high standard of training for hybrid peacekeeping operations were key factors for success. Field personnel required greater skill in liaising and cooperation with host nations and internal and external parties. The deployment of new technologies such as UAVs had shown beneficial results, although it would be helpful to have a special task force and platform in the Council to discuss future potential advances and modernization, their deployment and the ethical dilemmas involved. Enhanced training and the development of “on-call” lists of qualified personnel to quickly fill positions in peacekeeping operations should be pursued.
GONZALO DE BENITO, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Spain, associating himself with the European Union Delegation, said that “permanent dialogue” with regional and subregional organizations equipped the United Nations with new points of view, strengthened the regional approach to resolving conflict and brought closer the concerns and needs of the citizens. Child protection must also be incorporated from the beginning in all United Nations activities, by including it in mandates. Supporting the full implementation of resolutions relating to women, peace and security, he said peace could not be fully achieved without working in a continuous and coherent manner, based on national ownership towards strengthening institutions and developing local capacities.
YURIY SERGEYEV (Ukraine), associating himself with the European Union Delegation, noted that his country was one of the pioneers in the innovative form of peacekeeping that implemented inter-mission cooperation and promotion of regional approaches to regional issues, among others. With threats growing and budgets downsizing, such cooperation could be effective addressing challenges with the lowest costs. He called for the creation of more robust incentives to countries contributing military helicopters that would require some changes in the system of reimbursement. Reimbursement should not be for every hour, but instead be based on a fixed reimbursement for monthly rent, regardless of actual flying hours. That could encourage troop-contributing countries to be more active in providing military helicopters to missions. He also urged that the adopting of peacekeeping mandates be more “troop-contributing-country-friendly“, with relevant decisions made in advance of the target date, thus allowing for “breathing space” to bring new or extended mandates in line with their national legislations.
LIBRAN N. CABACTULAN (Philippines), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that while traditional threats continued to face the world, now new ones were involving non-State actors in a political milieu that was increasing complex and challenging. Although resources were being impacted by increasing restraints, that should not deter the international community from maintaining peace and security. His country made a modest contribution, but its determination was much bigger. He said that modern technology must uphold the principles enshrined in the Charter, namely sovereignty and territorial integrity. Questions about control and confidentiality of information collected must be addressed. He also stated that the impact of peacekeeping operations on the environment was important, and that missions not leave behind a footprint that negatively affected the local population.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA VELÁSQUEZ ( Peru) said peacekeeping operations were a fundamental aspect of United Nations activities, and that since 1958 his country had contributed more than 6,700 uniformed troops. In recent years there had been necessary changes in the scope of the mandates of peacekeeping operations. The multidimensional nature of the operations meant greater complexities, not just on the ground, but also in the planning. The impartiality of peacekeeping operations was vital for their legitimacy. Peru was concerned by the mandates of peace enforcement operations and felt it necessary to have a comprehensive discussion regarding their future scope. The growing complexity of the mandates of peacekeeping operations required greater cooperation between the Security Council, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and troop-contributing countries. Uniformed personnel should have access to training facilities, policy classes and the latest technologies. Peacekeeping operations should focus on activities that promoted the establishment of national processes and structures that would create a lasting peace and reaffirmed the concept of national ownership.
GONZALO KONCKE ( Uruguay) said his country’s primary motivation for participating in peacekeeping operations was not international prestige or the desire to improve the quality or training of its troops or equipment. Rather, Uruguay was actively involved in peacekeeping due to ethical imperatives and a quest for solidarity with other States, as well as the country’s wish to contribute to international peace and security. The international community must take into account the views of troop-contributing countries when formulating policies and work to build a true partnership. Uruguay was a primary troop-contributing country to MONUSCO and was concerned that the recently established intervention brigade exceeded the traditional definition of peacekeeping operations. Uruguay was concerned by the actions of the brigade and the possible impacts those troops could have on the protection of civilians and the safety of other peacekeepers. It was evident that the reimbursement rates for troop-contributing countries required adjustment to reflect increased costs, particularly in light of the recent financial crisis.
TEKEDA ALEMU ( Ethiopia), among several points, stressed the need to speed up the development of universally agreed concepts, doctrines and strategies. As seen in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Mali, developments on the ground had made it imperative to use force beyond self-defence, he said, recalling that the experience of Côte d’Ivoire illustrated that in a more graphic manner. While the principle of impartiality must be upheld, it must not lead to a middle ground between “an unjust and unfair claim” whose demands were “limited to the protection of rights universally recognized”. The principle of consent of the parties could also lose its meaning, he warned. “There are groups that are so much beyond the pale that asking for their consent might be both unwise and impractical.” In addition, the idea of non-use of force except in self-defence might lead to peacekeepers focusing more on their own safety, even in the face of potential mass atrocities, and with civilians facing mortal danger.
SITI HAJJER ADNIN ( Malaysia) noted that since 1960, her country had contributed 29,000 personnel to 30 missions. The scope of activities had also evolved to a more robust and multidimensional spectrum. However, that also entailed an increase in the number of “blue helmets” attacked with seemingly regularity by certain groups. The intervention brigade could represent one of the possible solutions to the dilemma faced by missions, she said, noting that its mandate to “use all necessary measures” was an important evolution in peacekeeping activities that could ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers. Emphasizing that mandates must be clear and training be enhanced, she said all peacekeepers and missions must be properly equipped. Inter-mission cooperation could fill critical gaps and yield positive results. She also cautioned that most modern equipment was procured from private companies, which created the risk of information leaking to third parties.
ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA ( Brazil) said the evolution of peacekeeping missions entailed a renewed commitment from troop-contributing countries that must deploy their citizens into riskier and more demanding, multidimensional operations. However, such a strengthened peacekeeping partnership would only be possible with the adoption of a fair reimbursement rate. International challenges to peace and security often found their root causes in poverty, social exclusion, discrimination and impunity, and there could be little hope for peace and security without addressing them. Brazil recognized the potential benefits of inter-mission cooperation, especially when a quick response was needed, he said, adding that investing in new technologies would only be effective if pursued in parallel with investment in human resources.
OMAR HILALE ( Morocco) said that all must continue to respect the basic principles governing United Nations peacekeeping operations, including impartiality, non-use of force, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each country involved and non-involvement in the internal affairs of States. Peacekeeping mandates should be respected by all those involved when implemented on the ground, and the use of new technologies should be given further consideration pending consensus on all aspects of their use.
WILBERT IBUGE (United Republic of Tanzania), aligning himself with the Southern African Development Community (SADC), emphasized that although the protection of civilians was at the centre of most peacekeeping missions, the primary responsibility for that lay with the host Government, no matter how weak it might appear, as long as it enjoyed the legitimacy bestowed by the majority of its population. Peacekeeping operations must therefore work in tandem with host Governments. The debate over the current global economic crunch must not be one-sided, he said, adding that amid continuing cost-cutting and downsizing, troop- and police-contributing countries were bearing the brunt of the peacekeeping burden. “This is neither acceptable nor sustainable,” he said. The Council must ensure that mandates were not only realistic, but commensurate with the resources allocated to the associated missions.
ABDOU SALAM DIALLO ( Senegal) said mandates must be adapted to the reality of the theatre of operations and take post-conflict or pre-election situations into account. New technology, such as UAVs, could contribute to peace and security, but rigorous management of the information they gathered was essential. In that regard, cooperation between the United Nations and subregional organizations must include capacity-building, he said. Member States should settle their pledges in a timely manner so as to ensure that peacekeeping operations received the allotted resources.
LE HOAI TRUNG (Viet Nam), informing the Council of his country’s intention to send peacekeepers to UNMISS at the end of June, said that successful United Nations peacekeeping operations required strict adherence to the purposes and principles of the Charter and the universally recognized guidelines of consent of the parties, non-use of force except in self-defence, total impartiality, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States and non-interference in their internal affairs. Recent attacks targeting United Nations peacekeepers compelled the international community to ensure the highest possible standards of security and safety for blue helmets. It was also crucial to adequately address the root causes of conflicts by engaging all parties involved on the basis of dialogue and the peaceful settlement of disputes.
OSAMA ABDELKHALEK (Egypt) speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed that the development of peacekeeping mandates must be done at the intergovernmental level in a policy development process that must be coupled with the necessary resources to ensure the successful fulfilment of the assigned tasks. The importance of consensus in the development of policies and approaches required collaboration, as well as avoidance of policy streams that were not agreed through intergovernmental processes. Financial support, human resources and military assets were of critical importance. He underlined the importance of drawing on the knowledge of troop-contributing countries when the Council created or extended peacekeeping mandates. They were best placed to provide objective assessments of what was happening on the ground. It was important that the General Assembly adopt a decision to increase the reimbursement rate before the end of this month, he said, adding that the Council should not push forward mandates that lacked political support or the necessary resources. The contributions of troop-contributing countries in policy formulation could not be understated, and the Non-Aligned Movement called for triangular cooperation between troop- and police-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat. All future peacekeeping operations must adhere strictly to the basic principles of the United Nations Charter, he said, adding that the decision to use new technologies, such as UAVs, in peacekeeping operations should only be taken on a case-by-cases basis.
DESRA PERCAYA (Indonesia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, emphasized that basic peacekeeping principles were indispensable while pointing out that there was a clear distinction between peacekeeping and peace enforcement. Peacekeeping operations should not be used to intervene in other countries and impose the interests of external actors. The expansion of a mandate and its ambit for the use of force without a carefully laid out, comprehensive and adequately supported plan constituting a credible political process would put associated mission’s impartiality, as well as the safety and security of its personnel, at risk. Furthermore, the Secretariat should refrain from developing policies or guidelines without discussing them in an intergovernmental setting. Additionally, the Council should engage more frequently and substantively with all peacekeeping stakeholders through all phases of a mission and reflect the different concerns involved. Indonesia was currently participating in eight missions and would continue to support efforts to lay down the foundations for a stable international peace.
CHARLES PETER MSOSA (Malawi), speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community, said that for peacekeeping operations to remain truly relevant, mandates must be crystal clear, both in terms of what they envisaged and in terms of the resources to carry out its tasks. The allotted resources were, therefore, critical to avoiding the “fallacy of over-expectation” in relation to the mission’s capabilities and the local people’s view of them. It was essential that missions continue to retain the cooperation and support of the populations they were deployed to assist, he said. Furthermore, peacekeeping troops must be qualified and well trained, as well as politically determined to deter impunity, including the use of force, he continued. It was also important that troop- and police-contributing countries deploy their political capital to “bear on the situation”, in tandem with their military and police contingents. By the same token, it was necessary that United Nations efforts harness the political will and joint cooperation of neighbouring countries and the regional bloc to which the conflict-affected country belonged.
KAREL J.G. VAN OOSTEROM ( Netherlands), associating himself with the European Union Delegation, said that peace, justice, and development issues were interlinked when it came to conflict-situations. Therefore, planning of peacekeeping operations must integrate diplomacy, defence and development on a strategic, operational and tactical level throughout the lifecycle of the mission. Peacekeepers should receive improved training and instruction that included basic understanding of all activities conducted by a mission, as well as its roles and responsibilities. Gender and child protection should be given special attention. Reinforcing the capacity of regional organizations to conduct such trainings could be one way of providing cost-effective instructions. In addition, around–the-clock situational awareness was crucial. The Netherlands units in MINUSMA were the eyes and ears in the field, and also contributed to the “Rights up front” initiative through early warning concerning human rights and protection of civilians.
LEVENT ELER ( Turkey) said peacekeeping operations played a critical role in providing a better future for the world's inhabitants and were the flagship activity of the United Nations. The number of worldwide conflicts was on the rise and was increasingly of an inter-State nature, involving non-State actors and terrorist organizations, and required the evolution of the concept of peacekeeping. Peacekeeping operations must win the hearts and minds of people to mitigate risk which could jeopardize mission success. New technologies must be utilized to provide safety and security to peacekeeping operations and help with the fulfilment of mandates. The use of such technologies must be done in conformity with international law, the United Nations Charter and with absolute transparency. The sharing of assets between missions could increase efficiency, but there were a number of challenges that needed to be addressed. Cooperation with international, regional and subregional organizations must be strengthened.
DAVID DONOGHUE (Ireland), associating himself with the European Union Delegation, said that robust operations that were more proactive in the protection of civilians, such as those in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, did not have any impact on the impartiality of United Nations peacekeeping. Impartiality did not mean a neutral equidistance between two or more parties, in that case, Government forces and non-Government armed groups. It meant implementing a mandate in a fair-minded and unbiased manner. However, that approach could only work if undertaken to deliver clear political goals and as part of a broader stabilization strategy. He called for vague, aspirational mission mandates to be replaced with mandates of clear purpose, “tempered by achievable and realistic ambition”. Furthermore, the recent refocus of the South Sudan mission and reallocation of resources from other operations to it was a step in the right direction. Given the scarcity of resources, there was a “clear case” for moving to downsize or close some long-standing missions.
ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEM (Bangladesh), noting that unmanned aerial surveillance systems were helping to improve situational awareness, early warning capacity, and safety and security of peacekeeping personnel, said he fully supported the prudent and realistic use of appropriate modern technology to enhance the reach of peacekeepers and increase their operational capabilities in complex environments. However, there was need to differentiate between robust peacekeeping and the use of peacekeepers as combatants, he cautioned. Bangladesh followed a policy of “friendship to all and malice to none”, he said, adding that his country would not like to see peacekeepers siding with any warring faction. In that regard, Bangladesh fully supported the statement by India’s representative, he said, strongly echoing his call on the Council to increase reimbursement rates in line with the survey mandated by the General Assembly. He said that his country’s police personnel and aviation unit in South Sudan had faced “very tough” days for lack of minimum mission support. It was important to strengthen coordination among the Council, troop contributors and the Secretariat.
CHARLOTTEE OMOY MALENGA (Democratic Republic of the Congo), associating herself with the South African Development Community, said that peacekeeping operations were not just about maintaining peace and security, but also about helping conflict-torn countries create the conditions for a return to lasting peace. Peace operations must facilitate the political process, protect civilians, promote human rights and assist with elections, among other tasks. Emphasizing the importance of the assistance provided to restore State authority countrywide, she said that MONUSCO’s notable and effective role and that of the intervention brigade had been witnessed by all. Surveillance drones had “broken the mould of traditional concepts” in peace operations and opened the way to the use of modern technology in making them more efficient and effective, she said. For the long-suffering population of the countries in the Great Lakes region — the Democratic Republic of the Congo having lost 6 million souls — today’s meeting was evidence of the will to evaluate specificities “together and without complacency”, and to identify remaining challenges. Once restored, the country could focus on key issues, such as combating poverty and improving living conditions for the Congolese people, she said.
JIM MCLAY (New Zealand) said peacekeeping was presently under serious stress, owing to unprecedented demand, the complexity of new security threats, undiagnosed root causes, lack of effective early warning from the field and insufficient inclusion of troop-contributing countries and other major stakeholders. The Council “must do a lot better”. Peacekeeping must evolve to meet the challenges, he said, voicing support for the evolution of multidimensional mandates. Such operations — when designed sensibly, with good oversight, quick-impact projects and adequate resources, as well as a strategy for progressive transition to peacebuilding — could make a very positive contribution. He said that he shared concerns about the difficulties inherent in robust mandates, but stressed that the solution was not simply to “retreat to the old-fashioned peacekeeping of the past”. Neutral observer missions still had their rightful place, but the United Nations could not stand aside, as the Brahimi report pointed out. There were times when it must act, and it should never be forgotten that the Charter recognized the central role of collective action. The new trends also meant that the Council must do better, including in terms of recognizing the role and competence of regional and subregional organizations.
NICHOLAS EMILIOU ( Cyprus) stressed the necessity of adequately equipping military as well as civilian peacekeeping personnel, declaring: “Up-to-date technology is a sine qua non.” Safeguarding peacekeepers and providing an upgraded working and living environment should also be a priority. Extending peacekeeping mandates when necessary could help guarantee the safety and security of peacekeepers. The pivotal role of women in conflict management and resolution was of great importance, and Cyprus supported increased participation by women in peace processes and peacekeeping operations, including in senior roles. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus was a woman and the incoming Force Commander was the first woman ever to lead a peacekeeping force, he pointed out. “We are certain that their insight will prove decisive in our efforts.”
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