Briefers Stress Need to Provide Peacekeepers with Proper Equipment, Training
Peace operations today increasingly faced asymmetrical threats from violent extremist and terrorist groups that specifically targeted peacekeepers, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told the Security Council today.
During an open debate on “peace operations facing asymmetrical threats”, which attracted some 60 participants, the Deputy Secretary-General said violent extremism and terrorism thrived on impunity and failures of governance, exploiting deep-rooted grievances. That was the context in which the United Nations must often operate. In responding, it would need more sophisticated and predictable uniformed capabilities and a deeper understanding of the operating environment, he said, emphasizing the critical importance of developing intelligence and analysis.
He went on to stress three priorities for preparing operations to face asymmetrical threats, saying that, firstly, everything must be done to ensure the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel. Adapting to the manner in which mandates were delivered was a second priority, he said, cautioning that an over-generalized approach could be counterproductive. Third was building accountable and legitimate State capacity that would ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law in order to avoid perpetuating drivers of conflict and extremism.
The Council also heard from Michaëlle Jean, Secretary-General of the International Organization of La Francophonie, who said that, since the French-speaking world was the theatre of half of all United Nations peacekeeping operations, it saw at first hand the urgent need to adapt their mandates and methods in order to face emerging asymmetrical threats. The attacks of the past two days in Mali, in which French and Togolese soldiers had died, were tragic examples, she added.
Peacekeeping missions must have more agile and robust capabilities in order to be able to protect themselves and the local population, where mandated, she said. It was also necessary to counter all criminal groups seeking to destabilize countries and to control illicit trafficking routes, through robust, effective, collective international action alongside the efforts of the States concerned and their respective regional organizations.
Jean-Paul Laborde, Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, described its Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) and United Nations peace operations as partners within the Council, with distinct but mutually reinforcing mandates. The Directorate’s aim was to undertake independent evaluations of the capacity of Member States to combat terrorism, he explained. Operating on the front lines, peace operations and special political missions could help States to enhance border controls and rule-of-law institutions.
The mandates of CTED and peace operations must be expanded in a “one UN” approach, he said, emphasizing the importance of enhancing institutional cooperation. The Directorate could continue to offer its experience in combating terrorism, as well as recommendations and best practices. However, host countries and missions needed technical assistance to implement the recommendations on the ground, which called for better coordination between agencies. There was also a need to coordinate bilateral assistance.
Also briefing the Council, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), spotlighted the links between terrorist organizations and criminal gangs involved in the illicit trafficking of drugs, people and weapons. He said that his Office was undertaking projects to counter organized crime and strengthen the rule of law and criminal justice systems, while also countering radicalization in prisons and the recruitment of terrorist fighters.
Arthur Boutellis, Director of the Brian Urquhart Center for Peace Operations, pointed out that 7 of the 11 countries most affected by terrorism were hosts to United Nations peace operations. The question was whether they could undertake counter-terrorism operations. According to a report by the Brian Urquhart Center, they were not the appropriate tool for counter-terrorism operations, he said. While it was essential to adapt operations in order to protect civilians and staff on the ground, the practical question was how to adapt, he emphasized. Retreating within compounds was not the solution.
Opening the debate, Mankeur Ndiaye, Council President for November and Senegal’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad, noted that asymmetric threats to peacekeeping operations, whether from terrorism or organized transnational crime, had been growing in severity and must become a sustained focus of the Council if United Nations peacekeeping was to perform its functions effectively. It was important to equip missions adequately with modern technology, to tailor mandates to the operational environment, and to develop resilience and robustness in terms of mobility and other areas.
Many speakers cited the reviews of the United Nations peacekeeping and peacebuilding architecture by the High-level Panel Independent Panel on Peace Operations. They noted that peace operations were not fit to execute counter-terrorism operations. Instead, peacekeeping operations and special political missions should enhance the capacity of States to regain control and help them to build their capability to maintain the rule of law. However, peace operations must have the necessary capabilities and posture to protect themselves. China’s representative stressed the necessity of maintaining the principles of neutrality, sovereignty of host countries and non-use of force except in self-defence or defence of mandate.
Angola’s representative underlined the importance of integrating the prevention of violent extremism into peacekeeping mandates, saying military tools should not be discarded in the face of such threats. Uruguay’s representative, however, said the United Nations should not engage in counter-terrorism combat operations. The affected State should take the necessary military actions and if it was unable to do so, an international force could be equipped to combat terrorism.
The Permanent Observer of the African Union, stressed that optimal use must be made of the principle of complementarity under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, when collaborating with regional organizations such as the African Union. The bloc had demonstrated its ability to quickly deploy missions with robust mandates in dangerous environments, and for that reason, it was requesting unanimous Council support for its proposal that the United Nations share 75 per cent of the cost of its Security Council-authorized operations.
Mali’s representative said his country had become the most dangerous one for peacekeepers. While Council resolution 2295 (2016) had given the United nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) a more robust mandate, none of the relevant provisions had not been implemented five months after that text’s adoption. The mission lacked logistical equipment, he said, adding that the withdrawal of three helicopter units and the lack of attack helicopters were also matters of serious concern.
Also addressing the Council today were ministers and other senior officials representing Ukraine, United States, Spain, Egypt, Japan, Malaysia, France, Russian Federation, Venezuela (speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement), United Kingdom, New Zealand, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Brazil, India, Pakistan, Iran, Guatemala, Italy, Thailand (for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Germany, Poland, Norway (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Belgium, Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Lithuania, Paraguay, South Africa, Israel, Gambia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Haiti, Australia, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Turkey, Maldives, Argentina and Syria, as did observers for the European Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 5:34 p.m.
JAN ELIASSON, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that peace operations today increasingly faced asymmetrical threats from violent extremist and terrorist groups who specifically targeted peacekeepers, two of whom had come under attack in Mali yesterday. The Secretary-General had condemned that action and had said that such attacks might constitute war crimes under international law. For United Nations peace operations to be able to work safely and carry out their mandates in today’s complex conflicts, they must develop strategies to face the new conditions, he emphasized.
Violent extremism and terrorism thrived on impunity and failures of governance, exploiting deep-rooted grievances, he continued, adding that that was the context in which the United Nations must often operate. In responding, it would need more sophisticated and predictable uniformed capabilities and a deeper understanding of the operating environment, he said, stressing the critical importance of developing intelligence and analysis. There would also be a need to adjust the manner in which core tasks — including good offices, capacity-building, community engagement and stabilization measures — were conducted. The political objectives of peace operations must be clearly defined and communicated, and strategies must be devised for building coalitions of support around local, national and regional political objectives.
He went on to underline three priorities for preparing operations to face asymmetrical threats. First, everything must be done to ensure the safety and security of personnel. That meant greater situational awareness, analysis and force-protection measures. New technologies must be used and uniformed units with robust built-in self-protection tools deployed. Adapting to the manner in which mandates were delivered was a second priority, he said, noting that an over-generalized approach could be counterproductive. Thirdly, it would be important to build accountable and legitimate State capacity that would ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law in order to avoid perpetuating drivers of conflict and extremism.
The United Nations was providing technical assistance in such areas as criminal justice, border control, kidnapping for ransom, dealing with foreign terrorist fighters and the financing of terrorism, he said. The Organization was also supporting engagement with youth and the development of skills, he said, describing the Integrated Assistance for Countering Terrorism Initiative as an important tool. Recalling that Member States had come together over the past few years “in an impressive display of unity” to develop a blueprint for peace, sustainable development and dignity for all on a healthy planet, he pointed out that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognized that all challenges and opportunities were interdependent and mutually reinforcing. “If we implement the 2030 Agenda and use the full potential of the sustaining peace resolutions, discussions like the one we have today will hopefully be much less urgent and necessary than they are today,” he said.
MICHAËLLE JEAN, Secretary-General, International Organization of La Francophonie, said that, since the French-speaking world was the theatre of half of all United Nations peacekeeping operations, it saw at first hand the urgent need to adapt their mandates and their methods so as to face emerging asymmetrical threats. The attacks of the past two days in Mali, in which French and Togolese soldiers had died, were tragic examples. She strongly condemned such attacks, and all other violence against “Blue Helmets” as unacceptable, including those generated by protests against the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) over the past week. “The threats are constant, they are not going away,” she noted.
Peacekeeping operations must have more agile and robust capabilities in order to work with their host nations while protecting themselves and the population, where mandated, she said.
It was also necessary to counter all criminal groups seeking to destabilize countries and to control illicit trafficking routes, through robust, effective, collective international action alongside the efforts of the States concerned and their respective regional organizations. States like those of the Lake Chad Basin facing Boko Haram needed international assistance in the areas of equipment, intelligence and other areas in order to be able to maintain peace and security in their respective territories. Noting that French-speaking countries and their peacekeepers had become a “laboratory” for countering emerging threats and preventing crisis, she said the La Francophonie was lobbying for greater civilian expertise in crisis prevention and for “sounding the alarm” on extremist threats.
In addition to the security realm, the response to threats and radicalization must be strong, determined and broad in all areas, from education to development to the protection of human rights such as freedom of expression, she said. Intelligence cooperation was especially important, particularly for peacekeeping operations, as was training, an area in which La Francophonie was ready to assist. The language factor was critical, and the organization had created tools for the relevant training, she said, calling for increased recruitment of French-speaking defence and security forces for deployment in peacekeeping missions operating in French-speaking regions, and for greater involvement by international organizations with La Francophonie. All the capacities of all stakeholders must be pooled to fight emerging threats, she stressed, pledging La Francophonie’s continuing commitment to that effort.
YURY FEDOTOV, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), spotlighted the links between terrorist organizations and criminal gangs involved in the illicit trafficking of drugs, people and weapons, saying peacekeeping operations faced dangerous new threats in such a context. UNODC was undertaking projects, in conjunction with Member States, to counter organized crime and strengthen the rule of law and criminal justice systems, while also countering radicalization in prisons and the recruitment of terrorist fighters. Partnership with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was key, he emphasized. Describing efforts by his Office in the Sahel, he cited three new multidimensional regional programmes in which UNODC was working with other United Nations entities and host countries on a wide range of issues relating to asymmetrical threats.
JEAN-PAUL LABORDE, Executive Director, Counter-Terrorism Committee, said the current terrorist threat was present in three different forms. There were affected countries listed by the Council, such as Iraq, Mali and Nigeria; violent ideologies that inspired terrorist attacks; and terrorist risks prevalent in vulnerable States. Terrorist groups seized every opportunity presented by local conflicts to extend their activities, including by taking control of territory. Two thirds of peacekeepers were operating in areas where terrorism and violent extremism were present, he said, adding that asymmetrical threats posed risks for both peacekeepers and civilians.
Emphasizing that the close relationship linking local and regional terrorism with violent extremism and organized crime threatened international peace and security, he described the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) and United Nations peace operations as partners within the Council, with distinct but mutually reinforcing mandates. The aim of the CTED was to undertake independent evaluations of the capacity of Member States to combat terrorism, he explained, highlighting the close interplay between the Directorate and other counter-terrorism players. Operating on the front lines, peace operations and special political missions could help States to enhance border controls and rule-of-law institutions.
The CTED had established best practices in combating terrorism, established in dialogue with regional organizations, among other partners, he said. They were based on specific Council resolutions and international anti-terrorism instruments. The mandates of the Directorate and peace operations must be expanded in a “one UN” approach, he added, emphasizing the importance of enhancing institutional cooperation. The CTED could continue to offer its experience in combating terrorism, with recommendations and best practices. However, host countries and missions needed technical assistance to implement the recommendations on the ground, which called for better coordination between agencies, as well as with regional organizations on the ground, such as the League of Arab States and the Council of Europe. There was also a need to coordinate bilateral assistance.
ARTHUR BOUTELLIS, Director, Brian Urquhart Center for Peace Operations, pointed out that seven of the 11 countries most affected by terrorism hosted peace operations, emphasizing that their deployment in countries where terrorist attacks occurred added to operational complexity. The question was whether peace operations could undertake counter-terrorism operations, noting that, according to a report by the Brian Urquhart Center, United Nations peace operations were not the appropriate tool for counter-terrorism operations. In order to protect civilians and staff on the ground it was essential to adapt operations, but the practical question was how to adapt, he said. Retreating within compounds was not the solution. Noting that the was a gap between the policy debate in New York and the realities on the ground, he said the report sought to expand the scope of the discussion as to how peace operations could better implement their mandates and help Governments in the face of terrorism.
The question was how, whether and where preventive approaches should be incorporated into mandates, and whether that could be done without impairing impartiality, he continued. To that end, United Nations peace operations must develop a nuanced understanding of drivers leading to radicalization, which in turn would require better intelligence, he said. Greater coherence was also needed, which would require discussions among Member States and among counter-terrorism organizations. It was important that peace operations preserve space for dialogue with all actors, he emphasized, adding that Council sanctions should not prevent such discussions. Peace operations should also have honest conversations with Governments about what the United Nations did not do and where it could add value. Peace operations should also encourage host nations to address conditions that were conducive to terrorism, he said, adding that they could start mainstreaming strategies for preventing and sustaining peace by adopting a no-harm approach. A decisive military approach would not be effective, he said, stressing the need for a preventive approach instead.
MANKEUR NDIAYE, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad of Senegal, noted that asymmetric threats to peacekeeping operations, whether from terrorism or organized transnational crime, had been growing in severity and must become a sustained focus of the Council if United Nations peacekeeping was to perform its functions effectively. Since ignoring such threats or refusing to deploy operations were not options, missions must be adapted to their operational environments, he emphasized.
As a large contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations, Senegal stressed the importance of adequately equipping missions with modern mitigation technology, tailoring mandates to operational environments and developing resilience and robustness in the areas of mobility and other support. Noting that modern capabilities had been proven effective in countering asymmetrical threats, particularly in the area of intelligence, he stressed that coordination with counter-terrorism efforts was crucial.
PAVLO KLIMKIN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, associating himself with the European Union, said his country was among the leading European troop-contributors to United Nations peacekeeping. As adequate force generation remained a challenge, Ukraine supported better integration of modern technology and intelligence capabilities into peace operations. Protection of civilians was often decisive for the success and legitimacy of United Nations peacekeeping operations, he said, underlining the importance of learning the right lessons from both the situation that had occurred in connection with violence in Juba in July 2016, and the response to it by the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS).
He said United Nations peacekeeping operations were not suited to “full-fledged” counter-terrorist measures, adding that when drafting their mandates, the Council should avoid sticking to the outdated approach that modern conflicts were internal by nature. In reality, most were of a cross-border or hybrid nature. Ukraine had learned lessons from its experience of asymmetrical threats: the terrorist component of the hybrid war waged against Ukraine was evident. The United Nations should enhance its strategic partnership with regional organizations, he said, welcoming the initiative to establish a United Nations Secretariat liaison in Vienna with the aim of fostering closer interaction with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
SAMANTHA POWER (United States) condemned recent attacks on peacekeepers, paying tribute to Blue Helmets who worked under constant threat. Peacekeeping missions must be better prepared and have the ability to use robust force when necessary, as part of the systemic reform of United Nations peacekeeping. Regional and other forces were important as support, but could not be the complete answer, she emphasized. While peacekeepers should not engage in offensive counter-terrorism efforts, however, they could not just walk away from terrorist violence and must be able to defend themselves as well as civilians. Citing MINUSMA as an example of the need to adapt peacekeeping missions, she said Member States contributing personnel to that Mission were taking enormous risks in the effort to stabilize northern Mali. They must urgently address shortages in logistics, particularly helicopters and intelligence, she stressed, pointing out that her country was providing training and technology for operations in dangerous environments. She noted that unmanned aerial systems could save lives, while acknowledging the concerns about that technology. Outreach to local populations was important in preventing hostility to United Nations operations and in providing early warning, she added.
IGNACIO YBAÑEZ, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, condemned the recent attacks on peacekeepers and, associating himself with the statement of the European Union, said more collective consideration must be given to missions operating in dangerous environments. They must have the necessary specific capacities, including the relevant intelligence technologies. He also emphasized the need for proper training for operations in dangerous peacekeeping contexts, saying his country was actively involved in that regard. Comprehensive strategies and robust, proactive mandates must be considered in areas where civilian protection and asymmetrical threats were a focus of the mission.
Smooth and substantive dialogue with troop-contributing countries was critical for all such objectives, he continued. United Nations police could help to increase the capacity of local law enforcers to counter threats, and there was also a need for a comprehensive focus on mediation, conflict prevention, cooperation with local communities and other cross-cutting issues. Calling for implementation of the Secretary-General’s action plan on stemming violent extremism, he emphasized that peacekeeping operations must not mount military operations, although it was critical to include them in a coherent international strategy against terrorism and to ensure their ability to protect themselves and civilians when necessary. Spain remained committed to those objectives, he stressed.
AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said that the mandates of United Nations peace operations, when confronted with asymmetrical threats, should be adapted, as should their capabilities to confront such dangers. Noting that addressing threats of terrorism entailed countering extremist and terrorist ideologies, he emphasized that peace missions were not mandated to execute counter-terrorism operations. They should enhance the capacity of States to regain control and help to build their capabilities in maintaining the rule of law. Peacekeepers should have the necessary capabilities to protect themselves and enjoy adequate medical care. Confronting armed groups could not be a pretext for peace operations to use offensive force, he said, stressing the need for operations to maintain impartiality.
KORO BESSHO (Japan), noting that asymmetric threats in the form of physical attacks against peacekeepers made it difficult to implement mandates, said the Council should give a sufficiently robust mandate to enable peacekeeping missions to ensure the security of their personnel. Beyond that, mandates would have to be studied on a case-by-case basis, consider the capacity of national security forces, as well as the presence and capacity of any other international force. Peacekeeping capacity improvement and capacity-building of countries suffering from internal conflicts were particularly important. Stressing the importance of training for domestic police forces to eradicate terror, he said Japan had trained more than 20,000 police officers of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and would continue to support institution building in that country.
RAMLAN BIN IBRAHIM (Malaysia), associating himself with ASEAN, said the inclusion of the protection of civilians had been a turning point in United Nations peace mandates. An increasing number of missions were currently deployed in complex environments, facing asymmetrical threats that threatened to unravel hard-won gains in establishing peace. Troops on the ground should have the necessary capabilities, including new technologies and training, and host nations should establish networks for sharing information with peacekeepers, he said. They should work hand-in-hand with peace operations in addressing threats and assume full responsibility for mission security.
ISMAEL ABRAÃO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) expressed concern at the increased targeting of peace operations through asymmetrical operations by extremist and terrorist organizations, including through hostage-taking, suicide bombings and the use of improvised explosive devices. Missions were unable to engage in counter-terrorism operations, and there was therefore an urgent need to review their capacities and posture. The prevention of violent extremism should be integrated into mandates, he said, emphasizing that military tools should not be discarded when countering violent extremism. There was a need for clear mandates, adequate resources, appropriate support and pre-deployment training, he said, adding that intelligence-gathering capacities were crucial for the safety of peacekeepers. Effective relations with local populations were also essential, he said, underlining also the need to strengthen the capacity of national security forces.
LIU JIEYI (China), noting the complex challenges facing peacekeeping, affirmed the need for adaptation to meet them, emphasizing, however, the necessity of maintaining the principles of neutrality, sovereignty of host countries and non-use of force. There was a need for continuing dialogue with host countries as well as avoidance of open-ended missions. There must be strict adherence to mandates, which must be specific to particular situations, while priority tasks and the focus of efforts should be adapted to changing situations. While stressing the need to avoid all-embracing mandates, he said peacekeeping missions could enhance the counter-terrorism capabilities of host countries when appropriate, in concert with those countries. The safety and security of peacekeepers must become a much greater focus of consideration for the Council and logistical support, including medical-evacuation capabilities, should be strengthened, he added. At the same time, precious peacekeeping resources must be used efficiently and waste avoided. Relevant training was critical and cooperation among all partners was important in providing it, he said, underlining also the need to improve communications with troop-contributing countries. As the largest troop contributor among the permanent Security Council members, China remained committed to bolstering United Nations peacekeeping capabilities, he said.
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) said that a robust posture was clearly needed to face asymmetric threats in such situations as that of MINUSMA. France was providing support to help such missions face the threats, but there was need to build further on the strategic planning cell concept and other mechanisms to allow for adequate responses to threats. To that end, missions must be adequately equipped with intelligence capacities and include troops that could speak local language, including French in many cases. Noting that triangular cooperation in equipping and training troops had been a useful way to prepare contingencies for difficult environments, he called for enhancing communications and coordination between peacekeeping operations and counter-terrorism entities, as well as between host countries and regional organizations. France would continue to work with all stakeholders in strengthening peacekeeping, he pledged.
ELBIO ROSELLI (Uruguay) said there was a distinction between protection against asymmetrical threats and the fight against terrorism, including offensive military operations. The United Nations should not engage in counter-terrorism combat operations. The affected State should take necessary military actions and if it was unable to do so, there might be a need for a complementary tool, with an international force equipped to combat terrorism. Peace operations could play a role, however, in strengthening institutional State capacities to combat terrorism. It was vital that peace operations had the capacity and training to fulfil their tasks, he said, urging that the rules of engagement be tailored to specific environments and that cooperation between peace operations and United Nations counter-terrorism bodies be improved.
PETR ILIICHEV (Russian Federation) said asymmetrical threats did not simply appear out of thin air, but rather were the consequence of the changing context of conflicts. How could blue helmets act if they could not distinguish between fighters and civilians, he asked. In offensive counter-terrorism operations, peacekeepers could be accused of becoming a party to the conflict, increasing the risk to civilians and blue helmets. Those operations should be executed by national or regional forces. There was a need for improved cooperation with host countries, as well as for proper planning, financing and training. Discussions about such matters as intelligence-gathering could better take place in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, also called the Committee of 34. He was “saddened” by Ukraine’s continued propaganda in the Council on matters that had nothing to do with the subject at hand.
RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the Non-aligned Movement, expressed concern about the high number of deaths among peacekeepers in recent years, calling on the Secretariat to prioritize their protection. The establishment of any peacekeeping operation or extension of mandate should be done with respect for the Charter of the United Nations and principles, such as the consent of parties, non-use of force and impartiality.
Those principles, which had guided peacekeeping over the past five decades, must be preserved, he said. Information-gathering, which was sometimes called intelligence, could make a useful contribution, but there was a need to reach consensus on that delicate topic before developing a policy framework. Highlighting the need for cooperation among troop- and police-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Council, he expressed support for the reorganization of the modalities of triangular cooperation.
Speaking in his national capacity, he stressed that peacekeeping operations should not be created to initiate or revive political processes, or administer countries where there was no peace. Peacekeepers must have mandates approved by the Security Council as regards the protection of civilians, as well as the necessary training to carry out their tasks. Information-gathering through covert actions, including tapping communications and the use of informants, was unacceptable. Sustained peace could be achieved only by addressing root causes.
MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom) said the nature of conflicts had changed since the first peacekeeping operation, drawing attention to the increase in complex and lethal challenges. Peacekeepers must not engage in counter-terrorism operations, he said, emphasizing the need to operate safely on the ground. For successful outcomes, coherent planning and a readily available pool of troops were crucial, as was adequate training for peacekeepers.
GERARD VAN BOHEMEN (New Zealand) said peacekeeping operations were inherently ill-suited to carry out counter-terrorism or counter-insurgency tasks and asking them to do so was “a recipe for disaster”. Yet, given that peacekeepers continued to operate in environments where armed groups posed a serious threat, efforts must be taken to ensure they could cope with such challenges. Peacekeepers required clear mandates, rules of engagement and contingency planning. They also must be trained and equipped. In particular, restrictions to intelligence and surveillance capabilities should be lifted so that peacekeepers could better detect threats. The Council must provide more meaningful oversight of peacekeepers in environments where asymmetric threats were present. Towards that end, he supported the establishment of regular situational awareness briefings, stressing the need for cooperation among United Nations agencies, and welcoming the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism as a positive step in that direction.
YURIY VITRENKO (Ukraine) took the floor a second time to respond to the Russian Federation’s delegate, saying that asymmetrical threats were what the Russian Federation presented to the world, not just to Ukraine. Each Member State should decide who served on the Council and who did not. The United Nations membership had provided an answer in electing Ukraine to serve on the Council for two years, unlike the Russian Federation, which had gained membership in 1991 through an unclear and opaque procedure.
Mr. ILIICHEV (Russian Federation) took the floor a second time to respond to Ukraine’s delegate, saying that, regarding the relevance of today’s topic, many delegates had referred to the need for a political track in settling issues, in order to avoid asymmetrical threats. He said he had referred to the Minsk Agreements, which were unfulfilled despite the promises of the President of Ukraine. Achieving a solid, sound peace would only happen through the Minsk Agreements.
RAYMOND TSHIBANDA N'TUNGAMULONGO, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Francophonie of the Democratic Republic of Congo, said the global security landscape had shifted from inter-State armed conflicts to asymmetrical threats involving non-State actors. Violent extremism was on the rise while attacks on civilian populations had become the new normal, given that enemies were not afraid to die. In such an environment, peacekeeping operations must remain relevant, yet continue to respect the principles of consent, non-use of force and impartiality, he pointed out.
“Given the increasing number of victims, we have to take a number of bold and brave measures,” he continued, stressing that United Nations peacekeepers must comply with the rules and strengthen cooperation with host countries. At the same time, they must be provided with adequate human and technical resources, as well as increased operational capabilities tailored to their goals, he said, stressing the need to use new technologies, such as drones, to gather intelligence. “We should be realistic and consider change,” he said. Operations must act according to ground conditions. Successful outcomes required better coordination with Governments and regional organizations in addressing asymmetrical threats.
CARLOS SERGIO SOBRAL DUARTE (Brazil), affirming the urgent need to combat terrorism, warned, however, against unwise interventions that could exacerbate the problem. Prevention must be prioritized and underlying causes taken into consideration. In peacekeeping, it was important to adhere to foundational principles such as parties’ consent, impartiality and non-use of force outside of self-defence and performance of mandated duties. In cases of asymmetric threats, he said emphasis on the military aspect of terrorism could increase the risks to peacekeepers and stressed that fulfilling a mandate to protect civilians from imminent threat should not be confused with direct involvement in offensive counter-terrorism operations. Safety and security of peacekeepers must be addressed as a top priority through adequate equipment, proper training, robust logistics and well-protected camps. A comprehensive response to improvised explosive devices was critical, as was guidance, support for new technology and intelligence-gathering, quick-reaction capability and force enablers. Enhanced cooperation among the Council, the Secretariat and troop contributors might bridge the gap between expectations and results in those areas and in all peacekeeping endeavours.
SYED AKBARUDDIN (India) said that, although threats to the Organization’s peacekeeping enterprises were not new, what was different today was that parties involved were using technological advances in weaponry to their benefit, had adopted transnational ideologies and were linked to trans-border crime and terror networks. One solution was to adopt policy and operational guidelines on the use of force, including new technology and intelligence gathering. But, he underscored, peacekeeping required more than an up-to-date tool-kit. It required collaboration to reach political solutions. He expressed regret that the Council had not achieved consensus on peacekeeping. Its current approach, by which it mandated operations to do more than the United Nations was structurally and politically organized to do, was not sustainable. Military options carried out by peacekeepers should not be long-term solutions to what were essentially political problems requiring political solutions.
MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan) said the changing nature of threats was challenging peacekeeping’s traditional role, citing the presence of rebel groups and flow of illicit weapons among the contemporary threats in that regard. Greater clarity was required on how peacekeepers should function in asymmetric threat environments, which placed them in harm’s way since they faced situations beyond their capabilities and resources. Deployment decisions must be based on consultation, preparation and knowledge of the ground situation, she said, adding that, as principal stakeholders, troop-contributing countries must be fully consulted on mandate design and idea testing. The Council must be more circumspect when mandating enforcement tasks, as peacekeepers should neither become a party to conflict nor perceived as a tool of external intervention. “Peacekeeping works best when there is peace to keep and a political process to sustain it,” she stressed.
GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO (Iran), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said peacekeeping operations should not be an alternative to addressing the root causes of conflict, and emphasized the indispensable role of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations as the only intergovernmental forum mandated by the General Assembly to review United Nations peacekeeping operations. The use of technology and intelligence should be discussed in that forum, and the legal aspects of modern technology and intelligence use should be defined in the appropriate intergovernmental processes. Peacekeeping operations should support the national efforts of host countries to protect their citizens, and the role of regional organizations should be in accordance with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, he stressed.
JORGE SKINNER-KLÉE (Guatemala), noting that 34 peacekeepers had lost their lives since January, emphasized the safety and security of peacekeepers as a priority for the international community, and the need to undertake the necessary measures in a timely manner. The recent reviews of the peacekeeping and peacebuilding architecture highlighted the need for United Nations peacekeeping operations to adopt new strategies and focus more on prevention rather than containment. Without compromising the Organization’s ideals, it was of critical importance to strengthen its operational capacities in the area of peacekeeping, he stressed.
SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy), associating himself with the European Union, said that, while peacekeeping partnerships within the United Nations system, and between the Organization and personnel-contributing countries was critical, the most crucial partnership was with local authorities and communities. “A truly integrated approach is necessary both at the United Nations and in the field to make sure our complex effort is holistic, yet focused,” he said, emphasizing also that predeployment training was essential to preserving the security of United Nations staff. Regional organizations, especially those in Africa, required more support for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; techniques for countering violent extremism; and tools with which to seek national reconciliation and pursue security sector reform. However, the primary focus of any crisis was a political solution, he noted, stressing that the international community must be more engaged in mediation and prevention.
CHULAMANEE CHARTSUWAN (Thailand), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that despite the changing context of peacekeeping, the United Nations Charter remained indispensable for conducting successful operations. Some had argued that missions must not engage in counter terrorism activities, yet asymmetric threats were now part of the operational reality. As such, it was essential to prepare for the worst by providing peacekeepers with the training and capabilities needed for enhancing their safety and security. That required collective support of the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries, he said, calling upon host countries to bring perpetrators of attacks to justice.
He went on to emphasize that while military operations could address the symptoms of terrorism, used alone, it would not and could not stop its spread. Reiterating the need for a comprehensive approach to combat terrorism, he expressed support for an integrated and balanced implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Peacekeeping missions could help build States’ capacity to prevent and combat terrorism through programmatic support in the areas of rule of law and security, he pointed out.
JOÃO VALE DE ALMEIDA, Head of the European Union Delegation, reiterated the bloc’s commitment to peacekeeping and stressed the need for missions to have more modern technologies at their disposal. He commended the Secretariat’s efforts in that regard and encouraged the development of information and intelligence capacities in current and future missions. Discussions on the deployment of such technologies in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations should continue, he said, adding that operations also needed better training, including language instruction.
The European Union supported peacekeeping missions in Mali and the Central African Republic, he said, noting that, in the former, more than half of European members had contributed troops. The coordination between the European Union and MINUSMA was a model for collaboration against asymmetrical threats. The Union contributed millions of euros in humanitarian aid to Mali each year, while, in the Central African Republic, it supported security sector reform and capacity-building for national forces to respond to threats. He welcomed the Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism, which called for integrating violent extremism into the mandates of peacekeeping operations and special political missions.
TANOU KONÉ, Permanent Observer for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), thanked all the briefers for the clarity of their presentations, singling out the Senegal’s delegation for particular thanks in light of that country having held a related meeting at the national level. Today’s meeting was part of the concrete implementation of a vision by which all stakeholders would respond jointly to asymmetric threats to peacekeeping, he said.
THOMAS SCHIEB (Germany) stressed the importance of better reconnaissance and information gathering. Military equipment, training and operational concepts must be adapted to circumstances, which was the aim in the north-east sector of MINUSMA. Germany had made a significant contribution in northern Mali with a reconnaissance task force conducting an array of activities. Emphasizing the importance of protective measures, he noted Germany’s provision of a highly professional Force Protection Unit covering Camp Castor in Gao. Germany would contribute €2 million for purchasing armoured vehicles, but more effort was required, as such vehicles were indispensable to protecting peacekeepers in Mali. For peacekeepers facing asymmetric attacks, he called for quick and adequate medical support. That required helicopters for medical evacuation, protection, as well as the moral and operational strength of peacekeepers on the ground. Germany was examining ways to provide medevac and protection helicopters for MINUSMA in 2017.
BOGUSŁAW WINID (Poland), associating himself with the European Union, said neither United Nations peacekeeping operations nor special political missions had been designed to counter asymmetric threats. To improve safety and security, peacekeeping must draw upon intelligence capabilities and new technologies. Proper training and relevant equipment could make the difference between life and death. Durable solutions to asymmetric threats would require sound medium- and long-term strategies to address the root causes of conflicts. In that regard, the United Nations must play an important role in sustaining peace. Success in combating asymmetric threats would depend on coherent and persistent implementation of recommendations by the United Nations and the international community, he said, expressing hope that the new Secretary-General would take an active approach to that challenge.
GEIR O. PEDERSEN (Norway), also speaking on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden, said the Nordic countries agreed with the High-level Panel that United Nations missions were not equipped to conduct counter-terrorism operations. However, they must be able to adapt to emerging security threats, meaning that they must be provided with the necessary capacity to fulfil their mandates and ensure the safety of United Nations personnel.
Noting that the Panel also had called for comprehensive reform of United Nations operations, he welcomed improvements made in that regard, urging missions to continue to reach out to local communities, deepen their partnerships with regional organizations and invest in adequate training and equipment. In addition, root causes of conflict must be addressed with greater investments in prevention, he said, suggesting that priority be given to stopping illicit financial flows and foreign terrorist fighters, improved development policies, building resilience of fragile States and empowering women and young people.
MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium), expressing concern about asymmetrical threats from violent extremist and terrorist groups, said peacekeepers must be provided with adequate resources to protect themselves. It was critical for the United Nations to train peacekeepers prior to deployment, including through an understanding of the ground situation, building trust with local populations and ensuring linguistic competence. Peacekeeping operations also must adapt their mandates and methods to counter emerging threats.
OH JOON (Republic of Korea) expressed concern that the speed with which the nature of conflict was changing was outpacing the ability of peacekeeping operations to respond. In such a dangerous context, it was crucial to provide field operations with adequate resources, including helicopters, heavy weapons and hospitals, he emphasized. For its part, the Republic of Korea was working with the African Union and the Government of Mali to provide equipment for a level 2 medical facility in the north. Intelligence capabilities and new technology were also important in countering asymmetrical threats, he noted, adding that his country was addressing those issues at the third International Partnership for Technology in Peacekeeping Symposium, which it was hosting in Seoul this week. Reminding the Council of the central role of politics in peacekeeping operations, he stressed the importance of maintaining political space for mediation in non-permissive environments.
INA HAGNININGTYAS KRISNAMURTHI (Indonesia) stressed the need for the best possible protection for mission personnel, and welcomed efforts to enhance discourse to improve the safety and security of peacekeepers. That discourse should begin in the Council, which should engage non-State actors. He reiterated the Secretary-General’s position that peace operations should not engage in counter-terrorism activities, welcoming further discussion on how peacekeeping missions could support Governments and local communities in preventing terrorism and violent extremism. Given the more complex and volatile nature of conflict, peacekeepers must be flexible within reasonable parameters and governed by clear rules of engagement. They also should adhere to three basic principles: they should have consent of the parties, be impartial and use force only in self-defence and defence of the mandate.
MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said asymmetric attacks against peacekeepers underscored the importance of linking operations with sustainable political strategies in order to resolve conflicts. Enhancing the use of technologies should be considered while addressing questions about national sovereignty, transparency and confidentiality. Protecting civilians must be prioritized in accordance with mission mandates, especially when host Governments were unable or unwilling to provide such protection. Upon host Government request, missions could also support the development of policies or strategies to counter terrorism and prevent violent extremism, and their underlying drivers. Regarding medical and casualty evacuation, the introduction of risk premiums for troops and police deployed in difficult environments, and the call for periodic review of death and disability compensation rates were both steps in the right direction.
TÉTE ANTÓNIO, Permanent Observer for the African Union, paid tribute to all the men and women who daily struggled for peace in extremely difficult environments. The threat from non-State armed groups and the rise of terrorism had transformed peacekeeping, requiring it to adapt, he noted, concurring with the High-Level Panel on Peace Operations that not enough had been done in that regard. There was a critical need to find a balance between the basic principles of peacekeeping — impartiality, neutrality and limited use of force — and the need to confront armed groups that challenged fundamental rights, he emphasized.
In that regard, optimal use must be made of the principle of complementarity, under Chapter VIII of the Charter, in collaborating with regional organizations such as the African Union, he said. The bloc and its regional mechanisms had demonstrated their competence with the emergence of an African model of peace operations that was complementary to the responsibilities of United Nations mechanisms, being able to deploy missions with robust mandates quickly in dangerous environments in order to save lives, contain violent conflicts and stabilize security so as to create the conditions suitable for the deployment of United Nations missions.
With the United Nations having assumed an additional 25 per cent of the cost of Security Council-mandated peace operations carried out by the African Union, he said, a consolidation of the strategic partnership between the two organizations should develop, with a more sustainable overall financial base. For that reason, the African Union was requesting unanimous Council support for its proposal that the Organization share 75 per cent of the cost of operations conducted by the bloc with the Council’s consent, he said, expressing hope that a draft resolution to that effect would be tabled during the Senegalese presidency.
KAREL J.G. VAN OOSTEROM (Netherlands), associating himself with the European Union, emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach to peace operations that included the creation of job opportunities for young people susceptible to the ideas of violent extremism. The United Nations needed well-trained and well‑equipped troops, as well as crucial capabilities, such as helicopters and vehicles capable of resisting improvised explosive devices. He also underlined the need for well-developed intelligence capabilities, not only for the implementation of peacekeeping mandates, but also for the security of United Nations personnel. “It is clear that in the current environment, the United Nations cannot solely rely on traditional methods to counter asymmetric threats,” he said. “We need to innovate, to adjust and be flexible.” If new challenges were not addressed, terrorist groups would disrupt delicate peace processes and more “blue helmets” would be lost.
KAIRAT ABDRAKHMANOV (Kazakhstan) noted that seven current peacekeeping operations faced a higher incidence of asymmetric and violent threats that had led to a large number of fatalities. It was essential to gain a better understanding of the political and historical context of a mission and to improve planning before deploying troops — and it was all the more important that the mission concerned was of a hybrid, multidimensional nature and in a hazardous situation. Such efforts must be accompanied by technical and programmatic support for institutions in order to build and consolidate the rule of law and reform security sectors. In order to combat asymmetric threats, it was also essential to strengthen training in countering improvised explosive devices and to provide anti-mine vehicles. Turning to intelligence, he said the benefits of new technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles, when used solely for surveillance purposes, included improved situational awareness and enhanced capacity to save the lives of both United Nations personnel and local populations.
JUAN SANDOVAL MENDIOLEA (Mexico) said peace operations often did not have the capacity or logistical means to face asymmetrical threats. It was therefore important they were properly equipped and had viable strategies. Further, they lacked the equipment and training for counter-terrorism operations. He urged great caution in delegating tasks of defeating terrorist groups or non-State actors, stressing that asymmetrical threats compromised the implementation of peace operations. The Council should improve interactions with the relevant sanctions committees, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries so it had clear information on troops in the field. Particular attention should be paid to strengthening peace operations deployed in complex environments so that they could better assist host countries.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco) said asymmetrical threat was a broad concept that included terrorist threats, violent extremism and criminal activities. Aware of the need to tailor mandates, he supported the principles of impartiality, consent of parties and non-use of force except in self-defence. Blue helmets should be able to defend themselves against asymmetrical threats rather than fight them. They should not be party to a conflict. MINUSMA had an intelligence unit, which had not had the desired results, but had nonetheless underlined the importance of clear modalities, such as sharing information of the field. There were also no clear modalities regarding the use of drones. Discussion on such topics should take place in the Committee of 34, he said, stressing the need to create conditions, including language, for contact with local populations.
RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ (Lithuania), endorsing the European Union’s statement, said the High-Level Review of Peace Operations had spoken clearly on the need to change all stages of mission life, including protection of peacekeepers. New technologies should be available to peace operations as a matter of course and she regretted the continued resistance to them. Medevac services should be readily available, as should information-sharing tools, she said, underscoring the importance of exploring partnerships with other organizations. The safety of peacekeepers should be a priority for the Council and numerous recommendations existed. Civilian victims and peacekeepers under attack needed actions, not words.
MARCELO ELISEO SCAPPINI RICCIARDI (Paraguay), condemning recent attacks on peacekeepers, said his country contributed to United Nations operations because they carried out core objectives of the mandate. Peacekeeping missions must abide by their basic principles and not pursue offense operations, but they must be able to defend themselves and civilians when mandated. For that purpose, training, as well as adequate resources, updated deployment manuals and coordination with relevant regional organizations, were essential. All those elements were particularly important for operations deployed under the Charter’s Chapter VII.
MAHLATSE MMINELE (South Africa), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said it was the primary responsibility of States to protect civilians, including against terrorism. United Nations missions should not be mandated to conduct military counter-terrorism operations. If peace processes were obstructed and non-military tools were inadequate, peacekeeping missions with a mandate to protect civilians must, however, play their part in civilian protection, including through the use of force. All relevant resources, including technology, should be used to enhance the effectiveness of peace operations in response to asymmetrical threats. He expressed concern that the Council was reluctant to fully fund African Union-led peace operations carried out on behalf of the international community.
DAVID ROET (Israel) said asymmetrical threats were a real issue for his country and for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). While thanking that Mission for its work, he said that resolution 1701 (2006) was far from implemented, with Hizbullah having increased its arsenal to more than 120,000 rockets, much of it embedded in schools, hospitals and other infrastructure in southern Lebanon, despite the presence of 10,000 peacekeepers. The Iran-sponsored group regularly obstructed UNIFIL and threatened further attacks on Israel. Lebanon, as a sovereign State, had a duty not to allow a terrorist group in its midst. Thanking contributors to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), he noted that it had been severely impacted by the civil war in Syria, adding that Israel had facilitated its crucial work for several years and would continue to do so. Demanding that the Syrian Government abide by the 1974 Agreement, he warned that Israel would take all steps to prevent its civilians from spillover from the fighting. Emerging threats to missions must be faced with cutting edge technology, he said, adding that his country had much to offer in that area and in protection of civilians and peacekeepers. It also provided medical training to ensure that that skill-set existed across all operations.
MAMADOU TANGARA (Gambia), condemning the ravages of terrorism on peacekeeping operations, local populations and historical sites, called for collective action to counter that threat. Although United Nations peacekeepers were not involved, he urged support as well to Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon in their battle against what he called “the hoodlums” of Boko Haram. He warned that peacekeeping would not be effective in fulfilling its objectives, including protecting civilians, if peacekeepers could not protect themselves. The Council should therefore consider arming operations with weapons that matched those of rebel groups, terrorists and criminals that might attack them. Rules of engagement should be reviewed by a high-level, expert military panel, while the development of regional rapid deployment forces that could respond to such dangers should be considered. In addition, host countries should enter into agreements to strengthen justice and reconciliation mechanisms to build rule of law. Stressing the need for constant attention to the matter, he expressed appreciation for the sacrifices made by blue helmets.
ISSA KONFOUROU (Mali) thanked all delegates who had expressed their solidarity and sympathy with his country following the deadly attacks in Mali in recent days. On 6 November, a logistical convoy was attacked by improvised explosive devices, resulting in several deaths and injuries, while a camp of the Mail armed forces had been attacked that same day. Mali had become the most dangerous country for peacekeepers, a fact that did not make him proud, he said. Responding to Mali’s request for a change to MINUSMA’s mandate, Council resolution 2295 (2016) had given the Mission a more robust mandate in order to protect itself. It was a matter of concern that five months after its adoption, the relevant provisions had not been implemented.
He said there was a lack of equipment, especially logistical equipment. The withdrawal of three helicopter units and lack of attack helicopters was a matter of serious concern. Deployed contingents should be provided with appropriate training and equipment, as well as intelligence sharing and new technologies. Aware that his Government bore primary responsibility for protecting civilians and combating terrorism, he said the operational capacity of the armed forces was being rebuilt. Combating terrorism, violent extremism and organized crime required subregional, regional and international cooperation. It was also important to address root causes such as poverty, ignorance and unemployment.
ANTHONY BOSAH (Nigeria) said that preventive measures should be at the forefront of efforts to inhibit transnational terrorist networks from destabilizing vulnerable States. Those measures included strengthening political mechanisms, securing populations and re-establishing State authority. Mission planning also must be improved, a process that should involve cooperation with regional organizations. Further, missions should be allowed to deploy intelligence capabilities and enabled to adapt to rapidly changing ground conditions.
MAHLET HAILU GAUDEY (Ethiopia) said United Nations peacekeeping efforts must adapt to the changing security environment. “Peacekeepers should not remain indifferent in the face of significant threats to themselves, as well as to innocent civilians,” she said, emphasizing that peacekeepers must have the necessary training and capabilities to operate in asymmetrical environments. Although the report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations recommended that United Nations peacekeepers should not undertake counter-terrorism operations, it did not rule out such a possibility by regional forces or by ad hoc coalitions authorized by the Security Council, she said, noting that the African Union had demonstrated great commitment to deploying forces in asymmetrical environments, its mission in Somalia being a case in point. The United Nations should be ready to share the burden with the African Union by providing financial and logistical support, she added.
DENIS REGIS (Haiti), noting the increased complexity of peacekeeping operations and the rise of terrorism and other asymmetric threats, said gaps in mandates and resources had been revealed in the inability of the United Nations to respond to certain evolving situations. He said that his country’s experience of hosting the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) demonstrated the need to develop new tools to deal with situations in flux. Impartiality, non-use of force and consent of the parties, as well as all other Charter principles, must remain constant at the core of all peacekeeping efforts, alongside the protection of civilians, but the tasks and capabilities of peacekeeping operations must change to meet current realities, he emphasized.
GILLIAN BIRD (Australia) said peacekeepers must be trained and equipped to operate as safely and effectively as possible. Australia supported standardization efforts in training, having participated in the drafting of the “Military and Police Handbook on IED Threat Mitigation”, and supported the recommendation of the report on “technology and innovation in United Nations peacekeeping”, on the use of technology to improve situational awareness. The development of a comprehensive crisis management policy was an important step. Australia supported a more strategic and coherent approach across United Nations efforts to prevent terrorism and violent extremism. The Secretary-General’s recommendation to integrate prevention of violent extremism into relevant peacekeeping activities merited further consideration.
MICHAEL BONSER (Canada), stressing that asymmetrical threats would remain part of the peacekeeping environment for the foreseeable future, urged adaptation to those threats. The objective was not to make peace operations a substitute for counter-terrorism initiatives, but to allow them to carry out their missions as efficiently and safely as possible. For that purpose, the United Nations must enhance preparation, performance and responsiveness through an integrated and tailored approach that included planning, training, adequate equipment, intelligence and enabling capabilities. The analytic capacity of the United Nations system should be strengthened for that purpose. The full range of factors leading to violent extremism must also be addressed. Canada stood ready to share its experience dealing with asymmetric threats in Afghanistan, as well as to learn from the experience of partners present today.
GONE FEH MOUSSA (Côte d’Ivoire) said the issue of asymmetrical threats had become an increasing challenge to international peace and security. Given the complex context in which peacekeeping operations had to deploy, they must adapt to local environments, he noted, emphasizing the need for them to build close relationships with local populations, which required training in the local context, he said, adding that close cooperation was required among the United Nations, local actors and non-State actors. Another challenge in consolidating security was support for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes, he said, stressing that it was up to the host country to tackle the underlying causes of a conflict.
GÜVEN BEGEÇ (Turkey), noting the increasingly complex and deadly threats to peacekeeping, said all missions must be carefully designed, planned and executed in strict observance of United Nations Charter principles and of the basic peacekeeping precepts of impartiality, consent of the host country and minimum use of force. However, that did not preclude the protection of civilians, which was a moral duty and had become a core component of many mandates. He agreed that, in order to adapt to asymmetrical threats, peacekeepers must be better trained, equipped and informed. They must be able to defend themselves as well as their mandates, he said, adding that coordination with counter-terrorism organizations was appropriate for that purpose. Turkey, which had been targeted by terrorists for decades, remained committed to eradicating the threat under the United Nations global strategy, he said, while agreeing that the Organization’s peacekeeping operations were not suited to counter-terrorism operations. Blue Helmets would do better to increase their capacity in that area, he said. Turkey encouraged continued triangular cooperation among the Security Council, troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat to further shape the peacekeeping framework in the face of evolving threats.
AHMED SAREER (Maldives) said the asymmetric threat in a conflict environment often stemmed from a convergence of social, economic and political factors. Thus, it was essential for peacekeeping missions to be equipped with appropriate tools and adequate personnel. Similarly, core goals and mandates must be reflected in trainings, as must international humanitarian law. Among other things, he stressed the need to monitor and review peacekeeping missions in order to better evaluate performance and enhance effectiveness.
MATEO ESTREME (Argentina), paying tribute to those who had laid down their lives in the service of peace while condemning attacks against them, emphasized that peacekeeping operations must have the necessary resources to protect themselves and civilians against asymmetrical threats. Necessary elements included training, specific rules of engagement, building the capacity of for host countries in the rule of law and other areas, as well as strengthened intelligence and cooperation with counter-terrorism agencies. Argentina agreed with the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, however, that peacekeeping missions as now conceived were not suitable for counter-terrorism initiatives.
MOUNZER MOUNZER (Syria) paid tribute to UNDOF and pledged the commitment of his country’s Government to facilitate its operations. That operation had continued for decades because Israel’s occupation of Arab territory continued. Expressing concern about attacks on peacekeepers, he said that Israel supported terrorist groups that kidnapped UNDOF peacekeepers, including Al-Nusrah. He said that he had reports of contacts between Israeli forces and armed individuals who had crossed from the Syrian side of the ceasefire line, and showed a picture of a girl who he said had been killed in the Al-Nusrah activity.
JAVAD SAFAEI (Iran) said the representative of Israel had chosen not to talk about his country’s daily violations of resolution 1701 (2006) and to repeat false accusations against his country. Iran completely rejected those accusations, which were meant to cover up the oppression of Palestinians, he emphasized.