Head of Field Support, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Shed Light on Reform Proposals in Dialogue with Delegates
Amid complex global challenges, the increasing need for dynamic, adaptive special political missions warranted the creation of a separate and more transparent budget section to finance them, the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) heard today, as it began its its consideration of atof that matter.
Atul Khare, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, said the Secretary-General’s management reform initiative proposed the creation of a separate budget section for special political missions and raising the threshold for unforeseen and extraordinary expenses, the budgetary mechanism generally supporting the start‑up and expansion of such missions. The proposed measures would enable the Secretariat to better support special political missions during the critical early stages of deployment and to improve the presentation of their annual requirements to the General Assembly.
At the outset of the general debate, a number of speakers expressed support for such a budgetary mechanism, with India’s representative saying said that constraints on the funding and backstopping of special political missions remained a serious impediment. The Secretary-General’s report was silent on the ad hoc handling of their budgets, he said, recalling that many speakers had highlighted the need for reliable resourcing, through a regular budget, for such core prevention and mediation capabilities. “It is about time the process for establishing a separate new account for special political missions is set in motion.”
Morocco’s representative, speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that special political missions should be financed through the same criteria, methodology and mechanisms used to fund peacekeeping operations, including a new separate budget.
El Salvador’s representative said the increase in the budget for special political missions had been such that it had distorted part of the regular United Nations budget. A special and separate account to fund special political missions, with separate annual reporting and budgeting, would increase transparency and remove those distortions, she added.
Cuba’s representative emphasized that the adoption of new missions should not affect the overall budget. Echoing calls for another financing mechanism, like that used to fund peacekeeping missions, he said that would ensure an independent account for special political missions.
Switzerland’s representative, meanwhile, said the Secretary-General’s proposed reforms reflected the centrality of special political missions, but underlined that future missions must deal with human rights and development in parallel with peace and security issues. Regarding the funding and backstopping of special political missions, he said a pragmatic improvement of arrangements, as recommended by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), would allow for more efficient management and increased effectiveness.
Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, Assistant Secretary‑General for Political Affairs, delivered a statement on behalf of the Under‑Secretary‑General, Jeffrey Feltman, noting that conflicts today had become enormously diverse, involving competition over State institutions, natural resources and territory. “The regionalization of the causes and consequences of conflict adds layers of complexity to our efforts to resolve them.” Moreover, some conflicts now involved political narratives and actors who rejected the modern conception of the State. Against that backdrop, special political missions continued to play a wide variety of peace and security functions, demonstrating their versatility and flexibility, he said.
Turning to the women, peace and security agenda, he noted that efforts to deploy more gender expertise to special political missions had met with significant, if incomplete, success. He emphasized, however, that the impact of women on the work of the missions was tangible, and there was evidence of a gender‑disaggregated approach to planning, executing and monitoring reflected in their reports to the Security Council.
The Committee also held an interactive segment in which the two officials responded to comments and questions raised by delegates.
Also speaking today were representatives of Turkey (speaking also for Mexico, Indonesia, Republic of Korea and Australia), Canada (also for Australia and New Zealand), Indonesia (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Guatemala, Argentina, Colombia, Finland (also for Mexico), Kenya, Eritrea, Japan, Maldives, Ethiopia, South Africa, Norway, Bangladesh and Libya.
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were representatives of Myanmar and Bangladesh.
The Fourth Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 1 November, when it is expected to take up assistance in mine action.
ATUL KHARE, Under‑Secretary‑General for Field Support, said the recent extremist attack in Mogadishu was a stark reminder of the volatile environment with which people serving in special political missions dealt regularly. Much smaller than peacekeeping operations, special political missions had smaller administrative and logistical support structures, yet they were frequently deployed to remote and insecure environments. That created unique complexities in the management of support and supply chains which the Department of Field Operations must address when developing and delivering solutions for the field.
He went on to state that the Department had supported the drawdown and closure of the United Nations Mission in Colombia and its seamless transition to the new United Nations Verification Mission in Columbia, which was expanding across the country to monitor the ceasefire between the armed forces and the National Liberation Army. In Libya, the Department provided support to the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), and was also working on an innovative concept relating to support for a rotating core of international staff in Tunis. In addition to a comprehensive performance framework intended to improve efficiencies, the Department had found the global client survey to be a useful tool that highlighted areas in which improvements must be made.
Among those areas was the improvement of business processes, an effort that would take on greater prominence under the Secretary‑General’s management reform agenda, he continued. Within the management reform initiative were several proposals relating specifically to special political missions, including the creation of a separate budget section for special political missions, and raising the threshold for unforeseen and extraordinary expenses, the budgetary mechanism generally supporting the start‑up and expansion of special political missions, he explained. Those proposed measures would enable the Secretariat to better support special political missions during the critical early stages of deployment, and to improve the presentation to the General Assembly of annual requirements for special political missions.
TAYÉ‑BROOK ZERIHOUN, Assistant Secretary‑General, delivered a statement on behalf of Jeffrey Feltman, Under‑Secretary‑General for Political Affairs, noting that conflicts today had become enormously diverse, involving competition over State institutions, natural resources and territory. “The regionalization of the causes and consequences of conflict adds layers of complexity to our efforts to resolve them,” he observed, noting out that the phenomenon had been seen in Syria, Libya and Yemen. Moreover, some conflicts now involved political narratives and actors — such as ISIL/Daesh and Boko Haram — who rejected the modern conception of the State. Against that backdrop, special political missions continued to play a wide variety of peace and security functions, demonstrating their versatility and flexibility. At the national and regional levels, they had played a vital role in advancing political transitions, supporting governance, strengthening institutions, facilitating democratic processes and identifying early risks while crafting effective preventive responses.
He said the Secretary‑General’s 2017 report detailed a wide variety of developments relating to special political missions, including the completion of the initial mandate in Colombia, expansion of the mandates of several expert panels, and the strategic assessments and subsequent adjustments of missions in Libya and Somalia. The Secretary‑General had also called for reorientation of the Organization’s work around a universal prevention agenda, injecting renewed energy into mission efforts to prevent conflict, he said. That approach had been conceptualized in the sustaining peace resolutions, which called for “preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence” of conflict.
Strengthening partnerships between special political missions and regional and subregional organizations was another of the Secretary‑General’s priorities, he continued. Missions must work to strengthen their links with regional blocs and their subsidiary entities, while finding innovative ways in which to collaborate, on the basis of the principles of transparency, mutual accountability and comparative advantage. Noting the recent major stride forward in the relationship between the United Nations and the African Union on cooperation in peace and security matters, he said the April signing of the Joint United Nations‑African Union Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security, in particular, had provided a stronger basis for collaboration and technical exchange.
Turning to the women, peace and security agenda, he noted that efforts to deploy more gender expertise to special political missions had met with significant, if incomplete, success. Their impact on the work of the missions was tangible, and there was evidence of a gender‑disaggregated approach to planning, executing and monitoring reflected in their reports to the Security Council. The Department of Political Affairs (DPA), as the focal point for electoral assistance, also continued to respond to requests for support to electoral processes, including through the special political missions, he said. Increasingly, such support was targeted at the medium‑ to long‑term objectives of increasing the capacities of electoral bodies and addressing structural challenges affecting success and credibility.
He went on to state that efforts to improve geographical distribution and gender representation in special political missions were ongoing, as were activities to advance transparency, accountability and efficiency in the execution of mandates. Whereas some progress had been made in improving the representation of women, it was far too slow and would need to be accelerated in order to meet the Secretary‑General’s goal of achieving gender parity across the Organization, he said, emphasizing that it was, therefore, vital to remain sharply focused on the conditions required for mission success. They included international and regional political backing, relationships and entry points, as well as effective backstopping and support.
As the floor opened for questions, the representative of Iran recalled that the Secretary‑General had made prevention a core theme cutting across the Organization, and that regional and subregional organizations had the ability of detecting a crisis before conflict could break out. As such, what other monitoring mechanisms were being used to detect crisis, and how would intervention proceed from the point of detection? He also asked which activities of special political missions were the most “budget‑consuming”.
The representative of Morocco noted that the Peacebuilding Commission was not mentioned in the Secretary‑General’s report and asked whether the omission was deliberate. He also asked whether the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) would work with regional partners on a strategy to fight the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The withdrawal of Ugandan troops had left a security vacuum, he noted, asking whether it could have been prevented, and whether another troop‑contributing country could have been found.
The representative of Venezuela asked about common difficulties seen in the relationship between special political missions and host countries, and how they were usually overcome.
The representative of Colombia asked about the funding proposed for special political missions. Because many were lighter in content, what was their political, budgetary and financial future?
Mr. KHARE, Under‑Secretary‑General for Field Support, responded by detailing the most important elements driving the cost of special political missions. With their budget for 2016 set at $561 million, $317 million had been spent on civilian staff costs, he said, adding that operational costs totalling $214.9 million had been the second largest driver. The funds covered four main areas, the first being rations for guard units, he said, explaining that missions were sometimes deployed in locations more volatile than the places where peacekeeping operations were based, such as Libya and Somalia, where guard units were required. Aviation services represented another important cost because of the need for quick and urgent movement in places where that was not possible by commercial means. Another important cost was self‑sustainment or preservation of life, he said, adding that in many places, missions had to provide their own generators because lived in limited accommodation within “green zones”.
As for common difficulties, he said one important challenge involved countries without a status‑of‑mission agreement with the United Nations. Another challenge arose where guard units were required because of their relationship with local security agencies, especially when the agencies were not yet fully developed, as in Somalia and Libya. Tax exemptions for contractors also created problems sometimes because people at the working level did not understand the United Nations Convention on Privileges and Immunities, he explained.
In response to a question from the representative of Colombia, he noted that the new proposal was to present all special political mission budgets for consideration at the same time as the regular budget. The budget for special political missions was considered annually because it was difficult to predict their needs two years in advance, and the Secretary‑General had therefore proposed an annual, rather than biennial, regular budget. As such, the proposal involved two major areas of reform: the annual budget, within which a special section would be devoted to special political missions. As such, he drew the Committee’s attention to the Addendum 1 to document A/72/492, in particular paragraphs 73 and 74, saying it detailed the proposed changes in encapsulated form. Annex 4 of Addendum 1 provided a mock‑up of the draft budget for special political missions as it would appear under the new system proposed by the Secretary‑General, should the General Assembly adopt it.
Mr. ZERIHOUN, Assistant Secretary‑General for Political Affairs, said that special political missions were deployed at the particular region’s request and were driven by demand. The UNOCA had been opened in response to a letter sent to the Secretary‑General requesting its presence. Their major function was to engage with and support the efforts of regional counterparts, he said, emphasizing the two pillars of prevention — early warning and early action.
In response to the representative of Iran, he said early warning was often triggered when a Member State asked for the Organization’s support, expertise and engagement, adding that the basis for cooperation was the understanding that the United Nations would support regional efforts. Concerning the Lord’s Resistance Army, he said the decision on Uganda’s withdrawal had been that country’s own.
Responding to the representative of Morocco, he said he could not explain the omission, but assured him that the Department, reported regularly to the Peacebuilding Commission, adding that he recognized the special dimension and weight that entity brought to special problems.
Mr. HALFOUNI (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the Non‑Aligned Movement, emphasized the commitment to effectiveness in special political missions, and reiterated the importance of respecting the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of States. He stressed the importance for the Security Council of drafting clear and achievable mandates for field‑based missions, based on objective assessment.
He also called upon the Secretary‑General to further consider transparency, balanced geographical as well as women’s representation when filling senior leadership positions. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of reaching consensus among Member States when developing policies relating to the missions. The special political missions should be financed through the same criteria, methodology and mechanisms used to fund peacekeeping operations, including the establishment of a new separate account for such missions he said.
GÜVEN BEGEC (Turkey), speaking also for Mexico, Indonesia, Republic of Korea and Australia (MIKTA Group), said that resolutions on sustaining peace provided the necessary strategic guidance for peacebuilding, and in that regard, he expressed support for further consultations on implementation of the concept of sustainable peace. Noting the Secretary‑General’s reform efforts on peace and security, he said the MIKTA Group would continue to work with stakeholders in the peace and security architecture while awaiting other modalities of reform, including budgetary aspects. Peacekeeping missions transitioning to political or special political missions often faced challenges relating to insufficient capacities and finances, he noted, while emphasizing that the sustaining peace agenda should be adequately resourced.
He went on to affirm the Secretary‑General’s other initiatives, such as management reform and repositioning the development system, and saying they should be considered in a comprehensive process. The “surge in peace diplomacy” was an integral part of that reform. Special political missions were key in sustaining peace and interactive dialogue with States was the soundest way to improve contributions of them. Engagement should be designed to take all aspects of conflict into account, particularly the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel, the protection of civilians, including women and young people. Enhanced coordination and mechanisms would also be crucial in attaining achieving peace objectives, he said, noting in that context, the work of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Support Fund.
MICHAEL BONSER (Canada), speaking also on behalf of Australia and New Zealand (CANZ Group), said preventing conflict was of the utmost importance in pursuit of sustained peace, and the very reason the United Nations had been created. Welcoming the Secretary‑General’s reform agenda as a way to address the fragmentation hampering United Nations effectiveness and to put prevention at the heart of its efforts, he said each staff member should consider how to adapt their daily work in the spirit of the reform proposals regardless of the restructuring. Special political missions were indispensable and the most operational expression of United Nations political efforts in the field. “They are effective tools at a relatively low cost,” he said.
Regarding the role that they could play in the transition from peacekeeping operations, he said their effectiveness was now urgent given the closure of the peacekeeping mission in Liberia, the downsizing of the hybrid operation in Darfur and the transition to justice support in Haiti. In Sierra Leone, for example, the transition from a peacekeeping mission had relied on nine years of progressively lighter political missions providing critical support to national capacities, he recalled. Special political missions were a critical part of United Nations efforts to deploy customized responses into a country context. The CANZ Group encouraged the Peacebuilding Commission to assist in developing mandates for special political missions, stressing that they must be adequately resourced if they were to be successful.
INA KRISNAMURTHI (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said ongoing peace and security reform must go hand‑in‑hand with reform of the United Nations development system and management. Emphasizing the host country’s primary responsibility for advancing its nationally identified and owned peacebuilding initiatives, she said it was critical to building the capacity of institutions so that all legitimate national stakeholders could contribute meaningfully to a shared national vision.
With a mission’s transition from a peacekeeping to a political role, the insufficient capacity and finances should also be addressed, she said. If sustaining peace was to be a sound strategy, it would be important to build ensure robust capacity and ensure adequate financial support for all activities on the peace continuum, adding that it would also be worthwhile to look into aligning the budgetary considerations of special political missions with those of the peacekeeping operations cycle. The financial needs of special political missions must be perceived as similar to the assessments of peacekeeping operations, she said, adding that there should be a special and separate account to finance them on an annual basis.
Speaking in her national capacity, she said civilian capacity was important in mitigating conflicts, underlining that the United Nations, with support from non‑United Nations partners, must more systematically harness the expertise available from developing and conflict‑affected countries that had transitioned to democracy, peacebuilding and development. Providing qualified and readily deployable civilian expertise for various activities was all the more vital today in ensuring the attainment of sustainable peace and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which were inseparably connected. She said South‑South cooperation was an increasingly valuable addition to traditional modes of support, and it was high time the United Nations accorded greater attention to mechanisms based on South‑South cooperation in order better to reinforce various activities on the peace continuum.
CASTANEDES (Guatemala), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, called for implementation of the strategic plan so that special political missions would be given mandates in accordance with the situation in the field. As such, it was essential to prepare more realistic policy strategies, he said, adding that DPA should also focus on strengthening international peace and security through mediation and peacebuilding. With insufficient investment against the underlying causes of conflict, the United Nations had been unable to intervene in the early stages, he pointed out. As such, Guatemala preferred the prevention of conflict, he said, emphasizing the importance of guidelines on preventing and mitigating election‑related violence. Guatemala nevertheless welcomed the Secretary‑General’s proposed reforms in the hope that they would improve the effectiveness of special political missions.
GABRIELA MARTINIC (Argentina) welcomed the reform process initiated by the Secretary‑General and encouraged him to consult Member States on the implementation of his various proposals. In that regard, Argentina welcomed the sustaining peace narrative, as well as the proposed holistic and integrated strategic approach to peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development, she said. The proposal to unify the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Political Affairs, as well as consideration of the political aspects of missions should allow progress on financing. That was in accordance with various recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) and other financial entities in favour of a separate account, an annual budgetary cycle and access to support accounts for special political missions. However, discussions on that subject had reached an impasse in the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) for six years, she noted, expressing hope that it would come to an end through political will on the part of the parties concerned.
Ms. RIVERA (El Salvador) associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that special political missions supported Member States in a number of important ways, she said, citing her own country’s experience of a peace process. The mission in El Salvador had often found cultural and racial differences at the root of the conflict there, which meant that peacebuilding was linked to dialogue and the resolution of disputes, she said, adding that conflict resolution would not last without those links. In that regard, special political missions must be funded adequately so they could fulfil their mandates, she said, while emphasizing the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of host countries. Turning to financing, she said the increase in the budget for special political missions had been such that it had distorted part of the overall United Nations budget. For that reason, a special and separate account was needed to fund special political missions, with separate annual reporting and budgeting to increase transparency and remove distortions, she said. There must also be clear and attainable mandates to enable the effective conclusion of field missions. In that regard, clear exit strategies would be important in allowing local actors to shoulder the long‑term responsibility for sustainable peace and development, she said. Describing the General Assembly as the most representative body to discuss general aspects of special political missions, she emphasized that any such discussions must enjoy the consensus of Member States.
MEJIA VELEZ (Columbia) said the transition from the first special political mission in her country to the second had resulted from “tailor‑made process” that had enjoyed regional as well as international support. The need to respond to situations in the field was important in the complex task of peacebuilding, she said, emphasizing that the process would more comprehensive if it included women. In the case of the Colombian insurgency, there had been many women and girls in the ranks, and women would also benefit most from peace, she noted. The mainstreaming quality of the gender perspective would make sustainable peace attainable.
T.K.S. ELANGOVAN, Member of Parliament, India, associated himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, noting that conceptual and organizational fragmentation continued despite growing recognition of the importance of a more comprehensive approach to sustaining peace through linking peacekeeping and political solutions, among others measures. “Regrettably, policy formulation for special political missions remains opaque and requires much greater transparency,” he said, calling for more consultations between the Security Council and Member States. India hoped DPA or its subsequent avatar would organize more interactive briefings for States, especially by heads of special political missions. For example, the ongoing review of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) appeared to be proceeding without much input from the wider membership, he noted. Furthermore, constraints on funding and the backstopping of special political missions remained a serious impediment. The Secretary‑General’s report was silent on the ad hoc handling of budgets for such missions. Despite the fact that special political missions represented the Organization’s most utilized mechanism for addressing numerous crises around the world, they did not follow regular budget cycles, he pointed out. Reliable resourcing through a regular budget for such core prevention and mediation capabilities had been highlighted by many, he recalled, stressing: “It is about time the process for establishing a separate new account for special political missions is set in motion.”
OLIVIER MARC ZEHNDER (Switzerland) said the Secretary‑General’s proposed reforms reflected the centrality of special political missions. Concerning future missions, he emphasized that human rights and development must be dealt with in parallel with peace and security issues. Switzerland, for its part, had launched the 13 June Appeal of and would continue to work on its implementation, as well as to strengthen synergies for improving conflict‑prevention tools, he said. Regarding the funding and backstopping of special political missions, he said a pragmatic improvement of arrangements, as recommended by the ACABQ, would allow for more efficient management and increased effectiveness. Switzerland hoped that current discussions on reform would make substantial progress in that regard.
KAI SAUER (Finland), speaking also on behalf of Mexico, said special political missions were at the heart of conflict prevention, peacemaking and peacebuilding. They played a crucial role in preventing conflict and in diplomacy and mediation, as well as in building capacity and resilience. He went on to note that the 2016 resolution paid significant attention to equal representation of women’s and full gender parity in peace negotiations and process, yet the 2017 text on special political missions, contained only technical updates to further enhance the stirring 2016 version.
MACHARIA KAMAU (Kenya), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, noted with concern the continued ascendancy of transnational threats such as terrorism, violent extremism, human trafficking and irregular migration, saying they constituted the primary factors in emerging conflicts, particularly in Africa. The creation of a dedicated United Nations Office of Counter‑Terrorism was a useful step in the right direction, he said, voicing hope that it would deepen collaboration with special political missions in the field. The success of such missions was dependent on sustainable and predictable funding as well as proper coordination and collaboration at all levels, he added. Kenya commended the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) for its support during the successful conclusion of a competitive electoral process, and for having supported the framework for the establishment of a national security architecture in an environment hitherto characterized by chaos. However, much more could be achieved if funding were sustained and predictable, and nascent political institutions were nurtured and properly accompanied, he emphasized.
HUMBERTO RIVERO ROSARIO (Cuba), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, commended the Secretary‑General’s reform efforts, in particular his efforts to enhance transparency, accountability, and geographical and gender representation. While agreeing that special political missions had deeply preventive elements and were compatible with the United Nations Charter, he emphasized that they must be considered and developed in accordance with a case‑by‑case analysis. They must be governed by policies collectively developed by Member States, whereby all voices would be considered, he said, stressing that the United Nations must provide precise and attainable mandates, with material and financial resources tailored to realities in the field. Underlining that new missions should not affect the overall budget, he said a comprehensive debate on the subject of budget would be required to find another financing mechanism — such as the one used to fund peacekeeping missions — thereby establishing an independent account for special political missions.
ELSA HAILE (Eritrea), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, expressed support for holding regular, inclusive, and interactive dialogues on special political mission policy matters. Missions should be crafted, implemented, and monitored through consultations and processes in line with the fundamental principles of impartiality and respect for national sovereignty. The Secretariat must engage States in a timely manner prior to holding such dialogues. In addition, States’ views should be considered by the Security Council and the Secretariat when mandating or reviewing a special political mission, she said.
YUTAKA SEKITO (Japan) said special political missions were powerful tools for addressing the entire conflict spectrum. Offering several examples, he said regional offices such as United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) had worked successfully with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union to help defuse electoral tensions in Gambia. Such missions required strong support from Member States and the international community, host country ownership and well‑designed mandates. As with peacekeeping operations, the Security Council had a crucial role in determining and adapting mandates to reflect what was needed on the ground. Periodic strategic reviews of mission performance and efficiency should also be undertaken in conjunction with the Security Council and wider membership to define clear goals.
Mr. NASIR (Maldives) said political and peacekeeping mission mandates should include State‑building as an important outcome. Empowering women should become a key focus, as mounting evidence had demonstrated that the chances of sustaining peace were higher when there was gender equality in participation and in shaping peace and security decisions. Special political missions must also ensure that efforts reflected a deep understanding of and engagement with the broadest approval of people they sought to help. As such, the cooperation of regional and subregional organizations was important but, at the same time, it was also critical to frame the mission’s mandate through the lens of the host country. That entailed clear, consistent mandates tailored to the country’s unique political, economic and social circumstances.
TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) said the United Nations must continue to use all available tools, including special political missions, to play a meaningful role in resolving conflict. Equally essential was addressing institutional fragmentation and ensuring coherence across the entire United Nations system. Encouraged by the signing of the Joint United Nations‑African Union Framework for an Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security, he underlined a need for a greater appreciation of the complementarity and comparative advantages of the United Nations and regional and subregional mechanisms. In that context, he emphasized the significance of special political missions in ensuring peace and security through prevention and peacebuilding.
WOUTER H. ZAAYMAN (South Africa) called for strong partnerships between special political missions and regional and subregional organizations. Such partnerships had been highlighted during a recent Security Council‑African Union Peace and Security Council joint consultation. Adequate and predictable resources must be allocated to special political missions, with the creation of a separate account increasing predictability and transparency. The Non‑Aligned Movement’s proposal that special political missions be financed through the implementation of the same criteria, methodology and mechanisms used to fund peacekeeping operations would make them more agile in their deployment and execution of mandates.
TORE HATTREM (Norway) said operations in Afghanistan, Colombia and Syria demonstrated the indispensable nature of special political missions. The need for such missions was increasing because there were effective in the field and relatively low in cost. Failing to support such efforts would lead to the costly alternative of large‑scale peace and humanitarian operations. He regretted to note that no agreement had yet been made on a funding framework, even though such a solution would save, not increase United Nations spending. To take a more holistic approach, special political missions must be examined as part of the spectrum of peace operations.
MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said increased, predictable and sustainable resources for special political missions would enhance their contributions to sustaining peace. To achieve that, he called for further discussions on financing and backstopping. Voicing concerns for the safety of mission personnel, he underscored the need for the regular review of security situations confronting field assets. Expressing regret that the position of Special Advisor to the Secretary‑General on Myanmar had been withdrawn in 2016, he said Member States of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation were pursuing a related draft resolution in the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural). Urging delegates to lend support to the draft, he said creating a Special Advisor position was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis, which called for the international community’s sustained engagement.
EZZIDIN Y. BELKHEIR (Libya), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) had supported provided electoral support in 2012 and 2014, trained Libyans in the rule of law and human rights and had assisted in mine clearing. Yet, occasionally the Mission did not strictly respect the national ownership principle, including a report on the human rights of illegal immigrants that had not been produced in coordination with the Government. The Mission personnel’s use of social media had sometimes resulted in “chaos” on the Libyan streets and had demonstrated a lack of language skills and knowledge of the country’s political, social, and historical background, he said, emphasizing that his comments were not meant to diminish the Organization’s role, but only to highlight lessons learned over a long period.
Right of Reply
The representative of Myanmar, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said her country’s Government had taken heed of the international community’s concern about the humanitarian situation in Rakhine State since the day it had assumed office. The Government was committed to all possible actions to alleviating that situation, and many positive developments had occurred, she said, recalling that a ministerial‑level committee had been established since the terrorist attacks of 25 August. The repatriation, resettlement, and rehabilitation of returnees and was also a focus. A partnership between the Government, civil society, development partners and United Nations agencies had been launched, and ASEAN was also working with the Government to deliver humanitarian assistance to all displaced persons, she said. Moreover, Myanmar had asked the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to harvest and store grain from the paddy fields of the displaced. As a least developed country, Myanmar was dealing with inherited challenges and had made progress in spite of constraints, she said, adding that unconstructive language would not help to resolve the issue at hand.
The representative of Bangladesh said he took note of renewed commitments to address the ongoing Rohingya crisis and to work with the international community to ensure the sustainable return of those forcibly displaced. As such, Bangladesh had been working with Myanmar in good faith and would continue to do so. Based on past experience, however, it would not be able to make much headway in bilateral efforts with Myanmar without the international community’s engagement. He recalled that an understanding had been reached on the issue and detailed in a 10‑point outcome document. However, a critical element concerning the return of the Rohingya had been omitted from the document when the Myanmar authorities had uploaded it to social media, he said.