Spotlighting the relevance of strong triangular cooperation, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, told the Security Council today that its work with police- and troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat is critical to ensuring continued progress and enhancing operations in the field.
This triangular approach applies to a range of areas, such as performance and improving peacekeepers’ safety and security, and also identifying gaps and defining solutions, he said. In implementing resolution 2436 (2018), continuous engagement from the Council and police- and troop-contributing countries remains essential to lasting progress. Their feedback, support and engagement in rolling out the comprehensive performance assessment system can improve the Council’s response to needs, he added.
A triangular approach can also yield strong results in training and mindset, he emphasized, noting that the Secretariat stands ready to lend support to any exchanges between the Council and police- and troop-contributing countries. Council members whose nations are police- and troop-contributing countries can play a crucial role in encouraging such dialogue. He called on delegates to consider expanding the triangular cooperation on occasion, as required, to ensure successful mandate implementation. Partnerships with regional and subregional organization are becoming increasingly important for the efficiency of peacekeeping, he said, pointing at relationships with the African Union and the European Union.
Dennis Gyllensporre, Force Commander of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), also briefing the Council, said the Secretariat and Member States should continue supporting troop-contributors from the earliest stages, including in predeployment and in-mission training and with equipment. Clearly defined goals, standards and expectations are needed for troop- and police-contributors. Commanders should be given freedom of action to the largest extent possible, including the power to deploy forces to advance the mission’s mandate without — or with minimal — national constraints.
Outlining his own engagement with troop-contributing countries’ senior national representatives, he said his job includes reporting to Headquarters on deficiencies and challenges relating to troop-contributors, as well as conveying positive examples of leadership and robustness. He underscored the importance of close triangular cooperation; a strong understanding among all three actors of the situation on the ground; strengthened dialogue; and continually revised evaluation and accountability mechanisms.
Alexandra Novosseloff of the Brian Urquhart Center for Peace Operations at the International Peace Institute, in her briefing, said that triangular consultations should take the form of regular private meetings between the Council, the Secretariat and the major contributors. They should involve the primary troop- or police-contributors specific to the mission under consideration, since they are taking the main risks in the field. These triangular consultations should be held at the expert level, attended by political and military experts, as these discussions are fundamentally political and military ones. This does not mean that, at times, when stakes are higher, these meetings could not be held at a more senior level to enable effective decisions. “Peacekeeping is a partnership, and triangular cooperation is one of the ways to carry out that partnership,” she added.
In the ensuing discussion, speakers welcomed strengthening a relationship between the Council, Secretariat and troop- and police-contributing countries, with the representative of Côte d’Ivoire, also speaking on behalf of fellow Council members Equatorial Guinea and South Africa, emphasizing that police- and troop-contributing countries play a vital role and maintaining cooperation with them remains one of the priorities for United Nations peace operations. Dialogue with those countries is essential, he continued, calling for resolution 1353 (2001) to be implemented accordingly and also highlighting the importance of regional and subregional partnerships, particularly with the African Union.
China’s delegate also underscored the importance of a “channel of communication” between the Security Council, Secretariat and troop- and police-contributing countries. This will help improve actual results, he said, noting his country’s substantial financial contributions to peacekeeping operations. China is exploring other ways to support the United Nations peacekeeping missions and supports the Council in strengthening communication between the Secretariat and police- and troop-contributing countries.
The representative of Belgium stressed that small and medium-sized contributors should also make their voices heard. “We think it is important to hear the voices of financial contributors regardless of their rank,” he added. This would be a useful step to align mandates and resources.
Pakistan’s delegate said her country has been a consistent troop-and police-contributor for nearly six decades, with over 200,000 personnel serving in 46 missions around the world. “[Troop-contributing countries] are the United Nations eyes and ears on the ground,” she said. To further improve those relationships, she cited a need to institutionalize triangular cooperation, especially against the backdrop of more volatile operating environments and “a chorus of demands for doing more with less”.
Also speaking today were representatives of Dominican Republic, Germany, France, Kuwait, United States, Poland, Indonesia, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Peru, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Egypt and Uruguay.
The meeting began at 3:04 p.m. and ended at 5:38 p.m.
JEAN-PIERRE LACROIX, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, highlighting the relevance of strong triangular cooperation, said it is a crucial factor to enhance operations, particularly on the heels of the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative, which aims at fostering collective solutions to deal with challenges peacekeeping faces. The common work of the Council, police- and troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat, along with other stakeholders, will be key to ensure continued progress. This triangular approach applies to a range of areas, such as performance and improving peacekeepers’ safety and security, while also identifying gaps and defining solutions. In implementing resolution 2436 (2018), continuous engagement from the Council and police- and troop-contributing countries will be crucial to achieve lasting progress. For instance, he said, their feedback, support and engagement in rolling out the comprehensive performance assessment system can improve its response to needs. A triangular approach can also yield strong results in training and mindset.
Outlining existing mechanisms to facilitate triangular consultations, he said today’s meeting is timely, coinciding with the third Chiefs of Defence Conference, to be held on 11 July at Headquarters. Sharing ideas on how to strengthen triangular cooperation, he said the Secretariat stands ready to lend support to any exchanges between the Council and police- and troop-contributing countries. In encouraging such dialogues, Council members whose nations are police- and troop-contributing countries can also play a crucial role, he said, commending Côte d’Ivoire’s leadership in heading the organ’s working group on peacekeeping operations. He encouraged delegates to consider expanding the triangular cooperation on occasion, as required, to ensure successful mandate implementation. Partnerships with regional and subregional organization are becoming increasingly important for the efficiency of peacekeeping, he said, pointing at relationships with the African Union and the European Union. Further, the open debates on cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union have been very useful in bringing light to how this partnership can help to tackle current challenges.
DENNIS GYLLENSPORRE, Force Commander of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), said its troops are deployed to support the signatory parties in the implementation of the peace accord in the country’s north, including supervising the ceasefire. As a secondary priority, he said the forces also improve the security situation in central Mali, where they protect civilians against a range of threats such as frequent and brutal attacks on women and children. “This challenging situation is perpetuated by threats against our personnel,” he added, noting that MINUSMA troops are targeted and exposed to frequent, direct and complex attacks. Stressing that too many lives have been lost, he said the complexity of the situation exceeds that of his previous work — including in Afghanistan — and strays far from what is envisaged in traditional peacekeeping.
“We have to find different and new ways to operate to deliver on the mandate,” he continued, underlining the need to render MINUSMA more agile, quicker to react and more mobile, while also using the rules of engagement to their fullest extent. Citing progress in that regard, he said that during the last reporting period the Mission’s operational tempo increased by more than 100 per cent. “More importantly, we are changing the mindset of the peacekeepers to become more proactive, flexible and robust,” he said. Calling for strengthened cooperation and consultation mechanisms between the field and Headquarters, he drew attention to triangular cooperation and said the Secretariat and Member States should continue to support troop-contributors from the earliest stages, including in predeployment and in-mission training and with equipment.
Emphasizing that clearly defined goals, standards and expectations are needed for troop- and police-contributors, he said commanders must also be given freedom of action to the largest extent possible. For example, the number of caveats should be minimized and commanders should be able to deploy forces to advance the Mission’s mandate without — or with minimal — national constraints. Outlining his own engagement with troop-contributing countries’ senior national representatives, he said his job includes reporting to Headquarters on deficiencies and challenges relating to troop-contributors, as well as conveying positive examples of leadership and robustness. Issuing several recommendations in that context, he underscored the importance of close triangular cooperation; a strong understanding among all three actors of the situation on the ground; strengthened dialogue; and continually revised evaluation and accountability mechanisms.
ALEXANDRA NOVOSSELOFF, Senior Fellow at the Brian Urquhart Center for Peace Operations at the International Peace Institute, said that triangular cooperation is at the heart of everything the Council does. Triangular consultations should take the form of regular private meetings between the Council, the Secretariat and the major contributors. They should involve the primary troop- or police-contributors specific to the mission under consideration, since they are taking the main risks in the field, she emphasized. Ten troop- and police-contributors could be considered as a good number to allow a focused discussion. While some flexibility is certainly required when adjusting the exact number of attendees, meetings should not be transformed into meetings where no one is willing to talk openly and informally about real issues.
The meetings should be informal — including no read-outs issued — to facilitate constructive dialogue, she continued. Consultations should be held before the renewal of the mandate of a mission, before and after a major strategic review has been conducted by the Secretariat, and when a major mission-related crisis occurs. These triangular consultations should be held at the expert level, attended by political and military experts, as these discussions are fundamentally political and military ones. This does not mean that, at times, when stakes are higher, these meetings could not be held at a more senior level to enable effective decisions.
As suggested by resolution 1353 (2001), such meetings could be strengthened by the holding of a parallel discussion of purely military nature within the informal setting of the Military Staff Committee, to which key contributors not serving in the Council could take part, she said. What is needed is to have one type of triangular meeting that is informal in its nature but mentioned in the programme of work of the Council, restricted in its format, called by the pen-holder, and organized in coordination with the presidency of the month of the Council. “Peacekeeping is a partnership, and triangular cooperation is one of the ways to carry out that partnership,” she added.
KACOU HOUADJA LÉON ADOM (Côte d’Ivoire), also speaking on behalf of fellow members Equatorial Guinea and South Africa, said United Nations peacekeeping operations are one of the most recognizable symbols of global solidarity in pursuit of the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security. Police- and troop-contributing countries play a vital role and maintaining cooperation with them remains one of the priorities for United Nations peace operations. However, the situation in Mali is symptomatic of the complexity of peace operations today, with peacekeepers exposed to attacks and other threats, he said, emphasizing in that regard the essential need for dialogue with police- and troop-contributing countries.
Calling for the implementation of resolution 1353 (2001) — on strengthening cooperation with police- and troop-contributing countries — he said measures on enhancing triangular cooperation, as outlined in the 2018 report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, should be considered favourably. Ensuring that triangular cooperation, working procedures and decision-making processes are transparent, predictable and inclusive will enhance trust among partners, he said. However, there is need for more substantive and regular triangular meetings involving the Secretariat, the Security Council and the contributing countries. Moreover, the Council’s working group on peacekeeping operations could also play a monitoring and evaluation role in following up on Council commitments regarding triangular cooperation.
He went on to highlight the importance of regional and subregional partnerships, particularly with the African Union, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations. These partnerships can help to foster stronger triangular cooperation in various situations, he said, expressing support for more sustainable, predictable funding for African Union-led peacekeeping missions authorized by the Council, on a case-by-case basis. Indeed, effective triangular cooperation can help Africa attain many of its goals, including those set out in the Silence the Guns by 2020 initiative, as well as its sustainable development targets.
JOSÉ SINGER WEISINGER (Dominican Republic) emphasized that triangular cooperation must be strengthened at a time of new and emerging challenges to peacekeeping operations. Pointing out that the Council’s debates have highlighted shortcomings, including the lack of timely information, he said consultations must be conducted in a transparent, inclusive manner going forward, while considering the needs of police and troop contributors and the situation on the ground. Indeed, suggestions made by contributing countries are essential when designing missions, he said, stressing that the Secretariat must also respond rapidly to requests for information on the ground. Meetings of the working group on peacekeeping operations should be held more regularly and provide more effective information, he added.
CHRISTOPH HEUSGEN (Germany) agreed that more regular meetings are needed, suggesting that police commanders participate as well. Recalling the Council’s visit to Mali, he said that such endeavours help to clarify the situation on the ground. Peacekeepers are paying a very high price in Mali and more must be done to improve their plight. As the situation stands, the police- and troop-contributing countries are doing it all, he noted, stressing that the Council must do its part to shoulder its responsibilities. When countries stand for the United Nations, the Organization must also do its part, he reiterated, underlining that while triangular cooperation can achieve a lot, the situation on the ground will not change unless peace agreements are implemented.
ANNE GUEGUEN (France) said triangular cooperation is necessary at every stage of a peacekeeping operation’s life cycle. Because police and troop contributors are familiar with situations on the ground, their contributions are invaluable to the effective management of missions. Triangular cooperation benefits all, she said, adding that tools already exist for ensuring these partnerships thrive. Within the Council are mechanisms to allow for dialogue, including with the Special Committee for Peacekeeping Operations, and they should be strengthened instead of focusing on creating new tools. She suggested talking systematically with police- and troop-contributing countries throughout the year, and not only in terms of extending mandates. Training is another key to triangular cooperation, she said, pointing out that France supports a number of centres around the world and intends to train more than 30,000 African troops in 2020.
MANSOUR AYYAD SH. A. ALOTAIBI (Kuwait) recalled that resolution 1353 (2001) governed the relations between countries providing uniformed personnel, the Security Council and the Secretariat. He said it is essential to provide the necessary documents in advance so stakeholders can prepare for meetings in an appropriate manner. He said that the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34) provides the Council with an opportunity to take into account all peacekeeping challenges and issues. He underscored the importance of formal and informal meetings as well as the need to ensure flexibility of meetings. He further called for a balance between public and closed meetings, which must be convened “quickly and regularly”. The Council should not have a monopoly on decisions, but rather should consult countries that make the peacekeeping sacrifice and the host countries, as was the case in the situations in Haiti and Darfur. The mandates of peacekeeping operations must indeed meet the needs of the countries concerned.
RODNEY M. HUNTER (United States) commended the contributions of troop- and police-contributing countries, adding that his nation is working hard to improve peacekeeping operations worldwide. Peacekeeping missions must support political solutions, have an exit strategy and adjust to progress and failure. Informal dialogues are an important mechanism to discuss purpose and requirements of the mission. It is equally important to avoid “over-formalizing” these meetings. Triangular cooperation is discussed in the Security Council Working Group on Peace Operations, he noted, inviting more countries to participate in the discussions. In addition to efforts to enhance triangular cooperation, there are other forums where Member States have opportunity to discuss peacekeeping, particularly in the Fifth Committee.
JOANNA WRONECKA (Poland) echoed expressions of support for in-depth consultations between troop- and police-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Council. “This idea cannot be questioned,” she said. Underlining one indispensable element of that cooperation, she said unhindered information-sharing — the honest exchange of views and meaningful discussions — is critical and requires all partners to sit at the table with the same understanding and up-to-date information. There is also a need for “penholders” to provide more time for the Council members to work on draft resolutions. While informal Council meetings with troop- and police-contributors are already well established and utilized, the “pre-meetings” organized by penholders also serve the purpose of sharing concerns and perspectives. It is therefore worth considering an extension of such discussions, as preparatory meetings, to all peacekeeping missions’ mandate renewals, she said. Drawing attention to the role of the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations, she said it has potential and is valuable in its ability to adjust discussions to current needs. “Each aspect of the Mission could be discussed separately and thoroughly as required,” she said.
DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia) said efforts to institutionalize triangular cooperation have been lacking. Existing intergovernmental commitments on such cooperation must be implemented, he said, adding that options for more direct engagement between host Governments and the Council should be considered. One such option could be quadrilateral consultations where political strategies and priorities could be discussed. He went on to suggest pursuing innovative approaches and expanding cooperation to the technical level. It is also important that peacekeeping missions are matched with appropriate human, material and financial resources, he said.
WU HAITAO (China) said that improving the Security Council’s mandate is critical and should always adhere to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and must be closely aligned with the goal of a political solution. Attention should be paid to strengthening training to help troop- and police-contributing countries to improve their effectiveness. He underscored the importance of a “channel of communication” between the Security Council, Secretariat and troop- and police-contributing countries. This will help improve actual results, he said. China is a major contributor to peacekeeping operations. Currently, it is exploring other ways to support the United Nations peacekeeping missions and supports the Security Council in strengthening communication between the Secretariat and police- and troop-contributing countries.
MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium) stressed the need to invest in making interactions livelier, encouraging the penholders in the Council to consider the concerns of troop- and police-contributing countries. Small and medium-sized contributors should also make their voices heard. “We think it is important to hear the voices of financial contributors regardless of their rank,” he added. This would be a useful step to align mandates and resources. Some mandates are being implemented in increasingly difficult environments. There is merit in developing strengthened dialogue on technical and military issues. Information must be available to stakeholders further in advance to Security Council meetings.
DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) said triangular cooperation plays a defining role in peacekeeping, from planning to carrying out missions. The United Nations key role in this regard is the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, which provides a platform for dialogue. Transparency and consensus agreements in intergovernmental forums are essential, including decisions taken by the Special Committee. However, the division of labour in the United Nations system must ensure that the Special Committee’s work is not impeded, with the Council playing its own role in forming mission mandates. Expressing support for the Committee’s proposals for promoting triangular cooperation, he underlined the importance of including police- and troop-contributing countries in consultations, as they play a defining role in peacekeeping operations. Their opinion and experience are important for, among other things, learning lessons for the future. At the same time, the potential of the Military Staff Committee is underestimated, he said, adding that it would be beneficial to examine its role and work.
JONATHAN GUY ALLEN (United Kingdom) said the purpose of triangular cooperation is to enable police- and troop-contributing countries to provide information to decision makers in New York. As a Council member and a troop-contributing country, his delegation knows how important communications are about the situation on the ground. Citing examples of how such communications have informed the Council, including in Somalia, he said existing methods are providing results. He suggested making meetings with troop-contributing countries more informative and interactive. Supporting calls for strengthening cooperation efforts, he said it was disappointing to hear that some States had rejected efforts to improve peacekeeping performance, particularly with regard to addressing cases of sexual exploitation and abuse. He also regretted to note that one State had blocked other similar efforts.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru), Council President for July, spoke in his national capacity, saying today’s meeting aims at addressing an issue that may not be reaching its potential. Surveys and reports from the Council and its related committees have included innovative proposals. “We now must translate them from theory to concrete actions,” he said, emphasizing that triangular consultations must allow for a more direct a genuine exchange of ideas, include force commanders, and require that participants, particularly troop-contributing countries, have the time to be well-prepared for meetings. It is key that such meetings are complemented by informal consultations. There must also be tangible progress to institutionalizing triangular cooperation. Working groups on peacekeeping operations, on documentation and on other procedural issues could come up with a document encapsulating these ideas. As a troop-contributing country since 1958, Peru supports triangular cooperation, he said, expressing hope that the debate results in fresh ideas about a thematic topic of interest to all.
TAYE ATSKESELASSIE AMDE (Ethiopia), underlining the importance of further institutionalizing cooperation among the various peacekeeping actors, called for policy and operational coherence across the entire United Nations system. Against the backdrop of an increasingly complex peacekeeping environment, the Council, the Secretariat and troop- and police-contributing countries should streamline and coordinate their activities. Troop- and police-contributors should be more involved in the mandating process, he said, recalling that the Council has itself recognized that consultations among the three stakeholders “were not working effectively”. The Secretariat, along with a resolution’s penholder, currently presents analyses of the political, security and humanitarian situations facing a mission — not those involved on the ground. While informal meetings are already held, there remains much room for further input from troop-contributing countries. Stressing that the latter’s lack of participation in mandate preparation and renewal negatively affects a mission’s performance, he said peacekeepers need to know that authorized mandates are the result of candid discussions informed by challenges on the ground. “This […] would also help to improve the perception of financiers, who often seem to believe countries are not doing enough to ensure efficiency,” he added. Echoing calls for the Council to institutionalize regular consultation with other stakeholders, he said such discussions should not only be confined to formal talks in New York but should also take place at the field level.
ROBERT KAYINAMURA (Rwanda) said sustained and meaningful consultations with troop- and police-contributing countries at all stages are critical to the success of any United Nations peacekeeping mission. The Council cannot work on issues in isolation from those who implement its resolutions and mandates, he said, emphasizing that strategic outcomes are harder to accomplish when cooperation, coordination and coherence are weak. Reduced funding for peacekeeping reaffirms the need for structured cooperation to address gaps between mandated tasks and the resources required to carry them out. He proposed regular consultations between the Council, the Secretariat and major troop- and police-contributing countries that would take up operational and political matters in a way that can facilitate informed decision-making based on realities on the ground.
MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh) said that while triangular cooperation is critical to peacekeeping, building partnerships across the divergent view of three key stakeholders — the Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries — has always been a challenge. More consultation can help narrow the gaps between mandates and realities, ease tensions on unresolved issues — including in other bodies, such as the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and the Fifth Committee — and bring fresh ideas to define the contours of future policies. Welcoming consensus in the section on triangular cooperation of the Special Committee’s recent report, he called for greater flexibility and receptivity to the inputs of troop- and police-contributors which will facilitate their ownership and create space for their voices. There could also be more regular, perhaps institutionalized, interactions on such key issues as safety and security, performance, peacebuilding and sustaining peace. Echoing calls for a more systematized system of triangular dialogue, he added that existing mechanisms, including the Special Committee and the Council’s Working Group, should be used for more in-depth discussions on common concerns. The Secretariat should keep track of such discussion in a matrix to ensure they guide future meetings in a systematic manner, he said.
MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan) said her country has been a consistent troop-and police-contributor for nearly six decades, with over 200,000 personnel serving in 46 missions around the world. Pakistan’s troops are professional, well-trained, well-equipped and prepared to act in all circumstances. “[Troop-contributing countries] are the United Nations eyes and ears on the ground,” she said, emphasizing the value of their input for the work of the Secretariat and Council. To further improve those relationships, she cited a need to institutionalize triangular cooperation, especially against the backdrop of more volatile operating environments and “a chorus of demands for doing more with less”. Missions do not need another layer of formal mechanisms, she stressed, adding that formal meetings should be revitalized to maximize their benefits and ensure meaningful dialogue well ahead of mandate renewals. As elected members of the Council are playing a bridge-building role, she also called for efforts to further strengthen that element of triangular cooperation.
MOHAMED FATHI AHMED EDREES (Egypt) said the operational aspect of peacekeeping must be considered in this discussion, from the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations to the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative. Increasingly complex operational contexts demonstrate a need for better mission planning and implementation. A clear strategy must support the implementation of mandates to, among other things, ensure they are tailored to each situation. As a troop-contributing country, his delegation has observed an absence of a strategic dimension to existing consultations. The current consultation formula for discussions with the Security Council does not meet the objectives of triangular cooperation, hence the interest in reviewing such dialogues. As chair of the African Union, Egypt is leading efforts to bring together host countries and the African troop-contributing countries to implement the Action for Peacekeeping initiative. Citing several contributions that have been made to peacekeeping, he said an African Union road map provides additional proposals, inviting the Council to examine its practical solutions.
LUIS HOMERO BERMÚDEZ ÁLVAREZ (Uruguay), noting that his country has deployed more than 50,000 troops in more than 20 missions, said triangular cooperation has been a concept under discussion since at least 1990. Underscoring the existence of a strong legacy of work on the issue, including the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations and the Action for Peacekeeping initiative, he said there is still a notion that consultations fall short of expectations and have yet to meet their potential. Enhancing cooperation mechanisms is needed, particularly at a time when missions must tackle all types of threats and take on new tasks. Staff require training in new technologies, and equipment must be more efficient and effective. Yet, budgets continue to be cut. Going forward, meetings with troop-contributing countries must be more regular, he said, adding that the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations is a valuable platform to support triangular cooperation. The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations brings together the three players in triangular cooperation and is in a position to issue recommendations.