Special Committee on peacekeeping operations concludes general debate by taking up questions of resources, restructuring, personnel
Special Committee on
203rd & 204th Meetings (AM & PM)
Special Committee on peacekeeping operations concludes general debate by taking up questions of resources, restructuring, personnel
Amid the increasingly complex demands placed on the 130,000 United Nations peacekeepers worldwide, the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations today tackled pressing questions of resources, departmental restructuring and personnel conduct.
As the Special Committee concluded its 2008 general debate, most delegations agreed on the need for structural changes and expressed support for the reforms outlined in the comprehensive Peace Operations 2010 programme. That document, introduced in 2006, focuses on the core areas of personnel, doctrine, resources and partnerships, among other issues.
Indonesia's representative emphasized that the success of restructuring would hinge on a qualitative improvement in long-standing factors such as the capacity of Headquarters for planning and management, robust field support, clear communication and effective consultation, and coordination and cooperation with the field and troop-contributing countries. Unity of command, sound safety systems and regular training for peacekeepers were also important.
Giving voice to the concerns of troop-contributing countries, India's representative said several of the 119 contributors faced difficulties in the restructured set up, and it was to be hoped that the Secretary-General would make appropriate corrections. India had consistently called for the energizing of triangular consultations among the troop-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat, and it was regrettable that the Council had not found time to hold consultations on the situation in the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), where Eritrean restrictions had impacted the activities of that operation.
Singapore's representative asserted that, while peacekeeping operations were demanding, that did not preclude the implementation of creative, cost-cutting measures to rein in spiralling costs. There was a need to review the distribution of workload and resources throughout the system. At issue for the strengthening of the Office of Military Affairs, for example, was whether the funding solution rested on generating new resources or a rationalization of the functions and resources of the wider United Nations. Similarly, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the newly created Department of Field Support, which made up less than one-fifth of the Secretariat's strength, operated a peacekeeping budget more than three times the United Nations regular budget.
Uruguay's representative expressed concern over hold-ups in reimbursement for contingent-owned equipment, stressing that for more than a year, the United Nations had delayed reimbursements for countries involved in the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), among others. Indeed, important contributors -- including some permanent members of the Security Council -- were not paying their dues. To solve that problem, Uruguay urged combining peacekeeping accounts, as proposed by the Secretary-General.
Jordan's representative was among many delegates advocating a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeepers, explaining that perpetrators must be held accountable and their actions criminalized. The Secretariat must demonstrate transparency in implementing the memorandum of understanding adopted by Member States last year. Jordan agreed with the strategy submitted by Costa Rica, as Chair of the Working Group on issues relating to victims of sexual attacks by peacekeepers.
Serbia's representative said the intended deployment of the European Union mission, EULEX, to the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija, administered by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), would contravene Security Council resolution 1244 (1999), as well as the rules and principles governing peacekeeping operations. It would also violate the role of the United Nations in implementing peacekeeping operations with potentially serious consequences for future operations.
He said the EULEX deployment proffered a framework for implementing the Ahtisaari Plan, which had not been accepted either by the Security Council or by Serbia, which called on the Secretary-General to instruct UNMIK not to transfer its competences to EULEX.
Others speaking today were the representatives of the Russian Federation, Iran, Pakistan, Namibia, China, Israel, South Africa, Nepal, Bangladesh, Georgia, Turkey, Thailand, Ukraine, Ghana, Syria, United States, Sudan, Fiji, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guinea and Lebanon.
An observer for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also made a statement.
Taking the floor in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of the Russian Federation, Israel, Syria and Georgia.
The Special Committee will meet again at a date to be announced.
The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations met this morning to continue its general debate.
KONSTANTIN DOLGOV ( Russian Federation) said his country aimed to increase its participation in peacekeeping, adding that Russian peacekeepers were participating in operations in the Middle East and various parts of Africa, as well as in Haiti, Kosovo and Georgia. In addition, Russian helicopters operated as part of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan. The growing demand for United Nations peacekeeping operations called for greater efforts to improve integrated planning, enhance rapid deployment of field missions and strengthen coordination between Headquarters and field operations.
He said it was regrettable that peacekeeping reform decisions adopted last year, including the selection of the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, had yet to be implemented. It was time to fill existing vacancies and define the optimal size and structure of the Secretariat. The Capstone Doctrine was exclusively an internal document of the United Nations Secretariat and should become a guideline for troop-contributing countries. The Russian Federation supported continued efforts to improve training capabilities for peacekeeping personnel.
Sexual exploitation, abuse and other forms of misconduct by United Nations peacekeepers undermined confidence in the Organization and could not go unpunished, he stressed. The Special Committee should consider the model memorandum of understanding between the United Nations and troop-contributing countries and the Strategy on Assistance and Support to Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. It was insufficient merely to inform others about the results of an investigation in order to restore the image of a contingent whose members were accused of sexual misconduct. The Special Committee had not yet been presented with norms of conduct for all categories or guidelines on the holding of briefings for United Nations peacekeepers with respect to sexual crimes.
AMIR HOSSEIN HOSSEINI (Iran), emphasizing that the consent of the parties, non-use of force except in self-defence, and impartiality should guide United Nations-led peacekeeping operations, said the Organization should also take measures to establish close contact with all affected parties. In optimizing peacekeeping effectiveness, notably the financial aspects, States must remember that such needs should not undermine the agreed principles. Iran was concerned about tendencies towards eroding the credibility of the United Nations and stressed the need to end unilateral actions taken outside the Organization, which were not in line with international law. All peacekeeping operations should enjoy full political support from Member States and clearly defined exit strategies.
It was important to pay attention to the political, legal and financial consequences of new concepts and ideas, he stressed. All relevant documents should be examined by all members of the Special Committee. Although the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had included States' comments in its "Principles and Guidelines", the document still contained ambiguities. Iran welcomed the adoption of the strategy on assistance to victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations staff and related personnel, and continued to support implementation of the zero-tolerance policy, as no perpetrator of such misconduct should enjoy impunity.
On regional arrangements, he said their complementary role could not justify any policy to substitute them for the United Nations peacekeeping forces. With regard to restructuring, he called on the Secretariat to consider proper representation of troop-contributing countries in the Department and the Department of Field Support. Iran was ready to provide more trained troops to support peacekeeping missions.
FARUKH AMIL (Pakistan), associating himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, as the top contributor, with a current strength exceeding 19,500 personnel deployed in 13 missions, his country had a special interest in the Special Committee's success at a time when demand for United Nations peacekeeping operations continued to pose challenges amidst a major restructuring. The integrated mission concept in response to complex crises was beginning to crystallize but the process was becoming complicated. Issues of peacebuilding should be clarified as to their interface with peacekeeping within the larger objective of durable peace and development. And while the United Nations had improved its capacity to manage complex missions in internal crises, the focus on its ability to deliver in traditional inter-State peacekeeping should not be lost. The role of the Special Committee must be revitalized to rescue it from discussing peripheral issues as it was now doing.
Stressing the crucial importance of enhancing the nature and quality of cooperation and interaction with troop-contributing countries, he said that would not only improve operational effectiveness, but also ensure the full engagement of troop contributors at the policy level, in decision-making at all stages from planning to force-generation, deployment, design and mandate review and drawdown. Without such engagement by the Security Council and the Secretariat, the continued support of troop contributors could not be taken for granted. Top priority must be given to partnering with troop contributors. Further, the persistent lack of major troop-contributor representation in the operational and top managerial fields, both in the field and at Headquarters, did not infuse confidence in the partnership. Delays in reimbursement were also inexplicable.
Calling for a Secretary-General's report more suited to a meaningful and substantive discussion, he said the addendum to the present document should provide real added value rather than appear to be a question-and-answer exercise that failed fully to address the Special Committee's recommendations. Further, most of the information on the reform process focused on recruitment and the functions of various entities. There was little on how the restructuring was delivering in terms of improved capacity, efficiency and the application of best practices. In addition, dealing with two departments instead of one had increased the burden on troop contributors, and there was still a need to address duplication and overlap.
He concluded by describing the strategic military cell as an anomaly since there should be no discrimination between missions. Rather, the Military Division should be strengthened and all missions given equal treatment under a unified chain of command. The Police Division should also be strengthened. On other matters, the Secretariat's response to the Special Committee's recommendation on rapid deployment was disappointing in its finality. The outcome document on security-sector reform was an example of an unhelpful report, the nature and scope of which went far beyond the mandate. Proposals formulated without due consultations or proper consideration of all aspects only retarded work rather than speeding it up.
ADIYATIWIDI ADIWOSO ASMADY ( Indonesia) said the Capstone principles, coupled with realistic, clear and responsive Security Council mandates, were crucial for the success of peacekeeping operations. Any substantive discussion of the clear guidance needed for peacekeepers and of the guiding principles should be channelled through the intergovernmental process. The Secretariat could indeed publish its own internal documents, which should relate to the technical factors of planning, deployment, operations and logistics.
The six key principles in the restructuring of peacekeeping capacities were crucial, she said. The success of restructuring would hinge on a qualitative improvement in long-standing factors such as the improvement in the capacity of Headquarters for planning and management, robust field support, clear communication, effective consultation, coordination and cooperation with the field and troop-contributing countries, equality towards all troop contributors, unity of command, sound safety systems and regular training of peacekeepers. Indonesia was concerned that the Integrated Training Service lacked the capacity to provide training beyond 100,000 field personnel.
Despite some enhancement in the budget of the Peacekeeping Department, it regrettably remained at a paltry 0.5 per cent of global military spending, she said. Comparative studies showed that United Nations peacekeeping was a very cost-effective and potent tool to help achieve global peace and stability. It must be fully supported and Member States must pay their dues on time. The question of resources was a profound one, not only in terms of existing and planned missions, but also in the context of the broader post-conflict peacebuilding architecture in which other United Nations and non-United Nations agencies had expertise as well. Those resources must be shared.
KAIRE M.MBUENDE ( Namibia), stressing that no effort should be spared in strengthening and perfecting the conduct of peacekeeping operations, said it was in that spirit that the realignment of the Peacekeeping Department should be embraced. Though it was still too early to judge, the Department's division into Peacekeeping and Field Support components seemed to have created some coordination challenges among various divisions and with troop and police contributors. Hopefully those were only transitional problems that would be sorted out once the Integrated Operation Teams became fully operational.
He emphasized the importance of strengthening early warning capabilities at all levels, giving more resources to the Peacebuilding Commission and strengthening the Department of Political Affairs so it can play a meaningful role in conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy. Any reduction in the flow of illegal small arms and light weapons would immensely reduce the number of conflicts, especially in Africa. The signing of a joint United Nations-African Union cooperation declaration and framework for the 10-year capacity-building programme represented notable progress, but the organization's cooperation with the regional body should go a step further to cover a broad spectrum of issues, including policies and plans for conducting hybrid operations.
The current methods to investigate sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers left much to be desired, he said, stressing, however, that his country adhered to a zero-tolerance policy and would deal seriously with all cases of serious misconduct by any Namibian peacekeeper. In addition, Namibia was concerned about the situation in the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) and the slow deployment of troops in Darfur. Namibia stood ready to deploy troops in Darfur.
SIM TIONG KIAN ( Singapore) expressed bafflement at the delay in appointing the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support and filling the upgraded post of Military Adviser. Despite repeated calls for those two important positions to be filled, they remained vacant -- eight months later in the case of the former post. The delay undermined the "urgency" arguments presented last year in favour of restructuring.
Turning to the strengthening of the Office of Military Affairs, where the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had proposed restructuring based on lessons from operating the Strategic Military Cell, he said what was really at issue was whether the funding solution rested on generating new resources or a rationalization of the functions and resources of the wider United Nations. The Peacekeeping and Field Support Departments made up less than a fifth of the Secretariat's strength, yet they operated a peacekeeping budget that was more than three times the regular budget.
That warranted a review of the distribution of workload and resources throughout the United Nations system, he said, pointing out that it was commonplace for organizations to fund the expansion of growth areas through drawdowns or secondments from less active areas. An organization with finite resources needed to develop similar system discipline. Peacekeeping operations had become complex and demanding, but that did not preclude the implementation of creative, cost-cutting measures to rein in spiralling costs.
LIU ZHENMIN (China), noting that United Nations peacekeeping operations had expanded in size, mandate and influence over the last year, said they also faced challenges in balancing the "cost and effect" of operations, narrowing the gap between peacekeeping capacity and States' expectations, and improving operational planning. Such issues required in-depth discussion among all States. In fulfilling the tasks outlined in the Secretary-General's report, it was important that peacekeeping operations be carried out in line with Charter principles and with Security Council authorization. The principles of neutrality and non-use of force, except for necessary defensive purposes, must be observed even in the face of expanded operations or mandates.
Calling for the accelerated expansion of the Peacekeeping and Field Support Departments, he said that afterwards they should take measures to ensure the security and training of peacekeepers. China also hoped to see a more balanced regional distribution of integrated operational teams and, with respect to security-sector reform, strategies tailored to specific national conditions. In addition, the United Nations should intensify its cooperation with regional organizations, and provide assistance to the African Union in institution-building, information sharing, financial support and personnel training. To increase coordination between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, the exit strategies of peacekeeping operations should dovetail with peacebuilding activities, while giving full play to the role of the Peacebuilding Commission.
DANIEL CARMON (Israel), noting that the Secretariat had initiated its most significant reforms over the last year, said the restructuring of the Peacekeeping Department into two departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support would strengthen oversight of resources. Amid the reform, the United Nations continued to provide sustained support to the 18 existing peacekeeping operations and it was to be hoped that the newly created United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) -- the largest force to be deployed in the Organization's history -- would reach its mandated size as soon as possible.
He noted that, while much work had been done to implement fully a policy of zero-tolerance towards sexual exploitation and abuse, there was a need to use preventive training more extensively, and to strengthen the capacity of "conduct and discipline" teams in the field. The Department should continue to offer guidance on such issues to public information experts so as to improve the information flow to communities.
Deeply troubled by the recent terrorist attacks against the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Israel strongly condemned all terrorist attacks against peacekeepers and United Nations personnel, he said. The country would continue to do all it could to support that mission. Israel hoped to become a contributor to peacekeeping operations and had ended the years 2005, 2006 and 2007 without outstanding liabilities to any peacekeeping account.
DUMISANI KUMALO (South Africa), associating himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, cited the creation of the Field Support Department, the restructuring of the Police Division, and the 2010 programme as evidence that United Nations peacekeeping had "come a long way". On restructuring, the prioritizing of resources had helped achieve a more cohesive approach to integrated peace missions. Operational guidelines aimed at translating policy prescriptions into practice had been important in that regard.
South Africa viewed regional organizations as "great partners" that brought advantages to the maintenance of international peace and security, he said, noting the African Union's involvement in Somalia and Darfur, situations in which the United Nations had been unable to intervene. Such organizations often had a better understanding of specific conflict situations and greater flexibility to intervene, especially during the initial stages. If peace operations were to succeed, it was crucial that policies uphold the principles of equality and non-discrimination, and that States continually look at measures to fully implement resolution 1325 (2000).
Turning to security-sector reform, he said that, as an important tool for building peace and development, it should be treated as nationally owned and context-specific. South Africa had co-hosted, with the Slovak Republic, a conference in Cape Town that allowed African States to make policy recommendations on improving United Nations support for reform. The African Union Summit in January had mandated the African Union Commission to begin work on such a framework, and it was expected that reform discussions would encourage a coherent approach.
HIRA BAHADUR THAPA ( Nepal) said he supported the recommendations of the Working Group on Contingent-Owned Equipment with regard to the comprehensive review of the provision of major military, medical and other equipment provided by troop-contributing countries in field missions. Troop contributors were required to incur the added costs of purchasing and maintaining major equipment they used in the field and the Working Group's recommendations could provide them with some relief. Nepal also supported steps to improve living conditions, welfare and recreation facilities for all personnel categories. The welfare and recreation strategy in mission areas should take into account the cultural perspectives of various contingents.
The inclusion of additional provisions in the memorandum of understanding on misconduct, investigation and the victim assistance strategy would help reduce misconduct by peacekeepers, he said. The Secretariat should reduce the lag between the time when incidents of serious misconduct occurred and when troop-contributing countries were informed of the outcome of investigations so that national authorities could take timely action.
Expressing support for the enhanced rapidly deployable capacities proposed by the Secretariat, he said, however, that the problems and limitations of troop-contributing countries must be addressed before that concept was streamlined. Troop-contributors should be given senior positions at United Nations Headquarters and in the field. The selection of senior and other professional Secretariat posts should be transparent and fair to all Member States, taking into account geographical balance and their contribution of personnel.
ILYAS IFTEKHAR RASUL (Bangladesh) said his country was the second leading troop-contributing country and top police contributor, with 9,850 peacekeepers deployed in 14 missions stretching from Timor-Leste to Liberia and Georgia to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Those statistics were a testament to the commitment and contribution of Bangladesh to United Nations peacekeeping. Peacekeepers needed better security and safety and contingents should be tasked with covering only areas of responsibility within their capacities within limits agreed in memorandums of understanding. There had been a reduction in the number of misconduct incidents but more efforts were needed to reduce the number still further until they were as low as possible.
The Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operations Training worked closely with the United Nations Integrated Training Services, he said. Peacekeepers from other friendly countries, including new and emerging troop-contributing countries, regularly took part in the Institute's programmes. Bangladesh had consistently provided at least 10 per cent of United Nations peacekeepers for the past 12 years, but it was underrepresented both at Headquarters and in field missions, particularly in senior posts. The Organization should address that inequity with the utmost seriousness in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Field Support and in the field.
SHALVA TSISKARASHVILI (Georgia) said a peacekeeping operation had been present in Abkhazia for 15 years with the aim of creating the appropriate conditions for the secure and dignified return of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons and refugees who had been "ethnically cleansed" from Abkhazia. Regrettably, none of them had returned to their native land with any kind of guarantees of safety or protection. Up to 2,000 people had been killed since the operation's introduction into Abkhazia and numerous criminal acts had been committed in the peacekeepers' areas of responsibility. Those facts illustrated that the existing format of peacekeeping operations was no longer adequate to enable the return of refugees and internally displaced persons of all nationalities to Abkhazia. Effective peacekeeping must incorporate a law enforcement component in order to create a secure environment.
He recalled that on 6 March, the Russian Federation, the only country contributing peacekeepers to Abkhazia, had announced its withdrawal from the 1996 decision of the Council of Heads of State of the Commonwealth of Independent States "on measures aimed at settling the conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia". That decision had banned any military and economic cooperation or official contacts with the secessionist regime. By its withdrawal, the Russian Federation no longer considered itself obligated to prevent the sale and supply of armaments, equipment and ammunition to the Abkhaz side, and renounced its responsibility to prevent the enrolment of citizens into armed groups in the conflict zone. The Russian Federation's decision had cast serious doubt on its impartiality, the main principle of peacekeeping.
FAZLI CORMAN (Turkey), associating himself with the European Union, said his country, as the eleventh-largest police contributor to United Nations missions, attached great importance to their civilian police component. In addition to the 41 Turkish police officers deployed to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) last January, the country had recently nominated more than 100 officers for deployment in the Sudan and Kosovo.
He said Turkey particularly welcomed the establishment of the Standing Police Capacity. Given the creation of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) and UNAMID, Member States might consider a comprehensive review of the needs of the police component at Headquarters. On security sector reform, the "global character" of the United Nations made it responsible for facilitating the development of international standards.
Describing his country as a "staunch supporter" of the zero-tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation, he said it was more important to prevent misconduct in the first place. Training peacekeeping personnel was essential, as was eliminating the root causes of misconduct. As such, Turkey looked forward to the early implementation of the Secretary-General's report on the welfare needs of peacekeeping personnel. The success of peacekeeping operations would be possible only if all Member States made financial contributions in a full and timely manner. Turkey's contributions had risen almost 28 per cent over the previous year.
MOHAMMED AL-ALLAF (Jordan) expressed hope that the United Nations would continue to be able to detect the risks weighing on United Nations personnel and to identify their vulnerabilities early enough to achieve real security for the United Nations and its personnel. That would require advanced technology, particularly for surveillance and monitoring. Jordan supported the follow-up project of the Peacekeeping Department to identify modalities for implementing recommendations listed in the 2007 study "Surveillance technology and follow-up for peacekeeping operations". The increasing dangers in which peacekeepers operated must be addressed.
He stressed the imperative need for closer cooperation between legislative bodies and troop-contributing countries. Greater tripartite cooperation and a strengthening of the international legal framework governing meetings between Council members and troop-contributing countries were required. Efforts for security-sector reform must be made within the framework of post-conflict peacebuilding and security.
A zero-tolerance policy towards sexual abuse of civilians by peacekeeping troops was necessary, he said, adding that perpetrators must be held accountable and their actions criminalized. The Secretariat must demonstrate transparency in implementing the memorandum of understanding adopted by Member States last year. Jordan agreed with the strategy submitted by Costa Rica, as Chair of the Working Group on issues relating to victims of sexual attacks by peacekeepers.
PAVLE JEVREMOVIĆ (Serbia) said the intended deployment of the European Union mission, EULEX, to the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija administered by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) was contrary to Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) and the rules and principles governing peacekeeping operations. It also violated the Organization's role in implementing peacekeeping operations and could have serious consequences for future operations. Serbia could not accept the EULEX deployment without an appropriate Council resolution. While some delegations continued to make efforts to render a legal basis to the EULEX deployment by a very liberal interpretation of the provisions of resolution 1244 (1999), the structure of the international civil presence had been decided clearly by the Council in the Secretary-General's report contained in document S/1999/689 and the letter from the Council President addressed to the Secretary-General (document S/1999/67). Any change must be approved by the Council as well.
The EULEX deployment was unacceptable because it proffered a framework for implementing the Ahtisaari Plan, which had not been accepted either by the Council or by Serbia, he continued. Serbia called on the Secretary-General to clearly instruct UNMIK, in full accordance with resolution 1244 (1999), not to transfer its competences to EULEX and to direct his Special Representative and Head of UNMIK not to enter into any arrangements with EULEX representatives. Serbia expected UNMIK to continue to carry out its mandate under resolution 1244 (1999) and resolutely to protect the lives and property of Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija. UNMIK must re-commit itself to protecting the Serbs' cultural and religious heritage and to ensuring the return of Serbian refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes in Kosovo and Metohija.
NOPADON MUNGKALATON (Thailand), associating himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated that United Nations peacekeeping operations would continue to be an indispensable tool in maintaining international peace and security. As such, Thailand would enhance its readiness to serve missions in areas where it had a comparative advantage –- in Asia and Africa. Only by resolving the root causes of conflict could sustainable peace be achieved, and Thailand encouraged the adoption of an integrated approach that would include regional partnerships in the peacekeeping process. In that light, Thailand strongly supported the reform of peacekeeping operations in terms of mandate, capability, management and support. Indeed, through reform, United Nations peacekeeping could effectively deal with the increasing demand.
Reflecting on the realignment of the Peacekeeping and Field Support Departments, he expressed a hope to see their manuals for administrative procedures and chains of command soon, and observed that the recruitment of newly created positions was not yet complete. Staff recruitment, team building and the provision of essential support were needed for the functioning of the Integrated Operational Teams. The Integrated Training Service should be increasingly linked to States' national and regional capabilities.
Security-sector reform was not "stand-alone work", but related to the success of other efforts, including the creation of institutions, he said. As for UNAMID, there was considerable concern about the tripartite relationship among the United Nations, the African Union and the Sudanese Government, and Thailand hoped to see responsibilities defined, with the United Nations playing a leading role. It was regrettable that the unclear relationship had slowed the Mission's deployment.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA (Ukraine), aligning himself with the European Union, noted the considerable strengthening of United Nations peacekeeping potential through reform of existing mechanisms and development of new approaches. The Secretariat should continue its work with Member States to prepare the quick deployment mechanisms for operating at full capacity. Ukraine appreciated the progress made in implementing the Peace Operations 2010 programme and welcomed the adoption of the revised draft model memorandum of understanding. On recruiting staff for the Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support Departments, Ukraine shared the concerns about the lack of transparency. Priority in that sensitive process should be given to the major troop-contributing countries.
Securing financial resources was among the major obstacles to the deployment of troops, he said stressing the importance of finding new ways to ensure timely reimbursements to troop-contributing countries, including Ukraine. Securing adequate safety and security for United Nations personnel was also central to any peacekeeping operation, and a basic capacity was needed to assess risk levels prior to establishing a mission. It was important to strengthen the peacekeeping capacities of regional organizations, including the African Union, he said, adding that the cooperation among the Secretariat, troop-contributing countries and the Security Council was indispensable for the conduct of operations.
Presenting the draft declaration to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of United Nations peacekeeping operations, he said his delegation had sought to omit the duplication of provisions contained in previous reports. Ukraine was open to comments on the draft text and joined calls for the conclusion of deliberations by consensus on 4 April.
LESLIE KOJO CHRISTIAN ( Ghana) said his country had been a troop-contributing country since 1960 and deemed it an honour and privilege to be associated with the success story of United Nations peacekeeping operations. The increased demand, wide range of activities to be covered, the greater complexities and the inherent dangers of peacekeeping had unveiled challenges that must be examined with a view to instituting appropriate measures to enable the Organization efficiently to carry out its mandate. The formation of enhanced rapidly deployable capacities was important as delayed action was expensive in terms of human suffering and resources. Ghana urged Member States to exercise flexibility so as to enhance the Peacekeeping Department's capacity.
It was worrisome that personnel serving in the Blue Helmets were often targets of aggression, he said, adding that he supported the Peacekeeping Department's resolve to step up efforts to strengthen mission security. Intelligence gathering and analysis was important and fundamental to the quest to prevent and manage threats. The unbalanced representation of men and women in peacekeeping was inexcusable and the Special Committee should affirm its commitment to gender balance, as envisioned under Council resolution 1325 (2000). Ghana also called on the United Nations to engage competent professionals from developing countries, which were the major troop contributors, for senior management posts at the Secretariat. It was also important to strengthen the peacekeeping operations of regional organizations, especially the African Union, which had demonstrated its zeal to help end conflicts on the continent.
TARANJIT SANDHU ( India), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, noted "with happiness" that the total number of troop-contributing countries had reached 119. The unprecedented surge in demand for United Nations peacekeeping operations had given rise to enormous challenges and, while welcoming the Secretary-General's efforts to respond by rationalizing structures through the building of military planning, management and operational capacities, India was not convinced of the existence of clear command structures and policy coherence.
Several troop-contributing countries also faced difficulties in the restructured set-up, and it was to be hoped that the Secretary-General would make appropriate corrections, he said. Safety was also a vital concern and the United Nations should focus on enhancing information-gathering capacity. Cooperation between the Department of Safety and Security and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations should be improved, and missions should be properly equipped with appropriate technologies.
He said his country had consistently called for the energizing of the triangular consultations among the troop-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat, and it was regrettable that the Council had not found time to hold consultations on the situation in UNMEE. Regarding efforts to enhance partnerships with regional actors, India supported enhancing peacekeeping capacity in African countries.
Sexual exploitation and abuse were totally unacceptable, he said, pointing out his country's support for the implementation of a zero-tolerance policy. Careful training to promote a multicultural outlook was important, as was swift punitive action for offenders. In addition, early planning of security-sector reform by national authorities and relevant partners was needed. The strength of the police component in peacekeeping operations had increased over 65 per cent. India stood committed to assist the United Nations in maintaining international peace and security, having contributed nearly 100,000 troops and participated in more than 40 missions since the 1950s.
MANAR TALEB ( Syria) said peacekeeping operations must respect the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter, the territorial integrity of States and their independence. That required consulting the host States. Repeated attempts to bypass fundamental principles and guidelines, particularly those concerning consent of the parties concerned and impartiality, could undermine the very foundation of peacekeeping and harm the confidence of States. There was a need for an evolution of the very nature of peacekeeping operations. They should be temporary measures to stop conflict and move towards peacebuilding.
Syria had closely examined all the Secretary-General's reports on peacekeeping operations, he said, stressing that guaranteeing the safety and security of personnel in the mission was very important. It was necessary to involve all parties concerned in the peace process and to ensure that mission had clear, well-planned and comprehensive mandates. They must be compatible with political processes in host countries and involve civil society so as to protect mission headquarters and personnel.
He stressed the necessity to promote dialogue and cooperation mechanisms among troop-contributing countries, the Secretary-General and the Security Council. There was also a need to preserve the fundamental principles of the peacekeeping guidelines and to adhere to them. Any modification of those concepts must be part of a transparent, interactive dialogue in the General Assembly.
RICHARD McCURRY ( United States) said innovation and improved coordination within Headquarters, as well as between Headquarters and field missions, coupled with the best, most efficient use of resources, would energize United Nations peacekeeping. The United States would appreciate an update from the Peacekeeping and Field Support Departments on progress in recruitment and restructuring since the Secretary-General's report was issued in December.
Expressing support for an integrated approach to countries emerging from conflict, he said there must always be a strategy for transition to longer-term solutions, including work by bilateral and multilateral development agencies. The United States took note of the Peacebuilding Commission's work concerning Sierra Leone and Burundi, and anticipated a similar need for engagement elsewhere in the future. The Organization needed adequate, well-coordinated security procedures and the United States looked forward to hearing specific details on proposals for coordinating security mechanisms for military, police and civilian staff.
He expressed interest in hearing more about the steps by the two Departments to improve core management function, including in information management, public affairs, contractual arrangements with personnel and training, which formed the solid base for successful operations. Substantial progress had been made in various forums over the past year to address the continuing serious problem of sexual exploitation and abuse of vulnerable persons by United Nations personnel. The United States called on all United Nations personnel and all troop-contributing countries to work towards the creation of a culture that insisted on the highest standards of conduct, believed in zero tolerance and ensured discipline for those who committed offences.
KHALID MOHAMMED OSMAN SIDAHMED MOHAMMED ALI ( Sudan) said his country was one of the first in its region to take part in peacekeeping operations and had contributed troops. The United Nations should make greater efforts to address the root causes of conflict and work toward their peaceful settlement. Meetings should underscore the primary purposes of peacekeeping operations, which must gain consent of the parties before deployment and adhere to the principles of impartiality and non-interference in the internal affairs of States. Bypassing or reinterpreting those principles would tarnish the Organization's reputation and contravene its goals.
Noting the recent cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union and the Sudan, he said his country had provided all kinds of assistance for the launch of UNAMID. The mediating team led by the African Union should exert pressure on rebel groups at the negotiating table and the United Nations should provide financial and logistical support for the operation. The Sudan supported the cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations.
He expressed support for the General Assembly resolution regarding assistance to victims of sexual exploitation and abuse at the hands of United Nations peacekeepers, stressing the importance of being fully committed to a zero-tolerance policy. The principles and purposes of the United Nations were priceless and should not be compromised. Recent information regarding procurement deals made without competitive bidding and in contravention of regulations should be investigated and stopped.
SAINIVALATI S. NAVOTI ( Fiji) said the lack of clarity around the minimum conditions needed for missions successfully to implement their mandates, and the threat of losing peacekeeping gains through relapse into conflict, were two major risks facing United Nations peacekeeping today. Indeed, the Special Committee must face those challenges if peacekeeping was to remain a flagship enterprise of the United Nations. Since January 2007, some 116 peacekeepers had lost their lives, with 10 lost just last week. Troop-contributing countries had a responsibility to ensure the good health of their own personnel. However, insisting on statistical analysis whereby death was categorized purely as a means to minimize economic loss, as though some deaths were more gallant than others, betrayed the very idea of a United Nations flag.
He said his country was proud to be part of the progress achieved in serving the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste. Fiji welcomed the Secretary-General's reports on both security-sector reform and the welfare needs for peacekeepers. Fiji also looked forward to using the various concepts contained in the guidelines and principles document. On restructuring, Fiji looked forward to an update on the impact of the Integrated Operational Teams. With the host of issues discussed in the session, Fiji looked forward to participating actively in the Special Committee's proceedings.
FRANCIS BUTAGIRA ( Uganda), associating himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, encouraged continued broader reform as set out in the Peace Operations 2010 programme. Uganda was an interested participant in peacekeeping activities, given its presence in Somalia, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Sudan and Kosovo, among others. That involvement signalled the country's role in maintaining international peace and security.
Regarding the need for the Security Council to authorize the involvement of regional organizations in peacekeeping efforts, he said it was incumbent on the United Nations to provide well-defined and predictable budgetary support to those organizations. In addition, the welfare needs of peacekeeping personnel were a very important element of common efforts. Peacekeepers and all United Nations personnel should have access to effective recreational activities in order to reduce misconduct.
ALFRED NDABARASA ( Rwanda) said his country had started participating in peacekeeping operations in 2005, 11 years after experiencing the cruellest genocide of recent times. In 1994, the international community had failed to respond and the onus had been placed on the Rwandese to protect themselves. They had eventually succeeded but the human cost and damage was hard to quantify. The Rwandese people lived with the trauma today and would do so for many years to come. For those reasons Rwanda had committed itself to do whatever possible, within its modest means, to help those needing the kind of assistance it had never received when needing it most.
Rwanda's major call to duty had begun with the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS), which had since been augmented to form UNAMID, he recalled. At present, Rwandese troops and police officers were also deployed in Côte d'Ivoire, Haiti, Liberia and the Sudan. Rwanda's will and commitment to peacekeeping had been born out of a conviction and a responsibility to protect and to prevent acts of genocide and mass murder.
Peacekeeping operations had become more complex in both scope and depth, placing an extra burden on resources, he said. In February, deliberations on contingent-owned equipment had resolved to moderately increase reimbursement rates. For troop-contributing countries eager to contribute to peacekeeping operations, that had been a positive step towards sustaining and developing capacity to effectively achieve peacekeeping mandates. But unless more support was forthcoming, peacekeeping duties would be adversely affected by inadequately equipped troops. Much more was required to enable troop-contributing countries to deliver on their mandates.
ZACHARY D. MUBURI-MUITA (Kenya), associating himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country was participating in nine missions, eight in Africa and the one in Kosovo. Kenya fully supported efforts to create partnerships with regional organizations, such as the African Union, as that facilitated the efficient use of finite global resources. Kenya hosted the Headquarters of the East African Standby Brigade and the Regional Centre on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
He said it was imperative to note that troop-contributing countries bore responsibility for initial preparations of troops, and commended the Department of Peacekeeping Operations for the steady quarterly reimbursements made in the areas of troop costs, equipment and self-sustainment. However, current reimbursement rates had been agreed in 2001 and were at variance with today's economic realities.
Kenya was involved in demining activities, he said, pointing out that the International Mine Action Training Centre had been established in Nairobi to train combat engineers. However, there was a disparity in remuneration for the two categories of deminers carrying out the same work and Kenya called for the harmonization of their remuneration.
Turning to problems of sexual abuse, he emphasized discipline for troops, military observers, prison officers and civilian personnel, as it was imperative to provide leadership for the people that peacekeepers were assisting. Kenya welcomed efforts to strengthen mechanisms to avoid the pitfalls that had scandalized peacekeeping missions in the past.
ELBIO ROSSELLI ( Uruguay) said that his country, as the seventh-largest troop contributor, welcomed the progress made in peacekeeping thanks to the work of United Nations missions in Haiti, Côte d'Ivoire and Timor-Leste, among others. Uruguay was involved as a troop contributor in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the situation had not yet stabilized. There was also lack of progress in Darfur, Chad and the Central African Republic, and Uruguay fully supported the Secretary-General's efforts to resolve the problem in UNMEE.
On personnel matters, he said his country supported the Secretary-General's efforts for greater planning in human resources; the streamlining of regulations to ensure accountable administration; and the establishment of effective systems of conduct. In strengthening personnel, the needs of troop-contributing countries should be taken into account. As for sexual exploitation and abuse among peacekeepers, Uruguay supported the zero-tolerance policy and welcomed the adoption of the comprehensive strategy on assistance to victims.
Expressing concern over reimbursement for contingent-owned equipment, he said that, while the representative of Kenya had mentioned regular reimbursements, that was not the case for those troop-contributing countries involved in the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and MINUSTAH, among others. For more than a year, the United Nations had delayed reimbursements and, while understanding the origin of the delays, important Member States were not paying their contributions, and among them permanent members of the Security Council. The magnitude of the delays eroded the political will of States contributing troops and other personnel. To solve the question of indebtedness, Uruguay urged combining peacekeeping accounts, as proposed by the Secretary-General.
JORGE BALLESTERO ( Costa Rica) said he supported the comprehensive strategy to assist and support victims of sexual exploitation and abuse, saying it was a point of satisfaction and achievement for the Special Committee. Efforts by the Working Group had ensured the strengthening of the zero-tolerance policy with the aim of protecting victims on the basis of the principles of solidarity and moral responsibility.
He said it was important for the Special Committee to revise the way in which its mandate was performed. The forum must be used to take advantage of the synergies between the military and civil experts of troop-contributing countries, countries with experience in peacekeeping operations, as well as the main contributors of funds. It was important to conduct a general analysis of peacekeeping, including an analysis of lessons learned. Costa Rica called for the creation of mechanisms that would allow the Special Committee to discuss concrete situations that had systemic implications. UNAMID was the Organization's first experience with a hybrid operation and must be analysed by the Special Committee.
The General Assembly, through the Special Committee, must have a positive effect on achieving and promoting international peace and security, he said. The Special Committee should also discuss the United Nations peacekeeping mandate in Somalia. The relationship between troop-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat deserved attention as their interaction was indispensable in creating confidence for the effective deployment of missions and the fulfilment of their mandates. Peace, security, development and human rights were the pillars of the United Nations system. Costa Rica appealed for strict adherence to international norms and the sovereignty of nations.
NEGASH KEBRET BOTORA ( Ethiopia), associating himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said clear work and the proper streamlining of activities would enable the Peacekeeping and Field Support Departments to avoid duplication. Much work remained in the area of recruiting managerial staff from troop-contributing countries. Ethiopia welcomed the urgency accorded to establishing an Integrated Operational Team on Darfur and requested more information on the activities of other such teams.
He said his country was deeply concerned with growing threats to safety, including the difficult situations in which peacekeeping missions were operating. Peacekeeping personnel were experiencing harsh conditions due to psychological pressures, which was "totally unacceptable". An effective response from the Security Council was needed. As for the role of peacekeepers in Africa, conflicts had persisted on the continent despite steps taken by the African Union. Ethiopia called on the United Nations to enhance its assistance to the African Union Mission in Somalia.
In the development of peacekeeping principles, more consultations were needed to work out differences in the interpretation of various concepts, he said. Security-sector reform should be carried out on the basis of national ownership. Ethiopia was concerned about the recurring problem of non-reimbursement and compensation. Adequate compensation must be paid to the families of peacekeepers who had lost their lives in the line of duty. With its long history in peacekeeping, Ethiopia would continue to serve the cause of peace.
ALPHA IBRAHIMA SOW (Guinea) said the creation in 1992 of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Secretary-General's 2000 decision to undertake a complete evaluation of peacekeeping and the decision by world leaders during the 2005 World Summit had come from a desire to improve peacekeeping operations. Various reports of the Secretary-General provided an adequate description of the progress made. Guinea supported an analysis of peacekeeping operations in all its aspects and hoped the joint work of Peacekeeping and Field Support Departments would achieve the expected results. Guinea also wished to emphasize the importance of gender balance in recruiting staff, and of ensuring fair representation for Member States in peacekeeping. It would be essential to evaluate initiatives and policies set up to make adjustments when necessary.
He said his country was aware of the complex nature of the factors underlying conflict, hence it understood the importance of common views on training, policy and evaluation. Guinea valued the need to strengthen programmes for peacekeeping personnel and was concerned about their safety and security. Guinea firmly supported the zero-tolerance policy and welcomed the adoption of the comprehensive strategy on assistance to victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. Guinea urged the Peacekeeping Department to coordinate its work with the Department of Political Affairs and supported the triangular cooperation between the Security Council, the Secretariat and Member States. Peacekeeping operations should strictly respect Charter principles.
CAROLINE ZIADE ( Lebanon), associating herself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the reform process had coincided with an increase in the number of conflicts around the world. Thus, peacekeeping operations had become essential to re-establishing confidence and making progress in development. The budget for the 20 peacekeeping operations, which numbered some 130,000 forces, had reached $8.5 billion for the period 2007-2008. Reforming the security sector required defining the role of the United Nations in protecting its staff; the relationship between the host country and the Organization; and the principle of responsibility of authorities that attacked United Nations personnel, whether States or armed groups. Such issues must be dealt with in a comprehensive manner.
Lebanon's historic relationship with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations dated back to 1949, she said. Since then, UNIFIL had played a remarkable role in reducing tensions in a complex region. Today, almost 16 months after the adoption of resolution 1701 (2006), the speed with which UNIFIL forces had been strengthened was commendable. While the participation of 28 States in that Mission signalled the increased interest of Western countries in peacekeeping, more must be done to protect Lebanon. UNIFIL's presence in southern Lebanon was characterized by its work with the Lebanese Army, and the Mission had become a stabilizing factor that contributed to the region's economic recovery. In addition, UNIFIL worked with civilians to deal with Israel's refusal to provide information on the placement of its munitions.
CRISTINA PELLANDINI, observer for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said the organization had an operational presence in 18 of the 20 United Nations peacekeeping operations. Its presence varied from large field operations in the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to a limited presence in Timor-Leste and the Abkhazia, Georgia, conflict zone. In all cases, it was involved in regular, multifaceted dialogue with United Nations peacekeepers and its constructive interaction with them on such subjects as mine action, detention issues, protection of civilian populations and the promotion of international humanitarian law was of particular importance for ICRC.
She said the International Committee often offered its services to troop-contributing countries in order to participate in pre-deployment training programmes. That dialogue focused on international humanitarian law and the need to integrate it into the preparation of United Nations forces. ICRC offered expertise in international humanitarian law instruction and in the provision of educational materials.
She said the ICRC had consistently underscored that international humanitarian law must be determined by the facts on the ground, irrespective of the formal mandate given to peacekeeping operations or the legal status of the parties potentially opposed to United Nations peacekeepers. The organization welcomed the commitment to international humanitarian law expressed in the document titled "United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: Principles and Guidelines". Any subordinate document deriving from it, such as on rules of engagement, standard operating procedures, directives or manuals, or education and training standards, should also adequately integrate references to international humanitarian law, when appropriate.
Rights of Reply
The representative of the Russian Federation said in response to the statement by the delegate of Georgia that the activities of his country's peacekeepers had the support of the Security Council, as was reflected in various resolutions. The most important results of the Russian Federation's work were clear: the Russian presence had contributed to stopping conflict in the areas mentioned. The Russian peacekeeping contingent would continue to serve, with a view to creating favourable conditions for settling the Abkhazia conflict.
The representative of Israel said it was regrettable, though not surprising, that the delegate of Syria had chosen to waste time by "injecting politicization" into the Special Committee. As previously mentioned, Israel appreciated the commitment of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and UNIFIL to the region. UNDOF's success was an example of how peacekeeping activities could fulfil the needs of both parties. However, the Syrian representative had chosen to taint the non-partisan nature of peacekeeping by slandering Israel. The Special Committee must remain a professional body. After three years as an observer, Israel had become a member of the Special Committee this year.
The representative of Syria said the lies and allegations of Israel were part of a campaign to make the world focus on things other than that country's crimes, including the "holocaust" it had carried out against the Syrian people since 1967. That campaign would not change the reality that Israel had carried out a number of premeditated violations against peacekeeping operations and United Nations personnel. Israel had opened that "black page" by killing the brother of the king who had been a United Nations mediator at the beginning of the Arab-Israeli conflict and had continued that attitude in 1969 when it had bombed the headquarters of the Fiji mission carrying out peacekeeping operations in south Lebanon.
Called the "Grapes of Wrath", the operation had killed many civilians seeking refuge in the United Nations office, he said. Israel had followed up with two other bombings of peacekeeping operations in the south. The report of the Canadian Army, which had investigated the latter bombing in which a Canadian commander and three observers had been killed on 25 July, emphasized Israel's direct responsibility for the operation. The world was still waiting for Israel to apologize for all its acts of aggression. The five peacekeeping operations created in the Middle East had been created because of Israel's actions.
The representative of Georgia, stating his wish to clarify comments made by the delegate of the Russian Federation, underlined that the situation on the ground in his country had not changed since the start of the conflict. Regarding political dialogue, there had been no engagement from the Russian side, which had blocked any progress in political negotiations. As for the return of refugees and internally displaced persons, only a small number had been able to return in the past 15 years, owing to the insecure environment. The de facto regime was responsible for that lack of progress.
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