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Provision of well-equipped, trained and disciplined personnel responsibility of all member states, peacekeeping committee told

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Speakers Also Emphasize Need to Shift Focus of Reforms from Headquarters to Field Operations
Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations
170th and 171st Meetings (AM & PM)

The provision of well-equipped, well-trained and disciplined military and police personnel to United Nations peacekeeping operations was the collective responsibility of all Member States, and one which the South must not be expected to shoulder alone, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, told the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations today, as it opened its 2003 session.

Addressing the morning meeting of the Special Committee, due to conclude its session on 21 March, Mr. Guéhenno said that much remained to be done to consolidate peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Timor-Leste, to name but a few cases. The innocent children, women and men in those countries had already suffered far too much. They should be reassured that, despite developments elsewhere, the international community was ready and able to stay the course.

He appealed to Member States to maintain their commitment to and support for United Nations operations deployed around the world. Also, he asked the Special Committee to "be honest" during the interactive briefing, as he was genuinely committed to pursuing a path down which Member States were willing and able to travel. He also requested them to identify ways in which they could contribute to enhancing peacekeeping capacity, especially in the areas of rapid deployment, training and discipline.

Steady progress was being made to enhance African peacekeeping capacity, he said, while urging further progress in ensuring that African contingents had adequate equipment and the pre-deployment training required for successful peacekeeping operations. A conference of troop contributors was under way in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations would review lessons learned from Sierra Leone and engage participants in a constructive dialogue on how to improve the capacities of African troop contributors to deploy and sustain their peacekeeping contingents.

The Special Committee was established by the General Assembly in 1965 to conduct a comprehensive review of all issues relating to peacekeeping. It reports

to the Assembly on its work through the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization). It is comprised of 113 Member States, mostly past or current contributors of peacekeeping operations. Other Member States participate as observers groups. There are presently 15 active peacekeeping missions,

32,500 troops, 1,800 military observers and 5,300 civilian police officers, in addition to 3,672 international and 7,395 local civilian staff.

Key to the general debate that began this morning and continued this afternoon was a proposed shift in focus from the reforms of the Peacekeeping Department to operations in the field. The Secretary-General's report before the Special Committee (document A/57/711) identified six priorities: rapid deployment; enhancing the peacekeeping capacities of African nations; training; reform of security and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes; comprehensive rule of law strategies; and best practices.

The Australian representative agreed with the basic logic of turning attention now from headquarters reform to field implementation. Field implementation, first and foremost, required principles and standard procedures to improve accountability in peace operations. The lack of clear disciplinary and accountability guidelines for peacekeepers should be fixed. Such guidelines, besides being derived from lessons learned, should reflect the very different legal traditions and constitutions of contributing and host Member States.

Touching on security sector reform, training, standby arrangements, mine action and rapid deployment, the representative of Saudi Arabia commended the enhanced rapid deployment capacity of the United Nations, but cautioned against over-burdening developing countries or diverting funds from development programmes. He also called for early planning and daily coordination, as well as intensive talks between the Secretariat, present and future troop contributors and the Security Council.

Speaking on behalf of the European Union, the representative of Greece welcomed the significant developments towards increased transparency in the Peacekeeping Department's processes, as well as recently improved interaction between the Department and troop contributors. He emphasized the importance of security sector reform and the need to ensure the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel in the field. He also called for a comprehensive and integrated approach to training and continued efforts to mainstream the role of mine action and the rapid response framework to it.

Having hosted five peacekeeping missions on its territory, Croatia was proud to have become a contributor to United Nations peacekeeping efforts, its representative said. She shared the Secretary-General's view that the political will of Member States was the determining factor in assuring rapid deployment, for which regional cooperation should also be explored. Unfortunately, many troop contributors, including Croatia, had certain technical difficulties in complying with some of the rapid deployment requirements. Hopefully, with the help of the Peacekeeping Department, they would be able to overcome those problems.

Crucial to the success of maintaining international peace and security, stated Azerbaijan's representative, was to ensure that peacekeeping operations strictly observed the United Nations Charter, including those principles relating to respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the political independence of States, and non-interference in their internal affairs. A smooth transition should be ensured between the whole spectrum of crisis-management practices, which were intended to prevent conflict and build peace. As a troop-contributing country, Azerbaijan favoured additional funding for peacekeeping as long as there was no adverse impact on development funding.

Special Committee Chairman Arthur Mbanefo (Nigeria), in his national capacity, said that peacekeeping had been transformed beyond the mere separation of antagonistic warring factions. It now encompassed numerous activities that positively affected the lives of individuals and communities. To sustain that effort, the necessary institutions should be established to ensure the rule of law. Also welcome had been the proposal to create a new unit within the Peacekeeping Department Civilian Police Division to advise on criminal law and judicial and penal matters relevant to the efficient conduct of civilian police.

In other business, the Special Committee also approved its programme of work and elected its Bureau. Arthur Mbanefo (Nigeria) was re-elected as Chairman, and Alaa Issa (Egypt) was re-elected as Rapporteur. The Vice-Chairs were: Luis E. Cappagali (Argentina); Glyn Berry (Canada); Koji Haneda (Japan); and Beata Peksa-Krawiec (Poland).

Statements in the general debate were also made by the representatives of Peru (on behalf of the Rio Group), Jordan, Canada, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Japan, United States, Algeria, China, Switzerland, Argentina, Uruguay, Iran, Norway, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Syria, Egypt, Slovakia and Bulgaria.

The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow to continue its general debate.

Background

The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations met this morning to open its 2003 substantive session. Before it was the Secretary-General's report on implementation of the Committee's recommendations (document A/57/711), which notes that there were "significant and positive" developments in peacekeeping operations in 2002.

The report cites, among the examples, the establishment of provisional institutions of self-government in Kosovo in March and the decision in April by the Ethiopia/Eritrea Border Commission on the delimitation of that border. It also notes the "birth" of Timor-Leste, marking the fruitful completion of the mandate of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) and a smooth transition to the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET).

The report also finds that the May elections in Sierra Leone, carried out with significant support from the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) were a very important step forward for the peace process. Also, the United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP) completed its mandate on the Prevlaka Peninsula on 15 December and, on 31 December, the United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) concluded its mandate. Over the course of the year, the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) has overcome many significant challenges in completing Phase II and beginning Phase III of its operations.

The roles of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) were also further clarified this past year, as set out in the Secretary-General's report on Strengthening the United Nations: An agenda for further change (document A/57/387). The present report finds that significant advances have also been achieved, on a more general level, in strengthening the United Nations Standby Arrangement Systems (UNSAS) for military, civilian police and civilian personnel, and in the procurement and management of strategic deployment stocks in the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi (UNLB). Many of these achievements have been made possible by the additional resources authorized for the DPKO, the recruitment process for which is largely complete.

The report reviews guiding principles, definition and implementation of mandates. Included in a broad section on enhancing the Organization's capacity for peacekeeping are reviews of: cooperation with troop-contributing countries; management; recruitment for the DPKO; best practices, lessons learned and mission planning; developing and implementing comprehensive strategies to meet the challenges facing complex peacekeeping operations; rapid deployment of military and civilian personnel; training; disciplinary issues; public information; safety and security; mine action; regional cooperation, including enhancing regional peacekeeping capacities, particularly in Africa; and financial and budgetary issues.

The Secretary-General notes that the report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, largely building on the recommendations of the Special Committee, provided impetus for significantly strengthening the capacity of the United Nations for peacekeeping. Implementation of the Panel's recommendations is "very much on track". The initial phase of discussion on the Headquarters staffing and structure has been completed, as has the intensive dialogue on the strengthening of the UNLB, which is now in the implementation phase. The present report thus proposes that the focus of discussion between the Secretariat and the Member States now shift to the more field-oriented aspects of the Panel's and the Special Committee's recommendations, both conceptually and operationally.

Implementation of the outstanding recommendations is very much a shared responsibility. The Secretariat has worked, and will continue to work, towards full implementation at the "fastest pace possible", consulting with Member States at every stage in the process. Once the initiatives now under way are brought to fruition, the Secretariat will have greatly enhanced its ability to deploy traditional peacekeeping operations rapidly and effectively. These initiatives will also facilitate the deployment of more complex operations. Notwithstanding this, more thorough analysis will be required in 2003 to better understand the lessons learned from the evolving nature of the more complex operations, particularly pertaining to security-sector reform, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and the rule of law.

The report acknowledges that this will require a concerned system-wide approach, given the humanitarian, developmental, socio-economic and rights-based dimensions to these operations, and the need to promote sustainable solutions through a focus on local capacity-building. At the same time, much remains to be done by Member States themselves. The Secretary-General genuinely hopes that they will intensify their attention and response to these issues, particularly in the area of rapid deployment.

Statement by Under-Secretary-General

JEAN-MARIE GUEHENNO, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said he would take up three issues not covered in the present report of the Secretary-General, namely senior appointments, the Inspectorate-General function, and HIV/AIDS policy. On senior appointments, the DPKO had undergone changes in senior management. There were new Military and Deputy Military Advisers, a new Civilian Police Advisor, a new Head of the Training Evaluation Service, a new Head of the Military Planning Service, and a new Head of the Peacekeeping Best Practices Unit. Recruitment for the remaining vacancies was in the final stages. The recently launched initiative in the DPKO, namely the creation of an Inspectorate-General, built on a practice of calling on former senior peacekeepers to conduct "in situ" field visits, on an ad hoc basis, to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of peacekeeping operations.

Recent such missions had led him to think about how it might be possible to call upon other former senior United Nations peacekeepers to perform similar assessments in the future, with a specific focus on the military and civilian police components of peacekeeping operations, he said. Moreover, in the interest of consistency, he compiled standard terms of reference for future assessment visits. On HIV/AIDS, the DPKO, in January, recruited an HIV/AIDS policy advisor to provide policy guidance to the Department and to coordinate and assist practical responses in all of the missions. The advisor would work closely with the Director of the Medical Services Division, in the Office of Human Resources Management, to ensure consistency with system-wide policies. On a related note, the training materials on HIV/AIDS would continue to be developed and expanded.

Turning to rapid deployment issues, he said that members would soon be updated on the lessons learned from the Rapid Deployment Exercise in Brindisi, which took place from 27 to 31 January. He announced that implementation of the Strategic Deployment Stocks concept was progressing rapidly. Current stockholdings exceeded $32.5 million, which included new equipment transferred from the reserve and unused surplus stocks from other peacekeeping operations. The DPKO projected that the funds in the Strategic Deployment Stocks budget would be fully utilized by 3O June.

Regarding rapid deployment, he said, the Military Division had conducted an internal review of the UNSAS, focusing on the utility of the current levels within the System. Resulting changes had made the System "more manageable and less onerous" on Member States. The Military Adviser would brief on those issues. The Military Division, along with other parts of the Department, had been examining the issue of conditions of service for military personnel in the field. The focus of that effort was achieving equity, particularly where military and civilian staff performed very similar functions. Further clarifications on that project would be provided.

Concerning rapid-deployment capacity for mine action, he said that the United Nations Mine Action Operational Framework for Rapid Response was endorsed under his chairmanship by the Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Mine Action last December as a working document. That tendering process for the operational capabilities had been completed and the related stand-by arrangements had recently been finalized. Thinking and action was also steadily progressing on enhancing African peacekeeping capacity. At the strategic level, the primary aim was to work together to institutionalize linkages among international and regional organizations and governments to ensure effective and timely responses to conflicts in Africa.

Towards that goal, he continued, the Secretariat had been working closely with the African Union in preparing proposals for decisions on Headquarters capacities and structures, as well as on an African Standby Force. The DPKO would be meeting with African Chiefs of Defence Staff in April, in preparation for the African Union's Summit in Maputo. In addition, the Department had been consulting with African representatives and the Group of Eight regarding implementation of the Group of Eight Africa Action Plan. It was essential that discussions in the United Nations, the African Union and the Group of Eight be harmonized so that a single plan emerged from the Maputo and Evian Summits.

Hopefully, he said, all concerned would approach the formulation of that plan with the basic principle in mind that building an effective peacekeeping capacity entailed substantial requirements and, hence, costs. He encouraged closer relations between the United Nations, the African Union and sub-regional organizations, a number of examples of which were contained in the Secretary-General's report. On the operational level, United Nations' efforts to enhance African peacekeeping capacity had primarily involved the provision of training and advice to African Member States and sub-regional organizations, as well as assistance in matching African troop-contributing countries in need of equipment with donor countries.

In that connection, he hoped to promote greater support for and cooperation among regional and national training centres in Africa. He also favoured further progress in ensuring that African contingents had adequate equipment and the pre-deployment training required for successful peacekeeping operations. The DPKO was currently hosting a conference in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on the logistics relationship between the DPKO and troop contributors. The conference would review lessons learned from Sierra Leone and engage participants in a constructive dialogue on how to improve the capacities of African troop-contributing countries to deploy and sustain their contingents in peacekeeping missions. The Special Committee would hear a more detailed briefing on the outcome of that meeting.

Regarding security and safety, slow progress had been made in strengthening security management in the missions and reform efforts should advance at a faster pace. The recruitment of staff against the additional four posts was completed in January 2002, but it would take some time for that new capacity to have impact in the field. As members knew, the DPKO did not have any dedicated staff to deal with security and safety issues. It had done its best by designating the Chief of the DPKO Situation Centre as an informal focal point for security management issues and by drawing on temporary resources. That was not a satisfactory arrangement, but it had allowed the DPKO to prepare a draft paper on the lines of responsibilities between it and the Office of the United Nations Security Coordinator. No progress had been possible, however, on the major policy and conceptual issues that were the focus of the 2001 study. Those still needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Concerning safety management issues, he was pleased to report that the DPKO and the World Food Programme (WFP) had finalized common Aviation Standards for Peacekeeping and the Humanitarian Air Operations. Those standards would be used by the DPKO to ensure safe, efficient and responsive air-transport operations. The new standards were sent to all field missions for immediate implementation. A DPKO Safety Council had also been established to promote safety awareness and culture and strengthen safety measures at Headquarters and in the field. Work also continued on the development of improved road safety standards and operating procedures within peacekeeping operations. Another Safety-Stand-Down Day would take place in all missions later this year. He was pleased to report that proposals were being formulated for the observance on 29 May of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.

He asked the Special Committee to dedicate particular attention to the following three issues during the session: to reach agreement that the six priority areas proposed in the report were the appropriate ones and, if not, to identify those that should be added or deleted from the list; to be honest during the interactive briefings in terms of doubts or questions about any particular issues, as he was genuinely committed to pursuing a path down which Member States were willing and able to travel; and to discuss and identify how Member States themselves could concretely contribute to enhancing the United Nations capacity for peacekeeping operations, especially in the areas of rapid deployment, training and discipline. There was a need for real dialogue between Member States on those issues.

The provision of well equipped, well trained and disciplined military and police personnel to United Nations peacekeeping operations was a collective responsibility of Member States, he went on. Countries from the South should not and must not be expected to shoulder that burden alone. The report contained an appeal for capabilities in short supply, which only a limited number of countries were in a position to provide. It also reiterated the appeal for strengthening UNSAS, its new Rapid Deployment Level and the "on-call" list system, in particular. Despite the best intentions, the international community was sometimes unable to dedicate sufficient attention to several critical issues at the same time. He appealed to all Member States, therefore, to maintain their commitment to and support for United Nations operations deployed around the world.

He said that much remained to be done to consolidate peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Timor-Leste, to name but a few cases. The innocent children, women and men in those countries had already endured far too much suffering and misery. They needed to be reassured that the international community was prepared and able to stay the course, irrespective of developments elsewhere.

ADAMANTIOS TH.VASSILAKIS (Greece), speaking on behalf of the European Union, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Liechtenstein and Iceland, said the European Union welcomed the significant developments towards increased transparency in the peacekeeping processes, as well as recently improved interaction between the DPKO and troop-contributing countries. Among the European Union's priorities was gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping operations. He stressed the need to have the capacities of the DPKO's Best Practices Unit expanded with a focal point for gender issues. He encouraged the full participation of women in all phases of peace processes.

Recognizing the importance of security-sector reform, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) and the strengthening of the rule of law in post-conflict environments, he encouraged implementation of the report of the Executive Committee on Peace and Security (ECPS) Task Force. As mine action could play a pivotal role both in peacekeeping and peace-building phases, he welcomed efforts to mainstream the role of mine action and the rapid response framework in mine action. He also stressed the importance of Quick Impact Projects and recommended that selection procedures for them be made more flexible and be dealt with, as much as possible, at the field level.

He said a comprehensive and integrated approach to training and professional development would enable the best utilization of available resources. Development of Standardised Generic Training Modules at levels II and III and other training materials should be speeded up in all official languages. He requested the Secretary-General to report, at the Committee's next session, on ways to further improve coordination of the DPKO's military, civilian police and civilian training activities. In addition, he encouraged the DPKO to continue its efforts to prevent abuse of power and sexual exploitation by peacekeepers. A single standard of conduct must apply to all personnel serving in peacekeeping missions.

The European Union recognized the importance of regional organizations in the maintenance of peace and security, he said, and welcomed the successful transfer of the UNMIBH to the responsibility of the European Union. The European Union also encouraged a close relationship between the UN and the African Union and sub-regional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He appealed to all Member States to intensify their efforts to provide the best safety and security conditions for United Nations and associated personnel deployed in the field. In that regard, he asked for an update on arrangements between the Office of the United Nations Security Coordinator and the DPKO to delineate responsibilities in that area, as well as an update on the human resources capabilities of the Office of the United Nations Security Coordinator approved under the Support Account.

OSWALDO DE RIVERO (Peru) speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said that the Group was committed to peace and international security, and had taken an active part in United Nations peacekeeping efforts around the world as police officers and civilian and military personnel. It had been following closely the efforts of the Organization to empower and revitalize peacekeeping -- that "tool of peace". Initial results had begun to give shape to a system capable of directing those operations, including multi-dimensional operations, with rapid, secure and coordinated deployment, clear-cut mandates, adequate resources, and follow-up in keeping with its rate of progress, difficulties, and achievements.

He called for further dialogue on that phase of structural and conceptual consolidation, which had demanded greater focus at the recent sessions of the Special Committee and had resulted in, among other developments, the induction of new specialized personnel in the DPKO and the strengthening of the Best Practices Unit. Those were very important and relevant aspects and should not go unrecognized. According to the Under-Secretary-General's vision, the focus must be on the essential elements of peacekeeping operations in the search for greater openness and involvement of Member States, with a view to converting them into active players in peacekeeping operations. That call for participation had been reinforced through the simplification of the UNSAS and intensified training for future peacekeeping personnel.

A major impediment remained, however, especially for developing countries, which were the main troop contributors, he said. The Rio Group had sought to find methods of overcoming the financial difficulty of troop contributors that was affecting their ability to participate. In order to consolidate rapid deployment within the appropriate timeframes, the following three main aspects should be confronted, in parallel: the material aspect of the logistics base in Brindisi; the financial aspect, which had been included in the tasks given to the Secretary-General in the pre-mandate period; and the contribution of personnel by troop contributors. That should make it possible for States to shoulder the expenses needed for preparations for participating in troop deployment in the most efficient ways possible. The Organization should offer a guarantee to States, at least for their initial expenses, of prompt payment, which could be used for creditors.

ZEID RA'AD ZEID AL-HUSSEIN (Jordan), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), said that the Movement was not opposed to anything new and unfamiliar as it was often portrayed. Rather, it was concerned about the possibilities of the abuse of any concept or initiative that had not been discussed thoroughly by the Committee. The NAM had consistently maintained that peacekeeping operations should abide strictly by the guiding principles articulated previously in the Final Documents of both the XI Ministerial Conference in Cairo, and the Kuala Lumpur Summit, concluded on 25 February.

He continued to believe that United Nations peacekeeping was an instrument for the maintenance of international peace and security. It could not, however, be a substitute for a permanent solution, nor for addressing the underlying causes of conflict. On cooperation between troop-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat, he said there was room for improvement of what was generally agreed were "lacklustre and sterile" troop-contributing countries meetings. He noted the Secretariat's efforts on management reform and on the improvement of the quality of newly recruited staff.

At the same time, he pointed to the recommendation by the Office of Internal Oversight Services that the DPKO should review its current composition of staff in terms of geographical representation and take appropriate steps to further improve the situation during the next phase of recruitment. Regarding best practices, lessons learned and mission planning, he was keen to know the fate of the submission made by Member States on UNAMSIL and United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) and would be interested to know when the "ongoing study" on UNAMSIL was expected to end.

Committee Chairman ARTHUR C.I. MBANEFO (Nigeria), speaking in his national capacity, noted the positive developments in the DPKO since the conclusion of the work of the panel on the "Comprehensive Review of the Whole Question of Peacekeeping Operations" (Brahimi Panel). Peacekeeping operations had been transformed beyond the mere separation of antagonistic warring factions and now encompassed numerous activities that positively impacted the lives of individuals and communities. To sustain that effort and bring about the desired results, efforts should include the establishment of the requisite institutions that would ensure the rule of law in peacekeeping and post conflict peace building.

He welcomed the proposal to create a new unit within the DPKO Civilian Police Division to advise on criminal law, and judicial and penal matters relevant to the efficient conduct of civilian police activities in peacekeeping operations. Also, he commended the Department's enhanced capability to deploy peacekeeping operations more rapidly. Further improvement on what had been achieved could be made with the institutionalization of the on-call-list under the UNSAS. In that regard, he urged the DPKO to use the list of already screened personnel to fill various vacancies in existing missions and any new missions being contemplated.

While the proposal to enhance and strengthen the Best Practices Unit to serve as a research centre for the DPKO was noteworthy, its role should not be limited to closed missions, but should be extended to on-going missions where lessons learned could be used to build up best practices. That would help the future formulation of policy guidelines. He also noted the high level consultations between the Security Council and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) both on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the situation in Somalia.

GLYN BERRY (Canada) said that dramatic changes in the global security environment in the past decade had posed enormous challenges to the United Nations and its Member States, who had had to adapt not only to the tremendous escalation in the number of missions and their increasing complexity, but also to the volatile environments in which they had to be undertaken. Because the decisions and actions of the world body had a degree of legitimacy that no other institution could match, the United Nations remained the institution of choice for the resolution of crises and conflicts.

However, the last few years had also shown that regional organizations and coalitions of the willing, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), operating under the United Nations Charter had proved successful in undertaking robust, complex peacekeeping operations. The international community should remain flexible by using the full range of institutions available to it to ensure timely and appropriate responses to crises.

Continuing, he said other efforts to build regional peacekeeping capacity were also coming to the fore. He cited the African Union, which had made clear its intentions to build its institutional capacities in that regard, and the ECOWAS, which was working to mount a mission for Cote d'Ivoire. Those African efforts needed to be supported. Resources, however, were limited to build the expensive institutional structures and capabilities needed for peace-support operations.

He outlined several components he said were critical to peacekeeping operations, among them the application of lessons learned, consultation and discipline in peacekeeping missions. Gender issues should also be recognized and taken into account in all aspects of post-conflict situations. To that end, Canada continued to give priority to the early appointment of a gender adviser in the DPKO.

FOUAD A. RAJEH (Saudi Arabia) recalled that the Millennium Declaration sought to make the United Nations more effective in maintaining international peace and security by giving priority to the tools needed to do so. Presently, peacekeeping was one of the most important United Nations operations. He appreciated all of those peacekeepers that had risked their lives around the world. He supported the implementation of the Special Committee's recommendations, particularly in terms of coordination. In that regard, he emphasized the importance of establishing "implementation criteria" covering all of the DPKO's activities, leading to rapid deployment.

He also highly valued the Mission's success in Kosovo, including the holding of municipal elections; efforts to define the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea; and endeavours in the interim phase of the United Nations Mission of Support in Timor-Leste. Overall, he emphasized the importance of early planning and daily coordination, in order to bring about reconstruction, reconciliation and recovery. Continuous and intensive discussion should continue between the Secretariat and the troop-contributing countries, as well as between the members of the Security Council and those who might contribute in the future. He also supported all reform efforts by the DPKO, including transparency about appointments. In that regard, the highest level posts should be awarded to candidates from developing countries.

Regarding lessons learned, the many experiences of the missions, whether failures or successes, were important to avoiding past mistakes and implementing future successes. Priority should also be given to DDR programmes, as well as to the establishment of the rule of law in post-conflict phases. It was also important to link DDR to the reform under way in enhancing internal security. In terms of rapid deployment, he supported the recently enhanced capability of swiftly setting up a mission. The burden of deploying military forces, however, must not fall solely on the shoulders of developing countries. With respect to training, guidelines should be translated into all working languages of the United Nations, and training centres, whether regional or national, should be supplied with them.

MISHECK MUCHETWA (Zimbabwe) commended the achievements of the DPKO in managing global peace so far through its peacekeeping operations, and noted that his country had contributed to missions in Mozambique, Angola, Somalia,

Timor-Leste, Kosovo and Sierra Leone. Zimbabwe would continue to contribute to future missions.

He also observed that the present selection system of civilian police officers, whereby Selection Assistance Teams were sent to capitals to ascertain the credentials of potential peacekeepers, had not worked as well as it should have and had proven to be unfair to both the individuals concerned and governments. Further, it was a waste of United Nations resources if officers who had passed in the first selection, and subsequently deployed, were later repatriated.

He said it was necessary to enhance Africa's peacekeeping capacity in light of the fact that Africa had abundant manpower resources but seriously lacked material resources that would enhance its peacekeeping efforts. A fragmented approach to enhancing that capacity was not desirable.

JASNA OGNJANOVAC (Croatia) said that, having hosted five peacekeeping missions on its territory, Croatia was proud to have become a contributor to United Nations peacekeeping efforts. She fully supported the Secretary-General's continued efforts to improve those operations and was confident that the Special Committee would again move a step further in achieving that goal. Croatia's efforts in the field of peacekeeping had been threefold: development and strengthening of its own overall framework and capabilities; participation of its personnel in peacekeeping operations; and contribution to further enhancing United Nations' capabilities.

In 2002, she said, the Croatian Parliament had enacted the National Security Strategy, as well as a legal framework that provided a proper decision-making process on the participation of Croatian personnel. That framework enabled the participation of the widest range of personnel, including individuals and formed units of the Armed Forces and civilian police, as well as individuals from the public sector. As a recently emerged contributing country, Croatia currently deployed its military officers as military observers in operations in Ethiopia and Eritrea, India and Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Western Sahara. In 2002, Croatia doubled the number of peacekeeping operations in which its personnel took part, including a recent approval to deploy a military police platoon to Afghanistan.

She shared the Secretary-General's view that the political will of Member States was the determining factor in assuring rapid deployment. She also believed that, to be successful, operations had to be deployed rapidly. Unfortunately, many troop contributors, including Croatia, had certain technical difficulties in complying with some of the rapid-deployment requirements. With the help of the DPKO, they would be able to overcome those problems. Regional cooperation in support of rapid-deployment capabilities still had to be explored. She commended the efforts of the Secretariat to develop the concept of a force headquarters, as well as core planning teams.

Additional efforts were needed to improve the civilian police and the civilian components of peacekeeping operations, she continued. Croatian authorities supported the increasing role of civilian police in peacekeeping operations and were looking forward to expanding their contribution in that field, with the Secretariat's support. The complexity of peacekeeping operations today underscored the need for increased and improved training. Although training remained the sole responsibility of Member States, their approaches tended to be divergent. She, therefore, welcomed the efforts of the United Nations project of Standardised Generic Training Modules and looked forward to its successful completion. She also looked forward to expanding those efforts to the training of civilian police and civilian experts.

SELWYN HEATON (New Zealand) said that all Member States had an important role to play in supporting and implementing peacekeeping efforts. He believed a great deal had been achieved in major areas of concern to his country and wanted to help ensure that that momentum was not lost, particularly in priority areas such as rapid deployment. He welcomed improvements so far achieved in those areas.

Another area of critical importance, he said, was the need for consultations between Member States, the Secretariat and members of the Committee. In that regard, he commended the agreement in principle to advance that cooperation.

New Zealand attached high priority to regional peacekeeping capacity and would continue to support efforts intended to strengthen regional peacekeeping, including going beyond its own region. He stressed giving peacekeeping operations the ability to take on multi-dimensional tasks.

He said the safety and security of United Nations peacekeeping personnel needed to be kept in the forefront. Thus, it was necessary to have an adequate legal regime in place that enhanced the personal safety and security of such personnel. He urged those who had not done so to become party to conventions intended to provide peacekeepers such safety and security. He also emphasized the importance his country placed on the conduct and discipline of peacekeepers, pointing out that lapses in that area could tarnish the work of peacekeeping missions.

YOSHIYUKI MOTOMURA (Japan) said that peacekeeping operations had made significant progress in such areas as the Balkans, Timor-Leste and Africa. The missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Prevlaka successfully completed their mandates last December. Peacekeeping operations continued to play an important role in maintaining international peace and security, often amid complex and difficult situations. It was the task of the Special Committee to address those complexities. As peacekeeping assumed an increasingly multi-disciplinary character, it had become interrelated with wider efforts for peace and security. Japan was assessing ways in which it might enhance its international cooperation in that regard.

Continuing, he said his Government was strengthening efforts to consolidate peace and nation building in various regions, including Africa. It appreciated the timely initiative of the Secretariat in the discussions on security-sector reform and the rule of law. Responding to that initiative and reaching a certain consensus on how peacekeeping should get involved in those activities were major items on the session's agenda. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration were important components of security-sector reform. Indeed, security-sector reform was often critical in the consolidation of peace. It was also an emerging concept in development assistance and had recently been incorporated in the activities of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

The safety and security of peacekeeping personnel remained a question of great importance, he said. Despite the downsizing in the number of personnel deployed last year, the number of fatalities remained high at 64, the same as in 2001. The Secretariat should address that issue as a matter of highest priority and accelerate its efforts for a clearer delineation of responsibilities and closer cooperation between the DPKO and the Office of the United Nations Security Coordinator. Also needed was a mechanism for accountability, as well as enhanced training, the development of minimum equipment standards, legal measures, and better information flow to personnel-contributing countries in the event of a crisis. Indeed, the issue of communication between the Secretariat and Members States should be revisited. He encouraged them to share experiences, especially in view of the increasing complexity of peacekeeping endeavours.

JOHN DAUTH (Australia) said that by focusing on the priorities or strategic objectives identified by Mr. Guehenno last October, there was an opportunity to "lift our gaze out of the weeds" and get a clearer perspective of the path ahead. The core value-added of the Special Committee should be to work with the DPKO to set broad strategic directions and to monitor and ensure that measurable progress was being made. It would be counter-productive for the Special Committee to seek to micro-manage the DPKO or the Secretariat more generally. In achieving a true partnership with the DPKO, communication and transparency were important. Benefit would also be gained by using the Best Practices Unit as an interface between the Secretariat and Member States, providing an additional avenue for dialogue. That Unit would be best served by managing a moderate agenda rather an overloaded one.

He said that the basic logic of now turning attention from Headquarters reform to field implementation was absolutely correct. Nevertheless, it would be necessary in the future to assess how well the DPKO had done with its new capabilities. Field implementation, first and foremost, required principles and standard procedures to improve accountability in peace operations. The lack of clear disciplinary and accountability guidelines for peacekeepers should be addressed. Besides being derived from lessons learned, guidelines should also reflect the very different legal traditions and constitutions of contributing and host Member States. Regarding the challenge that the rule of law posed for complex peacekeeping operations, he underscored the urgent need for improvements in the capacity of peacekeeping operations to deliver effective support for newly developing police forces, where that was part of a mandate.

RICHARD WILLIAMSON (United States) said that, since the end of the Cold War, the number and diversity of peacekeeping missions had expanded dramatically. They included peacemaking in Sierra Leone; infrastructure development in Kosovo; allowing two war-weary parties to focus on a peaceful way forward in Ethiopia and Eritrea; and helping East Timor achieve stability and consolidate democracy following independence.

In 2000, recognizing the increasing demands on United Nations peacekeeping, and that the international community's efforts, however well-intentioned, sometimes failed, the United States supported the Secretary-General's appointment of Lahkdar Brahimi to head a special panel to review peacekeeping in all its aspects, he said. His Government had since worked with others to implement the Panel's report and had also recognized its obligation to require that historical inefficiencies were corrected.

Noting that the safety and security of peacekeepers was increasingly an issue, he wanted to know the measures that had been undertaken, as well as future plans for strengthening the safety of personnel in peacekeeping operations, without impacting negatively on their ability to perform their duties effectively. The time had come to establish an information and strategic analysis secretariat, within the ECPS, which would gather and analyze information about conflict situations and make long-term recommendations to the ECPS. He observed that the recommendation had been discussed in two previous sessions of the Special Committee, but had been defeated because of concerns that the secretariat would be an intelligence-gathering entity.

NADJEH BAAZIZ (Algeria) said the results obtained in reforming peacekeeping operations had provided new impetus to the Special Committee. That dynamic body had been contributing to the general reflection to enhance the United Nations' performance in peacekeeping and post-conflict peace-building. The new reforms had provided new opportunities. Now, efforts must be redoubled to ensure their implementation. Peacekeeping activities had enjoyed considerable progress in recent years. That concept was evolving daily, and the international community was exerting a collective effort to see its implementation.

The United Nations, therefore, must be positioned to face the challenges linked to international peacekeeping and security, she said. The success of those operations rested on consent of parties, impartiality and non-use of force, except for defence. Realistic financing was also key. The strengthened Secretariat alone could not guarantee their success. There must also be reliable training that took into account the new needs in peacekeeping, including its humanitarian aspects, HIV/AIDS, and political training. She was gratified by the progress made by the Secretariat last year, especially the enhancement of training through the creation of training cells and the proliferation of observer missions. For its part, the Security Council should formulate clear mandates, so as to facilitate the missions' tasks. There should also be more regular meetings between the Council and the troop contributors.

ZHANG YISHAN (China) that said during the year under review, United Nations peacekeeping operations had made tremendous progress. Adherence to basic principles of peacekeeping and the cooperation of the parties had shown to be the key to the success of peacekeeping operations.

Rapid and efficient deployment of peacekeepers also ensured the success of such missions, he said. The strengthening of regional peacekeeping capabilities, particularly in Africa, was especially important. Therefore, he hoped that the United Nations and others able to do so would be able to provide resources, training and assistance necessary to upgrade the continent's peacekeeping capabilities. The comprehensive peacekeeping strategy being developed by the United Nations should take full account of those factors.

Coordination and communication between the Security Council, the Secretariat, the Committee and troop-contributing countries needed to be improved. He hoped that the DPKO would take practical measures to improve its work in that regard. China would continue to actively support peacekeeping to the best of its ability so as to strengthen peace and security in the world.

YASHAR ALIYEV (Azerbaijan) said that the terrible toll armed conflicts took on human life and economic development made it essential for the United Nations to adapt itself to be able to effectively restore peace and security. The proliferation of peacekeeping operations around the globe in the past decade, in terms of number and nature, had proved that peacekeeping was one of the key instruments available to the Organization in discharging its primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. Crucial to the success of that common endeavour was to ensure that peacekeeping operations strictly observed the United Nations Charter, including those principles relating to respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the political independence of States, and non-interference in their internal affairs.

He said it had become increasingly important for the United Nations to examine the whole spectrum of its crisis-management practices, which were intended to prevent conflict and encourage peacekeeping and peace-building. Linkages between those stages were obvious, and it was of paramount importance to ensure a smooth transition from one phase to another, in accordance with Security Council mandates. It should be possible to draw on past lessons without diminishing ambitions to enhance peacekeeping operations. Azerbaijan, as a troop contributor, favoured the support expressed for additional funding for United Nations peacekeeping. The prospect of channelling new resources for peacekeeping at the expense of development programmes, however, was not justified and would be counter-productive. It must be ensured that there would be no adverse impact on development funding.

PIERRE HELG (Switzerland) said that, now that his Government was a full Member of the United Nations, it would increase its commitment to and activities within the peacekeeping arena. Specifically, it would contribute military and civilian personnel, equipment and funds for practical disarmament activities, such as the inspections currently under way in Iraq. Support for the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining would also remain a priority.

Expressing satisfaction with the success enjoyed by several United Nations peace missions, he drew attention to certain key points in the Secretary-General's report to the Special Committee. First, he supported the proposal to include peace-building elements in the mandate of peacekeeping operations. He also agreed that there had to be stronger cooperation between the Security Council, the Peacekeeping Department, and countries that contributed troops.

He stated that current efforts to increase rapid deployment capacity and further develop crisis-anticipation methodology should be encouraged. Additionally, he supported security-sector reform and an increase in the capacities of rule of law institutions, as well as simpler budgetary procedures for peacekeeping operations. Finally, he said that it was important to take into account contributions in manpower, equipment and funds, when determining access to management positions.

LUIS E. CAPPAGLI (Argentina) said peacekeeping operations today responded to problems deriving from the absence of government, the collapse of States, threats of non-State actors, and other types of conflicts. The functions and requirements of current deployments were, therefore, bigger. Mandates should be adequate and operations should be provided with the necessary resources. Investigations of accidents must be conducted in the most transparent way possible, and their results had to be shared with the countries directly concerned.

The training of personnel for more specific tasks had become more and more important, he said. He urged the Secretariat to formalize a policy of support to national training centres during 2003. While noting progress achieved in the implementation of Standardized Generic Training Modules, a lasting peace required United Nations contingents with the capacity to be deployed quickly and efficiently. Rapid deployment, however, would only become a reality if reimbursement of troop-contributing countries occurred in a timely fashion. It was not possible to always expect developing countries to provide personnel to peacekeeping operations, especially when there were scarce budgets to cover the costs of a rapid deployment. In the case of Argentine personnel deployed in the special police unit, daily allowances had not been paid since April 2002.

ENRIQUE LOEDEL (Uruguay) said that a great deal still remained to be done in accomplishing the goals of the Peacekeeping Department, in view of the speed at which change is taking place. Having participated in peacekeeping operations from the very beginning, his country appreciates all aspects of DPKO's work. All of them deserved to be underscored.

That notwithstanding, Uruguay's contribution and participation in peacekeeping would not be diminished by the financial difficulties the United Nations was presently faced with, he said. It was now important to seek alternative means and to explore new mechanisms in the process of peacekeeping to reflect those new financial difficulties the United Nations found itself in today, so as to ensure the continued effectiveness of peacekeeping operations.

MOHAMMAD HASSAN FADAIFARD (Iran) said that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was performing well, in spite of an increase in the number of United Nations peacekeeping operations and the fact that the Security Council had given them more tasks. He stressed, however, that future success would depend on continued adherence to basic peacekeeping principles, such as consent of the parties involved, the absence of force except in cases of self-defence, and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Declaring that peacekeeping operations should be able to act rapidly, he supported ongoing efforts to strengthen UNSAS. He also welcomed the Department's initiatives to provide training and assistance to emerging troop-contributing countries. Before concluding, he expressed appreciation for the growing civilian police component and highlighted the participation of several Iranian officers in United Nations peacekeeping operations.

WEGGER CHRISTIAN STRØMMEN (Norway) said that, on the basis of the Brahimi report, it had been possible to structure, reform and strengthen the DPKO. Modern peacekeeping, however, faced major political challenges. First among them was the need to strengthen the relationship between those who designed and those who implemented mandates for peacekeeping operations. A partnership must be developed between the Security Council, the Secretariat and the troop contributors that was sustainable in the face of complex operations. Those who shouldered the human and political risk must be given increased influence in running the operations. The new mechanisms established by the Council, and tested for the first time in August last year on UNAMSIL, was a step in the right direction.

He said that rapid deployment remained a key challenge. The Peacekeeping Department could benefit from closer cooperation with regional coalitions, established to provide the United Nations with well-trained, rapidly deployable and cohesive multinational forces. The Multinational Standby Forces High Readiness Brigade (SHIRBRIG) was a case in point, as its permanent planning element consisted of a number of officers, co-located at a pre-deployment headquarters. Last year, the UNSAS was expanded with a new rapid deployment level and on-call lists. Its establishment, which was to strengthen capacity to react in conflicts, called into question the usefulness of the other three levels. Thus, the need for four levels should be reviewed.

As unity of command was an indispensable principle of any military operation, the structure of the chain of command was critical because it established legitimacy, authority, responsibilities and accountability at all levels, he said. The usefulness of the division in United Nations peacekeeping operations between the Force Commander and the Chief Administrative Officer should be considered. Also, armed civilian police should be considered national contribution in parallel with armed military contingents, in order to achieve unity of status between the two. Adequate training was also fundamental, and he supported initiatives, such as mission training cells in all operations, to establish joint pre-deployment training for Force Commanders, headquarters staff and other key personnel.

AMPARO ANGUIANO RODRIGUEZ (Mexico) welcomed the intention to establish solid and transparent methods of work and relations between the DPKO and Member States. Political support, as well as secure and timely discharge of resources to troop- contributing countries, was an important element to the maintenance of peace. Another important aspect of peacekeeping was that all entities of the United Nations should take part in sharing the responsibility of maintaining peace. Avoiding recurring conflicts called for greater efforts by the United Nations.

She believed that poverty eradication, development and the creation of transparency in the processes involved in peacekeeping should be an integral and comprehensive part of peacekeeping operations. Also, gender issues should be included in all aspects of peacekeeping in a more balanced manner and at all levels - -- in the field, as well as at headquarters.

LEE HO-JIN (Republic of Korea) said the DPKO had benefited from the work of the Brahimi Panel. The time had come to take stock of the results of implemented reforms. The expanded peacekeeping activities with its enlarged budget would dramatically increase financial responsibilities of Member States, and the Secretariat should, therefore, demonstrate its ability to carry out those activities in a cost-effective manner. A review mechanism should be established for regularly evaluating peacekeeping activities.

Regional cooperation contributed to resolving region-specific conflicts, he said. Also, regional organizations could cooperate closely with the United Nations in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process. It might, therefore, be useful to study a framework system of burden-sharing between regional bodies and the United Nations. Noting that phases I and II of the Brahimi recommendations regarding expansion of staff resources had been implemented, he said problems of over-representation and under-representation in the field of management must be rectified in the subsequent recruitment process. Mission leadership should be chosen on the basis of competence, ability and experience.

He noted improvement in the trilateral cooperation between the Secretariat, Security Council and troop-contributing countries. The DPKO should play a more pro-active role in coordinating that trilateral partnership. In that regard, he recommended that the Peacekeeping Department promote a more substantive and service-oriented relationship with troop-contributing countries. The weekly reports issued by the Situation Centre should include a more in-depth analysis of the situation. The Standby Arrangements System was central to enhancing the rapid deployment capacity of peacekeepers. His Government was giving serious consideration to joining the rapid deployment level.

LOUAY FALLOUH (Syria) said that peacekeeping was an important tool of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security, and had played a vital role in ameliorating tensions in conflict areas. Hopefully, peacekeeping operations would extend to conflict areas, which were still neglected, such as in Somalia. Peacekeeping was not an alternative to a permanent settlement, but a temporary measure to stop conflict until a settlement was reached. It required the agreement of the parties not to use force, except for self-defence, and of the peacekeepers to respect the sovereignty of countries in which they were stationed. More than half a century ago, peacekeeping operations began in the Middle East. Those missions were continuing to do their part with great responsibility and efficiency.

Regrettably, however, peace had become remote in the Middle East because of Israel's persistence in challenging resolutions of international legitimacy. Israel had continued its racist policies of occupation and the killing of unarmed civilians.

The Special Committee session provided a chance to deal with many matters in the area of peacekeeping, he said. He attached great importance to its work and would contribute in any way to its success. Full implementation of Security Council resolution 1353 (2001) and the memorandum of 14 January 2002 would enhance cooperation between the Council, the Secretariat and the troop-contributing countries in planning and organizing future missions.

ALAA ISSA (Egypt) said that the world had witnessed dramatic changes in the last few years, not only in international security but also in the nature of the challenges facing the international community in that area, which had become more complex.

The United Nations had proven itself in meeting the challenges of the new century, since it was the very source of legitimacy in the field of peacekeeping. Although the Brahimi report was a good start, it could not be said that the tasks before the international community had been accomplished yet. We have, thus, reached a crucial period in formulating guidance, on the one hand, and implementation, on the other.

It was necessary to achieve progress in reinforcing troop-contributing countries and to develop mandates that reflected the reality on the ground. He concurred with previous speakers who stated that the role of regional organizations should be complimentary to that of the United Nations and not to be a substitute for it.

ANDREJ DROBA (Slovakia) shared the Secretary-General's view that United Nations peacekeeping operations had achieved several successes in the last year. His country was proud that it had been able to contribute to the success of the United Nations in East Timor, Ethiopia and Eritrea, and Sierra Leone. Presently, it was participating in six out of 15 ongoing peacekeeping operations. Meanwhile, he agreed with the proposed shift in focus from the reforms of the DPKO to the field, and associated himself with the six priorities: rapid deployment; enhancing the peacekeeping capacities of African nations; training; reform of security and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes; comprehensive rule of law strategies; and best practices.

He also supported efforts to deploy more rapidly. As a contributor with a broad range of units deployed, Slovakia knew how difficult it was to put all "nuts and bolts" together before actual deployment. To deploy rapidly, the United Nations needed coherent and well-equipped units in UNSAS. Unfortunately, with the

present broad participation, Slovakia's capabilities were over-stretched to the maximum and what it could offer was already in the field. Domestic legislative requirements, as well as necessary procedures connected with the deployment of a particular unit from a Member State, were among the main issues for many countries. The horizon of 30 to 90 days was very difficult to achieve. Other key areas were security, a transparent recruitment process, and reimbursement.

Mr. KAZAKOV (Bulgaria) said he was convinced that peacekeeping operations were a fundamental tool in the maintenance of international peace and security. By enhancing the capacity and capabilities of the DPKO, the United Nations was equipping itself with the means to maintain peace and security internationally. As a troop-contributing country, Bulgaria directly contributed to the maintenance, administration and general operations of peacekeeping operations in the Balkans.

He said that United Nations operations, over the past decade, had evolved in a spectacular way in enhancing peacekeeping. It was, therefore, all the more important to use the competencies of civilians, who had expertise in areas such as the judiciary and others. As a result, it was now possible for the Secretariat to deploy peacekeeping missions in far less time than it took in the past. He also highlighted the significant contributions that could be gained through regional peacekeeping organizations, adding that Bulgaria would continue to work to strengthen the cooperation between the United Nations and such organizations.