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Speakers in Fourth Committee underline need for strong, well-managed peacekeeping missions to meet surge in demand, bridge gaps between capacity, expectations

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GA/SPD/411

Sixty-third General Assembly
Fourth Committee
17th Meeting (AM)

United Nations Cannot Be Everywhere at All Times; Broad Support Voiced To Leverage Comparative Advantages of Regional Organizations in Peace Efforts

As the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) held its second full day of general debate on the whole question of peacekeeping in all its aspects, delegations underlined the need for strong, well-managed, efficient missions to meet the surge in peacekeeping operations and to bridge the gaps between United Nations capacities and the expectations of the world community.

The representative of Pakistan -- whose deployments currently accounted for 12 per cent of all peacekeeping staff in the field -- stressed that it was the collective responsibility of Member States to ensure that the Organization's peacekeeping operations could be mounted quickly and maintained effectively. Their political support and commitment would ensure the missions' success or failure. At the same time, a lack of political will should not become an impediment in extending support where it was most needed, such as in Somalia.

He said that, as part of the effort to make United Nations peacekeeping more effective, capacity should be strengthened in the field and at Headquarters. While the major restructuring of the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support had been a genuine part of the reform, it was now imperative to ensure that greater efficiency and effectiveness in implementing mission mandates resulted.

To that end, many speakers said they looked forward to the Secretary-General's forthcoming comprehensive report, to be considered by the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations at its 2009 substantive session, which they hoped would provide a meaningful review of, and further guidance for, ongoing coordination between the two peacekeeping Departments.

Ukraine's representative encouraged the Secretariat to play a more proactive and flexible role in utilizing an embedded integrated mission planning process, both at Headquarters and in the field. Experience had demonstrated that the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support, and the Secretariat, Security Council and Member States must work together to "find the right answers" to critical issues.

The United States' representative highlighted several areas where the Organization's policing capacities had improved, among them the "policing as one" efforts, articulating and incorporating standard training manuals and unit readiness standards and providing material support for formed police units. Nevertheless, further work was needed to better manage the recruitment, selection and deployment of United Nations police. He urged the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to develop specific doctrine and guidance for its field personnel.

Other delegates stressed that a comprehensive approach was needed to address the causes underlying specific conflicts and to prevent relapses. Jordan's representative said peacekeeping operations should be accompanied by parallel and inclusive peace processes, which were carefully designed and supported by the consent and adherence of the parties concerned.

Similarly, Thailand's representative asserted that peace and security could only be sustained when the root causes of the increasingly complex conflicts were addressed. Further, short-term peace and security could not replace the long-term establishment and strengthening of national capacity in development, governance, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, security sector reform, rule of law and justice, and institutions created to prevent a relapse into conflict.

He stressed that, because national ownership was critical, peacekeeping operations should also assist in national empowerment and capacity-building towards a transition to peacebuilding. Success depended on the ability to foster a common vision and strategy through better cooperation and collaboration between the United Nations and relevant organizations.

Underlining the importance of partnerships with regional organizations, Kenya's speaker said that, because the United Nations could not be everywhere at all times, the burden must be shared. He particularly urged the strengthening of political and technical partnerships between the Peacekeeping Department and the African Union. Such an approach would encourage efficient use of "finite global resources" and enable the Peacekeeping Department to focus on core business and move away from areas it was not prepared to address.

The representative of China stressed that regional organizations often enjoyed their own comparative advantages in peacekeeping and that it was in the interest of the United Nations to leverage them. He recalled the Security Council's recent debate on coordination with regional organizations, especially noting the Council's adoption of resolution 1809 (2008).

Underscoring the need for more innovative approaches to help countries emerging from conflict establish the foundations for sustainable peace and development, many speakers also called for better cooperation between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Peacebuilding Commission. Echoing that view, the representative of Jamaica said that moreseamless synergies and detailed coordination was needed between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Peacebuilding Commission. Ultimately, both sought the same ends -- meaning that cooperation on the operational level seemed, not only helpful, but necessary.

Also speaking were the representatives of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Norway, Viet Nam, Kazakhstan, Uruguay, Venezuela, Lebanon, Nigeria and Mongolia.

A representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross also spoke.

The Fourth Committee will continue its general debate on peacekeeping at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 28 October.

Background

The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to continue its comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.

Statements

NOPADON MUNGKALATON ( Thailand), associating himself with the statement made on behalf of Non-Aligned Movement, emphasized his country's long-standing commitment to supporting the "noble task" of the United Nations in maintaining international peace and security. Thailand strongly encouraged an increase in regional responsibility in maintaining regional peace, including through the engagement in peacekeeping operations within the framework of the United Nations Charter. For two decades, it had provided nearly 20,000 troops, police officers and civilian staff in peacekeeping missions around the globe and would continue to do so.

Emphasizing that peace and security could only be sustained when root causes of the increasingly complex conflicts were addressed, he said short-term peace and security could not replace the long-term establishment and strengthening of national capacity in development, governance, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, security sector reform, rule of law and justice, and institutions created to prevent a relapse into conflict. National ownership, therefore, was critical, and peacekeeping operations should also assist in national empowerment and capacity-building towards a transition to peacebuilding. Success depended on the ability to foster a common vision and strategy through better cooperation and collaboration between the United Nations and relevant organizations.

He said that progress had been made with the establishment of the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support, but unity of command remained the major challenge between the two Departments. An increase in an integrated approach in all aspects of mission management was needed. In that regard, the establishment of the Integration Operations Teams to support designated field missions was welcome.

Continuing, he said that United Nations peacekeeping operations should strictly observe international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including relevant Security Council resolutions on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. The three basic principles of consent, minimum use of force and impartiality should also be observed throughout the missions. Consensus was needed on many issues impacting peacekeeping practice, including the "criminal accountability of the United Nations personnel and experts on mission". Between January 2004 and November 2006, 319 peacekeeping personnel had been reported and investigated for criminal acts. The absence of a clear legality on criminal accountability had contributed to the persistence of the problem. Also of paramount importance was the safety of peacekeeping personnel, which affected the Organization's credibility. Indeed, if it was not able to protect itself, how could the United Nations safeguard the people they were mandated to protect?

Thailand was gravely concerned that, with its limited resources and capacities, the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) would not be able to effectively react to the emergency situation if it worsened, he said. While contingency planning was a standard operating procedure, a lack of strategically enabling assets would have a great impact on the mission's emergency response. Also alarming was the "anti-MONUC" developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More preparation to prevent and withstand those attacks was needed and more practical ways to deal with emergency situations should be explored. The mission's interests should be evaluated and its operations assessed. It might even be necessary to redirect its strategy. Indeed, the entire future of United Nations peacekeeping should also be assessed and preparations should be made to meet the challenges of future decades.

RAYMOND WOLFE ( Jamaica), endorsing the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, saluted the personnel currently supporting United Nations peacekeeping operations. It was fitting to take stock of the lessons learned over the last six decades of peacekeeping. The sixtieth anniversary was an opportune time to assess how to move forward in the era of complex multidimensional missions. The peacekeeping budget had ballooned to over $7 billion. While Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Alain Le Roy had said peacekeeping was a cost-effective endeavour -- and Jamaica agreed -- that large budget nevertheless placed a huge burden on the small developing countries, which were already negatively affected by the absence of a fair-trading regime. More innovative approaches should be taken to help countries emerging from conflict. More than ever, it was necessary to develop conflict early-warning and response systems. At the most basic level, that necessitated the full implementation of previously agreed commitments on the part of developed countries to enable developing and least developed countries to meet their growth potential.

He said that investments were needed to increase the Organization's peacekeeping ability, including by strengthening the Department of Political Affairs. More seamless synergies and cooperation was needed between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Peacebuilding Commission. Ultimately, both sought the same ends; thus, cooperation on the operational level seemed, not only helpful, but necessary. Jamaica was pleased that the mandate of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) had been renewed for another year. The challenges of the global food crisis and the onslaught of three hurricanes had put severe strains on the Haitian people. The international community as a whole should contribute more to meet Haiti's needs and to enhance the work of the Mission there. In light of the ongoing delays in UNAMID, he called on Member States to increase their efforts to allow for that mission's deployment.

Jamaica remained steadfast in its support of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the primary role played by the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations to review that fundamental task of the United Nations, he said. It also supported the Organization's zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse. Noting the deadly attacks on UNAMID personnel in July, he urged the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to use every tool at its disposal to ensure the safety of peacekeeping personnel.

Associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, ZACHARY D. MUBURI-MUITA ( Kenya) said his country's continuous contribution of troops and regional mediation was a testimony to its commitment to the cause of peace. Currently engaged in seven peacekeeping missions -- six in Africa -- he urged the strengthening of political and technical partnerships between the African Union and the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Since the United Nations could not be everywhere at all times, the burden must be shared.

While that approach encouraged efficient use of "finite global resources", he said, it also enabled the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to focus on core business and move away from areas it was not able to handle. He encouraged the international community to support Kenya's Regional Centre on Small Arms and Light Weapons (RECSA) and the Regional Disaster Management Centre of Excellence (RDME), intergovernmental organizations aimed at ensuring a safe and secure subregion. He urged the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support to work in a coordinated manner and provide effective leadership. His delegation was concerned with the time taken for the Department of Field Support to process compensations and claims, thereby causing distress to the deceased's dependants.

He called attention to the need to implement General Assembly resolution 56/293 regarding geographical representation in senior posts, and requested that due consideration be taken when filling current vacancies. He supported all efforts being made to preserve the image, credibility, impartiality and integrity of the United Nations in the face of misconduct and perceptions of impropriety. While he strongly encouraged Member States to cooperate fully with the United Nations on that matter, he said the primary responsibility must fall to the troop-contributing countries to discipline their deployed contingents. To address the challenge of abuse by peacekeepers, there must be pre-deployment training, timely rotation of troops, and provision of welfare and recreational facilities to minimize such incidences.

ADI KHAIR (Jordan), aligning his remarks with those made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country had been proud to see its troops deployed with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, helping with recent evacuations there and bringing critically needed relief supplies to those in need. Haiti, as other countries, could emerge from a troubled past to a better future through United Nations peacekeeping operations. In fact, because of the Organization's efforts in that regard, a better future was ensured worldwide.

He said that, for its part, Jordan had worked over the years to preserve peace in its region and was proud to contribute to the United Nations effort around the world. Jordan was now the seventh largest troop-contributing country. As a member of the "small five" group, which also included Costa Rica, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Singapore, Jordan called for better coordination between the Security Council and the troop-contributing countries.

Peacekeeping was an important instrument in maintaining peace and security, but it was not a substitute for long-term solutions. Thus, Jordan reiterated its belief that United Nations peacekeeping operations should be accompanied by parallel and inclusive peace process that were well planned, carefully designed and supported by the consent and adherence of the parties concerned. Any new peacekeeping missions or the extension of existing ones under Chapter VI of the Charter should be based, not only on the consent of the parties, but also on the non-use of force, except in cases of self-defence, impartiality, clearly defined mandates, and secure financing.

Jordan supported United Nations efforts in mitigating risks, he said, expressing appreciation for the Organization's regular assessment of threats to United Nations personnel, premises and equipment. The channels between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and missions in the field should grant the prompt delivery of information regarding casualties or any kind of incidents. Jordan was not represented in the staff of the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations or Field Support, which was of concern given its contributions to peacekeeping operations. Underlining the unsuccessful negotiation patterns seen recently in the Special Committee, he said that political divisions regarding certain aspects of peacekeeping should be set aside as they did not contribute to the success of peacekeeping operations. Also, all Member States should provide their assessed contributions in a timely manner and without conditions.

Adding her remarks to the statement made on behalf of Non-Aligned Movement, SHARKE CHAMAN KHAN ( Bangladesh) said the image of the United Nations was contingent upon the success or failure of peacekeeping operations. Fortunately, the Organization had thus far had an "impeccable" track record and was an indispensable tool for the maintenance of international peace and security.

As a proud member of United Nations peacekeeping history, Bangladesh had participated in 33 missions and provided nearly 80,000 peacekeepers. Presently among the top troop-contributing countries, Bangladesh currently deployed 10,000 peacekeepers in 14 missions. However, the price of that commitment was high, since as many as 90 Bangladeshi peacekeepers had been killed in the line of duty.

In the face of departmental restructuring and the growing challenges in the field, she said meaningful, frequent and continued dialogue among the Security Council, troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat was vital to success. Equally important was to reach parity in geographical representation for senior-level posts. She also called for a speedy signing of memorandums of understanding upon deployment, and timely reimbursement to troops in the field. Regarding the issue of conduct and discipline, a zero-tolerance policy must be adopted against all forms of sexual misconduct and abuse. The trust of the peoples of the world should be consolidated by continuing to put stringent measures on handling those issues, at both organizational and national levels.

LIU ZHENMIN ( China), noting the positive progress achieved by peacekeeping operations over the past year, said that the new management structures and operational systems had been fine-tuned with the establishment of the two Departments. Complementarity had also been increased between the United Nations and different intergovernmental and regional organizations. The deployment of UNAMID was proceeding gradually and the international community was also gradually making strides in areas. That would play a positive role in United Nations peacekeeping efforts, particularly through coordination with regional organizations.

He went on to say that several important actions were needed to meet future peacekeeping challenges -- and to meet future costs and bridge the gaps between the Organization's capacities and the expectations of the world community. The Organization's basic peacekeeping principles should be safeguarded. Indeed, they were an important foundation for the development of future peacekeeping operations. As such, they should represent the point of departure for future operations, which could maintain legitimacy only by upholding those principles.

While the reformed departments had made improvements, including optimizing resource management and personnel training, new international situations had nevertheless given rise to an ever greater demand for operations. As a result, challenges to peacekeeping were mounting. More efficient response and seamless coordination between the Departments was needed to realistically meet the greater demands. Enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, which enjoyed their own advantages in peacekeeping, was needed and was in the interest of the Organization. Recalling the recent debate in the Security Council on the coordination with regional organizations, he noted the Council's adoption of resolution 1809 (2008). For its part, China had widely contributed to United Nations peacekeeping operations and would continue to do so.

Associating his delegation with the statement made on behalf of Non-Aligned Movement, H.M.G.S. PALIHAKKARA ( Sri Lanka) reiterated the importance of strict adherence to the United Nations Charter's principles and purposes. Observance of those principles, as well as a clear mandate, consent of parties, non-intervention within domestic jurisdiction, non-use of force, and impartiality, were an "indispensable ground rule" for United Nations peacekeeping.

However, due to the diversity and complexity of new peacekeeping operations, he said, the international community must respond to emerging challenges. Success of the missions depended on political support, as well as adequate and timely provision of financial, logistical and human resources. Sri Lanka would continue its "modest" troop contributions, as that was a mutually rewarding experience for personnel and the peoples they served. To ensure the safety of all United Nations personnel, there must be clearly defined mandates and achievable targets, as well as contingency plans and exit strategies.

He said that cooperation between the Security Council and troop-contributing countries was of particular importance, and further efforts should be made to communicate with troop-contributing countries in the field and appraise them on developments in the field missions, especially in emergency situations that involved casualties. Human resources should also be strengthened, particularly in the Office of Military Adviser, and he called on the Secretary-General to expedite efforts to ensure fair and equitable representation of troop-contributing countries in professional-level staff. An efficient and transparent mechanism for an open competitive recruitment system was needed for candidate selection.

Reiterating support for the zero-tolerance policy, he said he hoped that the Secretariat would incorporate the amendments made by the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations into existing memorandums of understanding between the United Nations and troop-contributing countries, as that would clarify issues of jurisdiction. In light of those, however, he emphasized the need to safeguard the principle of "innocence until proven guilty", and prevent "uninvestigated" allegations from being sensationalized by the media.

HILARIO G. DAVIDE (Philippines), associating his statement with the one delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country had responded 48 years ago to support peacekeeping efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in its first instance of participation in United Nations peacekeeping. Almost five decades later, it remained an active partner in those efforts, with more than 620 military and police officers currently serving in nine missions. It took particular pride in being among the top three police-contributing countries. It was also prepared to support the United Nations Standby Arrangements System (UNSAS). It had also finally approved its own capstone document on peacekeeping, which would formalize the country's participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations. The reviewed policy framework and guidelines also took into account the realities of modern-day peacekeeping and underscored the serious importance his country placed on the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse.

Expressing appreciation for the acceptance by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations' secondment of two Philippine Army officers with the Office of Military Affairs, he said that would open the sustained participation of the Philippines in peacekeeping activities at Headquarters. He further commended the Public Affairs Unit within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations for its efforts to inform the public about the role of United Nations peacekeepers. Further work was needed to ensure that more information reached the audiences, not only in the host countries, but in the troop-contributing countries.

Turning to the safety and security of United Nations peacekeepers, he stressed that troop-contributing countries should be informed of developments related to the death or injury of peacekeepers. He urged that the findings of boards of inquiry on serious injury or death be immediately shared with those countries. Likewise, lessons learned and recommendations to prevent such incidents should also be shared with all Member States. His country particularly called attention to the loss of one of its own -- Lieutenant Colonel Renerio Batalla, who, as a military observer in the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), had succumbed to malaria two weeks before his tour of duty was to end. It took eight months and repeated requests for information by the Philippines before the Mission confirmed that Lieutenant Colonel Batalla would have made it back to his family if he had been properly diagnosed by the UNMIS clinic in Rembek. The Filipino Board of Inquiry had still not been provided information on administrative action taken against the doctor involved. The Philippines remained convinced that such unnecessary deaths could be prevented, not only by proper screening, training and supervision of United Nations staff, but also by the provision of the support systems needed in the field.

Aligning his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the European Union, SERGIY KYSLYTSYA (Ukraine) said that the growing demand for peacekeeping operations called for an intensification of efforts to improve integrated planning, enhance rapid deployment of field missions, and strengthen coordination between Headquarters and the field, and among various components of missions and other international partners.

He said the Secretariat must play a more proactive and flexible role in utilizing an embedded integrated mission planning process, both at Headquarters and in the field. Experience had demonstrated that the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support, and the Secretariat, Security Council and Member States must work together to "find the right answers" to critical issues. He expressed concern over the lack of transparency in the recruitment process, and said it was important to give priority to highly qualified, well-educated and experienced nominees from troop-contributing countries for senior-level positions.

Targeted attacks against peacekeepers were especially disturbing, and securing the safety of personnel must be the central element of any peacekeeping operation. Levels of risk must be assessed prior to a mission's establishment, as well as throughout its mandate. He expressed gratitude for the independent investigation of the events of 17 March in Kosovo, and hoped that recommendations aimed at improving operational procedures be properly implemented by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

He supported continued efforts to improve training capabilities, and said he looked forward to a substantive dialogue on the activities of the Integrated Training Service, in order to analyse the rationale for bringing together military, police and civilian training capacities. He welcomed the establishment of the Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group and supported the Secretariat in that regard. Finally, he recommended that the General Assembly adopt a special declaration to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of peacekeeping operations.

SIN SON HO (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), emphasizing the long-cherished goal of humankind to live in a peaceful world, said ceaseless disputes and conflicts nevertheless continued to take place two decades after the end of the cold war. It was a proven fact that the number and scope of United Nations peacekeeping operations were steadily increasing. Meanwhile, the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and the guiding principles of peacekeeping were frequently abused. Decisions on peacekeeping operations were made in the Security Council in the interest of some particular States, diminishing the Council's credibility.

He said that to ensure that peacekeeping operations could faithfully carry out their assignments, the fairness and accountability of the Council in all its activities should be thoroughly guaranteed. Respect for sovereignty, non-interference, consent of parties, and impartiality should, as the core principles of peacekeeping operations, be observed. Those operations that did not help end conflicts or had lasted beyond their effectiveness in maintaining international peace and security should be terminated. Urgent measures were needed to resolve the heavy burdens imposed on developing countries by peacekeeping operations.

Because those operations were conducted under the Organization's name, any negative actions that harmed the Organization's image and credibility should not be tolerated, he said. To that end, he stressed that the United Nations Command in South Korea, which was a product of the cold war era, was none other than the United States Army command. Indeed, it was a well-known fact that the "UN Command" had no relation at all to the United Nations in areas such as its administration and budget. It was "abnormal" that that command remained in South Korea 55 years after Korea's armistice agreement had been signed. The United States adamantly maintained that command for the purpose of justifying and perpetuating the deployment of its troops in South Korea, even as the command imposed immeasurable suffering on the Korean people and served as the main obstacle in implementing the 15 June [2000] North-South Joint Declaration, which clarified the ideal of "by our nation itself" and its subsequent action programme, the 4 October [2007] North-South Declaration. Thus, the "UN Command" should be dismantled without further delay pursuant to the resolution adopted by the General Assembly during its thirtieth session.

MONA JUUL ( Norway) stressed the importance of total adherence to the zero-tolerance policy towards sexual misconduct among peacekeepers. To meet the challenge of growing demands on peacekeeping, she said that the United Nations must make use of all available resources in an integrated manner, with all units of the Organization working in tandem in the field and at Headquarters. Greater flexibility must also be accorded special representatives of the Secretary-General in the field, along with a strengthening of senior leadership. Afghanistan showed clearly the need for coordination at all levels of the Organization, as well as with partners.

Norway, she said, was helping fund the development of a system-wide approach to security sector reform, which was key to lasting peace in all United Nations operations. Norway was pleased that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was developing a roster of Special Representatives experts, and was considering making its own rosters available to the United Nations. In addition, well-functioning Joint Mission Analysis Centres were vital, and Norway was leading the Nordic initiative to support their training centres. In all staffing, the best and brightest were needed, given the complexity of peacekeeping. Norway was concerned by some host nations' attempts to impose geographical distribution or other caveats on participation. That practice reduced the effectiveness of an operation and restricted the possibility of selecting the best capacities. Moreover, it undermined the principle of universality, the trademark of United Nations peacekeeping. Women's inclusion at all levels, however, was crucial to success.

In addition, she said, mandates must be linked to credible political processes, which was a particular concern in Darfur, Chad and the Central African Republic. She commended the European Union for its military support of the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT). Likewise, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) recently decided to escort ships carrying food supplies for the World Food Programme (WFP) in Somalia. That action might fall short of a more comprehensive international peacekeeping engagement, but it was an essential contribution for the Somalis who depended on the Programme for their survival. She looked forward to lessons learned from the African Union-United Nations joint operation in Darfur, to ensure seamless transitions from regional to United Nations missions, such as the one being considered in Somalia. Norway was supporting the development of African peacekeeping capabilities. In all peacekeeping, however, she stressed, there must be a peace to keep.

HOANG CHI TRUNG ( Viet Nam) said that the success of peacekeeping rested upon the strict observance of the purposes and principles of the Charter, particularly those referring to sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence, and non-interference in the internal affairs of States. It was of paramount importance, therefore, to establish and conduct peacekeeping operations on the basis of the consent of the parties, impartiality and the non-use of force except in self-defence. Peacekeeping operations should be accompanied by inclusive peace processes supported by the parties, and must be provided with clearly defined and practicable mandates, command structures, resources and exit strategies.

In regard to such problems as sexual misconduct and inadequately funded mandates, he said the Committee should conduct in-depth analyses with a view to formulating effective measures. In that context, he supported the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. However, the unity of command and the coherence of policy and strategy must be maintained. Equal attention should be paid to lines of accountability, integration of efforts and security of peacekeepers. The zero-tolerance policy for misconduct should be enforced, with further concrete efforts taken towards zero impunity. Against the backdrop of existing challenges, as well as the looming global depression, Member States should work much harder together to make peacekeeping more effective.

BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said that after 60 years, the primary responsibility for peacekeeping rested with the United Nations as it remained the most effective tool to prevent crisis and promote international peace and security. The need for such missions was increasing, and the situation in Afghanistan, Iraq, Georgia and elsewhere showed the imperative need to strengthen the authority of the United Nations and its Security Council.

She said that the United Nations peacekeeping capacity must be further improved, but be strictly based on the Charter. Developing the capstone doctrine, aimed at providing guidance for peacekeeping activities, would be very important. However, the lack of an appropriate and comprehensive mechanism designed to prevent destructive conflicts was one of the most urgent challenges facing international peacekeeping. Proposals to establish the United Nations strategic reserve forces should be implemented and a close partnership should be promoted between capable regional and intergovernmental organizations.

As a member of the United Nations Standby Arrangements System, she reiterated Kazakhstan's readiness to provide personnel, armoured vehicles and transportation assets of KazBrig (Kazakhstan Brigade) to peacekeeping operations. Her country fulfilled its financial obligations to the United Nations in a timely manner and made regular contributions to its peacekeeping budgets. Kazakhstan welcomed further cooperation between Member States, United Nations system agencies and regional organizations to prevent conflict, combat international terrorism, drug trafficking, and transnational crime. She fully supported the reform agenda "Peace Operations 2010" and the Secretary-General's efforts to further enhance the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations.

GUSTAVO ALVAREZ ( Uruguay) said that peacekeeping operations were one of the chief instruments by which the United Nations could carry out its primary mission -- the maintenance of peace and security -- on a multilateral basis. Uruguay had participated in that endeavour for decades and reaffirmed its firm commitment to it. Underlining the recommendations of the Brahimi Report, he further stressed the need for enhanced coordination between the Organization and the troop-contributing countries. He also emphasized the efforts of different regional organizations, highlighting particularly the efforts made in Latin America. Also, the United Nations activities in Haiti had made a difference, and his country welcomed the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.

He said it was not only necessary to try to maintain peace and security, but to build it. Nor was it enough to reintegrate post-conflict countries into normal life. To sustain development, infrastructure had to be rebuilt, institutions reconstructed and widespread respect for law and justice reinforced. Post-conflict countries were hungry for basic services. To ensure those needs were met, enhanced coordination by the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support was needed. Also necessary was enhanced cooperation between those entities and the Department of Political Affairs. The lessons of Latin America might be useful. He reaffirmed Uruguay's commitment to contribute to the international community's strong involvement in peacebuilding issues leading to safe, stable and peaceful societies.

Associating himself with the statements made on behalf of Non-Aligned Movement and the Rio Group, JORGE VALERO ( Venezuela) said he supported the principles of peacekeeping operations, as they were an important instrument used by the United Nations to bring about the peaceful settlement of disputes and the maintenance of international peace and security.

Noting that the United Nations had become a laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988 in recognition if its peacemaking works in many conflicts, he said that in recent years that "machinery" had undertaken tasks far beyond its nature. There were now more Blue Helmets than ever throughout the world, but their reputation had been undermined by complaints of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by military and police personnel. His delegation supported the zero-tolerance approach.

The activities of peacekeeping operations should strictly comply with the United Nations Charter, which stipulated non-intervention in internal affairs and should be guided by the criteria of impartiality, non-use of force and consent of the parties, he said. The report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations indicated that peacekeeping operations must strictly abide by those principles, and he also underlined respect for principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity -- key elements in the configuration of those activities. At the fourteenth meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Venezuela had underlined that the establishment or expansion of peacekeeping operations must be governed exclusively by those principles.

During the negotiation process of General Assembly resolution 61/279 of 2007 entitled "Strengthening the Capacity of the United Nations to Manage and Sustain Peacekeeping Operations", Venezuela had voiced concern with how the new structure would impact the principles of unity of command; however, in the spirit of flexibility, his Government had decided to support it. It was vital, however, to have closer coordination among the troop-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat. In closing, he paid tribute to the more than 2,500 personnel of the Organization who had been killed in the line of duty, and offered condolences to the families of those who lost their lives to maintain peace.

RICHARD McCURRY ( United States) expressed his country's support for strong, well-managed efficient peacekeeping operations, particularly to meet the growing demands for those operations. Progress towards those goals had been made. The United States had been proud to support the implementation of the Secretary-General's recent proposals, particularly those regarding the addition of 45 positions in the Office of Military Affairs. Moving forward, other vacancies in the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support should also be filled. The Secretary-General's forthcoming recommendations on improving the police division should be prioritized.

He said that progress had also been made in the areas of "policing as one", developing foreign police secondment to Headquarters, articulating and incorporating standard training manuals and unit readiness standards, providing material support for formed police units, and moving towards an institute for international policing. Those were the right goals. Nevertheless, further efforts should be made to better manage the recruitment, selection and deployment of United Nations police. While his country still had particular concerns regarding the units' responses in various missions, it was pleased by the efforts being made to improve those responses. Emphasizing the importance of maintaining the safety of field personnel, he urged the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to develop specific doctrine and guidance for its field personnel.

Continuing, he said his delegation supported efforts of Member States to ensure that 60 per cent of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur was deployed by the end of 2008. Increasing efforts to protect humanitarian aid shipments to Somalia from piracy were also notable and should be continued. While progress had been made in addressing sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeeping personnel, there continued reports of such abuses. To completely address those issues, the zero-tolerance policy had to be fully implemented. In closing, he said the United States looked forward to collective work in the peacekeeping arena in the future, for which vigilance was needed to ensure that the United Nations maintained its common values and the goals of peace and security.

WILLIAM HABIB (Lebanon), associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, in an effort to "save future generations from the scourge of war", the United Nations had established more than 60peacekeeping operations, in which more than 2,500 personnel lost their lives.

Noting that peacekeeping was still a priority United Nations activity, he stressed that the Organization must be provided with the necessary resources to effectively keep international peace and security and contribute to stability, rule of law and good governance. A sound security sector was an essential aspect of peacekeeping, and it must be professional and subjected to accountability. Furthermore, the relationship between the United Nations and concerned States must be clear and based on a commitment to the sovereignty of nations, in response to their demands and in accordance with their national priorities.

This year marked the thirtieth anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in southern Lebanon under Security Council resolution 425 (1978), after Israel "ravaged" that region in 1978, and the second anniversary of the enhancement of that force under Security Council resolution 1701 in 2006. UNIFIL's immediate deployment after Israeli aggression against Lebanon was the "best example" of the cooperation of States for the maintenance of peace and security, as well as the close cooperation between the host country and the peacekeeping force.

During the last 30 years, UNIFIL, in cooperation with the Lebanese Government, had taken measures aimed at enhancing stability in southern Lebanon, he said. However, Israel had "pursued its plans to challenge peace", and bombarded UNIFIL headquarters in 1996, killing hundreds of Lebanese civilians, most of them children. In 2006, Israeli aggression had "targeted" an international observers' post, killing four of them, and it had persisted in challenging the legal framework of the peace mission. Israeli authorities had also persisted in a policy aimed at undermining the mission, impeding the demarcation of the Blue Line. It had also violated Lebanese airspace daily -- a matter which the United Nations Secretary-General had described as a violation of both resolution 1701 (2006) and Lebanese sovereignty, calling for its immediate cessation.

He said that, despite serious attempts by the United Nations and repeated calls by the international community, Israel had refused to deliver to UNIFIL the "important information" on millions of cluster bombs that fell on Lebanese territory as a result of Israeli aggression. Hundreds of Lebanese civilians and 14 peacekeeping personnel had been victims of those bombs. Complete cooperation was needed to protect personnel participating in peacekeeping operations, but "acts of defiance" by Israeli officials continued as they threatened military operations against the villages and civilians in southern Lebanon. The Lebanese Government had addressed the Secretary-General about that, and called on Israel to commit to the relevant resolutions, in order to reach a ceasefire in cooperation with UNIFIL and to move from peacekeeping to peacebuilding.

FARUKH AMIL (Pakistan), expressing support for the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country was deeply committed to the practices and purposes of the United Nations. It took particular pride in being one of the most consistent and leading contributors of military and police personnel to United Nations peacekeeping missions. With more than 10,500 personnel in the field, Pakistan comprised roughly 12 per cent of all deployments, and those deployments were complemented by Pakistan's continuing engagement in policy discussion at Headquarters.

He said that peacekeeping, as the one of the biggest enterprises of the United Nations, had brought solace and hope to people around the globe. Notable successes in recent years had raised expectations even as the challenges of deploying complex, multidimensional missions had evolved and increased. It was the collective responsibility of Member States to ensure that the United Nations could respond quickly and effectively to mount and maintain peacekeeping operations. That collective effort had to cut across a range of key issues. Capacity should be strengthened in the field and at Headquarters. While the major restructuring of the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support had been a genuine part of the reform process, it was now imperative to ensure that greater efficiency and effectiveness in implementing mission mandates resulted. Hopefully, the Secretary-General's report would provide a meaningful review of the reform.

Respect for the basic tenets of peacekeeping was required, as any deviation from those principles could jeopardize future success, he said. Also to be avoided were efforts to confuse United Nations peacekeeping missions with those led by non-Organization entities. Unity of command and control had to apply to all United Nations operations, including "new breeds" of missions. United Nations ability to address inter-State conflicts, in addition to managing intra-State crises, should be demonstrated. More needed to be done to fully operationalize a comprehensive approach to address the root causes of conflicts and to prevent relapses. A real interface between the integrated missions and the Peacebuilding Commission was needed to formulate exit strategies and lay the foundations for sustainable peace and development. Further, missions should be provided with resources to meet their mandates, which should be clear, realistic and achievable, lest they set missions up for failure and ultimately erode the Organization's credibility. Adequate resources were also essential to ensure safety and security of personnel.

He further stressed the need for genuine partnership between the Security Council, the Secretariat and the troop-contributing countries. That partnership should include sufficient representation in the Secretariat's administrative and operational structures. The potential of cooperation with regional and subregional organizations in peacekeeping operations within the framework of the Charter's Chapter VIII should be explored so the comparative advantages of those organizations were leveraged. Towards that goal, Pakistan supported improvements in African peacekeeping capacity. Finally, the political support and commitment of Member States ensured the success or failure of peacekeeping operations. That support should be maximized where it existed. It should be kept in mind that controversial actions lost that support; however, lack of political will should not become an impediment in extending the Organization's support where it was most needed, such as in Somalia. In the future, the focus of reform efforts should be on common issues that would make peacekeeping more effective. The Organization owed that to the people it hoped to help, as well as to those in the field.

Also associating his delegation with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, IBRAHIM B. RABIU ( Nigeria) said that the United Nations could not afford to fail in Darfur. The challenges were enormous, but the international community urgently needed to take bold and robust steps leading to the full deployment and "operationalization" of the African Union-United Nations hybrid force in Darfur. He then called on the Government of the Sudan to take urgent steps to facilitate the attainment of this objective.

He said that his country, like all troop-contributing countries, was concerned about the safety and security of United Nations peacekeepers wherever they were deployed. The recent killing of two Nigerian peacekeepers, Sergeant Kwari Vincent and Corporal Egeda Amos, must not go unpunished, and the perpetrators must be found and brought to justice. Reliable operational and tactical intelligence were essential to the successful conduct of military operations, and to pre-empting potential threats and ensuring the safety and security of both peacekeepers and civilian personnel. A universally acceptable and uniform standard of compensation for those wounded or killed in action during peacekeeping operations must also be ensured.

Peacekeeping operations should be carried out in accordance with the principles of respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity, he said, emphasizing the need to obtain the consent of all parties in cases related to peacekeeping operations -- which must remain distinct from peace enforcement undertakings. Adequate funding was necessary for the fulfilment of mandates, and he also called for the reimbursement for troops and equipments costs. That would greatly encourage Member States to contribute to peacekeeping operations. He, therefore, urged them to pay their assessed contributions in full, on time and without conditions. Of great concern was underrepresentation from developing countries, particularly from those that contributed troops, at the senior management level -- both in the Secretariat and the field. That "lopsided" staff structure should be corrected.

BAATAR CHOISUREN (Mongolia), associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said United Nations peacekeeping operations remained a key instrument in the Organization's efforts to maintain international peace and security. Recent years had witnessed abrupt increases in demand, raising the complexity of the challenges. To meet those, better planning, steadfast execution and enhanced coordination of all elements were needed. The missions should be given substantial political support and provided with sufficient financial, as well as human, resources from their outset. In that, the recommendations of the Brahimi Report should be fully implemented. Further development of appropriate doctrine, guidance and terminology, consistent with the agreed principles for peacekeeping, was also needed, and development in that regard should be accelerated. The guidelines should embrace all stages of peacekeeping from pre-deployment to peacekeeping to post-conflict peacebuilding.

He welcomed the ongoing restructuring of the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support, agreeing with previous speakers that unity of command must be preserved at all levels and that clear command structures on the ground were needed. Effective cooperation between the Departments was also necessary and, towards that end, the establishment of integrated operational teams was welcome. Emphasizing the importance of ensuring the security of peacekeeping personnel, he condemned their killing and the targeting of United Nations property in the field. Risk assessment procedures and information-gathering in the field should also be enhanced. And staffing shortages should be addressed, as they jeopardized peacekeepers' safety and security. He urged the Secretariat to take all necessary steps to ensure the zero-tolerance policy, adding that the development of new model memorandums of understanding should be speeded up. He further emphasized the need for developing peacekeeping training capabilities and pointed to the success of the Five Hills Training Center in Mongolia.

DOMINIQUE BUFF of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence needed protection. That was at the heart of ICRC's mandate. The direct targeting of civilians was often a blatant strategy, and protection shortfalls were stark. However, that was not due to a lack of international laws, but rather a result of a failure of compliance.

Today, he said, protection needs far exceeded the capacity of any one actor to meet them and, although he welcomed the recently enhanced response efforts, an increase in actors also called for effective coordination that considered different mandates and approaches. Constructive action had been established between the ICRC and the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, notably in relation to the promotion of international humanitarian law. That was especially important as ICRC and United Nations peacekeepers coexisted in many theatres of operations. United Nations peace support operations were increasingly deployed in countries plagued by armed conflict -- the primary operating ground of the ICRC.

He noted that Security Council resolution 1674 (2006) suggested that peacekeeping, political and peacebuilding missions might in certain cases be mandated to protect civilians, but that United Nations forces and the ICRC must endeavour to do so through each entity's distinct role and mandate, as they did not pursue protection objectives in the same manner. The ICRC had a strictly humanitarian mission, which could not be blurred with any military, political or economic dimensions or considerations.

Establishing relationships with non-State actors could be a particularly arduous undertaking and could be seriously compromised if doubts arose over the independence, the neutrality, or the purely impartial and humanitarian intentions of the ICRC. In order for it to play its humanitarian role, it must continue to be, and be perceived to be, neutral and independent from all actors and interests. Pursuing the common goal of ensuring physical protection of civilians should not translate into duplicated efforts. Rather, it required a range of diverse efforts that were distinct, but complementary. For the ICRC, it was crucial that those different approaches were neither fused nor confused. Humanitarian work must be viewed as neutral and independent by all actors. Any blurring in that regard could severely undermine the humanitarian effort, putting many people -- both civilians and humanitarian workers -- at even greater risk.

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