Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations
244th & 245th Meetings (AM & PM)
United Nations peace operations must keep pace with and respond to new and evolving challenges — including asymmetric warfare, cyber threats and pandemics — the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations heard today, as it opened its 2016 substantive session.
Following a year of appraisal and reflection on the Organization’s peace operations, which included a recent review of its peacebuilding architecture, a High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations and a subsequent implementation report by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, many speakers urged the Special Committee to emerge from its present session with a report that would take those reviews forward and help make peacekeeping operations “fit for purpose” in the modern world.
“Our policies and our actions must be clear, legitimate […] and reflect the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter,” said Jan Eliasson, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, as he addressed the Special Committee this morning. Indeed, this year’s session was taking place at a moment of singular challenge and opportunity, he said, noting that the Special Committee was well-placed to ensure that there was continuity and follow-up in the review and reform process. For their part, the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the Department of Field Support were taking action to match peacekeeping with the evolving nature of conflict.
Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said 2015 had been a “pivotal” year for United Nations peace operations. Recalling that last week, six Guinean peacekeepers had been killed and 35 injured at the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), he asked the Special Committee to consider such topics as safety and security, strengthening operational support capacities, the protection of civilians and conduct and discipline.
Acting President of the General Assembly Marlene Moses, speaking on behalf of General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft, said the present session would be crucial to consider the different aspects of the peace operations review and to assess its practical implications. “In this ever more complex and interconnected world, United Nations peace operations require constant refinement,” she said, stressing that special attention should be paid to effective preventive diplomacy, political settlements, comprehensive approaches and greater flexibility in addressing budgetary and management issues.
In that regard, Atul Khar, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, said the international community should redouble efforts to support peacekeeping operations, particularly the missions in the most dangerous theatres of operation. The recent attack in Mali demonstrated that more needed to be done to protect peacekeepers, he said, calling on relevant Member States to bring those responsible for such attacks to justice. His Department was committed to providing rapid, effective and efficient support and would continue to strive to enhance the safety, security and welfare of all peacekeepers.
As the Special Committee opened its general debate, a number of delegates also underscored the need to keep peacekeepers safe. Many, however, turned to the conduct of peacekeepers themselves, citing recent allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse and stressing the need for a zero-tolerance policy as the work of peacekeeping missions evolved.
In that respect, the representative of India said that his country, as one of the most active contributors to United Nations peace operations, was “appalled” by recent cases of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers and strongly condemned such acts. Additionally, he shared the views of the High-Level Panel against the deployment of peacekeeping operations in counterterrorism arenas.
A number of speakers echoed that sentiment, stressing that efforts to combat terrorism should be kept separate from the work of peacekeeping missions. In that vein, the representative of Mexico said that, while his delegation recognized the need to adapt peace operations to address new paradigms and challenges to international peace and security, such operations must not carry out counterterrorism activities. Peace operations were an important measure to support political solutions, but they were not an end in and of themselves, he stressed.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Morocco (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Thailand (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Dominican Republic (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Australia (also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand), European Union, Kazakhstan, Switzerland, Japan, Pakistan, Georgia, Indonesia, Norway, Malaysia, Peru, Kenya, Bangladesh, Senegal, Egypt, South Africa, Iran, Cuba and Myanmar.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Special Committee elected its Chair and other Bureau members, and it approved a draft decision on its working methods.
The Special Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 17 February, to continue its general debate.
Opening the session, HERVÉ LADSOUS, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations and Acting Chair of the Special Committee, informed the body that the delegation of Nigeria had nominated Usman Sarki (Nigeria) for the post of Chair. Mr. Sarki was then elected by acclamation.
Moving to the other members of the Bureau, the Special Committee then elected, also by acclamation, the following Vice-Chairs: Meteo Estreme (Argentina), Michael Grant (Canada), Takeshi Akahori (Japan) and Jacek Stochel (Poland). Seif-Alla Kandeel (Egypt) was elected Rapporteur.
MARLENE MOSES, speaking on behalf of General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft, said the recent report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations and the Secretary-General’s subsequent implementation report had made a number of concrete contributions. The session would be crucial to consider the different peacekeeping dimensions of the peace operations review in more detail and to assess its practical implications. While peace operations had contributed greatly to peace and security over the past 70 years, it was crucial that the United Nations approach kept pace with and responded to evolving challenges and new threats, she said, noting in particular the escalation of violence in Syria the spread of violent extremism, the proliferation of weapons, asymmetric warfare, cyber threats and epidemics such as Ebola.
“In this ever more complex and interconnected world, United Nations peace operations require constant refinement”, she said in that regard. Special attention should be given to effective preventive diplomacy, political settlements, comprehensive approaches and greater flexibility in addressing budgetary and management issues. She went on to note that the Assembly would hold a high-level thematic debate in May to provide Member States and others with a platform to identify common themes and synergies from the peace operations reviews and to enhance the coherence in the United Nations system on the issues of peace and security.
JAN ELIASSON, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, said this year’s debate was taking place at a moment of singular challenge and opportunity. The changing nature of conflict was putting pressure on the international community, he said, noting that targeted and asymmetric attacks were too often levied against peacekeepers, as had occurred last week in Mali. The recent High-Level Panel, which had been shaped in part by the Special Committee’s perspectives, aimed to strengthen prevention and improve the planning and conduct of United Nations peace operations. The Organization’s peacekeeping structures were a tool to advance political, not military, solutions to conflict, and to help States and local communities resolve their differences. They were also a reflection of the international community’s shared values.
“Our policies and our actions must be clear, legitimate […] and reflect the purposes and principles laid down in the United Nations Charter,” he went on. Comprehensive reform proposals were before the Special Committee, he said, stressing that the body was well-placed to ensure that there was continuity and follow-up in the review and reform. The 125,000 United Nations peacekeeping personnel worldwide needed effective security arrangements, access to the latest technology, effective leadership and proper planning on the ground. The Organization must also ensure that peacekeepers maintained the highest standards of integrity. When cases of sexual exploitation and abuse occurred, there must be swift accountability. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support were taking action to match peacekeeping with the evolving nature of conflict, he concluded.
The Special Committee then approved a draft decision on its working methods, which was contained in document A/AC.121/2016/L.3, and which had been an outcome of the discussion in the Group of Friends of the Chair and regional coordinators.
Mr. LADSOUS said 2015 had been a “pivotal” year for United Nations peace operations, having seen the High-Level Panel, the review of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) and the peacebuilding architecture review, as well as a ground-breaking summit on peacekeeping. Efforts to professionalize and modernize peacekeeping could not be accomplished without the commitment and support of Member States, he said, calling on the members of the Special Committee to engage with the topics at hand. Those issues would go to the heart of the Secretary-General’s agenda for action, including strengthening operational support capacities, the protection of civilians, safety and security, and conduct and discipline.
Just last week, six Guinean peacekeepers had been killed and 35 injured at the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), he said. The attack served as a “clarion call” for the United Nations to pursue with single-minded determination its efforts to ensure that men and women, civilian or uniformed, were protected and able to conduct the mandate that the Council had entrusted them with. He hoped that the members of the Special Committee would be able to come together and bridge differences, guided by the collective goal to make peacekeeping “fit for purpose”.
ATUL KHAR, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, reflected on the recent attack against peacekeepers in Mali and said that tents, cots and sleeping bags had been airlifted there as well as emergency accommodation for the peacekeepers. His Department was working to improve the security and housing conditions for military and other personnel, although, as evident by the attacks in Mali, much more needed to be done.
The international community must redouble efforts to support peacekeeping operations, particularly the missions in the most dangerous theatres of operation. He urged all Member States to contribute more to strengthen the safety and security of all missions. He also called on relevant Member States to bring those responsible for attacks against peacekeepers to justice. He noted that such attacks were a war crime and must be dealt with, as such. His Department was committed to providing rapid, effective and efficient support and would continue to strive to enhance the safety, security, as well as the welfare of all peacekeepers.
YASSER HALFAOUI (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that United Nations peacekeeping was at a crucial juncture due to the increased demand and complexity of tasks and mandates. The continuous increase in demands on peacekeeping operations required improved capacity to assess conflict situations, effective planning based on accurate information and rapid response capabilities in the event of emergencies. The development of peacekeeping concepts, policies and strategies must be done at the intergovernmental level and should run parallel to similar progress in increasing overall capabilities.
Other key issues, such as safety and security; conduct and discipline, particularly combating sexual exploitation and abuse; the protection of civilians; cooperation with regional arrangements; and the enhancement of African peacekeeping capabilities were also a priority for the Movement. Among other priorities, he stressed that all necessary support, including financial, human resources, and military and civilian capabilities must be provided to peacekeeping missions, strong and clear Council commitments must be made in the form of clear and achievable mandates and that troop- and police-contributing countries must fully participate in policy formulation and decision-making.
ORGROB AMARACHGUL (Thailand), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), associated himself with the Non-Aligned Movement. The basic principles of peacekeeping, including consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate remained vital and applicable. Although the protection of civilians was the primary responsibility of host Governments, peacekeepers should receive comprehensive predeployment and periodic in-mission training on civilian protection. The dramatic increase of deaths and injuries caused by deliberate attacks against peacekeepers was most alarming. Allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse of civilians by peacekeepers not only tarnished the Organization’s reputation, but also undermined the ability of the mission to effectively implement its mandate. ASEAN valued partnerships between the United Nations, Member States as well as regional and subregional organizations, and encouraged early engagement and inclusive consultations between the Council, the Secretariat, troop- and police-contributing countries and regional actors in the drafting, review and amendment of mission mandates.
Speaking in his national capacity, he noted that Thailand had served in 24 peacekeeping and other United Nations missions. Based on those experiences, his country advocated a comprehensive and people-centred approach to peacekeeping, where peace, security and development were linked and mutually reinforcing. Thailand also believed that the presence of female peacekeepers was necessary for the operational effectiveness of any peacekeeping operation. In that regard, the United Nations and its Member States must do more to further strengthen the roles of women in peacekeeping.
FRANCISCO ANTONIO CORTORREAL (Dominican Republic), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), stressed that, when establishing and carrying out peacekeeping operations, the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter must be strictly observed. To be effective, operations required political support; sufficient human, financial and logistic resources; and clearly defined and feasible mandates. The Special Committee was a unique and irreplaceable intergovernmental body, suitable to review peace operations, and its report must be the guiding instrument for the Secretariat when implementing decisions on such operations.
The protection of civilians was the primary responsibility of host countries, and peacekeeping missions needed to act within their mandates. The Community also stressed the need to improve triangular cooperation between the Council, the Secretariat and troop- and police-contributing countries. Further, it was crucial to enhance coordination between host countries and peacekeeping missions. On exploitation and abuse, CELAC reiterated its deepest commitment to the United Nations zero-tolerance policy and to the prompt investigation of all acts of misconduct in accordance with law. In that regard, the Community welcomed the report of an Independent Review on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by International Peacekeeping Forces in the Central African Republic.
CAITLIN WILSON (Australia), speaking on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, said that, as the human cost for civilians trapped in conflict continued to climb, the protection of civilians was central to the credibility and effectiveness of peacekeeping missions. Describing local engagement as a critical element for success, she supported a comprehensive approach to protecting civilians that involved the use of both armed and unarmed strategies, including expanding on the unique role of the civil affairs components. The meaningful participation of women was critical to sustainable peace processes and mission success. In that regard, she called for enhanced recruitment, retention and advancement strategies for female military, police and civilian personnel, and commended the Department of Field Support for efforts to develop a “talent pipeline” of women directors in missions.
Turning to “sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers”, she condemned such acts in the strongest terms, and supported the implementation of a zero-tolerance approach as a path to the ultimate goal of zero incidents. On the use of modern technology, she noted that it was central to effective protection of United Nations personnel and to the execution of their mission, especially for those operating in dangerous environments. In that regard, she supported ongoing implementation of the report of the Expert Panel on Technology and Innovation in United Nations Peacekeeping.
JOÃO PEDRO VALE DE ALMEIDA, Head of Delegation of the European Union, said that the protection of civilians remained one of the main tasks of peacekeeping and was often decisive for the success and legitimacy of peacekeeping operations. The effective implementation of mandates required better planning support to missions, the collection of lessons learned and improvements in the analysis and understanding of how to support host States in the protection of civilians. The Union was very concerned about allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse within peacekeeping operations. “The message is clear — this needs to stop,” he said.
He stressed the importance of tackling sexual and gender-based violence, ensuring accountability for these crimes, justice for victims and strengthening legal mechanisms. There was nothing more damning for the legitimacy of international peacekeeping than peacekeepers abusing the people they were mandated to protect. The safety and security of peacekeepers could not be compromised, and efforts to implement the women, peace and security agenda must be fully enacted and strengthened, while no child should ever be involved in conflict in any form.
KAIRAT ABDRAKHMANOV (Kazakhstan) said there needed to be a broader concept of peace and stability, from State-centred to people-oriented security, which included food, water and energy security. It was imperative for a clear understanding, interpretation and implementation of the recommendations of the High-Level Panel. Mandates to protect civilians needed to be connected to overarching political strategies. Upholding the rights of women and girls should be a priority and clarified in the mandates and operations of all actors and stakeholders. Much remained to be achieved on a number of fronts in all aspects of peacekeeping. Roles and responsibilities needed to be sharply demarcated, together with effective streamlining and coherence, particularly if the use of force was required.
RICARDO ALDAY GONZÁLEZ (Mexico) associated himself with the statement delivered by CELAC and said his delegation recognized the need to adapt peace operations to address new paradigms and challenges to preserving international peace and security. He underscored the importance of addressing allegations of sexual abuse carried out by United Nations civilian or military staff and to bring to justice anyone who carried out such crimes. Peace operations were an important measure to support political solutions, but they were not an end in and of themselves. He stressed that peace operations must not carry out counterterrorism activities and that there must be substantive engagement with troop- and police-contributing countries when it came to establishing or extending peacekeeping mandates.
SYED AKBARUDDIN (India), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the history of peacekeeping was one of “ad-hoc responses” that had been driven by the demands of the international political situation and the realities on the ground. The peacekeeping arena today was facing several challenges, as its landscape had changed drastically over the last few decades. As one of the most active contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations, India was more than willing to add new tools to the skill sets of its troops in order to face modern challenges in a more robust way. The country had long been a leader in the implementation of the civilian protection mandate and his delegation was “appalled” by the recent cases of sexual exploitation and abuse which had surfaced in some peacekeeping missions. He strongly condemned those acts, underscoring his country’s zero-tolerance policy in that regard. Finally, he said he was encouraged by the High-Level Panel’s recommendations pertaining to the primacy of politics and enhanced cooperation between troop-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Council, and that he shared the views of the High-Level Panel against the deployment of peacekeeping operations in counterterrorism arenas.
FRÉDÉRIC MARC-ANDRÉ TISSOT-DAGUETTE (Switzerland), said “peacekeeping and peacebuilding have reached a turning point”. The recent reviews of the United Nations peace operations should be seen as a cue for the Special Committee to assume its responsibilities to all those involved in peacekeeping and to initiate the needed reforms. Prevention and mediation were the best tools available both before and during conflicts, he said, stressing the need to bolster the capacity of actors engaged in those areas and to make use of existing relevant resources. Civilian protection remained an essential task of peacekeeping operations, though it was the primary responsibility of the parties to the conflict in question. Switzerland supported efforts aimed at strengthening civilian protection, such as mission-wide strategies, consistent and comprehensive monitoring, and providing civilian protection experts to each Special Representative of the Secretary-General. Enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, such as the African Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), should be a priority.
TAKESHI AKAHORI (Japan) stressed the importance of capacity-building through triangular partnerships, or partnerships among a troop-contributing country, the Secretariat and a third country, which could provide specialized equipment or resources. In that regard, the United Nations and Japan had launched a pioneer project that aimed to train and equip African military engineers to be deployed in peacekeeping missions; further expansion of that model should be explored. Turning to the importance of civil affairs, he said maintaining a good relationship between missions and the local communities was critically important. Last year, Japan had begun to support a United Nations project which analysed the role played by Civil Affairs Officers and to compile the lessons learned for community engagement. It was the responsibility of the Special Committee to come up with a report “that will make a difference on the ground”, where peacekeepers faced their most difficult challenges.
MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan) associated herself with the statement delivered by the Non-Aligned Movement and said that as a leading troop-contributing country, Pakistan had a long-standing commitment to peacekeeping. The success of peacekeeping hinged on having a robust political track that led to political solutions. The goal of protection of civilians was best served by preventing the outbreak of armed conflict in the first place, addressing the root causes of conflict and finding inclusive political solutions to disputes. The distinction between peacekeeping and peace enforcement must be maintained. The situation whereby peacekeepers were continuously being asked to “do more with less” was unsustainable. The safety and security of peacekeepers must continue to be an overriding priority.
GIORGI KVELASHVILI (Georgia) associated himself with the statement delivered by the European Union and said that peace operations continued to be among the most important activities of the United Nations. Peacekeeping operations were a significant mechanism that paved the way for sustainable security, peace and development. In the 1990s, Georgia was a typical “security recipient”. However, since then, the country had undergone a series of transitions and had gained extensive experience as a contributor to international security and stability. It had actively participated in international peacekeeping operations in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. He noted that, in 2009, the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) had been terminated and expressed concern that almost six years later there was still no adequate replacement for the international mission.
MUHAMMAD ANSHOR (Indonesia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said that, now more than ever, the United Nations must ensure that blue helmets, police and mission civilian staff were provided the best possible operational, financial and political backing. While he agreed that there should be a degree of innovation and flexibility within reasonable and safe parameters in the face of multidimensional tasks, today’s complex environments required that the peacekeeping principles of consent, impartiality and non-use of force except in self-defence or defence of the mandate also remained fully applicable. Peacekeeping operations were not designed or equipped to impose political solutions through sustainable use of force, nor were they an appropriate tool for military counterterrorism efforts. Underlining the importance of having a clear distinction between peacekeeping and peace enforcement — which were two completely different subjects — he said that enforcement tasks should be guided with extreme caution and that such operations should be exceptional, time-limited and undertaken with full awareness of the risks to and responsibilities of the United Nations mission as a whole. Finally, he said that Indonesia planned to boost its troop contribution to United Nations peacekeeping from 2,850 today to 4,000 by 2019.
GEIR PEDERSEN (Norway) said the best deterrence and response to an escalation of violence was proactive political engagement and prevention. Peacekeeping operations should be designed and implemented to help conflicting parties arrive at and sustain a political settlement. Protection of civilians must remain a key priority, with unarmed strategies at the forefront. Norway was “appalled by the seemingly never-ending occurrence of new cases of sexual exploitation and abuse” in peacekeeping operations. The safety and security of United Nations peacekeepers was also a key concern for his country. Many of the tragic losses of peacekeepers could have been avoided with better training, equipment and medical capacities.
NAZARI ABD HADI (Malaysia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said that, over the years, the role of United Nations peacekeeping operations had evolved drastically into more complex missions. Peacekeepers were operating in highly fragile political and volatile security environments, which had a direct bearing on their safety and security and on the successful implementation of mission mandates. Describing work at the regional level on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, as well as on capacity-building and training, he went on to announce that the Malaysian Armed Forces, in collaboration with the Department for Peacekeeping Operations and the Government of Japan, would jointly organize a course on “training of trainers” with a focus on civilian protection. The integration and coherence of peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts remained crucial for achieving durable peace and security and the prevention of relapse into conflict. Efforts in supporting post-conflict countries must be premised on the principle of national ownership.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru), associating himself with the statements delivered by the Non-Aligned Movement and CELAC, said that the scope of the mandates for peacekeeping operations and threats to international peace and security had evolved a great deal over time. Peace operations should not only support the establishment of law and order, but also the creation of sustainable peace. The perception of impartiality on the part of peacekeepers was of critical importance. The use of force must be strictly preventative and tactical in nature and only employed in the case of threats against civilian populations. The ethical conduct of peacekeeping personnel must maintain the highest standards possible. He noted that the recent charges of sexual exploitation and abuse against United Nations peacekeeping personnel had negatively affected the entire Organization. The complexity of the mandates entrusted to peacekeepers required that they had appropriate resources to fulfil such mandates and ensure their own security.
MACHARIA KAMAU (Kenya) said the prevention of conflict was inseparably connected to development. Peacekeeping today was undergoing a significant transformation, as missions had become complex and multidimensional. The four shifts identified in the High-Level Independent Panel — namely the political approach, the utilization of the full spectrum of peacekeeping operations, the strengthening of partnerships and the necessity of the United Nations to be “field-focused” — should be central to efforts to make peacekeeping operations more efficient, effective and better able to respond to needs on the ground. On sexual exploitation and abuse, Kenya was committed to setting up institutions, training and oversight procedures to ensure that troops fulfilled their mandate and obligations without adding suffering to communities already vulnerable and deeply traumatized by war. Sexual exploitation and abuse should never receive immunity. He underscored the importance of mediation as a tool to prevent conflict. “We need to embrace a culture of prevention, as well as invest sufficiently in addressing the root causes of conflict,” he said in that respect.
MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the current session allowed the Special Committee the opportunity to mainstream the recommendations of the High-level Panel. Given the increasing number of targeted attacks on peacekeepers, he advocated for a “single, integrative management model” for incident and risk reporting. There must be a zero-tolerance approach to sexual exploitation and abuse. He called for the Council and other actors to manage expectations regarding the role that peacekeepers could play in highly insecure environments, and stressed that protection of civilian mandates needed to be backed by viable strategies and adequate resources. He went on to call for practical steps to help mainstream a gender focus in peacekeeping missions, and reiterated that triangular cooperation between troop- and police-contributing countries, the Secretariat and the Council was critical. Finally, he underscored the importance of nationally owned peace efforts and of sustainable development.
ABDOULAYE BARRO (Senegal), associating himself with the statement delivered by the Non-Alignment Movement, called for concerted efforts to promote political solutions while underscoring the importance of conflict prevention and mediation. There was a need for more efficient early warning strategies to allow for preventive action, which was the most effective means for promoting lasting peace. Peacekeeping operations could most effectively protect civilians by putting an end to violent conflict, consolidating the trust of parties and advancing peace through political action. The triangular dialogue among the Council, troop- and police-contributing countries and the Secretariat was essential to the success of peacekeeping missions. It was of great importance to increase cooperation among all relevant stakeholders, particularly regional and subregional organizations, which had a unique role to play in the management and settlement of crisis in their area. His country supported the recommendation of the High-Level Panel that called for greater support for the African Union in the areas of conflict prevention and peacekeeping.
IHAB MOUSTAFA (Egypt) associated himself with the statement delivered by the Non-Aligned Movement and emphasized the principles of impartiality, consent of parties and the non-use of force as the necessary building blocks to ensure the credibility of peacekeepers. The rise of non-State actors that perpetrated violence and challenged State authority had become one of the emerging threats to international peace and security. While Egypt did not believe peacekeepers should be deployed to counter terrorism, he was convinced that a more coherent approach to peacekeeping that focused on empowering the State would be most valuable for long-term and sustainable peace. It was important to recognize the role of regional peacekeepers as first rapid responders to crises. It was imperative to rethink the current state of cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional actors on peacekeeping to “move beyond rhetoric” to a more practical, realistic and gradual approach to such partnerships.
WOUTER HOFMEYR ZAAYMAN (South Africa), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the protection of civilians remained the responsibility of host Governments, and that the United Nations should support those Governments in carrying out that responsibility. His delegation fully supported the call both by the High-Level Panel and the Secretary-General that the search for political solutions must be at the heart of United Nations peace operations. Regional and sub-regional organizations had a comparative advantage in that regard, and their role was crucial. It was vital that the Organization begin to lay greater emphasis on preventive action and addressing root causes of conflict, he said, adding that peacekeeping operations should support sustainable political processes and engage in early peacebuilding activities. Further, he agreed with the call by the Secretary-General for greater global-regional partnerships and burden-sharing, as well as the call for sustained, predictable and flexible funding mechanisms for African Union peace operations. The use of United Nations-assessed contributions provided the most reliable, sustainable and predictable avenue of funding, he said in that regard.
HOSSEIN MALEKI (Iran), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Special Committee was the only intergovernmental forum mandated by the General Assembly to review comprehensively the whole question of United Nations peacekeeping operations in all their aspects. Ultimate care should be taken to observe the purposes and principles of the Charter, namely the consent of parties, the non-use of force except in self-defence, impartiality, respect for the principles of sovereign equality, political independence, the territorial integrity of all States and non-intervention in domestic affairs. In that respect, the protection of civilians was the primary responsibility of the host country and should not be used as a pretext for military intervention by the United Nations or any foreign Power. Sexual exploitation and abuse should remain a top priority for peacekeeping operations, he said, stressing the need to implement the policy of zero tolerance for misconduct. In addition, troop- and police-contributing countries should be actively involved and play their appropriate role in the policy and decision-making process in all stages of peacekeeping operations.
ANA SILVIA RODRIGUEZ ABASCAL (Cuba), associating herself with the statements delivered by the Non-Aligned Movement and CELAC, said peacekeeping operations were an important instrument available to the United Nations to deal with conflict situations, although resorting to peacekeeping should be a last resort. Avoiding a conflict in the first place was the best way to ensure peace. Peacekeeping now had multidimensional mandates with increasingly complex tasks which sometimes ran in contradiction with the very principles of peacekeeping. The world was entering into uncharted territory where the line between peacekeeping and “peace imposition” could come into conflict. The use of force by the United Nations would always have implications and could lead to unpredicted consequences. All relevant stakeholders must work hand in hand to equip peacekeeping operations with the resources, performance standards and necessary capabilities to respond effectively, efficiently and responsibly to the challenges on the ground. It was unacceptable for the ideals of the protection of civilians and human rights to be used to achieve political objectives or interfere with the internal matters of States.
KYAW TIN (Myanmar) associated himself with the statement delivered by the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN and noted that there were currently 128,000 personnel from more than 122 countries serving in nearly 40 peace operations worldwide. Nevertheless, “more peacekeepers did not mean a more peaceful world”, he said. On the contrary, the surge in peacekeepers pointed to an increase in the number of conflicts in the world that the international community had failed to prevent or resolve. His delegation attached great importance to the protection of civilians in conflict, while also sharing a growing concern about the alarming rate of causalities caused by attacks against United Nations peacekeepers. A country listed in connection with the alleged use of child soldiers should not be denied the opportunity to contribute troops to peacekeeping missions if it was making progress in implementing action plans to end such recruitments.