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    For information only - not an official document.
      UNIS/GA/1733
        9 November 2000
     Lack of Participation by Developed Countries in UN Peacekeeping Missions
    Raised in Fourth Committee
     
     

    NEW YORK, 8 November (UN Headquarters) -- Several speakers this afternoon expressed concern over delays in reimbursement to troop-contributing countries and the non-participation by developed countries in United Nations peacekeeping activities, as the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) began its general exchange of views on the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all its aspects.

    Speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, the representative of Jordan said the Movement’s member countries, which supplied the overwhelming majority of peacekeeping forces, were deeply concerned over delays in reimbursements for troop and equipment costs.  The Movement reaffirmed the obligation of all member States to bear their apportioned expenses, bearing in mind the special responsibilities of the permanent members of the Security Council.

    The representative of Zambia noted that although five permanent members of the Security Council were contributing far fewer troops to United Nations peacekeeping operations, four of them had contributed sizeable forces to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo.  Zambia was disappointed that the Brahimi Report had failed to make recommendations on how that situation could be redressed.

     Egypt’s representative stressed that Security Council methods of consulting with troop contributors must be codified to ensure troop contributors’ involvement in revising, extending or terminating mandates.  The Council should involve contributing States and potential contributors in its work and not just in the field.  Only when the Council realized it could not continue to overlook the views of those States would they achieve the correct relationship.

    The representative of Peru said that some of the Brahimi Panel’s recommendations had been extrapolated from exceptional peace operation such as Kosovo and East Timor.  Using those to derive general principles would strain the system, taking resources from poverty reduction and development.  Peru was also concerned over recommendations that focused on preventive action in response to such matters of political judgement as undemocratic government and violations of human rights.  Preventive actions, including fact-finding missions, must only take place with the participation and consent of the State involved.

    France’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated countries, said it was unacceptable that certain countries were not paying their arrears or contributions, thus, jeopardizing the participation of troop-contributing countries which were forced to await reimbursement.  Member States must pay their dues in full, on time and without conditions.
     
     Also speaking this afternoon were the representatives of Croatia, Malaysia, China, Mozambique, Norway, South Africa, Japan and Indonesia.

    The Fourth Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, 9 November, to continue its general exchange of views on the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.

    Committee Work Programme

     The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this afternoon to begin its general exchange of views on the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.

    Statements

     ZEID RA’AD ZEID AL-HUSSEIN (Jordan), speaking on behalf of the Movement of Non-Aligned countries (NAM), said that NAM had always believed that peacekeeping operations should be based not only on the consent of the parties, but also on the non-use of force, except in self-defense.  Impartiality, clearly defined mandates and secure financing were also important elements.  NAM also believed peacekeeping operations should not substitute permanent solutions to underlying causes of conflicts.

     In addition, the views of troop-contributors, he said, should be considered seriously, not only by the Secretariat, but also by the Security Council in the earliest stages of operation planning.  He welcomed recognition that governments may need to send teams to the mission area for the prosecution of individuals in cases of serious accusations of misconduct.  In regard to personnel, he supported their selection from a wide geographical distribution using transparent criteria and commended the Secretariat for improved procedures for the selection of senior personnel for field appointments.  He noted Under Secretary-General Guehenno’s explanation of the Secretary-General’s bulletin on the observance of international humanitarian law, and hoped the Secretariat would consult the Special Committee on the matter.

     NAM also, he said, sought further clarification on the status of the sample rules of engagement, which many countries had yet to see.  In the area of lessons learned, he believed that the Special Committee should be informed before any practices derived from those lessons were put into place.  The Movement had, in addition, deep concerns over delays in reimbursement for troop costs and for contingent-owned equipment.  In that regard, it reaffirmed the obligation of all Member States to bear their apportioned expenses, bearing in mind the special responsibilities of the permanent members of the Security Council.  Developing countries, especially troop providers, should be given priority as concerns the procurement of goods and services.  Finally, NAM stressed that cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations must take into account the existing instruments of those bodies.  The Movement was proud of its high participation in peacekeeping operation and extended gratitude to those who had given their lives as part of those efforts.

     JELENA GRCIC POLIC (Croatia) said her country had hosted a number of United Nations peace operations, many of which had entailed unintended negative side effects, such as the disruption of local economies.  But the positive effects had been beneficial for social interaction in the post-conflict environment, consolidating and strengthening civic and human rights protections and focusing efforts on demining, economic reconstruction and transition.  Croatia had experienced both the limitations and potential of United Nations peace operations and two years ago had graduated to the status of troop-contributing nation.

     She said there was a simple answer to the mixed record of United Nations peace operations in Croatia and neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina -- there was simply no fitting alternative to the Organization in the era of globalization.  Local ills, if left unattended, quickly threatened to turn into regional and global ills.  Only the United Nations -– through sanctioning the engagement of regional organizations or by the Organization itself -– could adequately bring universal legitimacy to peace operations on a Member State’s soil.  No other organization in the global village could adequately embody the principles of global solidarity and a caring community in a time of need.

     The fact that the process to reform the United Nations was geared towards improving a much-needed capacity to carry out peacekeeping operations did not reduce it to being just about capacity, or just about resources, she said.  It was as much about political will.  As long as the reform process was progressing, and the more Member States were all engaged, an extremely important cultivation effect would be generated.  Thus, the process itself increasingly mainstreamed Member States’ self-understanding of the political, legal and professional standards needed for designing Security Council mandates.

     MOHAMMAD KAMAL YAN YAHAYA (Malaysia) said peacekeepers were often mandated to perform multidisciplinary functions, sometimes beyond their means and capacity.  That had drastically reduced their performance and image.  In some mission areas, United Nations peacekeepers had not only been humiliated, but even taken captive and had their vehicles and equipment taken from them.  It was important that those lessons be well learned, so as to avoid future mistakes that could further undermine peacekeeping operations.

     He said United Nations peacekeeping operations must clearly be restructured and revamped, if the Organization was to avoid the tragedies of the past.  Peacekeepers must be better trained and equipped, with greater support from Headquarters and Member States.  The severely understaffed Department of Peacekeeping Operations must be beefed up as a matter of priority.  In implementing that exercise, a good representation of Member States, based on equitable geographical distribution, should provide guiding principles.  Equally important was the need to increase resources for effective peacekeeping on the ground, both in terms of its financing and availability of troops and equipment.

     Presently, more than 75 per cent of United Nations peacekeepers came from developing countries and, in most cases, were serving in high-risk mission areas, he said.  The absence of troops from developed countries, particularly in Africa, under United Nations auspices was particularly noticeable.  That had raised questions about the commitment to United Nations peacekeeping, particularly in Africa, as well as the issue of selectivity in approach.  Given their resources, developed countries should be among the top troop contributors.  Given their capacity for rapid deployment, their more active participation would enhance the credibility and effectiveness of United Nations peacekeeping.

    SHEN GUOFANG (China) said that it was urgent to strengthen peacekeeping operations and provide integrated solutions to their problems.  Parties involved in conflicts should take action to implement agreements and to assure the safety of peacekeepers.  The political support of Member States was also needed.  Regional organizations should participate integrally.  It was important that missions not become part of a conflict, and that rules of engagement be tailored to each situation.  Equal treatment should be given to conflicts in all regions of the world.

    In all peace-building efforts, attention should be paid to eliminating the root cause of the conflict, he said.  Countries involved in the conflict should play a dominant role in solving it, while their laws and cultures should be respected.

    In recruitment, he hoped that the Secretariat would show efficiency and fairness and hire from a wide geographical distribution of States.  China supported implementation of the practical recommendations of the Brahimi report as soon as possible, including the ensurance of clear mandates, rapid deployment, information gathering and analysis, consultation with troop-contributing countries and reform of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.  China was willing to work together with other Member States to strengthen the peacekeeping capacity of the United Nations.

     ANTONIO INACIO JUNIOR (Mozambique) noted that the world was still far from being free from war and violent conflicts, particularly in Africa.  An effective and durable approach to that problem required a collective effort to address the root causes of conflict.  He called on all major international financial and economic institutions, as well as donor countries, to revive their commitment to the eradication of poverty by addressing the issues of external debt, official development assistance, market access and deteriorating terms of exchange.

     He noted that, in an effort to bring stability to the continent, African States had continued their efforts to build African capacity for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts.  The May 2000 meeting of the African Ministerial Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa, held in Abuja, Nigeria, had proposed a Plan of Action and Implementation Mechanism to that end.  Similarly, within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the organ on politics, defence and security was rethinking methods to meet the objectives of preventive peacekeeping more effectively.

     Having undergone the horrors of war, Mozambique was today enjoying peace and stability, he said.  It had undertaken a project aimed at collecting weapons, by compensating the people concerned with tools for productive activities.  That and other initiatives were part of Mozambique’s efforts to promote a culture of peace.  In order to fulfil its commitments to the promotion of peace and security, Mozambique had contributed a symbolic contingent of military police officers and observers as part of the United Nations peacekeeping force in East Timor.  It had also decided to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding to join the United Nations Standby Arrangements System.

    KNUT TOERAASEN (Norway) said that Norway fully supported the view that conflict prevention was far better than post-conflict mending.  If conflicts erupted, however, the goal of international efforts must be to remove the basic causes of those conflicts through application of a long-term development approach.  That has been Norway’s method, applied in close cooperation with non-governmental organizations and using standby systems for personnel for institution-building, human rights, democratization, and so forth.  Norway would make “comprehensive peace building” the platform for its term in the Security Council.

    As frequent contributors to peacekeeping efforts, he said, Norway supported most of the recommendations of the Brahimi report, while keeping the priority of conflict-prevention in mind, and the importance of participation by non-governmental organizations.  Among the most important of its recommendations was that use of civilian police be developed and that they be separated from military reporting chains.  The vital importance of quick deployment was also recognized, for which additional personnel were obviously needed.  More parties must be involved at the planning stages of operations and rosters of leaders of operations must be established.  Rapid deployment also required Member States to establish standby systems for both civilian and military personnel, such as the one Norway was in the process of establishing.  Norway would also maintain its assistance in strengthening others capacity for participation in peace operations, focusing, at present, on Southern Africa.

    For the future credibility of United Nations peace operations, he stressed, operations should not be considered where the possibility of failure was unacceptably high.  To close the gap between mandates and resources, potential troop-contributing countries should be more closely involved in creating mandates for peacekeeping operations.  Moreover, mandates, rules of engagement and force requirements needed to include, as a top priority, the safety of personnel.

     JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said the General Assembly must take urgent action to provide the Department of Peacekeeping Operations with adequate and sufficient personnel to enable it to carry out its mission.  Peacekeeping and international security required resolute action on the part of all concerned, including the Security Council, the Secretariat, the General Assembly and Member States.  The necessary reform of the United Nations was a collective task, and none of its elements should be forgotten.

     He emphasized the European Union’s support for efforts to coordinate and promote continuity in peace-building before and after peacekeeping operations.  That continuum would extend from conflict prevention to post-conflict consolidation of peace.  The Union sought cooperation, based on mutually strengthening actions, with the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe and other international organizations in the promotion of stability, early warning, conflict prevention, and post-conflict reconstruction.

     Noting that the European Union countries contributed almost 40 per cent of United Nations peacekeeping budgets, he stressed that the financing of peacekeeping operations was of fundamental importance.  It was unacceptable that certain countries were not paying their arrears or contributions, which jeopardized the overwhelming majority of troop-contributing countries, which were forced to await reimbursement for troops serving the United Nations.  Member States must pay their dues in full, on time and without conditions.

     To overcome shortcomings and insufficiencies, the present system must be reformed in terms of the planning, rapid deployment and conduct of peacekeeping missions, he said.  The Security Council must give clear, credible and achievable mandates.  Rules of engagement should be adaptable to the context and mandate, as they were a determining element of the mission’s deterrent capacity and intended to allow the use of force to be avoided, rather than promoting it. 

    A second priority was rapid deployment of peacekeeping operations, he said.  This required joint action by the Security Council, the Secretary-General troop-contributing countries and the General Assembly.  The strengthening of civilian police involvement would be significant, as would the integration of strategic transport systems and preparation of a list of reserve military and civilian police officers trained to plan and execute a mission.

     He said that to guarantee effectiveness of missions, it was equally essential that departmental structures be adapted to allow greater coordination in their planning and conduct.  The United Nations needed staff, as well as well-trained and equipped stoops.  The Secretary-General should not deploy troops that did not meet the minimum requirements laid out in memoranda of understanding.

    DUMISANI KUMALO (South Africa) said that South Africa associated itself with the statement by Jordan on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  South Africa called for peacekeeping operations to take account of the increasingly complex and multidimensional nature of current conflicts.  Large and costly peacekeeping operations could not substitute for the imperative of addressing the root causes of conflicts, he said, and he welcomed the emphasis of the Secretary-General on prevention.

    Where that failed, he said, the Brahimi report contained constructive recommendations for effective peacekeeping missions.  Clear, credible mandates, closer consultations with troop contributors, strategic analysis and integrated mission task forces for planning and management were priorities.  Dialogue was needed, however, between Member States and the Secretariat on how best to sharpen capacities and fully address conceptual or philosophical difficulties.

    He also called for an exchange of views on how to assist developing countries meet training and logistical requirements, so as to allow their participation in peacekeeping operations.  He welcomed efforts to strengthen Headquarters’ ability to support peacekeeping operations with greater efficiency and more staff.  In recruitment, he urged equitable geographical participation and a better gender balance.  He also supported the strengthening of peace-building activities in the United Nations system, particularly, those that involved disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants.

     HOSSAM ZAKI (Egypt), associating himself with Jordan’s statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the reform of United Nations peacekeeping must be integrated, balanced and equal, beginning with the working methods of the Security Council, including the drafting and formulation of mandates and changes, and ending with their implementation by the Secretariat.

     He stressed that measures to back the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and other departments would only bear fruit when Western States stopped paying lip service to United Nations peacekeeping efforts and committed themselves to tangible involvement and participation in the field.  Peacekeeping was a joint responsibility, from which no State could absolve itself.

     Security Council methods of consulting with troop contributors must be codified to ensure trop contributors were involved in revising, extending or terminating mandates, he said.  The Council should involve contributing States and potential contributors in its work, and not just in the field.  Only when the Council realized that it could not continue to overlook the views of those States would they achieve the correct relationship.

     He stressed the need to end the chronic financial deficit suffered by the Organization in recent years.  It had forced the United Nations to cut the number of troops it usually deployed to perform complex tasks in dangerous areas.  Regardless of the Secretary-General’s ambitious proposals to reform the Secretariat, it must be realized that those reforms would not be viable unless all Member States paid their arrears and assessed contributions in full and on time.

     MANUEL PICASSO (Peru) endorsed the statement made by Columbia on behalf of the Rio Group, and that of Jordan, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  Peacekeeping had been heavily scrutinized in the past year, though many Member States had been left on the sidelines of the discussion.  For that reason, there was a need to empower the Special Committee on Peacekeeping, the only committee concerned with peacekeeping in which many Member States participated.

     In its deliberations, Peru prioritized sovereignty and other basic principles of consent, neutrality, and the use of force only in self-defense, he said.  Also essential were the protection of civilian staff, and the need for continuous and clear information to be provided to Member States on different aspects of peacekeeping operations.  A comprehensive security plan was also needed.  Peru agreed with most of the practical recommendations of the Brahimi report, especially those concerning closer consultations of the Security Council with troop-contributing countries.  From those recommendations, he also prioritized all measures meant to reinforce Headquarters support for work in the field, thereby increasing the capacity to plan, coordinate, exchange information and use advanced communications systems. 

    He said that some of the proposed recommendations, however, were extrapolated from exceptional operations such as Kosovo and East Timor.  Using those to derive general principles would strain the system, taking resources from poverty reduction and development.  Peru was also concerned over recommendations that focused on preventive action in response to such matters of political judgement as undemocratic government and violations of human rights.  Preventive actions, including fact-finding missions, must only take place with the participation and consent of the State concerned.

    MWELWA MUSAMBACHIME (Zambia), associating himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said his delegation was quite uncomfortable with some of the recommendations contained in the Brahimi report.  Some 65 per cent of them had been made in the past by the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, but, for unknown reasons, the recommendations had never been acted upon.

    He noted that, for a long time, members of the Non-Aligned Movement had been calling for closer consultations between the Security Council and the troop-contributing countries.  Zambia hoped the Council would deliver on its intention to strengthen consultations.  Only through consultations was it possible to avoid a recurrence of the Sierra Leone situation, where some Member States had withdrawn their troops because they did not agree with the new concept of operations and the tasks given to the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).

     Citing the Brahimi report, he said that, though the five permanent members of the Security Council were contributing few troops to United Nations peacekeeping operations, four of them had contributed sizeable forces to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo.  Despite making that correct observation, the Brahimi panel had failed to make any recommendations about how that situation could be redressed.  Instead, it blamed developing countries, accusing them of sending ill-trained and poorly equipped troops.

     He noted Western countries were not prepared to risk their troops in areas where they had no national interests.  That task was being left mostly to developing countries, who, at the same time, were being told by the world’s leading financial institutions to reduce defence spending and cut their military forces.  The situation of the developing countries was exacerbated by the continuing non-reimbursement of monies owed to them for their participation in peacekeeping operations.  The question of reimbursement required immediate settlement, he emphasized, before it adversely affected the capacity and will of developing countries to participate in peacekeeping operations.

     Zambia continued to be concerned by the imbalance in the distribution of professional posts in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, he said.  Two regions provided more than 50 per cent of the Department’s staff, while most of the developing world, who were the regular troop contributors, were not represented at all.  The Brahimi panel had made no recommendation on that very important issue.  Zambia was concerned that the 181 posts proposed for the Department in the Secretary-General’s implementation plan would go mostly to the developed world.

     HIDEAKI KOBAYASHI (Japan) said that the rapid growth and increased variety of peacekeeping operations had posed many new challenges to Member States, as well as to the Security Council and the Secretariat.  Among the recommendations of the Brahimi report supported strongly by Japan were those that called for more frequent fact-finding missions, improved working methods for the Security Council, increased rapid deployment capability, and the creation of integrated mission task forces and other measures to strengthen the capabilities of the Secretariat.  It also supported those measures that fostered respect for local cultures.  He stressed, though, that only budgetary requirements of great urgency should be requested outside of existing resources.

     The safety of United Nations personnel was not addressed in the Brahimi report, he pointed out.  In addition, the Secretary-General’s recent report on the safety of United Nations personnel only addressed the safety of civilians.  He urged the Secretariat to complete, therefore, the general and comprehensive review of security requirements repeatedly recommended by the Special Committee.  Japan was prepared to cooperate in that endeavour and announced that it would host, in cooperation with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, an international seminar next March. 

     MAKMUR WIDODO (Indonesia), associating himself with Jordan’s statement on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, while the Brahimi report had high practical value, it introduced the concept of peace operations; a concept that might have serious implications at both conceptual and practical levels.  The report defined “peace operations” as entailing conflict prevention and peace-making, peacekeeping and peace-building, and multidimensional peacekeeping operations.  At one time, the three categories may be equally critical, while at another time, one category may be more demanding than the others.

     He said that for complex cases like Kosovo and East Timor, the three categories were equally important.  However, for the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), military components were more dominant.  The preeminence of one category may depend on the nature of the conflict.  Ensuring peace prevailed in conflicts that devastated the very foundation of a nation’s socio-economic and political life required the implementation of all three categories of peacekeeping activities.

     The Brahimi report had not discussed in detail issues such as international cooperation between the United Nations and Member States, cooperation between regional organizations and the United Nations, the relationship between HIV/AIDS and peacekeeping operations, or gender issues.  Some cases had demonstrated that cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations was both feasible and fruitful.  The United Nations had cooperated with the Organization of American States (OAS) in settling the Haiti crisis in the early 1990s and had involved the OSCE in resolving conflicts in the Balkans.

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