Press Releases

     
    For information only - not an official document.
      UNIS/GA/1769
          5 December 2000
     Special Committee on Peacekeeping Adopts 
    Report on Brahimi Recommendations

    NEW YORK, 4 December (UN Headquarters) -- The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations this afternoon concluded its extraordinary session, adopting a series of proposals, recommendations and conclusions on the recommendations of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations.  The extraordinary session began on 30 October.

    The Committee strongly underlined the need to explore the possibilities of improving the safety and security of the United Nations and associated personnel.  It urged the Security Council to meet the requirements of peacekeeping operations, especially their need for a clear chain of command and unity of effort.  The Secretariat must also tell the Council "what it needs to know, not what it wants to hear" when the Council undertakes to formulate or change mission mandates.  It also urged consideration of bringing demobilization and reintegration programmes into the assessed budgets of relevant peacekeeping operations for the start-up of an operation.  

    In addition, countries that have committed personnel to an operation should be fully and regularly briefed by the Secretariat in a timely, comprehensive and professional manner, the Special Committee concluded.  The Secretariat must work towards deploying most peacekeeping operations within 30 days of the adoption of a United Nations mandate and deploying complex peacekeeping operations within 90 days.  It stressed that these timelines required political will and more effective operational capabilities, including an efficient United Nations Standby Arrangements System (UNSAS), in order to be implemented successfully.

     The Committee also stressed the importance of the entire leadership of a mission being assembled at Headquarters as early as possible.  It further stressed the importance of comprehensive and continuous operational and strategic guidance being provided to the mission leadership by the Secretariat, and urged that, as a standard practice, an assessment team from the Secretariat should be sent to confirm the preparedness of each potential troop contributor.  Also supported was the establishment by the Secretariat of a roster of pre-selected civilian candidates available for deployment to peacekeeping operations.

    In his closing remarks, the Committee Chairman, Arthur Mbanefo (Nigeria), thanked the other members of the Bureau as well as members of the Committee for their contributions during the month-long deliberations.  

     Other members of the Bureau include four Vice-Chairmen as follows:  Zbignew Matuszewski (Poland); Motohide Yoshikawa (Japan); Arnoldo Listre (Argentina); and Michael Duval (Canada).  The Rapporteur is Hossam Zaki (Egypt).

    The Committee will resume its consideration of the Panel's Report at its forthcoming regular session, which is to be held after the completion and submission of the comprehensive review of peacekeeping that it had previously asked the Secretary-General to prepare.  The Secretary-General was asked to report to it at that time on the implementation of its recommendations. 

    Background Information

     The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations met this afternoon to conclude its extraordinary session, convened on 30 October, and to adopt a report, prepared by its open-ended working group, on the recommendations of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations.  

     The Panel on United Nations Peace Operations was established by the Secretary-General and chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi, Under-Secretary-General for Special Assignments in Support of the Secretary'General's Preventive and Peacemaking Efforts.  It produced a report containing a number of recommendations for changes to the way the United Nations handles peacekeeping (document A/55/305-S/2000/809).

     The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations subsequently met in extraordinary session to discuss these recommendations.  It decided to create an open-ended working group to examine the Brahimi panel's recommendations, taking into account also a subsequent report by the Secretary-General on the proposed implementation of the Brahimi recommendations (document A/55/502) and recommendations on peacekeeping made by the Special Committee in its last report to the General Assembly (A/54/839).

    The report of that open-ended working group was before the Special Committee today for its consideration in plenary.

    Summary of Special Committee Report 

     Under conflict prevention, the Special Committee notes the Secretary-General's intention to submit a report on the subject to the General Assembly and the Security Council.  It was of the view that the report should be considered by the Assembly.

     In the area of peace-building, the Special Committee supports the exploration of the concept that a small percentage of a mission's first-year budget should be made available to the head of mission to fund quick impact projects to enhance effectiveness.  Should this concept be implemented, such projects should be undertaken following due consultations with local authorities and in an impartial and transparent manner.  Details of the projects should be reflected in the relevant reports of the Secretary-General.

     The Special Committee urges consideration of bringing demobilization and reintegration programmes mandated by the Security Council into the assessed budgets of relevant peacekeeping operations for the start-up of those operations.  The funding for such programmes would be reviewed in the course of the examination of the mission's budget.

     Under the heading “peacekeeping doctrine and strategy”, the Special Committee states that United Nations peacekeepers must be able to carry out their mandates professionally and successfully.  Once deployed, they must be capable of accomplishing the mission's mandate, defending themselves and, where mandated, defending other mission components.  In this regard, the importance of consultation with troop-contributing nations in the formulation of peacekeeping mandates and in the identification of tasks from the earliest stages of mission planning is emphasized.  

     The Special Committee emphasizes the need for clear, credible and achievable mandates and for significantly strengthening and formalizing the consultation process between the Council and troop-contributing countries, in order to make it more meaningful, the report states.  Such consultation should be timely, including at the request of troop-contributing countries.  These consultations should occur in particular when the Secretary-General has identified potential troop contributors for a new or ongoing peacekeeping operation, and the Council is formulating the mandate.  Consultation should also occur during the implementation phase of an operation and consideration of a change in, or renewal or completion of, a pace-keeping mandate.  It should also occur, whenever a rapid deterioration in the situation on the ground threatens peacekeepers' safety and security.

    The Special Committee urges the Security Council to adopt resolutions that meet the requirements of peacekeeping operations when they deploy into potentially dangerous situations, and especially identifies the need for a clear chain of command and unity of effort.

    The report states that the Secretariat must tell the Council what it needs to know, not what it wants to hear when formulating or changing mission mandates.  Countries that have committed military and civilian police units to an operation should be invited to participate in Council meetings in which the Secretariat provides information on proposed changes to a mission's mandate and concept of operation which have implications for the mission's use of force.  When authorizing the use of force, the Council should adhere to all relevant provisions of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.

    On matters affecting the safety and security of personnel, the report states that countries that have committed personnel to an operation should be fully and regularly briefed by the Secretariat.  The Special Committee urged the Secretariat to brief the troop-contributing countries in a timely, comprehensive and professional fashion.  Such oral briefs should, as a general rule, be accompanied by written briefs.

    Recognizing the information and analysis requirements of the United Nations, mainly with respect to United Nations peacekeeping operations, the Special Committee is of the view that the Committee and other relevant bodies of the Assembly should continue to consider those needs, and also how best to use existing resources.

    While recognizing that transitional civil administrations have been undertaken on an exceptional basis, the Special Committee notes the establishment of a working group to conduct a needs assessment of such administrations as set out in the relevant paragraphs of the Secretary-General's report (document A/55/502) and requests that it consult in a timely manner with Member States before finalizing its report.

    The Special Committee urges the Secretariat to work towards the goal of being able to deploy most peacekeeping operations within 30 days from the adoption of a mandate, and to deploy complex peacekeeping operations within 90 days of their adoption.  The Special Committee stresses that these timelines require political will and more effective operational capabilities, including the establishment of an efficient United Nations Standby Arrangement, to be implemented successfully.  

    The Committee acknowledges the Secretary-General's intention to use the proposed timelines as the basis for evaluating the capacities of the existing system to provide field missions with the human, material, financial and information assets that they require.

    The Special Committee welcomes actions taken by the Secretary-General to improve the selection of mission leadership and emphasizes that, prior to being selected, all mission leaders must be interviewed by the senior leadership, as a general rule at United Nations Headquarters.  Due regard should be given to contributions by countries providing troops and civilian police to that mission, the principles of recruiting staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible, and to general balance.  The expenses of candidates' interviews should be borne by the United Nations and all concerned permanent missions should be informed of the outcome of the selection process in a timely manner.

    The importance of the entire leadership of a mission being assembled at United Nations Headquarters as early as possible was stressed, in order to enable their participation in key aspects of the mission planning process, according to the report.  The Committee further stresses the importance of comprehensive and continuous operational and strategic guidance being provided to the mission leadership by the Secretariat.

    The Special Committee recognizes the need for Member States and the Secretariat to work together to update and enhance the standby arrangements, and in particular, stresses the importance of including a strategic transport capability in those arrangements.  It endorses the concept that authority should be vested in the Secretary-General to formally canvas Member States participating in the standby arrangements regarding their willingness to contribute troops to a potential operation, once it appears likely that the United Nations might have an implementing role in a ceasefire or peace agreements, and will likely undertake a peacekeeping operation.

    It urges that, as a standard practice, an assessment team for the Secretariat should be sent to confirm the preparedness of each potential troop-contributor and stresses that such assessments should be administered impartially, without geographic bias.  Such assessments could lead, where appropriate, to assistance to help the troop-contributing countries to meet the requisite standards.

    The need to strengthen civilian police standby capacity is acknowledged in the report, and the Committee encourages further consultation with Member States, especially with contributing countries, on ways and means to enhance national pools of civilian police in the context of the standby arrangements.  The Committee encourages efforts to improve the training of civilian police, and looks forward to the finalization of "Principles and guidelines for United Nations Civilian Police Operations" due after consultations are completed with Member States.  It also welcomes the Secretary-General's clarification that the Permanent Missions will continue to serve as the Secretariat's point of contact with Member States for the provision of civilian police.

    The Special Committee stresses the need to strengthen the stand-by arrangement system in terms of military officers.  It notes the Secretary-General's intention to communicate his requirement on on-call lists of military offices to Member States by 20 February 2001, after fully consulting on how best to develop a workable system.  It looks forward to further consideration of that matter at the next regular session of the Special Committee.  

    In the area of civilian specialists, the Committee supports the establishment by the Secretariat of a roster of pre-selected civilian candidates available for deployment to peacekeeping operations, the report states, provided such candidates are not "gratis personnel" and that they are pledged through the United Nations Standby Arrangement process.  Recruitment to the roster should be undertaken through all channels of communication, including those to which access is universal.

    The Committee looks forward to the Secretary-General's review of the effectiveness of delegated recruitment authority to the field, which will include his guidelines concerning equitable geographical distribution and gender balance, the report states.  It encourages the reform of the Field Service category of personnel, and a review of working conditions of externally recruited staff, welcomes the recommendation of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations on a comprehensive staffing strategy for peacekeeping operations, and in this context, stresses the need to maintain equitable geographic distribution and gender balance.

    It recognized the importance of an enhanced rapidly deployable public information capability which must be impartial, accurate and objective, the report states.  Consideration must be given to the promotion of local information capacities.  The Committee also recognizes that additional resources should be devoted in mission budgets to public information, and the associated personnel and information technology required to get an operation's message out and build effective internal communication links. 

    The Special Committee report urges that any delegation of procurement authority to the field must include appropriate regulations to ensure propriety, accountability and transparency and that it must be accompanied by the dispensation of appropriate resources to mission leadership for that purpose.

    The Committee reiterates its request for an expeditious comprehensive review of the management, structure, recruitment processes and inter-relationships of all relevant elements within the Secretariat that play a role in peacekeeping operations, the report states.  The comprehensive review will be essential for a thorough consideration of the resource requirements of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and other departments involved in backstopping United Nations peacekeeping operations.  

    Pending this review, the Committee believes that some additional resources should be made available on an emergency basis for the staffing of that Department's Military Division, including in particular for Military Mission Officers, a Military Planning Service, a Training Unit specifically to support peacekeeping training activities in Member States in order to enable them to meet operational requirements, a Civilian Police Division, an Office of Operations, the Claims and Information Management Section and other sections of Field Administration and Logistics Division, where appropriate.

    The Committee believes that troop contributing countries should be properly represented in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, reflecting their contribution to United Nations peacekeeping.  It stresses that the increase in staff of that Department should be carried out in an open and transparent manner, and requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on it to the relevant bodies of the General Assembly.

    It further notes that the efficiency of that Department, apart from more staffing, is closely related to internal reform and planned restructuring, open and transparent practices, accountable procedures and the effective use of available resources, the report states.  The Committee recognizes the importance of coordinating mechanisms to respond to complex challenges to peace and security, and is encouraged by the proposed creation of "Integrated Mission Task Forces".  The individual entities participating in the task forces would continue to be guided by their respective mandates, be responsible to their governing bodies, and should participate in the task forces without detriment to their core functions.

    The Committee recognizes, pending the comprehensive review, the need to restructure the Military and Civilian Police Divisions, including separating the Civilian Police United from the Military and Planning Division within the Department, the report states.  It also recognizes the importance of ensuring that a gender perspective is incorporated into all aspects of peacekeeping operations.  It stresses the need for a properly functioning Lessons Learned Unit within the Department, which can ensure that experiences from past and ongoing peacekeeping operations can be better incorporated into peacekeeping policy and planning than has been the case to date.

    It stressed the provision of reliable funding for the Lessons Learned Unit, primarily through assessed contributions under the Support Account, in order to allow it to more effectively meet the priorities set by the Special Committee.  This capacity would enable it to develop guidelines and standard operating procedures, as well as sharing of 'best practices' among missions. 

    The Secretariat should provide clarification to the Committee at its next regular session, of its intention to develop a "military doctrine" -- a term which is open to interpretation, and causes concern to the Special Committee.  

    In the area of operational support for public information, the Committee once again recognizes the important contribution which public information can make towards attainment of mission mandates, and calls for strengthening of planning and support of public information in peacekeeping operations, bearing in mind the need to provide comprehensive and objective information, to maintain independence, impartiality and accuracy and be fully consistent with the resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly.  Note is taken of efforts under way to review information management issues and information technology needs, and of the creation of a working group towards this end.  

    The delay in reimbursements to troop contributors remains a deep concern, the report states.  Such delays cause hardship to all troop- and equipment-contributing countries, especially developing countries.  The Special Committee encourages the Secretariat to continue to expedite the processing of all claims, and asks the Secretary-General to present a progress report on this by the next session of the Special Committee.

    It stresses that all Member States must pay their assessed contributions in full, on time and without conditions, and it reaffirms the obligation of Member States under Article 17 of the Charter to bear the expenses of the Organization as apportioned by the General Assembly, bearing in mind the special responsibility of permanent members of the Security Council.  The Special Committee recognizes that the Council and the Secretariat must be able to make troop contributors confident that the strategy and concept of operations for a new mission are sound and that they will be sending troops or police to serve in a competent mission with effective leadership.

    * * * * *