Press Releases

    GA/PK/176
    11 March 2002

    SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS CONCLUDES SESSION, ADOPTS REPORTS RECOMMENDING ENHANCED UN CAPACITY FOR PEACEKEEPING

    NEW YORK, 8 March (UN Headquarters) -- The General’s Assembly Special Committee on Peace- keeping Operations closed its 2002 session, which started on 11 February, by adopting the draft report of the Working Group for the 2002 report of the Committee, entitled "Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects".

    Introduced by the representative of Egypt on behalf of Alaa Issa (Egypt), the Committee’s Rapporteur, the report summarizes the Committee’s general debate on 11 February and makes recommendations on guiding principles, definitions and implementation of mandates; cooperation with troop-contributing countries; enhancing the capacity of the United Nations for peacekeeping; the need for enhanced interrelationships with other parts of the Secretariat; safety and security; cooperation with regional arrangements; financial issues; and other matters.

    The Special Committee, established by the General Assembly in 1965, was mandated to conduct a comprehensive review of all issues relating to peacekeeping. It reports to the Assembly through the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) on its work. The Committee’ membership is made up of 100 United Nations Member States, mostly past or current contributors of peacekeeping personnel. Other Member States also participate in the work of the Committee and its working groups as observers.

    The Chairman of the Committee was Arthur Mbanefo (Nigeria), with Arnoldo Listre (Argentina), Michel Duval (Canada), Motohide Yoshikawa (Japan) and Miroslaw Luczka (Poland) as Vice-Chairman. Alaa Issa (Egypt) was the Committee’s Rapporteur.

    The representatives of Malaysia, Nepal, China, India, Kenya, United States, Japan, Spain (on behalf of the European Union), Brazil and South Africa made brief remarks. Vice-Chairman Michel Duval made closing remarks in the absence of the Committee's Chairman Arthur Mbanefo.

    Summary of Report on Peacekeeping

    In its report on a Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects, the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations notes there has been a surge in United Nations peacekeeping efforts during the past three years. The Committee considers it essential for the United Nations to be in an effective position to maintain international peace and security by improving the capacity to assess conflict situations, by effective planning and managing peacekeeping operations, and by responding quickly and effectively to any Security Council mandate.

    According to the report, peacekeeping operations should not be used as a substitute for addressing the root causes of conflict. Those causes should be addressed in a coherent, well-planned and comprehensive manner with political, social and developmental instruments. The Committee notes Security Council presidential statements concerning the inclusion of peace-building elements in the mandates of peacekeeping operations, and stresses the importance of those elements being explicitly defined and clearly identified before they are incorporated into the mandates.

    The report notes the establishment of a mechanism for strengthening cooperation of the Security Council with troop-contributing countries, complementary to the forms of consultations established by Council resolution 1353 (2001). The Committee urges the United Nations Secretariat to continue its efforts to give comprehensive briefings and requests it to make special efforts to present timely reports, in order to improve the quality and effectiveness of consultations with troop-contributing countries.

    The Committee welcomed the fact that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) had set five strategic goals for fulfilling the Organization’s peacekeeping mandate: enhancing the rapid deployment capability for peacekeeping operations; strengthening the relationship with Member States and legislative bodies; reforming the Department’s management culture; reorienting the Department’s relationship with field missions; and strengthening relationships with other parts of the United Nations system.

    Regarding management, the Committee reiterates its support for the creation of a position of Director of Management in the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations.

    Regarding strategic planning, the Committee welcomes the ongoing preparation of a strategic manual on multidimensional peacekeeping operations and stresses the need for the Secretariat to consult with Member States when developing guidelines and standard operating procedures. It maintains its support for a strengthened Peacekeeping Best Practices unit in DPKO. That Unit should contain entry points for public information, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, gender, humanitarian affairs and safety and security.

    Regarding rapid deployment, the Committee reiterates its recommendation that the Secretariat should continue to work towards the goal of enhancing its capacity to deploy peacekeeping operations within 30 days, or within 90 days in the case of complex peacekeeping operations, after the adoption of a mandate. The Secretariat must have the capacity to start acting on personnel, material and funding for a mission, once it becomes clear that a peacekeeping operation is likely to be established. Potential troop-contributing countries should be involved at the earliest stage possible of mission planning.

    On personnel, the Committee supports ongoing efforts to enhance and strengthen the United Nations Stand-by Arrangements Systems and welcomes the efforts of the Secretariat to develop the concept of a generic mission headquarters. It notes the development in the Civilian Police Division of a model civilian police headquarters and the production of generic job descriptions for 100 posts in the initial field deployment component. The Committee looked forward to reviewing the recommendations of the Conference on Experts for the DPKO Civilian Police Division held in Helsinki, Finland, on 14-15 February.

    The Committee, in its report, endorses the concept of the Strategic Deployment Stocks at the United Nations Logistics Base and takes note of the Secretariat’s proposal that the Organization should be ready to deploy one complex and one traditional mission per year. The Committee is of the view that the Strategic Deployment Stocks mechanism should be ready to deploy only one complex mission per year by early 2003, with the possibility of expanding that capability at a later stage, and, taking into account the outcome of the annual review of Logistics Base operations, to include additional capacity for one traditional mission per year.

    The Committee requests the Secretariat to maximize the benefit of recent increases in the military and civilian police personnel in DPKO through a recruitment process which ensures timely and efficient handovers between incoming and outgoing personnel.

    Regarding disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, the Committee believes that effective programmes in that regard can play a critical role in peacekeeping operations and welcomes the Secretariat’s intention to include comprehensive disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes in planning for future peacekeeping operations as appropriate.

    Welcoming the Secretariat’s efforts at mainstreaming a gender perspective in the activities of DPKO, the Committee commended the Secretariat for developing a training curriculum on gender awareness and sensitivity for military personnel and civilian police and welcomed the Secretariat’s efforts in collaboration with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to conduct a training course for civilian staff on the impact of armed conflict on women and children.

    Further, the report also underlines the important contribution that public information can make for the successful implementation of mission mandates. The Commission recalls its request for strengthening planning and support for public information in peacekeeping operations. The Commission requests the Secretariat to pursue its efforts, through closer coordination between DPKO and the Department of Public Information (DPI) to improve its capacity to deliver coherent guidance for public information activities. The Special Committee encourages efforts to revitalize the DPKO Web site, and encourages the Department to aim at redressing the imbalance among the six United Nations official languages.

    In the report, the Special Committee also reiterates the importance of the links between the DPKO and other relevant United Nations bodies, and believes that Departments and Offices which play a role in peacekeeping support should have sufficient resources. The Committee also expresses grave concern about the growing number of acts of violence against United Nations and associated personnel. It therefore stresses the need for host countries to take all appropriate steps to ensure their safety and security.

    The Committee takes note of the entry into force of the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel and urges States that have not yet done so to become parties as soon as possible. The Committee also emphasizes in that regard that status-of-mission agreements should include specific and practical measures to enhance personnel safety and security, based on the provisions of the Convention. It also encourages the Secretariat to consider personnel security as a matter of the utmost priority and welcomes strengthening the Office of the United Nations Security Coordinator.

    On the continued importance of enhanced cooperation with regional arrangements, the Committee urges the strengthening of such cooperation between the United Nations and various regional agencies and commissions. The report notes that the Committee commends the efforts of the Secretariat and others on their initiatives concerning training and information exchange for effective peacekeeping operations in Africa. The Committee also commends the establishment of the office of the Special Representative for Western Sahara as a coordination mechanism with other subregional partners in the areas of conflict-prevention and peace-building.

    On financial issues, the report stresses the importance of timely reimbursements to support Member States contributing troops to peacekeeping operations. Noting that questions surrounding that particular issue have shown marked improvement, the Committee stresses the need to ensure efficiency, propriety, accountability, transparency and cost-effectiveness of the procurement process. At the same time the report notes the Committee's concern that offsets have been made from contingent-owned equipment and troop cost reimbursements by the Secretariat without prior consultation with the respective troop-contributing countries. It is important for the Secretariat to adhere to the normal practice of consultation before applying offsets.

    Under "other matters" the report notes the importance of ensuring that measures regarding peace- keeping and peace-building are coordinated in order to provide a solid foundation for peace. The Committee also stresses the importance of formulating appropriate exit strategies for future peace- keeping operations. On the issue of training and professional capacity development, the Committee notes that training is a national responsibility, and the aim should be to improve training standards rather than instituting uniform training policies for Member States wishing to contribute troops to United Nations peace missions.

    The report notes that the Special Committee supports the new focus of DPKO on providing national and regional peacekeeping training centres. The Committee also stresses the importance of reviewing DPKO training procedures concerning diseases that peacekeepers may encounter. It welcomes programmes on combating tropical diseases, in particular malaria, and those that raise the awareness of HIV/AIDS and reduce risky behaviour among peacekeepers. The report goes on to note the Special Committee’s recommendations on civilian police, entitlements, peacekeeping seminars and mission leadership.

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