Press Releases

    GA/SPD/230
    29 April 2002

    PROPOSALS, RECOMMENDATIONS OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
    ON PEACEKEEPING ENDORSED IN DRAFT TEXT APPROVED
    BY FOURTH COMMITTEE

    NEW YORK, 26 April (UN Headquarters) -- The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) this morning approved a revised draft resolution by which the General Assembly would endorse the latest proposals and recommendations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping, and urge Member States, the Secretariat and relevant organs of the United Nations to take steps to implement them. With that action, it concluded its work for the fifty-sixth session.

    The central aspect of the Special Committee’s conclusions, as outlined in its 2002 report of 11 March (document A/56/863), was the continuing professionalization of United Nations’ peacekeeping operations. The draft resolution expresses the conviction that the United Nations must continue to improve its capabilities in the field of peacekeeping and enhance the effective and efficient deployments of its peacekeeping operations.

    The 2002 report notes the "sudden surge" in the past three years in peacekeeping efforts in various parts of the world. Enabling the United Nations to effectively maintain international peace and security called for: an improved capacity to assess conflict situations; effective planning and management of peacekeeping operations; and quick and effective responses to Security Council mandates.

    The Special Committee reiterated its recommendation to continue to work towards the goal of enhancing the Secretariat’s capacity to deploy peacekeeping operations within 30 days, or 90 days in the case of complex peacekeeping operations, after the adoption of a mandate.

    In order the meet those time frames, the Secretariat must have the capacity to act in a timely manner on three critical and interdependent aspects of rapid deployment -- personnel, material and funding -- once it became clear that a peacekeeping operation was likely to be established.

    In that connection, the Special Committee endorsed the concept of strategic deployment stocks at the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi and took note of the overall rationale and planning assumptions of the Secretariat’s proposal, in particular that the United Nations should be ready to deploy one complex and one traditional mission per year.

    Several recommendations on training were also included in the Special Committee’s report, and among the further tasks to be implemented by the Secretariat, under the present draft. For example, the Special Committee fully supported an increased emphasis on training and professional capacity development, in both the planning and support phases of peacekeeping operations.

    Speaking after approval of the text, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno said that with the adoption of the 2002 report of the Special Committee, "we are now implementing, steadily, the reforms which we have together agreed upon". Today’s action was yet another manifestation of the will of Member States to ensure that the United Nations continued to become an ever more viable peacekeeping tool for the international community, he said.

    Rapporteur of the Special Committee, Alaa Issa (Egypt) introduced the draft resolution. Statements were also made by the representatives of Bangladesh, China, Nepal and Japan.

    Background

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

    For information on the Committee’s discussion of the item, see Press releases GA/SPD/228 and 229 of 20 and 21 November 2001.

    When it met today, the Committee had before it the report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (document A/56/863), which met on 11 and 12 February. The report contains a summary of the Committee’s general debate and working group, as well as proposals, recommendations and conclusions in the following areas: guiding principles, definitions and implementation of mandates; cooperation with troop-contributing countries; enhancing the capacity of the United Nations for peacekeeping; need for enhanced interrelationships with other parts of the Secretariat; safety and security; cooperation with regional arrangements; financial issues; and other matters.

    Among other things, the Special Committee continues to stress the importance of peacekeeping operations being provided with clearly defined mandates, objectives and command structures, as well as secure financing, in support of efforts to achieve peaceful solutions to conflicts.

    Also, it believes that the additional resources provided to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) will help the Department to develop further its capacity to plan, manage and support peacekeeping operations. However, the provision of additional human and financial resources alone will not be sufficient. The Department therefore, should conduct regular self-evaluations and systematic reviews to ensure that the additional resources provided by the Assembly are making a tangible contribution to the Organization’s fulfillment of its peacekeeping mandate.

    The Special 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 90 days in the case of complex peacekeeping operations, after the adoption of a mandate. In order to meet these time frames, the Secretariat must have the capacity to act in a timely manner on three critical and interdependent aspects of rapid deployment -- personnel, material and funding -- once it becomes clear that a peacekeeping operation is likely to be established.

    In addition, the Special Committee requests the Secretariat to maximize the benefit of recent increases in military and civilian police personnel in DPKO by utilizing a recruitment process that ensures timely and efficient handovers between incoming and outgoing personnel, so as to ensure continuity.

    Further, while stressing that training is a national responsibility, the Special Committee fully supports an increased emphasis on training and professional capacity development, in both the planning and the support phases of peacekeeping operations. The aim should be to improve training standards, rather than to institute a uniform training doctrine or policy. The Special Committee underlines the importance of conducting training programmes as soon as their preparation has been completed, and of including them as a basic pre-deployment necessity. Lessons learned and best practices need to be fully incorporated into training programmes.

    Also in this regard, the Special Committee supports the designation of a central focal point for the coordination of the military, civilian police and other civilian training activities of DPKO.

    In the area of safety and security, the Special Committee reiterates the need to explore possibilities for further ensuring the safety and security of United Nations and associated personnel. It urges the Secretariat to take measures to ensure that all personnel in a peacekeeping operation are provided with at least the minimum equipment required for safety. The Secretariat is requested to define the minimum equipment required for this purpose.

    The Special Committee stresses the importance of timely reimbursements to support Member States that contribute troops to peacekeeping operations and urges the Secretariat to proceed with the regular payments for personnel. It also stresses the need to ensure efficiency, propriety, accountability, transparency and cost-effectiveness in the procurement process. The Committee encourages procurement from developing countries within the region concerned to meet the needs of missions, when this is more efficient and cost-effective.

    The Special Committee is concerned that offsets have been made from contingent-owned equipment and troop-cost reimbursements by the Secretariat without prior consultation with the relevant troop-contributing countries. It emphasizes the importance of the Secretariat adhering to the normal practice of consulting with and securing the consent of troop-contributing countries concerned before any offsets are applied.

    According to the draft resolution entitled "Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects" (document A/C.4/56/L.2), the Assembly would endorse the proposals, recommendations and conclusions of the Special Committee, and urge Member States, the Secretariat and relevant organs of the United Nations to take all necessary steps to implement them.

    Further, the Assembly would decide that the Special Committee would continue its efforts for a comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects and would review the implementation of its previous proposals. It would consider any new proposals, so as to enhance United Nations' capacity to fulfil its responsibilities in that field.

    Under a related provision, the Assembly would reiterate that those Member States that became personnel contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations in years to come or participated in the future in the Special Committee for three consecutive years as observers would, upon request in writing to the Special Committee's Chairman, become members at its following session.

    The draft resolution is sponsored by Argentina, Canada, Egypt, Japan, Nigeria and Poland.

    Statements

    ALAA ISSA (Egypt), Rapporteur of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, presented its 2002 report. Among other things, the Special Committee reiterated its support for the creation of a post of Director of Management in the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations. It also maintained its support for a strengthened Peacekeeping Best Practices Unit and, in it, the establishment of entry points for public information, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, gender, humanitarian affairs and safety and security, which would not be designed to duplicate work done in other departments.

    With regard to the issue of material readiness, he said that the Committee endorsed the concept of the strategic deployment stocks at the United Nations Logistics Base (UNLB). The strategic deployment stocks mechanism should, at that initial stage, be ready to deploy only one complex mission per year by early 2003, with the possibility of expanding that capability later to include additional capacity for one traditional mission per year, if necessary.

    To commemorate those who had fallen in the service of peace, the Dag Hammarskjöld medal should be permanently and publicly displayed together with a memorial book at Headquarters, he said. To pay tribute to the men and women that had served and were serving in United Nations peacekeeping operations, the Committee recommended 29 May be designated as International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.

    Introducing the draft resolution, he drew attention to a revision in the text, which did not affect the spirit of the text, but merely reflected a decision taken by the Assembly earlier. In operative paragraph seven of its resolution 56/225 of 24 December 2001, the Assembly had already decided to include in the provisional agenda of its fifty-seventh session the item entitled "comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all its aspects". That decision was recalled in the amended, third preambular paragraph. The old operative paragraph seven on the same issue was, thus, redundant and had been deleted.

    SHAMEEM AHSAN (Bangladesh) said that he had noticed some changes in paragraph 90 of the report of the Special Committee.

    Mr. ISSA replied that the changes in paragraph 90 were simply linguistic and in no way altered the meaning of the paragraph.

    QIAN BO (China) noted that any changes made should be communicated to the members of the Special Committee.

    HIRA B. THAPA (Nepal) said that he would have preferred that the wording in paragraph 85 read as follows: "The Special Committee encouraged the United Nations to continue playing a role in bridging the gap between troops and equipment for troop-contributing countries whose self-sustainment capacities were limited so as to facilitate the participation of potential troop contributors in United Nations peacekeeping operations." However, in the spirit of flexibility, he would not block consensus, but just wanted to register his reservation with that paragraph.

    Mr. ISSA said that he took note of the statement made by Nepal.

    The Committee then approved the draft resolution, as orally amended, without a vote.

    JEAN-MARIE GUÉHENNO, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said that peacekeeping would always be a difficult and challenging task. It would only be successful with the support of all Member States. The 2002 report of the Special Committee, which had just been adopted, represented a strong and timely statement of support and guidance for the Department in that ongoing process. The report was yet another manifestation of the will of Member States to ensuring that the United Nations continued to become an ever more effective peacekeeping tool for the international community.

    MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA (Japan) said that he recognized that the relationship between Member States and DPKO had been excellent and hoped it would continue. Now that the Report of the Special Committee had been adopted by the Fourth Committee, he hoped that by the time the Committee met in the fall, the Secretariat would provide a report on how it had followed up on the Report's recommendations.

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