Press Releases

    GA/SPD/325
    25 October 2005

    Eradicating Sexual Abuse by Peacekeeping Personnel among Main Concerns Expressed in Fourth Committee Debate on UN Peace Operations

    NEW YORK, 21 October (UN Headquarters) -- Sustained peacebuilding, inter-regional cooperation and the need to eradicate sexual abuse by United Nations peacekeeping personnel were the main concerns of delegates, as the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) began its general debate on peacekeeping operations today.

    While pleased with the seriousness with which the United Nations was addressing sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeeping personnel, Norway's representative found the number of new cases extremely worrying.  The ultimate responsibility lay with the troop-contributing countries, which must inform personnel about United Nations rules and prosecute those who broke them.  The Organization, in turn, must ensure criminal accountability for all perpetrators.  That was the key to preventing future abuse and would demonstrate the Organization's commitment to its own core values.

    Australia's representative, speaking also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand, underlined the need for persons deployed on United Nations peace operations to set, and be held to, the highest standards of conduct and discipline.  He was very concerned that the problem of sexual exploitation in peacekeeping missions appeared not to have diminished at all over the past year, in spite of the attention paid to it.

    A crucial factor in preventing such misconduct, said the representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union, was capacity building in the area of human rights and the widespread mainstreaming of gender awareness across peacekeeping missions.  Systematic change was needed so that gender issues were included in pre-mission planning and implementation, and continued into the post-mission phase.  Furthermore, Member States must be completely transparent in dealing with the issue.  A failure to act would put the future of United Nations peacekeeping in jeopardy.

    As many speakers drew attention to the importance of international cooperation in the field of United Nations peacekeeping, Kazakhstan's representative said that careful consideration must be given to proposals to establish closer cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, including the establishment of regional centres to train international peacekeepers.

    The representative of Iran said that an exchange of experiences and information among Member States and the establishment of regional training centres could play a significant role in assisting new troop contributors.  While he felt that cooperation with regional organizations and other partners was important, such arrangements should be seen as temporary solutions and should be complementary to, and not substitutes for, the central role of the United Nations.  Reliance on regional solutions could by no means absolve the Organization of its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

    Singapore's representative felt that it was necessary to systematically synchronize the efforts of both peacekeeping and peacebuilding so that the entire continuum was managed as one integrated operation.  Successful peacekeeping missions were those that had created an environment conducive to creating sustained capacity building, he said.

    In the same vein, the representative of Cuba said that establishment of peacekeeping operations should not ignore the root causes of conflict, which included underdevelopment, exploitation and the exclusion of so-called Third World countries from the international decision-making process in the economic, commercial and financial fields.  Only by adopting a comprehensive, sustained and long-term strategy to tackle those issues, and by promoting economic and social development, could the United Nations overcome the emergence of new conflicts.

    Also of concern to participants in the debate was the delay in the payments to the troop and equipment contributors.  Member States should pay their contributions in full, on time and without conditions, so that the troop contributors could be compensated as soon as possible.  Delays in such payments could cause serious economic problems, especially for developing countries, speakers stressed.

    The representatives of Morocco (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Jordan, Syria, Thailand, Switzerland, Japan and Nepal also spoke.

    The Committee will meet again on Monday, 24 October, at 10 a.m. to continue its debate on peacekeeping operations.

    Background

    The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this afternoon to start its general debate on "Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects".  When it started its consideration of the item yesterday, the Committee heard a statement by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno (see Press Release GA/SPD/324 of 20 October).

    Statements

    ADAM THOMSON (United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that the operational capability of the United Nations continued to improve, and this year a number of initiatives had taken effect.  He welcomed and supported the ongoing efforts of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to implement Standard Training Modules and Senior Mission Leadership courses to better prepare peacekeepers and mission staff.  He also fully supported the World Summit decision to endorse the creation of an initial operating capability for a standing police capacity, and welcomed the comprehensive review of the United Nations Standby Arrangements System announced yesterday.  Regarding information gathering and intelligence-led operations, he regretted that it had not yet been possible to fully implement the Joint Mission Analysis Cell concept across all United Nations missions, and would welcome an update from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations on plans to achieve that.

    The Union was fully committed to the continued development of the European Union-United Nations Joint Declaration on cooperation in crisis management, and welcomed discussion on how such cooperation could be broadened to include the African Union and other partners.  There was scope for enhanced cooperation and partnership in a range of areas, including rapid deployment, shared doctrine and planning expertise and training.  Establishing a framework to operationalize such practical cooperation would do much to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of international peacekeeping efforts.  The Peacebuilding Commission would promote better coordination and cooperation both within the United Nations and between the United Nations and other international actors, such as donors, troop contributors and regional organizations.

    He condemned in the strongest terms all acts of sexual abuse and exploitation committed by United Nations peacekeeping personnel, and emphasised once again that such misconduct must not be tolerated by the United Nations or its Member States.  In that regard, he welcomed the recent proposal to amend Memorandums of Understanding to reflect the responsibilities of troop-contributing countries.  However, while there had been some welcome progress in tackling that difficult and sensitive issue, sexual exploitation and abuse remained a significant problem in many missions.  Member States must do their utmost to solve that problem and be much more transparent in dealing with it.  A failure to do so would put the future of United Nations peacekeeping in jeopardy.

    A crucial factor in preventing misconduct was capacity building in the area of human rights and the widespread mainstreaming of gender awareness across peacekeeping missions, he said.  Systematic change was needed so that gender issues were included in pre-mission planning and in mission implementation, as they were in the post-mission phase.  He urged the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to work with the United Nations country teams to ensure that sufficient human rights and gender expertise remained in countries to assist the national Government when a peacekeeping mission withdrew.

    SOUAD EL ALAOUI (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said United Nations peacekeeping operations should not be used as a substitute for addressing the root causes of conflict.  High consideration should be given to the manner by which efforts to address those root causes could continue without interruption after the departure of the peacekeeping operations, so as to ensure a smooth transition to lasting peace, security and development.  As the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security rested with the United Nations, the role of regional arrangements should be in accordance with Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter and should not, in any way, substitute for the role of the Organization.  She underlined, however, the importance of the contribution of regional arrangements, particularly in Africa.

    She said the Non-Aligned Movement was deeply concerned about the precarious security environment in many field missions, and urged that the safety and security of United Nations peacekeepers be accorded the highest priority.  The Movement condemned in the strongest terms the killing of peacekeepers, and emphasized the crucial importance of further improvement of the capacity for collection, analysis and dissemination of information in that regard.  Security must not be viewed as a mission stand-alone function but must be seen as a function that cut across all activities and must be an integral part of mandate implementation.

    She welcomed the continuing emphasis on rapid and effective deployment, an area in which there had been significant improvements, including the Strategic Deployment Stocks and the pre-mandate commitment authority.  Referring to the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, she said the Non-Aligned Movement was willing to explore further development of new initiatives to reinforce peacekeeping missions in crises.

    It had also been a strong proponent of enhanced cooperation between troop-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat.  That objective could be achieved through a better understanding of each other's concerns, in particular the concerns of the troop-contributing countries, which were best placed to convey an assessment of the situation on the ground.

    Regarding sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations personnel in peacekeeping operations, she said the distinguished and honourable record of accomplishment in United Nations peacekeeping was being tarnished by the acts of a few individuals.  All measures must be adopted to completely stamp out that menace.  The Non-Aligned Movement fully endorsed the Secretary-General's zero tolerance policy.

    HARON HASSAN (Jordan) underlined the importance of the rule of law, and reiterated the need to enhance the capacity of the United Nations in that area.  The best approach to do that would be through an entity in the Secretariat specializing in the rule of law and transitional justice.  His delegation continued to believe that members of the Security Council themselves should be doing more to participate in peacekeeping operations and particularly in providing personnel in the field.  Furthermore, Security Council intervention should continue to be swift in situations where United Nations peacekeepers were restricted from fully implementing their mandate, or stood threatened as a result of such restrictions.  His Government welcomed and supported the creation of an outstanding police capacity to provide effective start-up capability for the policing component of peacekeeping missions.

    Continuing, he highlighted the importance of adopting measures outlined in the recommendations of the Secretary-General's Adviser on sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeeping personnel.  Evident progress had been achieved in that area in the meeting of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations meeting held this year, and Jordan looked forward to further discussions of achievements and difficulties during that Committee's next meeting.

    Finally, he stressed that all Member States should pay their assessed contribution in full, on time and without conditions, in a manner that reaffirmed their obligations under Article 17 of the United Nations Charter to bear the expenses of the organization as appointed by the General Assembly.

    SORAYA ALVAREZ (Cuba) said the principles on which United Nations peacekeeping operations were based should continue to be in force:  the consent of the parties involved; impartiality; and the non-use of force, except in cases of self-defence.  Essential elements of a successful operation also included clearly defined mandates and solid financing.  It was important for the credibility of the United Nations that the Security Council refrain from acting selectively and with double standards in the establishment of mandates, especially in Africa.

    She said establishment of peacekeeping operations should not ignore analysis of the root causes of a conflict, which included underdevelopment, exploitation and the exclusion of the so-called Third World countries from the international decision-making process in the economic, commercial and financial fields.  Only by adopting a comprehensive, sustained and long-term strategy to tackle those causes, and by promoting economic and social development, could the United Nations overcome the emergence of new conflicts.  The provision of humanitarian aid could not become a pretext to invoke and implement concepts such as the so-called humanitarian intervention.  Such concepts had been devised by scholars from developed countries, whose aim was to re-interpret international law and undermine the respect of the sovereignty of States, thus serving the interventionist interests of very powerful countries that tried to impose a global Government.

    Most developing countries would like to contribute to the Organization's peacekeeping operations, but they did not have the necessary capacity, she said.  Developed countries that did have that capacity lacked the political will to do so.  Cooperation was, therefore, urgently necessary in order for the United Nations to provide the operations with the necessary requirements to fulfil their mandates.  Delays in the payments to the troop and equipment contributors were a cause for concern.  Member States should pay their contributions in full, on time and without conditions, so that the troop contributors could be compensated as soon as possible.  Delays in such payments could cause serious economic problems, especially for developing countries.

    HAYDAR ALI AHMAD (Syria) said that the United Nations had been able, through its successes to emphasize to the people of the world its legitimacy as the principle multilateral body to protect international peace and security.  The United Nations had showed that it was capable of facing the dangers threatening international peace and security in many parts of the world.  However, peacekeeping must not be seen as an alternative to a permanent solution for any dispute.  It was a temporary measure to prevent the escalation of disputes.  The United Nations must deal with the root causes of conflict.

    The United Nations had started its peacekeeping operations in the Middle East more than 50 years ago, and had undertaken the tasks entrusted to it with efficiency.  Syria appreciated the sacrifices made by peacekeeping units all over the world, particularly those in the Middle East.  His delegation condemned the killing of peacekeepers and extended its condolences to the families of the victims.  Security and safety of missions must be strengthened, he said.

    Finally, he pointed out that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations' Internet site contained all official languages of the United Nations except for Arabic.  That was a gross contravention of the Organization's commitment to parity among the six official languages.

    JOHAN L. LØVALD (Norway) said that as missions were becoming more intensive and complex, there was a particular need to strengthen the military capacity within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, both in planning and in conducting operations.  A tighter military command structure would benefit the running of operations.  Also, it was necessary to strengthen the capacity for analysis of available information at the tactical and operational level.  That was vital, both in order to fulfil mandates and to ensure the security of United Nations personnel.  Freedom of movement of United Nations personnel in the field was equally important in that regard.  Norway noted with concern the increasing tendency to restrict that freedom, as exemplified by the Eritrean Government's recent ban on all helicopter flights by the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).

    The World Summit had endorsed the creation of a standing police capacity.  That was very important, he said.  The reform and rebuilding of civilian police was also key to post-conflict reconstruction, he said, but to be truly successful, the judiciary, the prison service and even the armed forces should be included in reform efforts.  The security sector needed to be addressed in its entirety to ensure that stability could be upheld after the withdrawal of United Nations military personnel.  Local ownership of the process was crucial to success.  Stabilizing and rebuilding failed States had become a major challenge for the international community.  The United Nations must continue to have a leading role in those efforts.  Peacebuilding, based on the integrated mission approach, was far more demanding than peacebuilding, he said.

    Norway was pleased with the seriousness with which the United Nations was addressing sexual exploitation and abuse.  At the same time, his delegation found the number of new cases extremely worrying.  It was a sad reminder of the need to keep that issue at the top of the United Nations agenda.  The United Nations could not afford to let the conduct of some individuals undermine the credibility of the Organization.  The ultimate responsibility lay with the troop-contributing countries, he said; they must inform personnel about United Nations rules and prosecute those who broke them.  He had been shocked and dismayed to hear that United Nations investigators were being hindered in their work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by troop-contributing countries.  That was totally unacceptable, he said.  The United Nations must ensure criminal accountability for all perpetrators.  That was the key to preventing future abuse and would demonstrate the Organization's commitment to its own core values.

    PRAVIT CHAIMONGKOL (Thailand) said peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance alone could not meet the most difficult challenge of protecting civilians.  Political will of all parties was key to peacebuilding.  He urged all parties concerned to cooperate with United Nations peacekeeping by preventing the recurrence of conflict, building peace and strengthening United Nations partnerships under the leading role of the Organization.  To ensure successful implementation of a peace operation, an integrated plan encompassing peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding should be developed at the early stage before commencement of each peace mission.  An exit strategy should also be included in the integrated mission plan.

    He said the role of regional and subregional organizations was important in enhancing the effectiveness and rapid reaction capability of the United Nations.  His country had agreed to the United Nations Stand-by Arrangements.  It supported the concept of establishing the Standing Police Capacity, which should be equipped with the necessary capability to operate efficiently in both post- and pre-conflict environments.

    Regarding misconduct of military, police and civilian personnel in United Nations peace missions, he supported the investigation of sexual exploitation and abuse and the concept of national investigation officers working with the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).  His country had also organized courses for its troops prior to their participation in a peace mission.  Thailand had supported United Nations peacekeeping operations in Cambodia, Timor-Leste and Afghanistan.  It continued to render its close cooperation with the United Nations Operation in Burundi (ONUB).

    LEONG YUE KHEONG (Singapore) said that, while recognizing the growing complexities and demands of peacekeeping and appreciating the dangers and uncertainties faced by peacekeepers, his country was disappointed with reports of sexual abuse and misconduct by some peacekeepers in the field that damaged the credibility of peacekeepers as protectors of innocent civilians.  There was an urgent need to repair the professional image of peacekeeping.  Enough time had been spent on debating the failures of supervision and enforcement, and it was time to take action to arrest the problem.

    He said the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had a global span of command and responsibility for the peacekeepers on the ground.  He had been impressed by the professionalism of many peacekeepers when visiting some peacekeeping missions, but had detected an expectation that they needed better support and more resources.  Missions could be more successful if there was strong leadership at all levels that anticipated problems and found solutions.  Recruiting, selecting and training of senior mission personnel could be further improved.  The Department could also increase its efforts to achieve better integration between United Nations agencies.

    Peacekeeping could not be dogmatically separated from peacebuilding, he said.  There was a need to systematically synchronise the efforts of both peacekeeping and peacebuilding so that the entire continuum was managed as one integrated operation.  Departments such as the Department of Political Affairs, Department of Public Information and the soon-to-be-created Peacebuilding Support Office must be instilled with an ethos to be more responsive to assist missions.  He supported efforts to explore improved processes and structural adjustment of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to achieve a holistic view when mounting complex peacekeeping operations.  Coordination seemed to be a major weakness.  Successful peacekeeping missions were those that had created a conducive environment to bring about sustained capacity building.  Successful peacekeeping took time, as did reconciliation.  Member States must, therefore, be willing to support the United Nations politically and financially, so that there was a good chance for a mission to succeed.

    ROMAN HUNGER (Switzerland) said that the establishment of a strategic reserve for United Nations peacekeeping was vital for rendering United Nations peacekeeping operations more effective.  Switzerland commended the Department of Peacekeeping Operations for having initiated a consultation process with troop-contributing countries with a view to drafting a detailed proposal.  However, the need to enhance readiness for rapid deployment and the sustainability of operations in the field would also require a closer look at the logistical organization of peacekeeping operations.  The adequate equipping of troops remained a challenge.  That was especially the case for peacekeeping operations in Africa.  Considering the limitations that some troop-contributing countries faced in equipping their peacekeepers, the United Nations should encourage and assist Member States in a position to do so to transfer unemployed stocks of equipment to those countries.

    Continuing, he underlined the importance of preventing and combating sexual abuse and exploitation committed by military and civilian personal of peacekeeping operations.  Such abuses damaged the credibility of United Nations missions and hindered their work on the ground.  Switzerland fervently supported a zero-tolerance policy on that question, and encouraged the Secretary-General to remain engaged on that issue and to take all necessary measures.  Switzerland also urged the Department to ensure that military and other members of missions were trained appropriately with regard to the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.

    The demand for Peacekeeping Operations was not only growing in numbers, but the missions themselves were steadily becoming more complex and multifunctional, he said.  Today, peacekeepers were very often mandated to disarm forces or even engage in reconstruction and reconciliation activities.  In other words, there was a general shift from peacekeeping operations to more comprehensive peacebuilding missions.  It must be borne in mind that in a peacebuilding process, peacekeeping operations and personnel were closely interacting with key policy domains and actors, such as development, humanitarian aid and institutional reconstruction, which all had distinct mandates, competences and comparative advantages.  In order to be successful, such a process should be led by the national authorities.  It was also necessary to foster mutual understanding among all actors, United Nations, as well as non-United Nations, present in such a context.

    SHINICHI KITAOKA (Japan) said that the quantitative increase in peacekeeping missions had led to a drastic increase in the budgetary burden shouldered by Member States.  As one of the largest contributors to peacekeeping missions, his Government would like to urge more effective and efficient operation of peacekeeping operations and requested that management reform in relation to peacekeeping operations be more vigorously implemented, so that invested resources would have the intended effect.

    Japan believed that the enhancement of inter-mission cooperation should be one of the options to be considered with regard to rapid deployment.  As Chair of the Security Council Working Group on Peacekeeping, Japan had held a meeting on that particular topic, during which potential problems had been identified such as accounting difficulties and the need to modify existing agreements between the United Nations and troop-Contributing-countries.  Japan believed that those problems could be solved and inter-mission cooperation could be effectively improved.

    Continuing, he said that Member States should consider forming arrangements between the United Nations and regional organizations, under which the United Nations would support the rapid deployment arrangements of regional organizations, such as the standby force of the African Union, by more effectively providing training, equipment and other capacity-building assistance to the troops of their member States.  By doing so, the deployment of regional troops in emergencies would be an increasingly realistic possibility.  Moreover, such an arrangement could make a significant contribution to the building of regional capacity to maintain peace and security, while at the same time encouraging ownership of such processes by the region.

    YERZHAN KAZYKHANOV (Kazakhstan) said that as the demand for United Nations peacekeeping activities was expected to grow in the coming years, he called for enhanced cooperation between Members States, the United Nations system and regional organizations to prevent and settle armed conflicts and address such problems as international terrorism, drug trafficking, transnational organized crime, poverty, infectious diseases, environment degradation and natural disasters.  Human rights violations and lack of respect for the rule of law represented a threat to peace and security.  In that context, responsibility for the maintenance of security lay with States themselves, as well as with the international community if a State could not provide protection to its own citizens.

    He said effective mobilization of existing resources and the establishment of a rapid deployment mechanism would play an important role in the success of United Nations peacekeeping efforts.  He supported in that regard proposals regarding the Peacebuilding Commission, the Standing Fund for Peacebuilding and the Peacebuilding Support Office, as well as the concept of a standing reserve of United Nations civilian police and a strategic peacekeeping reserve.  Careful consideration must be given to proposals to establish closer cooperation between the United Nations and regional organization to prevent conflicts and maintain peace.  Regional centres should be set up to train international peacekeepers.  Preventive action and post-conflict peacebuilding constituted crucial elements of a comprehensive response by the United Nations to emerging crisis situations.

    Armed conflicts today, which were mostly intra-state conflicts, were often characterized by violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, he said.  Peacekeeping operations should strictly comply with the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter and other basic principles of peacekeeping, in particular consent by the parties involved and the non-use of force, except in self-defence.  In that context, he expressed concern at reports of sexual abuse committed by peacekeepers.  He welcomed the efforts by the Secretary-General to correct the situation and the first steps taken in that direction, including the appointment of an advisor on that issue.

    HOSSEIN MALEKI (Iran) said the maintenance of peace and security was the solemn responsibility of the United Nations and peacekeeping operations were one of the main instruments in discharging that responsibility.  Peacekeeping operations should not be used as a substitute for addressing the root causes of conflict.  Those causes should be addressed in a coordinated, well-planned and comprehensive and coherent manner, using political, social and developmental instruments.  Peacekeeping operations could not be successful if they were accompanied by cases of misconduct.  He underlined, in that regard, the importance of the issue of "conduct and discipline", requested the Secretary-General to pay more attention to that matter and welcomed the establishment by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations of "conduct and discipline units" at Headquarters and in the field.

    Welcoming the investigation of the OIOS into allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), he said the Department should consider the eight recommendations of the Office, as well as a wider application of prevention and detection policies.  The national honour of troop-contributing countries should not be impugned by the repulsive behaviour of a minority of their troops.  Some recommended punitive measures such as "the public naming and shaming of perpetrators of sexual exploitation and abuse" could, therefore, only be applied if an allegation was fully substantiated.  As the question of rapid deployment remained a crucial one, he would welcome any plan to increase the operational effectiveness of the United Nations peacekeeping operations.

    He said that cooperation of regional arrangements with United Nations peacekeeping operations was an important issue, but such arrangements should be seen as a temporary solution and should be complementary to, and not a substitute for, the central role of the United Nations.  Reliance on regional solutions could by no means absolve the Organization of its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.  Paying high tribute to the courage, service and sacrifice of peacekeepers, he requested the Secretary-General to give the utmost priority to enhancing the safety and security of United Nations peacekeeping personnel.  Underscoring the importance of enhancing the capacity of troop-contributing countries, he said the exchange of experiences and dissemination of information among Member States and establishment of regional training centres could play a significant role in assisting new troop contributors.

    TIM SIMKIN (Australia), speaking also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand, welcomed the World Summit's recognition that the international community, through the United Nations had a responsibility to help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.  In that regard, it was incumbent on the peacekeeping community, represented by the Fourth Committee, to begin the necessary work to be able to give effect to the concept on the ground.  The concepts of Integrated Mission Task Forces and Integrated Mission Planning Process had been toyed with for a couple of years now.  However, he was concerned that the comprehensive implementation of those initiatives had not yet been achieved.

    He welcomed the efforts made by the Secretary-General and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to implement measures to address sexual exploitation and abuse, but remained concerned that major problems still existed in a number of missions.  He insisted on the need for persons deployed with United Nations peace operations to set, and be held to, the highest standards of conduct and discipline.  He registered his very strong concern that the problem appeared not to have diminished at all in the field during the past year, in spite of the attention given to the issue.  He offered his support to all actions taken by the  Department to alter the apparent continuing cultural acceptance of that appalling behaviour.

    He remained concerned about the discriminatory remuneration treatment of staff officers in United Nations missions relative to military observers, police and civilians.  He was aware that some work had been done, and a cost benefit analysis indicated that it was more cost effective to categorise them as 'experts on mission'.  He would welcome a healthy dialogue with the Department on that subject.  He also noted current concerns regarding the quality of personnel provided by Member States for deployment on field missions, particularly as military observers.  He would encourage an examination of the requirements of an observer in today's field environment, he said.

    MADHU RAMAN ACHARYA (Nepal) said his country had been continuously participating in United Nations peacekeeping operations since 1958, and had already contributed more than 50,000 peacekeepers in 29 United Nations missions.  With the current deployment of around 35,000 peacekeepers in 12 United Nations peacekeeping missions, Nepal was among the top five troop-contributing countries.  It was a testimony of the dedication of the Nepalese peacekeepers that 54 personnel had laid down their lives in the selfless service of humanity in difficult conflict zones around the world.

    He said every life lost to save thousands of innocent lives was a mark of dignity, honour and respect to the United Nations, but the growing number of United Nations peacekeepers that had been gruesomely killed lately raised the big question of their safety.  Therefore, it was extremely important that from mission planning to deployment every effort be made for their safety.  Peacekeepers also needed full coverage of medical treatment when sustaining injuries or falling sick in the line of duty.  Repatriation after 30 days without medical coverage of such a peacekeeper hardly recognized his or her contribution to the cause of peacekeeping in complex and dangerous situations.

    Timely disbursement to troop-contributing countries was indispensable for the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations, he said.  Equally important was greater coordination between the field level and Headquarters.  As field experience could be a guide for best practices, he called for an increased number of seats to troop-contributing developing countries in senior management positions, both at Headquarters and in field offices.  As the success of peacekeeping operations largely hinged on close cooperation among the Security Council, troop-contributing countries and host countries, the Council must have a permanent and transparent mechanism to involve the troop contributors continuously in the decision-making process.

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