Press Releases

    GA/PK/187
    28 February 2006

    Under-Secretary-General Calls for Broad Support for UN Peacekeeping Operations, as Special Committee Opens Current Session

    Discussion Focuses on Preventing Sexual Misconduct, Measures to Improve Management, Financing, Security of Missions

    NEW YORK, 27 February (UN Headquarters) -- Stressing that it was time to acknowledge peacekeeping as a "flagship of the United Nations Organization", the head of the world body's peacekeeping operations today called on both Member States and the Secretariat to maintain and bolster their sustained and comprehensive support so that some 86,000 men and women in the field could continue carrying out an invaluable service -- bringing security to post-conflict situations.

    Broad support for United Nations peacekeepers and associated staff -- from ensuring field-level security, adequate training, equipment and resources, to resolving sexual misconduct allegations and charges of procurement fraud -- would ensure that an institutionalized, professional and responsive peacekeeping capacity was a core and integrated function of the Organization, said Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, opening the 2006 session of the General Assembly's Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.

    Mr. Guéhenno said that collective efforts had produced substantial accomplishments in combating sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeepers, including the establishment and enforcement of uniform standards; creation of multidisciplinary conduct and discipline teams at Headquarters and in eight peacekeeping missions; development of systems to track allegations of misconduct; and communication of the policy of zero-tolerance.

    Success in combating sexual misconduct had come at a price, however, and there was a risk of backlog and delays in investigating allegations, which could be damaging to the victims of that abuse, to the individuals under examination, and to the reputation and morale of missions in the field.  Addressing this matter effectively required sustained capacity at Headquarters and in the field.  The specialized capacity of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) to investigate complaints must also be strengthened.

    Fraud hurt those who were doing a good job, he said, telling the Committee that in 2005 alone, 144 management and financial audits and enquiries had been carried out at 23 field operations.  The audits had demonstrated the urgency of system-wide reform of operational procedures and human resource policies for the field, he said.  Rules and regulations must be aligned to the demanding, unpredictable and dangerous environments in which missions operated, and trained experts should be put in place under appropriate conditions of service.

    And to that end, the more the United Nations was required to undertake multidimensional peace operations, with large budgets and staff, the more it required the leaders, managers and technical personnel who could manage them, he said, pointing out that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had identified the need for 2,500 career civilian peacekeepers to provide the institutional cornerstone of field operations.

    The five priorities of the Department's reform agenda -- people, partnerships, doctrine, organization and resources -- added up to an ambitious agenda that could not be accomplished in one year, he said.  The Secretary-General had suggested a five-year time frame, during which specific targets must be accomplished annually.  For 2006, the goal was to establish flexible templates for mission structures and the implementation of Joint Operations Centres and Joint Mission Analysis Cells in the field.

    The safety and security of United Nations peacekeepers and associated staff was a sombre, recurring theme throughout today's the meeting, which began with a moment of silence in honour of Glyn Berry, a former Vice-Chair of the Special Committee, who died following a violent attack in Kandahar, Afghanistan, last month.  Calling Mr. Berry "the face" of the 136 United Nations peacekeeping personnel who had died over the past 13 months, Mr. Guéhenno noted that 31 others had died as a result of deliberate hostile attacks.  Protecting the security of missions and personnel could not be tackled in an isolated or piecemeal way.  It should be addressed comprehensively as part of a process to improve all aspects of the United Nations' capacity to plan and conduct peacekeeping operations.

    Guatemala's representative concurred, saying the tragic incident of 23 January in which eight of his countrymen lost their lives in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo underlined the insecurity inherent in the environment in which many missions functioned.  He urged the Secretariat to assign the highest priority to enhancing security, which necessarily involved enhancing the capacity to seek reliable information on the one hand, and a frank and continuous exchange between troop-contributing countries and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

    He said it was necessary that the Department continue working, together with the Office of the Coordinator for Security Affairs towards enhancing its capacity to forestall threats to personnel and to improve mechanisms for compiling, analysing and disseminating information.  It was also extremely important that, in an incident involving bloodshed in the field, constant communication be ensured between the peacekeeping department and the troop-contributing country concerned.  In the case of the Guatemalan peacekeepers, his country had received only preliminary information on the investigation being carried out.  He deplored the fact that from the very first day, the media had more detailed information than Guatemalan authorities.

    Taking the floor in his national capacity, Committee Chair, Amin Bashir Wali (Nigeria) said hunger, poverty and other forms of political and social marginalization were at the heart of most of the conflict in Africa -- the continent which hosted the majority of the Organization's peacekeeping missions.

    Timely identification of potential conflicts and their prevention would, therefore, reduce the number and cost of those operations.  To that end, he believed that the international financial institutions, working together with United Nations agencies in conflict prevention, disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation programmes would be most desirable.  Those institutions could and should complement the United Nations role by pursuing pro-development policies aimed at mitigating poverty and promoting stability in affected countries.

    The representative of Norway said his country's new Government was strongly committed to strengthening its role in United Nations-led peace operations, with a particular emphasis on Africa.  Welcoming strengthened cooperation between the United Nations and the various regional organizations, he said the African Union's monitoring mission in Darfur was a recent example.  He also favoured a deepening of relations between the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and looked forward to the finalization of a joint declaration between the two organizations in the near future.

    The 10-year capacity-building plan for Africa, which had been endorsed by the World Summit, was another possible platform for NATO-United Nations cooperation, he continued.  The main point must be to ensure that the African Union receives maximum coordinated support to implement its ambitious plans for the African Standby Force.  He also welcomed the Swedish proposal for the United Nations to add civilian observers to its instruments available for peace missions.  That would broaden the recruitment base and make a better gender balance in missions more achievable.

    While several speakers called for more coordination between the Committee and the Security Council, India's representative cautioned that Article 24 of the Charter, which defined the functions and powers of the Council in the maintenance of international peace and security, stated that those functions were conferred on it "in order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations".  But when the Council was not prompt or was ineffective, it ceased to discharge its primary responsibility.  The degraded operational effectiveness of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) was one such example.

    The Committee must, therefore, seriously discuss whether the Council should continue to have a monopoly in setting up and running of peacekeeping, he said.  The United Nations Emergency Force during the 1956 Suez Crisis had been established by the General Assembly.  The International Court of Justice had ruled that the "exclusivity" was solely reserved for coercive action under Chapter VII, and the Assembly was competent to organize peacekeeping operations.

    Another practical reason for the Assembly to take matters in hand was that it determined the financing and management of such missions.  Since Council members had been unwilling to finance some of the very mandates that they had approved, it was perhaps necessary for the Assembly to take up those mandates and to examine them closely.  As proposals for consolidation of peacekeeping accounts would be presented to the Fifth Committee, Member States had an opportunity to address the issue of selective financing.  Consolidation would address the chronic cash deficits faced by some missions and ensure predictable troop cost and contingent-owned equipment reimbursements to Member States.

    Earlier in the meeting, Mr. Guéhenno announced that the Committee had elected the following representatives to serve as its Bureau for the year:  Amin Bashir Wali (Nigeria), Chairman; Alberto Pedro D'Alotto (Argentina), Gilbert Laurin (Canada), Koji Haneda (Japan), and Beata Pęksa-Krawiec (Poland), as the four Vice-Chairs; and Tarek Adel (Egypt) as Rapporteur.

    Chairman Bashir Wali also welcomed the Special Committee's newest members:  Cambodia, Central African Republic, Guyana, Palau, Rwanda, Timor-Leste and the United Republic of Tanzania.

    Also today the Committee established, as it had in previous years, an Open-Ended Working Group to consider the substance of General Assembly resolution A/59/281, by which the Assembly decided that the Committee, in accordance with its mandate, "continue its efforts for a comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations...and shall review the implementation and consider any new proposals so as to enhance the capacity of the United Nations to fulfil its responsibilities in this field".  The Working Group, which would be chaired by Mr. Laurin of Canada, would submit a report to the Committee for its consideration and approval, following a series of closed meetings that would be held between 1 and 16 March.

    Also speaking today were the representatives of:  Austria (on behalf of the European Union), Morocco (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement), Guyana (on behalf of the Rio Group), Egypt, New Zealand (also on behalf of Canada and Australia), Turkey, Switzerland, Republic of Korea, Jordan, Pakistan, Philippines, China, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

    The Special Committee will continue its general debate at 10 a.m. Tuesday, 28 February.

    Background

    The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations met today to elect its Bureau, to address the organization of its work in accordance with its mandate as set forth in General Assembly resolution 5/281 (document A/RES/59/281) and to start its general debate.

    Opening Statement by Under-Secretary-General

    The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, JEAN-MARIE GUÉHENNO, thanked the Committee for its active support in 2005 and for providing important guidance in key areas such as the Standing Police Capacity and enhancement of the military reserve capacities of United Nations peacekeeping.  Good progress had been made on the Standing Police Capacity initiative, and continued support would be needed to achieve the goal of implementation of that Capacity in 2006.  He looked forward to similar progress on the issue of reserve military capacities.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Côte d'Ivoire were two missions that had demonstrated just how urgent that capacity was for the missions' success and the security of personnel.

    He said that collective efforts had produced substantial accomplishments in combating sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeepers.  Achievements included the establishment and enforcement of uniform standards, creation of multidisciplinary conduct and discipline teams at Headquarters and in eight peacekeeping missions; development of systems to track allegations of misconduct; and communication of the policy of zero-tolerance.  Success in combating sexual exploitation and abuse, however, came at a price.  There was a risk of backlog and delays in investigating allegations, which could be damaging to the victims of that abuse, to the individuals under examination, and to the reputation and morale of the mission in the field.  That required sustained capacity at Headquarters and in the field.  The specialized capacity of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) to investigate complaints must also be strengthened.

    The eradication of sexual exploitation and abuse rested on the ability to prevent it, he said.  Great strides had been made in developing training, information and public outreach programmes.  The Member States also played a crucial role in prevention, and there was an urgent need to continue work on revising the memorandum of understanding, on setting out the role of investigation processes, and on improving welfare and recreation for peacekeeping personnel.  An uncompromising message must be sent against prostitution in peacekeeping missions.

    Paying tribute to Glyn Berry, who had fallen victim to the violence in Afghanistan, Mr. Guéhenno said 32 of the 136 people who had died in the past 13 months had died, like Mr Berry, as a result of deliberate hostile attacks.  The rise in fatalities through malicious acts was worrying.  Concern for the security of United Nations military, police and civilian personnel in the field was one of the fundamental reasons for the reform agenda.  Protecting the security of missions and personnel could not be tackled in an isolated or piecemeal way.  It had to be addressed comprehensively as part of a process to improve all aspects of the United Nations' capacity to plan and conduct peacekeeping operations.

    He said the Brahimi Report had recognized United Nations peacekeeping as a core activity of the Organization.  The following principles were the lifeblood of United Nations peacekeeping:  consent of the parties to a conflict; use of force only in self-defence; support of regional and international partners; and sufficient resources to carry out mandated tasks.  The protection of civilians under imminent threat of physical violence had become another core principle.  Peacekeeping was the culmination, not the replacement, of a political process and could never be a reaction to a policy vacuum.

    When the Brahimi Report came out in August 2000, there were 17 United Nations peacekeeping operations under way with a total of around 48,000 personnel.  At the end of 2005, there was exactly the same number of peacekeeping operations with almost double the personnel, over 86,000, he said.  It was time to acknowledge that peacekeeping was a flagship of the United Nations Organization and as such required a sustained and comprehensive approach.  That did not mean never-ending peacekeeping operations.  The task was to deploy integrated United Nations missions to protect and strengthen peace in the immediate aftermath of conflict.  In 2005, it had been demonstrated that once that had been accomplished, peacekeeping operations swiftly transitioned to longer-term peacebuilding missions.  United Nations peacekeeping had repeatedly demonstrated its relative cost effectiveness.

    He said that an institutionalized, professional and responsive peacekeeping capacity was a core and integrated function of the Organization that translated into the following reform priorities:  well-trained, effective and responsible people, working with sufficient guidance and resources, in a responsive, transparent organization that cooperated efficiently with a whole range of peacekeeping partners.  The priorities of the reform agenda were the result of interrelated processes, including assessment of implementation of the reforms in the Brahimi Report over the past five years and a reflection of needs and requests from the field.

    Despite all reports of frustration, the men and women in peacekeeping were doing a tremendous job, he said.  Their presence could turn around a town or a province from a violent, fear-ridden environment to a place of some hope.  In New York, sight of that contribution was occasionally lost.  Sometimes, the view from New York of personnel scattered around the globe was primarily in the form of an audit or an admonishment.  In 2005 alone, 144 management and financial audits and enquiries had been carried out at 23 field operations.  Fraud hurt those who were doing a good job.  It was important, however, that audits did not result in hard-working, dedicated individuals being judged by standards drawn from a regulatory framework ill-suited to the exigencies of the field.  Also, a difference must be made between management audits and forensic investigations.  If an individual was found guilty of fraudulent behaviour or gross negligence, he or she must face the consequences of the United Nations policy of zero impunity.

    He said the recent audits had demonstrated the urgency of system-wide reform of operational procedures and human resource policies for the field.  Rules and regulations must be aligned to the demanding, unpredictable and dangerous environments in which missions operated, and trained experts should be put in place under appropriate conditions of service.  The more the Organization was required to undertake multidimensional peacekeeping operations, with large budgets and staff, the more it required the leaders, managers and technical personnel who could manage them.  The Department of Peacekeeping Operations had identified the need for 2,500 career civilian peacekeepers to provide the institutional cornerstone of field operations.

    Also feeding into reform priorities was the 2005 World Summit's commitment to a comprehensive, integrated approach to countries emerging from conflict, he continued.  The interlinkage between security and development was something peacekeeping personnel grappled with every day in the field.  The creation of the Peacebuilding Commission was, therefore, very welcome and would provide the basis for a more coherent, timely and sustained approach to post-conflict countries.  The role of the Commission, and the Peacebuilding Support Office, would be to chart the overall strategy for international engagement.  To ensure coherence between the strategic and operational levels, efficient communication was needed for the closest possible cooperation with partners within the United Nations system and outside.  That was why he was placing priority on improving the structures and practice of United Nations integrated missions.  One task would be to look, with United Nations partners, at how duplication could be minimized and how the efficiency of integrated response to post-conflict contexts could be maximized.

    It was too early to identify the precise nature of the future relationship between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Peacebuilding Commission and Peacebuilding Support Office, he said.  The interaction must be pragmatic and be driven by field needs.  The goal should be to improve the connection between Headquarters and the field, not to add new layers in the already complex network of relationships.

    He said commitment to the enhancement of African peacekeeping capacities was another key decision of the World Summit.  There were already close links with the African Union and African subregional organizations.  The Department's interest in supporting enhancement of African Union peacekeeping capacity was not to defer responsibility for conflict in Africa, but rather to engage regional partnerships to strengthen collective capacities to meet global peace and security needs.  To achieve peace and security in Africa, a systematic and sustained partnership with the African Union was needed.  The African Union had clearly set out the help it wanted from the United Nations.  In order to provide that assistance, the Department required both dedicated and sustained capacities at Headquarters and working side by side with the African Union in Addis Ababa.  The focus of the assistance effort was support for capacity-building.

    The five priorities of the Department's reform agenda -- people, partnerships, doctrine, organization and resources -- added up to an ambitious agenda that could not be accomplished in one year, he said.  The Secretary-General's report had suggested a time frame of five years, during which specific targets must be accomplished on an annual basis in each of the five priority areas.  In 2006, the goal was the establishment of flexible templates for mission structures and the implementation of Joint Operations Centres and Joint Mission Analysis Cells in the field.  Once progress in those areas was achieved, one could turn to other organizational needs.

    Statements

    Speaking in his national capacity, Committee Chair AMINU BASHIR WALI (Nigeria) said that hunger, poverty and other forms of political and social marginalization were at the heart of most of the conflict in Africa -- the continent which hosted the majority of the Organization's peacekeeping missions.  Timely identification of potential conflicts and their prevention would, therefore, reduce the number and cost of those operations.  To that end, Nigeria believed that the international financial institutions, working in collaboration with other United Nations agencies in conflict prevention, disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation programmes would be most desirable.  Those institutions could and should complement the United Nations role by pursuing pro-development policies aimed at mitigating poverty and promoting stability in affected countries.

    "A more effective voice for developing countries in their decision-making process would be decisive in bringing this about", he said, reiterating his call for the adoption of strategies and measures that would ensure the achievement of peace, security, stability and development.  That was the only way United Nations peacekeeping operations could succeed, he added.  Nigeria reaffirmed in that regard its support for the strengthening of early warnings systems for conflict resolution.  Nigeria welcomed the recent establishment of the new Peacebuilding Commission.

    On the work ahead, he expressed support for the five proposed priorities for peacekeeping reform -- partnerships, doctrine, people, organization and resources -- and said it would be important to take advantage of all expertise available within the United Nations system so as to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the Organization's peacekeeping operations.  He also stressed that coherence and coordination should replace competition and confrontation among United Nations agencies if the organizations' shared goals for peacekeeping were to be achieved.

    He went on to recall that the outcome of the 2005 World Summit called for coordinated efforts to enhance regional capacities in support of United Nations peacekeeping operations.  And, recognizing that there was no "one size fits all" approach in the implementation of such arrangements, Nigeria supported and would hope that others vigorously backed the proposal for the establishment of an African Standby Force by 2010.  The Secretary-General's proposal to create, within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, a dedicated full-time Unit to serve as a focal point for both the United Nations and the African Union to enhance African peacekeeping, deserved the support of African partners, he added.

    Nigeria also endorsed the concept of the Standing Police Capacity, with an initial deployment of 25 professional experts to be recruited in due course, he said, urging that the experts be recruited based on equitable geographical distribution.  On other matters, he said that there had long been a need to outline a doctrine for United Nations peacekeeping which reflected a clear, concise compendium of policies, procedures and guidelines.

    It should also be designed to meet future peacekeeping challenges, and, he added that it would also be helpful if time lines could be provided in three key areas:  completion of an inventory of existing written practice in peacekeeping tasks; prioritization of areas in need of further policy development; and establishment of a system for the review of guidance materials and the dissemination to the missions.  Since the doctrine, once agreed, would have an impact on global peacekeeping, input from all Member States on its elaboration would be invaluable.  On personnel, he stressed that without well-trained and motivated staff, policies on peace operations, no matter how well-intentioned, would not be very effective.

    Department of Peacekeeping Operations staff must have predictable career prospects, and the bulk of civilian staff currently on limited appointments deserved to be reassured that their contributions were valuable.  Further, any measures that enhanced efficiency, built institutional memory and discouraged rapid turnover should be supported, he said.  His Government fully supported the Organization's zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse and had devoted considerably more time and scarce resources to training and re-orienting its military personnel deployed in peace missions.

    He said Nigeria had responded swiftly with prompt repatriation investigation and prosecution in the few isolated cases of such misconduct identified by it or brought to its attention.  It was, nevertheless, disturbing that soon after such repatriations and the negative publicity that they generated, some of those allegations had turned out to be unsubstantiated.  Regrettably, United Nations investigations had been slow, and dissemination of information on the outcome of those inquiries was not met with the urgency and gravity with which the initial allegations had been announced.

    Nigeria was also concerned that the issue of sexual misconduct was being used by some within the United Nations to denigrate certain Member States, which had in turn thrown into doubt the interest of some States keeping up their traditional troop-contributing practices, he continued.  It also eroded confidence in the Organization's peacekeeping operations as a whole.  That attitude did a great disservice to the thousands of courageous and committed personnel.

    GERHARD PFANZELTER (Austria), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Union had always actively supported both United Nations peacekeeping missions and United Nations mandated missions with large numbers of troops, civilian police and other personnel.  In recent years, peacekeeping personnel had been increasingly exposed to security threats.  The Union, therefore, attached a great importance to further enhancement of security and safety of peacekeeping personnel, in particular the establishment of Joint Operation Centres and Joint Mission Analysis Centres.  In September 2003, the European Union had signed a "Joint Declaration on European Union/United Nations cooperation in Crisis Management".  In December 2005, the Union had been asked to consider the possibility of making available a deterrence force during the electoral period in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The European Union was considering how best to provide support in that endeavour.

    He said that during the current session, the European Union would focus on six priority areas:  enhancing the United Nations' operational capacity; cooperation with regional organizations; peacebuilding in the context of peacekeeping operations; misconduct; United Nations peacekeeping doctrine; and reorganization of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.  Regarding strengthening of the operational capacity, he said the Union welcomed the approach of developing enhanced rapidly deployable military capabilities.  The development of the United Nations Integrated Mission Planning Process handbook in a timely manner had been a crucial step in further improving the planning and execution of United Nations peacekeeping operations.

    Regarding cooperation with regional organizations, he said the development of peacekeeping and crisis management capacities should be mutually reinforcing rather than duplicative or competing.  The European Union had developed a global approach to crisis management that drew simultaneously on both civilian and military instruments.  The World Summit had supported the development of a 10-year plan for capacity-building with the African Union.  The European Union was contributing towards that from its African Peace Facility, in addition to financing ongoing African peace operations.

    As for peacebuilding, he said development, peace and security and human rights were interlinked and mutually reinforcing.  A piecemeal approach had resulted in relapse into conflict.  There was a need to distinguish between the strategic role of the Peacebuilding Commission and the operational role on the ground of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, United Nations agencies and Bretton Woods institutions.  He encouraged the Department to work closely with the Peacebuilding Support Office to ensure effective and realistic strategies for peacebuilding.  In cases of modern complex peacekeeping operations that addressed issues such as the rule of law and human rights, the idea to make use of civilian observers should be further explored.

    Addressing misconduct, he said the European Union strongly reiterated the need to ensure that victims of sexual exploitation were assisted appropriately and that perpetrators of sexual exploitation and abuse were brought to justice.  Member States had a particular responsibility to train, prepare and hold accountable members of national contingents, including on senior levels.  As for doctrine, he said that one had to keep in mind that doctrine was not only a question of terminology.  It covered important areas of policy, strategy and implementation of decisions in a whole range of peacekeeping activities.  Doctrine had, therefore, to be elaborated very precisely and in a transparent and cooperative manner.

    He said the European Union was concerned by current organizational flaws within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and mission headquarters.  He welcomed the report's conclusions that experiences from national systems in establishing integrated planning and support capacities for multinational field operations might provide useful insights.  The implementation of the Integrated Mission Planning Process and testing was a prerequisite for further change.  The right balance must be struck between specialization and integration.  It was important that the planning capacities of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations be strengthened.  The cost of United Nations peacekeeping had risen substantially, and as the largest collective financial contributor to United Nations peacekeeping, the European Union considered an efficient and effective use of funds to be of utmost importance.  Financial rules and regulations should be adjusted to the latest developments in peacekeeping and the most up-to-date standards in accounting.

    SOUAD EL ALAOUI (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that while her delegation continued to support the view that United Nations peacekeeping was an important instrument in the maintenance of international peace and security, it believed that it could not, however, be a permanent solution for addressing the underlying causes of conflict.  Indeed, peacekeeping had proved to be most effective as a temporary measure, which helped maintain a ceasefire, or ended hostilities.  In those instances, the operations had not only lessened the possibility of future escalation of hostilities, but had also provided an atmosphere conducive to the pursuit of measures to end the conflict.

    She said that the latest surge in peacekeeping had been an opportunity and a challenge for the United Nations, and had particularly impacted the Organization's ability and credibility to discharge its responsibilities in the maintenance of international peace and security.  With that in mind, she called for careful and comprehensive assessment of peacekeeping activities with a view to reaffirming multilateralism and international legitimacy in crisis management and settlement.  On the work ahead for the Committee this year, the Movement was concerned with, among other things, the safety and security of United Nations and associated staff in the field, where the problems were, and where urgent solutions must be identified and applied.

    The Non-Aligned Movement also advocated the view that the best assurance against serious risks for mission staff was to ensure a properly planned and mandated mission, which encompassed well-trained and disciplined contingents that were not "deployed in a void" or where political progress was either non-existent or compromised.  Urging the Secretariat to initiate concrete measures to ensure field safety, she recalled that there had been 122 fatalities in 2005.  Turning to other matters, she emphasized the crucial role of the three-way dialogue between the troop contributors, the Security Council and the Secretariat.  Troop-contributing countries needed to be involved early and fully in all aspects and stages of mission planning.

    She went on to underscore the need to ensure that all military, civilian and police personnel in United Nations peacekeeping operations functioned in a manner that preserved the image, credibility, impartiality and integrity of the wider Organization.  The Non-Aligned Movement wholeheartedly supported the Organization's zero-tolerance policy in that regard and welcomed the Secretariat's efforts to address the matter.  But at the same time, while it appreciated the setting up of a full-time mechanism to deal with misconduct and discipline issues in Headquarters, as well as selected missions, the Non-Aligned Movement believed that transforming the current Headquarters team into a permanent conduct and discipline unit in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, as proposed by the Secretary-General, required further consideration.

    She said that the Movement continued to believe that mechanisms such as the pre-mandate commitment authority and strategic deployment stocks had strengthened the United Nations capacity to provide logistical support to personnel deployments.  While supporting the call for rapid deployment, and based on the experience of United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) last year, the Non-Aligned Movement continued to believe that the Secretariat needed to optimize all existing aspects of the pre-mandate operational preparedness and deployment.  She added that the Movement welcomed the creation of the Standing Police Capacity and stressed the need for a comprehensive review of that initiative at the end of the year.

    The Non-Aligned Movement took note of the difficulties regarding retaining highly qualifies professional civilian personnel in peacekeeping missions, and looked forward to the upcoming reports on reforming the "Field Service" category.  She added that due attention should be given to equitable geographical representation during the recruitment process.  On other matters, she said the Movement commended the Secretariat's continuing efforts to ensure timely reimbursement of troop-contributing countries.  At the same time, however, the delegation noted that payments to some missions remained outstanding, and the NAM would reiterate that all Member States must pay their assessed contributions, in full and on time and without conditions.

    GEORGE TALBOT (Guyana), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, took note of the progress made since the initiation of the reform process in 2000, in particular as it related to planning, launching and reception of peace operations.  Many challenges remained, not least regarding the magnitude and complexity of situations on the ground.  Although the five key areas identified in the report were of interest, the Special Committee should not limit its discussion to those areas, but should also consider other elements of interest to Member States.

    Highlighting the important contribution of regional and subregional organizations, he said the United Nations and regional partners should continue to pursue close coordination and cooperation, while maintaining the prerogatives of the United Nations, especially regarding elements of peace enforcement.   The excellent collaboration between the Organization of American States and United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was testimony to the value of partnerships.  Haiti, however, still faced formidable challenges in its path towards a sustainable peace and development in which it would require the continued support of the international community.

    He said United Nations peacekeepers should maintain the highest standards of conduct and discipline.  The zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual exploitation and abuse needed to be widely promoted at all levels of the system.  He called for a holistic and comprehensive approach to the issue, involving all agencies that worked in the field.  The approach should include addressing the need for rapid assistance to victims.  Also, due attention needed to be paid to preventive measures, starting at the national level, and attention should be paid to possible duplication of resources and functions regarding the establishment of Conduct and Disciplinary Teams.

    Although peacekeeping operations needed the necessary resources to fulfil their mandates, he was concerned about the level of resources consumed by such operations, which translated into a financial burden.  Resources needed to be utilized cost-effectively within intergovernmentally agreed parameters.  He deeply regretted that the report failed to address the issue of reimbursement to troop-contributing countries and reiterated the need for timely reimbursement.  Taking note of the progressive development and refinement of standards and guidelines for field operations, he said standardisation of peacekeeping definitions (terminology) should continue to be discussed in the Special Committee.  He also expressed the Group's deepest concern at the findings of misconduct, mismanagement and potential fraud affecting peacekeeping operations.

    He said he was surprised that gender mainstreaming throughout peacekeeping operations had not been included among the priorities in the report.  In light of the concern expressed regarding sexual exploitation and abuse, it was more important than ever that gender mainstreaming was accorded due priority.  In addition to being a tool for the empowerment of local women and girls, it was also an important tool for changing the "boys will be boys" culture within the missions.

    MAGED ABDELAZIZ (Egypt) said the United Nations peacekeeping activities had transformed over the years beyond the mere cessation of hostilities to include creating an atmosphere where peace could be secured and development could take hold.  The culmination of that transformation was the recent establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission, which would help prevent conflicts from reigniting, and would require the coordination and cooperation of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).  He called for enhanced efforts to ensure the safety and security of United Nations staff, and more coordination between United Nations agencies in the area of peacekeeping.

    On the issue of accountability and sexual exploitation, he emphasized the need to adopt a comprehensive framework to prevent the recurrence of such misconduct.  Egypt looked forward to the Assembly's action in that regard.  On the five Department of Peacekeeping Operations priorities for the year, he stressed that the proposal contained several new concepts that must be studied in order to arrive at an agreement among all member States, particularly on the matter of partnership.

    To that end, Egypt would stress the work under way within the African Union and call for enhancing the United Nations partnership with that important organization.  Indeed, if the African Union had been properly supported by the international community, its efforts to ensure peace in Darfur might have met with even greater success.  On other matters, he joined others who hoped that Committee would engage in a frank discussion of matters regarding remuneration to troop-contributing countries for peacekeeping costs.  He also urged the Committee come up, during this session, with an explicit message expressing support for safety and security of, and the invaluable work being done by dedicated peacekeepers and staff officers in the field.

    Colonel SELWYN HEATON (New Zealand), speaking on behalf of Canada and Australia, recognized the immense progress made by the Department in establishing and managing peace operations and was greatly encouraged by proposals for further reform.  However, such reform must be done in partnership with all stakeholders, especially troop-contributing countries, he said.  There was a need for Member States to implement the initiatives of the World Summit and to implement the zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse.  There was also a need to continue momentum on a number of technical issues, including training, gender, staff officers in the field, quality of personnel provided by troop-contributing countries and the high level of civilian vacancies in the field.

    He hoped that the Peacebuilding Commission, designed to fill an institutional gap, would be able to effectively coordinate and integrate international resources to address critical rule-of-law issues and capacity-building.  He encouraged the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to continue to work with its partners within the United Nations system to make the current Integrated Mission Planning Process more effective and to better integrate work with the United Nations Development Group, especially in matters regarding mission planning.  The World Summit had underscored a responsibility to help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.  It was incumbent on the Special Committee to begin considering the work necessary to give effect to the concept on the ground.

    Addressing the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse, he said the Group was concerned that the problem did not appear to have diminished during the past year, in spite of all the attention.  Vigilance and determined action was needed by both the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Member States.  It was essential that the momentum generated by Prince Zeid's report be maintained.  He reiterated his Group's support for the National Investigation Officer concept and a methodology for strong, direct and transparent action, ensuring adherence to national judicial processes.

    He was encouraged by Mr. Guéhenno's remarks on Department reform, especially his intent to engage with Member States that had grappled with similar challenges.  He anticipated that greater integration at Headquarters would lead to enhanced integration in the field.  He welcomed the Department's intent to define the principles and procedures for carrying out peace operations.  The doctrinal bedrock would provide the foundation for further training development.  He encouraged Department of Peacekeeping Operations to explore the potential of using "e-learning", especially in enhancing African Peacekeeping capabilities, welcoming the Department's initiative in developing a constructive relationship with regional organizations.

    He said the development of the Standardized Training Modules had been an important contribution to enhancing the readiness of national military personnel.  The wider complementary development of training for police and civilians, however, still remained to be done.  He welcomed the Department's focus on establishing procedures for gender mainstreaming through the Department's operations as that would assist in the struggle to eliminate sexual exploitation and abuse.  He looked forward to a robust and frank dialogue with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations regarding concerns of the quality of personnel provided by Members States, particularly military observers.  As the potential of civilian observers had been raised, he encouraged an examination to identify the wide range of tasks, determine their appropriateness as an observer task, identify skills required and identify who was best suited to undertake the role.

    BAKI İLKIN (Turkey) opened with a brief overview of his country's contribution to United Nation's peacekeeping, noting that Turkey had participated in 19 peace missions over the past two decades, within and outside its own region, including those in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Haiti and Timor-Leste, among others.  Turkey was also currently the ninth largest police contributor to United Nations-led peace operations, with 250 personnel serving in eight different missions.

    Turning to the work of the Special Committee, he said that, while his Government supported the lead role played by the United Nations in global peacekeeping, it believed that the capabilities of regional organizations should also be taken into account.  Cooperation between such organizations and the United Nations should be further enhanced, particularly in light of the call for such initiatives in the Outcome of the 2005 World Summit.  He went on to say that rapid deployment remained a challenge for the Organization and that the establishment of standing police capacity and the creation of enhanced rapidly deployable capabilities would definitely strengthen the operational capacity of United Nations peacekeeping.

    On the protection of peacekeepers in the field, he emphasized the important responsibility of host countries in that area.  Gathering and analysing strategic information, particularly at operational levels, was among the key elements for ensuring such safety, he said, welcoming the establishment and further development of joint operation and mission analysis centres.  Stressing that the Secretariat needed to be well resourced and structured to support complex field mandates, he pointed out that peacekeeper training was an indispensable component of a successful peace operation.  In that regard, Turkey, for its part, had established a "Partnership for Peace" training centre in Ankara in 1998, which had since organized 215 courses and six seminars and provided training for almost 6,000 peacekeepers from 58 different countries.

    JORGE SKINNER-KLÉE (Guatemala) said that in recognition of the fact that the ever-increasing complexity and multidimensional character of some present-day conflicts, discussion should not be limited to the five priority areas identified by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.  He was particularly interested in questions relating to partnerships and doctrine, as it was necessary to refine objectives and the means for achieving the maintenance and building of peace in a systematic manner.  Stressing the question of safety and security, he said the tragic incident of 23 January in which eight Guatemalan soldiers lost their lives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo underlined the insecurity inherent in the environment in which many missions functioned.  He urged the Secretariat to assign the highest priority to enhancing security, which necessarily involved enhancing the capacity to seek reliable information on the one hand and a frank and continuous exchange between troop-contributing countries and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

    He said it was necessary that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations continue working, together with the Office of the Coordinator for Security Affairs towards enhancing its capacity to forestall threats to personnel and to improve mechanisms for compiling, analysing and disseminating information.  It was also extremely important that, in an incident involving bloodshed in the field, constant communication be ensured between the Department and the troop-contributing country concerned.  In the case mentioned, his country had received only preliminary information on the investigation being carried out.  He deplored the fact that from the very first day certain media had more detailed information that the Guatemalan authorities.

    He expressed the hope that the Secretariat would provide the Special committee with a conceptual definition or a policy document on the joint mission analysis cells, giving an account of details, structure, functions and the role of those cells, for the purpose of furnishing information on the various components in the context of newly established and existing peacekeeping operations.  His country took pride in its increasingly active role in United Nations operations and was willing to work, from within the Special Committee and with the Secretariat, for the improvement of the peace maintenance system.

    PETER MAURER (Switzerland) said that since the Security Council decided on mandates for peacekeeping operations, the interaction between that 15-nation body and troop-contributing countries was of particular importance and needed to be further strengthened.  On the work of the Committee itself, he said that with the Organization's rapidly expanding peacekeeping activities, Switzerland believed that the Special Committee should assert itself and be as active throughout the year as possible.  Noting the positive changes in the Committee's working methods in the past year, Switzerland had also been pleased about the frequency of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations' meetings in recent months.  It was also pleased that "energetic" action had been taken to remedy sexual exploitation and abuse by persons involved in peacekeeping operations.

    Turning to other issues, he said that Switzerland felt that there was an urgent need to institute a professional career structure for civil personnel taking part in peace operations.  Indeed, it would be a good idea to take an in-depth look at the situation, particularly related to the matter of recruitment, during 2006 so that any obstacles to introducing such a career structure could be identified and measures to overcome them could be considered.  He added that Switzerland also supported efforts under way to improve the recruitment, training and preparation of mission heads.

    He went on to say that in light of certain negative experiences that had occurred last year, Switzerland believed that special attention should be paid to the situations and conditions that triggered the launching or continuation of a mission.  And while such decisions were squarely in the hands of the Security Council, it was important that they were made in consultations with mission heads and troop contributors.  The Organization's overall peacekeeping doctrine should make clear the obligations of host countries, as well as stress the fact that host communities and local populations needed to be fully aware of mission mandates.  He also said that he hoped that once the newly established Peacebuilding Commission was up and running, that body would cooperate actively with the Committee.

    OH JOON (Republic of Korea) said that demands for new peacekeeping missions had continued to increase, and that trends showed no signs of reversing.  At the same time, post-conflict societies were not only exposed to threats of recurring violence, but often faced great difficulties in sustaining social and economic development.  Thus, the range of United Nations peacekeeping efforts had inevitably widened over the years.  Their changing nature required more financial resources, placing a substantial burden on the Member States.  It was important, therefore, to devise strategies to ensure that the operations were undertaken as efficiently, effectively and cost-consciously as possible.  Member States, the Secretariat and regional organizations had a shared responsibility in that regard.

    Calling for a strengthened capacity and quality of peacekeeping, he said that cooperation with regional groups, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union and the African Union deserved serious consideration and could improve a rapid deployment capacity.  Equally important was operational cooperation between and among the missions themselves.  Recent instances of cooperation between the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) were encouraging.  In light of the fact that seven of the 17 existing operations were in Africa, efforts should be enhanced to bolster the capabilities of the African countries.  The World Summit called for the development and implementation of a 10-year plan to build the African Union's capacity.  He welcomed the Union's road map for building its operational capabilities through the African Standby Force based on its five subregional brigades.  His country was now considering substantially strengthened programmes to assist African countries.

    Also needed was a strategic framework to facilitate the undertaking of complex peace operations, he said.  He commended the Department of Peacekeeping Operations for its progress on the Integrated Mission Planning Process.  It should be further developed in a way that ensured an optimal mix of political, military, development and humanitarian measures throughout the lifecycle of United Nations peacekeeping missions.  The role of the Peacebuilding Commission and other actors within the Secretariat should ensure the most efficient utilization of resources and expertise in supporting a seamless transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding.  Each mission's task, size and structure should be reviewed periodically, with completion strategies set when appropriate.  Of particular importance to troop- and finance-contributing countries was the need to ensure the full involvement of all relevant shareholdings through early consultations.  He also joined others in registering his concerns about the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel.

    NIRUPAM SEN (India) said Article 24 of the Charter, which defined the functions and powers of the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security, stated that those functions were conferred on it "in order to ensure prompt and effective action by the United Nations".  But when the Council was not prompt or was ineffective, it ceased to discharge its primary responsibility.  The degraded operational effectiveness of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) was one such example.  The Special Committee must, therefore, seriously discuss whether the Council should continue to have a monopoly in setting up and running peacekeeping.  The United Nations Emergency Force during the 1956 Suez Crisis had been established by the General Assembly.  The International Court of Justice had ruled that the "exclusivity" was solely reserved for coercive action under Chapter VII and the Assembly was competent to organize peacekeeping operations.

    Another practical reason for the Assembly to take matters in hand was that it determined the financing and management of such missions.  Since Council members had been unwilling to finance some of the very mandates that they had approved, it was perhaps necessary for the Assembly to take up those mandates and to examine them closely.  As proposals for consolidation of peacekeeping accounts would be presented to the Fifth Committee, Member States had an opportunity to address the issue of selective financing.  Consolidation would address the chronic cash deficits faced by some missions and ensure predictable troop cost and contingent-owned equipment reimbursements to Member States.

    He said the safety and security of United Nations peacekeepers was an area of critical concern for troop-contributing countries.  The 122 deaths of peacekeepers in 2005 was a reminder of the worsening situation regarding the safety and security of peacekeepers in the field.  The United Nations needed to enhance its capacity for information gathering and assessment and sharing it with field units for preventive action.  Progress made through the establishment of Joint Operation Centres and Joint Mission Analysis Centres had yet to filter down to the mission.  Information should not be lost in "the jungle of the cohesive integrated Headquarters".  He emphasized that troop-contributing countries needed to be involved early and fully in all aspects and stages of mission planning.

    Regarding the need for enhanced rapidly deployable capacities, he said that for inter-mission cooperation arrangements, limited logistical support could be considered in certain specific circumstances.  He had, however, reservations over blanked sharing of assets and personnel of one mission in a region with those of another.  That was contrary to United Nations practices and provisions.  As for the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse, he fully supported the establishment and implementation of a zero-tolerance policy.  Careful preparatory training in terms of a multicultural, pluralistic and tolerant outlook was as important as subsequent swift punitive action.  He resisted efforts by the Council to encroach on an issue that clearly fell within the function of the Assembly and urged the Committee to take a lead on the issue.  In creating a Standing Police Capacity, proposed at the World Summit, due attention should be paid to coordination between the police and military components of the peacekeeping mission in the field.

    GEIR ASBJORNSEN (Norway) said that the recent killings of peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Haiti, and the violent protests in Côte d'Ivoire, were important reminders of the challenges facing United Nations peacekeeping operations.  He paid tribute to all personnel who had lost their lives in the past year while serving the cause of peace.  The new Norwegian Government was strongly committed to strengthening Norway's role in United Nations-led peace operations, with a particular emphasis on Africa.  It was planning a substantial increase in its presence in the field, and it was looking at ways to increase its support of the work done by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York.  There was a clear need to strengthen the Department's military planning capacity.  That was all the more important as operations had become increasingly large and complex, and that could be achieved by restructuring the Department.  Another possibility might be to second national officers on the basis of a funding arrangement that would ensure the balanced representation of all regions.

    He said his country was also working actively to promote the idea of strengthening the planning element within the Multinational Standby Forces High Readiness Brigade (SHIRBRIG).  That would benefit the United Nations without burdening its budget.  Information gathering and analysis was another area where there was scope for improvement.  Intelligence was the absolute key to safety and security.  Mission environments had become increasingly dangerous.  With splinter groups and insurgents from neighbouring countries not feeling bound by peace agreements, there was a duty to ensure that United Nations personnel were protected to the extent possible.  Norway was interested in engaging with other Member States and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in developing tactical intelligence concepts for individual missions.  He also welcomed the establishment of a standing police capacity.  While there was some concern about the financial consequences, "we cannot afford not to move on with the implementation of this innovative and highly promising concept", he said.

    Also welcome was the strengthened cooperation between the United Nations and the various regional organizations, he said.  The African Union's monitoring mission in Darfur was a recent example.  He also favoured a deepening of relations between the United Nations and NATO, and looked forward to the finalization of a joint declaration between the two organizations in the near future.  The 10-year capacity-building plan for Africa, which had been endorsed by the World Summit, was another possible platform for NATO-United Nations cooperation.  The main point must be to ensure that the African Union receives maximum coordinated support to implement its ambitious plans for the African Standby Force.  He also welcomed the Swedish proposal for the United Nations to add civilian observers to its instruments available for peace missions.  That would broaden the recruitment base and make a better gender balance in missions more achievable.

    HARON HASSAN (Jordan) said that, as last year a high number of peacekeepers had lost their lives in the field, there was always a need to look at new means to enhance their safety and security.  All forms of technical monitoring and surveillance means, in particular aerial monitoring, should be explored as a means to ensure the safety of peacekeepers.  Three Jordanian peacekeepers had recently lost their lives in Haiti, and the working environment surrounding the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) was not at all encouraging.  Restrictions that might threaten the safety of peacekeepers should not be shelved pending slow progress on the political track.  Another issue of concern was the general quality of the joint meetings between the Security Council and the troop-contributing countries.  The highlight of those meetings was a briefing by the Secretariat.  However, the purpose of the meetings was to engage in an open and frank discussion on matters of mutual concern.

    Regarding sexual exploitation and abuse, he said he looked forward to the conclusion of both the revised model memorandum of understanding and the national investigation officers concept, as well as to a comprehensive strategy on victims.  The issue of in-mission courts martial should also be examined.  He supported the recommendation of the 2005 World Summit to establish a 10-year African Union capacity-building plan to realize a long-term partnership.  Focus in that regard should be on enhancing African capacities.   Any thinking to enhance or promote other capacities or arrangements should be dealt with separately.

    He fully supported the establishment of a standing police capacity.  Such a capacity should involve more personnel with legal background and sufficient expertise in the area of rule of law, he said.  The capacity of the United Nations in the area of the rule of law needed to be enhanced.  The best approach to enhancing capacity and integrating expertise in that area would be through a standing entity within the Secretariat specialized in the field of rule of law and transitional justice.  Regarding the issue of terminology, he said that, cognizant of the fact that peacekeeping realities had changed and the tasks of peacekeepers had become of a broader scope, it was imperative that common understanding was reached on the meaning of the terms used.

    MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said United Nations peacekeeping had emerged as a vital element in the maintenance of order in many parts of the world.  There had been some failures in the past, but in the last decade -- in Timor-Leste, Burundi, Sierra Leone and elsewhere -- the Organization's peace efforts had been largely successful.  And while the Security Council, the Special Committee and the Secretariat could take credit for the achievements of the Organization's peacekeeping, it was important to remember that it was the peacekeepers -- the boots on the ground -- who executed the strategies and mandates, often in the most difficult of circumstances.

    Pakistan was one of the largest troop contributors, currently participating in 11 operations in Africa and elsewhere, he said, stressing that his delegation looked forward to discussing further the five priorities -- partnerships, doctrine, people, organization and resources.  And that was not an exhaustive list of tasks -- the Committee must also maintain its focus on the five objectives offered by the Secretary-General: ensuring the success of missions; enhancing the safety and security of personnel; improving accountability and effective and efficient management of resources; increasing qualified peacekeeping capacity; and ensuring proper conduct and discipline.

    He went on to suggest that the Committee needed to evaluate why certain missions had been successful and problem-free, while others had not.  Among other factors, Pakistan saw that political will in the Security Council had been variable, resulting in different responses to different situations.  He also said that some missions were under-resourced from the outset, and while best practices were often applied from past operations, such application had not been consistent or uniform across peacekeeping theatres.

    In the context of partnerships, Pakistan would note that the contribution of regional organizations was complementary to the primary role played by the United Nations.  To that end, Pakistan supported increased cooperation with the African Union and support for African capacity-building.  The potential of regional and subregional organizations to contribute to United Nations peacekeeping should be assessed realistically both from the political and operational and financial perspectives.  Member States were the building blocks of partnerships, and troop-contributing countries should have an increased role in overall decision-making processes.  They also needed support to enhance their own peacekeeping capacities, including the creation of national peacekeeping training institutions.

    LAURO L. BAJA, JR. (Philippines) said that peacekeeping operations should recognize the national and regional peculiarities, the various cultural and religious backgrounds, and the differences in the political, economic and cultural systems of States.  Development and human rights, and peacebuilding, should be made integral components of peace operations.  States, regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, religious bodies and the media also had important roles to play.  On the operational aspects, the foremost question was whether an operation could be implemented successfully.  That would put on notice what was required from its sponsors; it would avoid raising expectations, and it would send the correct message to the actors concerned.  That meant giving the peacekeeping operation a robust enough mandate to fulfil its objectives.  It also meant giving it clear rules of engagement in carrying out its mandate and providing it with adequate manpower and resources.  That also meant ensuring that the right people were involved, the right perspectives established; and the right tools provided.

    He said it was also important to ensure the cooperation of local actors and local ownership.  What was on paper should be able to be translated on the ground.  Giving hope to the people should be a major objective of all peacekeeping operations.  Funds were urgently needed, not only to buttress peacekeeping efforts, but also to support post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation.  When a ceasefire was obtained, the following months could determine whether a transition to stability would succeed or fail.  The international community did not have the immediate funds to help countries in that critical period.  A stand-alone, multilaterally managed post-conflict fund drawn from the resources and expertise of relevant agencies to assist countries during the critical initial period after a ceasefire could address that challenge.  The ad hoc fund-raising system presently in play delayed needed assistance.

    More energy should be spent addressing the problem of recruitment or retention of qualified personnel, as well as issues related to the training and selection of senior leaders to oversee peace operations, he said.  The creation of the Integrated Training Service and conduct and discipline teams was a welcome development.  He also supported the proposals for the creation of a standing police capacity and an enhanced, rapidly deployable reserve capacity, as endorsed by the World Summit.  For several years, developing countries had served as the backbone of United Nations peacekeeping operations, with their soldiers and civilian police constituting the main bulk of blue helmets.  Developed countries should share the burden by also deploying personnel and equipment to support the operations.  His country placed particular importance on the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse in mission areas.  It endorsed the conduct and discipline units in the field, and felt the recommendations of the Secretary-General's Special Adviser for troop contributors should be given serious consideration.

    ZHANG YISHAN (China) said that peacekeeping operations had played an important role in helping countries consolidate peace, maintain stability and engage in national reconstruction.  As such, they had won the ever increasing support and trust of all parties, and they had also aroused greater expectations.  Peacekeeping operations should adhere to the United Nations Charter, fully respect the views of the parties concerned and strictly preserve neutrality.  The emphasis of a peace operation should be on making full use of its political influence and integrated functions instead of its military function alone.  Only that way could a mission help maintain long-term peace and security in its task area, obtain widespread support and achieve success.

    He said his country had contributed more than 5,000 peacekeepers to more than 15 United Nations peacekeeping operations.  Presently, more than 1,000 Chinese peacekeepers were serving in 13 mission areas, and China was willing to increase its participation.  Peacekeeping was characterized by two trends.  The first was that the operations were constantly expanding in scale and requirements.  The second was that the operations' functions were becoming more multifaceted, growing from traditional ceasefire monitoring to a series of tasks, from assisting countries in holding elections to disarming, demobilizing and reintegrating former combatants.  Reasonable and necessary reform of the operations must continue so as to fill the gap between the increased demand and diversification of tasks, on the one hand, and the existing capacity, on the other.

    Reform measures should correspond to real needs, he said.  Forward-looking research in deploying peace operations should be strengthened.  The Department of Peacekeeping Operations should make prior assessments on the need and feasibility of deployment and provide recommendations on the function, scale and budget of potential operations, in order to facilitate the preparation of troop contributors.  In that way, once the Security Council authorized deployment, all necessary personnel would be in place in a timely manner.  The modalities and theories of peacekeeping should be updated.  The Department of Peacekeeping Operations should carry out systematic comparison and analysis and submit recommendations for improving, among other things, the organizational structure of missions, the command systems, the scale of the mandate, and effective management of resources.  Also, rapid deployment capabilities should be strengthened.

    He also stressed the need to enhance the internal management of peacekeeping operations and to strengthen personnel training both in the pre-deployment stage and during actual operations.  All Member States should keep in mind the strategic importance of maintaining global and regional peace, security and stability and display good political will by providing timely and sufficient political, financial and personnel support to the operations and their reform.

    LEONG YUE KHEONG (Singapore) said the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, over the last 12 months, had dome well in managing 17 missions around the world and had increased engagement and dialogue with Member States.  The increase in operations and the complexity of mandates continued to demand creative solutions.  New ways needed to be explored to generate resources, new methods of preparing for high readiness and new arrangements in strengthening partnerships.  The fundamental challenge was how to integrate the various agencies and entities within the United Nations family.  Among the five identified priorities, the issue of organization had to be given greater prominence.  Integration demanded a far higher threshold than coordination or cooperation.  It would require the Department to cut across structures and divisions.  Besides rationalizing the configuration and structures, the Department needed to re-examine its current work processes and procedures.

    He said doctrine development, another area identified, could not be isolated from the development of the newly Integrated Training Service and the work of the Best Practice Unit.  Those three entities should find some ways of convergence.  Doctrine development had to keep pace with the rapid changes on the ground.  Dedicated resources should be set aside, and capacity built to quickly translate lessons learned into writing.  As future peacekeeping would probably see a larger component of civilians, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations needed to establish a professional cadre of civilians' expertise, institution-building, rule of law and leadership skills.  There was a need for an attractive civilian career, effective training, development of common standards, domain knowledge and sound career development.  Those tasks had to be integrated with the military and the police.

    He welcomed the establishment of the conduct and discipline teams in the area of sexual exploitation and abuse.  The effectiveness of those teams in arresting the problems must be measured and rationalized with the work of the Gender Advisers and the Child Protection Advisers in the field missions to ensure optimization of limited resources.  Given increased attacks on peacekeepers, the security and safety of peacekeeping personnel had to be further strengthened.  He was concerned that the Joint Mission Analysis cells had not been fully implemented.  The ability to gather tactical information concerning new threats was a basic security requirement and the Department should comprehensively explore methods of collecting intelligence in the field.

    WILLEM REMPANGILEI (Indonesia) said that, five years after the Brahimi report, great progress had been made in planning and deployment, as well as in cooperation between the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries.  However, greater efficiencies could be made.  United Nations peacekeeping would be enhanced by a system of overlapping partnerships at institutional, national and regional levels.  Cooperation between peacekeeping operations and regional arrangements would enhance the management of peacekeeping in those localities.  Fifty years of peacekeeping experience should now be synthesized, taking advantage of lessons learned and best practices.  Such a doctrine would greatly assist in minimizing the current grey areas.  He welcomed the Secretary-General's invitation to the Committee to explore practical mechanisms in that regard.

    He said it was of the utmost importance to ensure that future peacekeeping was enriched by a core of skilled, professional peacekeepers and managers, and there was a need for strong, well-prepared and effective leadership in the field.  He was concerned at the long recruitment time and the high level of civilian vacancies in the field.  Regarding sexual exploitation and abuse, he said he supported the concept of a national investigation officer.  He hoped that a model memorandum of understanding could enable Member States and the United Nations to agree on a memorandum or other arrangement that enshrined the model memorandum principles and also met national requirements.  He also supported the idea of a permanent, integrated conduct and discipline unit in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

    Regarding organization, he said multidimensional peacekeeping missions must take advantage of best practices in the field.  The most important tool there was communication within all relevant parties and between Headquarters and the field.  There must be unity of purpose in the field between department and agencies, as well as between civilian, police and military peacekeepers.  Also, peacekeeping could not work without the necessary resources, but there must be accountability in the use of them.  A standing police capacity would no doubt be capable of conferring on new peace operations the authority and credibility of a strong and early police presence.  Enhanced Rapid Deployable Military Capabilities would greatly improve the safety of personnel.  The recurring killing of peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was a matter of grave concern, he said, and wondered if the decision to send Guatemalan peacekeepers to Garamba had been backed by adequate intelligence data.

    Echoing previous speakers that the current surge in peacekeeping had thinly stretched the capacities of the United Nations system, MOHAMAD PERANG BIN JH MUSA (Malaysia) called for a serious international dialogue and collaboration.  Only through increased cooperation could the United Nations develop its ability to assist in ending conflict and control recurring ones, hence improving the prospects for conflict resolution.  He supported the involvement of regional organizations or arrangements in peacekeeping, where appropriate or feasible.  The integration of all parts of the United Nations system must be devoted to the common goal of bringing about peace with due attention to the local authority and greater transparency.  Hence, such regional or subregional arrangements should not in any way diminish or absolve the sovereignty of any State and its ownership.  An effective mechanism should be installed both at Headquarters and in the field to carefully manage any arrangements for operational linkages with those organizations.

    In that regard, he said he welcomed the proposal for the creation within the peacekeeping department of a dedicated full-time single focal point of contact for the African Union and other partners, with a view to further clarifying the Union's concept, role and capacity.  With peace operations ever more complex and demanding, peacekeepers had become increasingly susceptible to threats and violence posed by belligerents.  Recent attacks and violent acts against them and other United Nations personnel, intrusion into United Nations compounds and facilities, and so forth, indicated that peacekeepers today were exposed to a high-intensity security environment, performing their duties in increasingly volatile and dangerous situations.  Their security and safety must be given the utmost priority.  Peacekeepers should be well trained and capable of handling cross-cutting issues and delicate situations.  The guidelines, procedures and best practices should be translated into strategic, operational and tactical doctrines for members of the troop-contributing countries and mission staff in the field.

    He joined others in strongly condemning sexual exploitation and abuse by military, civilian police and civilian peacekeeping personnel.  Such acts of gross misconduct were "smudges" on the good reputation and credibility of the Department and the missions.  He supported a zero-tolerance policy on the issue and encouraged the Department to remain engaged and take all necessary measures to enforce it.  Significant progress had already been made in that regard.  He also attached importance to the need to enhance a gender perspective in the peacekeeping activities and looked forward to the policy dialogue between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the troop-contributing countries to review strategies for enhancing gender balance among uniformed personnel in peace operations.

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