Delegates Highlight Funding, Training, Security of ‘Blue Helmets’, as Fourth Committee Continues Debate on Peacekeeping Operations

Providing Less but Expecting More 'Not a Workable Model', Says Pakistan's Delegate

Funding, resourcing and training issues undermine peacekeeping mandates and the safety of Blue Helmets, delegates said today, as the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) continued its comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations.

The representative of Cyprus emphasized that peacekeeping decisions must be based on situations on the ground to ensure that operations are not deployed or withdrawn prematurely. Such decisions must not be based on political expediency or financial constraints, he added, pointing out that the peacekeeping budget can be contained by rationalizing costs, reviewing operations and promoting prudent spending while implementing a performance centred approach. Our efforts to cover the cost of peacekeeping should not be at the expense of its optimal functioning.

Pakistan's representative concurred, noting that although expectations for peacekeeping have risen, so have efforts to reduce the resources for those activities. Warning that arbitrary funding cuts risk diminishing the effectiveness of peace operations, he stressed: Providing less but expecting more is not a workable model for any enterprise.

India's representative also expressed concern about measures that compromise operational issues in order to reduce costs, emphasizing that such steps have a direct bearing on the safety of peacekeepers. There is now no overlap between incoming and outgoing troops at one mission, and therefore no first hand understanding of the existing operational situation on the ground, he noted.

Brazil's representative cautioned that capacity gaps undermine a mission's ability to fulfil its mandate while making peacekeepers more vulnerable. He emphasized that troops must not be deployed without undergoing training that is tailored to the unique environment in which they are expected to operate. Underlining the need for mandates to be matched with adequate human, material and financial resources, he said it is unacceptable to expect that missions will undertake activities they are unable to carry out due to lack of the necessary means.

Indeed, the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania noted that most peacekeeping missions are still experiencing force reductions due to budgetary constraints that are not informed by actual security on the ground. As a result, operational tasks remain the same, but most missions are not adequately resourced, which overburdens the troops and leaves them more vulnerable to attacks.

In similar vein, Fiji's representative observed that peacekeepers are being asked to do more and more with less. Calling for a better connection between mandates and allocated resources, he said a good peacekeeping mission can help reduce the timelines for national institutions to function well, but it is unreasonable to expect communities to overcome deeply held divisions within a few years. Applying excessive pressure to shorten the span of missions may, in fact, achieve opposite effects.

Senegal's representative highlighted his country's incorporation of women into peace operations, recalling that Major Seynabou Diouf was recently designated the best police commander for 2019. Thanks to her commitment to women's empowerment, he added, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has reported zero cases of sexual exploitation and abuse for two years.

Also speaking today were representatives of Honduras, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Malaysia, Cameroon, Mongolia, Philippines, El Salvador, Malawi, Norway, Venezuela, Iran, France, Mali, Russian Federation, Sudan, United Kingdom, United States, Burkina Faso and Djibouti.

The Fourth Committee will reconvene at a date to be determined to conclude its comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects. It is expected to meet on 3 p.m. on Friday, 8 November, to begin its comprehensive review of special political missions.

General Debate

DULCE SA�NCHEZ DE OROZCO (Honduras), noting that her country has been contributing to missions since the 1990s, said it remains necessary to support peace operations with appropriate resources, clear mandates and parameters for both peacekeepers and host countries. Emphasizing Honduras' commitment to the implementation of the Action for Peacekeeping initiative, she said that approach to conflict prevention must entail clear political solutions. She went on to express support for the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), stressing that women must be active agents in maintaining and building peace as they provide significant value to peacekeeping and conflict prevention.

CHO HYUN (Republic of Korea) said the international community must take advantage of the political momentum created by the Action for Peacekeeping initiative to translate shared commitments into action. The Republic of Korea, alongside Norway and Ethiopia as the Group of Friends of United Nations Peace Operations, will work with all stakeholders to ensure that peace operations contribute to sustaining peace in host countries, he added, emphasizing the importance of the 2021 Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference to be held in Korea in that regard. Troop contributing countries must have the support they need in terms of training and capabilities, he said, adding that they must in turn be held to proper conduct and mandate delivery. To that end, the Republic of Korea will host five United Nations training courses, he announced, reporting also that it has provided mine resistant vehicles to support operations in Africa. He went on to underline the importance of in depth knowledge of local culture and languages for peacekeeping personnel.

DOMINIQUE MICHEL FAVRE (Switzerland) said that his country's Government is implementing the women, peace and security agenda in close cooperation with civil society in five thematic areas, including the participation of women in preventing and resolving conflict. Welcoming the development of the integrated performance policy framework and the comprehensive performance assessment system as important for assuring performance and accountability of peacekeeping components, he said Switzerland supports the Triangular Partnership Project to train engineering units of African contingents by deploying women among its officers, as well as French speaking staff. He went on to emphasize that conflict prevention and sustaining peace must be at the heart of all United Nations activities including peace operations, especially given the increasingly difficult contexts in which they are deployed.

RICARDO DE SOUZA MONTEIRO (Brazil) welcomed the drop in the number of attacks against Blue Helmets over the last two years, while calling for renewed efforts to ensure better training, equipment and logistical support. Cautioning that capacity gaps undermine a mission's ability to fulfil its mandate while making peacekeepers more vulnerable, he emphasized that troops must not be deployed without undergoing training that is tailored to the unique environment in which they are expected to operate. Citing his country's first hand experience in Haiti, he said Brazil is ready to offer training partnerships, host courses or send mobile training teams into the field. Stressing that mandates must be matched with adequate human, material and financial resources, he said it is unacceptable to expect that missions will undertake activities they are unable to carry out due to lack of the necessary means. He went on to state that deployment of a mission should be a last resort, stressing that it should have strong political and peacebuilding components to help strengthen local institutions or help in conflict resolution, among other tasks. He underlined special responsibility of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations to ensure that the United Nations has the necessary tools to prevent and punish sexual exploitation and abuse.

MOHAMAD SURIA MOHAMAD SAAD (Malaysia), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), noted that his country has peacekeepers serving in five missions around the world, including 65 women in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). He affirmed that the quest for peace entails a comprehensive post conflict political process and a focus by peacekeepers on ensuring community development in accordance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He went on to express Malaysia's endorsement of the zero tolerance policy around sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers, emphasizing that those found guilty must be held accountable. Failure to do so could result in a loss of confidence in peace operations, he warned.

JEAN LUC NGOUAMBE WOUAGA (Cameroon), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, applauded the achievements of peacekeeping in performance, safety and security, noting the drop in the number of peacekeeper fatalities due to violence. He also welcomed the peaceful transfer of power in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the signing of peace agreements in Mali, South Sudan and the Central African Republic. Noting that the Triangular Partnership Project has provided training opportunities for 438 engineers, 29 field medics and 5,174 signals personnel, he called for further capacity-building, including through assistance to national training institutions. Cameroon has established a centre that has trained security personnel from several African countries, he reported, adding that his country also hosts the logistical base of the African Standby Forces. He called for broad mobilization of regional mechanisms and solidarity in terms of technical partnerships to ensure its full functionality.

BAASANKHUU PUREV (Mongolia), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, affirmed his country's support for the Secretary General's efforts to reform the peace and security pillar of the United Nations and to make prevention and peacekeeping more effective and efficient. He went on to state that Mongolia has deployed more than 17,000 peacekeeping troops since 2002, a high number given that the country's population is only 3,2 million. Expressing support for gender parity and for increasing the number of women in peacekeeping, he said 79 women from Mongolia serve in United Nations peacekeeping operations. Emphasizing that peacekeepers should earn the trust of civilians and help them improve their living conditions, he said deployed Mongolians have been strengthening and deepening their engagement with local communities in field missions.

ABDOULAYE BARRO (Senegal) recalled that, in October, four of his country's peacekeepers were lost in the crash of a combat helicopter assigned to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). Paying tribute to their sacrifice, he said that accident demonstrates the risks shouldered by Blue Helmets. Emphasizing that it is essential to ensure that peace operations are based on strong policies and strategies focused on prevention, he reiterated his delegation's support for the Action for Peace initiative and called for such efforts to move beyond tactical measures. He went on to report that his country has established a dedicated training facility where contingents undergo predeployment training as well as the raising of awareness about sexual exploitation and abuse. Senegal also supports greater participation by women, on an equal footing with men, in all stages of peace operations, he said. Citing his country's national policy on that issue, he recalled that Senegal's Major Seynabou Diouf was recently designated the best police commander for 2019. Thanks to her commitment to women's empowerment, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has reported zero cases of sexual exploitation and abuse for two years, he pointed out.

KRISTINE MARGRET M. MALANG (Philippines), associating herself with ASEAN, said her country's Government now allows more deployment of military and police personnel to peace operations, regardless of the security threat. In addition to its contributions to the United Nations, the Philippines is also engaged in regional peacekeeping activities, she said. Noting that the success of peace operations must be measured by the mandate to protect civilians as the core criterion of success, she also emphasized the importance of updated rules of conduct that are attuned to realities on the ground. She went on to express her country's commitment to deploying more women peacekeepers. The Philippines also supports intergovernmental platforms that enable peer learning among Member States on building resilience in peacekeeping, she said, while also calling for greater investment in local political solutions to conflicts, which United Nations peacekeeping must reinforce, not supplant.

EGRISELDA ARACELY GONZA�LEZ LA�PEZ (El Salvador) emphasized the importance of comprehensive communication with all troop- and police contributing countries when negotiating new mandates. She added that in order to be truly effective, solutions must have sufficient political and financial support with clear, achievable mandates. Expressing concern over the growing political volatility and changing patterns of violence in conflict zones, she said peacekeeping personnel must be thoroughly trained in order to ensure the success of their missions. Reaffirming the role of women in preventing and settling conflict, she emphasized the need to increase their participation in peace operations, reporting that El Salvador promotes internal policies that advance their role. She went on to urge the Security Council to improve consultations in decision making on mandates, stressing also that personnel contributors must be reimbursed without delay.

SANDEEP KAPOOR (India), highlighting financial management issues, said that despite the drop in pending arrears to troop and police contributors, the issue must be addressed further, especially in cases related to closed peacekeeping missions. India is also concerned about measures that compromise operational issues to reduce costs, he said, emphasizing that such steps have a direct bearing on the safety of peacekeepers. For example, there is now no overlap between incoming and outgoing troops at one mission, and therefore no first hand understanding of the existing operational situation on the ground, he noted. Furthermore, it appears the Secretariat's consultation process in preparing policy documents is not broad based, he said, calling upon the Secretariat to engage with all stakeholders in the preparation of those documents. Regarding the ongoing reforms, he said the transition to new structures needs proper record management and institutional memory. He went on to highlight several focus areas for effective Action for Peacekeeping follow up and implementation, pointing out that performance and accountability mechanisms can only be successful when the policy framework covers all stakeholders and all phases of peace operations.

HELLEN JIMA (Malawi), associating herself with the Non Aligned Movement, noted her country's contribution to United Nations peace support operations and the attention it pays to gender balance when deploying peacekeepers. She recalled that six Malawian peacekeepers serving with MONUSCO were killed in November 2018 during a successful operation to dislodge fighters of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia who had been attacking civilians and disrupting efforts to halt the spread of Ebola. She noted that one of those Blue Helmets, Private Chancy Chitete, posthumously received the Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal for Exceptional Courage, the highest peacekeeping honour of the United Nations. She went on to reiterate calls for permanent Security Council seats for Africa, pointing out that the continent hosts the largest peacekeeping missions and is among the largest troop contributing regions.

DOROS VENEZIS (Cyprus) said that whereas the focus on improving peacekeeping performance is essential, it is equally important to provide operations with clear strategic guidance, adequate funding, appropriate equipment as well as proper training. Describing the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) as a pioneer as the first peace operation to have a woman as Force Commander, he reported that it is now led by a second female. Recalling that his country's Government requested the deployment of that operation to restore law and order and prevent the recurrence of conflict, he declared: We consider this operation to be a success story as it has managed to effectively fulfil its mandate thus far. However, the mission remains indispensable, he said. Peacekeeping decisions must be based on the situation on the ground so that operations are not deployed or withdrawn prematurely, he added, emphasizing that such decisions must not be based on political expediency or financial constraints. The peacekeeping budget can be contained by rationalizing costs, reviewing operations and promoting prudent spending while implementing a performance centred approach, he said, stressing: Our efforts to cover the cost of peacekeeping should not be at the expense of its optimal functioning.

ODD-INGE KVALHEIM (Norway), noting that the costs of any relapse into conflict are high, both financially and in terms of human suffering, emphasized the vital importance of lasting political solutions and of engagement by all parties involved, including by securing the political will of host States and opposition groups. It is also essential to improve peacekeeping partnerships, he said, arguing that the impact of the Security Council's recent mission to South Sudan would have been greater had the African Union's Peace and Security Council joined the visiting team. He went on to say that, as Co Chair of the working group on United Nations peacekeeping military intelligence, Norway will contribute to the December training course intended to enhance the ability of peacekeepers to make use of intelligence in protecting civilians and themselves. It is also considering the deployment of more correctional officers to United Nations missions because correctional services are vital if former inmates are to make a positive contribution to their societies, he added, stressing also that Norway will continue to push for a better gender balance at all levels and in all fields of peacekeeping.

JORGE ARTURO REYES HERNA�NDEZ (Venezuela), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, said United Nations peace operations must only be established after analysis is conducted to determine whether conditions for deployment exist, adding that resources must also be available. The Security Council as well as troop- and police contributing countries and host States must all act together at every stage of conflict, he emphasized. Noting that women and girls constitute the primary victims of war and are subjected to violence, including sexual exploitation and abuse, he said they must play an active role in peacekeeping. As such, Venezuela supports the zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, he said, adding that those responsible must be investigated and punished by their home countries. On the protection of civilians, he reaffirmed the central role and authority of States in that regard, while stressing that peace operations must not be used to enforce peace.

MOHAMMAD REZA SAHRAEI (Iran), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, emphasized the role of the Special Committee as the only forum mandated by the General Assembly to review the whole question of peacekeeping. Recalling that different groups and delegations agreed on a new structure for the Special Committee's report, in keeping with the Action for Peace initiative, he said Iran looks forward to a successful session in 2020. He went on to stress that the primary responsibility for protecting civilians rests with host countries, adding that peace operations should support national efforts while avoiding any military efforts under that pretext. Moreover, the use of intelligence and modern technologies should be aimed at increasing the safety and security of peacekeepers, he noted, while underlining the need to define, in the appropriate international forums, the legal aspects arising from the use of such technology.

PIERRE COCHARD (France) said reform efforts can only be accomplished by proactive collective engagement, noting the progress made in that regard. The troop contributing countries have addressed the Secretariat's concerns, he added, calling upon everyone to maintain the momentum on reform. Emphasizing that performance must be measurable, he said France intends to be in the vanguard in the implementation of the Action for Peacekeeping initiative. France considers the language dimension of peacekeeping training to be part of the structuring for the success of missions, he said, while reporting his country will increase its financial commitment to the Department of Peace Operations. He went on to call for greater cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, in particular the Organization and the African Union.

NOA�L DIARRA (Mali), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, welcomed the Secretariat's reviews and studies intended to improve the effectiveness of peace operations, emphasizing that the effective implementation of peacekeeping mandates depends on the contributions of all stakeholders, including through contributions of financial resources and equipment. Regular consultations are required throughout the entire life cycle of the mission, he added. Welcoming the presence of external forces that help to build peace in Mali, by securing interim authorities, strengthening the centralization process, supporting elections and helping with security-sector reform, he expressed support for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Condemning all attacks against Blue Helmets in his country, he said that ensuring their safety demands adequate equipment and rules of engagement in order to improve the Mission without undermining the basic principles of peacekeeping.

ANNA EVSTIGNEEVA (Russian Federation) said that reform efforts should not cast doubt over the established foundations of peacekeeping, such as unconditional respect for State sovereignty and other Charter principles. It is also important to establish trust among peacekeeping missions, the Secretariat and host countries, she noted, while emphasizing that civil society cannot be a substitute for the role of Governments. To function successfully, peacekeepers must be provided with sufficient resources, she said, stressing that a peacekeeping presence cannot, therefore, be reduced solely on the basis of financial considerations. Describing attempts to politicize rotation processes and exert pressure on sovereign States as destructive, she cautioned that such actions lead to decreasing trust between troop contributing countries and the Secretariat. As for efforts to implement peacekeeping intelligence policy, she observed that the relevant updated document considers the concerns of States, but certain questions remain about the scope of processing intelligence information and assurances of confidentiality, she said, adding that revision of the policy must continue in an intergovernmental format.

SAPENAFA KESONI MOTUFAGA (Fiji), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, expressed disappointment at the failure of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations to produce a consensus report. Failing to reach consensus on policies and guidelines does not help peacekeepers on the ground, he pointed out, adding that it is also unhelpful for the communities they serve and protect. Moreover, peacekeepers are being asked to do more and more with less, he observed, calling for a better connection between mission mandates and allocated resources. A good peacekeeping mission can help reduce the timelines for national institutions to function well, but it is unreasonable to expect communities to overcome deeply held divisions within a few years, he emphasized, warning: Applying excessive pressure to shorten the span of missions may in fact achieve opposite effects. He went on to call for predictable and sustainable funding as a priority, stressing also that troop- and police contributing countries like Fiji also have an obligation to do more to lift performance and discharge duties to the expected standards.

HOSNI MUSTAFA (Sudan), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, said all peacekeeping must be in line with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations � consent of the parties, impartiality, and non use of force except in self defence. Expressing support for the full implementation of the Abyei Protocol in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement concerning, he emphasized that the accord cannot be amended without the consent of all three parties concerned: Sudan, South Sudan and Ethiopia. Sudan has full sovereignty over Abyei, he added. Emphasizing the importance of familiarity with local cultures in making peacekeepers fit for purpose, he also highlighted the role of regional perspectives in their training. Use of host country intelligence will help to reduce fatalities among peacekeeper, he added.

AHMED KHAN (Pakistan) recalled that his country has lost 156 peacekeepers, while noting that such sacrifices cannot be calculated in dollars and cents. While expectations for peacekeeping has risen, so have efforts to reduce the resources for those activities, he noted, pointing out that arbitrary funding cuts risk diminishing the effectiveness of peace operations. Providing less but expecting more is not a workable model for any enterprise, he stressed. Whereas Pakistan supports a data based performance assessment system, peacekeeping begins with mandates and resourcing formulated at the United Nations, he said, cautioning that caveats or complicated mechanisms in the deployment of peacekeepers will lead to less effectiveness. Furthermore, providing medical facilities must be the top priority when planning and resourcing a mission, he added.

GEORGE MWITA ITANG'ARE (United Republic of Tanzania), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, appealed for the Secretariat to put effective instruments in place to facilitate cooperation between Member States and regional organizations, such as the African Union. Noting that most peacekeeping missions are still experiencing force reductions due to budgetary constraints that are not informed by actual security on the ground, he said that, as a result, operational tasks remain the same but most missions are not adequately resourced, overburdening the troops and leaving them more vulnerable to attacks. As a major contributor of troops, the United Republic of Tanzania calls for the implementation of clear and focused mandates by all actors, he said, also highlighting the urgent need for coordination and complementarity between regional and United Nations efforts. With preparations under way for the meeting of the working group on contingent owned equipment in January 2020, the United Republic of Tanzania hopes it will provide an opportunity to consider concerns relating to reimbursement for services rendered.

JONATHAN GUY ALLEN (United Kingdom) said his country is proud to be among the first of the 152 Member States to have endorsed the Declaration of Shared Commitments, alongside four regional organizations. The United Kingdom is very pleased that the 2019 intersession meeting on working methods agreed to test a new structure for the Special Committee's report, aligning its recommendations closely with the pillars of the Action for Peacekeeping agenda, he said. The agenda laid out the parameters for a holistic approach to strengthening peacekeeping operations and it is now the job of the Secretariat, field missions and Member States to implement the agenda, he added. Expressing hope that meaningful progress can be made on practical tangible issues, he cited such tasks as ensuring that peacekeepers fulfil their mandate to protect civilians while maintaining their own safety and security, and managing much needed specialist capabilities, such as medical and casualty evacuation. The United Kingdom looks forward to developing a focused, action oriented report that will help all stakeholders to deliver on their shared commitment to reform United Nations peacekeeping, he said.

HEATHER THOMPSON (United States) said that enhancing accountability for performance is a critical component of peacekeeping reform, adding that her country authored and continues to champion Security Council resolution 2436 (2018). That text is focused on improving performance through remediation and repatriation for patterns of underperformance or unwillingness to fulfil mandates, she noted, reiterating her delegation's support for an integrated policy that applies clear standards for evaluating the performance of all peacekeeping personnel and also entails repercussions for performance failures. Such improvement must take place within the overall framework of the reform agenda, she said, encouraging the development of mandates that set realistic goals and facilitate political solutions. Concerning women in peacekeeping, she emphasized the need to address the persistent barriers facing female peacekeepers while adopting and promoting policies to achieve parity between men and women peacekeepers.

SYLVESTRE NICOLAS COMPAORE (Burkina Faso), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, noted that the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers marked the anniversary of the Security Council mandate to protect civilians, who suffer most in the face of persistent conflict and violations of international humanitarian law. Burkina Faso is engaged in six missions, he noted, citing a police unit in Guinea Bissau. Noting the presence of terrorist groups in the eastern region of his country, he said their operational methods are constantly adapting to peacekeeping security measures. Encouraging the international community to help Africa overcome security challenges, he welcomed the multilateral cooperation offered on that front, including through the Joint Force of the G5 Sahel and the Multinational Joint Task Force of the Lake Chad Basin area. He went on to emphasize that regional initiatives should enjoy broad support from the United Nations so that they can take effective preventative action when peace is threatened.

SAADA DAHER HASSAN (Djibouti) said the United Nations and international community must promote increased cooperation and strategic coherence in the context of preventing conflict in Africa. Joint mandates with the African Union are crucial for the effectiveness of such operations, necessitating real time consultations with the African Union and subregional organizations, she noted, adding that the joint framework signed in 2017 constitutes an excellent basis for institutionalizing that practice. She went on to say that financing African peace operations remains a topic of discussion, noting that the African Union has demonstrated its capacity to undertake first line responses to conflict on the continent. Predeployment training remains crucial, she emphasized, commending the Secretary General's training plan and efforts to improve logistical and medical support for peace operations.

Source: United Nations