Statement on behalf of the EU by M. Palouš, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations

Statement on behalf of the EU by M. Palouš, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations On UN Peacekeeping Operations at the Security Council Meeting on June 29, 2009, New York, June 29, 2009

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this statement.

First, I would like to thank the Turkish Presidency for organizing this debate and for preparing a concept paper focusing on the relationship between the Security Council and the troop, police, and finance contributing countries. We note that the Franco-British initiative on peacekeeping called for quarterly briefings to the Council by the Under-Secretaries-General for Peacekeeping and for Field Support. We therefore thank Susanna Malcorra and Alain Le Roy for their briefing and for introducing the Secretariat’s non-paper, and we hope that more briefings will follow on a regular basis.

Mr. President,

It is in our collective interest to ensure effective and efficient UN peacekeeping. The EU has actively participated in the discussions on how to address the challenges faced by UN peacekeeping since the initiative was launched in this Council last January by France and the UK. The resolve to review UN peacekeeping and find solutions to its problems has dynamically developed and today’s discussions should contribute to the ongoing dialogue among all stakeholders. The European Union appreciates the efforts of the Japanese chairmanship of the Security Council Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations, which has been engaging troop and finance contributing countries and regional organisations in discussions on how best to address gaps between mandates and their implementation. We also welcome the consultation process recently launched by Canada. On the Secretariat side, the New Horizons Project has been launched and this morning we have heard the briefing on the non-paper, which will provide us with a comprehensive view of the Secretariat on how best to cope with the current challenges of peacekeeping. The EU welcomes the momentum that has been created and expects that all these initiatives will bring substantial results in the coming months. In this respect, we look forward to further debate during the August UK Presidency of the Security Council, which will take stock of the Security Council’s effort at putting its house in order. This should spark wider debate within the UN later in the year on issues pertaining to complex mission mandates..

Mr. President,

The challenges faced by the UN to secure international security are manifold. They stem from conflict prevention initiatives, planning and mandating peacekeeping operations and peacebuilding initiatives, through resource constraints, military expertise and effective oversight of the Security Council, to the actual implementation of mandates and closing down of operations. As the complexity of peacekeeping missions and of their operational environment has increased, it is important that decisions about appropriate response of the United Nations are taken in consultations with those who carry them out.

While recognizing that the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security lies with the Security Council, the EU stresses the need of improving and expanding existing consultation mechanisms between those who plan and manage operations and those who contribute troops and finances. This would ensure a more coherent and integrated mission planning, improved command and control of operations as well as smoother and more effective implementation of mandates. The EU welcomes the meetings between troop and police contributing countries and the Security Council on specific peacekeeping missions in accordance with resolution 1353, as well as the thematic meetings of the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations. These meetings enhance mutual confidence and cooperation. In order to achieve tangible results, we believe that strengthened commitment of both sides is desirable.   

The European Union calls for further improvement of cooperation between troop and police contributing countries, DPKO and DFS. The EU is in favour of the Secretariat improving the quality of the information flow, organizing regular troop and police contributing countries meetings in a timely manner prior to Security Council consultations and providing the troop and police contributing countries with reports on a regular basis on the political and military situation of peacekeeping operations. The concept of strategic-military cell, as it exists within UNIFIL, is one good example of a possible way forward. Strengthened communication between the TCCs and the Secretariat would also enhance managerial efficiency, operational effectiveness and accountability of UN peacekeeping operations. Another challenge of UN missions are their peacebuilding tasks and ensuring a smooth transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding, as well as  cooperation with other UN agencies and funds in the field. Strengthened coordination is key to our common ability to deliver.

Mr. President,

The European Union welcomes the summary of the Secretariat’s ‘New Horizon’ non-paper and we look forward to the release of the non-paper itself. We welcome the main focus of the non-paper on issues such as strategy and direction, mission planning and clarity of tasks, command and control, resource availability and generation. The EU shares the view of the Secretariat that partnerhips need to be built to address the challenges of UN peacekeeping. Let me touch upon some of the Secretariat’s recommendations.

The executive summary makes widespread reference to a more proficient partnership with regional organizations, also in planning, operating and communicating together. The EU has a well established partnership with the UN in crisis management and it is also our priority to enhance the capacity of other regional organisations, in particular the African Union. We fully agree with the need to strengthen cooperation and reinforce interoperability with regional organization as a key tool to maximize global capacity of UN peacekeeping. In this regard, we would draw attention to the need for the establishment of effective transitional arrangements by the involved organisations in any handover period. 

The EU agrees that there is a need to broaden the base of contributors to UN peacekeeping and we would welcome better calibrated incentives for providing necessary capabilities. The European Union collectively contributes over 40 % of peacekeeping budget and 12 % of UN peacekeepers.  Many EU Member States provide significant financial resources as well as capacities to UN blue-helmet operations and to other UN mandated operations, including in Kosovo and Afghanistan. But we recognize that there may be more that we can do to make smarter use of available capabilities.  In this regard, the EU urges efficient management of available resources, which is more than ever important at the time of global financial crisis. The EU recognizes that robust peacekeeping is sometimes needed and we have to make sure that the UN is able to carry it out.

For the European Union, protection of civilians is a key aspect of UN peacekeeping that needs to be consistently incorporated into all Security Council mandates and effectively implemented. Prioritization of mandates or sequencing of their implementation needs further analysis and careful consideration. We recognize the importance of ensuring that deploying peacekeepers are fully capable of fulfilling demanding missions’ mandates. Effective implementation of resolutions 1325, 1820, protection of civilians and other key mandated tasks requires appropriate training. The EU provides substantial financial and technical support to many troop and police contributing countries in these areas.

In conclusion, Mr. President, let me assure you that the European Union, as one of leading contributors, remains committed to making UN peacekeeping more efficient and more effective. We look forward to specific results of the current debates and recommendations on how to move this agenda forward.

Last update: 16.8.2011 15:17

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