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Statements in International Organisations


United Nations - General Assembly: Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34) (New York)

Statement on behalf of the European Union by H.E. Ambassador Sanja Štiglic, Permanent Representative of Slovenia to the United Nations

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Mr. Chairman,

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 Country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Albania, and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.

Mr. Chairman,

The European Union welcomes the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the recommendations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (A/62/627). The European Union notes with pride that the deliberations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations are held in a very special year which marks the 60th anniversary of United Nations peacekeeping operations.

EU Member States have always actively supported and participated in both UN- led and UN-mandated peace operations with large numbers of troops, civilian police and other personnel throughout the world. The European Union actively supports efforts to establish peace and security, with political, military and financial contributions, which currently represents over 40% of the UN peacekeeping budget.

The EU is stepping up its longstanding supporting efforts to tackle many current crises all over the world. The latest example of which is our commitment to achieving peace and security in Eastern Chad and North-eastern Central African Republic. In this context, the EU operation will also involve a high degree of coordination with the joint African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) as well with the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT). Beside and complementary to this military dimension of the European Security and Defense Policy, the EU is also currently deploying or planning several civilian or civil-military missions like in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Guinea Bissau. The EU also steps up its commitment in support of the African Union´s efforts for prevention and resolution of crises, through the common implementation of a new Partnership for Peace and Security, as decided upon last December during the EU-Africa Lisbon Summit in Lisbon. Instruments such as the European Development Fund and the Instrument for Stability, are put to contribution to enhance UN/EU cooperation in areas such as SSR, DDR, elections or rule of law, often part of complex UN peacekeeping mandates, as well as in support of African Capacities.

Mr. Chairman,

There have been some important events since the last session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.

At the end of the last year we achieved the finalization of work on the revised draft model Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and asked for its expeditious implementation. We also welcomed the adoption of the General Assembly resolution on the United Nations Comprehensive Strategy on Assistance and Support to Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by United Nations Staff and Related Personnel. We are looking forward to an early implementation of this important Strategy.

The Secretary-General's report "The comprehensive review of the welfare and recreation needs of all categories of peacekeeping personnel" (A/62/663) is another important element of the common effort. We have said many times, that peacekeepers and UN personnel deployed in the missions should have access to effective recreation activities and programmes, since these are an important part in the prevention of misconduct. We are therefore, looking forward to achieving that goal.

The EU has always been strongly supportive of the UN policy of zero tolerance of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) and we believe that prevention must be one of our priorities. We also welcome the progress within the 6th Committee on criminal accountability of United Nations officials and experts on mission.

The EU strongly condemns misconduct by peacekeeping personnel which involve damage to local heritage landmarks. It is therefore important to ensure that documents and training programmes for peacekeeping personnel stress the necessity to respect and protect local heritage landmarks.

Mr. Chairman,

The European Union has traditionally given its support to the formulation of the "Guiding Principles, definitions and implementation of mandates". The development and codification of the UN Peacekeeping Operations Principles and Guidelines document is an important step forward in UN peacekeeping. In that regard, the EU congratulates the Secretariat on the wide consultation process that took place when producing it. The EU sees the UN Peacekeeping Operations Principles and Guidelines as a living document and believes UN member states should have the opportunity to contribute to updating it in the future.

The EU is of the view that in parallel with the necessity of strengthening the UN system capacity to react timely and effectively to the outbreak of crisis in any part of the world, there is also a need to enhance the ability to deal with tensions and insecurity as early as possible to prevent the outbreak of violence and address structural causes of conflict. We also recognize the importance of ensuring that violent conflicts do not re-emerge in the post-conflict phase. The EU reiterates therefore its firm belief that peacekeeping operations that go hand in hand with peacebuilding assistance, development aid and conflict prevention shall be the modern UN response to global security challenges.

Mr. Chairman,

The EU is deeply concerned over the fact that threats to UN peacekeeping personnel still persist. Recent incidents in some mission areas are especially disturbing as they involve new kinds of risks – targeted attacks against UN peacekeepers (UNAMID), and terrorist attacks (UNIFIL). We condemn in the strongest terms all terrorist attacks, such as the one that occurred in Algiers, on 11 December 2007, causing numerous deaths and injuries among the UN staff members and others. Perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of such acts must be brought to justice.

The EU believes that as a proper response, new technologies should be applied. For example, recently observed use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) against peacekeeping personnel could be neutralized, at least partially, by jamming devices. Appropriate modalities should be developed for the procurement and implementation of such equipment in UN peacekeeping operations.

Another possibility of a desired improvement to the benefit of UN peacekeepers' safety is the use of advanced monitoring and surveillance equipment. We believe that the perilous security situation could be improved by employing some of the many available technologies. The EU would like to encourage UN Secretariat to increase its efforts in this matter.

The EU strongly condemns the tactics whereby parties to conflict place themselves in close proximity to UN field positions or posts in order to exploit indirectly their immunity, thus putting at great risk the safety and security of UN peacekeeping personnel. Hostage taking or any other criminal acts against United Nations peacekeeping personnel are totally unacceptable. There is a need to look into legal aspects of such acts in order to determine what legal measures can be taken in order to prevent such crimes and to punish those who commit them.

In addition, the EU strongly condemns actions by parties to conflicts aimed at imposing restrictions in any form on the freedom of movement and the performance of mandated tasks by the personnel of peacekeeping missions. In particular, we find totally unacceptable any attempts to confiscate peacekeeping mission's equipment and would like to express our deepest concern to the recent cases, where UN peacekeeping personnel have been subjected to humiliating actions by a host government which not only put their safety and security at risk but also seriously undermined the credibility of UN peacekeeping operations. We therefore call for a positive revision of approach towards United Nations peacekeeping forces by some countries.

Mr. Chairman,

Since 1948, over 2.400 peacekeepers have died while serving under the UN flag.  The EU is extremely concerned that health-related issues remain the leading cause of fatalities. The EU looks forward to the presentation of the results of a comprehensive analysis of factors and circumstances that have contributed to all types of fatalities and serious injuries of United Nations peacekeeping personnel in the field. We urge the UN Secretariat to treat this issue as a priority.  We would also like to use this opportunity to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in maintaining peace under the UN Flag.

In this context, we would also like to stress the importance of a voluntary HIV/AIDS testing and counseling, which should be an important part of the pre-deployment training.

The EU supports the Secretariat's Enhanced Rapidly Deployable Capacitates initiative and encourages Member States, where possible, to offer their support. There is also a need, for the Secretariat to look at using existing regional and National Reserve Forces and the active development of co-operation with the appropriate organizations. 

In this context, we would also like to emphasise a growing need to enhance practical co-operation in planning and conducting of operations. Sustained consultations with Troop and Police Contributing Countries at all stages of planning and decision-making process are often critical to the success of any UN peacekeeping operation.

We would also underline, that the Integrated Mission Planning Process (IMPP) is of paramount importance if a coordinated and more effective approach to mission planning is to be achieved. In this regard, we wish to stress an urgent need to promptly develop a comprehensive set of implementation guidelines for the IMPP process.

Mr. Chairman,

The EU welcomes the Secretary General's report: ‘Securing Peace and Development – the role of the United Nations in supporting security sector reform'. The report is an important step forward, as it distils the experience and lessons learned through the United Nations' engagement in Security Sector Reform (SSR), details the principles that should be adopted, underlines the potential role of the United Nations in SSR and establishes the need for a coherent approach to the United Nations engagement. We believe that an effective security sector is an essential precondition for the establishment of the rule of law and promotion and protection of human rights in the post-conflict areas.  SSR, as part of governance reforms, includes separating tasks between different services and institutions and taking into account the role of civil society and other non-state structure of governance as well as parliamentary oversight. It should be therefore carefully coordinated both locally and within the International Community with agreed accountability and transparency standards and also be synchronized closely with the programmes of Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR).

Women, together with children, comprise a large proportion of civilian victims of conflicts and, compared to men, have less access to resources, power and decision-making before, during and after conflict, while their experiences in these situations are significantly different. Ensuring full participation of women in conflict prevention and resolution, and addressing specific needs of women in conflict and post conflict situations, are key aspects of mainstreaming a gender perspective into peacekeeping operations, in line with the Security Council resolution 1325 (2000). Crucial measures to achieve this are: training of all staff in gender issues, appointment of gender advisers and greater female involvement in peacekeeping operations at all levels. The EU is supportive of such measures and has begun to train its own peacekeepers in the framework of European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), for instance by developing training material on the topic of „Mainstreaming of Human Rights and Gender into ESDP".

In late 2007, with strong support from the EU, the Standing Police Capacity (SPC) was established. We look forward to its further development and early relocation to the United Nations Logistic Base in Brindisi, as initially envisaged. We welcome the SPC's deployment to Chad and their training of recruits for a specialized Chadian police unit (Police Tchadienne de Protection Humanitaire-PTPH) responsible for providing security in IDP and refugee camps in Chad, according to resolution 1778.

Mr. Chairman,

We believe that there are many useful lessons from the experience of the UNIFIL Strategic Military Cell. We suggest that the Secretariat examine the options for establishing, initially perhaps on a temporary basis, a ‘Dedicated Mission Cell' within the Office of Military Affairs at the start of all complex operations. Such cells could be established within the mission budget and with manpower provided jointly by Troop Contributing Countries and the Secretariat. This could be an important step in conducting peace operations more efficiently.

The EU welcomes the reinforcement of the Office of Military Affairs (OMA) and believes that the surge in Peacekeeping Operations will require even more manpower at the strategic level and better established procedures to improve planning and command. We are convinced of the necessity to establish a military strategic information and analysis cell within the Office of Military Affairs for analyzing and disseminating data provided by the military component of field missions in order to provide military information analysis to the planning and evaluation processes. We would like to reiterate that clear guidelines and procedures should be put in place to facilitate information-sharing regarding safety and security issues as well as security management in peacekeeping operations.

Mr. Chairman,

Integrated Operational Teams (IOTs) are key elements of Department Of Peacekeeping Operations/The Department Of Field Support reorganization. These teams should serve two main objectives: providing a regional view at the strategic level and ensuring unity of command between The Department of Peacekeeping Operations and The Department Of Field Support with regard to the peacekeeping operations. We call for the full establishment of the IOTs according to the initial plans, as presented on several occasions by the UN Secretariat.

Bearing in mind the primacy of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security, the EU member states reaffirm the important contribution that regional arrangements and agencies can make to peacekeeping, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, where appropriate, and when the mandate and capacity of regional arrangements or agencies allow.

The EU requests the Secretariat to recognize the valuable contribution of member states and regional organizations to UN-led as well as UN-mandated efforts to promote peace and stability and requests the Secretariat to provide information also on UN-mandated operations through its website and other relevant channels for example by providing links to the websites of relevant regional organizations.

The EU is particularly pleased with the substantive progress in the cooperation between the UN and the EU in crisis management, in particular the signing on June 7th 2007 of the Joint Statement on UN-EU Cooperation in Crisis Management and encourages its further development.

Multidimensional peacekeeping has also placed new demands on the UN to provide civilian capabilities. Recalling the report from last year's C-34 session the EU requests DPKO, in consultations with troop-contributing countries, to conduct a comprehensive review of the concept of civilian observers in order to complement the Member States' possibilities to provide personnel in addition to military observers and police.

The EU notes with concern that some important senior staff positions remain unfilled and that the process of selection is too long. Therefore we strongly recommend that the appointments are made more expeditiously.

Mr. Chairman,

The European Union recognizes the comprehensive work undertaken by the post-Phase V Working Group on Contingent-Owned Equipment during our meetings from 4-22 February, just a few weeks ago.  The report agreed upon by consensus was results-based and reflected an atmosphere of cooperation, flexibility and mutual understanding between troop and police contributing countries from all over the world.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman,

I would like to end with a wish for fruitful discussions during the course of this session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. We call on the member states present to be flexible and cooperative in order to conclude our deliberations by consensus by April 4th, according to the timetable.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

*Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.


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Date: 11.03.2008