Thank you for arranging todayís meeting. It is very appropriate time to be addressing these situations of peacekeepers and, of course, good time to meet with them and hear some of their opinion. We thank USG Mr. Ladsous and welcome all the Force Commanders to New York and thank them for their insightful briefings.
Their clarity and incisiveness in presenting military perspectives on the subjects under consideration bring the value of constant interaction between the Security Council and the field.
While these briefings evoke many memories in the service of humanity, it would be right to mention here the injuries and fatalities suffered by these valiant standard bearers -- the most recent examples being death and injuries to peacekeepers in Cote díIvoire (UNOCI) and Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).
The incident in MONUSCO last month that resulted in injuries to 11Pakistani peacekeepers will not dent our commitment to UN Peacekeeping.
Over the past 50 years, 130 Pakistani have laid down their lives, which is one of the highest numbers of fatalities suffered by any single UN Member State. It speaks of our continued commitment to defend international peace and at whatever the cost the sanctity of the UN blue helmets.
In the backdrop of such sobering statistics, the imperative of enhancing safety and security of peacekeepers cannot be overemphasized. Imperiled safety of troops can undermine the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations. Insufficient resources and lack of operational readiness too can jeopardize troop safety.
Standardization, performance and adequate resource provision are, therefore, important, not only for accomplishing mandates effectively but as contributing to Missionís security.
To an extent, underperformance and standardization can be addressed by developing training modules and assessment parameters, within the context of a Missionís challenges. We can do so by evaluating the TCCs with more structured pre-deployment visits, encompassing a host of tests and scenario-based exercises, with a view to checking the operational efficacy of the outfit. The module could also assess the operational readiness and worthiness of troops. We welcome DPKOís reinforced focus in this specific area.
Given the broad geographical-base of TCCs, achieving standardization in equipment, mechanical transport and training may not be easy. However, it is essential to determine baseline standards to avoid underperformance. That is important. Quality and performance should not be compromised in the desire to widen the base of TCCs or in the name of regional representation or other geo-political considerations. We must continue to place the highest premium on professional excellence.
In all UN peacekeeping Missions, leading a composite force towards common operational goals is a pressing challenge exacerbated by numerous factors. Firstly, peacekeeping operations are not conventional warfare with a well-defined adversary. Secondly, presence of multinational contingents entail variety of diversities i.e. in training, weapons, equipments and articulation of command and control imperatives and indeed communication. Finally, wide-ranging strains like alien terrain, weather and prevailing political/security situation, also, contribute significantly.
The challenges of common operational goals are exacerbated by complex mandates, where support to host nation has to be provided in a difficult political environment. Such assistance includes supporting disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants, Security Structure Reforms (SSR) in the host state, improvement in judicial and correctional systems, protecting civilians, humanitarian support and infrastructure development. This is indeed a wide range that needs to be looked after. These tasks need active cooperation and ownership of host states. UN Peacekeeping Missions in Liberia (UNMIL) and East Timor (UNMIT) are stellar examples in this regard.
Todayís meeting has highlighted the challenges and complexity of Peacekeeping operations. We in the Security Council must ensure that complexities are simplified and operational strains are eased out. We can do so by laying down clear and achievable mandates, which are not fraught with individual national priorities or complicated with unwieldy political propositions.
Reinforcing triangular cooperation between the Security Council, the Secretariat and TCCs is essential. The Security Council must drive this cooperation. A one-off briefing close to renewable mandate does not suffice.
Sustained dialogue, also, is essential in the wake of drawdown and reconfiguration. Technical assessment carried out to implement drawdown and deployment must be based on ground-realities and shared on a timely basis with the TCCs. Consultations with TCCs concerned are, therefore, vital and not just on the ground but also here in New York.
Operational success of peacekeeping is predicated on timely and assured deployment of human and material resources. Questions of resources cannot be hedged on the pretext of financial constraints. Under-resourced Missions can neither be effective nor safe. The Security Council and the Secretariat must, therefore ensure provision of resources to peacekeeping Missions, in consultations with all stakeholders.
Strengthening coordination between peacekeeping and peacemaking remains essential as well. Successful military operations can neither replace nor obviate political dialogue and reconciliation. If we cannot win peace, we will not be able to keep or enforce it.
Lastly I wish to raise the ever pressing issue of finances. The cash strapped western powers who foot most of the annual 6 billion dollars for peacekeeping are reluctant to pay more. We should understand that.
I would refer to an article from last weekís editor of the Economist, which aptly stated that peacekeepers are doing a useful job in Africa. They deserve to be properly paid. The UNís Africa Missions have helped create the continentís own peacekeepers. Useful as such Missions are Africans will need external help from the UN Peacekeepers for decades. Money is grudgingly spent. The Economist further stated that sticking to such a low fixed price is self-defeating. It advised the UN that without peacekeepers, conflicts will begin again Ė and the ensuing costs will be enormously higher, not just in military action, but in relief efforts and foregone trade. Without peace nothing happens in Africa. It is worth a few more dollars a day