Peacekeeping Operations

Statement by Pakistan in the Special Political and Decolonization Committee on Agenda Item: Comprehensive Review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects - 24 October 2008

Mr. Chairman,

  1. On behalf of the Pakistan delegation, let me begin by thanking Under Secretary Generals, Mr. Alain Leroy and Ms. Susana Camorra, for their debut briefings to the Committee last week. We look forward to working closely with them and their staff.
  2. Pakistan supports the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of Morocco on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. NAM is a strong supporter and a major contributor to UN peacekeeping. We believe that views of this significant segment of membership are crucial in our collective efforts for a more effective and successful employment of the tool of peacekeeping.
  3. Pakistan is deeply committed to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. Over the years, we have contributed in various ways to the success of the United Nations. As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of United Nations peacekeeping, Pakistan takes particular pride as one of the most consistent and the leading contributor of military and police personnel to UN missions. Pakistanís current contribution of over 10,500 personnel is about 12% of the total UN peacekeeping deployments. A large part of our participation is in the most difficult and complex situations in Africa. Pakistan is also host to one of the first UN peacekeeping missions i.e. the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan.
  4. Pakistanís peacekeeping deployments on ground are complemented by our continuing and deep engagement in the policy discussions here at the headquarters. We participated actively in the discussions on the Brahimi Report and the follow-up of its recommendations. During our tenure of the Security Council in 2003-2004, Pakistan put a special focus on peacekeeping, in particular the issue of surge and other growing challenges of complex missions, in which regard a wide-ranging Presidential Statement was adopted by the Council (S/PRST/2004/16). As a proponent of comprehensive approach to conflict resolution, peacekeeping and post-conflict peace-building, Pakistan proposed, in May 2004, the idea of ad-hoc composite committees. This proposal contributed substantially to the subsequent discussions on the evolution of the Peace-building Commission, of which Pakistan is proud to be a founding member.
  5. Mr. Chairman, Peacekeeping is today the United Nations biggest enterprise, bringing security, solace and hope to millions of peoples afflicted by conflict around the globe. Notable successes in recent years have raised expectations and increased the demand for UN peacekeeping. The evolution of peacekeeping, particularly in response to complex crises, has also presented exceptional challenges in all phases - from planning to design of mandates, force generation, deployment, management, to draw-down and withdrawal of missions.
  6. Addressing these challenges is crucial for continued success. It is the collective responsibility of the Member States to enable the United Nations to respond speedily and effectively in mounting and sustaining peacekeeping operations. This collective effort by Member States must cut across a range of key issues.
  7. First is the obvious need to adapt peacekeeping to the changing requirements and to strengthen the capacity both in the field and the headquarters. The major restructuring approved by the Member States during the 61st Session was an important part of the reform process. Irrespective of some genuine concerns over the new structure, it is now imperative to ensure that it results in greater efficiency and effectiveness in the implementation of mission mandates. The forthcoming comprehensive report of the Secretary General, we hope, would provide all the necessary information, to enable an objective and meaningful review of the reform exercise.
  8. Second is the respect for the basic tenets of peacekeeping. Any deviation from the guiding principles and the UN Charter would jeopardize the success of UN peacekeeping. We would also like to stress that the efforts to confuse UN peacekeeping missions with other kinds of peace operations led by non-UN entities should be avoided. Moreover, the principle of unified command and control under the United Nations must apply to all UN peacekeeping operations, including the new breed of missions.
  9. Third is the dire need to demonstrate that apart from managing intra-state crises, UN peacekeeping can also deliver in inter-state conflicts which continue to endanger international peace and security. The poor track record, including recent setbacks, in addressing these situations will have to be reversed in order to infuse confidence in the UNís ability to promote pacific settlement of international disputes.
  10. Fourth, and particularly in the context of complex crises, much more needs to be done to fully operationalize a truly comprehensive approach, addressing in particular the root causes of conflicts and preventing relapse. We believe that a real interface of peacekeeping and peace-building through the integrated missions and the Peace-building Commission is essential for formulating the right exit strategies and laying down the foundations for sustainable peace and development in these situations.
  11. Fifth, the missions must be provided with resources that are commensurate with their complex and demanding mandates. Mandates should be clear, realistic and achievable. Formulation of mandates should be guided by an objective and comprehensive analysis of the ground realities. The reports of the Secretary General must contribute in this regard. If based on political expediencies or cost considerations, mandates could set up missions for failure, and erode the credibility of the United Nations. Availability of adequate resources, from the outset and at each subsequent stage of the mission, is also essential to ensure safety and security of personnel. As compared to missions that are overstretched, well resourced missions are also better placed to ensure proper conduct and discipline. In the context of resources, we should also reach agreement on a credible and feasible rapid deployment capacity.
  12. Sixth is the need to promote a genuine and meaningful partnership between the Security Council, the troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat. The UN relies mainly on the Member States for its peacekeeping operations. The nature and quality of cooperation and engagement with the TCCs is therefore crucial for informed decision making and policy formulation at the headquarters. It is equally crucial for operational effectiveness and success in the missions. Partnership with TCCs must also encompass their proper representation in the operational as well as top managerial positions both in the field and the UN headquarters, taking into account their contribution to United Nations peacekeeping. It is high time to address this long-standing issue, failing which the continued support of the TCCs could not be assured.
  13. Seventh, the potential of cooperation in peacekeeping with regional and sub-regional organizations, within the framework of Chapter VIII of the Charter, needs to be exploited, making use of the comparative advantages, expertise and resources of various actors. This cannot, however, substitute the role of the United Nations with which rests primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. We support in particular the efforts to enhance cooperation with the African Union and strengthening of Africaís peacekeeping capacity. This would advance the overall objective of peace and development in Africa.
  14. Eighth, and perhaps the most crucial, is the political support and commitment of Member States, on which ultimately depends the success or failure of peacekeeping. We believe that such support and commitment can be maximized where peacekeeping actions are agreed and undertaken collectively and in full respect of the Charter. Controversial actions lose such support. On the other hand, lack of political will must not become an impediment in extending UNís support where it is most needed, such as in Somalia.
  15. Mr. Chairman, these are the fundamental issues, which should be at the core of our work related to the comprehensive review of peacekeeping, especially in the C-34, which must be fully utilized. We emphasize that this should be a cooperative endeavour. Not confrontation, but competition to contribute to peacekeeping, should guide our work. Experience has shown that good results can be achieved through cooperation. We should avoid peripheral issues and controversial concepts with dubious utility. Our focus should be on substantive issues that relate directly to our common objective Ė to make peacekeeping work even better.
  16. We owe this to those millions of people afflicted by conflict and looking up to the UN for help. We owe this as well to our men and women in the field, the boots on ground, who work day and night, in the most testing and dangerous conditions, to translate our mandates into tangible results. We reserve our utmost respect and appreciation for the hundreds of thousands of peacekeepers who have served under the UN flag. We pay homage in particular to all the brave souls who have made the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their lives for this noble mission in the service of humanity.