Statement by Ambassador Amjad Hussain B. Sial, Acting Permanent Representative of Pakistan in the General Debate of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (23 February 2010)

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to congratulate you on your election as Chairman of this important forum. We would also like to congratulate other members of the Bureau for their election and wish them success in their endeavours

We would also like to thank Under-Secretaries General Alain Le Roy and Susana Malcorra for their briefings to the Special Committee. We appreciate their efforts and dedication of their staff in serving the noble cause of peacekeeping.

Pakistan aligns itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Morocco on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan has always supported the United Nations collective efforts for the maintenance of international peace and security. We have also been in the forefront of the UN peacekeeping effort, since long. The current number of our uniformed personnel in 11 UN peacekeeping missions is almost 11,000. More than 100 Pakistani peacekeepers have made the ultimate sacrifice by laying their lives for the advancement and success of the UN cause. Pakistan is also host to one of the first UN peacekeeping missions i.e. the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). We, therefore, have special interest in ensuring success of the United Nations in this important area.

Mr. Chairman,

The challenges presented by the vast scale of peacekeeping missions, the diverse nature and complexity of their mandates and the difficult and hostile ground situations in which they operate, require comprehensive analysis and responses. The Special Committee has the mandate to undertake such a comprehensive review and to formulate appropriate recommendations. We, therefore, need to fully utilize the role and expertise of this Committee in advancing the common and sacred objectives of peacekeeping.

The UN peacekeeping mechanism, and for that matter any effort at achieving peace in general, has historically been successful, economical and enduring in situations where all relevant stake-holders and actors have been able to identify and associate themselves with the peace process. This is where the League of Nations had failed and this is why the UN is still successful to a great extent in the pursuit of our common objective and cherished desire of international peace, security and development. For enhancement of UN credibility, this consensual unity becomes all the more urgent and necessary, considering the multi-faceted and complex situations that the UN in general and peacekeeping in particular deals with in these changed times.

Our collective action should cut across the whole range of activities from the formulation of concepts and policies, to proper and comprehensive planning. It should include objective analysis of ground realities, formulation of clear, realistic and achievable mandates and provision of commensurate resources. We must also ensure safety and security of personnel, efficient and effective management, all geared up to achieve durable peace.

The peacekeeping of today suffers from an avoidable disconnect between the planning and implementation phases of a peacekeeping mandates. This disconnect not only complicates the already complex problems of coordination and continuity of process, but has a negative impact on our collective contributions in terms of personnel, equipment and finances. To ensure the UN credibility and legitimacy, this disconnect must be addressed through greater emphasis on participation of Member States in all stages of a peacekeeping mission including the formulation and review of peacekeeping mandates.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan takes note of the fact that modern peacekeeping must have protection of civilians as one of its objective. At the same time, however, we reiterate our emphasis on the role of the host country as the primary actor in ensuring that objective. We must not lose sight of the fact that a peaceful and secured environment can only be maintained in the long run by capable and resourceful national authorities. The peacekeepers, notwithstanding their unique role in assisting and supporting the national authorities must, therefore, guard against over-stretching their role to the prejudice of principles of national integrity and sovereign equality of the Member States. We also need to look into the legal aspect of the notion of protection of civilians in peacekeeping operations.

There is also a need to draw distinction between the concept of protection of civilians and the concept of Robust Peacekeeping as suggested by the Department of Peacekeeping Operation (DPKO) through their interim definition of Robust Peacekeeping. The important elements of this interim definition are “willingness” and “capability” of peacekeeping “operation” or body to “deter and confront” obstructions in the implementation of a mandate “through use of force”. In this definition, the mandate is not protection of civilians, otherwise it could have been clearly stated so. These new types of mandates will be determined by the Security Council. This, in some cases, could create misperceptions about the neutral image of the United Nations.

On filling critical gaps in the current missions, we have noted the Secretary General’s view that “mobility of personnel is undermined by the lack of surface and aerial mobility assets”, although we have difficulty in understanding the need for having unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for such mobility. Similarly, on the issue of Global Field Support Strategy, Pakistan is ready to engage in fruitful discussion but let me caution that such a major restructuring exercise as to involve the evolution from “managing support to individual missions as independent entities to managing a global support operation” needs careful and detailed understanding of the problems that the UN support system faces.

Mr. Chairman,

A more comprehensive approach to peacekeeping is desirable in the context of helping conflict-ridden countries to achieve successful transition to durable peace, but we must avoid duplication by building parallel UN institutions in the conflict areas. On the contrary, and in keeping with the long-term objectives of ensuring the sustainability of a peaceful environment through a capable and resourceful national government, we must work coherently and cooperatively with the national authorities in creating and rebuilding local capacities and capabilities.

We strongly support greater coordination and synergy between the General Assembly, the Security Council, this Committee and the Secretariat to make peacekeeping work better. Closer interaction is also required with the Peacebuilding Commission. We look forward to enhanced and smooth interaction with the Secretariat with quicker response time to the TCCs’ concerns and priorities. Representation of the TCCs at the top managerial positions both in the field and at the headquarters is essential to bring greater coherence between those who manage, direct and command operations and those who provide the invaluable human resources on ground.

Mr. Chairman,

In conclusion we underscore the need for timely and full reimbursement to the TCCs. We urge the Secretariat to settle all outstanding reimbursements expeditiously.

Besides, the death and disability compensation should be awarded to all those deployed in the UN Peacekeeping missions, as long as they are in the mission area. The only exception could be in case of willful neglect or self-inflicted injury, as provided in the rules. We call for informal consultations on this important issue to ensure that our peacekeepers who endanger their life for the maintenance of international peace and security should no more suffer on this account.

I thank you Mr. Chairman.