Statement by Mr. Raza Bashir Tarar, Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan in the Special Political and Decolonization (Fourth) Committee on Comprehensive review of the whole question of Peacekeeping Operations in all their aspects (27 October 2011)

Madame Chairperson,

On behalf of Pakistan delegation, I would like to thank Under-Secretaries-General of DPKO and DFS for their comprehensive briefings on Monday. We appreciate the efforts by the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and the Field Support to advance our objectives with regard to UN peacekeeping.

Pakistan aligns itself with the statement made by the distinguished Representative of Morocco on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. NAM countries are major participants in UN peacekeeping operations and important stakeholders in the policy formulation and effective implementation of peacekeeping mandates. We expect that NAM’s views will be seriously considered in our collective work.

Peacekeeping is a vital tool in the hands of the international community to maintain international peace and security. Over the years, Peacekeeping has been labeled as the flagship UN activity and the beacon of hope in conflict situations.

Success of the UN peacekeeping in recent years has galvanized confidence of international community in the United Nations. It has also led to a surge in demand and complexity of mandates.

Success of Peacekeeping in the future can only be ensured by upholding its universal acclaim derived from strict adherence to the UN Charter and abiding by the guiding principles of Peacekeeping ---- namely, consent of the parties concerned, non-use of force except in self-defense and strict neutrality.

As we note the success of UN Peacekeeping, let us not forget the brave men and women who made this success possible by their supreme sacrifice. This year alone, 86 peacekeepers have lost their lives in the service of global peace and security. Pakistan has one of the highest numbers of fatalities in peacekeeping. Safety and security of peacekeepers is an issue of paramount importance for all Member States. While respect of UN blue helmets from political neutrality guarantees long-term security of peacekeepers, professional risk management and investment in safety apparatus are essential to mitigate the imminent risks.

Madame Chairperson,

As a leading TCC with long history of contribution, Pakistan remains mindful of the challenges and constraints facing UN Peacekeeping and our collective efforts to maintain the trajectory of past achievements.

Our common challenges not only include laying down realistic and achievable mandates with due legal scrutiny, but also ensuring deployment of adequate and timely resources to ensure their implementation. Efficient entry and exit strategies are also essential for seamless transition of conflict situation to post-conflict stability, peacebuilding and long-term politico-economic recovery.

The first step in addressing such broad array of challenges is to strengthen triangular cooperation between the Security Council, the Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) and the Secretariat. Open consultations and coherence are imperative, especially in contingencies arising out of sudden change in political situation. Such transparency was regrettably lacking during rewriting of the mandate of the UN Mission in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) or shifting UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) to Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). More open channels of communication between the Security Council and the TCCs could have improved administrative and logistic arrangements for critical drawdown or inter-mission transfer carried out in UNMIS and UNOCI respectively. Our triangular partnership can also be facilitated by increased representation of the TCCs in the operational as well as managerial positions both in the field and in the UN headquarters.

Provision of adequate resources to implement complex mandates is also mandatory for success of Peacekeeping. Under-Secretary General Ladsous had eloquently highlighted the cost-effectiveness of UN Peacekeeping in his briefing on Monday. Timely allocation of resources will increase effectiveness, without impacting the cost, as UN Peacekeeping operations are largely under-funded and under-resourced. In many Missions, scarcity of troops and vital resources remain a critical issue --- threatening the ability of the UN to operate effectively and safely. Timely deployment of aviation assets is also becoming increasingly important. In this context, Member States’ response to an emergent need will improve if contract modalities of aviation assets are streamlined by the Secretariat. Similarly, our delegation attaches due importance to the issue of troop cost. We hope that the Advisory Group, being constituted will complete its deliberations in time for consideration of the issue of troop cost during the main session of the Fifth Committee next year.

Madame Chairperson,

UN Peacekeeping is being employed to address increasingly complicated challenges of peace and security, characterized by dynamic and often violent conflicts. This has resulted in integrated Peacekeeping mandates, where support to political process, building local security institutions and the imperative of protecting civilians is dovetailed to long-term peacebuilding and economic recovery. Pakistan has never shied from contributing troops to such complex Missions. At the same time, we would like to underline that Peacekeeping can neither substitute a viable political process nor bypass the need to address root-causes of conflicts.

Role of Peacekeepers in the early stages of peacebuilding is crucial. However, delicate and multidimensional peacebuilding process requires civil expertise and a focus on improving local capacity, political dialogue and institution-building.

Peacekeeping has to be distinguished from traditional law-enforcement rooted to the ideals of protecting civilian population. Protection of civilians is a primary responsibility of the host government, which can be complemented by a Peacekeeping Mission depending on resources at its disposal. Working with local government is the key for protecting civilians. A peacekeeping Mission with better Formed Police Units (FPU) is in a better position to do so. Capacity building of the FPUs is therefore one of important elements for implementing complex mandates.

Our delegation has taken note of the new Global Field Support Strategy. We had welcomed the establishment of Regional Support Center in Entebbe. However, adding more centers at global and regional levels is not supported unanimously. Apart from cost-benefit argument, decentralization of policy-formulation and fragmentation in decision-making are the growing apprehensions. We cannot outsource policies and decisions to peripheral establishments outside the UN Headquarters. We also find the idea of Global and Regional Center as somewhat mutually exclusive and contradictory. Greater coherence demands more clarity and avoiding duplication.

Reform, rationalization and strengthening the UN peacekeeping capacity are the objectives collectively shared by the entire membership. From the 2001 Brahimi Report to reform proposals presented by the Secretariat entitled “New Horizon”, we have emphasized the need to maintain continuum in all reform initiatives.

Madame Chairperson,

I will conclude by reiterating Pakistan’s strong commitment to the UN Peacekeeping. Our security institutions have developed Peacekeeping training modules that form part of the curricula for mandatory courses required in career progression of different cadres. We are willing to share our training experience with the Secretariat and with wider membership. With wider dissemination of important lessons learnt in the field, we can optimize the collective efforts to strengthen the UN Peacekeeping in addressing challenges of the future.

Thank you.