I would like to begin by commending USG Guéhenno and his staff for their tireless efforts in dealing with the unprecedented surge in UN-led peacekeeping that has arisen since we met last autumn.
As the USG stated recently, this surge could be seen as a good sign, because peacekeeping missions could not be deployed “in the middle of shooting wars”, signalling that a number of conflicts were ending.
And, just as importantly, the surge is a resounding expression of renewed confidence in the UN and in UN-led peacekeeping.
However, the surge also presents us with substantial challenges. It puts an unprecedented strain on the resources of the Secretariat and on the financial and human resources of member states.
We, the member states, must ensure that the UN successfully manages this increased activity, both to protect the well-being of the people in the countries concerned, and to uphold the credibility of the UN.
The deployment of the maritime taskforce of the UN Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) demonstrates the wide spectrum of tasks faced by the UN today.
We, the member states must ensure that the UN has the capacities, competence and integrated planning capability that it needs to meet this challenge.
However, UNIFIL’s enlargement also gives grounds for optimism: according to Security Council Report no. 5, the deployment looks set to be one of the fastest in UN history.
It demonstrates a renewed commitment to the UN by European nations, which in turn presents a unique opportunity to re-engage Western nations in UN-led peacekeeping.
This will require overcoming earlier shortcomings and learning from past mistakes. Norway therefore welcomes the USG’s strong focus on reform, which I will come back to.
Participation in UNIFIL marks the first step in the Norwegian Government’s increased commitment to UN peacekeeping. In line with its wish to prioritise Africa, the Government plans to make Darfur the second step. We are pleased to note that President Bashir has welcomed the support package agreed between the UN and the African Union, which provides for the much-needed strengthening of AMIS. The support package should pave the way for the eventual transfer of the operation to UN command.
The growing demand for UN-led peacekeeping is making it increasingly urgent that the way the UN conducts its operations is reformed along the lines of the agenda presented in the Secretary General’s report A/60/640.
I would now like to focus on the importance of strengthening the military planning and operational capacities; on the need for viable integrated approaches to complex and multidimensional operations, on partnerships with other organisations; on the enhancement of African peacekeeping capacities; on the police component and on the gender perspective.
The Secretariat and the military planning and operational capacities are of key importance to UN peacekeeping.
Even if present day operations are increasingly multidimensional, we cannot neglect the fact that the military component remains a crucial element of most operations, especially during the initial phase. This, however, is not reflected in the DPKO’s present set-up.
The problem is real, and it must be addressed. If we fail to do so, the surge in UN peacekeeping may have catastrophic consequences in the field.
The UN will be unable to create the stability expected, and the security of our personnel on the ground will be weakened.
The DPKO as well as other parts of the UN need to be more dynamic to be able to manage the increased demand for UN peacekeeping.
To achieve this, the system should be made more flexible. We have noticed that ad hoc-solutions have been attempted, with the Strategic Military Cell of UNIFIL being one example.
While it may have served a very important purpose in relation to the enlargement of UNIFIL, such ad hoc-solutions will not suffice in the long run.
At field level, we should look at ways to increase the flexibility of the Force Commander, by giving him/her greater authority regarding operational decisions to achieve his/her mandate.
The concept of a Joint Operation Cell/Joint Mission Analysis Cell as presented at the briefing earlier this month is very promising, and we must move forward with its implementation.
Norway welcomes the progress made in elaborating and implementing the integrated mission approach. The keys to success in international operations are better planning and coordination, respect for the different roles and mandates of the military, the police, and political, humanitarian and developmental actors.
The Norwegian Government is also committed to supporting the development of integrated UN peace operations. We have initiated a project to follow up on the 2005 Oslo Conference, with the intention of promoting further work and research on the way forward and addressing conceptual and practical issues related to integration.
The project will include a series of workshops that will gather relevant actors from all sectors to consider the critical issues involved in moving the debate and implementation forward.
Partnership with other organisations must remain a priority. Darfur is one example of how that can be done.
Norway strongly supports cooperation between NATO, the UN and the AU. The Balkans and Afghanistan are examples of the Alliance’s substantial experience of robust peacekeeping. NATO’s strong military planning capacity should be utilised.
Norway would therefore like to see stronger cooperation between the UN and NATO in accordance with the draft declaration presented to the UN by NATO in September last year. Given the surge in UN peacekeeping, this is a matter of urgency.
Norway supports the ongoing efforts to enhance African peacekeeping capabilities. We have noted with interest the joint declaration of the European Commission and the African Commission that was signed in Addis Ababa at the beginning of this month.
We hope to be able to strengthen the staff of our embassy in Addis Ababa with a military adviser to broaden its capacity for dialogue and cooperation with the AU on peace and security issues.
Norway is actively engaged in a dialogue with the AU on possible support for the development of the civilian dimension of the African stand-by force.
In September, the AU organised a very successful workshop in Ghana, funded by the Norwegian Government, to set in motion efforts to conceptualise police and civilian components of the stand-by force.
We welcome the creation of a Standing Police Capacity. Increased use of formed police units is yet another indication of the UN’s capacity to adapt its concept of operations.
Before the end of the year, a senior police advisor will join Norway’s mission in New York. This will increase Norway’s capacity to follow up on the civilian aspects of security sector reform (i.e. in relation to the police, the judiciary and penal institutions).
We must keep implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security firmly in focus. As noted by the Secretary-General in the first annual report on the UN-wide action plan for the implementation of this resolution (S/2006/770), significant progress has been made, but much more can and should be done at all levels.
Swift action must be taken to ensure the inclusion of gender expertise in mainstream decision-making processes, at headquarters and in the field.
Norway is encouraged by the growing number of highly qualified women in the DPKO, but remains concerned by the relatively low number of women in DPKO senior management positions, both at headquarters and in the field. All personnel in senior positions, regardless of gender, have a special responsibility to contribute to the implementation of resolution 1325.
Finally, I would like to reiterate the Norwegian Government’s continued support for the ongoing efforts to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeeping personnel, and to instil a zero tolerance culture. Norway recently decided to give additional financial support to the Secretariat’s work in this area.
In conclusion, Mr Chairman, Norway looks forward to working with other countries to strengthen UN peacekeeping. We have initiated a process to that effect with our Nordic neighbours, based on an agreement between the Nordic ministers of defence. We will follow up on this initiative in our preparations for the next session of the Special Committee.
Thank you, Mr Chairman.