The Security Council is expected to mandate a peace operation in Sudan in the very near future, adding further to the dramatic increase in the demand for UN peace operations over the past year. I will focus on a few key issues related to dealing with that challenge, but first I will address a subject that threatens to undermine the credibility of UN personnel: the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse.
UN peacekeepers are facing an increasingly difficult security environment. We need people who can tackle this. But we also need people who understand the basic obligation of all UN and associated personnel, which is to act in accordance with the fundamental values of the organisation and respect the human rights of all people.
It is with deep dismay that we have read recent reports about gross misconduct by peacekeeping personnel in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Unfortunately MONUC is not unique in this respect. We strongly support the efforts by the Secretary-General to address this issue, both as regards MONUC and in general.
We welcome the report published by the Office of the Internal Oversight Service (OIOS) in early January. We would, however, also like to see a comprehensive report setting out recommendations on the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeeping personnel, as proposed by the Secretary-General. The report should be dealt with at a special session later this spring, where the issue is addressed in general.
In the follow-up process, we should focus on the identification and effective prosecution of cases of abuse, compensation and support to victims, and preventive action. We are in contact with the DPKO on possible contributions in this regard.
Gender training is one important means of sensitising personnel to the human rights of women and girls. Attention should also be directed at human trafficking as a particularly cruel way of violating these rights. We welcome the first edition of the DPKO's anti-trafficking resource manual, which was published in December last year. Norway will shortly second an associate expert to the DPKO to strengthen the capacity of the Department’s gender focal point.
We also see a need for attention to be directed at the role of the leadership of the operations in the field. In addition we must focus on the responsibility of troop-contributing countries to penalise such behaviour. TCCs should be obliged to report on the national follow-up in cases of abuse. This is in line with the recommendations of the OIOS report.
Increased recruitment of women as personnel in UN operations will also help prevent future abuse. In that regard all TCCs have a shared responsibility: most nations have a rather dismal record when it comes to female representation in the military and civilian police contingents.
A capable and effective secretariat that is resourced and structured for the challenges at hand is vital to ensure the efficient execution of increasingly complex mandates in the field. We believe that it is necessary to strengthen the military and civilian police divisions within the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to handle the growing number of military and civilian police personnel on the ground. These groups are vital in establishing a secure environment - a prerequisite for humanitarian assistance, development aid and political dialogue.
A well-resourced secretariat is needed also to strengthen the dialogue between the Secretariat and the TCCs. We appreciate the increased number of briefings and selection assistance visits to Member States. But we believe there is scope for closer contact on the development of concepts of operations as well as other operational documents.
When planning for new missions, we believe it would be a good idea for the UN to have a closer look at new models/concepts. In Sudan, countries supporting the peace process are operating three monitoring missions. They represent valuable experience, not only for the UN's mission in that country, but for monitoring missions in general. This is particularly true of the Joint Monitoring Mission in the Nuba Mountains. The JMM is monitoring an area the size of Austria with a very limited number of observers. We believe the JMM's success is to a large extent due to the strong involvement of the parties. Joint monitoring serves to build confidence between former enemies. It also saves resources, as some of the manpower is provided locally.
Changing the command and control concept at the operational level could enhance the efficiency of UN-led operations. The structure of the chain of command is critical to the success of a military mission because it establishes legitimacy, authority, responsibility and accountability at all levels of the organisation. Force Commanders or the equivalent should be given greater authority to operate within given parameters. The objective would be to establish unity of command, which is an indispensable principle of any military operation.
Norway supports the integrated mission approach. We see it as a way of creating greater coherence in the activities of the UN, making it more effective in managing crises, restoring peace and security, creating stability and laying the foundations for good governance in failed or failing states. At the same time, experience has shown that integration must be practised wisely if we are to make full use of the skills and competencies of the various parts of the UN system in the humanitarian and development areas of peace operations. While we believe there is still scope for a more integrated approach in terms of better inter-agency planning at headquarters level, it is vital to safeguard an independent humanitarian space within UN operations at field level, in particular in conflict areas.
We are looking forward to the outcome of the expanded ECHA Core Group joint study on the peacekeeping/humanitarian/development interface. The governments of Norway, Australia, the UK and the US support the study.
The protection of personnel in the field is of the utmost importance. More complex operations entail an increasing need for more efficient gathering and analysis of field information. We therefore continue to stress the need for enhanced intelligence capacity at the operational level. Implementation of JMACs should take place prior to the initial phase of establishing an operation, not subsequent to it.
Rapid deployment remains a challenge for the UN. We have taken note of the Secretary-General's proposal for strategic military reserves and a standing civilian police capacity as ways of addressing that challenge.
I certainly agree that there is a need for the UN to co-operate extensively with regional and sub-regional organisations and arrangements.
We appreciate the positive reference in the Secretary-General's report to the role played by SHIRBRIG in the setting up of the Advanced Mission in Sudan last summer. SHIRBRIG stands ready to contribute to the establishment of mission headquarters for the main Sudan mission.
We look forward to following up on previous contacts between SHIRBRIG and the African Union in relation to the establishment of the African Stand-by Force.
Norway would like to commend the AU for its on-going efforts in Darfur, as well as its willingness to take on new challenges, such as its readiness to deploy a peace support mission in Somalia.
Before concluding, we would like to pick up on the Secretary-General's suggestion that we should take a renewed look at the peacekeeping concept. We fully agree with the view that these operations might more accurately be termed peace operations. As we have stated on previous occasions, present-day peace operations are just as much about building peace as about keeping peace. The term "peace operation" reflects this reality very clearly and simply.
Thank you, Mr Chairman