2005 has been yet another very demanding year for UN peacekeeping. I would like to take this opportunity to thank USG Jean-Marie Guéhenno and all his staff, both at headquarters and in the field, for their tireless efforts in leading and managing current operations and planning for new missions.
The deadlock in the Ivorian peace process and the continued brutal killings of civilians in DR Congo are two of many challenges facing on-going UN peace operations. Fortunately there are also moments to celebrate. International observers hailed the polling process in Liberia last week, which was carried out with no incidents of violence reported. Part of this success can be ascribed to the smooth co-operation between the UN mission and Liberia’s own police and armed forces. I would also particularly like to note of the progress that has been made in Sierra Leone, recognising at the same time that continued international engagement is needed to ensure long-term stability in that country as well as in Liberia.
The World Summit Outcome Document provides us with important signals for the way ahead on key issues, including the need to strengthen the resources available for UN peacekeeping – such as the set-up of a standing police capacity, the importance of increased co-operation with regional organisations, the necessity of strengthening African peacekeeping capacity and the urgency of implementing the General Assembly’s resolutions on sexual exploitation and abuse. Now we must take these issues forward. USG Guéhenno provided us with valuable input to that process in his introductory remarks yesterday.
Five years after the Brahimi report, there is a need to take a new look at the UN’s capacity to plan, conduct and sustain operations. This is partly due to the increased complexity of mission mandates combined with the large number of missions. Many missions are quite big, but they are often not sufficiently resourced to provide the robustness needed to supervise the implementation of fragile peace agreements. Armed groups that do not feel bound by peace agreements often complicate the situation even further, and represent a constant threat to both peacekeepers and civilians. At the moment we are almost back to an all time high in terms of personnel in UN-led operations. We have long since surpassed our previous record in terms of the complexity of the tasks.
As missions have become more intensive and complex, we see a particular need to strengthen the military capacity within the DPKO, both in planning and in conducting operations. Norway is looking into how we can support the Secretariat in this regard. We welcome USG Guéhenno’s ideas on the reorganisation of the DPKO. It may not be so much a question of adding heads as of making the uniformed component stronger and more visible. And it may not be so much a question of adding resources as of ensuring maximum flexibility in the use of existing ones.
We believe that a tighter military command structure will benefit the running of operations. We also need to strengthen the capacity for analysis of available information at the tactical and operational level. This is vital, both in order to fulfil mandates and to ensure the security of UN personnel. Freedom of movement for UN personnel in the field is equally important in this regard. We note with concern the increasing tendency to restrict that freedom, as exemplified by the Eritrean government’s recent ban on all helicopter flights by UNMEE.
The Summit endorsed the creation of a standing police capacity. This is very important. We need to strengthen the planning element, and to provide enhanced assistance at the start-up of new missions. Earlier this week the assistant director of the Norwegian Police Directorate met with representatives of the DPKO to discuss how Norway can assist in the establishment of this capacity. We look forward to continuing this dialogue.
The reform and rebuilding of civilian police is key to post-conflict reconstruction. But to be truly successful, we also need to include the judiciary and the prison service, and even the armed forces, in our reform efforts. The security sector needs to be addressed in its entirety to ensure that stability can be upheld after the withdrawal of UN military personnel. Local ownership of the process is crucial to success. SSR is a priority area for Norway, as it is for the UN.
Stabilising and rebuilding failed or failing states has become a major challenge for the international community. The UN must continue to have a leading role in these efforts. Peace building, based on the integrated mission approach, is far more demanding than peacekeeping. As demonstrated at the Oslo conference on integrated missions in late May, the approach must be applied with flexibility, taking into account the specifics of each individual mission; form should follow function. Special attention was given to the need to avoid unnecessary infringements on the operational space for humanitarian action.
We welcome the decision by the 2005 Summit to establish a Peace-building Commission and a Peace-building Support Office. This will further strengthen the UN’s ability to apply a comprehensive approach that involves relevant actors to an even greater extent, both at headquarters and in the field. At the same time it is of course extremely important to ensure that a new structure does not simply become an additional organisational layer.
The Summit, and I quote, "recognizes the important contribution to peace and security by regional organizations". What we need is an interlocking system of peacekeeping capacities as proposed by the UN Secretary General in his report "In Larger Freedom". Norway is working actively within NATO in support of an enhanced relationship between NATO and the UN. The meeting last month in New York between UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer was a good start. Strengthened relations between the two organisations become all the more important given NATO’s increasingly global engagement, noting in particular its support to the AU’s mission in Darfur. This also includes the training of AU staff officers. This is an important supplement to the many initiatives to strengthen African peacekeeping capacity being taken by the UN, the G8, the EU and many individual countries.
With the proposed establishment of an African Standby Force, African peacekeeping capacity is entering a new phase. Norway supports the ASF through SHIRBRIG. Contacts have been established at both the regional and the sub-regional level with the AU and ECOWAS.
The sheer number of initiatives for African capacity building is positive, but this also poses a challenge. Co-ordination is vital to ensure that resources are used in the most efficient manner. There is also a need to prevent overload of the AU, whose resources are already stretched due to its engagement in Darfur. Some capacity building can also be done successfully through the internet. One example is the UNITAR project on Distance Training for African Peacekeepers, to which Norway recently made a financial contribution.
In light of the increasing demand for peace operation training in Africa, we have decided to expand our Training for Peace programme to the whole of Africa south of the Sahara. The main focus of the TfP will continue to be the training of civilian personnel, including civilian police, for peace operations. The AU is planning to develop a stand-by capacity for civilian personnel, and we will enter into a dialogue with the AU on what the TfP programme can contribute in this regard. We will also discuss further co-operation with ECOWAS and SADC, which are assessing their need for civilian personnel for peace operations.
Norway is pleased with the seriousness with which the UN is addressing sexual exploitation and abuse. At the same time we find the number of new cases extremely worrying. It is a sad reminder of the need to keep this issue at the top of our agenda. We cannot let the conduct of some individuals undermine the credibility of the UN. The ultimate responsibility rests with the troop-contributing countries; they must inform personnel about UN rules and prosecute those who break them. I am shocked and dismayed to hear that UN investigators are being hindered in their work in DR Congo by troop-contributing countries. This is totally unacceptable.
The negative publicity affects us all. We must ensure criminal accountability for all perpetrators. This is key to preventing future abuse. Prosecution of perpetrators is also a signal to victims that their plight is not taken lightly, and it serves to demonstrate the UN’s commitment to its own core values. This is why Norway has made a contribution of USD 500 000 to the DPKO’s Group of legal experts on accountability of UN staff with respect to criminal acts committed in peacekeeping operations.
The proper handling of sexual misconduct is closely linked to the wider issue of "Women, peace and security", and the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000). Five years after its adoption, we still have a way to go to ensure that it is properly implemented. We must make even better use of the available gender expertise, so that we better understand the societies and people that peace processes are trying to help. We look forward to the public debate on resolution 1325 in the Security Council next week. We hope it will result in constructive suggestions for concrete action – including in the area of peacekeeping.
Before concluding, I would like to underline the fact that the new Norwegian government is strongly committed to strengthening the UN’s role in the world community. We will increase our civilian as well as our military contributions to UN-led peace operations. We look forward to discussing this further with USG Guéhenno and the DPKO.
Thank you, Mr Chairman.