I would like to thank USGs Le Roy and Malcorra for providing us with useful background information for the coming weeks’ debate on UN peacekeeping. I will also join them in paying tribute to those peacekeepers that have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of the UN since this committee met last year. Due to the disaster in Haiti their number is tragically high.
Peacekeeping is a core UN function. The goal of this committee is to ensure that it works optimally in support of lasting peace. Norway therefore welcomes the initiatives made last year by members of the Security Council and by the UN Secretariat to strengthen the UN’s ability to deliver effective peacekeeping.
Increased attention on the part of the Security Council is vital. Far too often missions are resourced on the basis of a best case scenario. We therefore commend France and the UK for their active endeavours to improve the Council’s dialogue with the Secretariat and contributing countries on the collective oversight of missions. We regret that the Council’s debate on 12 February on transition and exit strategies was not open to all contributing countries. But we fully agree on the urgency of addressing these issues. To make way for successful transition, peace-building must start in the immediate aftermath of war, with peacekeeping as an integral part. Coherence among all actors is key, and the integrated strategic framework is a welcome tool to this end by setting out priorities for coordinated UN support.
Turning to the work of this committee, Norway appreciates the focused approach of the Secretary-General’s report, which outlines four priority building blocks for future effectiveness. I will comment on three of them: (i) the need for guidance on critical tasks, (ii) the importance of mobilising and building the capabilities necessary for high performance in the field and (iii) improved planning, management and oversight.
Protection of civilians is the most critical task in need of clarification. We must come to grips with this issue to be able to deliver more effectively in the field. This is vital in order to uphold faith in the UN, not only in countries racked by conflict but also in contributing countries.
Norway commends the Secretariat for having provided very substantial background documentation on the protection of civilians. We support the three-tiered approach, which we hope will bring the debate forward. A shared understanding is vital. Protection efforts are enhanced when all components within and external to the mission are engaged in a coordinated effort, in cooperation with and with the consent of the host government.
I would like to add three more comments on protection:
First, sexual and gender-based violence should be given special attention. The effects on victims and local communities are devastating, and severely hamper reconciliation and peace-building. Norway is in the process of developing guidelines for training military personnel to deal with this abhorrent phenomenon. We hope to do so in cooperation with other member states. But military personnel are but one component. We need a comprehensive strategy, with a mission-wide and community-wide commitment to effective implementation. The Secretary-General’s appointment of Margot Wallström as his Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict is a strong signal of the urgency of the matter.
Second, more women must be recruited as peacekeepers in order to access information from all parts of the civilian community. A renewed push for such recruitment will increase the overall effectiveness of operations. It would also be an appropriate way of marking the tenth anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325 on women peace and security. Norway, together with African partners, has made a conscious effort to train more female African police officers for UN and AU missions. We will continue to follow up on this through the Training for Peace Programme.
Third, impunity must be fought with all available means. This must be done with active UN support, but with the host country taking the lead. The UN must assist in building national capacity to investigate and prosecute perpetrators, as part of a comprehensive effort to strengthen the justice and security sector.
I will now turn to the second New Horizon building block: mobilising and building the capabilities necessary for effective implementation in the field. Proper resourcing of missions was a key mantra of the Brahimi report ten years ago. It still holds true today.
I’d like to highlight four points regarding capability development:
First, capabilities should be developed on the basis of an integrated approach, as proposed in the Secretary-General’s report. Linking training and assessment to performance challenges will put the focus where it should be, on results in the field. Resources are only part of the equation. How they are used is even more important. We must ascertain that existing capabilities are prepared to deliver effectively on mandated tasks. Norway therefore supports the idea of exploring baseline standards for a limited set of peacekeeping components through pilot projects. We are ready to join other countries in supporting and implementing such projects.
Second, we must ensure that the incentives we put in place produce results that are in line with set standards. Rewards must be based on results in the field, not only on the number of boots on the ground. We must strive to develop the incentives structure in preparation for next years’ session of the Working Group on Contingent Owned Equipment.
Third, the need for civilian peacekeepers must be given appropriate attention. The vacancy rate remains unacceptably high. Hopefully the new talent management system being developed by the DFS will improve recruitment procedures, making them faster and smoother, and ensuring that they are fair and equitable We cannot allow this problem to jeopardise the effectiveness of vital UN operations. Norway will continue to support research that will assist the UN in identifying bottlenecks and possible remedies.
Finally, partnerships with regional organisations should be seen as an integral part of the efforts to provide more and better capabilities for UN operations. Strengthened regional capacities will benefit the UN. Continued support to the African Union and the AU’s evolving peace and security architecture is vital: some African countries are hosting the largest on-going UN-led missions, while others are among the UN’s largest contributors of personnel.
Before concluding, I would like to underline the continued need for improved planning and management of operations. Coherent and effective delivery in the field requires considerable military planning capacity at UN headquarters. The recent strengthening of the Office of Military Affairs was an important step in the right direction. But more should be done. Command and control must be improved. Situational awareness and threat analysis must be given more attention. Joint mission analysis centres (JMACs) must be set up with the necessary resources.
Together with our Nordic neighbours Norway has developed a JMAC course at the request of and in close cooperation with the UN. We invite fellow member states to take part in future courses in Oslo. We also call on you to work actively to ensure that the issue of adequate resourcing of JMACs is followed up in the Fifth committee.
Norway is looking forward to engaging constructively with the other members of this committee in the coming weeks. A robust and action-oriented agreement on the way ahead, based on the New Horizon initiative, would be an excellent way of marking the tenth anniversary of the Brahimi report.
Thank you, Madam Chair.