C34: Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations

2/22/2011 // Deputy Permanent Representative, Ambassador Tine Mørch Smith presented Norway's statement to the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations on February 22, 2011. She highlighted six points to strengthen UN's capacity to conduct peace operations.

Madame Chair,

I would like to start by joining others in paying tribute to those who gave their lives in the service of peace during the last year. We honour their memory.

Secondly I will thank USGs Le Roy and Malcorra for their extensive briefings on the status of UN peacekeeping.

“Peacekeeping remains one of the most complex political and operational issues facing the UN.”

The situation in Côte d’Ivoire is worrying, but there is also reason for optimism, such as the peaceful conduct of the referendum in South Sudan. Overall it was a good beginning for what we know will be a new and challenging phase for North and South Sudan, as well as for the UN.

It is also encouraging that member states maintain their readiness to contribute with both military and police personnel to UN Security Council mandated operations. The core challenges is to ensure that we match capabilities with the needs at field level. This will require that we continue to enhance the skills and capabilities of UN personnel. 

I will highlight six elements that Norway regards as particularly relevant to strengthen the UN’s capacity to conduct peace operations.


Firstly, we must continue to push for integration of efforts between host governments and all international partners. National ownership should be the primary focus. In order to succeed, the UN must consult closely with the host government at all stages of the process leading to the adoption of a mandate by the Security Council.

Due attention must be given to the field perspective in the planning process. There is also need for close co-ordination between the UN, international partners, NGOs and bilaterals.  There must be clarity in authority and division of roles and responsibilities among all partners of an operation.  An integrated effort can only be successful if every actor is clear on its contribution, is capable of delivering on it and works in cooperation with partners.


Secondly, we must strengthen the UN’s capacity to carry out early peace-building tasks, including in the areas of justice and security sector reform, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR), national and local reconciliation and human rights assistance. Norway welcomes the efforts to develop an early peace-building strategy for peacekeepers. In this process we must make sure that no task is assigned to the mission that can be better taken care of outside the mission. Mission presence should be short-term. Peace-building is long-term.


Thirdly, the UN must continue its efforts to strengthen performance in the field. Norway has decided to provide voluntary funding to the New Horizon pilot initiative to develop base line capability standards for military peacekeeping components. These standards will serve as a good basis for the TCC to improve training of their troops, as well as for providing more targeted and effective capacity-building support for contributing countries.

Improved recruitment of personnel is also important to strengthen field performance. We recognize the need for a stronger emphasize on  police, rule of law and SSR functions in peacekeeping operations. Norway is looking forward to study the Review of International Civilian Capacities and its recommendations. Civilians constitute an increasingly important component of missions, but high vacancy rates undermines the capacity to deliver on key civilian tasks

Norway welcomes the recent adoption of reforms of harmonisation of allowances and work conditions for civilian employees in all parts of the UN system. Hopefully this will make it easier to recruit personnel for the most challenging field postings.


Fourthly, we must keep up our efforts to strengthen the role of women and make sure that the gender perspective is duly integrated in UN peacekeeping. The main responsibility lies with member states. The Norwegian Minister of Defense has pledged that she will make sure that Norwegian military operations rest on a gender analysis and that our operational demands are adjusted accordingly.  Gender education of the armed forces will be strengthened. Norway welcomes the DPKO/DFS Gender Training strategy and is ready to provide financial support to ensure proper implementation.


Fifth, my delegation agrees with the SG that the UN needs to perform its protection duties more effectively.

Since last year, there have been improvements with respect to the planning and implementation of protection mandates. What is now urgently needed is detailed articulation of how key functions within the mission can protect civilians more effectively in their day-to-day work. Norway attaches particular importance to the development of training modules to be incorporated in pre-deployment and in-mission training. Norway is ready to support the Secretariat in trials of the training modules. 

Recent reports of new rape atrocities from the DRC tell us that there is still a long way to go. At the same time Norway would like to commend MONUSCO for having developed a number of innovative approaches to strengthen its protection capacity. Arrests of alleged perpetrators by Congolese authorities are even more important. To quote the Secretary General; “we have to raise the cost of committing atrocities to the point where they harm the perpetrators even more than the victims”.

The role of the UN is first and foremost to assist host governments in strengthening their capacity to protect. We must not create unrealistic expectations with regard to the UN’s role. The protection strategy of the individual mission should clarify roles and coordination mechanisms between the host government, the mission and other partners. Even more important: The Security Council must ensure that missions are fully resourced for the assigned tasks, not least get the Councils full political support in this endeavour.


Finally point, I would like to emphasize the need to look more closely at the environmental and economic impact of peace operations. Strengthening local procurement clearly would be very welcome in host countries that are struggling to build peace.

Thank you, Madame Chair.

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