Allow me to make some comments that are relevant for all the operations presented here today. We recognise the difficulty that the highly complex and often volatile operating context poses to implementation of mandates. We would like to commend UN staff and troop contributors for serving in difficult and dangerous environments such as in Somalia.
Peacekeeping missions cannot be seen in isolation. They operate within a regional context and in many cases, in close proximity to other missions. The added value of a regional approach to missions within the same region or the same country is evident both at the strategic and operational level. We believe that the experiences of UNAMID and UNMIS may provide many valuable lessons. As such, we would encourage an increased focus on the regional dimension, particularly with regards to the set-up of peacekeeping missions in Sudan after 9th of July. The recommendations of OIOS on collaboration with regional organisation are also valuable in this regard.
We welcome the increased focus on peace keeping missions’ impact on the environment. The measures taken to reduce the UN’s footprint in a mission area are highly welcome. The examples of greening initiatives taken by UNAMID are a case in point. We encourage enhanced focus on lessons learned and best practices in terms of mitigating environmental impact of peacekeeping activities.
We are concerned by the high vacancy rates in peacekeeping operations which, as in the case of UNAMID, are seen to seriously impede the mission’s ability to implement its mandate. The improvement of conditions of service approved by this Committee in December may help the situation, but the recruitment process in itself is also a problem. We support the recommendations by the Advisory Committee on measures to strengthen UNAMID’s ability to recruit and retain qualified civilian personnel. In addition, we encourage the Department of Field Services to continue their efforts to improve recruitment processes in general.
Sudan is facing many challenges as we approach July 9 and the secession of the South. Many issues are still to be resolved and the structure of new peacekeeping operation, including its area of operation, is yet to be decided. It is essential that the mission is allowed flexibility in use of funds in the transition period and start-up phase of the new mission so that it can restructure according to its new mandate. In general, when there is a major change in the operational context, missions need to be able to shift priorities and use of personnel as was the case in Haiti after the earthquake and now after the elections. Increased flexibility should go hand in hand with improved results-based management and oversight.
Finally, Mr. Chairman,
We support the model for whereby assessed contributions are used to fund UNSOA. Not only does this enable AMISOM to operate, but it is a long-term investment in the peacekeeping capacities of the African Union. We believe that this model should be developed further and support the recommendations of the Advisory committee on review and simplification of activities connected to UN presence in Somalia.