SC: United Nations peacekeeping operations

Last updated: 8/29/2011 // This statement was presented by Deputy Permanent Representative Ms. Tine Morch Smith. The nordic countries are long term supporters of the peacekeeping operations as a key UN endeavour, and Ambassador Smith stressed the importance of protecting civilians.

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries; Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

UN peacekeeping is crucial in supporting countries affected by armed conflict. The Nordic countries are long term supporters of this key UN endeavour. Between us we participate in nine of the current UN operations. Three of them are headed by representatives from the Nordic countries. Two of those leaders are women. That is no coincidence. We strongly believe that we need more women at the top level in UN peacekeeping and that we must continue to strive for proper integration of the gender perspective in all peacekeeping activities.

We welcome this opportunity to discuss peacekeeping in the Security Council. Our main focus will be on the issues of protection, capabilities and partner-ships.

Mr. President,

The primary role of the UN with regard to the protection of civilians should be to assist host governments in carrying out their responsibility to fulfil this vital task. Strengthening good governance, security and justice sector reform and participation of women are key issues in this regard. At the same time the UN must be prepared and able to provide robust assistance when needed. Effective implementation of all aspects of protection mandates requires adequate capabilities, training, comprehensive planning and strategy.

The Nordic countries fully agree with India’s focus on the need for better alignment between mandates and capabilities. Discrepancies between stated objectives and the availability of capabilities can undermine the credibility of the UN.

Mr. President,

To meet future demands the UN needs to apply a more comprehensive and capability driven approach. The Nordic countries support the New Horizon initiative as a solid basis for improving the UN’s capacity to deliver on all parts of the mandates. The on-going efforts of DPKO and DFS to move the focus from numbers, to skills and capacity are highly commendable. Likewise the UN must make more efficient use of available resources, both in-house and internationally, in particular from the South. In this light we welcome the recommendations of the civilian capacities review.

Civilian capacities, including rule of law and gender expertise, play a key role in the transition from conflict to peace and development. Together, we must build on the momentum that has been generated by the review, and continue to work for implementation of the recommendations. As Nordic countries we stand ready to share our expertise in developing civilian capacities in peacekeeping and peace-building.

We must also continue to strengthen the UN’s capacity to deliver as one. We cannot look at peacekeeping in isolation from peace-building and longer term development. A well-integrated and more coherent UN is a more effective UN. This requires an ability to prioritise and to think strategically across sectors and divisions.

Mr. President,

Partnership is a key word. We acknowledge the importance of further enhancing the relationship between TCCs/PCCs and UN bodies. The Secretariat and the Security Council will benefit from closer engagement with TCCs and PCCs in the formulation of new mandates as well as in the adjustment of existing mandates.

Close relations between the UN and host governments will also benefit all parties involved and pave the way for early transition. In order to succeed with those very sensitive peace-building tasks which tend to be included in peacekeeping mandates, national ownership is vital. This is particularly true with regard to security sector reform.
Enhanced cooperation between the UN and regional organisations is another key “partnering” issue. Cooperation and coordination are important means to ensure that the increased role of regional organisations in peacekeeping contributes to efficient use of scarce resources. This is highly relevant in Africa, where the AU is shouldering a heavy burden alongside the UN.

The Nordic countries are jointly engaged in a capacity building programme with the Eastern African Standby Force Coordination Mechanism. We are delighted with the progress made by our East African Partners. Last week the EASFCOM signed an MOU with The African Union Commission to enhance the capabilities of the AU Mission in Somalia. This MOU is a milestone in the operationalisation of the African Standby Force, as it will provide the framework for the first ever deployment of an ASF Regional Standby Force.

Mr. President,

Let me conclude by expressing the Nordic countries’ appreciation of India’s initiative to arrange today’s debate. We would also like to join others in thanking USG Le Roy for his dedicated leadership as head of UN peacekeeping. We wish him every success in his future endeavours.
Thank you, Mr. President. 

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