Five peacekeepers have been killed in Darfur over the last month, reminding us once more of the dangers facing our peacekeepers. I would like to join others in paying tribute to those men, as well as all the other men and women who gave their lives in the service of peace during the last year. We honour their memory.
I would also like to thank USGs Ladsous and Haq for their extensive briefings on the state of UN peacekeeping.
Sadly, new challenges are developing as we speak. In Eastern Congo civilians are once again on the move, fleeing violence and serious human rights violations by armed entities.
To strengthen the UN’s peacekeeping capacity, we must overcome the underlying differences that are threatening the peacekeeping partnership. Norway fully recognises that member states have legitimate concerns with regard to troop costs, but we must not allow much needed reforms to be held hostage to that issue.
Norway welcomes the recent compromise by the Senior Advisory Group on rates of reimbursement to troop contributing countries (TCCs). Hopefully that agreement will help break last years’ negative pattern of drawn-out negotiations on the report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. Lack of consensus sends a bad signal. How can host countries have faith in UN peacekeeping when member states cannot agree on proposals to enhance the capacity of the UN to fulfil its responsibilities in this field?
Norway welcomes the reform process that was initiated last year on the working methods and terms of reference of the committee. That process must be continued.
UN peacekeeping is at a crossroads. The overall trend is pointing towards a reduction in the number of both operations and personnel. At the same time, troops are gradually returning from Afghanistan. Over time, this may result in an increase in Western troops in UN peacekeeping operations. This window of opportunity should be used to improve performance and speed up the New Horizon reform process. Special attention should be directed at the following six points:
(1) It is vital that mandates are realistic and are matched with appropriate resources. This is more relevant than ever with the austerity constraints that many member states are affected by. And nowhere is this more important than with regard to protection of civilians. Protection mandates must be formulated so that they do not create false impressions of assistance that will never materialise. Norway welcomes the progress made on the resources and capability matrix for the implementation of protection-of-civilian mandates. Hopefully this will strengthen UN’s capacity to fine-tune its protection efforts. These efforts should also be informed by lessons learned from the implementation of mission-wide protection strategies.
(2) The force-generation system must be improved by developing a mid-term and a long-term planning process. This will provide TCCs with early information about UN needs, and allow them to fuse troop contributions in a timely manner, meeting UN requirements. The process have to be be both transparent and predictable.
(3) Work must continue to enhance the impact of missions through the development of capability standards. Norway is an active supporter of the pilot projects. We are eagerly awaiting the results of the testing of standards for infantry battalions, staff officers and military medical support. Norway encourages the Secretariat to continue to work with member states on the development of such standards for all relevant peace-keeping components. Standards are vital also as a basis for training.
(4) Women must be engaged in all aspects and at all levels in peace operations. Including women will lead to more effective peacekeeping. Norway supports the Secretariat’s project aimed at bridging the gender gap in peacekeeping operations. The UN needs to become better at recruiting and not least retaining women, especially from the Global South.
(5) We encourage UN to seek partnerships with other key actors in responding to the rising demand for civilians in peace operations. Norway is a strong supporter of the on-going process of ensuring that the UN is able to recruit and deploy qualified civilians. Norway looks forward to continuing to work with other member states, the UN, and with regional organisations to ensure the best possible use of existing capacities and the development of new capacities in the South.
(6) The UN should continue to be on the outlook for innovative approaches with a view to developing national capacity in host countries. One example is the team model that is being used to build capacity in the Haitian National Police on sexual and gender-based violence. There are now plans to use the same approach to address serious crime. Norway has decided to provide a team of police advisers to a serious crime support unit in MINUSTAH. Strengthening national police capacities is vitally important also with a view to protecting civilians. All too often members of national police are among the worst perpetrators of human rights violations.
I would like to conclude by pointing out that innovation is a prominent feature of the evolving relationship between the UN and the AU. Several models of cooperation are being tested in Darfur and Somalia. Other organisations and individual countries are also involved. Lessons from UNAMID and AMISOM must be taken into account in our discussions of the whole question of peacekeeping operations. Our ultimate task is to enhance the capacity of the UN to fulfil its responsibilities in this field, whether the UN is in the lead or cooperates with or supports other organisations.
Thank you, Mr Chairman.