|For information only - not an official document.|
17 January 2001
COOPERATION AMONG SECURITY COUNCIL SECRETARIAT,
37 Speakers, Including 21 Troop Contributors, Address Council
NEW YORK, 16 January (UN Headquarters) -- The urgent need for enhanced cooperation and consultation among the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries in carrying out peacekeeping operations was stressed by many speakers in a day-long meeting of the Security Council today. In all, the Council heard from 37 speakers, including representatives of 21 troop-contributing countries that do not currently hold Council membership.
Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette told the Council that the past year had seen renewed political will by the international community to act to prevent conflict through the instrument of peacekeeping. At the same time, the Organization was being asked to discharge increasingly complex tasks, often in hostile environments. In that context, it was more important than ever that there be the closest possible cooperation between key elements in the peacekeeping machinery.
She said improved cooperation would address such problems as commitment gaps in contributions to operations, failures or shortcomings in operations, and problems concerning safety and security. "We in the Secretariat are committed to providing timely and accurate information to political decision makers in the Security Council, proposing options for action, and assessing accurately the risks and cost of each of these options", she said. "At the same time, we must provide troop contributors with the information necessary to decide whether they wish to participate in a particular operation."
S. Jayakumar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Singapore and Council President, speaking in his national capacity, said that a series of disastrous experiences over the past decade in places like Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sierra Leone had clearly indicated that all was not well in the world of peacekeeping. The United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) episode had demonstrated that there could be no peacekeeping without peacekeepers. Were the United Nations to lose the confidence of major troop-contributing countries, it would be effectively signaling the death knell or the decline of peacekeeping activities.
The representative of India stressed the need to learn from experience, so that errors of the past were not repeated. In that regard, he cited the problems experienced with UNAMSIL. He recommended that consultations with troop- contributing countries start when the Council mandated an operation. Such meetings must consider the concept of operations. He also underlined the need forclose consultations in the preparations for deployment and that consultations with contributors be held immediately, whenever the situation on the ground changed.
Egypt's representative said the task of strengthening the relationship among the Council, the Secretariat and the troop-contributing countries must be approached with a view to achieving optimum streamlining in the process of United Nations dispute settlement. Furthermore, the consultation process must be institutionalized at all stages in the evolution of a mission’s mandate. Such consultations must include potential troop-contributing countries at advanced stages in the proceedings and the ultimate goal of such meetings should go beyond a simple exchange of views.
The representative of Japan said that, given the multifaceted nature of today's peacekeeping operations, consultations between the Council and troop-contributing countries should not be limited to those countries providing only military and civilian police personnel. They should also be open to those countries that: provided civilian personnel; had nationals engaged in humanitarian activities; had made major financial contributions or provided key equipment and expertise; or were particularly knowledgeable about the situation on the ground. Those countries had a great deal at stake in the conduct and outcome of peacekeeping operations, as well, he said.
The representative of France noted the success of a meeting held on the subject of UNAMSIL on 4 October 2000. An interactive, candid and substantial dialogue had ensued, he said. If every meeting were to proceed in such a manner, many of the frustrations voiced during today’s discussion would evaporate. It had been recommended by other speakers that, further to the recommendations contained in the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations -- the Brahimi report -- ad hoc subsidiary organs of the Council be established to enhance the process of cooperation and consultations. That should be examined with an open mind. However, it was not the formal machinery that mattered; it was the use to which the machinery was put.
Ukraine’s representative also felt that the idea of creating subsidiary organs of the Council deserved further consideration. The representative of the United States, however, said new mechanisms, as such, were not necessarily required. The bottom line was the need to find a means of exchange that worked. Existing mechanisms could be used and ways could be found to have a better exchange of information.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Pakistan, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Australia, Fiji, South Africa, Argentina, Sweden (on behalf of the European Union), Canada, Zambia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Tunisia, Jamaica, Bangladesh, Russian Federation, Ireland, China, Norway, Colombia, Mauritius, Mali, Romania, Senegal, Poland, Bulgaria and Nepal.
The Council President made opening remarks at the beginning of the meeting. Also, at the outset of the meeting, the President expressed the Council’s gratitude to its outgoing members - Argentina, Canada, Malaysia, Namibia and the Netherlands.
The meeting began at 10:18 a.m. and was suspended at 1:25 p.m. It resumed at 3:15 p.m. and adjourned at 6:30 p.m..
Council Work Programme
When the Security Council met this morning, it had before it a letter dated 8 January from the Permanent Representative of Singapore to the Secretary-General (document S/2001/21). The letter informs the Secretary-General of Singapore’s intent to organize a debate on strengthening cooperation with troop-contributing countries during its January presidency of the Council.
Attached to the letter are two papers providing background information for the discussion. According to the first of those papers, the debate is intended to provide an opportunity for Member States to discuss and give their views on fostering a new spirit of cooperation between troop-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat.
Questions the debate could address, the paper suggests, include the conduct of meetings with troop-contributing countries; strengthening the link between the Council and troop-contributing countries in peacekeeping; and cooperation among the troop-contributing countries, the Council and the Secretariat in addressing problems in peacekeeping.
S. JAYAKUMAR, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, Council President, said today’s topic was timely, as there had been another upsurge in peacekeeping operations. The success of those operations depended on a healthy triangular relationship among the Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries.
The weakest link was with troop-contributing countries, he said. That was not a new problem and the Council had done some soul searching in the past. Despite lessons learned, however, similar problems had been witnessed, such as in Sierra Leone. It was necessary to find out what had gone wrong and how to set it right. The Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations – the Brahimi Report -- was a step in the right direction, but more must be done. Today’s discussion would be a useful start on the road to finding an answer.
The papers Singapore had circulated in document S/2001/21 provided background for today’s discussion and raised questions that could be addressed, he said. The Council would begin its debate by listening to the troop-contributing countries, after it had heard from Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette.
Deputy Secretary-General LOUISE FRÉCHETTE said the issue today was one of central importance in revitalizing United Nations peacekeeping operations for a new era. The meeting had recognized that without cooperation between the Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries, there could be no success. Last year had seen renewed political will by the international community to act to prevent conflict through the instrument of peacekeeping. At the same time, the Organization was being asked to discharge increasingly complex tasks, often in hostile environments. In that context, it was, therefore, more important than ever that there be the closest possible cooperation between key elements in the peacekeeping machinery.
She said that in the General Assembly, the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and the Council, the international community had repeatedly acknowledged the need for a vibrant and vigorous partnership that was grounded in dialogue. Much of the focus for today was on the framework for consultations between the Council and troop-contributing countries. The latter needed to know what the Council envisioned and the former needed to understand what those countries were willing to do.
She said improved cooperation between the Council, troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat would address such problems as commitment gaps in the contributions to operations; failures or shortcomings in operations; and problems concerning safety and security. "We in the Secretariat are committed to providing timely and accurate information to political decision-makers in the Security Council, proposing options for action, and assessing accurately the risks and cost of each of these options", she said. "At the same time, we must provide troop contributors with the information necessary to decide whether they wish to participate in a particular operation." The Secretariat, therefore, attached the highest importance to providing frequent and comprehensive briefings to Member States.
She said the Panel on peacekeeping operations had a number of practical recommendations that would help improve cooperation with troop contributors. The strength and promise of peacekeeping lay in its collaborative nature. "By consulting closely, by coordinating our responses and our actions, and by establishing a relationship of trust and confidence, we can fully exploit the potential of peacekeeping", she stressed.
AIZAZ AHMAD CHAUDHRY (Pakistan) said today’s debate was fundamental to the goal of making United Nations peacekeeping more efficient and effective. Regular, meaningful and effective cooperation between troop-contributing countries, the Council and the Secretariat on all operational matters was an essential element of United Nations peacekeeping. Had the issue been addressed in the early 1990s, many of the setbacks suffered by United Nations peacekeeping operations, such as the one in Somalia, could have been averted. Had past consultations been more effective, the tragedy in Srebrenica might never have happened, he added.
The Brahimi Report on United Nations peace operations had correctly highlighted the need to strengthen and institutionalize the Council’s cooperation and coordination with troop-contributing countries. In response to the recommendations of the Brahimi Report, the Council had taken a step in the right direction when it agreed, in resolution 1327 (2000), to strengthen the existing system of consultations through the holding of private meetings with troop-contributing countries in the presence of Secretariat representatives.
While the resolution did hold the promise of a more formalized process of consultations, he said, there were a number of aspects that still needed discussion to make the consultation mechanism more effective. The best way to achieve that was through the establishment of ad hoc subsidiary organs of the Council. Those organs would be mission-specific and based around a "core group" of troop-contributing countries for each operation. He also stressed that the Secretariat must work closely with troop-contributing countries.
ZEID RA’AD ZEID AL-HUSSEIN (Jordan) said his delegation agreed absolutely on the need for the speedy implementation of Security Council resolution 1327 (2000) and General Assembly resolution 55/135. The discussion today, focusing as it did on the relationship between the Council and troop-contributing countries, only made sense in the context of dangerous operations that required, in most instances, the injection of United Nations battalions to provide for a more secure environment. While some Council members had never shirked their responsibilities to send battalions into harms way, the distribution of the risk was still uneven, with a small number of Member States outside the Council shouldering the lion’s share of risk. One could, therefore, not help but feel that there was something desperately wrong and immoral about all of that.
He said that, over the last decade, his country had been one of the largest contributors to United Nations peacekeeping, having dispatched fully equipped battalions to some of the most dangerous and unforgiving areas of conflict. Having suffered its fair share of casualties, it was still aware that, as one of the smallest and poorest countries in the world, it was still owed millions by the United Nations for both current operations and those that had long ceased to exist. While Jordan was prepared to serve with others, it was not prepared to be the servants of others –- obeying blindly and unquestioningly.
He said the preferred solution to the problem was, therefore, not one of strengthening cooperation between the Council and troop contributors in a manner that only reinforced the status quo but of "assuring ourselves that a respectable number of those serving on the Council themselves become troop contributors", when more dangerous United Nations peacekeeping operations were mandated. The privilege of serving on the Council should also include the sharing of risk in the field, he said.
KAMALESH SHARMA (India) said the issue of meaningful consultations between troop-contributing countries and the Council was not a question to be determined by preserving status or privilege, but by necessity. Troop-contributing countries put at risk the lives of their soldiers in the service of the United Nations strikingly more often than did many members of the Council, who held primary responsibility in that regard. Those members should at least take the lead in ensuring that troop contributors had an effective say in the conduct of peacekeeping operations.
It was necessary to learn from experience, so that errors of the past were not repeated and the lessons learned were given practical expression, he said. In that regard, he cited the problems experienced with the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL). He recommended that consultations with troop-contributing countries should start when the Council mandated an operation. Such meetings must consider the concept of operations. He also underlined the need for close consultations in the preparations for deployment.
He also recommended that consultations with troop-contributing countries be held immediately, whenever the situation on the ground changed. Consultations must also be held before the Council changed a mission’s mandate, and contributors must know, and accept in advance, material changes to the terms and conditions under which they committed their troops. He added that the safety and security of peacekeepers was an issue of critical importance, particularly to troop-contributing countries. No stone should be left unturned in attempting to address that issue.
SUN JOUN-YUNG (Republic of Korea) said his country, both as a troop-contributing country itself and as a strong advocate of a more transparent and accountable Council, had always been a strong advocate for strengthening cooperation between the Council and troop contributors. Better cooperation among the Council, troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat would be an important platform from which to strengthen the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations.
Troop-contributing countries were still largely alienated from important stages of decision-making, he said. Despite their contribution of soldiers, equipment and much-needed resources, contributors were offered limited chances to voice their concerns over important matters that directly affected the lives of their nationals and their contributions. Meetings with troop-contributing countries should be more than a mere forum for contributors to be briefed on past occurrences in the field.
He added that a more institutionalized mechanism should be considered, to allow for the genuine participation of contributors. The views of Member States who were willing and able to contribute to peacekeeping should be respected and accommodated by the Council through the institutionalization of a consultation mechanism.
YUKIO SATOH (Japan) said the maintenance of peacekeeping operations and security now required a comprehensive approach. Such an approach included efforts in the economic, social and humanitarian areas, in addition to traditional peacekeeping operations, which encompassed military and police activities. That was reflected in the multifaceted mandates of peacekeeping operations, which often included tasks that addressed issues such as nation-building, governance and development. In such multifaceted operations, the civilian component was often substantial. A case in point was in East Timor, where a third of the military and police personnel deployed in the peacekeeping operation were civilians.
He said that it, therefore, stood to reason that in such multifaceted operations, consultations between the Council and troop-contributing countries should not be limited to those countries providing only military and civilian police personnel. Rather, they should also be open to those countries that: provided civilian personnel; had nationals engaged in humanitarian activities; had made major financial contributions or provided key equipment and expertise; or were particularly knowledgeable about the situation on the ground. Those countries had a great deal at stake in the conduct and outcome of peacekeeping operations, as well, he said.
DAVID STUART (Australia) said the absence of effective consultation would, most certainly, result in potential contributors turning away, because of the lack of information or lack of opportunity to contribute to the development of a concept of peacekeeping operations or a Council mandate. That could only serve to complicate the task of both the Council and commanders in the field. Two essential elements of more effective consultation and cooperation with troop-contributing countries were two-way communication and timeliness. Meaningful consultations required active listening by all parties. It was not sufficient to go through the motions of a consultative process, which amounted to little more than troop contributors being informed of Secretariat planning or the Council’s position.
At key points in the planning and management of peacekeeping operations, the timing of consultations was also critical, he said. Prior consultation should be regarded as indispensable in situations where the Council was changing the status of an existing operation or amending rules of engagement. Failing to consult governments, which had troops on the ground in such circumstances, would be a breach of faith. Consultations should also precede the establishment of a mandate and be part of the process of developing and refining the concept of an operation for a mission.
Finding the right balance presented a challenge to all parties, he said. They must, therefore, approach consultations in a constructive way and in a cooperative spirit.
AMRAIYA NAIDU (Fiji) said his country, as a small troop-contributing country, called for improved cooperation and greater consultation among the Council, the Secretariat and troop contributors, with a view to strengthening peacekeeping operations. He was fully confident that peacekeeping experiences, losses and gains could provide relevant information in that regard.
Strengthened peacekeeping presupposed the legal obligation of a host country, at whose invitation United Nations intervention had been provided, to resolve or manage conflict and to honour its commitments, he said. A lapse in commitment should automatically lead to the non-renewal of the force mandate or the withdrawal of a mission.
Consultations with troop-contributing countries must be timely, interactive and productive, he added. The consultation mechanism should be institutionalized. To achieve that objective, the relevant recommendation of the Brahimi Panel, on convening a special Council subcommittee, should be realized.
JEANETTE NDHLOVU (South Africa) said part of the problem that had beset United Nations peacekeeping operations in the last few years, most recently demonstrated by the events in Sierra Leone, had been the lack of coordination between key players. Meaningful consultations among the Council, troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat formed an essential part of coordination and cooperation –- essential requirements for the successful implementation of peacekeeping mandates.
She had been pleased to note the adoption of resolution 1327 (2000), in which the Council had committed itself to strengthening the existing system of consultations at the various stages of operations. She was particularly pleased that the Council had acknowledged that consultations could now be initiated by troop contributors, because that increased the opportunities to hold such consultations.
The momentum created by the Brahimi Report must be sustained to ensure that consultations were not "pseudo-consultations", she said. They must be real consultations -- a platform for a genuine exchange of views, during which the key players could express their concerns and interests.
ARNOLDO M. LISTRE (Argentina) said his country was the major troop-contributing country from Latin America and a few of its nationals had died in missions. In 1994 and 1996, the criteria and framework to formalize consultations between troop contributors and the Council were strengthened. Yet, seven years later, many related concerns voiced back then still existed. For example, the 1994 declaration stated that meetings among troop contributors, the Council and the Secretariat should be held well before the adoption of decisions to establish an operation. In practice, however, such meetings were held only a few days before adoption of a decision. All that did was turn those meetings into mere formalities, which lacked real goals.
Another 1994 stipulation was that meetings should be held with special representatives of the Secretary-General, and not just troop commanders. In 1999 and 2000, however, such meetings were the exception, rather than the rule. There were number of reasons why the provisions of 1994 had not been heeded. The first was that perhaps Council members, particularly the permanent ones, feared that their decision-making powers would be diminished. Another reason was the lack of staff and resources in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Yet, another factor in the non-implementation of the 1994 provisions was the lack of will by countries to contribute to peacekeeping operations.
He said Council decisions affected troop contributors. The UNAMSIL, for example, had had its mandate changed and a part of it put under Chapter VII of the Charter. There was a need for transparency, which was not only limited to giving out information, but about being receptive to suggestions and advice. The Secretariat also needed human and financial resources at its disposal. Troop contributors must also actively follow up conflict developments and contribute actively to meetings, he said.
PIERRE SCHORI (Sweden) spoke on behalf of the European Union and the associated States of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta.
He said the Union had thousands of men and women assigned to United Nations peacekeeping operations in the Balkans. There, his regional group was by far the most important troop contributor representing approximately 60 per cent of the international effort on the ground. The crisis management capacity of the Union was rapidly developing and the goal was to contribute effectively to the prevention and resolution of conflict. The Union would also continue to cooperate in a mutually reinforcing manner, with the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other international bodies in conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict resolution.
In the context of crisis management, he said that by 2003 the Union had set itself the goal of being able to deploy within 60 days, and sustain for at least one year, forces of up to 60,000 persons. It had also committed itself to providing, by the same year, by way of voluntary cooperation, up to 5,000 police officers –- 1,000 of them to be deployable within 30 days -- for international missions. One of the priority issues for the Union, in the ongoing process to strengthen the United Nations’ activities in peacekeeping and security, was the formulation of clear, credible and achievable mandates for operations. That objective implied, among other measures, a qualitative and quantitative improvement of consultations between the Council and troop contributors.
He said greater transparency, from the formulation of the mandate to its successful implementation, was also needed. The safety and security of peacekeeping personnel was also a matter of utmost concern to all troop contributors. Further measures in that regard should be developed as a priority.
PAUL HEINBECKER (Canada) noted that the Council had issued two presidential statements in the past decade on how consultations with troop-contributing countries were to be conducted. Regrettably, the principles inherent in those statements had not been fully respected. Even if they had, good intentions regarding the communication of information to contributors would not have proved adequate, in practice. The problem was cooperation and participation, not communication or consultation.
Any decision-making process that merely "takes or leaves" contributor’s views risked alienating those governments and exposing a mission to failure, he said. The Council and the Secretariat must be able to win the confidence of troop contributors that the strategy and concept of operations for a new mission were sound. Governments must be confident that they would be sending troops or police to serve within a competent mission with effective leadership.
It should not be beyond the ingenuity of Member States to find an effective way forward, he said. If Council members were unwilling to share power, then they should take upon themselves the responsibility of providing the troops required. If, on the other hand, potential or actual troop-contributing countries were unable to rally a consensus, then they should draw the appropriate conclusion. In the next few days, Canada would be circulating a paper on the next steps the Council might take to enhance cooperative arrangements. He hoped the Council and troop contributors would give serious consideration to those proposals.
REDA BEBARS (Egypt) said today’s subject was one that must be addressed. Today’s meeting assumed a special significance, because it had been convened in the wake of the issuance of the Brahimi Report and the experience of troop-contributing countries with UNAMSIL. The role of strengthening the relationship among the Council, the Secretariat and the troop-contributing countries must be approached with a view to achieving optimum streamlining in the process of United Nations dispute settlement. The consultation process must be institutionalized at all stages in the evolution of a mission’s mandate.
Such consultations must include the potential troop-contributing countries at advanced stages in the proceedings, he said. The ultimate goal of such meetings should go beyond a simple exchange of views. Regrettably, the gap between the demands of troop-contributing countries regarding consultations and the Council remained large. Only when the Council understood that it could not continue to refuse the legitimate request of contributors to participate in the decision-making process could the appropriate kind of relationship be established.
Despite the fact that the Council had recently taken up the practice of holding private meetings with contributors, the procedures to regulate those meetings should be institutionalized, he said. The Council must respond to the request by a troop-contributing country to convene a meeting, especially when the Council was considering amending a mission’s mandate. He added that strengthening cooperation with troop-contributing countries was only one step in the reform of peacekeeping operations.
MWELWA C. MUSAMBACHIME (Zambia) said that now was the time to take advantage of the enthusiasm generated by the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations. While encouraged by the Council's resolve to give peacekeeping operations clear, credible and achievable mandates, he had been disappointed that the question of adequate resources for those operations seemed to have received very little attention. The lack of adequate resources had led to the failure of many peacekeeping operations in the developing world, especially in Africa. In that connection, he strongly appealed to the Security Council to address the question of adequate peacekeeping resources.
Welcoming the steps taken by the Council so far in acceptance of the Brahimi Panel's recommendations on consultations with troop-contributing countries, he said that they fell far short of what was envisaged in the Brahimi Report or indeed what the troop contributors wanted. The Council should involve the troop contributors in the process of consultations in an institutional and meaningful manner. That process should start at the earliest stages of planning and should continue until the completion of an operation.
Continuing, he said that, as stated in paragraph 61 of the Brahimi Report, Member States contributing formed military units to operations should be invited to attend Secretariat briefings of the Security Council pertaining to crises affecting the safety and security of personnel, or to a change or reinterpretation of a mission's mandate. Whenever the use of force was contemplated, the Council should adhere to the provisions of Articles 43 and 44 of the Charter.
He welcomed the Council's efforts on consultations and said that more could be done to make them more meaningful. The consultations held with the Council Members in connection with the missions to Sierra Leone and East Timor were very useful. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of the traditional troop contributors' meetings held to discuss the Secretary-General's reports, which were basically very unproductive.
In conclusion, he agreed with other speakers that the consultations should not take the form of either traditional troop contributors' meetings or private formal meetings in the Council Chamber. Their format should allow a free exchange of views between the Council members and troop-contributing countries. They should also include the necessary substantive briefings.
DON MACKAY (New Zealand) said that his country and Argentina, serving together on the Security Council in 1994, had been pioneers in seeking the institutionalization of procedures to provide appropriate consultations with members outside the Council. New Zealand had been a contributor to United Nations operations for half a century, and over 30 per cent of its army was at present involved in peacekeeping. Therefore, it approached the question of strengthening cooperation with troop contributors with strong credentials.
As others had noted, the Charter spoke of troop contributors being invited to participate in the decisions of the Council concerning employment of their contingents, he continued. That must be the starting point in considering the possible establishment of new mechanisms and the procedural issues that flowed from them. He firmly believed that Article 44 of the Charter must be given due weight in United Nations peacekeeping in the twenty-first century.
On paper, things had come a long way since 1994, he said. Security Council resolution 1327 (2000), adopted just two months ago, spoke of significantly strengthening the existing system of consultations through the holding of private meetings with troop-contributing countries. Even before the adoption of that resolution, there had been a private meeting between the Council and troop contributors to UNAMSIL on 4 October 2000. The format of that meeting might serve as a model for the implementation of private meetings in accordance with resolution 1327.
The content of troop-contributor meetings must be well prepared, as it had been in the case of the October meeting, he continued. In particular, if the Council was to consider any proposals to alter significantly the mandate or size of a force, full military appreciation should be provided to Council members and troop contributors in such a meeting. Timeliness was also an essential requirement, if meetings between the Council and troop contributors were to have value.
Strengthening of cooperation with troop contributors was of great importance, especially as United Nations operations grew more complex and hazardous, he said. Equally, in these days when only a few Council members could be counted among the major troop-contributing countries, there seemed to be an imperative for Council members to seek the views of troop contributors, especially on issues concerning the safety and security of United Nations peacekeepers. There was a direct correlation between the willingness of Member States to commit personnel to operations and the level of comfort with mechanisms in place for consultation.
Finally, he said, the Brahimi Report in paragraph 61 suggested that troop-contributor advice to the Council might be usefully institutionalized through the establishment of ad hoc subsidiary organs of the Council. He believed that a formal committee should in fact be established, chaired by the Council President. It should comprise all the members of the Council and every Member State contributing formed units to the peacekeeping operation on the committee's agenda. The committee should have a regular cycle of meetings and convene to discuss new deployments and mandate, as well as significant changes to an operation, including troop reductions.
HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) said troop-contributors meetings would be made more interactive, useful and less ritualistic if they could be convened well ahead of the renewal of a peacekeeping operation, and not just before it, as was often the case. For the sake of greater transparency, there should be an increased willingness to share information with troop contributors about the situation on the ground. While the need for confidentiality was well appreciated, the lack of information very often led to misinterpretation, even distortion of events, and thus provoking negative reaction in the capitals of troop contributors. The situation was made even worse when unconfirmed reports came directly from the ground, from non-Secretariat sources. In the case of private meetings between the Council and troop contributors, the challenge lay not only with the Council and the Secretariat, but also with the troop-contributing countries themselves to make the meetings more meaningful.
On the issue of the commitment gap in the contribution of troops to peacekeeping operations, he said there were several reasons for that, especially the tardiness in reimbursing developing countries for the costs of peacekeeping operations. That created difficulties, both economic and political, for the troop-contributing States of the developing world. There was also the issue of the safety and security of troops in peacekeeping operations and the politically sensitive issue of acceptable risks, which potential troop-contributing countries would have to grapple with, before making a decision to commit troops. The issue of the lack of equipment and training was also a problem, which obstructed United Nations requests for troop contributions.
More thought should be given to overcoming the problems associated with commitment gaps, he said. Clearly, reimbursements should be made early and on time, so as to generate the necessary political will in the potential troop contributors. Perhaps with the resolution of the issue of the new scale of assessments, the problem would soon be resolved. There should be greater utilization of the Standby Arrangements system between the Secretariat and potential troop contributors. That arrangement should be strengthened, not only by involving more countries, but, more importantly, by tapping the resources available in those countries for current and future peacekeeping operations. The exercise undertaken by the Secretariat to audit and evaluate those assets was a welcome move in the right direction.
ARTHUR C.I. MBANEFO (Nigeria) said that as a major troop contributor to peacekeeping operations, his country had always felt the need for better coordination and consultation among the Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries. That was the best way to forge trust and understanding among the various stakeholders and to ensure the success of the various operations. Despite the role of the Council and the Secretariat, it was the troop-contributing countries that translated Council mandates into action, he noted.
If the rising tide of conflicts in the world was to be stemmed, and if the success of United Nations peacekeeping operations was to be ensured, the Organization must redefine its strategies and embrace closer consultation and cooperation among all stakeholders. It was for that reason that his delegation embraced the relevant recommendation in the Brahimi Report. Mandates must not only be clear and credible, there must be adequate coordination between potential troop-contributing countries and the Council during the mandate formulation process.
His delegation also welcomed the recommendation that an ad hoc subsidiary organ of the Council, as provided for under Article 29 of the Charter, be established to institutionalize the advice of troop-contributing countries to the Council. He added that consultation alone was not enough when the advice of those who had relevant experience, whether solicited or not, was not taken into consideration.
The meeting suspended at 1:25 p.m.
When the meeting resumed at 3:15 p.m., JAMES B. CUNNINGHAM (United States) noted that there was already a long history of decisions taken on the item. It was obvious, however, that the situation was not satisfactory. The United States had given the subject much thought. Stronger cooperation between the three major actors, as other speakers had stressed, was essential.
The shared goal was to make peacekeeping operations more effective and efficient, he said. To achieve that, a real partnership was needed. The actors must look at each other as partners with a common purpose. Input, will and commitment were needed by all in order for the partnership to work. New mechanisms, as such, were not necessarily required.
The bottom line was the need for a means of exchange that worked, he said. The best example of relevant cooperation he had seen so far was the series of meetings held in connection with UNAMSIL last fall. His delegation was open to new ideas to overcome inertia, he stressed. Council efficiency must be maintained. It would not be wise to blur the responsibilities of the participants in the partnership. Existing mechanisms could be used and ways could be found to have a better exchange of information.
Sir JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) said the 2001 peacekeeping operations faced much more complex challenges than could be met by the mechanisms currently in place. Driving for more effective peacekeeping operations meant ensuring that contributors knew what to expect, in both general and specific terms. Better consultations would ensure that national contingents would not arrive in the theatre unprepared or unequipped for a mission. That meant a more cohesive operation, with all contributors clear about goals. Such an approach would help to ensure that the resolutions adopted would not be paper tigers, fruitless in practice, because the necessary contributions could not be found for a mandate that was over-ambitious.
He said the arrangements for cooperation with troop contributors in the past had not worked properly. The meetings had too frequently been desultory affairs, with little or no exchange of views. The fault, however, was not necessarily all on one side. "We need to know how current or potential contributors feel about the decisions we are planning to take", he said. Troop contributors needed to be able to comment on the Secretariat's and the Council's analysis of a situation. Troop contributors, however, would have to accept that the Council made its own decisions, in line with its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peacekeeping operations and security. "But we must increasingly do so on the basis of the widest possible consultation", he said. "We also need to bear in mind that Security Council consultations with troop contributors cannot cover all ground."
He said informal consultations between troop contributors and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations would remain critical to the task of preparing and sustaining effective peacekeeping operations. That would require decisive action to give the Secretariat the capacity it needed to do the job. He said that on 15 November he had suggested forming a working group for the Council to look at generic peacekeeping issues. "I think it is now time to move to a decision on this idea, which will provide the Council with a new instrument to increase the effectiveness of its work in this area, while respecting the prerogatives of the
General Assembly." Such a working group would bring cohesion to the way the Council handled peacekeeping currently, and all too often dealt with in an ad hoc way through thematic debates.
SAID BEN MUSTAPHA (Tunisia) said the issue before the Council today had recently assumed increased importance. The Brahimi Report had started a certain momentum to improve peacekeeping operations. Increased cooperation with troop-contributing countries was one of the tools that could be used to that end. Tunisia was a troop contributor and shared many of the views expressed during the morning’s discussion, he added.
Troop-contributing countries had a key role to play in carrying out peacekeeping operations on the ground, he said. Their soldiers were called on to carry out dangerous tasks, and they had, therefore, constantly called for improvement in the consultation process. Discussion at the United Nations in the last few months had raised awareness on the need to increase such cooperation.
The importance of institutionalizing consultations had been stressed in the Brahimi Report, he said. During Council negotiations on resolution 1327 (2000) -- on the Brahimi Report -- Tunisia had supported such institutionalization, even though the Council had not taken that step. The time had now come to move forward on the issue. Jordan had suggested that in a year’s time another debate on consultations be held. Tunisia supported that suggestion. He added that holding regular information meetings, with the Secretariat providing information to the troop-contributing countries, would make it possible for those countries to follow developments.
M. PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) said that by resolving to give peacekeeping operations clear, credible and achievable mandates, the Council had committed to removing all doubts as to what was expected of troop contributors before their personnel were deployed. When clearly understood, each mandate predetermined the level of training and equipment required for a peacekeeping operation. When time was of the essence, it also placed an obligation on those countries participating in the Standby Arrangements System, whose troops were adequately trained and equipped, to be ready to respond at short notice, when needed. The success or failure of an operation could be determined by the speed with which peacekeepers were deployed.
She said the Council, by adopting resolution 1327 (2000), clearly stated its intentions with respect to troop contributors and the process of consultations during all phases of a peacekeeping operation. It was, however, of far more importance that the actions taken or contemplated by the Council give effect to that new doctrine. The Council had already acted to improve the level of consultations with troop contributors. Recent meetings between the Council and troop contributors had afforded a greater exchange of views than had been the case in the past.
Her delegation fully supported the establishment of mechanisms and procedures within the Council, which would enhance its ability to carry out peacekeeping operations, including consultations with troop contributors. "We must work collectively and individually to make the process work better", she urged.
ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said the question of cooperation with troop-contributing countries had assumed greater significance with the evolving nature of United Nations peace operations. As a major troop-contributing country, Bangladesh attached substantive importance to strengthening cooperation. As a policy issue, Bangladesh was strongly in favour of involving troop-contributing countries in Council decisions.
The adoption of resolution 1327 (2000) had not as yet brought substantive changes into practice, he said. The task at hand would be to see that Council commitments did not become empty rhetoric. He recommended that the substantive content and nature of Secretariat briefings must be in line with the letter and spirit of resolution 1327. He also recommended that consultations among the Council, troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat be in a format allowing for a free exchange of views in a truly interactive manner.
He further recommended that troop-contributing countries should be recognized as concerned parties in respect of a given conflict area, with regard to issues, including the question of calling for a Council meeting. The Council should also follow up on its consultations with troop-contributing countries. There was scope for more substantive discussion in the Council on the content of meetings with contributors.
Peace operations, where necessary, should be provided with contingency arrangements, he said. That brought up the question of the gap in troop commitment. As recognized in resolution 1327, addressing the problem would require the assumption of shared responsibility by all Member States. Council members, especially permanent members, could not shy away from assuming their responsibility.
VALERI KUCHYNSKI (Ukraine) said close cooperation among troop-contributing countries, the Council and the Secretariat was a decisive factor in conducting peacekeeping operations at all stages in the most effective manner. The role of each player in the triangle was, thus, indispensable. Recent failures of peacekeeping operations proved that much had yet to be done to improve the situation.
He fully shared the widespread perception that the existing mechanism of consultations needed to be further streamlined and institutionalized. All necessary measures should be undertaken to ensure that contributors were consulted at all stages of operations.
In the context of resolution 1327 (2000), he placed special importance on the provision that private meetings with troop-contributing countries could be held at their request. The Secretariat’s role in the process of consultations with contributors could also be augmented through regular briefings at a higher level of expertise and analysis and the circulation, well in advance, of informal background papers. He added that the idea of creating an ad hoc subsidiary organ of the Council, as advanced in the Brahimi Report, deserved further consideration.
GENNADI GATILOV (Russian Federation) said strengthened cooperation with troop-contributing countries was an important way to enhance United Nations peacekeeping operations. Recently, a whole range of steps had been taken, including the Brahinmi report and subsequent resolutions by both the Council and the Assembly. Those resolutions confirmed the primary responsibility of the Council for the maintenance of international peacekeeping operations and security, before moving on to define the interaction with that body and troop-contributing countries.
He said there were a number of criticisms of the Council. One was that meetings with troop contributors were not held in a timely manner, particularly when there was a deterioration in the situation on the ground. Another was that there was not enough information from the Secretariat. Also, the views of troop contributors were not taken into account when the Council was taking a decision. The measures taken last year, however, were geared to solve problems.
He said the main point was "to show how useful our activities will be and the impact they will have". Decisions taken in the Council were the result of compromise, where everyone had to cede a little to reach a common objective. National contingents to peacekeeping operations could also make sure that their views on any particular aspect of an operation were reported to the Force Commander, who would take them into account when preparing reports of the Secretary-General for the Council. Those reports were the real trigger in the introduction of mandates for operations.
RICHARD RYAN (Ireland) said that troop-contributing countries had a particular concern: to ensure that mandates adopted by the Council were clear, credible and achievable. That point should be readily understood by all, including those Member States who committed their troops to United Nations command and those who were sometimes reluctant to do so. As a contributor to many of the Organization’s missions over the last 40 years, Ireland was convinced that it, and other troop contributors, could make an essential and practical input in the work of the Council when it was considering the mandate of a mission. He agreed with the Brahimi report that troop contributors should be consulted at the initial stage and at all stages throughout an operation, particularly when there was a change of mandate.
He said there was a need to take a practical approach to what needed to be done. "We look at the useful mechanisms which are already in place and ask how they can be used more effectively, and then question what more needs to be done." It was also important to note that consultations had improved dramatically over the past two years. The military advisor must continue to brief the Council on military matters, but he should also be available to brief troop contributors. "We ask that both military and political briefing notes be made available to troop contributors well in advance of consultations, and that every effort be made to ensure that briefings are as comprehensive as possible", he said.
He said Member States and the Secretariat must draw on lessons learned from recent experiences. As a matter of course, when a mandate was completed, there should be routine discussions with troop contributors, the Council and the Secretariat on lessons learned. "If we are serious about improving United Nations peacekeeping, and bettering the manner in which troop-contributing countries are engaged in the system, it follows that we must be prepared to finance the necessary posts", he said. "If we are not prepared to accept the recommendations of the Secretary-General as to what he requires to do a better job, there is something hollow in those demands we hear for a greater contribution from the Secretariat."
SHEN GUOFANG (China) said the success of a peacekeeping operation depended not only on the clear and sound division of work but also on good communication and cooperation between the decision maker and the task performer. His delegation thus maintained that importance should be attached to holding regular consultations with troop-contributing countries and listening to their pertinent views in all stages of the set-up and implementation of a peacekeeping operation. He believed that the troop-contributing countries meetings held by the Council should continue and also improve, without prejudice to the work of the Council. Also, more flexible forms of exchange and communication with troop-contributing countries should be considered to inspire the free exchange of views.
He said troop contributors should also be encouraged to express their concerns to the Council in a more timely and flexible manner. His delegation endorsed the proposal for the establishment of a Security Council working group on peacekeeping operations. One of the primary tasks of such a group should be to explore ways to strengthen the cooperation between the Council/Secretariat and troop-contributing countries, on the basis of the pains and gains of recent peacekeeping operations. Its scope should include how to improve the content as well as form of the troop-contributing countries meetings, how to strengthen the cooperation between the Council and troop-contributing countries and how to encourage and give full play to the initiatives of troop-contributing countries?
OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said his delegation would continue to advocate transparency and openness towards non-members, in line with Nordic positions on Council reform. Improving arrangements for consultations with troop contributors was part and parcel of that effort. Norway was adamant that countries providing troops to peacekeeping operations be given due opportunities to participate in the preparation and revision of mandates.
Mechanisms which addressed the legitimate interests of troop contributors during all phases of an operation were needed, he said. That would promote, not hamper, the process of preparing and implementing achievable mandates.
He said due consideration should be given to the proposal of the Brahimi Panel to establish an ad hoc subsidiary organ of the Council as a way to institutionalize troop-contributing countries’ advice to the Council during the mandate-formulation process. His delegation was prepared to consider proposals to establish a more permanent mechanism under the Council, to follow up on the recommendations of the Brahimi report and other vital issues related to peacekeeping.
JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France) said he associated himself with the statement made by Sweden on behalf of the European Union. He would not go into the details on why it was necessary to enhance consultations at every stage of peacekeeping operations. However, such cooperation made it possible to increase the singleness of purpose of such operations and must promote a shared understanding of objectives.
The trust of troop contributors must be earned, he said. Such trust could only be cultivated through real partnership. Several formulas were possible. He recalled the useful role that could be played by "groups of friends". The group of friends of the Central African Republic had made it possible to share information and arrive at a shared understanding of the situation. The existence of the group had been a factor in the success of the United Nations mission in that country.
He noted that he had argued in favour of more systematically organizing private meetings with contributors. In that regard, he pointed out the success of the meeting held on UNAMSIL on 4 October 2000. An interactive, candid and substantial dialogue had ensued. If every meeting were to proceed in like manner, many of the frustrations voiced today would evaporate. It had been recommended that subsidiary organs of the Council be established; that should be examined with an open mind. It was not the formal machinery that mattered, however. Rather it was the use to which the machinery was put. Regarding the question of troop commitment, he noted that France had participated in many peacekeeping missions, and that, after India, it had given the greatest number of lives.
ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia) said that in the majority of cases the members of the Council were not the same countries as those who were troop-contributing countries. That was why it was necessary for the Council to establish a permanent and appropriate mechanism to ensure the participation of States in troop contribution. Also, those countries should take advantage of those mechanisms. While routine meetings were enough, in some cases, more complex emergencies required more sophisticated mechanisms. Decisions taken by the Council should also benefit from the input of troop-contributing countries.
He said the Council should consider whether it was doing everything possible to motivate Member States to become troop contributors. Why did some countries not contribute troops? he asked. The constraint of internal security was one of the reasons. In other cases, domestic political pressures prevented some States from becoming contributors. In the latter case, the Council could have a more positive influence by supplying information that could be used by national governments to explain to their citizens why they wanted to contribute troops. He stressed the timeliness of consultations and urged the Council to cultivate a relationship of mutual trust with troop contributors.
ANUND PRIYAY NEEWOOR (Mauritius) said there could be no doubt that troop-contributing countries, which risked the lives of their personnel, must be fully involved in the decision-making process at every stage of the mandates that concerned them. It went without saying that greater cooperation among contributors, the Secretariat and the Council should yield better results for peacekeeping operations.
His delegation fully subscribed to the position that the Council should consult with troop-contributing countries during the formulation of mandates, he said. Today, the majority of troops came from developing countries, because developed States were more and more reluctant to risk their military personnel. The Council could not afford to see a dwindling number of troops from developing countries in the years ahead, as more and more peace operations would be deployed. Consequently, the concerns of troop-contributing countries should be taken very seriously.
The success of any project lay largely in the degree of genuine cooperation between the project designers and the executors of the project, he said. It was essential to involve troop-contributing countries at the earliest stage possible.
MOCTAR OUANE (Mali) said his delegation had been pleased to see that a broad range of countries that had participated in peacekeeping operations had spoken during today’s discussion. Their views should be taken into consideration. It was a very real obligation to encourage genuine dialogue with troop-contributing countries. Procedures for consultations must be improved upon.
He welcomed the adoption of resolution 1327 (2000) and Assembly resolution 55/135 on the Brahimi report. He advocated more meetings similar to the one held on 4 October on UNAMSIL. Partnership must be built on trust. The Secretariat’s capacity to plan, deploy and conduct operations must be strengthened. The United Nations could have no future as a guarantor of international peace and security unless it followed a course of dialogue, partnership and modernization.
SORIN DUMITRU DUCARU (Romania) said his country attached great importance to the recent initiatives undertaken by both the Secretary-General and the Security Council aimed at rethinking and reforming the aims and means of successfully carrying out peacekeeping missions. He was strongly encouraged to see that some of the recommendations included in the Brahimi report had already been implemented, or were on track to be.
It went without saying that taking into account the contributions that were brought to the process by all partners was a precondition for successful multinational operations, he said. A three-pillar mechanism of the Secretary-General, the Council and troop-contributing countries needed to be designed. It was high time to move from a mechanism operating on an ad hoc basis to one that was more structured and institutionalized, and that could offer more transparency and credibility. Such a mechanism should be in place from the beginning to the end of missions.
IBRA DEGUENE KA (Senegal) said peacekeeping had evolved in a spectacular fashion. In the last decade the new generation of conflicts had created unknown situations with multidimensional natures. Those conflicts had become the standard and the United Nations was now breaking new ground in the absence of a politically defined institutional framework. The new concept of peacekeeping was one of the new challenges being placed before the Organization by today’s world.
His delegation felt that Singapore’s recommendations and the proposal to set up a working group of the Council on peacekeeping operations would be a great step in the right direction. However, it must be supported and accompanied by common efforts. Should not the process of consultations be institutionalized by involving troop-contributing countries in the preparation, conduct and conclusion of peacekeeping operations? he asked. That would create a climate of trust and encourage more States to become involved in peacekeeping operations. Consultations between troop-contributing countries, the Council and the Secretariat should take place regularly and frequently.
He said that actors at the regional level, who also contributed to peacekeeping operations, should be made to feel involved in the crafting of mandates for operations. His delegation supported the recommendation to set up technical committee to examine certain aspects of the Brahimi report.
JANUSZ STANCZYK (Poland) said the search for ways to improve the effectiveness of United Nations peacekeeping had covered many areas. One of them pertained to cooperation with troop contributors, particularly within the framework of relationships with the two other partners. The importance of the issue had been highlighted by recent increases in the involvement of the United Nations in peacekeeping and, more importantly, by the wider range of tasks performed within multifunctional peace operations.
He shared the opinion that the mechanism of consultations was a cornerstone of cooperation with troop-contributing countries. He, therefore, welcomed efforts to make those consultations more meaningful and substantive. As a troop contributor, his country would be interested in hearing the views of Council members and other troop-contributing countries, especially when the mandate of a new operation in which Poland was involved was formulated, or a change in the mandate of an ongoing operation was discussed. Poland would also welcome being consulted when decisions were made affecting the safety and security of peacekeepers.
VLADIMIR SOTIROV (Bulgaria) associated himself with the statement made by the representative of Sweden on behalf of the European Union. He said his delegation was strongly attached to United Nations peacekeeping endeavours and placed particular importance on improved cooperation between the Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries. The cooperation laid out in the Brahimi report should evolve into a transparent, strengthened and more concrete dialogue, which should continue through the entire process of consideration and formulation of mandates and, later on, during the implementation phase.
He said consultations must be put on a sound basis to ensure common understanding of the situation on the ground, as well as the strategic goals and mandates that might be found appropriate for a particular mission. In that regard, he welcomed resolution 1327 (2000) as the first step in exploring new ways for the enhancement of the existing system of consultations. The establishment of a new mechanism would enable the Council to have a clearer picture on the resources available for a particular mission, while deciding on mandates and personnel.
The Council’s activities relating to peacekeeping could only benefit from an increased and fruitful cooperation with troop-contributing countries, he said. The relevant expertise of those countries could be used during all stages of consultations.
MURARI RAJ SHARMA (Nepal) said Nepal had always felt that the relationship between the Council, the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries should move from the present uneasy interaction to a new era of cooperation and partnership. Such partnership had been a long-standing necessity for the success of peacekeeping operations. Nepal welcomed the willingness of Council members to hear the views of non-members on the issue.
Although the Council was beset with structural, functional and even attitudinal problems, there was still much that could be done to increase cooperation and forge active partnerships between Council members, the Secretariat and contributors, he said. Improving the performance of peacekeeping operations was critical to keeping peace in the world, saving lives and preventing mission failures.
He said a successful peacekeeping operation entailed a sense of ownership from troop-contributing countries, careful cooperation and coordination among the main players, deft management of discord and enhanced understanding. Nepal strongly believed that troop contributors must be involved in missions right from the start. Cooperation could not be built overnight. It would be necessary to exert effort and invest resources in a coordinated manner. Cooperation, understanding, common objectives and a cooperative approach were the key to success.
S. JAYAKUMAR, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore and President of the Council, speaking in his national capacity, said that 12 years ago the United Nations was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for peacekeeping. Today it was unlikely that United Nations peacekeeping would qualify for a prize. A series of disastrous experiences over the past decade had clearly indicated that all was not well in the world of peacekeeping.
The good news, however, was that the Organization had made an honest effort to investigate those failures –- Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Sierra Leone, he went on to say. The bad news was that not all the lessons had been fully taken on board, either by the Secretariat or the Council. It was shocking that in the year 2000 there was a recurrence of problems of peacekeeping, despite the lessons of Somalia and Bosnia in the mid 1990s.
He said the unprecedented move by India and Jordan to withdraw their troops from Sierra Leone, due to lack of consultation by the Council with troop contributors, had served as a wake-up call to all those who were responsible for designing and mandating peacekeeping operations. That UNAMSIL episode demonstrated one of the core truths that had to be faced head on –- there could be no peacekeeping without peacekeepers. Were the United Nations to lose the confidence of major troop-contributing countries, "we would be effectively signalling the death knell or the decline of its peacekeeping activities", he said. That was why it was important today for members of the Council to first hear the views of troop-contributing countries before responding.
He said there needed to be conceptual clarity on the relationship among the three crucial parties –- troop-contributing countries, the Council and the Secretariat. Also, given the high level of agreement for the development of a common culture of communication and consultation, why had it not yet been achieved? There was also need to make the troop-contributing countries meetings more interactive and productive, with a view to achieving greater dialogue and cooperation in those meetings.
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