18 October 2005
Security Council Highlights Need to further Strengthen Cooperation Between UN, Regional Organizations in Maintenance of International Peace, Security
Resolution 1631 (2005) Adopted Unanimously
NEW YORK, 17 October (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this afternoon invited regional organizations to participate in United Nations standby peacekeeping arrangements, urging States and international organizations to help them build their capabilities for that purpose and for the varied peacebuilding functions they have begun to assume.
The invitation was issued through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1631 (2005), which followed an extensive discussion on strengthening the involvement of regional organizations in the maintenance of peace and security.
"We are increasingly drawing on the resources and legitimacy of a network of multilateral mechanisms -- regional and global -- to provide collective responses to the peace and security challenges of today", said Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who helped kick off the discussion. The World Summit, he added, had given new backing to efforts to strengthen the collaboration with regional organizations.
"The task now ahead of us is to make sure that our cooperation mechanisms work as well as possible", he said. "They must be effective, efficient and mutually reinforcing. They must be flexible and responsive to our rapidly changing and integrating world."
He emphasized that a collective approach to security should be reinforced, in which the United Nations retained its responsibilities. "The UN's partnerships with regional organizations must provide the means to meet, rather than to avoid, our responsibilities under the Charter to provide an effective international response to violent conflict, wherever it occurs", he said.
Also through today's resolution, the Council expressed its intention to cooperate further with regional organizations and requested the Secretary-General to explore a framework for such cooperation in the context of peacekeeping operations.
Through the text, the Council urged that such organizations, particularly those in Africa, be strengthened in the areas of conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict stabilization. It also urged the provision of human, technical and financial assistance for those purposes. In that regard, it welcomed the establishment of the Peace Facility for Africa by the European Union.
In addition, the Council welcomed the counter-terrorism efforts undertaken in cooperation with regional organizations, while stressing their potential role in addressing the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. It recommended that better communication be achieved with those organizations through liaison officers and consultations at all appropriate levels.
The discussion that preceded the adoption of the text was chaired by Foreign Minister Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu of Romania, which holds the Council's Presidency for October. Among the organizations taking part were the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Organization of American States (OAS), the African Union, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the League of Arab States and the South-East European Cooperation Process.
Speakers agreed that regional organizations played an increasingly important role in dealing with situations that threatened collective security, and that cooperation between the Council and regional organizations should be based on complementarity of action, keeping in mind the differences between the regions.
"Global stability derives from regional stability", the representative of the African Union Commission said, urging the United Nations to build on its achievements with the Union in Africa. Algeria's representative cautioned, however, that the continuing problems in Darfur showed that a better approach to capacity-building was needed for regional organizations to be effective in such volatile situations.
The Assistant Secretary-General of the OAS stressed the importance of subregional organizations such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in intra-State conflicts, which were becoming the most common kind of conflict.
Many speakers emphasized that the Security Council must keep the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. The representative of the Russian Federation stressed that the Council must retain the exclusive prerogative to use force on the part of the international community as specified in the United Nations Charter.
[In the Charter, Article 53 states that the Council retains exclusive competence for the imposition of enforcement action. Under the terms of Article 52, the Council is required to promote local and regional dispute settlement, be it at the request of the States concerned or on its own initiative.]
Also taking part in today's discussion were the representatives of China, Denmark, United Republic of Tanzania, Japan, Brazil, Philippines, France, Argentina, United States and Benin.
The meeting, which began at 10:22 a.m., was suspended at 1:22 p.m., reconvened at 3:15 p.m. and adjourned at 3:42 p.m.
The full text of resolution 1631 (2005) reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations,
"Reaffirming its previous relevant resolutions and presidential statements,
"Welcoming the adoption of the 2005 World Summit Outcome (A/RES/60/1),
"Recalling its invitation of January 1993 to regional organizations to improve coordination with the United Nations, the Declaration of the General Assembly of December 1994 on the enhancement of cooperation between the United Nations and regional arrangements or agencies (A/RES/49/57), its meeting on 'The Security Council and Regional Organizations: Facing the New Challenges to International Peace and Security', held on 11 April 2003 under the Mexican presidency, and its debate on 'Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in stabilization processes', held on 20 July 2004 under the Romanian presidency,
"Welcoming the Conclusions of the Chairman of the Sixth High-Level Meeting between the United Nations and Regional and other Intergovernmental Organizations (25-26 July 2005),
"Reiterating its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security,
"Emphasizing that the growing contribution made by regional organizations in cooperation with the United Nations can usefully complement the work of the organization in maintaining international peace and security, and stressing in this regard that such contribution must be made in accordance with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter,
"Recognizing the necessity to support capacity-building and cooperation at regional and subregional level in maintaining international peace and security, and noting in particular the importance of strengthening the capacity of African regional and subregional organizations,
"Acknowledging the resolve of Heads of State and Government of the 2005 World Summit to expand, as appropriate, the involvement of regional organizations in the work of the Security Council, and to ensure that regional organizations that have a capacity for the prevention of armed conflict or peacekeeping consider the option of placing such capacity in the framework of the United Nations Standby Arrangements System,
"Welcoming the decision in the World Summit Outcome to establish a Peacebuilding Commission, and looking forward to it as an important opportunity for cooperation and close contact with regional and subregional organizations in post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery,
"1. Expresses its determination to take appropriate steps to the further development of cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining international peace and security, consistent with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, and invites regional and subregional organizations that have a capacity for conflict prevention or peacekeeping to place such capacities in the framework of the United Nations Standby Arrangements System;
"2. Urges all States and relevant international organizations to contribute to strengthening the capacity of regional and subregional organizations, in particular of African regional and subregional organizations, in conflict prevention and crisis management, and in post-conflict stabilization, including through the provision of human, technical and financial assistance, and welcomes in this regard the establishment by the European Union of the Peace Facility for Africa;
"3. Stresses the importance for the United Nations of developing regional and subregional organizations' ability to deploy peacekeeping forces rapidly in support of United Nations peacekeeping operations or other Security Council-mandated operations, and welcomes relevant initiatives taken in this regard;
"4. Stresses the potential role of regional and subregional organizations in addressing the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and the need to take into account in the peacekeeping operations' mandates, where appropriate, the regional instruments enabling States to identify and trace illegal small arms and light weapons;
"5. Reiterates the need to encourage regional cooperation, including through the involvement of regional and subregional organizations in the peaceful settlement of disputes, and to include, where appropriate, specific provisions to this aim in future mandates of peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations authorized by the Security Council;
"6. Welcomes the efforts undertaken by its subsidiary bodies with responsibilities in counter-terrorism to foster cooperation with regional and subregional organizations, notes with appreciation the efforts made by an increasing number of regional and subregional organizations in the fight against terrorism and urges all relevant regional and subregional organizations to enhance the effectiveness of their counter-terrorism efforts within their respective mandates, including with a view to develop their capacity to help Member States in their efforts to tackle the threats to international peace and security posed by acts of terrorism;
"7. Expresses its intention to hold regular meetings as appropriate with heads of regional and subregional organizations in order to strengthen the interaction and cooperation with these organizations in maintaining international peace and security, ensuring if possible that such meetings coincide with the annual high-level meetings held by the United Nations with regional and other intergovernmental organizations for better efficiency of participation and substantive complementarity of agendas;
"8. Recommends better communication between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations through, notably, liaison officers and holding of consultations at all appropriate levels;
"9. Reiterates the obligation for regional organizations, under Article 54 of the Charter, to keep the Security Council fully informed of their activities for the maintenance of international peace and security;
"10. Invites the Secretary-General to submit a report to the Security Council on the opportunities and challenges facing the cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining international peace and security, and encourages the Secretary-General to explore with regional organizations the possibility of agreements establishing a framework for regional organizations' cooperation with and contributions to United Nations-led peacekeeping operations, taking into due consideration the cooperation guidelines already identified between the UN and certain regional organizations;
"11. Requests the Secretary-General, where appropriate, to include in his regular reporting to the Security Council on peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations under its mandate, assessments of progress on the cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations;
"12. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
The Security Council met this morning to hold a thematic debate on cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in maintaining international peace and security. The meeting was initiated by Romania, which holds the Council Presidency for the month.
The discussion was expected to revolve around the issues outlined in a background paper prepared by the President (document S/2005/638), in which he notes that the purpose of the debate was to find ways to enhance the relationship of the United Nations with regional organizations in maintaining international peace and security, in particular in conflict management and post-conflict stabilization.
The debate was also being held to take stock of recent developments in the field, including the 2005 World Summit outcome and the results of the sixth high-level meeting between the United Nations and regional and other intergovernmental organizations, held in New York on 25 and 26 July. Opening the way for further work to improve the effectiveness of the United Nations and the multilateral system, world leaders at the Summit decided to create important new instruments, including the Peacebuilding Commission. Leaders also supported a stronger relationship between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations based on Chapter VIII of the Charter. The Peacebuilding Commission could become a new venue for close cooperation between the Council and regional and subregional organizations.
Noting that work to reform the United Nations was just at the beginning, the paper states that the Council should have a leading role in its authority area in furthering the Summit's call for reforms and for a stronger relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations. Given the significant participation of regional organizations in maintaining peace and security, the time was right for a more focused and organized relationship between the Council and regional organizations. The operational role of regional organizations in peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions under the Council's aegis was especially relevant.
At the same time, Article 52 of the Charter refers to the early role of regional organizations in settling local disputes. With that in mind, an enhanced relationship between the Council and regional bodies might offer ways to improve the Council's alertness to local disputes and potential conflicts, as well as its own role in conflict prevention. Strengthening the African Union's capacity to prevent, mediate and resolve conflicts with United Nations assistance was a priority. Council activity in the last decade points to the need for strong regional partners in maintaining peace and security on the African continent.
The President proposed that today's meeting take initial measures to deepen and better structure the Council's relationship with regional organizations, follow up on understandings reached at the World Summit in that regard, and draw attention to the views of regional organizations to enhance their contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security.
Council President MIHAI-RAZVAN UNGUREANU, speaking in his capacity as Minister for Foreign Affairs of Romania, said there were three reasons why Romania had taken up the theme of today's meeting. The first reason was his country's record of making the regional dimension a hallmark of its foreign policy, and its contribution to conflict management in its own region. The European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe had worked in partnership with the United Nations to put an end to conflict in the Balkans. That partnership had allowed for integrated solutions, addressing security issues while opening up the path to meaningful regional integration.
Next month, he said, Romania would once again be in the forefront of regional action when it assumes the Chairmanships of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization. Romania had become an acceding country to the European Union. In Romania's neighbourhood, United Nations cooperation with regional organizations continued to be of the utmost importance for the process regarding Kosovo. The same was true for the still unresolved, protracted conflicts in the Black Sea area. A recent example of joint undertakings by regional organizations was the launch of the European Union Mission for the monitoring of the border between Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova.
A second motive for Romania's steady pursuit of the regional theme related to the important developments recently registered with the Council, he continued. The Council and the Secretary-General deserved praise for having presided this year over the sixth, and arguably most successful, meeting with the heads of regional organizations in partnership with the Organization. The outcome of that meeting should lend itself to sustained follow-up to expand cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations through formalized agreements between the respective secretariats, and, as appropriate, regional organizations' involvement in the Council's work.
He said it was necessary to acknowledge the foresight and vision of the Charter's authors for laying down a sophisticated Chapter VIII, crafted at a time when regionalism was anything but a driving force, which had stood the test of time. It was now necessary to see how to make the most of Chapter VIII.
Romania's third reason for taking up the theme was its conviction that creating the right complementarity and subsidiarity between the United Nations and regional action would significantly consolidate both, and generate a considerable pool of resources that help the international community promptly address every tension, threat and conflict. It was important to remain flexible, open and creative when expanding on the potential offered by cooperation with regional organizations. Therefore, such cooperation should not be aimed at identifying universal patterns but rather at ascertaining which regional actors could be relied on in a given situation.
The proposed resolution provided an initial framework for expanded regional involvement, he said. It aimed at regular meetings with heads of regional and subregional organizations and better communication with partners. It called on all States to contribute to strengthening capacities of regional and subregional organizations. It also invited the Secretary-General to report on the dynamics and challenges of more meaningful interplay between global and regional actions in the area of peace and security. He believed the two debates Romania held on the subject during its term on the Council would only open up the way for the process to continue. He also trusted that the Council's regional outreach would lead the way for a global United Nations-regional organizations partnership that would be broader in scope than what was currently possible under Chapter VIII.
KOFI ANNAN, Secretary-General of the United Nations, noted that, in the last decade, there had been a dramatic growth in the range of different kinds of partnerships between regional organizations and the United Nations in support of countries emerging from conflict. "We are increasingly drawing on the resources and legitimacy of a network of multilateral mechanisms -- regional and global -- to provide collective responses to the peace and security challenges of today", he said.
For that reason, he said, collaboration with regional organizations had been strengthened, with the World Summit giving new backing to those efforts. "The task now ahead of us is to make sure that our cooperation mechanisms work as well as possible", he said. "They must be effective, efficient and mutually reinforcing. They must be flexible and responsive to our rapidly changing and integrating world. And they must be consistent with the Charter and advance its principles and purposes."
He said that capacity of the organizations must be built in the areas of peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, particularly in Africa, within the framework of the Security Council's primary responsibility for international peace and security. In addition, comparative strengths should be exploited so that organizations complemented each other rather than competed with each other.
In addition, he said, conflict should be dealt with in a holistic way that included conflict prevention and resolution, and that used the new Peacebuilding Commission to draw together the contributions of many actors. As envisaged in the Summit outcome, the United Nations was looking to strengthen its mediation capacities. It could then assist non-United Nations mediators.
Most importantly, a collective approach to security -- in which the United Nations retained its responsibilities -- should be reinforced, he said. The Organization was ready and willing to become involved when necessary.
"The UN's partnerships with regional organizations must provide the means to meet, rather than to avoid, our responsibilities under the Charter to provide an effective international response to violent conflict, wherever it occurs", he said. In that spirit, he welcomed the World Summit's recommendations that regional organizations consider placing their conflict prevention and peacekeeping capacities within the framework of the United Nations Standby Arrangements System.
MARC PERRIN DE BRICHAMBAUT, Secretary-General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said the World Summit's Outcome Document had described the road for enhanced relations between the United Nations and regional organizations. The OSCE was prepared to contribute to that work, based on its important achievements in the area. Along with other regional organizations, the OSCE was in a position to provide strong assistance to the Council in carrying out its central role. The OSCE had a forum for security cooperation and a centre for conflict prevention, and had deployed 18 missions. It carried out broad security responsibilities within its sphere of competence, including in Kosovo and Georgia. The OSCE was available to assist the Council, including by providing it with information. Among its objectives, the OSCE sought to implement Council resolutions, for example in the area of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
A framework agreement between the United Nations and the OSCE would help to implement that cooperation, he added. Among other things, the OSCE had taken its first steps in organizing the fight against terrorism, and was working on the issue of election observation with the League of Arab States. The 18 OSCE missions sought to strengthen civil society, which was a requirement for stability and development. The OSCE also shared its experiences with other regional organizations, including in the area of institution-building and minority support. The OSCE based its activities on shared common values, including respect for individuals and good governance. The high-level meeting of regional organizations in July provided a collective framework for work in the post-Summit period. The resolution before the Council would contribute to enhancing cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations.
ALBERT RAMDIN, Assistant Secretary-General of the Organization of American States (OAS), said that the proposed Standing Committee was the first critical step to establishing a division of labour for a shared agenda between key actors in conflict prevention, security and development. The comparative advantages of the OAS lay in its ability to establish consensus at all levels, including nationally and subregionally.
Such a subregional approach must be validated, he said, and the important role of subregional organizations, such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), must be recognized. The expertise of all actors must be shared to make their roles in peacebuilding more effective.
He underlined, in addition, the importance of adequate funding for building capacity of regional and subregional organizations, and the challenges that faced the OAS in dealing more effectively with new intra-State conflicts. Strategies for meeting those challenges would enhance the capacity of the OAS in early conflict prevention and would strengthen the multilateral work of regional organizations in the Americas, he said.
OMOTAYO R. OLANYAN, Acting Executive Secretary and representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, said the debate offered a useful opportunity to study the Organization's past cooperation experiences. It was well known that the objectives of the various regional organizations could differ. For Africa, the goal of regional organizations was primarily development, which could only occur in a peaceful atmosphere. In that regard, the African Union had put in place a number of cooperative agreements, including in the area of political and economic cooperation. At the moment, the United Nations was working closely with the African Union in the ongoing crises in Côte d'Ivoire, Sudan and Somalia. At the sixth high-level meeting in July, there had been agreement on the need to address such issues as absolute poverty, environmental degradation, health pandemics and crime.
Outlining basic elements for stabilization, he said stabilization forces required both harmony and change. Harmony depended on internal and external factors. Regional organizations needed to be able to absorb external factors, as well as institutional weaknesses. Regional stabilization also depended on increased support for the African Union Commission. Much needed to be done in that regard. Support for long-term training programmes was needed to address human resources deficiencies. The organs of the African Union, including its Peace and Security Council, should be strengthened to allow it to respond to regional stabilization. Regional stabilization was also about conflict prevention. The Union had resolved to establish an early warning system to provide information on the development of political crisis.
Stabilization was also about effective conflict resolution, another area in which the United Nations had cooperated with the African Union, he said. In that regard, there was a need to establish mechanisms for implementing peace agreements and democratic transitions in countries in crisis. Also, regional stabilization was about peacebuilding, an area in which United Nations support was extremely important. The Union welcomed the decision at the 2005 Summit to establish the Peacebuilding Commission. Regional stabilization implied support for the Union's efforts in the area of democracy and good governance, two areas that should also be strengthened in countries that had not experienced crisis.
Continuing, he said regional stabilization was also about sustainable economic growth and development. Noting that Africa was lagging behind in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, he said cooperation with the Union should lead to economic growth. Regional stabilization required cooperation among the leaders of the regional organizations, as well as political support for them. Global stability derived from regional stability. Regional organizations had the capacity to fully address regional issues if adequately empowered through cooperation with the United Nations. The time had come for the United Nations to build on its achievements in the area of cooperation with regional organizations.
WANG GUANGYA (China) said that given today's complex world problems, regional organizations provided critical support to the work of the Security Council. The United Nations Charter must be kept in mind at all times, however, as it provided a framework for cooperation with regional organizations.
According to the Charter, regional organizations should brief the Council in a timely manner, he said. Communication should be flexible and efforts should avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. In addition, funding for capacity-building was essential. He agreed with the need for a 10-year capacity-building effort for regional organizations in Africa, and he endorsed the draft resolution submitted by the representative of Romania.
ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) said that, in regard to the framework for cooperation between regional organizations and the United Nations, it was not necessary to rewrite the Charter, but the new complexity of world problems required a strengthening of the role of such organizations. The Council was not being asked to shirk its responsibilities by the use of regional organizations, which had become vital partners.
Efforts to build the capacity of regional organizations in interventions had not been adequate, especially in Africa, as shown by the continuing problems in Darfur. Political will and funding was required from the international community to ensure that the African Union could act effectively in such situations.
ELLEN MARGRETHE LØJ (Denmark) said cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations should be developed even further. Two areas in particular need of further attention were the African dimension and fighting terrorism. Noting progress in relation to the African dimension, she welcomed the continued efforts to strengthen practical cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, as demonstrated most clearly in the case of the African Mission in the Sudan. Denmark encouraged enhanced African ownership and participation in conflict management on the continent. The Council should explore how best to support ongoing efforts to develop the African security architecture and work closely with African Union and regional organizations to advance means and ways of cooperation.
A coherent approach stimulated cooperation between the United Nations, the European Union and other international actors, she said. The goal should be to establish efficient partnerships and an equitable division of labour between organizations involved in conflict prevention and peacekeeping. Denmark had contributed actively to enhance the capacity of African regional and subregional organizations in conflict prevention, through the Union and through substantial bilateral assistance.
Regarding the fight against terrorism, she stressed that regional organizations not only could, but also should play a particularly important role. The more regional organizations vowed to condemn terrorism in all its forms, the more successful the international community would be in its fight against terrorism. As the Council had noted on several occasions, many States were willing to do more in the fight against terrorism, but lacked the capacity to do so. A key role for regional organizations was to assist members in implementing their international obligations in the field. Improved cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations was a work in progress. Much had been achieved already, notably on the ground, not least in the Sudan. With the overall goal of enhancing international peace and security, Denmark remained committed to supporting concrete initiatives to further improve cooperation in the future. The establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission would be an important step in that regard.
TERRY DAVIS, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, said that democracy, human rights and the rule of law were main interests of his organization. It also focussed on conflict prevention. It was particularly interested in minority rights in that context. Several conflicts had been prevented in Europe through that focus.
Better legal conventions, respect for human rights and intercultural dialogue were important in the fight against terrorism, he said. Strictures against torture were particularly important to maintain during that effort. He then described some of the activities and facilities of the Council of Europe.
He said he supported a framework agreement with the United Nations, as well as the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission. Agreeing that the Security Council had the primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security, he invited that body to make the best use of the specialties of the Council of Europe.
VALERY KYRYCHENKO, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), said the CIS had been formed in the wake of the break-up of the former Soviet Union. Among its achievements was the formation of new structures for the establishment of inter-State relations and the peaceful engagement between new sovereign States. Unfortunately, conflicts had not always been avoided, as was the case in Tajikistan, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova. Among the reasons for conflict in the region was the worsening of socio-economic problems. Other issues included the struggle of political forces for power, inter-ethnic relations, the growth of clans, an increase in Islamic fundamentalism and the growing drug trade.
The CIS had, however, been able to achieve results and there had been a number of situations in which political dialogue had been sought over conflict, he said. In Georgia, for example, a ceasefire agreement had been reached. In 2000, the conflict in Tajikistan had been settled. An end to civil war in that country was an example of cooperation between the United Nations and the CIS to settle a bloody conflict. New forms of cooperation were needed among regional organizations, as well as new processes for stabilization.
An urgent task, he added, was to work out a plan for building trust in the political, humanitarian, military and other spheres. To achieve maximum harmony, a clear information exchange mechanism needed to be established. Joint seminars and conferences would be useful in that regard. Regarding the Transnister conflict, representatives of the CIS Executive Committee could take part in settling the conflict. Regarding the conflict in Georgia, a key issue was refugee returns, as well as the need to establish an atmosphere of minimal trust.
ANDREY DENISOV (Russian Federation) said that cooperation with regional organizations must increase, but strictly under the provisions of the United Nations Charter. The Security Council must retain the exclusive prerogative to use force on the part of the international community.
He said that positive experiences of cooperation in the fight against cross-border criminality must be built on, in cooperation with regional organizations. The CIS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization were playing important roles in troubled areas in Central Asia. He supported the outcomes of the World Summit in regard to peace and security, in particular as regarded the Peacebuilding Commission and regional organizations.
AUGUSTINE MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania) said that a closer working partnership was needed between regional organizations and the Security Council. He supported measures that had been proposed by the Secretary-General in that context, as well as the draft resolution under discussion today.
Regional organizations had the advantage of proximity to conflicts, but were hampered by lack of capacity, he said. He expressed hope that the new Peacebuilding Commission would usher in a new era of partnership in that context. It was also necessary to have a political partnership for conflict prevention, and said that the working relationship that had developed between the Security Council and the African Union through the situations in Côte d'Ivoire and the Sudan must be institutionalized.
KENZO OSHIMA (Japan) said regional organizations were playing an increasingly important role in the prevention, resolution and management of conflicts, including addressing their root causes. That was a welcome development deserving the Council's encouragement and support. The 2005 World Summit had done just that. In particular, he applauded the increasingly active and effective conflict-prevention and political-mediation role played by the African Union. He also welcomed the political commitment and the increasing sense of regional ownership with which the African Union and Africa's subregional organizations had engaged in peace processes in a number of serious situations in the continent. Such efforts should be supported or complemented by the United Nations, and the Council in particular, through all appropriate means available for that purpose.
He said Japan supported, for example, creating more opportunities for heads of regional and subregional organizations to brief the Council on their activities as they related to the maintenance of peace and security. More specifically, Japan welcomed the growing role of regional organizations in peacekeeping operations, particularly in Africa. Promoting further cooperation and creating partnership between regional organizations and the United Nations in the area of peacekeeping was a desirable and feasible goal that should be positively pursued. To that end, several issues needed to be considered, including the capacity for rapid deployment of peacekeeping operations to meet emergency requirements. To better cope with the challenge, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had been advocating the idea of a strategic reserve of peacekeepers for rapid deployment once a peacekeeping mission was established. In developing such a rapid deployment capacity, regional organizations could play a useful role.
He also stressed the need for more effective cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations engaged in peace operations. While the role of regional organizations in peace operations had been growing, their capacities for sustainable operations were often limited. The United Nations could play a useful supporting role in order to strengthen the sustainability of peace operations conducted by regional organizations. To that end, various forms of support could be considered, ranging from United Nations assistance to military planning. There was an important role in the proposed Peacebuilding Commission for regional organizations at the peacebuilding stage, and he strongly supported the participation of regional organizations in the Commission's activities.
EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the Presidency of the European Union, said that the growing cooperation with regional organizations had mirrored the increase of internal conflicts that had spilled over borders.
In that context, peacekeeping had expanded into many complex areas, including policing. He described some situations in which regional organizations had assisted the United Nations in performing those tasks. Such partnerships were essential, he said. Regional organizations might have a more profound understanding of regional situations, as well as other advantages. The Security Council, however, retained primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
He said regular desk-to-desk dialogue between the United Nations and regional organizations must be strengthened. The comparative abilities of various organizations must be known in advance of particular needs, so arrangements could quickly be made when necessary. Frameworks for working with such organizations should also be known in advance, and capacity-building for regional organizations must be given long-term support, such as the 10-year plan for African organizations. In regard to regional organizations and the fight against terrorism, he said that such cooperation was valuable, but common tactical standards were required from the United Nations.
HAMIDON ALI (Malaysia), Chairman of the New York Committee of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the Association fully supported multilateralism and the central role of the United Nations in maintaining international peace and security. To further strengthen the foundation of its cooperation with the United Nations, the Second ASEAN-United Nations Summit had been held on 13 September in the periphery of the 2005 World Summit. The ASEAN leaders and the United Nations Secretary-General had taken the opportunity to discuss numerous areas of cooperation, including energy security, debt relief, disaster management and peace and security. The ASEAN leaders had recognized the linkages between development, security and human rights, committing to enhanced cooperative efforts to combat international terrorism at national, regional and international levels. The United Nations also welcomed the possibility of ASEAN seeking observer status at the Organization.
He noted that the adoption of General Assembly resolution 57/35 of 2002 had provided additional impetus for cooperation, as it encouraged both ASEAN and the United Nations to increase contacts and to further identify areas of cooperation. The ASEAN would continue to support efforts towards making the United Nations a representative, effective and relevant body for promoting global and regional peace and prosperity. The Association had maintained contacts with various international and regional organizations, including the United Nations and the OSCE. The ASEAN Regional Forum was the principle regional process to engage its dialogue partners in the Asia-Pacific region to agree on confidence-building and cooperation activities. The ASEAN foreign ministers also held regular consultations with their counterparts in the margins of the General Assembly.
MARTIN ERDMANN, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Security Policy of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), said that NATO was no longer focussed on cold war deterrence but had turned to the challenge of maintaining stability after being spurred to action by the horrors of the Balkan conflicts. It had developed into a "security manager" in the broadest sense. He described operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Darfur and earthquake-affected Pakistan.
The NATO had learned that the international community must act together to maintain stability and security, he said. It worked with partners on a wide variety of levels. For further international cooperation through the United Nations, a common understanding was essential. For that reason, communication between partners must be continuous. In addition, the mechanics of cooperation must be improved and NATO would assist in those efforts.
RONALDO MOTA SARDENBERG (Brazil) said the time was right for the relationship between the Council and regional organizations to become focused and organized. Slightly over a month ago, world leaders at the 2005 World Summit had clearly reaffirmed, in the Summit's Outcome Document, the importance of regional and subregional organizations for the international community as a whole, and for the work of the United Nations in the area of international peace and security in particular. Institutional cooperation was needed in key areas related to the settlement of disputes, threats to peace and acts of aggression. The Outcome Document recognized the indispensable role of regional organizations in the fields of peacekeeping, peacebuilding, responsibility to protect and in the efforts to meet the special needs of Africa.
That was more than just a political statement, as it stemmed from undeniable empirical realities, he said, noting that in Darfur, the African Union bore the brunt of the operations to oversee the ceasefire. Also, in West Africa, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had undertaken great efforts to quell critical situations. In Nagorny-Karabakh, the OSCE pursued the end of the territorial dispute; NATO provided support to the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA); and in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the European Union had taken over the task to consolidate peace. In Guinea-Bissau, the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Communities had done remarkable work, helping to organize the recent elections. Finally, in Haiti, the OAS was closely cooperating with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in organizing elections, registering more than 3 million voters for the coming ballot.
He welcomed increased cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations. In establishing connections, however, it was important not to overstretch the limited resources of such organizations and to be mindful of their various competencies. All cooperation must follow clear mandates in order to avoid legal and managerial problems and duplication of work. Regarding conflict prevention, major efforts should be targeted at the root causes of conflicts, particularly those that might be region-specific. A one-size-fits-all division of labour between the United Nations and regional organizations was not necessarily desirable. The establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission would greatly contribute to increased coordination among regional organizations and the United Nations.
LAURO BAJA, JR. (Philippines) said that cooperation with all regional organizations could not be the same since they were not identical to each other; they had their own regional norms and had arisen through regional developments. Strategies to strengthen cooperation between them and the United Nations should focus on quick and effective deployment. Therefore, the various capacities of each organization should be recognized. He described some of ASEAN's capacities in that light.
It was also necessary to create better communication procedures both for early warning and for the development of best practices, he said. Dialogue and cooperation should also be encouraged among regional organizations. He welcomed the resolution under discussion today.
JEAN-MARC DE LA SABLIÈRE (France) said that regional organizations were now useful at all stages of peacebuilding, though the abilities of all such organizations were not the same. In that regard, he said it was important to build such capacity, especially in Africa, where regional organizations were playing such a crucial role on the ground.
In the area of crisis prevention, regional organizations were often better suited to play an early-warning role. In post-conflict reconstruction, such organizations must be taken into account in every given situation. The ability to do that would be a measure of the success of the new Peacebuilding Commission. In all the areas under its aegis, regional organizations would play a more and more varied role in the future.
YAHIA A. MAHMASSANI, Representative of the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, said today's meeting confirmed the 2005 Summit outcome, in which world leaders expressed support for more solid relations between the United Nations and regional organizations. It also confirmed the participation of regional organizations in the Council's work. Cooperation between the United Nations and the Security Council, on the one hand, and regional organizations, on the other, should be governed by the United Nations Charter and should cover peacekeeping operations, reform and development, all of which could lead to the maintenance of international peace and security.
He said regional organizations must be up to the challenges of the twenty-first century. In the new world order, cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in the maintenance of peace and security was a necessity. The Council must maintain stable and ongoing relations with regional organizations. Article 52 of the Charter referred to the traditional relationship of regional organizations in conflict management. The Council must reactivate the role of those organizations and be attentive to their opinions and initiatives. The League had taken several initiatives in accordance with the principles of the Charter to find a solution to the conflict in the Middle East. He hoped the Council would seriously look at the peace initiative announced at the Beirut Summit. Unfortunately, the Council had not adopted any earnest initiative in that regard, passing up an opportunity to bring peace to the region. The initiative was still on the table, however.
He said regional organizations must be invited to participate in the Council's negotiations, and should also be provided a major role in coordinating humanitarian assistance. Strengthening the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations would enable them to become active partners in the maintenance of peace and security.
ADAMANTIOS TH. VASSILAKIS (Greece), speaking in his capacity as the Chairman in Office of the South-East European Cooperation Process, said the debate was taking place during a crucial year for the United Nations and a few weeks after the 2005 World Summit, where important decisions had been taken to strengthen the Organization. At the Summit, world leaders had recognized the importance of multilateralism in addressing challenges, as well as the important contribution of regional organizations in that regard. The need for a more structured relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations had also been recognized by the July high-level meeting. The decision to convene on an annual basis, among other things, was important for achieving better cooperation. While stressing the primary responsibility of the Council for the maintenance of international peace and security, leaders had also stressed the complementarity of regional organizations in addressing new threats.
Today, more than ever, regional organizations had a vital role to play in conflict prevention and management, as well as in post-conflict peacebuilding, he said. Close ties among regional organizations gave them a comparative advantage in understanding the root causes of conflict. Successful and sustainable peacebuilding outcomes also required the active involvement of regional organizations in post-conflict reconstruction policies. As a member of the European Union, Greece supported multilateralism and fully subscribed to the Union's security strategy. Regional cooperation was a key priority to an agenda for peace, stability and development. For the South-East European region, such cooperation was also a key element for integration into the larger European family. Currently at a turning point, the region was moving closer to political stability and economic development. Members of the region had a common responsibility to turn the region into a beacon of peace. In that regard, the South-East European Cooperation Process was showing itself to be the organized voice of the region.
The recommendation to institutionalize the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations was crucial for forging an effective partnership able to meet the challenges of the time, he concluded.
ALBERTO D'ALOTTO (Argentina) said regional organizations had the relative advantage of closeness to the conflict zone, allowing them to quickly detect the symptoms of conflict and offer solutions for the peaceful settlement of controversies. When considering a specific conflict, the Organization should seek the opinion and advice of relevant regional organizations. The United Nations Charter conferred on the Council the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. Chapter VIII of the Charter stipulated the role of regional organizations in the settlement of controversies. The Peacebuilding Commission, acting as a liaison between the Council, United Nations organs and regional organizations, would create new synergies in the post-conflict phase. Given the connection between security, peace and development, the specialized knowledge of regional organizations could act to ensure the success of strategies for long-term economic growth and stability.
He also stressed the importance of establishing official cooperation agreements between the secretariats of regional and subregional organizations and the United Nations incorporating, if possible, armed conflict prevention capacity or peacekeeping. Systematic cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations would increase the Organization's capacity to prevent conflicts, respond quickly in cases of conflict and provide solutions for the creation of durable peace.
ANNE WOODS PATTERSON (United States) said that the activities of regional and subregional organizations, when properly planned and capably implemented, were important in a variety of critically important United Nations priority areas, such as promoting democracy and human rights, international security, countering terrorism and transnational crime, and supporting economic development.
She highlighted some of the relevant initiatives that her country was undertaking to increase the effectiveness of collaborations with regional organizations. In particular, she said the Global Peace Operations Initiative would enhance interoperability between peace-support units from different countries, especially in Africa. Greater regional stability, created by an enhanced African peace-support capacity, would be instrumental in promoting African democracy and economic growth.
PAULIN DJAKPO, Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Benin, said his country was extremely grateful to Romania for having organized today's meeting, the importance of which was undeniable in light of United Nations reform. It was not a question of reinventing the United Nations, but of creating the conditions for the judicious application of the United Nations Charter. The system of collective security was based on the primary responsibility of the Council for the maintenance of international peace and security, and cooperation with regional organizations on the basis of subsidiarity. The provisions of Chapter VIII were unequivocal in that regard.
He noted that following the fall of the Berlin Wall, there had been a convergence of values and cooperation between the major Powers in the area of international peace and security, enabling the Council to play its Charter-given role. At the same time, however, there had been renewed interest in regional integration for the promotion of peace and security. Those positive developments had created conditions for more active cooperation with the Council and had promoted the revitalization of the collective security situation as envisaged by the Charter.
In that regard, he paid tribute to the Secretary-General for emphasizing the need to consult with regional organizations. He also welcomed the decision of the high-level meeting to create a standing committee and to monitor decisions taken. Such partnership required the establishment of consultative mechanisms for more effective cooperation between the Council and regional organizations. Regional organizations would be unable to fulfil their commitments, however, unless their early warning systems were strengthened.
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