|For information only - not an official document.|
|7 December 2000|
| Fourth Committee Endorses Special Committee’s Report
On Brahimi Panel Peacekeeping Recommendations
NEW YORK, 6 December (UN Headquarters) -- The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) approved, without a vote, a draft resolution on the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects, at a resumed session on that item this morning that concluded the Committee’s work.
According to the terms of the draft, the General Assembly would endorse the proposals, recommendations and conclusions of the report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. By other terms it would urge Member States and relevant parts of the United Nations system to implement those recommendations and conclusions. It would decide that the Special Committee should continue its effort for a comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations according to its mandate, and review implementation of previous proposals. It would also request the Special Committee to submit a report to the General Assembly’s fifty-fifth session. Finally, it would decide to keep the matter open during that session.
Before approving the draft, the Committee Rapporteur introduced the report of the extraordinary session of the Special Committee that examined the recommendations of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi. That Special Committee report also took into account a subsequent report by the Secretary-General on the proposed implementation of the Brahimi panel recommendations, along with recommendations on peacekeeping made by the Special Committee in its last report to the General Assembly.
The reports of the Fourth Committee will be considered by the General Assembly on Friday, 8 December in the morning.
Committee Work Programme
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this morning to resume its consideration of the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.
The Committee had before it the report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. The report was produced by an open-ended working group created to examine the recommendations of the panel on United Nations Peace Operations chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi (document A/55/305-S/2000/809). The working group was asked to also take into account a subsequent report by the Secretary-General on the proposed implementation of the Brahimi panel recommendations (document A/55/502) and recommendations on peacekeeping made by the Special Committee in its last report to the General Assembly (A/54/839).
The Special Committee noted the Secretary-General's intention to submit a report on conflict-prevention to the General Assembly and the Security Council. It was of the view that the report should be considered by the Assembly.
The Special Committee supported the exploration of the idea that a small percentage of a mission's first-year budget be made available to the head of mission to fund quick impact projects. Such projects should be undertaken in consultation with local authorities and in an impartial and transparent manner. Details of the projects should be reflected in the relevant reports of the Secretary-General.
The Special Committee urged consideration of bringing demobilization and reintegration programmes mandated by the Security Council into the assessed budgets of relevant peacekeeping operations for the start-up of those operations. The funding for such programmes would be reviewed in the course of the examination of the mission's budget.
Under the heading “peacekeeping doctrine and strategy”, the Special Committee stated that United Nations peacekeepers must be able to carry out their mandates professionally and successfully. Once deployed, they must be capable of accomplishing the mission's mandate, defending themselves and, where mandated, defending other mission components. In this regard, the importance of consultation with troop-contributing nations in the formulation of peacekeeping mandates and in the identification of tasks, from the earliest stages of mission planning, was emphasized.
The Special Committee emphasized the need for clear, credible and achievable mandates and for significantly strengthening and formalizing the consultation process between the Council and troop-contributing countries, in order to make it more meaningful, the report states. Such consultation should be timely, and should also be undertaken at the request of troop-contributing countries. They should commence, in particular, when the Secretary-General has identified potential troop contributors for a new or ongoing peacekeeping operation, and the Council is formulating the mandate. Consultation should also occur during the implementation phase of an operation and when there is consideration of a change in, renewal or completion of such a mandate. It should also occur whenever a rapid deterioration in the situation on the ground threatens peacekeepers' safety and security.
The Special Committee urged the Security Council to adopt resolutions that meet the requirements of peacekeeping operations when they deploy into potentially dangerous situations, and especially identified the need for a clear chain of command and unity of effort.
The report states that the Secretariat must tell the Council what it needs to know, not what it wants to hear, when it is formulating or changing mission mandates. Countries that have committed military and civilian police units to an operation should be invited to participate in Council meetings in which the Secretariat provides information on proposed changes to a mission's mandate and concept of operation which have implications for the mission's use of force. When authorizing the use of force, the Council should adhere to all relevant provisions of Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.
On matters affecting the safety of personnel, the report states that countries that have committed personnel to an operation should be fully and regularly briefed by the Secretariat in a timely, comprehensive and professional fashion. Such oral briefs should, as a general rule, be accompanied by written briefs.
Recognizing the information and analysis requirements of the United Nations with respect to United Nations peacekeeping operations, the Special Committee was of the view that the relevant bodies of the Assembly should continue to consider those needs, and also how best to use existing resources.
While recognizing that transitional civil administrations have been undertaken on an exceptional basis, the Special Committee noted the establishment of a working group to conduct a needs assessment of such administrations as set out in the Secretary-General's report (document A/55/502) and requested that it consult in a timely manner with Member States before finalizing its report.
The Special Committee urged the Secretariat to work towards the goal of being able to deploy most peacekeeping operations within 30 days from the adoption of a mandate, and to deploy more complex peacekeeping operations within 90 days. It stressed that these time-lines required political will and more effective operational capabilities to be implemented successfully, including the establishment of an efficient United Nations Standby Arrangement.
The Committee acknowledged the Secretary-General's intention to use the proposed time-lines as the basis for evaluating the capacities of the existing system to provide field missions with the human, material, financial and information assets that they require.
The Special Committee welcomed actions taken by the Secretary-General to improve the selection of mission leadership and emphasized that, prior to being selected, all mission leaders must be interviewed by senior United Nations leadership, as a general rule at United Nations Headquarters. Due regard should be given to contributions by countries providing troops and civilian police to that mission, the principles of recruiting staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible, and to general balance. The expenses of candidates' interviews should be borne by the United Nations, and all concerned permanent missions should be informed of the outcome of the selection process in a timely manner.
The importance of the entire leadership of a mission being assembled at United Nations Headquarters as early as possible was stressed in the report, in order to enable their participation in key aspects of the mission planning process. The Committee further stressed the importance of comprehensive and continuous operational and strategic guidance being provided to mission leadership by the Secretariat.
The Special Committee recognized the need for Member States and the Secretariat to work together to update and enhance standby arrangements, and in particular, stressed the importance of including a strategic transport capability in those arrangements. It endorsed the concept that authority should be vested in the Secretary-General to formally canvas Member States participating in standby arrangements regarding their willingness to contribute troops to a potential operation, once it appears likely that the United Nations might have an implementing role in a ceasefire or peace agreements and will likely undertake a peacekeeping operation.
It urged that, as a standard practice, an assessment team from the Secretariat should be sent to confirm the preparedness of each potential troop-contributor and stressed that such assessments should be administered impartially, without geographic bias. Such assessments could lead, where appropriate, to assistance to help the potential troop-contributing country meet the requisite standards.
The need to strengthen civilian police standby capacity is acknowledged in the report, and the Committee encouraged further consultation with Member States, especially with contributing countries, on ways and means to enhance national pools of civilian police in the context of the standby arrangements. The Committee encouraged efforts to improve the training of civilian police, and looks forward to the finalization of “Principles and guidelines for United Nations Civilian Police Operations”, due after consultations are completed with Member States. It also welcomed the Secretary-General's clarification that the permanent missions will continue to serve as the Secretariat’s point of contact with Member States for the provision of civilian police.
The Special Committee stressed the need to strengthen the standby arrangement system in terms of military officers. It noted the Secretary-General’s intention to communicate his requirements regarding on-call lists of military offices to Member States by 20 February 2001, after fully consulting on how best to develop a workable system. It looked forward to further consideration of that matter at its next regular session.
In the area of civilian specialists, the Committee supported the establishment by the Secretariat of a roster of pre-selected civilian candidates available for deployment to peacekeeping operations, the report states, provided such candidates are not “gratis personnel” and that they are pledged through the United Nations Standby Arrangement process. Recruitment to the roster should be undertaken via all channels of communication, including those to which access is universal.
The Special Committee looked forward to the Secretary-General's review of the effectiveness of delegated recruitment authority to the field, which will include his guidelines concerning equitable geographical distribution and gender balance, the report states. It encouraged reform of the Field Service category of personnel and a review of working conditions of externally recruited staff. It welcomed the recommendation of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations on a comprehensive staffing strategy for peacekeeping operations and, in this context, stressed the need to maintain equitable geographic distribution and gender balance.
It recognized the importance of an enhanced rapidly deployable public information capability which must be impartial, accurate and objective, the report states. Consideration must be given to the promotion of local information capacities. The Committee also recognized that additional resources should be devoted in mission budgets to public information and to the associated personnel and information technology required to get an operation’s message out and build effective internal communication links.
The Special Committee report urged that any delegation of procurement authority to the field must include appropriate regulations to ensure propriety, accountability and transparency and that it must be accompanied by the dispensation of appropriate resources to mission leadership for that purpose.
The Committee reiterated its request for an expeditious comprehensive review of the management, structure, recruitment processes and the interrelationships of all relevant elements within the Secretariat that play a role in peacekeeping operations, the report states. The comprehensive review would be essential for a thorough consideration of the resource requirements of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and other departments involved in backstopping United Nations peacekeeping operations.
Pending this review, the Committee believed that some additional resources should be made available on an emergency basis for the staffing of that Department’s Military Division, including, in particular, for Military Mission Officers, a Military Planning Service, a Training Unit specifically to support peacekeeping training activities in Member States in order to enable them to meet operational requirements, a Civilian Police Division, an Office of Operations, the Claims and Information Management Section and other sections of Field Administration and Logistics Division where appropriate.
The Committee believed that troop-contributing countries should be properly represented in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, reflecting their contribution to United Nations peacekeeping. It stressed that the increase in staff of that Department should be carried out in an open and transparent manner, and requested the Secretary-General submit a report on it to the relevant bodies of the General Assembly.
It further noted that the efficiency of that Department, apart from more staffing, is closely related to internal reform and planned restructuring, open and transparent practices, accountable procedures and the effective use of available resources, the report states. The Committee recognized the importance of coordinating mechanisms to respond to complex challenges to peace and security, and was encouraged by the proposed creation of “Integrated Mission Task Forces”. The individual entities participating in the task forces should continue to be guided by their respective mandates, be responsible to their governing bodies and should participate in the task forces without detriment to their core functions.
The Special Committee recognized, pending the comprehensive review, the need to restructure the Military and Civilian Police Divisions, including separating the Civilian Police United from the Military and Planning Division within the Department, the report states. It also recognized the importance of ensuring that a gender perspective is incorporated into all aspects of peacekeeping operations. It stressed the need for a properly functioning Lessons Learned Unit within the Department, which could ensure that experiences from past and ongoing peacekeeping operations could be better incorporated into peacekeeping policy and planning than had been the case to date.
It stressed the provision of reliable funding for the Lessons Learned Unit, primarily through assessed contributions under the Support Account, in order to allow it to more effectively meet the priorities set by the Special Committee. This capacity would enable it to develop guidelines and standard operating procedures, as well as sharing ‘best practices’ among missions.
The Secretariat should provide clarification to the Special Committee at its next regular session, of its intention to develop a “military doctrine” -- a term which is open to interpretation, and causes concern to the Special Committee, the report notes.
In the area of operational support for public information, the Committee once again recognized the important contribution which public information could make towards attainment of mission mandates and in enhancing security in operations. It called for strengthening public information in peacekeeping operations, bearing in mind the need to provide comprehensive and objective information consistent with the resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly. It welcomed efforts to address public information requirements in early phases of peacekeeping operations, strongly supporting close cooperation between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Public Information in such efforts. Note was also taken of efforts under way to review information management issues and information technology needs, and of the creation of a working group towards this end.
The delays in reimbursements to troop contributors remained a deep concern, the report states. Such delays caused hardship to all troop- and equipment-contributing countries, especially developing countries. The Special Committee encouraged the Secretariat to continue to expedite the processing of all claims, and asked the Secretary-General to present a progress report on this by the next session of the Special Committee.
It stressed that all Member States must pay their assessed contributions in full, on time and without conditions, and it reaffirmed the obligation of Member States under Article 17 of the Charter to bear the expenses of the Organization as apportioned by the General Assembly, bearing in mind the special responsibility of permanent members of the Security Council. The Special Committee strongly underlined the need to improve the security of personnel working in United Nations peacekeeping operations.
The Special Committee would resume consideration of the above matters at its forthcoming session, the report states, to be held after the submission of the comprehensive review. It requested the Secretary-General, at that time, to report on the implementation of the recommendations contained in this report.
The Fourth Committee also had before it a draft resolution on the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects (A/C.4/55/L.22). According to the terms of the draft, the General Assembly would endorse the proposals, recommendations and conclusions of the Special Committee’s report.
By other terms, it would urge Member States, and relevant parts of the United Nations system, to implement those recommendations and conclusions. It would decide that the Special Committee should continue its effort for a comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations, according to its mandate, and that it should review implementation of previous proposals. It would request the Special Committee to submit a report to the General Assembly’s fifty-fifth session, and decide to keep the item open during that session.
Introduction of Report and Draft Resolution
The Special Committee, he said, noted the importance of an enhanced, rapidly deployable public information capability, emphasizing that such a capability should be impartial, accurate, objective and should take into consideration local capacities. Information and analysis requirements of the United Nations should be kept under review, with a consideration of how best to use existing resources. It stressed that all Member States must pay their assessed contributions in full, on time, and without conditions, and it expressed concern over delays in reimbursements to troop contributors. The Special Committee would resume its consideration of the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations and the implementation plan at its forthcoming regular session, to be held after the completion and submission of the comprehensive review. It also requested the Secretary-General to report to the Special Committee on the implementation of those recommendations at that time.
Action on Draft Resolution
The Committee then adopted the draft resolution without a vote.
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