Press Releases

    27 October 2004

    Delegates in Fourth Committee Emphasize Need to Support Regional Organizations, other Alliances in Coping with Surging Demand for United Nations Peacekeeping

    Organization Cannot Do it Alone, Speakers Say, Citing Darfur, Haiti,
    Timor-Leste Operations at Outset of General Debate

    NEW YORK, 26 October (UN Headquarters) -- Managing the recent surge in United Nations peacekeeping operations was a primary concern of delegates in the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) this morning, when it began its general debate on the comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations.

    As many speakers drew attention to the crucial importance of supporting peacekeeping efforts by regional organizations and other alliances, Canada’s representative, speaking on behalf of the CANZ (Canada, Australia and New Zealand) countries, pointed out that the United Nations alone could not manage the sharp increase in existing and planned operations.  The significance of regional organizations and other alliances had been demonstrated by the International Force for East Timor (INTERFET), the Multinational Interim Force (MIF) in Haiti and the African Union’s role in Darfur, among other cases.

    Cameroon’s representative emphasized the growing importance of regional organizations in African peacekeeping, particularly the central role of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as that of the African Union.  Agreeing with that assessment, the representative of the Netherlands, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said that the Union had substantially strengthened its support to African peacekeeping capacities, among other things through the European Union Peace Facility for Africa, which was based on the principle of African ownership and solidarity.

    The first mission supported through the Facility was the African Union monitoring mission in Darfur.

    But despite such efforts, South Africa’s representative said, the question must be asked whether all Member States were doing their best to meet the increasing challenges and ensure success in peacekeeping missions.  It was widely acknowledged that most of the developing countries were willing to contribute, but lacked the capacity.  On the other hand, the developed world, while having the capacity, lacked the will.  The time had come to bridge that gap through increased partnership.  In that regard, trilateral arrangements involving the United Nations, troop-contributing countries and donor countries should be considered.

    Throughout the morning, speakers supported specific mechanisms for more effective deployment to meet the surge in demand for United Nations peacekeeping. The representative of Morocco, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), called for a review of the existing level of pre-mandate commitment authority and the replenishment of strategic deployment stocks, which were important tools to ensure the rapid deployment and start-up of new missions.  There was also a need for more specialized civilian police personnel and enhanced cooperation between troop-contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat.

    Among other topics discussed this morning were the importance of security for United Nations and associated peacekeeping personnel, the need for zero tolerance of sexual exploitation on the part of those personnel, and the related priority of mainstreaming a gender perspective throughout peacekeeping activities.  Also emphasized was the importance of an integrated, holistic approach to peacekeeping that addressed both the underlying causes of conflicts and post-conflict development.

    Other speakers this morning included representatives of Syria, Singapore, Japan, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Mongolia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Norway, Venezuela, Jordan and Switzerland.

    The Fourth Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday 27 October, to continue its general debate on the comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.

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