Press Releases

    23 September 2004

    Security Council Presidential Statement Aims to Strengthen Efforts at Building Durable Peace in Societies Shattered by War

    Secretary-General Says Complex Business of Peace-Building Requires Long-Term Commitment, More Resources, Well-Integrated Efforts, Trained Cadre

    NEW YORK, 22 September (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council today, meeting at the ministerial level to discuss the ways in which durable peace could be built in societies shattered by war, adopted a presidential statement recognizing the increasing importance of such civilian aspects as police, justice and the return the rule of law in addressing complex crises and preventing their recurrence.

    In the statement read out by the Council President for the month, Miguel Angel Moratinos Cuyaube, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Spain, the Council affirmed the importance of conflict resolution and acknowledged the importance of civil-military cooperation in crisis management. Military and police components were essential to addressing and stabilizing certain serious crisis situations and guaranteeing security, it said.

    The ministers also agreed by the text that participation of a strong civilian component was key to the provision of humanitarian assistance, the re-establishment of public order, the functioning of public institutions, reconstruction, rehabilitation and peace-building for longer-term sustainable development.  Civilian participation was also essential for a strategy of military disengagement and played a crucial role in post-conflict peace-building.

    Opening today’s meeting, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the complex business of building a durable peace could be truly successful; witness the examples of El Salvador, Guatemala, Mozambique, Namibia and, more recently, Timor-Leste. Yet, it could not be done without certain key elements. First, a long-term commitment, as disinterest or division in the Council could leave the root causes to fester and blow up again some day. “We saw the bitter consequences of failed peace-building in Haiti and Liberia, where we are engaged once more. We must not repeat those mistakes.”

    Second, he said, more resources -- and available more quickly.  The needs were great, but peace operations remained a great investment.  In the history of the United Nations $30 billion had been spent on peacekeeping operations -- one thirtieth of the amount that was spent last year alone on global military expenditures. Third, efforts must be well-integrated. And fourth, an international cadre of highly trained civilians available for building peace was needed -- both technical experts and people with the ability to work closely with national actors in such areas as State-building and transitional justice.

    In the ensuing discussion, speakers acknowledged the need for a “massive” infusion of both military and civilian components in the ever more complicated process of building peace. Several warned against losing sight of United Nations’ standards, such as the rule of law and respect for human rights, while underscoring the need to avoid undue strains following the withdrawal of a peace mission in a country still shaken by conflict. Other speakers supplied their “recipes” for a successful transformation from conflict to sustainable peace, requiring effective coordination between military forces and civilian actors.

    The High Representative for the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, said that the Union’s security policy, from the outset, had been to enable it to deploy both military and civilian instruments, in order to assist in strengthening the capacities of the recipient countries. Thus, it had developed concepts and established structures capable of sustaining the deployment of civilian elements. Challenges remained, however, stemming, in part, from the difficulty in obtaining civilian personnel for deployment in crisis management. Mechanisms must be built up to properly train and ready them for deployment, and societies should rethink their criteria for recruitment. Perhaps a “culture of coordination” was needed between the civilian and military aspects of peace.

    Similarly concerned about the need for sustained support of peace operations, the African Union’s Commissioner for Peace and Security, Said Djinnit, acknowledged the Union’s limitations, especially since its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity, had envisaged deployment of observer missions of limited scope and duration, and not of peacekeeping operations, as those had been considered the exclusive domain of the Security Council. The situation had changed under the African Union, however, with the establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the Union and the strong determination of African leaders to enhance the Union’s capacity to foster peace, security and stability. Indeed, the Union had quickly been called upon to demonstrate that resolve, including in Burundi and Darfur, Sudan. Efforts now should focus on building a rapid-reaction capability and establishing an African standby force by 2010.

    Angola’s Minister of External Relations, Joao Bernardo de Miranda, said that experience had shown that post-conflict peace-building required much more than purely diplomatic or military decisions; consistent peace-building efforts were needed to eliminate the multiple causes of a conflict. In armed conflict, the Council’s role was clear, but in situations in which public order and the functioning of public institutions had failed, it was incumbent upon the civilian component to play a more important role.  Such peace-building efforts must be properly financed and coordinated at the highest level, in strategic and administrative terms, in a framework that incorporated all of the United Nations’ partners. The set of decisions taken at the end of a conflict should seek to reduce the risk of a relapse into conflict by creating the most favourable conditions for reconciliation, reconstruction and economic recovery.

    Recalling the “very steep learning curve” of the past decade, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, Jack Straw, said that military peacekeeping ended the hot war of conflict, but lasting peace could only be ensured if the international community helped to build civilian institutions and governments.  Resolving today’s conflicts was more complex than in the past, and might involve stabilizing a fragile peace, restoring a public order, reintegrating combatants, acting on women’s issues, defeating impunity and rebuilding institutions for economic growth and social welfare.  Those were big challenges, made all the more acute by the need to act quickly following the end of a hot conflict. Also, the fact that initial political attention and financing for post-conflict countries tended to wane or drop off after three to five years, when countries were most vulnerable to relapsing into conflict, must be addressed.

    The Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Amre Moussa, also addressed the Council today, as well as Council members at the ministerial level from: Germany; Chile; France; Romania; the Philippines; Brazil; Pakistan; Algeria; and Spain. Representatives of the United States, Russian Federation, Benin and China also spoke.

    The meeting was called to order at 11:19 a.m. and adjourned at 2:06 p.m.


    The Security Council this morning convened a thematic debate, entitled “Civilian aspects of conflict management and peace-building”, for which it had before it a letter from the Permanent Representative of Spain inviting the Secretary-General’s participation and offering several suggestions for discussion (document S/2004/722). Spain’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, whose delegation holds the Council presidency for September, was expected to chair the debate.

    The paper says that the complexity of present day crisis management has been highlighted by the increasingly frequent recourse to operations where different international organizations or crisis management actors, including multinational forces, are called to intervene. In dealing with United Nations’ operations, the importance of civilian aspects of crisis management should be acknowledged.  International military operations can enforce ceasefire agreements or monitor and ensure their implementation, but their ability to re-establish public order and the normal functioning of State institutions after a crisis, paving the way to socio-economic rehabilitation and political reconciliation, is relatively limited.

    Among the several issues suggested for the discussion were: helping former opponents implement complex peace agreements by liaising with an array of political and civilian actors; weighing the use of the so-called “civic action” and “peace initiatives” as leverage for further reconciliation; supporting the delivery of humanitarian assistance and civil protection; and encouraging Member States’ development of police, rule of law or civil administration capabilities specifically for deployment in civil-military operations (that could include the setting up of rapid civilian response teams to contribute to civil-military operations in a wide range of areas, such as political science and law).

    Also:  examining the issues raised by civilian-military cooperation in the carrying out of mandates and the drafting of operations mandates that are sufficiently encompassing of the full range of civilian activities essential to effective peace-building; developing the various options for fruitful cooperation in crisis management between the United Nations and Member States, and other international organizations; sorting out the institutional issues regarding the deployment of coordinated civilian-military components for a particular operation (the latter might include the establishment of a coordinating mechanism at the United Nations level); and achieving future improvements to civilian crisis management by focusing on building a more cohesive international approach.


    Secretary-General KOFI ANNAN said that today’s debate was extremely timely, and the presence of so many foreign ministers was very welcome. Yesterday, in the General Assembly, he had stressed the importance of the rule of law. Nowhere was its absence more keenly felt than in war-torn societies, and nowhere was its restoration more vital to the maintenance of international peace and security. But, that was far easier said that done.  Peace-building was a complex business that drew on many actors, and its goal -- to build durable peace in societies shattered by war -– was ambitious indeed.

    He said that experience had taught that international interventions, even those that carried the unique legitimacy provided by the United Nations, could not quickly erase the noxious legacy of conflict.  The international community, therefore, needed to be realistic about what was achievable, and it must have a clear political strategy for success based on a sophisticated understanding of the context, and tailored to respond to it. That strategy must include benchmarks for progress towards the goal for not just holding elections, but also building legitimate and effective States.  Since resources were relatively scarce, it was essential to set priorities, without which the best-laid plans for long-term reconstruction and recovery would fail.

    Peace-building could be truly successful, as had been seen in El Salvador and Guatemala, in Mozambique and Namibia, and more recently in East Timor, he said. He had also been heartened that a number of ongoing missions were making solid progress in helping peace to take root. At the same time, he was very conscious of the enormous challenges, such as in Africa, where the demand for United Nations peace operations was huge. The tangible support of the international community would make the difference between the success and failure of current and future peace-building efforts. First, the Council needed to sustain its interest and focus on each and every peace operation.

    He said that the bit-by-bit building of peace, from the ground up, might not grab headlines, but it must command the international community’s vigilant attention and its long-term commitment.  Disinterest or division in the Council was a “recipe for unfulfilled mandates and unsolved problems, leaving the root causes of conflict to fester and blow up again someday”. Everyone saw the bitter consequences of failed peace-building in Haiti and Liberia, where the world was now engaged once more. Those mistakes must not be repeated. Second, more resources were needed, and more quickly than was done in the past.  Third, it must be ensured that efforts were well integrated, since the various elements of peace-building were interdependent, and failure in one sector could mean failure in the rest.

    Fourth, he continued, it must be ensured that the best people available were employed to carry out the tough assignments. In terms of civilian staff, an international cadre of highly skilled civilians for peace-building -- both technical experts and people with the ability to work closely with national actors and bring together diverse perspectives of conflict management, State-building development and transitional justice. He was proud of the unique expertise of the dedicated staff that supported him in carrying out the Council’s mandates, but resources must be provided to enhance the quality and quantity of that expertise. Risk was an unavoidable part of the work of United Nations civilian staff. There must be a reasonable balance between the risk to be undertaken and the substantive contribution that civilians were called on to make.

    He concluded that peace-building required a clear strategy, developed and executed by highly skilled professionals, grounded in local conditions, reflected in realistic mandates devised by the Council, supported by all parts of the United Nations system, and fully backed up by the Council and the Organization’s membership as a whole. With that support, the work could succeed and the promise of peace-building could be realized.

    SAID DJINNIT, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, while noting the Union’s increasing involvement in peace support operations, said that body had limited experience in peace support operations. The 1993 Cairo Declaration, which established the Organization of African Unity’s (OAU) Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, had envisaged the deployment of observations missions of limited scope and duration, not peacekeeping operations, as they had been considered the exclusive responsibility of the Security Council.

    However, he continued, the situation had changed under the African Union. With the establishment of the Peace and Security Council, African leaders had expressed their strong determination to enhance the Union’s capacity to bring about peace, security and stability on the continent. Thus, article 6 of the Peace and Security Council’s Protocol delineated responsibilities in the areas of: promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa; early warning and preventive diplomacy; peacemaking, including the use of good offices, mediation, conciliation and enquiry; peace support operations and intervention; peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction; and humanitarian action and disaster management. The Protocol also recognized the importance of an effective cooperative relationship between the civilian and military components of any mission.

    The African Union had quickly been called upon to demonstrate its resolve to respond to conflict situations and emerging crises, he noted. In Burundi, peace support operations had been deployed to pave the way for the United Nations’ peacekeeping operation, while in Darfur, Sudan, the Union faced an immense challenge. The Union’s experience in Darfur had already revealed the need to expand the composition of the mission to include civilian components to address the civilian, human rights and humanitarian aspects of the crisis affecting, in particular, women, children and the elderly. It had also revealed the need to include women in the Union’s mission to address their specific plight.

    In spite of its limitations, he concluded, peace support operations in Burundi and Darfur had been deployed in the expectation that the United Nations and other partners would provide the support needed.  As the African Union continued to enhance the effectiveness of the Peace and Security Council, its efforts should focus on the establishment, by 2010, of an African Standby Force. However, as it attempts to achieve that goal, the continent also faced the challenge of building a “Rapid Reaction Capability”.  In that endeavour, the Union would continue to rely upon the support of the United Nations within the framework of Chapter VIII of the Charter, as well as the strong support of other partners.

    JAVIER SOLANA, High Representative for the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, said that civilian aspects had taken on primary importance in crisis management. Until recently, conflicts had been between States, but nowadays, internal conflicts were most frequent. Although the deployment of forces might still be necessary, the objective was broader and more complex, namely, restoring a legitimate government and defence of the rule of law. The rebuilding of a State had a political and security dimension, but that also required the establishment of institutions in which the population could be confident. Guaranteeing security was necessary for a State ravaged by conflict, so as to enable it to move forward on a path towards development.

    Stressing that development and security went hand in hand, he said the Union was convinced that it should and could make a significant contribution to that very important task.  Its security policy, from the outset, had been to enable the Union to deploy both military and civilian instruments, in order to assist in strengthening the capacities of the recipient countries. Thus, it had developed concepts and established structures capable of sustaining the deployment of civilian elements. The Union’s member States had committed their capabilities in various areas, including the training and provision of civilian police officers and specialists in strengthening the rule of law.  Over the past three years, in six operations, the Union had undertaken great efforts and demonstrated its operational capacity.

    He said, however, that much still remained to be done. Obtaining civilian personnel for deployment in crisis management was more difficult than obtaining military personnel. Mechanisms must be built up to properly train civilians and ready them for rapid deployment. Societies should rethink their criteria for recruitment. As the discussion paper had rightly recognized, a new mechanism was needed, even a new “culture of coordination” between the civilian and military aspects. All existing synergies should be employed and misunderstanding between the two components should be avoided. The Union wanted to establish reconstruction teams before a conflict was resolved, which covered security and civilian aspects.  It was particularly well qualified to tackle those challenges, as its involvement in Bosnia and Herzegovina could attest. The Union had also recently set up a civilian/military planning cell capable of encompassing all three aspects of planning -– political, civilian and military.

    AMRE MOUSSA, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, said that successive initiatives to discuss aspects of conflict management had demonstrated the importance attached by the Security Council to the development of concepts and mechanisms for complementarity between the United Nations and regional organizations, within the context of Chapter VIII of the Charter. Throughout preceding discussions, two principles had been highlighted: first, that the cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations was fundamentally governed by the Charter and the provisions of Chapter VIII; and second, that the nature of threats to peace and security in the current international environment required collective action that made use of the full spectrum of existing mechanisms to deal with both the military and civilian aspects of crises. The complexity of present-day crisis management also meant it was important to draw upon the comparative advantage of different organizations.

    Emphasizing that political, not military, instruments must be the first recourse to resolve crises, he also stressed that coercive measures, when taken, must be clearly authorized by the Council. Rushing into the use of force led peace-building to be fraught with dangers and difficulties, and could affect fatally the maintenance of regional, and international, peace and security. Moreover, experience showed that crises emerged not only due to sudden political developments, but also had root economic, social and political problems dating from the end of the cold war, including increased oppression, injustice, poverty, disease, violence and terrorism. Thus, serious consideration of civilian aspects was necessary to help societies rebuild following war. Military victory was merely part of a wider political process and could only be valued in light of whether successful peace-building followed.

    International security was strengthened by regional cooperation, he continued, to which end the League of Arab States had made efforts to open to civil society, to create an Arab parliament, to adopt a human rights charter and to establish a mechanism for dispute settlement. Due to the geographic positions of its members, the League also found itself cooperating with other regional organizations, for which reason he valued the recognition that participation of the largest number of parties in crisis management required strengthening cooperation and designating a lead organization.

    Finally, he stressed that the Security Council itself must assume its duty in terms of the wider issue of maintaining international peace and security. Unfortunately, the Council had shown a reluctance to deal with major issues such as the Arab-Israeli conflict and the situation of Palestine, as well as Israeli breaches of international law. If the Council would undertake its proper role in the maintenance of international peace and security, there could be an effective discussion of the role of civilians in crisis management. The core of the issue remained ensuring the credibility of multilateral order, he concluded.  There must be an effort to increase the United Nations’ -– and the Security Council’s, in particular -– legitimacy, effectiveness and democratic nature.

    JOSCHKA FISCHER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, described each peace-building mission as a massive intrusion for concerned societies, demanding a high degree of experience and cultural awareness. That was especially true for such civilian components as building State and judicial structures, clearing up human rights violations, drawing up a new constitution or organizing and holding elections. The international community must respect and use local traditions and structures, and cooperate with regional organizations that were anchored in the same community of values, making them an essential partner for crisis management.

    Stressing that disappointments could hamper acceptance of peacekeeping missions, he said the United Nations must live up to people’s expectations for a rapid and clear improvement in their situation.  In Afghanistan, for example, the Taliban, Al-Qaida and others systematically exploited the population’s frustration to discredit peacekeepers as unwelcome occupiers. A happy medium between short-term expectations and long-term commitment must be found to make the mission’s benefits clear as quickly as possible. Civilian and military experts could provide people with rapid and visible assistance, even if reconstruction efforts had yet to bear fruit.

    The international community should develop and rapidly implement a coherent toolkit for civilian peacekeeping, to be coordinated by the United Nations, he added. Civilian experts in crisis and reconstruction should be trained and mobilized at home, so that the United Nations could quickly fall back on urgently needed police trainers, judges or lawyers. Unlike military personnel, those experts were not usually ready and waiting, but employed in companies and institutions.

    MARIA SOLEDAD ALVEAR, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chile, said that, in order to resolve a crisis, one should first examine its root causes. Next, minimum security conditions should be restored, followed by coordination between civilian and military actors. Noting the need for an effective civilian police force, judiciary and penitentiary system, she stressed that conflict management should be directly tied to long-term development and the laying of the groundwork for social, political and economic reconstruction. After all, individuals often had to start their lives over after conflicts ended, and assistance was needed for that.

    She called special attention to the importance of regional organizations in the area of crisis management. In her own region, the Americas, the Organization of American States (OAS) was working to strengthen democracy as the basis for peace and security. Highlighting the situation in Haiti, where the restoration of police capacities and the rule of law was essential, she said that the work of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) should be bolstered by the OAS, with its experience in rebuilding institutions.

    She stated that the multilateral system could better manage conflicts if it followed five basic steps.  First, Member States should strengthen the capacities of their police forces, so that they might be able to be deployed within the frameworks of international or regional peacekeeping operations. Second, there should be more cooperation between the United Nations, regional organizations and Member States. Third, the active participation of civil society should be promoted. Fourth, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations should consider establishing a focal point to help blend the civilian and military aspects of conflict management. Finally, the United Nations Secretariat should help promote civilian-military coordination within the mandates of peacekeeping operations.

    MICHEL BARNIER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of France, noted that 30 per cent of the countries emerging from conflict worldwide experienced a relapse into conflict, while that figure reached 60 per cent in Africa. That situation emphasized the importance of including police, judges, human rights observers and public service specialists in efforts to re-establish confidence, rebuild institutions, restart economies and initiate electoral processes. Moreover, recent visits to Haiti and Kosovo had allowed him to conclude that there were three primary challenges facing the international community, the first of which was the need to react in good time to emerging crises, including pre-emptively.

    Unfortunately, he noted, the international community’s capacity to react rapidly to emerging crises remained meagre, while the gap between peoples’ expectations and capabilities had increased.  Efforts must be made to increase the human resources available to the United Nations, including through the creation of a pool of police, judges and human rights experts. Moreover, in terms of natural disasters, there was a need for a rapidly deployable civilian protection force. Such initiatives could be accomplished with increased funding.

    The second challenge was that of coordination, he said. Progress had been made on coordination, but remained insufficient. The responsibilities of the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General and of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident coordinators should be strengthened. Furthermore, the creation of contact groups of those countries most concerned with resolving certain crises should be considered, in order to enable the development of action strategies. It was also hoped that the Secretary-General’s high-level panel would propose permanent mechanisms of coordination between international and regional organizations, as well as non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

    The third challenge, he continued, was to develop effective exit strategies, which would allow the international community to help a country without making it dependent on external assistance. In that regard, training, assistance and education should be the priority, and civil society must be brought in as a partner.  Moreover, with regard to the linguistic requirements of peacekeeping operations, there must be a greater effort to place individuals speaking the local language. French-speaking individuals were sorely lacking in missions in the French-speaking countries of Côte d’Ivoire and Haiti.

    Crisis management was no longer the sole preserve of the Security Council or of the United Nations, he concluded, but must be addressed by the international community as a whole and should incorporate the integration of all three stages of crisis management: prevention; management; and transition.

    MIRCEA GEOANA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Romania, said that recent global debates had shifted from costly contemplation about engagement to defining the degree of engagement. The breadth and diversity of that engagement could be addressed only once a broad concept of security and conflict management was adopted. That would enable the international community to move beyond merely dealing with the symptoms of the challenges before it. That concept necessarily went beyond military aspects and included political, economic and social elements. The time had come for the Council and the entire United Nations family to take stock of conceptual and practical gains of the last few years.

    He said that, since 1998, the Council had considered more than 30 different themes, spanning from peace-building to HIV/AIDS, from justice and the rule of law to the role of business in conflict prevention.  Those were building blocks in a new trend in the Council’s activities and decisions. The Council was moving away from a narrow political/military conception of peace and security to a much broader understanding, which acknowledged the place of civil society, human rights, and economic and social factors. In the end, the Council had acknowledged the multifaceted nature of security. The same trend had been reflected in the increasing inclination of the Council to authorize peacekeeping operations with multidimensional mandates, leading to a diversification in the type of conflict management field presence deployed by the United Nations.

    A major challenge was to avoid dividing lines, which kept the military and civilian dimensions rigidly parted, he said. They should be made to work together in a systematic and meaningful way. In almost all situations where a military component was needed, a civilian component was also surely needed to address the situation in a sustainable manner. Indeed, the civilian role increased as an operation advanced successfully. Accordingly, it was only logical to start thinking of all operations as having two phases of deployment and two categories of staff, in a mutually reinforcing relationship. Several test cases -- Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, and Kosovo -- bore witness that the integrated approach of the military and civilian aspects made a difference.

    He said that another key in all post-conflict operations was to rapidly build up local capacities and ownership. Bosnia and Herzegovina was a good case in point, where the exit strategy of the international community was gradually turning into a development and European integration strategy, thanks in great part to a combination of an expert civilian component, adequate military forces and responsible local capacity build-up. Kosovo should also follow that pattern. Institutionally, the need had arisen for more systematic cross-sector cooperation and coordination at Headquarters and in the field.  Operationally, two issues were also critical: to ensure that civilian and military components were interoperable and had clear and complementing mandates; and that civilian components were promptly deployable, as needed. He, therefore, encouraged all Member States and relevant international organizations to continue to develop their own civilian capabilities for crisis management and peace-building.

    Of decisive importance was the capacity of post-conflict societies to assimilate democratic values, especially competitive electoral politics, he said. Again, that required a realistic approach, which included the right balance between military and civilian instruments. Unfortunately, prolonged deadlock persisted in the peace and transition process, such as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which made the case for more substantial military resources. On the other hand, it had been learned that it took more than just an election or the establishment of a few institutions to achieve genuine democratic participation. A review of the United Nations’ electoral assistance substantially broadened the understanding of criteria for “free and fair” elections. Also needed were independent national commissions, freedom of organization, movement, assembly and expression for political parties, accurate electoral rolls, and free access for non-governmental organization and international election monitors.

    ALBERT G. ROMULO, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, said that currently the dangers to international peace were posed less by conflicts between countries and more by the deadly web of terrorism, weapons proliferation and the political turmoil brought about by dysfunctional or failed States. Experience over the last decade had shown that the attainment of sustainable peace in countries shattered by conflicts involved complex and multidimensional aspects, which called for harmony of efforts by the international community, through the United Nations.

    Sustainable peace demanded that failed States and States recovering from debilitating conflicts develop their governments and build their economies and civil society, stated Mr. Romulo. “But without external help, this would be impossible to achieve. International assistance is required for these States to foster responsive, accountable institutions of governance, such as rule of law mechanisms, including the justice system -- administrative bureaucracies, central banks, and fiscal and financial rules and mechanisms, to guard against possible relapse to conflict.”

    He said that the welcome trend in the way the various United Nations bodies had been performing their mandate under the Charter had contributed to an environment where military and civilian aspects were now seen as a seamless whole under the rubric of conflict management and peace-building. Despite the improvements achieved, there were still philosophical and structural constraints that needed to be addressed to attain harmony between the military and civilian aspects of the work of the United Nations in post-conflict States.

    In order to achieve lasting peace in war-ravaged States, the international community should assist such States for as long as necessary in establishing stable and functioning governmental institutions, he said. The results, and not the contingencies of the length of a mission, should be the prime factor for effective conflict management and peace-building. Member States could also revisit the “White Helmets” initiative introduced in the General Assembly by Argentina a decade ago. That initiative called for Member States to establish a corps of volunteers for humanitarian relief operations who could be deployed to other countries in need of such assistance, in coordination with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Because they were largely self-financed and/or supported by contributions, they were not a burden to the limited United Nations budget or to the official accounts of Member States.

    The quest for international peace and security is a multifaceted challenge, he said. Peace required a comprehensive, concerted and determined approach that addressed the root causes of conflicts, including their economic and social dimensions. To the extent that the goal of peace was indivisible, the approaches and efforts at achieving it needed to be holistic, well-planned and well-coordinated.

    CELSO LUIZ NUNES AMORIM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Brazil, recalled his President’s message as to the importance of social justice, saying that a world in which hunger and poverty prevailed could not be peaceful. Therefore, United Nations peacekeeping operations should incorporate economic and social perspectives, while instruments and mechanisms should be developed to effectively translate awareness of the importance of the economic and social spheres into real action strategies.  That effort should include enhancing cooperation between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which was the Charter organ with responsibility for matters of economic and social development. Noting that, in many of the World Bank’s, and other bodies’, approaches, reconstruction came later, he stressed the importance of the Security Council’s promotion of ECOSOC’s fulfilment of its tasks.

    In the recent past, attempts had been made to use the Charter’s provisions under Article 65 in Burundi and Guinea-Bissau, he noted, although the overall comprehensiveness of those efforts was not assured.  Brazil had agreed to lead the United Nations’ Mission in Haiti on the understanding that a long-term commitment to ensuring economic and social progress, as well as security and stability, had been made by the international community. The United Nations had been inclined to focus strictly on security issues, but must now incorporate emphasis on assistance in the social and economic spheres. To that end, the Security Council must cooperate with other organs and agencies of the United Nations system in areas beyond its own purview and work to ensure continuity in prevention, management and post-conflict peace-building.

    Also raising the issues of the Organization’s capacity to react rapidly to emerging crises and emphasizing that the provision of adequate resources for reconstruction was essential, he stressed, in conclusion, that the Security Council must, in the future, avoid the situation in which a crisis -- once it was determined to no longer present a threat to international peace and security -- entered into a limbo state in which no follow-up on reconstruction was provided.  Such removal from the Council’s agenda facilitated relapse into conflict.

    MAKHDUM KHUSRO BAKHTYAR, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, said that the Council was frequently called upon to intervene in complex crisis situations, which were often characterized by interlinked military and security dimensions, as well as political, economic, social and humanitarian facets. The wide range of issues involved required a comprehensive, multidimensional approach based on increased system-wide coordination. There were three basic conditions for a successful transformation from conflict to sustainable peace: restoration of security; a viable political process; and development and reconstruction. Effective coordination between military forces and civilian actors was required to meet those conditions.

    He said that peacekeeping operations were the most effective and widely used instrument for conflict management, but a peace operation was usually established when there was peace to keep. In the pre-conflict stage, there was always scope for civilian involvement through preventive diplomatic action. Early warning and early engagement, including through the Secretary-General’s good offices and the United Nations system at large, could, at times, prevent conflicts from erupting. Early diplomatic engagement could also help contain the conflict if it erupted. Conflict prevention, therefore, must be a priority goal. During the conflict phase, the increasingly complex, multidimensional peacekeeping operations were instrumental in managing crises and creating an enabling environment for a smooth transition to the post-conflict or peace-building phase. The civilian aspects, such as humanitarian assistance, conflict resolution and dispute settlement, and implementation of the peace process, were also important.

    Access, protection of the humanitarian community, and adequate resources were crucial for an effective humanitarian response, and peaceful resolution of the conflict under the Charter should remain a priority throughout, he said. The post-conflict phase relied more heavily on the civilian role, when there was only a residual military presence, if required. The civilian component helped: maintain public order; reintegrate ex-combatants; develop functioning public institutions; protect and promote human rights, justice and the rule of law, electoral processes and economic reconstruction and development. The diversity of challenges in that phase required the involvement of multiple actors, both within and outside the United Nations system. A comprehensive policy must place the greatest premium, at all stages of conflict, on addressing the root causes. That was essential to preventing a relapse into conflict.

    He said that recognition of the link between peace and development would help target strategies for longer-term stability and self-sustaining peace and security. Given the complexity of civilian conflict management and peace building, and the fact that national and regional capacities varied significantly, there could be no “one size fits all” solution.  Endeavours to develop overarching guidelines must bear that in mind. In strengthening national civilian crisis management instruments, the logical first step would be to fill the capacity gaps in subregional or regional resources, where possible. Increased system-wide coordination was essential to successfully integrate civilians aspects into United Nations strategies, and the crucial issue of resources must also receive due attention. The multidimensional tasks in the post-conflict phase were not primarily the domain of the Security Council; many lay within the purview of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. The support of the international financial institutions was also equally important.

    JOAO BERNARDO DE MIRANDA, Minister of External Relations of Angola, said that the whole set of decisions taken at the end of a conflict to consolidate peace and prevent a further outbreak of hostilities, otherwise known as peace-building, did not replace humanitarian and development activities. On the contrary, the purpose was to complement or redirect such activities, so as to reduce the risk of a relapse into conflict by helping to create the most favourable conditions for reconciliation, reconstruction and economic recovery. Experience had shown that post-conflict peace-building required much more than purely diplomatic or military decisions; consistent peace building efforts were needed to eliminate the multiple causes of a conflict.

    He noted that the Secretary-General had said that since 1970, on the African continent, more than 30 wars had been fought, the overwhelming majority of which had originated as internal conflicts. In 1996 alone, 14 of the 53 African countries had experienced armed conflict, which had been responsible for more than half the deaths caused by conflicts worldwide. Those conflicts had also given rise to 8 million refugees and displaced persons, and had gravely impeded the efforts of African nations to guarantee long-term stability and development, and peace. The increase in the number of peace missions and the relaunching of development activities had attested to the growing importance of the civilian aspects of peace-building. The international community, thus, must take into account the link between peace and development, and must be able to rely on the cooperation, coordination and complementarity of the principal United Nations organs. Moreover, joint deployment with regional and subregional organizations had demonstrated that such partnerships were mutually advantageous.

    In armed conflict, the Council’s role was clear, but in situations in which public order and the functioning of public institutions had failed, it was incumbent upon the civilian component to play a more important role. For that involvement, certain conditions were required, with the first among them being diplomatic political action on several fronts. Also, peace-building efforts must be properly financed, and the activities of multilateral actors must be coordinated at the highest level, in strategic and administrative terms, in a framework that incorporated all of the United Nations’ partners.  Respect for human rights and the rule of law was also vital in peace-building. Defining the role of the private sector in post-conflict countries was a great challenge, but he was certain that the private sector could make a crucial contribution to peace-building. In Africa, as elsewhere, the changed nature of conflict called for different forms of action.

    ANNE PATTERSON (United States) said the post-cold war experience had demonstrated that ad hoc responses to conflict management remained insufficient. There were several areas in which coordinated work must be undertaken, including in terms of transitional security and law enforcement, the rule of law, good governance, economic reconstruction and humanitarian responses. For instance, while the military and peacekeepers could help to stabilize the situation in a country, civilian police elements were necessary to maintain security afterwards. The presence of civilian police enabled the military to draw down sooner than otherwise, thus, freeing up military elements for redeployment elsewhere.

    The police could function as a bridge from transition to functioning democracy, she noted, citing the example of El Salvador, where the establishment of the national police, which not perfect, had been essential to the country’s reconciliation and democratic transformation. Yet, she warned, policing alone could not constitute the whole answer. There must also be integration of the public security and justice systems, and accompanying inclusion of civil society and the private sector in that process. Without such an integrated approach, policing became nothing more than continued peacekeeping. The rapid establishment of the rule of law in post-conflict States was also essential to prevent the emergence of organized crime and terrorist elements.

    Another area for improvement was to be found in the role played by international organizations in responding to crises, she added. Moreover, as highlighted by United States President George Bush in his address to the General Assembly yesterday, democracy and governance issues were central to responding to crises. As announced, the United States would support the establishment of a Democracy Fund, and looked forward to any recommendations the Secretary-General’s high-level panel might make. Also emphasizing the need to work with international financial institutions on a shared understanding of responsibility, she affirmed the United States’ commitment to work to help confront challenges posed by emerging crises.

    JACK STRAW, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, said that military peacekeeping ended the hot war of conflict, but lasting peace could only be ensured if the international community helped to build civilian institutions and governments.  Resolving today’s conflicts was more complex than in the past, and might involve stabilizing a fragile peace, restoring a public order, reintegrating combatants, acting on women’s issues, defeating impunity and rebuilding institutions for economic growth and social welfare. Those were big challenges, made all the more acute by the need to act quickly, following the end of a hot conflict.  As well as being quick, it was important to be coherent across a range of issues and actors.

    He said that, in the past decade, everyone had been “on a very steep learning curve”, as more comprehensive mandates were agreed upon, including in Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti and Burundi, and the importance of supporting locally grown programmes, such as the Loya Jirga in Afghanistan, was being learned. The international community might also be getting better at burden-sharing. It was also working more closely across institutions. All of those improvements had illuminated the future direction, for which he envisaged five areas of focus: earlier action; better financing; stronger partnerships; local priorities; and long-term engagement. On the first, it was critical to plan implementation of the civilian processes early, so as to quickly lay the foundations for stability. Regarding better financing, he was not necessarily arguing for an increase, but ways should be found to generate more funding for civilian peace-building activities, especially vital in the first year after a conflict had ended.

    With respect to stronger partnerships, he noted that regional organizations often mobilized resources more quickly with special local legitimacy. The African Union was playing a leading role in Darfur, Sudan, and the United Nations and the European Union partnership was also growing.  Linked to that was the need to better coordinate actions. In the post-conflict environment, competing, conflicting, or inappropriate programmes could often do more harm than good.  Much could be learned from the trust fund models in Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia and elsewhere. Local priorities should be stressed and the local capacities to implement them should be developed; it was not useful to impose structures that would collapse as soon as the international community left. In terms of long-term engagement, the fact that initial political attention and financing for post-conflict countries tended to wane or drop off after three to five years, when countries were most vulnerable to relapsing into conflict, must be addressed.

    ANDREY DENISOV (Russian Federation) said experience showed that attaining lasting peace and settling conflict on a regional basis could only be achieved through a comprehensive approach to post-conflict recovery in concerned States. Thus, United Nations peacekeeping operations had become increasingly more complex and multidimensional, and emphasis had increasingly been placed upon the role of the civilian police and non-military components to missions. Such elements bore the responsibility for establishing legitimacy and the rule of law. To implement their tasks, qualified international staff were required, and although the United Nations had some significant experience in that regard, the willingness of Member States to make available qualified resources was of primary importance.

    In many instances, successful peace-building had been made possible by close cooperation between the military and civilian components in the rehabilitation process, he said. Thus, the Security Council had an important role to play in facilitating interaction with other elements of the United Nations system, as well as in enhancing cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations. A number of such regional and subregional organizations had well-developed civilian police capacities, which could be made available to the United Nations.

    Every crisis was unique, he warned, and no single model could be applied to all situations. Thus, the United Nations’ work should be based on conformity with the Charter, which stipulated that the primary role in coordinating peacekeeping operations was to be played by the Security Council. That comprehensive approach should also provide a seamless transition from one stage of post-conflict recovery to another, which required the Council to support the civilian aspects of peacekeeping operations, especially at the moment when primary responsibility for management of a crisis was handed over to another agency or body of the United Nations system. His own country remained committed to increasing the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations, including through the provision of civilian police units, and would continue to work with all international partners to reinforce the leadership role of the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security.

    JOEL W. ADECHI (Benin) said that the inclusion of the civilian component was critical to setting up a dialogue between former combatants, implementing the peace agreements, promoting national reconciliation, combating impunity, and rehabilitating and reintegrating former combatants. Various reforms were also necessary to establish lasting democratic institutions and promote their development.  The civilian component was also essential to the preparations and holding of free, fair and transparent elections. That, of course, required the proper physical condition and an enabling environment in which people could express their wishes freely. Everyone had agreed that an environment rendered safe by military and civilian police was absolutely essential for reconstruction and rehabilitation activities; security preceded peace and development.

    He said that the success of peace operations depended very much on a careful calibration of the human resources needed for a United Nations mission, as well as for the civilian component, in order to enable the latter to do the jobs defined in the mandate. The Secretary-General’s Special Representative should also be reaffirmed as the head of a mission, and charged with supervising national employment and calling for the necessary resources and forces. A bridge should be established among security, recovery and development. Further, the synergies of the United Nations system, regional organizations, national governments and civil society should be maximized according to a division of labour.

    A great need existed to plan, organize, mobilize and finance civil capacities at a level not so far attained, and to define the objectives of a mission’s civilian components with precise mandates containing viable and credible exit strategies, he said. The rebuilding of a State should not be seen as main goal of peace management and peace-building, but on an equal footing with restoring security. Some 40 per cent of the countries emerging from conflict relapsed into violence, and in Africa that figure was as high as 60 per cent. Preventing that should be an abiding concern of all stakeholders. Thus, greater latitude should be given to stakeholders in a country to enable them to plan financing.

    WANG GUANGYA (China) said that United Nations peacekeeping operations in recent years had demonstrated the increasing importance played by civilian forces in ensuring the smooth transition from conflict to peace-building. In conflict management, the roles of military and civilian forces were closely related and predicated upon each other. Thus, there could be no rule without peace and no peace without rule.

    A second conclusion was that civilian assistance should be provided in accordance with specific circumstances and needs, he stressed. Just as conflicts varied greatly, so did the need for a civilian response. Thus, civilian elements in peacekeeping operations should take targeted measures and avoid doing other groups’ work.

    A third conclusion was that existing mechanisms of the United Nations system must be brought into full play, he added. The various bodies of the United Nations system had accumulated rich experience in peacekeeping, and the international community should draw upon past successes for lessons learned, while providing full resources to allow the United Nations system to fulfil its responsibilities.

    Finally, there should be cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, he said, as they could add to peacekeeping operations. Although their capacities to respond militarily remained limited, increasing the assistance of regional and subregional organizations in the civilian sector should be a focus of the United Nations work. China had taken active part in peacekeeping operations in the military sector in the past and would increase its contribution to their civilian aspects in the future. China would soon send its first civilian police unit to Haiti.

    ABDELAZIZ BELKHADEM, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Algeria, said that the improved execution of the military aspect of peace operations had required that exit strategies be defined.  Experience had shown that stressing the military aspect for lasting peace, however, was clearly not enough. The concept of multidimensional action by the international community had gained ground, giving way to more complex peacekeeping and peace-building operations. While military operations had proved effective in restoring situations on the ground, they had a limited capacity for restoring order and establishing functioning institutions, rehabilitating basic social services, or initiating economic recovery in the absence of a civilian component. In Liberia, for example, despite the presence of a strong military component, the Council could not really consider any withdrawal from the country for several more years.

    He said that, in the phase after hostilities had ended, deployment of a civilian component, including a rule of law component and a civilian police force, among others, was essential for the return to normalcy before tackling the critical stage of reconciliation, reconstruction and development. The numerous civil and military stakeholders working for international and regional organizations, and the significant contribution provided by non-governmental organizations in the humanitarian sphere, meant that setting the exit strategy was absolutely essential. Improved inter-agency coordination within the United Nations system could provide a model for complex international operations. The same concerns for defining an exit strategy for the military should lead to defining such a strategy for the civilian components, whose success should be gauged by the strength of the institutional capacity in the country concerned and by the links they had established with the stakeholders in reconstruction and development.

    The increasing number of crises and the many demands on the international community had shown the need for “Blue Helmets” and civilians, involving an annual cost of some $3.5 billion, he said. An increase in that trend was foreseeable, particularly when it came to the size of the civilian component.  Thus, it was time to plan for the material and human resources to meet those needs. He supported the recourse to Article 8 of the Charter, since regional organizations had a definite, comparative advantage for carrying out a mission’s civilian tasks where the cultural dimension was decisive. Two principles were essential to making that international cooperation a success:  reliance on regional pillars should not be seen as neglect by the United Nations or the Security Council of its obligation to maintain international peace and security, or neglect for development cooperation; and account should be taken of the clear disparity of regional organizations in terms of resources and capacity, with a view to assisting them without diverting resources for development. Also, a greater role should be given to the Economic and Social Council.

    Speaking in his national capacity, MIGUEL ANGEL MORATINOS CUYAUBE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Spain, summed up today’s discussion and observed that restoring security constituted a vital prerequisite for civilian involvement in peacekeeping activities. After security had been established, the restoration of the rule of law was the priority.

    More attention should be given to reconstructing judicial systems, he said, to which end Spain had recently hosted a workshop on penal justice aimed at improving training for civilian participants in peacekeeping missions. Moreover, the penitentiary system played a key role in restoring the rule of law, and all those foci were bound up with institution-building.

    Among the other points that had been stressed, he cited the importance of free and fair elections to building democratic governments, as well as the urgent need to develop a rapid deployment capacity for crisis-management operations. To the latter end, reserves of personnel should immediately be made available at the national, regional and international levels. Furthermore, there was a need to develop a comprehensive doctrine on procedures for setting up crisis-management operations, as well as a need to strengthen mechanisms for coordination between United Nations bodies.

    Overall, as with the provision of military resources, there was an ongoing need to increase the availability of civilian components, he concluded. To that end, Spain was working to establish a civil guard unit to respond immediately to the needs of the international community. It was to be hoped that most of the significant aspects of today’s discussion would be given continuity and follow-up through future dialogue of the Security Council.

    Presidential Statement

    The Council President then read out the following statement, which will be issued as S/PRST/2004/32:

    The Security Council met at ministerial level on 22 September 2004 to consider “Civilian Aspects of Conflict Management and Peace Building”. Ministers recognized the increasing importance of civilian aspects of conflict management in addressing complex crisis situations and in preventing the reoccurrence of conflict. They affirmed the importance of conflict resolution in accordance with the relevant provisions of the United Nations Charter.

    Ministers also acknowledged the importance of civil-military cooperation in crisis management.  Military and police components are essential to address and stabilize certain serious crisis situations and guarantee security. Moreover, the participation of a strong civilian component is key to the provision of humanitarian assistance, the re-establishment of public order, functioning public institutions, reconstruction, rehabilitation and peace building for longer-term sustainable development. A substantial civilian participation in crisis management is also essential for a strategy of military disengagement and plays a crucial role in the phase of post-conflict peace building. In this context, it is important that there is coordination between the civilian and military components in crisis management from the first phase of integrated mission planning. In addition, there should be significant coordination with actors involved in longer-term reconstruction and development, including the other organs of the UN system in accordance with their respective mandates and the international financial institutions, as well as cooperation with the business sector.

    Ministers recognized the increasing role of some regional and subregional and other international organizations in crisis management. They also recalled that Articles 52 and 53 of the United Nations Charter set forth the contribution of regional organizations to conflict management, as well as the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations. They encouraged these organizations, whenever possible, to continue to develop their crisis management capabilities, in particular in the civilian field, in close coordination with the United Nations and in accordance with the provisions of Article 54 of the United Nations Charter. When applicable, clear schemes for joint operations should be developed. Also, greater coordination and interoperability among those organizations, as well as developing and sharing common strategies, operational policies and best practices in civil crisis management would enhance efficiency and coherence in crisis management. Continued internal coordination in this field among all relevant United Nations organs and agencies should also be strengthened.

    Ministers supported the efforts by Member States to continue to develop, as appropriate, their own civilian crisis management capabilities, including, inter alia, rapid civilian response teams, and they also supported their initiatives to make these capabilities available to the United Nations and other relevant regional or subregional organizations, as a contribution in their efforts in the maintenance of international peace and security. Adequate capabilities should be developed in key areas of civilian crisis management, such as police, justice and the rule of law, preparation of electoral processes and electoral observation, civil protection and public administration. The Security Council should consider the nature and availability of these capabilities when approving the necessary mandates for United Nations operations.

    Adequate and flexible means for transitional peace support and crisis management activities, such as protection of civilians, including UN and humanitarian personnel, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, the end of impunity, public institution-building and transitional justice, as well as the promotion and protection of human rights and the integration of a gender perspective are essential to ensure lasting peace after a conflict. Also, the involvement of local actors in the policy-making process and a fruitful relationship with civil society should be among the priorities of any post-conflict strategy.

    The Security Council commends the efforts of the Secretary-General in addressing all relevant issues relating to the civilian aspects of crisis management and invites him, other institutions and agencies of the United Nations system, regional and subregional organizations and Member States to continue to give serious consideration to this matter, with a view to making further progress in this field.

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