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Remarks by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations to the Advisory Committee for Administrative and Budgetary Questions

9 Feb 2012

Mr. Chairman, distinguished Advisory Committee members,

1. It is an honour to be here today, with Under-Secretary-General Malcorra, togive a brief overview of United Nations peacekeeping, and our strategic planningassumptions for the 2012-2013 budgetary period. Susana and I are accompaniedtoday by Dmitry Titov, Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and SecurityInstitutions, Anthony Banbury, Assistant Secretary-General for Field Support (Susana’s Deputy), Donna Maxfield, our Chief of Staff, Izumi Nakamitsu, ourDirector, Policy, Evaluation and Training Division, and other colleagues. My own Deputy, Assistant Secretary-General Edmond Mulet and the Military Adviser, Gen.
Babacar Gaye are briefing the Security Council on my behalf. ASG Mulet will joinus in the afternoon.
Mr. Chairman, 
2. Although this is the first time that I have had the pleasure to meet with youand the members of the Advisory Committee, I have had a long-standing appreciationof its valuable role gained during both my prior service at UN Headquarters as DeputyPermanent Representative of my own country and since joining the Secretariat in mypresent role at the helm of DPKO. I know that ACABQ has given generously of itstime and expertise in contributing to – and in many ways guiding - the peacekeepingreform agenda. I know that I can speak for Susana as well in thanking this Committeefor your sustained support to DPKO and DFS and our peacekeeping operations in thefield. We look forward to continuing our fruitful engagement in the spirit ofcooperation and – as I understand has been the tradition – the spirited dialogue thathave characterized the relationship between the Committee and both our Departments.
3. With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I will first share my initial impression ofkey developments in peacekeeping almost five months into the job; I will then brieflygive you an overview of the political and operational challenges that our missionsface now and how we see the challenges before them over the coming 2012-2013financial period; I will then update you of the progress in the implementation of keyreform initiatives and the challenges that lay before us. Susana will then offer remarkson the strategic and operational support challenges and the efforts to improve theefficiency and effectiveness of field support, which I can say are considerable andsuccessful.
4. On taking up my duties as Under-Secretary-General for PeacekeepingOperations, I very quickly came to appreciate the diversity and complexities of therealities on the ground and the mandates entrusted to our missions.
5. Since my posting to New York in my national capacity in the early nineties,peacekeeping has been in a state of constant evolution and reform thanks to thesupport of Member States in building our capacity to flexibly and rapidly respond tochanges on the ground and in the nature of conflict. While retaining the capacity toconduct the more traditional cease-fire monitoring operations, peacekeeping has takenon dramatically expanded mandates that today include: implementation of peaceaccords; support to transitional administrations and the wide breadth of the so-called“multi-dimensional response to conflict”. This seemingly all-inclusive “multidimensionalresponse” in many ways symbolizes what today makes peacekeepingsuch a valuable tool box in the response of the international community to threats tointernational peace and security; it also highlights the challenge to identify the globalpartnerships vital to any successful peacekeeping intervention.
6. Whether under Chapter VI or Chapter VII; whether in cooperation withregional or other organizations; whether a structurally integrated missionincorporating or merely working in collaboration with the United Nations Countryteam, we have learned together that there is no one-dimensional solution. Eachinternational intervention requires a comprehensive, multi-faceted response designedto address the root causes of the conflict, to provide sufficient security and time andspace for political solutions to be devised and/or to take root; and to begin to build3sustainable peace through rule of law and security, governance and early social andeconomic recovery. United Nations peacekeeping increasingly is entrusted with a vastarray of mandates that can include: protection of civilians, facilitation of humanitarianassistance; support to electoral processes; enabling or delivering early peacebuildingsupport in such areas as the strengthening of the rule of law and security institutions.
7. Today, United Nations peacekeeping delivers security, political and earlypeacebuilding support to help countries torn by conflict create the conditions forlasting peace. Peacekeeping is prevention in the aftermath of violent conflict; itprevents a relapse into conflict; it helps lay the foundations for lasting peace.
Peacekeeping offers a common platform where political, rule of law, human rightsand other expertise blend with military, police and operational capabilities. All theseelements and the global membership of the United Nations provide peacekeeping witha universal legitimacy that no other similar undertaking can possess. This legitimacyrests, in particular, on the global partnership that brings together the legal and politicalauthority of the Security Council, the personnel, equipment and financialcontributions from Member States, the support of host countries, and the accumulatedexpertise of DPKO and DFS in directing, managing and supporting field missions.
This partnership is at the heart of United Nations peacekeeping as demonstrated bythe systematic consultation between the Security Council, the troop and  olicecontributing countries and the Secretariat; and this is now an established practicebefore the renewal or revision of mandates.
Mr. Chairman,. With your permission, I will give an overview of this particular partnership inaction and what we expect to be the main challenges before us in the coming months.
9. Peace and security operations in Sudan and South Sudan will continue todemand significant attention and effort. Indeed, when I took up my functions inDPKO, my first official travel was, in fact, to Sudan and South Sudan in October-November 2011. The new integrated peacekeeping mission established in July 2011in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) is delivering assistance and support to thenew state institutions and build their capacity in the areas of rule of law and4governance, while also working to protect civilians and to facilitate humanitarian aid.
UNMISS will require in the immediate future the retention of its current ceiling of7,000 troops in order to be able to deliver on its mandated tasks.
10. The Security Council also established in June 2011 UNISFA, with aprotection of civilians mandate. From the outset, the Mission has faced significantlogistical challenges and gaps in essential support personnel as well as difficulties inreplacing outgoing UNMIS military observers and staff officers. The deployment ofUNISFA to the Abyei area has just been completed in January 2012. We expect themission to continue during the 2012-2013 budget period. Both Susana and I continueto engage on addressing the Mission’s operational and logistical challenges throughregular consultation with the Governments of Sudan, South Sudan and troopcontributing countries, amongst others. Right now, as I said, my Deputy, Mr. EdmondMulet is briefing the Security Council on the challenges and the developments in thearea of UNISFA operations.
11. Currently the largest peacekeeping mission in operation, UNAMID iscontinuing its work in Darfur, having reached nearly full deployment of troops, policeand civilian personnel. The consolidation of peace in the region will continue torequire significant effort on the part of the international community. As wasrequested by the Security Council, a review of UNAMID is underway to ensure themost effective and efficient use of its resources.
12. While the situation remains extremely volatile in the Horn of Africa, DFS,through UNSOA, continues to deliver essential logistical services to AMISOM and tothe, now begun, deployment of UNPOS into Mogadishu. At the same time and giventhese developments, DPKO, through the United Nations Office to the African Unionin Addis Ababa, the Somalia Planning and Coordination Team and the Office ofMilitary Affairs at Headquarters, continue to support the African Union with technicaland military advice in the planning and management of AMISOM. DPKO alsocontinues to plan for a possible United Nations peacekeeping operation in Somalia,which the Security Council intends to establish at the appropriate time. This support isalso provided in the context of our ongoing partnership with the African Union, whichwe continue to consider of strategic importance for peacekeeping on the continent.
13. The past year also has seen important events in West Africa. The violent postelectoralcrisis in Côte d’Ivoire has indeed tested our ability to continueimplementing peacekeeping mandates under extremely adverse circumstances. Thepriorities of UNOCI for the next year will be to assist the Government in stabilizingthe security situation, in strengthening the rule of law and in disarming anddemobilizing ex-combatants. A Secretariat team is presently in Côte d’Ivoire to assessthe situation on the ground and develop recommendations on possible adjustments tothe structure and strength of UNOCI, taking into account the legislative elections,which are due this year, the prevailing security challenges and progress made inrebuilding national capacities.
14. With the support of the international community, Liberia continues to makeprogress in consolidating peace, despite new humanitarian and security challengesassociated with the recent crisis in Côte d’Ivoire. Following the installation of thenew Liberian Government last month, UNMIL’s priority will be to develop andimplement a strategy for the progressive handover of the Mission’s security and otherresponsibilities to national authorities. Assistant Secretary-General Mulet will lead atechnical assessment mission to Liberia at the end of this month for this purpose.
15. As is now customary, the Secretariat has briefed troop- and policecontributingcountries on the parameters of the technical assessment missions toUNOCI and UNMIL. They will also be briefed following the completion of thesemissions.
16. Cross-border issues remain a key challenge in West Africa, including betweenCôte d’Ivoire and Liberia, where the presence of mercenaries and militia elementscontinues to pose a serious threat to regional security. UNOCI and UNMIL will workwith the Governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia to address these cross-borderchallenges, and that in close collaboration with ECOWAS and other partners. The twoMissions will soon conduct a joint border assessment. A joint DPKO, DPA, UNODCand Interpol initiative will also support the efforts of ECOWAS to combat drugtrafficking and transnational organized crime.
17. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which I visited two weeks ago,MONUSCO continues to support the organization and the conduct of national,provincial and local elections, which are scheduled over this year still and until nextyear. As the Advisory Committee knows, these elections represent a big challengegiven the size of the country and the number of candidates. Two figures: 63,000polling stations and almost 19,000 candidates for the parliamentarian elections twomonths ago. The shortage in military helicopters has negatively impactedMONUSCO's ability to implement its mandate, in particular for the protection ofcivilians. Any renewed pressure to drawdown MONUSCO troops would pose criticalchallenges to the Mission to deliver on its mandate.
18. Turning to the Middle East, our peacekeeping operations in the continue toimplement their mandates, as the impact of the Arab Spring continues to be felt, andone has to add the lately the crisis in Syria. The so-called “steady-state” Missions inthe Middle East remain on high alert to deal with what experience shows us to berapid changes in the operational environment. A strategic review of UNIFIL wasconducted in December 2011, on the request of the Security Council, to assess theimplementation of the Mission's mandate and activities. The recommendations of thereview will be conveyed to the Security Council in the coming weeks. Over the pastyear, DPKO has offered full support to the planning and deployment of UNSMIL inLibya. I am sure that Susana will talk in detail about Libya as an example where DFShas adopted a new, lighter mission support structure. For its part, DPKO issupporting DPA and UNSMIL in the areas of public safety, community-orientedpolicing, rule of law and transitional justice, demobilization and mine action.
19. With the appointment of a new Government in October 2011, MINUSTAH inHaiti is returning to its pre-earthquake troop and police levels. The Mission willconcentrate its efforts on fostering political dialogue and strengthening the capacity ofthe Haitian Government to ensure good governance and uphold the rule of law, whichare key conditions for the Mission’s eventual withdrawal. MINUSTAH continues totake measures to mitigate the impact of the outbreak of cholera.
20. In Timor-Leste, UNMIT will continue to work closely with the Governmentand with the United Nations partners to ensure an effective joint transition process inanticipation of the closing of the Mission in December this year.
21. In Kosovo, UNMIK will continue to facilitate communication andcooperation between all involved on the ground, especially in dealing with sensitiveissues related to northern Kosovo. The Mission will also continue to encourage theparties to demonstrate greater flexibility as well as increased engagement during thisphase of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.
22. As you know, Mr. Chairman, UNAMA is not a peacekeeping operation. I willoffer some words about the situation in Afghanistan, where the DPKO-led missionUNAMA continues to face significant challenges posed by the difficult securityenvironment, tragically evidenced by the attack on the UN office in Mazar-i-Sharif on1 April 2011, which claimed the lives of seven of our colleagues. As mandated by theSecurity Council, UNAMA has undergone a Comprehensive Review. We arereviewing the results of that review and will be shortly be making recommendationsto the Security Council on Mission’s future role and mandate.
Mr. Chairman, distinguished members,
23. This brief overview of the headlines of peacekeeping illustrates the diversityand flexibility of peacekeeping as a tool for international peace and security. To keepthat tool finely honed, the United Nations has pursued a series of peacekeepingreforms since the early 1990s that has allowed DPKO, and since 2007 DPKO andDFS, to evolve and strengthen the Secretariat’s capacity to manage and sustainpeacekeeping operations.
24. This Advisory Committee has been an important player in this series ofreforms and the benefits and improvements achieved, recognized most recently by theGeneral Assembly in its resolution 65/290. We are grateful for that recognition, butwe are also mindful that developments across our globe do not permit us to sit backand say that the reform process is now complete. We cannot afford to be complacent,and must continue to work to remain relevant, and also remain good value for money.
25. Delivering on our mandates in no small measure requires that peacekeepingadapts to the evolving demands of the peace and security agenda. To do so, we mustdemonstrate their capacity and skill to rigorously plan and manage missions in anintegrated manner. These challenges will require a dynamic, complex and resourceintensiveresponse from DPKO and DFS and the rest of the international community.
DPKO and DFS will sustain their efforts to plan and sustain operations within anextremely constrained financial context. Sustaining such flexibility and capacityrequires that we stay the course of reform.
26. The Overview Report before you details our efforts in four main areas:mission planning and oversight; building policy consensus; improving capabilities;and, the delivery of services. We hope that you will see solid evidence of our effortsover the last financial period to achieve progress and improvement in how we planand sustain peacekeeping operations, and to increase efficiency and effectiveness inthe implementation of our legislative mandates.
27. Allow me now, Mr. Chairman, to briefly walk you through the progress in theimplementation of recent reform initiatives and where we will focus our attention inthe next cycle.
28. The different waves of reform initiatives have continued to “professionalize”peacekeeping. Our mandates require the highest caliber personnel with diverse,increasingly specialized skills in a range of diverse areas: from the traditional militaryand police expertise to a more multi-faceted civilian capacity with expertise in suchfields such as electoral support, rule of law and security sector reforms, human rights.
The Senior Advisory Group on Civilian Capacity indeed recognized that strongercivilian capacities are vital to build lasting peace and support national actors as theyseek to re-establish the rule of law, revitalize the economy and restore basic servicesto the population. The system-wide Steering Committee chaired by Susana isadvancing progress on the Senior Advisory Group’s recommendations. in partnershipwith Member States.
29. In the last financial period, both our departments achieved progress inimproving the capability of all peacekeeping components to ensure that they are wellprepared,well-equipped and enabled to deliver. We developed baseline capabilitystandards and guidance under three pilot initiatives for infantry battalions, militarystaff officers and military medical support. These common standards will serve as thebasis for training materials to enhance preparedness and effectiveness. In the area ofrule of law, technical guidance in the security-sector reform area and a toolkit forDDR programme management were developed and implemented in Liberia, Haiti andSouth Sudan. Guidance development is also ongoing to create a strategic frameworkfor UN police. Action has also been taken to strengthen training and education foruniformed as well as civilian personnel, from the identification and prioritization oftraining needs, to setting standards; from efficient delivery of training to monitoringand evaluation. And I trust you will see in the overview report the steps taken overthe past years to address observations from this Committee and recommendations onour training activities.
30. Despite this progress, we still face the critical challenge to fill critical gaps thatthreaten mandate implementation; in particular, the military utility and attackhelicopters critical to protect civilians and ensure the safety and security of ourpersonnel in such places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and SouthSudan where the absolute lack of road infrastructure and the vast areas covered by ouroperations hinder our efforts to prevent and to respond to violence and protectcivilians. During the crisis, after Christmas, in Jonglei State, in South Sudan,UNMISS’ capacity to respond flexibly to the requirements of the situation was, I haveto say, heavily constrained by the lack of appropriate utility helicopters. A similarsituation could easily occur in other peacekeeping theaters, such as in MONUSCO ineastern Congo. Much energy has been spent to sharpen our planning and to optimizerequirements; to enlarge the pool of potential contributors; to enhance the dialoguewith the Security Council and countries that contribute troop and police.
31. During the past year, intermission cooperation has also allowed us toovercome – temporarily - some of these critical gaps. In the context of the recentpresidential elections and post-elections crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, three infantrycompanies and utility and armed helicopters were redeployed from UNMIL to10UNOCI. Then, in the context of the recent presidential and legislative elections inLiberia, an infantry company and FPU personnel from UNOCI were redeployed toUNMIL. MONUSCO currently is providing two military utility helicopters toUNMISS to help the mission deal with the crisis I just referred to in Jonglei.
Certainly, intermission cooperation is only a bridging measure and it should not beseen as a permanent solution to address long-term capabilities requirements. But it is agood illustration of both the DPKO/DFS efforts to address critical gaps in ourresource requirements, as well as the way Member States provided resources that canbe used flexibly and effectively.
32. In this context, I should also highlight that a key element of the capabilitydrivenapproach is the ability of peacekeeping to rapidly deploy strategic reservecapacities. The standing police, justice and corrections capacities have fullydemonstrated the validity of this measure to address critical gaps in our capabilities.
Examples of their deployment over the last financial period include assistance toUNOCI, MONUSCO and UNAMID in critical times and to UNMISS and UNISFA intheir start-up phases.
33. Mr. Chairman, I would like next to share some progress on key policyinitiatives, specifically in the areas of the early peacebuilding and the protection ofcivilians.
34. In partnership with the Department of Political Affairs and the PeacebuildingSupport Office (PBSO), we have clarified the peacekeeping- peacebuilding nexus andthe role of UN peacekeepers as early peacebuilders. We have developed a strategy tohelp missions establish and sequence early peacebuilding priorities, in particular inthe areas of police, rule of law, DDR, Security Sector Reform and mine action. Asrequested by the General Assembly, the strategy was consulted with the SpecialCommittee on Peacekeeping Operations, the Security Council Working Group and thePeacebuilding Commission. Our focus now will shift to supporting field missions inapplying the strategy, targeting and tailoring their activities to national needs andcapacities, and drawing lessons learned to further refine their strategies and plans.
This systematic approach will allow us to set benchmarks to enable a “safe” exit ofpeacekeepers. Additionally, we will continue work in the context of the Integration11Steering Committee to further develop frameworks and strategies to strengthenpeacekeeping to peacebuiling transition processes and to maximize the contribution ofpeacekeeping to socio-economic development of countries where missions aredeployed.
35. Progress has also continued in strengthening our capacity to deliver in the areaof protection of civilians. Through sustained dialogue with Member States, fieldoperations and other United Nations partners, we have advanced the development of aframework as a practical guide for Missions to prepare their own protection of civilianstrategies. Work is underway to analyze the resources and capabilities required for thesuccessful implementation of protection of civilian mandates. We will also deploytraining materials, including scenario-based training, over the coming budget period,to assist missions with a protection of civilians mandate to apply the framework andrelated tools.
36. Finally, Mr. Chairman, let me offer a few words on one of the key innovationsintroduced with the restructuring of DPKO and the creation of DFS in 2007; that is,the IOTs, the Integrated Operational Teams, that enable the Departments to deliver, ina flexible and effective way, integrated operational and political guidance and supportto field missions on day-to-day cross-cutting issues. The optimal configuration ofIOTs, and the effective use of resources, remains under periodic review by a taskforce chaired by Assistant Secretary-General Edmond Mulet to ensure that the IOTconfiguration matches the dynamic political and operational requirements of the fieldmissions that they backstop. The recent review by the task force reaffirmed that theco-location on IOT resources remains the most effective model for missions in startupphase, the transition, at the time of crisis or downsizing/closure. The task forcealso found that the flexible assignment of resources should continue, and reflect thespecific needs of the field. For missions that require intensive support, dedicatedIOTs are appropriate; where it is appropriate to go for a more regionalized approach,then IOT resources may be shared either across the region or a number of missions;where IOT resources may not be fully engaged, well, then they may be flexibly andtemporarily assigned to the specialist functional areas (military, police, administrativeand support) to perform priority functions, while of course remaining on call torespond to emergent needs in the Office of Operations or in the field. The constant oversight of the task force works to ensure that IOT resources are responsibly andeffectively employed.
Mr. Chairman,

37. Following years of exponential growth, peacekeeping has entered a period oftransition over the past two years. While the overall number of peacekeepingmissions and the number of peacekeeping personnel deployed have hovered aroundthe same numbers, it is undeniable that United Nations peacekeeping must continue torespond flexibly to changing requirements and challenges – be they strategic,operational, political, security, logistical or financial. Peacekeeping must continue tore-invent or reform itself, if it is to meet the exacting challenges of the nature oftwenty-first century conflict and operational environments. Technical assessmentmissions or reviews have been recently conducted or are underway in severalmissions - UNAMID, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNMIT, UNAMA and UNOCI. Theseassessments and reviews, requested by the Security Council, may result inrecommendations that may affect the military and police strengths and structure ofthese Missions. It will be, of course, up to the Security Council to decide, in fine, onthese recommendations.
38. We face these challenges mindful of a global financial climate that calls forfiscal prudence, greater efficiency and the achievement of our objectives with fewerresources. With our teams – at headquarters and in the field – we both have expendedgreat effort to ensure that our budget requirements for the next financial period alignwith changing mandates and operational circumstances, yet represent meaningfulstrides in identifying efficiencies and other reductions in resourcing requirements. Asa consequence of these efforts, the total proposed resource requirements forpeacekeeping operations for the period between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2013(inclusive of the Global Service Centre and the Support Account) are currentlyestimated at $7.2 billion, which represent a decrease of approximately $614 millionsor 7.8 per cent over current levels. Susana will speak in a few moments in more detailabout our proposals. They represent, I think, a serious effort to streamline resourcerequests to the minimum. They also represent our sustained commitment to improvehow we plan, manage and support our field operations to implement as responsible13stewards of valuable material, human and financial resources the mandates which areentrusted to us.
39. Before closing, Mr. Chairman, distinguished members, I must pause to reflecton two key challenges that weigh heavily on our minds these days. The first concernsthe continued challenges of ensuring the good conduct and discipline of ourpeacekeeping personnel. Susana will speak more fully on the subject in a fewminutes, but I wanted to simply highlight that I share fully and deeply her concernthat we need to redouble our efforts to eliminate the scourge of ill-disciplined acts thatput in jeopardy the hard-earned trust of the people and country we are mandated toserve. One act of misconduct is simply one too many, and we both are determined totake effective action to address such acts.
40. The second is the safety and security of our personnel. We all know thatpeacekeeping deploys in volatile circumstances and increasingly harsh terrain. We allknow that the United Nations throughout the world has become also a target ofextremism. And, we all know the priority that we have given all – starting with theSecretary-General and Member States - to introduce stronger security systems andphysical security and safety measures. None of this is new, and we are deeplygrateful that the Member States have invested in the programmes, physical securityand personnel requirements to improve the security and safety of our personnel. But,I would be remiss in my duties, if I did not share with you today my concern – andindeed an increased concern based on what I have seen in Sudan, Darfur, SouthSudan, Afghanistan and – most recently – the Democratic Republic of Congo – on theneed to continue to invest in the security of our personnel and to take every feasiblemeasure to protect them. Over 2011, sadly 111 peacekeepers have perished, whetherthrough targeted attacks, violence, banditry, natural disaster, plane crashes, safetyaccidents, illness. I know that you all join me in paying honour to their service andour obligation to do our level best to prevent those casualties.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of the Committee.