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Statement by the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare to the Fourth Committee

20 Oct 2016

20 October 2016 


Excellences, Membres distingués, Mesdames et Messieurs, Je vous remercie de cette opportunité de pouvoir m’adresser au Comité Je tiens également à exprimer ma sincère gratitude à Hervé, mon cher frère et ami, avec qui je travaille en étroite collaboration. Je suis d'accord avec lui sur le fait que les types de conflits que nous voyons aujourd’hui peuvent dépasser notre capacité à y répondre, et que le maintien de la paix devient encore plus complexe. Je suis également encouragé par le soutien démontré lors du sommet sur le maintien de la paix réunissant les Ministres de la défense à Londres et je souhaite vous remercier pour vos engagements à cet égard.

Votre soutien est essentiel pour répondre à l'ampleur de notre tâche. Vous connaissez les chiffres, mais ils méritent d’être répétés: seize (16) opérations de maintien de la paix dans des environnements complexes, à hauts risques et difficiles d’accès. Plus de cent quarante-deux mille (142,000) personnels en uniforme autorisés, venant de cent vingt-trois (123) pays. Près de soixante-quinze pour cent (75%) du budget du Secrétariat.

Travailler dans les endroits reculés et souvent dangereux, dans lesquels nos opérations de maintien de la paix sont déployées, présentent des défis  logistiques énormes. Lors de mes visites cette année au Soudan du Sud, en République Centrafricaine et en République Démocratique du Congo, j'ai été personnellement témoin des difficultés rencontrées par de nombreuses missions dans l’approvisionnement même de ressources de bases. Mais j’ai aussi été témoin de l'engagement et du dévouement de ceux qui travaillent jour après jour pour soutenir le maintien de la paix. Je voudrais les remercier et leur rendre hommage ainsi que faire part de ma reconnaissance à vos compatriotes qui ont fait le sacrifice ultime pour la paix.

As mentioned by my dear colleague Hervé, we are committed to providing peace operations with the rapid, effective, efficient and responsible support that they need to achieve their mandates. While we recognize that even greater efforts are required, we are making progress.


In 2016 DFS has focused on aligning our priorities, performance frameworks and management with client and stakeholder expectations in order to strengthen mechanisms for continuous improvement. We have restructured performance management to better measure progress and enhance performance levels and have instituted quarterly reviews on the implementation of priority initiatives. We have also established a client advisory board to gather feedback from senior military, police and civilian clients and recalibrate our performance and priorities as called for by the situation on the ground.

We have also continued to improve how we measure the perception of our performance by tracking satisfaction with the services we provide across  missions. This has helped us identify where we need to improve services for our clients, including in the provision of living accommodations, recreational and other camp facilities, and rations.

To further improve accountability, foster transparency and increase dialogue with staff, clients and stakeholders, we are establishing an enhanced framework for measuring performance. In 2017/18, we are introducing a common set of core support performance indicators across peacekeeping operations. This framework will allow us to better understand gaps and challenges and, thereby, better address them.


To ensure that we can deliver rapid, effective, efficient and responsible support solutions consistently, reliably and sustainably, we will continue to focus on the core set of long-term priority initiatives that I introduced to you last year. These include: improving supply chain management; strengthening environmental management; fostering technology and innovation; enhancing measures to combat misconduct, including sexual exploitation and abuse; and supporting field-oriented reform of business processes in the UN Secretariat, such as the implementation of the recommendations of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) and the Global Service Delivery Model.

We have designed a supply chain management strategy to combine endto-end processes with increased visibility in order to better synchronize efforts of planners, suppliers and distributors of goods and services. The goal of this five-year endeavour is to get the right products, to the right places, at the right times and for the right costs. We are currently  implementing four pilot projects: acquisition planning; centralized warehousing; a review of International Commercial Terms; and a “proof of concept” project in East Africa for an integrated end-to-end supply chain, the East Africa Corridor project.

We are paying particular attention to how we manage our resources and our environmental impact. We have mirrored the General Assembly's emphasis on environment management (expressed in resolutions 70/19 and 70/286), through a three-pronged vision of: making a commitment to maximum efficiency in the use of natural resources; ensuring minimum environmental risk to people, communities and ecosystems; and making a positive environmental impact, wherever possible. We have developed a six-year environment strategy focusing on energy, water and wastewater, waste, the broader impact on the environment and the introduction of an environmental management system.

Increased technology use and innovation in peacekeeping is critical. Our efforts have focused on improving situational awareness, threat detection and mitigation capacity for the protection of UN personnel who, as Hervé mentioned, are facing unprecedented attacks. We hope to progressively strengthen our technology backbone through better hardware, software and connectivity as well as improved data tracking, analytics and visualization tools.

Finally, we are also working to implement reforms stemming from the HIPPO report and the Secretary-General’s recommendations. In particular, there is a need to align responsibility for results with the authority to make decisions in order to ensure greater transparency and  accountability towards you. This was the vision that drove the establishment of DFS and, despite much progress, it is still not fully realized. We are working with the Department of Management to review key processes with a view to making them more supportive of field operations. Implementing any required changes requires political support from Member States for organizational reform so that responsibilities, decision-making authorities and resources become properly aligned.

Supply chain management, environmental protection, technological innovation and process reform all require a long-term approach to fully develop and implement. This requires long-term commitment from us, but also support from our stakeholders.


This support can take many forms, including establishing effective and reliable partnerships. I am happy to highlight some of these partnerships and look forward to working collectively to initiate others.

We have established a triangular partnership project, through extrabudgetary support, from Japan, to strengthen military engineering units across peacekeeping missions in Africa. The project enhances the capacities of African troop-contributing countries in rapidly deployable engineering capabilities. Launched last year, this project continued this year with two training sessions and a pilot Training-of-Trainers course whose graduates have already started training students in their home country.

Trilateral partnerships can provide unique opportunities for troop contributors to build long-term capacity and for financial contributors to flexibly support enabling capacity, all the while enlarging the pool of units with the skills needed to enable more rapid deployment. As part of the  triangular partnership, we have also established the Signals Academy through extra-budgetary support, again from Japan, which is training uniformed technical experts on the use of signals in UN missions. These concepts could very usefully be expanded to other areas such as medical services.

Hervé has highlighted the importance of our partnership with the African Union. Recently, I signed two agreements to further strengthen our cooperation with the AU. The first paves the way for AU personnel to participate in a training programme designed to foster mission support leadership and technical skills. The second established a pilot staff exchange programme. We have also conducted a joint review of mechanisms to finance and support AU peace operations. The two organizations will also move forward with the development of benchmarks for transitions and for standardizing the re-hatting of peace operations.

Beyond the AU, the ACSA MoU which we entered into with the US, to address critical gaps for the supply of services and goods under conditions of exigencies, has already been activated twice, with positive results.

We need more partnerships. Please help us by working with other nations to leverage knowledge, resources and expertise for engineering, medical support, technology, environmental protection, force protection, and conduct and discipline.


Our work requires collective responsibility that includes solid, enduring support from TCCs, PCCs and financial contributors, as well as host  countries. We must focus collectively on the challenges faced in the field and take joint responsibility to meet our mutual goal of mandate delivery.

We must not neglect fundamental contractual arrangements in our desire to deploy quickly. Currently, some 50 units are still without a signed memorandum of understanding regulating our respective rights and responsibilities. This results in delays in reimbursements, more complications in addressing misconduct, and greater accountability gaps.

This should not be allowed to continue.

In January, the Contingent-Owned Equipment Working Group will conduct the triennial review of current reimbursement rates and consider technical and policy issue papers. This provides us all with an opportunity to maintain a fair and appropriate reimbursement framework for contributing countries and to consider new policy approaches needed to keep pace with the shifting operational needs of peacekeeping. I encourage you and, in particular the TCCs and PCCs, to review the issue papers so we can mutually strengthen performance and reimbursement frameworks.

I would like to emphasize how vital proper conduct and discipline are for the success and very existence of international peacekeeping. In that regard, we have intensified the focus on preventing, pursuing and rectifying misconduct, including sexual exploitation and abuse. The focus of our efforts remains, first and foremost, on protection and support for victims - on prevention and a rapid and effective response to allegations. In the area of prevention, we are now vetting all personnel, including members of contingents and formed police units, for a history of prior misconduct. We have enhanced training and established Immediate Response Teams for  SEA in most peacekeeping missions. The Trust Fund in Support of Victims of SEA was also established.

These efforts need your focus and attention. You have already taken action including more quickly to appointing National Investigation Officers. We call on more countries to support the Trust Fund for victims. We want to reinforce our mutual responsibility for demanding accountability and zero tolerance of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.


Le travail que nous faisons ne peut être fait de manière isolé par aucun d’entre nous. Je suis convaincu que tous ensembles, nous pouvons améliorer les missions d’appui sur le terrain afin d’assurer la mise en œuvre de solutions rapides, efficaces et responsables.

Je vous remercie.