Welcome to the United Nations

Statement by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous to the Fourth Committee

28 Oct 2013

Good morning, ladies and gentleman. It is my sincere pleasure to be with you this morning, along with Under-Secretary-General Ameerah Haq to share our perspectives and hear from you on the key challenges and opportunities before UN peacekeeping today.
Peacekeeping remains one of the most effective mechanisms created by the international community to assist countries make the difficult transition from conflict to peace. It is a flexible, evolving instrument that brings together political, security and other tools. Its impacts are clear and measurable. Indeed, researchers have found that, over the 65-year history of peacekeeping, the probability of a given country successfully avoiding a relapse into conflict is doubled if a peacekeeping operation is deployed.
Peacekeeping is a collective effort, and this very gathering reflects that fundamental fact. Peacekeeping depends on effective partnership across diverse Member States and across the UN system. It is also increasingly based on strategic partnership with regional organizations. And, to ensure the sustainability of our efforts, it demands strong partnership with host governments.

[Current Global Context]
Looking to the year ahead, I see three factors that I believe will impact the landscape for UN peacekeeping.
First is the changing nature of conflict. In Mali, UN peacekeeping is called upon to operate in a context of unconventional threats, alongside a parallel military force conducting ongoing targeted counter-terrorism operations. Our personnel must also be adequately trained and fully equipped to operate effectively and safely in such settings. The recent example of a suicide bomber in northern Mali resulting in the tragic deaths of civilians and two peacekeepers underscores this urgent need.
With potential engagement in the Central African Republic, Somalia and elsewhere, we need careful reflection on how UN peacekeeping may need to adapt to effectively fulfil its multidimensional mandates, drawing on experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and elsewhere. Needless to say, in this type of operational context, the wide and strong political support from the Member States is critical.
Second, our engagement with regional organizations continues to deepen and diversify, particularly in Africa. From the re-hatting of EU troops in Chad to the re-hatting of AU/ECOWAS troops in Mali, from the hybrid UN-AU operation in Darfur to the joint UN-AU benchmarking effort in Somalia today, we see the roles of the UN and regional partners continue to evolve to meet new challenges. With regard to resourcing, DPKO will continue, with your support, to work with the African Union to ensure predictable and sustainable financing for AU peace support operations under a UN mandate. With the AU, EU and other regional partners, we need more flexible arrangements and intensified strategic engagement at the global level, to draw on the full array of capabilities available and to meet our collective peace and security goals.
Third, the global financial environment will continue to impact peacekeeping. The financial pressures on many Member States requires us to optimize the use of resources. However, the investment that all members of the UN make in peacekeeping is a sound one. UN peacekeeping delivers a great deal in an efficient and cost-effective manner. My colleague, Under-Secretary-General Haq will discuss the efforts of her Department to improve further still in this area. Our two departments continue to undertake periodic mission reviews as well as military personnel and civilian staffing reviews to adjust to evolving requirements. We also have multiple safeguards in place to ensure strong and transparent oversight of resources, including internal and external oversight bodies, regular staff ethics training, and enforcement systems. The Secretary-General’s Enterprise Risk Management policy is in place and our two departments also promulgated risk management guidelines in December last year.

[Operational Overview]
Today, 114,000 personnel are serving in the fifteen peacekeeping operations and one political missions supported by DPKO. This includes some 97,175 uniformed military and police and 16,725 national and international civilian staff. I would like to express my deep appreciation to those countries currently contributing military and police personnel.
In Mali, after supporting and ultimately re-hatting the African-led International Support Mission, we have established the new multi-dimensional integrated stabilization mission, MINUSMA. Rapid deployment has been challenged by gaps in the generation of required enabling capacities, particularly aviation assets. This is impacting our ability to operate across all designated regions in support of government efforts to restore state authority, protect civilians and foster national reconciliation.
The African Union/ United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur, UNAMID, continues to work to protect civilians and support humanitarian operations under difficult conditions. In South Sudan, UNMISS has been working with the government to support the extension of state authority, albeit hampered by violent local clashes particularly in the State of Jonglei, and a shortfall of helicopters and armoured vehicles. UNISFA contributed to the stabilization of Abyei and supported the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism.
In Côte d’Ivoire, UNOCI continued to work to improve the political environment, advance access to rights and improve the security environment as it looks towards the national elections in 2015. In Liberia, UNMIL continued to support the political process, constitutional reform, and peace consolidation. The military drawdown towards its residual force in mid-2015 continues. We are developing contingency options for emergency security support for UNMIL once it reaches its residual strength, including through inter-mission cooperation.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, MONUSCO continued to support strengthened governance and human rights monitoring, while addressing the crisis in eastern Congo. With the support of three countries from the region, the Intervention Brigade has helped MONUSCO to deal with the long-standing challenge of armed groups. The next few weeks will tell whether this new effort will advance the political process and yield results in a situation where conflict is deeply entrenched. Initial signs are positive. The Government of the DRC has urgently called for strengthening the operational capacity of the Intervention Brigade, including provision of additional attack helicopters and unarmed aerial surveillance systems. At the regional level, MONUSCO is working closely with the UN, AU, EU and US envoys to support the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework. Over the weekend there has been quite a bit of fighting resulting in some substantial progress by the Armed Forces of the Government of the DRC with MONUSCO in a supporting role with particular focus on the protection of civilians.
In the Middle East, UNDOF maintained its operations under intensified security conditions, while UNIFIL continued to work closely with the parties to ensure that the prevailing cautious calm in southern Lebanon be maintained. In Syria, as you will remember, we completed the swift deployment and liquidation of UNSMIS.
MINUSTAH continues to work with the government of Haiti to ensure a stable environment, to foster constructive political dialogue, to strengthen national police, judicial institutions and prisons, and to work toward other critical mission benchmarks.
UNMIT completed its mandate on 31 December last year under the leadership of USG Ameerah Haq. DPKO and UNDP recently conducted a joint review of UNMIT’s transition. The study yielded a number of valuable lessons for our other missions’ transitions and on the continuing advancement of peace consolidation in Timor Leste.
In addition to currently authorized missions, the Security Council has directed the Secretary-General to explore, jointly with the African Union, options for configuration of a possible mission in the Central African Republic and benchmarks toward a peacekeeping mission for Somalia.

[Priorities for the Year Ahead]
I see several priorities for my department in the year ahead.
I will turn first to the vital issue of ensuring we have adequate capabilities. Strengthening military and police capabilities on the ground requires a collective effort of missions, Member States and the Secretariat. For our part, the Secretariat must clearly sets out capability requirements for current missions and future trends and a brief overview of key military and police requirements will be made available to all Member States in the near future. Many, if not most of these capabilities are held by Member States and we look to you to help us find these priority capabilities.

The military component of our missions face shortfalls in force enablers, including transport helicopters, military helicopters, and helicopters for MEDIVAC and CASEVAC. Armoured personnel carriers, night vision equipment, and night flying capabilities for helicopters, as well as appropriate command and control for information operations and forward deployments are also critical needs.
Female police officers and female formed police units remain in short supply. So too, is language capacity, especially French-speaking police officers and units in countries where that is the main language. No less than the military, UN police officers require proper pre-deployment training; appropriate, up-to-date equipment; and an improved capacity to deploy rapidly.
Modern technology holds much promise to enhance the capacity of UN peacekeepers. Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), for example, can improve surveillance and situational awareness and enhance information gathering, threat analysis and force protection. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo UAS are scheduled to be fully operational by spring next year. I recognize there is great interest in how we will utilize these assets and I stand ready to provide further information and briefings to you in detail. I believe we should together start thinking of deployments in other missions as well once we have drawn some lessons from the experience in DRC, in keeping with a request from Member States.
Common UN standards are essential, particularly for new contributors to UN peacekeeping. We will soon be launching, with Member State input, the development of new manuals for 11 critical military areas. These manuals will provide Unit Commanders and staff with a reference guide for their planning and conduct of UN operations. In addition, a Force Headquarters Manual is being developed to support the effective preparation and employment of Force HQ and the Military. In the area of policing guidance, a policy on UN police in peace operations is nearing finalization after broad consultation. It sets out core functions, sequencing and prioritisation of for UN police and will be a central pillar of a new multi-year strategy on UN Policing.
Rapid deployment and force generation in start-up missions remains an area we must strengthen. Six months after the mission was authorized, MINUSMA still lacks two infantry battalions, an airfield engineer company, an information operations unit and a special forces company. Critical shortfalls also remain in military utility and armed helicopters. I believe we need together to reflect on what might be required for Member States to make these assets available rapidly.
Missions face similar challenges when they require rapid reinforcement to meet a major operational challenge or due to an unanticipated deterioration in the security environment. Together we need to explore options that are both realistic and effective in order to provide our peacekeeping operations with standby or rapid response capabilities. Such options could include the growing capacities of regional partners, expanded IMC arrangements, and committed groups of Member States.
Enhancing capabilities has important implications for readiness and training. We owe it to our personnel to ensure they are adequately trained and equipped to undertake all required tasks. New pre-deployment training standards and materials continue to be developed in cooperation with Member States. The core pre-deployment training material will be revised and updated in the coming year. But, training requirements continue to grow and, as we all know, resources are limited. So in the coming months, DPKO and DFS will examine how we can work together with you to improve on the existing training architecture to make the best use of the reservoir of experience, knowledge and training capacity that exists globally.
We also look to the UN’s internal mechanism to strengthen capabilities. Implementation of General Assembly resolution 67/261 on reimbursement to troop contributing countries is a vital ongoing process which may provide opportunities to address some of these same challenges. With the support of Member States, we would also welcome opportunities to contribute background papers on new and continuing capability requirements to inform the deliberations of the 2014 Working Group on Contingent Owned Equipment.
All of the decisions taken on distinct issues related to personnel, equipment, policies, and training ultimately impact on the ability of UN peacekeeping operations to fulfil their mandated tasks successfully and safely. We hope to announce soon the appointment of the first Director for Peacekeeping Strategic Partnership, who will assist in identifying gaps which impact delivery of, make recommendations on systemic issues, including safety and security, and ensure regular dialogue with our Force Commanders, Police Advisors and Member States.
Turning now to our efforts to enhance protection of civilians, 9 peacekeeping operations have a protection of civilians mandate, representing some 95 percent of deployed peacekeeping personnel. Seven missions now have mission-specific protection of civilian strategies developed in close consultation with host states, communities and partners. MINUSMA will develop a POC strategy in 2014.
Coordination is another area of focus, with the establishment of the POC Coordination Unit at headquarters and the progressive deployment of a set of dedicated POC advisers in missions, to support the leadership and bring together all protection actors. Women Protection Advisors are also being recruited across five missions. DPKO is also working to streamline and improve early warning and rapid reaction processes, learning from experience in MONUSCO, UNMISS and elsewhere.
Operational and tactical, mission-specific training materials on POC have been prepared in consultation with Member States. Since April 2011, more than 500 military officers have been trained in responding to conflict-related sexual violence and expanded training is planned for 2014. For police, nearly 240 UN certified police trainers have provided training to almost 9,000 police officers on preventing and investigating sexual and gender-based violence. On child protection, DPKO has worked with Member States to finalize pre-deployment training materials for uniformed personnel.
A third priority area is early peacebuilding. Missions must help to build strong national capacities, particularly in rule of law and security institutions, which can serve as the foundation for peacebuilding and longer term development and help the mission eventually to withdraw.

This year, the Security Council has also directed two missions, MONUSCO and UNOCI, to identify civilian tasks that can be handed over to the UN team or national authorities as appropriate. UNMIL was also asked to identify its comparative advantages and the UN country teams’. These requests may merit collective reflection. On the one hand it is important to recognize the complementarity and comparative advantage so that the mission can focus on its core tasks. However, one challenge is that, where there is an interest in transferring tasks, UN country team partners are not able to raise the voluntary funding to assume new responsibilities.
In general, civilians in multidimensional peacekeeping play a critical advisory and bridging role. Many, such as civil affairs, DDR and human rights officers, play unique outreach and monitoring roles in remote regions. In many cases, the test of our success will ultimately be how well the UN, working together, can assist national institutions to extend government authority and sustain peace. Support to development of national institutions is complex and requires an understanding that the political, security, and economic drivers of conflict are closely linked. Peacekeeping operations and development partners must collectively address this challenge.
Since it was established in 2012, the Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections has supported joint assessments in six countries, leading to joint rule of law projects, deployment of specialised personnel and advice on funding streams. In Mali and Somalia, DPKO and UNDP have co-located and jointly designed mission concepts, plans and programmes. In DRC, a joint justice programme has been finalized. Looking forward, the three-year work plan for Global Focal Point will include an independent review to evaluate its impacts.
The Security Council and host governments are increasingly recognising DDR and SSR as a key priority for successful peacebuilding. In the Central African Republic, we see the tremendous human and other costs that follow when these processes are not fully implemented and when sustainable jobs and development do not accompany them.
The work of the Mine Action Service takes on new relevance as missions deploy into environments with unconventional threats, such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs). UNMAS works to build national capacities. For example, earlier this month, MONUSCO handed over a large, newly constructed ammunition depot to the Ministry of Defence in Province Orientale. MINUSMA is working with the government of Mali to establish a national explosive ordinance and bomb disposal capacity.
Across all of these areas, efforts to build national capacity must begin from the early stages and carry through into transition planning. The UN has approved a new policy on transitions to improve coordination with national authorities and development partners, including the UN country team.
Ensuring the highest standards of conduct among all deployed personnel continues to be a priority, both to retain the confidence of host and to safeguard the legitimacy and reputation of the United Nations. Together with you, the Member States, we must continue to implement our zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse. Under-Secretary-General Haq will speak more on this issue with you today.

We are also working closely with other departments to implement the UN Policy on Human Rights Screening. DPKO is now routinely activating the screening mechanism for senior-level posts to ensure due consideration to individuals’ human rights backgrounds is part of the selection process. As the Policy places primary onus on Governments to screen nominated and contributed personnel, I look forward to the continued cooperation of your countries in this regard.

In my remarks today, I have tried to describe the focus of our efforts over the past year and in the period ahead and to highlight what I believe are the key strategic considerations, the critical needs and the evolving challenges facing peacekeeping today. I look forward to hearing from you in turn. Together the Secretariat and Member States will need to face the very great demands that are placed before UN peacekeeping, and together we will be called upon to strengthen and solidify this vital instrument of international peace and security.
Peacekeeping operations remain essentially a political tool that permits us, within the context of our authorised mandates, to engage deeply with all parties so as to lay the foundation for a lasting peace. In the same way, the success of our efforts is deeply linked to the political support which you, the Member States, provide to us through your diplomatic engagement, your financial contributions and, most tangibly, through the contribution of your personnel to serve in UN peacekeeping operations. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the personnel serving around the world. This year, to date, 79 men and women have died while serving in our missions, far from home and their loved ones. Allow me to express my deep appreciation for their service and their sacrifice.
I thank you again for the opportunity to contribute to this important debate and thank you for your support the work of our missions around the world.