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National statements

Peacekeeping Operations

Thematic issues

  • Accountability
  • Justice
  • Peace and Security
  • Peacebuilding
  • Peacekeeping
  • Policing
  • Protection of Civilians
  • Regional Organisations
  • Rule of Law
  • Terrorism
  • Women

UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY – FOURTH COMMITTEE

Item 53: Comprehensive Review of the Whole Question of Peacekeeping Operations in All Their Aspects

Statement by HE Mr Jim McLay, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand (CANZ)

Mr Chairman,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the CANZ group of countries – Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

We thank Under-Secretaries-General Herve Ladsous and Ameerah Haq for their informative presentations today. As peacekeeping mandates become more complex, member states have a critical role in invigorating the partnership between all stakeholders. We stress the fundamental importance of the principle of partnership that underlies these operations, and the need for a strong unity of purpose among all stakeholders. As recognised by UN Security Council resolution 2086, modern peacekeeping operations require a multi-dimensional approach by the UN through integrated assessment and planning processes to ensure an aligned and coherent strategy to facilitate post-conflict peacebuilding, prevention of relapse of conflict, and sustainable peace and development. The UN Secretariat also has an important role in that partnership to facilitate dialogue and chart a strategic direction for UN peacekeeping.

Our delegations reiterate the critical importance of regional and subregional organisations in post-conflict peacebuilding, recovery, reconstruction and development and the value of better interaction between these organisations and the various UN agencies.

Mr Chairman,

Consistent standards and guidance are essential to planning and generating resources for peacekeeping. We strongly support work to develop further manuals for the military capability standards framework. Efforts to engage troop and police contributors are welcome and we encourage the Secretariat to continue its leadership of these projects. For standards to be effective, they must also be supported by mechanisms that will ensure adherence. In this regard, CANZ welcomes the finalisation of an operational readiness assurance framework and the newly established Office for the Director of Strategic Peacekeeping Partnerships.

Training is also a critical component. The recently completed training needs assessment provides a basis to strengthen the development and delivery of training. We welcome efforts to further develop the global peacekeeping training architecture. Efforts should draw on the comparative advantages provided by different training organisations, to ensure military, police and civilian personnel receive training to carry out mandated tasks.

Attacks on UN personnel are becoming increasingly common and highlight a modern-day reality faced by UN personnel. UN troops, police and civilians are, more so than ever before, targets in the calculus of insurrection, insurgency, and terrorism. The safety and security of UN personnel is an important consideration and needs to continue to be addressed as a matter of priority. Proliferation of weapons also affects the ability of peacekeepers to provide security for themselves and for civilians. We encourage further support to assist peacekeepers to track and manage illicit weapons flows and implement arms embargoes.

UN operations deploy into some of the world's harshest operating environments. Shortfalls in equipment and critical enablers such as helicopters continue to hamper the mobility of missions, impeding their overall ability to effectively implement mandates. We reiterate our requests to the UN Secretariat to examine and improve processes that govern the deployment, utilisation and operation of military helicopters in missions.

We also need to continue to look for opportunities to employ technologies that enhance the work of peacekeeping missions. Unarmed UAVs will improve situational awareness, deter action by armed groups and assist the safety and security of personnel. We look forward to their deployment in MONUSCO and we encourage the Secretariat to explore the application and use of modern technology in other UN peacekeeping operations.

We must continue to work collectively to strengthen operational capacity by finding smarter and more innovative approaches to generate and manage the resources available to UN operations. In this regard we welcome efforts to implement the recommendations of the Report of the Senior Advisory Group on reimbursement to troop contributing countries and related issues. We also encourage further examination of mechanisms that will improve the ability of the UN to more rapidly start-up or reconfigure missions.

Mr Chairman,

Protection of civilians (POC) remains central to the credibility and overall effectiveness of multidimensional peacekeeping missions. Important progress has been made over the last few years to better prepare peacekeepers to protect civilians. CANZ welcomes the recent finalisation of tactical-level training materials and encourages Member States and training centres to draw on these materials.

While the primary responsibility to protect civilians rests with the host government, threats posed by armed groups and other actors often necessitate that uniformed personnel adopt deterrent postures and utilise force to protect civilians. In this regard, CANZ welcomes efforts to finalise guidance for military and police on protecting civilians, as well as on the use of force. We encourage further analysis and guidance for peacekeeping missions on mission-wide early warning capacities, as well as the support provided to host governments to exercise their responsibilities to protect civilians. We look forward to efforts underway to better understand and integrate local perceptions, which will further support this work.

Missions also need effective advice and support to implement POC mandates. CANZ encourages the Secretariat to prioritise the resourcing provided to the POC Coordination Unit within headquarters, as well as dedicated staff for protection advice and coordination in peacekeeping missions.

We welcome the progress made in recent years towards improving support for peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict. The articulation of peacekeepers' role as early peacebuilders, elaboration of policy on transitions, and pursuit of the Civilian Capacity Initiative have all clarified, strengthened, or expanded the UN's contribution. Significant steps have also been taken with respect to aligning peacebuilding activities with national priorities and supporting national institution building, as is particularly evident in countries on the Peacebuilding Commission agenda, and among those seeking to implement the New Deal. We look forward to the Secretary-General's forthcoming reports on peacebuilding and civilian capacity.

Resilient and credible rule of law institutions are a precondition for sustainable peace and economic development, so we welcome the establishment of the Global Focal Point for the Rule of Law in the DPKO and the UNDP to jointly coordinate support for the delivery of police, justice and corrections services to communities. Police in conflict affected settings are facing increasingly complex criminal activity. Transnational organised crime, terrorism and corruption all serve to undermine the rule of law and hamper development goals. We welcome UN Police Division's initiative to develop specialist organised crime units to build capability within host nation police services to investigate serious offences. In a similar vein we congratulate UN Police Division on the substantive progress made this year on the standardisation of policing roles through the Strategic Guidance Framework.

Mr Chairman,

CANZ reaffirms its commitment to enhance operational effectiveness of peacekeeping operations. The active participation of women in senior levels and incorporating a gender perspective in training, planning, and conduct of operations is needed. Regrettably we see no end in sight for sexual violence in conflict. We note applaud the recent adoption of Security Council resolutions 2106 on conflict-related sexual violence and 2122 on strengthening women's participation and leadership to resolve conflict and promote sustainable peace and security. Resolution 2122 acknowledges that including women's experiences and ensuring their engagement in peace and security processes is smart policy and by extension, enhances operational effectiveness of peacekeeping missions. We call for the appointment of more women to senior positions in missions of the UN. In this regard, we urge DPKO to finalise and implement its Forward-looking Strategy on women, peace and security.

Mr Chairman,

We acknowledge recent UN guidance on mission transitions and its focus on key principles of leadership, integration of both planning and operations and ensuring national and international partners are suitably resourced post-transition to be set up for success. Effective mission transition is inherently linked to clarity around mandate goals and objectives, and transition management needs be based on objective assessments of progress and conditions on the ground. In this regard, increasing attention must be given to the use of integrated assessments and specific benchmarks. Effective transition planning requires planning for possible contingencies and sufficient flexibility to respond to changing circumstances. We stress the importance of realistically assessing existing national capacities, basing assistance on nationally identified needs and priorities, tailoring it to local cultures and circumstances, and of advancing these efforts through a jointly owned and managed process. Above all, transition planning and management needs to proceed as a partnership between the UN and the Host Government. Given the important role that UN and non-UN partners play in the long-term peacebuilding efforts of the host country, transitions need to be carefully coordinated within the UN system and with other stakeholders, including bilateral partners and civil society, in order to ensure mutual accountability and sustained support for peacebuilding priorities.

Mr Chairman,

The work of the C-34 is essential to the overall direction of UN peacekeeping policy, and we share the disappointment expressed by others that we failed to produce a substantive report in 2013. We expect that the agreement reached in September on a way forward for the Committee will serve to overcome this year's impasse, and we count on the Group of Friends of the Chair to succeed in setting the stage for a substantive 2014 session of the C34. We will be an active and constructive participant in the Group of Friends. To be successful, we will need to be pragmatic and focus collectively on areas where real progress can be made. Above all, we believe that our consultations on working methods over the coming weeks will provide a valuable opportunity to restore the critical partnerships upon which UN peacekeeping depends, and will allow us to begin the 2014 C-34 in a positive and productive manner.

In closing, we acknowledge the commendable service of the men and women from all UN partners deployed in peacekeeping operations, and we pay special tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of peace.

Last Updated: 10 June 2015
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