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National statements

Statement to the UN Security Council on peacekeeping operations

Thematic issues

  • Peace and Security
  • Peacebuilding
  • Peacekeeping
  • Protection of Civilians
  • Timor-Leste
  • Women


UN Peacekeeping Operations

Statement by H.E. Ms Philippa King, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations

Mr President,

At the outset, I would like to express Australia's condemnation of the
attack on the UN compound in Abuja overnight. This is the starkest reminder
of the risks faced by UN personnel working in the cause of peace, stability
and development. Any attack on the UN is an attack on us all. I would like to
express deep sympathies to the families, friends and colleagues of those affected.
And to the government and people of Nigeria.

Mr President,

Australia welcomes the opportunity to address the Council on the topic of peacekeeping operations. And we thank India for convening this debate.
Peacekeeping remains at the core of the United Nations. It is the most critical
and highly visible measure by which the organisation is judged. It is a partnership
that relies on the broad UN membership to turn words and expectations into results,
in terms of maintenance of peace and security for vulnerable populations on
the ground.

We would like to focus our remarks on three issues: consultation mechanisms
between the Council and troop and police contributing countries (TCCs and PCCs);
resources and capabilities; and clarity in relation to expectations of peacekeepers'
roles on the ground.

First, regular consultations with TCCs and PCCs are an important mechanism
to ensure peacekeeping mandates are informed by concrete knowledge of ground
realities, and that expectations are realistic and well understood. Consultative
meetings need to be structured, with advance notice of their scheduling. We
welcome the initiatives outlined in today's Presidential Statement to
improve these processes.

We also believe it is critical that a range of stakeholders are consulted in
the development of mandates and throughout the lifecycle of a mission. Informal
mission specific groups can play an important role. Australia has been pleased
to be a part of the Core Group on Timor-Leste, which continues to provide suggestions
regarding support to UNMIT, and to serve as a useful forum for consultation
with stakeholders.

Second, it is important that peacekeeping missions are provided with the necessary
resources and capabilities to take forward their complex roles. Today's
missions need the resources and capabilities to deal with 21st century challenges
and mandates. We would encourage further analysis of different capabilities
that can improve missions' effectiveness. Critical enablers, such as communication
tools and analytical capabilities, can improve situational awareness, assist
with the development of early warning capacities and act as force multipliers.
Aviation assets can provide critical mobility, along with firepower, but are
often in short supply. We welcome work underway to examine helicopter force
generation challenges.

Of course, the most valuable resource a peacekeeping mission has are its people
and their skills. We believe efforts underway within the UN to develop baseline
capability standards for infantry battalions, staff officers and medical support
units are an important step towards ensuring peacekeepers are better prepared
and equipped. Timely and comprehensive information on existing capability gaps
would assist in ensuring there is a coordinated and targeted approach to capacity
building. We look forward to the outcomes of the impact assessment of the capability
gap lists.

Many speakers this morning have emphasised the important linkages between peacekeeping
and peacebuilding. Australia's own recent experience with peace and security
operations in our own region – including in Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands
– has placed a premium on the early transition to peacebuilding which
we all recognise is the only way to prevent societies coming out of conlict
from sliding quickly back into conflict. Early peacebuilding efforts require
the early deployment of qualified civilian personnel. We look forward to the
forthcoming Secretary-General's report on the civilian capacity review.

Bilateral and multilateral partnerships are an important part of capacity building
for peacekeepers. Australia seeks to share its own peacekeeping experiences
through capacity building and training. Australian civilians, police and armed
forces work with our neighbours and partners, including our partners in the
Regional Assistance Mission in Solomon Islands, to build police and military
peacekeeping skills.

Mr President,

Our final point relates to providing clarity in relation to expectations of peacekeepers' roles on the ground. Peacekeepers are often faced with tough decisions, particularly when it comes to carrying out mandates to protect civilians. For this reason, Australia has been a strong advocate for specific protection of civilians training and guidance.

The development of pre-deployment training modules, which include scenario-based
training tools, is a welcome step to addressing some of the uncertainties peacekeepers
face in undertaking their duties. We encourage the Department of Peacekeeping
Operations to deliver these training modules to Member States and the field
as soon as possible. We believe these tools would be supported further by guidance
on protection of civilians for uniformed personnel.

Military personnel in particular can have important responsibilities when it
comes to physical protection of civilians and other peacekeeping personnel,
which can require them to use force. We look forward to the development of guidance
on the use of force, and have been pleased to support regional conferences on
this issue.

Mr President,

Australia believes that it is only through strong consultation and burden sharing
from all parties that the peacekeeping partnership will retain its strength
and ability to address new challenges.

In concluding, we would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge once again
the service of those men and women deployed to peace operations, who are taking
forward the vital work of maintaining peace and security on the ground for communities
affected by conflict.

Thank you.

Last Updated: 16 June 2015
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