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National statements

UN Peacekeeping Operations

Thematic issues

  • Mali
  • Peace and Security
  • Peacebuilding
  • Peacekeeping
  • Women

UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL

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

Mr President

I would like to welcome the force commanders and convey Australia's sincere appreciation to each of you – and the men and women with whom you serve – for your dedication and commitment to the cause of international peace and security. Thank you also for your informative briefings. The three topics on which you have briefed us today are all relevant to the Council's ability to structure its mandates appropriately.

We are currently in a crucial period in the evolution of peacekeeping operations. The mandates entrusted to you are highly diverse and complex, and increasingly span a broad range of political and strategic goals, encompassing not only traditional security functions, but also stabilisation and early peacebuilding tasks.

So it is incumbent on the Council to engage closely with those responsible for implementing these mandates to ensure the Council's decisions are properly calibrated to the security challenges on the ground – and so we can ensure you have adequate tools and resources at your disposal. We agreed to do this in January, in Resolution 2086 – the first thematic peacekeeping resolution in 11 years. It is important that we hear the kind of feedback we've had today.

Mr President

Much of the complexity of current peacekeeping operations stems from the fact that they are mandated to protect civilians. This is a necessary and defining element of modern peacekeeping, and the robust elements of recent mandates have been driven in large part by POC imperatives. The UN's reputation and authority in the field often now depends on the capacity of its peacekeepers to effectively protect civilians. To deliver on these responsibilities effectively, peacekeepers must have the appropriate training, skills, equipment and mobility.

Specifically on the issue of training, Australia has been a strong supporter of the development of UN capability standards. We strongly support USG Ladsous' recommendation that a director for the evaluation of Field Uniform Personnel be appointed.

We take General Ngondi's point that Missions must be able to conduct in-mission assessments of pre-deployment training with a view to addressing any gaps – as he put it, to deliver a "high state of operational readiness". The security situation for most missions is not static, so there should be in-mission capacity to identify new force capability gaps as they emerge, and to rectify them. Otherwise, we can see how it would be difficult to sustain standards, and to ensure that Mission contingents are able to respond to evolving challenges, let alone crises. The establishment of an evaluation component within force headquarters is therefore worthy of close consideration.

I would welcome the views of Force Commanders on the most common gaps in pre-deployment training, as identified once collective skills are assessed in-mission, and whether it is possible to address these gaps in-mission.

Mr President

I thank General Asi for his remarks on the force-multiplying benefits that accrue from inter-mission cooperation and sharing of assets. The cooperation between UNOCI and UNMIL is clearly best practice.

The Council rightly expects peacekeeping operations to respond to evolving threats and crises, but it is also rightly vigilant about efficiencies. Inter-mission cooperation can bridge gaps by sharing key capabilities and providing surge capacity to respond in times of crisis.

General Asi has given us compelling evidence of the benefits of inter-mission cooperation, including aspects as straight forward as information sharing, but also the challenges. We would support consideration of his recommendations; particularly given so many issues on the Council's agenda have cross-border and regional dimensions.

With that in mind I would be interested to hear General Asi's perspectives on the scope for further inter-mission cooperation in the context of efforts to stand up MINUSMA in Mali.

Mr President

The use of innovative technology in support of peacekeeping is an operational necessity. National military planners prioritise this element of their operations, and we would advocate strongly for the use of technology to allow UN missions to achieve their tasks efficiently and to enhance the safety of UN personnel and those they are mandated to protect.

We appreciate General dos Santos Cruz's briefing on the benefits associated with the use of UAVs in MONUSCO, as well as the importance of them being integrated carefully into the overall objectives of the Mission. We encourage DPKO to continue to identify scope for the use of advanced technologies. Operational requirements should be the overriding consideration, but as long as we expect peacekeeping missions to perform increasingly complex tasks, we should be prepared to encourage the use of technologies that enhance their capabilities to do so.

Mr President

I would like to thank you again for the opportunity to hear from the Force Commanders. It is essential that we – the Security Council, Member States including TCCs, and the Secretariat as the "peacekeeping partnership" – engage in a continuous effort to adapt and innovate in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of peacekeeping, and this dialogue is an important element of that.

(Check against delivery)

Last Updated: 18 June 2015
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