Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects

Statement by H.E. Dr. Palitha T.B. Kohona
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
General debate - Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects

27th October, 2010

Mr. Chairman,

Since it is the first time that I take floor in the fourth committee, let me begin by warmly congratulating you, and the bureau on your election. Sri Lanka also associates itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Non-Alignment Movement by Morocco.

I thank Mr. Alain Leroy, Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, and Ms Susana Malcorra, Under Secretary General for  the Department of Field Support, for their continuing good work. I would also like to extend our thanks to the staff of the UNDPKO and the DFS for their consistent cooperation and support.

Mr. Chairman,

Sixty-one years have gone by since the creation of the first UN peacekeeping operation in Congo. During this period, 63 peacekeeping missions have been dispatched, and we have seen encouraging achievements as well as matters that merit reflection.  With the increase in the scale and complexity of UN peacekeeping operations,  Member States  have never ceased  to ponder the need for reform of the UN peacekeeping operations to make them more effective. Since the publication of the Brahimi report in 2000, numerous attempts have been made to seek structural and institutional reform of the UN peacekeeping endeavors.  The huge scale and complexity of mandates of peacekeeping operations dictate that we keep reform initiatives under careful review and seek to develop a better model of sustainability. 

Mr. Chairman,

In order to maintain the continued support of Member States for peacekeeping operations and enhance their effectiveness, we believe that it is necessary to carefully address the following aspects:
We agree that there is an ongoing mismatch between mandates and resources in peacekeeping. It is the common understanding of all that peacekeeping mandates should be clear and operable. Therefore, in developing a peacekeeping mandate, it is necessary to identify the goals carefully, giving full considering to the needs on the ground, and making decisions based on available human and logistical resources. It is vital that the UN, wherever possible, consult recipient states in developing the mandates.  Without the input of recipient countries, mandates may not reflect real needs.  The country receiving peacekeepers must have ownership of the process.   Stabilization of the ground situation must be a priority.  There must be clear emphasis in the plans on economic development, building of national institutions, strengthening of national security structures, if peace is to be sustained.  The root causes of instability must also be addressed and should be part of the UN thinking. 

A clear emphasis on exit strategies is central to the proper management of peacekeeping operations.  A mechanism for continuous review of goals, which takes into account local sensitivities and needs, must always be part of the planning.  The UN system should be better coordinated and regional and sub-regional bodies also must be consulted.  The Secretariat must provide advice which is independent and unbiased.  Sometimes, this may be painful to the Organization.

Further, improvement of the quality of peacekeeping is an important step in the UN peacekeeping capacity building. We support the Secretariat in further strengthening training, particularly in providing support to those developing countries which are potential troops contributors to help with peacekeeping capacity building. We hope that developed countries, with the relevant financial and technical capabilities, will play an active role in this area. Currently, developing countries are the major troop contributors to the UN peacekeeping operations and have made great scarifies to keep the flame of peacekeeping alive.

An upgraded logistical mechanism is a strong guarantee for the rapid deployment of peacekeeping operations. We welcome the efforts made by the Secretariat to strengthen and upgrade the logistical support system, optimizing operational procedures and speeding up the deployment of peacekeeping missions. We also commend the Secretariat for its use of new technology with a view to improving the efficiency of peacekeeping resources.

The base of TCCs and PCCs need to be expanded further. Enhanced efforts must be made to encourage more countries to engage in UN peacekeeping as troop contributors. The UNDPKO must also integrate the gender dimension to all peacekeeping missions.

Mr. Chairman,

Sri Lanka is now in a position to increase its UN peacekeeping troops contribution. Sri Lanka has considerable experience in combating terrorism and its troops possess considerable operational experience and expertise that could be put to good use in UN peacekeeping and peace building efforts. Sri Lankan peacekeepers have worked in difficult terrain and acquired multiple skills while facing complex situations. Recently, Sri Lanka also expressed its interest in deploying women peacekeepers at battalion strength. Apart from that, Sri Lanka stands ready to lend its support to combat piracy, particularly in Somali waters, and we consider that it is timely for the UN to become fully engaged in this matter. Sri Lanka is ready to deploy its naval assets to assist in combating pirates in Somali waters or any other place where required under the UN umbrella.  Furthermore, Sri Lanka possesses the capability to extend its intelligence assets in the service of UN peacekeeping missions. While Sri Lanka has increasingly contributed troops for peacekeeping operations, we stand ready to do more in the furtherance of international peace and security as a partner of the UN.

Mr. Chairman,

Sri Lanka will continue to contribute effectively to the maintenance of international peace and security. While it is unlikely that the need for peacekeepers will cease in the near future, we remain hopeful. In the final analysis, we firmly believe that durable peace can be achieved only through inclusive dialogue, reconciliation, integration and economic advancement. The United Nations must play a central role in defining and promoting a comprehensive strategy comprising operational and structural measures for preventing or addressing the root causes of conflict, in order to ensure sustainable global peace.   Peacekeeping will become redundant if we can achieve that goal.  That is the ideal for which the United Nations was created and must achieve.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


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