I have the honour to speak on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. I thank the Controller, the Secretariat and the Chair of the ACABQ for their comments and for their introduction of the relevant reports on the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste.
CANZ delegations are strong supporters of UNMIT, and we remain fully committed to the promotion of long-term stability in Timor-Leste.
In addition, Australia and New Zealand continue to provide extensive security assistance in Timor-Leste through the International Stabilisation Force, which operates in support of UNMIT.
Our delegations welcome ongoing improvements in the general security situation and advancements in the political process in Timor-Leste, as illustrated by the successful completion of village elections in October 2009.
UNMIT plays a pivotal role in such advances. But its work is not done. The underlying situation remains fragile, and the security gains that have been made by UNMIT and its partners need to be consolidated.
The UNMIT mandate continues to be complex and demanding and our delegations continue to urge caution when planning for the future, including any substantial changes in the mission’s management.
CANZ delegations are seized of UNMIT’s key priorities – the review and reform of the security sector, the strengthening of Rule of Law, the promotion of a culture of democratic governance and dialogue and economic and social development.
We therefore encourage the provision of adequate resources to achieve the necessary advancements in these key areas, in particular the enhancement of civilian expertise in support of capacity building of the security sector. This is a key principle of effective integrated peacekeeping that our delegations have consistently supported.
In this context, CANZ delegations support the Secretary-General’s proposal for additional civilian staff with expert skills to help enhance the professionalism of the Timor-Leste national police force and the security sector as a whole.
CANZ delegations welcome the mission’s efforts to offset cost increases, both prior and projected, through efficiency gains – for example from preventative maintenance, the use of video conferencing and the appropriate use of relevant in-house expertise.
A projected 15 per cent decrease in operational requirements compared with the previous year’s appropriation, while still protecting the mission’s mandate, is to be commended. And our delegations join the ACABQ in calling for these efforts to be examined and shared with other missions.
We also note the efforts being made by the mission to expeditiously fill staff vacancies and reduce staff turn-over despite significant obstacles, such as remoteness, prior allowance discrepancies and lengthy recruitment processes.
Lengthy recruitment processes are, of course, is not unique to UNMIT. This issue is endemic in the system and is a matter that our delegations believe should be addressed urgently. We look forward to hearing more about the efforts of the mission and the Secretariat more broadly in this regard.
CANZ delegations remain committed to UNMIT and the critical role it plays in helping address the significant challenges still facing the people and Government of Timor-Leste as they strive for stability, security and prosperity. We look forward to discussing this important item during forthcoming negotiations.
Finally, Mr Chairman, as our delegations have not yet had an opportunity to do so publicly, we belatedly offer our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of UNMIT’s previous Deputy Special Representative for Security Sector Support and Rule of Law, Mr Takahisa Kawakami, who passed away so suddenly in March. His service to the UN and his country does him and his family proud.