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Ministry Statements and Speeches 2013

United Nations Peacekeeping - A Multidimensional Approach

Statement by H.E. Jim McLay, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, 21 January 2013

New Zealand welcomes the fact that Pakistan, one of the United Nations’ principal troop contributing countries, is taking this initiative - thus demonstrating why it's so important to have strong TCC representation on this Council. It is also very fitting that this debate follows closely after the 20 December debate on peace-building.    As New Zealand stressed at that time, effective peace-building activities are vital during the peace-keeping phase; so we were pleased to see that point emphasised so strongly in Pakistan’s Concept Note.
To enable the drawdown of costly peacekeeping missions, real and effective work is needed to address the root causes of conflict - and that requires a genuinely multi-dimensional approach by this Council and by the UN as a whole.

Tasks such as security sector reform, extending the Rule of Law, establishing inclusive governance, and creating early impact employment and economic opportunities must all be part of the overall UN mandate.  But to be effective, they must be well integrated. If not, we'll continue to see the dreadful UN silo problems, which have, in the past, sometimes rendered peace-keeping ineffective.  The multi-dimensional elements of a mission must therefore be given the same prominence as is usually accorded to the military presence of the peace-keeping force itself.

The second key requirement is for peace-keeping missions to be seen to deliver early and tangible benefits to host country populations – thus helping to build the mission's political capital with its host government and with other stakeholders.   We have, unfortunately, seen too many instances where host governments have lost patience with peace-keeping missions.

So, how can the Council manage UN peacekeeping missions in a truly multi-dimensional manner? This Council’s mandate under the UN Charter is not unlimited. It cannot and should not be seeking exclusive competence over all aspects of a multi-dimensional mission. But, equally, given the intimate connection between the various causes of conflict, the Council must still play a critically important role. That said, the current practice of the Council is not well suited to complex situations where there are overlapping competencies and responsibilities.  Key stakeholders outside this Council, not least host countries, are often marginalised in the Council’s consideration of multi-dimensional mandates.  Better interaction with the relevant peace-building configurations is one potentially very useful step.  But that's not always possible because most of the missions with Council mandates are not in countries on the PBC’s agenda - so we need to go much deeper in our search for effective tools for proper oversight of effective integration.  

We suggest that this Council could start with one or two situations on its agenda where there is presently no peace-building configuration; and should establish a configuration-type meeting format of its own, based on a partnership between the Council, the host state and others (as appropriate in each case), as well as relevant UN agencies, such as UNDP.  A less formal configuration of that character would be a powerful tool for better, collective UN engagement on the multi-faceted issues that face almost every operation.  The right mix of political inclusivity and informality could permit the input of relevant stakeholders, including host countries, donors, TCCs and agencies.   And it would also provide a context for more sustained and effective Council leadership on conflict prevention and resolution, using (as we have urged in the past) the Council’s tools under Chapter VI.   And, above all, Mr President, it would help fulfill the promise of truly multi-dimensional and effective UN peace-keeping which addresses the root causes of conflict; and would be a tangible expression of the Council’s commitment to Chapter VI and the peaceful settlement of disputes.


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Page last updated: Thursday, 31 January 2013 11:21 NZDT