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Ministry Statements and Speeches 2014

United Nations General Assembly Sixty-Eighth Session Fifth Committee Item 147: Administrative & budgetary aspects of financing United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: "Cross-cutting issues".

Statement by Ambassador Jim McLay, Permanent Representative on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, 13 May 2014.

Mr Chairman,

On behalf of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, I thank the Secretariat, the ACABQ, and OIOS for their reports relating to Item 147, the administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of UN peacekeeping operations: cross-cutting issues.

Mr Chairman -

CANZ has long been a strong supporter of UN peacekeeping operations.  

As the flagship activity of this Organisation, these operations represent the most significant shared contribution by the international community towards global peace and stability.

Since we last met, twelve months ago, to consider this agenda item, the demands on UN peacekeeping have increased signficantly. 

We’ve seen a number of mission mandates expand and evolve; the establishment of a new mission in Mali; and authorisation of a new mission in the Central African Republic.  

So it’s against this backdrop of increasing scope and complexity of peacekeeping operations that CANZ delegations will actively engage in the forthcoming cross-cutting negotiations. 

We look forward to a robust discusion on issues such as vehicle ratios, information and communications technology services, fuel management, personnel issues, rations and air operations. 

We urge all partners to seek to ensure that, in that process, and unlike last year, we do not lose the opportunity to agree another cross-cutting resolution.

Mr Chairman -

CANZ welcomes the advances made in aviation management; and, like the ACABQ, we look forward to the further development of key performance indicators to better benchmark and manage UN air operations – which represent both a significant operational enabler, and are a major component of mission budgets. 

This development represents but one of the incremental steps taken over the reporting period, aimed at more efficiently implementing mandated activities.

On personnel issues, CANZ welcomes the increasing trend towards the nationalisation of posts and positions wherever possible – particularly from a local capacity building perspective. 

While we acknowledge that appropriate nationalising of posts is dependent on a number of factors, such as the given stage of a mission’s life-cycle and the specific characteristics of the local labour market, we encourage the Secretary-General to continue his efforts to ensure that opportunities for mission host country nationals are maximised.

Another personnel issue we will consider is overall staffing structures. 

Like the ACABQ, we have taken note of the relatively static number of high-level posts and positions over time – despite the overall reductions in mission staffing levels; and we reiterate our call for the Secretary-General to ensure that overall staffing structures are more rigorously scrutinised, with a particular emphasis on posts at the higher level.
Mr Chairman -

CANZ shares the view expressed by the Secretary-General and the ACABQ that even one substantiated case of sexual exploitation and abuse is one case too many.  

In addition to the terrible toll of sexual abuse, the perception that the UN is unable or unwilling to address these offences undermines both the Organisation’s credibility and the support of local communities which peacekeeping missions are there to assist.

We remain concerned about the number of allegations which are reported, and at the number of cases involving the most egregious forms of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA). 

Like the ACABQ, CANZ delegations look forward to receiving concrete proposals from the Secretary-General stemming from the findings of the panel of experts on special measures for protection against sexual exploitation and abuse. 

While we await those proposals, CANZ delegations remain strong supporters of the conduct and discipline teams, and will be closely scrutinising the resources allocated to these teams to ensure they are sufficiently resourced to carry out their important functions.

Mr Chairman -

We continue to support the Global Field Support Strategy (GFSS), as we believe this is an important ongoing peacekeeping related reform initiative.

We welcome the fourth annual progress report on the GFSS; in particular the refined, end-state vision for each pillar of the strategy. 

We also welcome the inclusion of an assessment of the benefits realised thus far – both in service delivery and support, and cumulative net savings. 

As the Secretary-General points out in his report, the success of the global field support strategy today, and in the future, will be measured in large part by the ultimate impact it has delivered in the field.

Mr Chairman -

CANZ delegations regard protection of civilians as one of the most important and visible areas of UN peacekeeping operations. 

We have read with interest the OIOS evaluation of the implementation and results of protection of civilians’ mandates; and, while we acknowledge the evaluation was limited in scope, we note that it has raised some serious questions which we believe merit careful consideration.

Mr Chairman -

Ensuring progress on cross cutting issues is challenging, particularly given the limited scope to address them through specific mission budget negotiations. 

We therefore look forward to working with partners towards the adoption of a cross-cutting resolution which addresses the key peacekeeping policy issues before us today.

Mr Chairman –

CANZ delegations take this opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women - both civilian and uniformed – working in very challenging and stressful operational environments.

We are grateful to all personnel in the field who risk their lives and well-being on a daily basis to fulfill UN mandates in peacekeeping operations.

In particular, Mr Chairman, we express our deep appreciation and respect for those who have lost their lives in the service of the UN.

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Page last updated: Thursday, 15 May 2014 09:02 NZST