Statement delivered by Phillip Taula, Deputy Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, 20 August 2015.

Briefing – Maintenance of international peace and security: security sector reform

Thank you madam President for convening this meeting and for Nigeria’s longstanding engagement in security sector reform (SSR).  I also thank Assistant Secretary-General Titov for his update on progress since the adoption of resolution 2151 as well as SRSG Bangura and Assistant Administrator Nakamitsu for their briefings.

New Zealand considers effective SSR to be critical for sustainable peace. We recognize SSR as a strategic, long term process  - and we have seen some successes, such as in Timor-Leste and Sierra Leone. But we acknowledge that each situation is different and tailored processes are required.

There is also a need to learn lessons from where SSR efforts have fallen short for example in South Sudan as noted by Mr Titov. As an inherently long-term challenge, it is important that we better coordinate the Council mandated SSR activities with related efforts by other parts of the UN system and other international actors and bilateral donors. As noted in the concept note for this briefing, SRSGs could have a greater role to play in this regard.

Although there is a heavy focus on SSR in many peacekeeping missions, SSR functions are now being mandated across the spectrum of UN peace operations - from prevention to post-conflict stabilization - for example in the SBMs in Libya and Somalia; and UN offices, such as UNOWA.  We need to look carefully at how SSR is mandated in peace operations, particularly in the context of the Peace Operations Review and its recommendations around phase mandates.

We believe it is important for SSR to be embedded in mandates from the start, including when peace agreements are being conceived and negotiated. New Zealand acknowledges the development of the 2011 UN’s policy framework for defence sector reform and its continued implementation. While components of SSR do not work in isolation, it is critical to develop accountable, professional and effective security forces which support and adhere to the rule of law.

We see merit in the Council considering empowering Special Representatives of the Secretary-General (SRSGs) to more directly support nationally owned SSR policy and implementation frameworks. We also support the concept of SSR ‘compacts’ between the mission and the host government, these could both encourage host country engagement and tie the achievement of SSR benchmarks to the ultimate exit strategy of a mission.

We also stress the importance of women’s full and effective participation in SSR processes.

Madam President,

Given the critical nature of SSR to the ultimate success of a mission we believe Council oversight should be improved. To support this we would like to see more meaningful reporting on SSR in regular mission reports. Reporting needs to be both more consistent and higher quality, providing a frank assessment of progress, key obstacles and options for addressing these.

In closing we believe resolution 2151 was a very important step but we need to work harder to make SSR more effective and therefore improve the environment for sustainable peace and security.

I thank you.