Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC open debate on the UN peacekeeping operations
We thank the delegation of Ireland who this year has the privilege to convene annual debate on the peacekeeping reform for focusing on such an important aspect as transitions in peacekeeping operations.
We also thank the Secretary-General for convening a meaningful briefing and also for highlighting the role of national leadership and national ownership in peacekeeping.
The contribution to this discussion of former president of Liberia Ms. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf can hardly be overestimated, because her country passed through a complex conflict period and then – through post-conflict recovery under active assistance of the international community.
We also thank Ms. Safaa Elagib Adam for sharing assessments of the situation in Sudan.
We welcome the participation of State Minister Meenakshi Lekhi of India in this meeting.
Every conflict has a unique set of underlying root causes, that is why every concrete case requires a delicate and impartial approach, patient analysis and search for a unique solution, first of all at a national level. We are convinced that proficient and painstaking political and mediator efforts play the key role in promoting international peace and security. Whatever form international support for a country in conflict may assume – be it a peacekeeping operation, a political mission, or “good offices” of the Secretary-General – it will be little effective unless political arrangements are made.
Therefore we believe the best way to transform mandate of any UN peacekeeping mission would be to transfer to states full responsibility for preventing and overcoming the aftereffects of conflicts, as well as for preserving peace and advancing towards recovery and development with due account for rights and interests of the entire population of the country.
Unfortunately, this result is hard to achieve within a short term. In the modern world, peacekeeping operations remain one of the most important tools that helps put an end to hostilities in order to create conditions for final reconciliation. “Blue Helmets” help the host state make the first step on its way from conflict to sustainable peace and play the key role at early stages of peacebuilding. An important part of peacekeeping mandates is assistance to governments in establishing control over the entire national territory, protection of civilians, strengthening of state institutions, implementation of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programs, as well as security sector reform.
In recent years, mandates of peacekeeping operations have become too complex and started to include many tasks uncharacteristic of peacekeeping; in spite of this, we do not deem it feasible to render to states long-term assistance in the area of development and human rights via peacekeeping operations.
As peacekeeping missions progressively implement their main tasks, and as the situation on the ground stabilizes, missions should draw down in a timely manner and evolve into other forms of international assistance. At the same time, when reducing or terminating missions, one needs to ensure continuity so that conflicts could not reoccur during the transition period. Anyway, when considering the withdrawal of peacekeepers, the host side must be the principal decision maker. In this regard, we commend close interaction with the Sudanese side in terms of withdrawal of UN-AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and elaborating the mandate of its successor – United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS).
We trust that the activity of UNITAMS will sustain the capacity of Khartoum at the key tracks (peacebuilding in the first place), foster economic reforms and a lasting security sector reform, as well as support domestic peace and legal order. We also need to enhance economic support for that country in order to address these key tasks. Assistance with mobilizing resources is another important aspect of the mandate.
If the international assistance in the area of peacekeeping and sustaining peace is needed, it must be provided only upon request or with consent of the host government; account for its priorities; be free of dictation and respectful of the country’s sovereignty. We believe this process leaves no space for unified ready-made scenarios or automatic action. We do not find it appropriate to overburden the UN Secretariat and the host states with a default set of values and common parameters that often have no direct relation to resolving crisis situation in the given country.
By all means, there is a certain connection between peace and security, development, and human rights, which is enshrined in resolutions on peacekeeping. However this must not be the reason to intermingle the mandates of UN bodies with those of divisions of the UN Secretariat.
In this regard, we note the unique role of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, which coordinates and consolidates actions of national and international stakeholders aimed at achieving lasting peace and development. We support its activity and stand for strengthening this crucial UN body.
As former leader of Liberia said today, this country provides a unique example of productive cooperation of the United Nations and national actors in the area of peacebuilding. The Commission also demonstrated its capability to attract the attention of the global community to national priorities in the area of peacebuilding and development in Liberia, which needed international assistance; and provided a platform where theory could transform into practical work for peacebuilding and sustaining peace.