Statement by Mr. Raza Bashir Tarar, Acting Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, in the Security Council’s Open Debate on “Peacekeeping: taking stock and prepare for the future” (26 August 2011)

Mr. President,

The Pakistan delegation warmly felicitates you for ably steering the work of the Security Council this month and for convening this very important open debate today.

Your concept paper has flagged important issues relevant to the subject and set precise parameters for a productive debate.

Unlike any other mechanism to maintain international peace and security, UN Peacekeeping enjoys universal acclaim, cost-effectiveness and professional precision. An indispensable tool in the hands of the UN for the maintenance of international peace, peacekeeping offers us hope amidst violence and conflicts.

Success of UN peacekeeping in recent years is a fruit of concerted inter-play of the UN Member States, for faith in and commitment to peacekeeping; the Troop-Contributing Countries (TCCs), for providing specialized/trained manpower for areas of conflict and war and; the UN Secretariat, for overall coordination and field support. Our collective interest would be best served by building synergy.

Mr. President,

Success of UN Peacekeeping has raised expectations for maintaining the trajectory of past achievements in the face of ever changing political, operational and security environments. Consequently, increasingly complex and multi-dimensional Peacekeeping mandates are being laid down to address diverse and volatile conflict situations. At least 13 Peacekeeping Missions are presently undertaking complex and multi-dimensional peacekeeping and the number is set to grow. Complex peacekeeping mandates are now a norm and not an exception. Implementing such mandates is challenging due to at least three underlying factors:

Pakistan believes that the guiding principle to meet these challenges and ensure long-term success of peacekeeping must be adherence to the UN Charter and the concept of collective security. The Charter provides legitimacy to UN peacekeeping. Respect for the Charter and judicious interpretation of its provisions are essential to maintain credibility and neutrality of peacekeeping operations. This cannot and must not be compromised at the altar of political expediency. Recent events have proved that peace operations conducted unilaterally or by different coalitions are poor and costly substitutes to UN peacekeeping.

The question of resource gap is also a central challenge for existing and future missions alike. Despite their scope and expanse, UN Peacekeeping operations are largely under-funded and under-resourced. In many Missions, scarcity of troops and vital resources remain a critical issue --- threatening the ability of the UN to operate effectively and safely. While expenditure and remunerations for other UN activities are adjusted to inflation and cost-of-living fluctuations, the peacekeepers are expected to work on fixed and archaic rates. It is no longer sustainable for TCCs to subsidize UN peacekeeping. The recent C-34 report highlights this “sustainability-factor”. In this regard, progress made in the last session of the 5th Committee would remain a temporary stop-gap measure if not backed by an institutional mechanism for regular review of the troop cost.

The third major challenge relating to exit strategies and seamless transition to long-term peacebuilding also merits close consideration. We believe that dovetailing such strategies into broader objectives of a peacekeeping mission is essential. Early investment in national institution-building, together with pacific settlement of underlying disputes would only facilitate sustainable peace and avoid relapse of conflict. Role of Peacekeepers in the early stages of peacebuilding is crucial, especially in areas of combating organized crime, supporting local law-enforcement, medical outreach, epidemic control, management of refugees and assisting humanitarian relief efforts. However, delicate and multidimensional peacebuilding process requires civil expertise and a focus on improving local capacity, political dialogue and institution-building. The Peacebuilding Commission, with its unique composition is better placed to contribute to developing such cross-sectional synergies.

Mr. President,

For clear, realistic and achievable mandates, greater understanding is required between the sanitized confines of the Security Council, where mandates are written – to the dusty fields of a conflict-zone, where those are implemented. It warrants regular consultations among the Security Council, the TCCs as well as the Secretariat. Such consultations with the TCCs can be held informally and more frequently --- not just within the Security Council’s Working Group on Peacekeeping. Greater emphasis on inclusiveness is essential in all stages of a peacekeeping mission, including in the formulation and review of peacekeeping mandates.

Similarly, the evolution of UN Peacekeeping from the traditional form to complex mandates is driving the discourse on peacekeeping reforms which, like other aspects of peacekeeping, must also remain transparent and depoliticized.

We hope that today’s open debate will enrich the discourse on modern day peacekeeping and its future challenges with the objectivity that the subject deserves.

Thank you.