Seventy-eighth Session,
20th Meeting (PM)

Host Countries Past and Present Pinpoint Problems, Put Forward Suggestions as Fourth Committee Wraps Up General Debate on UN Peacekeeping

Speakers Emphasize Importance of Better Mandates and Withdrawal Preparations

Speakers from Member States that host, or have hosted, United Nations peacekeeping missions voiced their suggestions for making the Organization’s flagship enterprise — marking its seventy-fifth anniversary this year — more effective in the face of increasingly complex challenges, as the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) wound up a three-day general debate on peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.

Rwanda’s representative — whose country is the leading African troop contributor to UN peacekeeping efforts — said that the problems faced by missions are centred around a deterioration of consent from host countries, with the consequences including disinformation campaigns, violations of status-of-forces agreements, compromises in the safety and security of peacekeepers, and in some cases, the abrupt closure of missions without adequate withdrawal preparations.  Mandates sometimes do not fit the relevant security, political and economic challenges, he said, suggesting a review of each mission, with thought given to unconventional approaches to tackling specific issues.

Haiti’s speaker said that peacekeeping missions must work closely with host countries and other stakeholders to ensure success, as that is essential to trust-building with host communities.  Peacekeepers also must carry out their roles responsibly for the sake of the Organization’s reputation, he said, adding that the Secretariat and Member States must also continue the zero-tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and assault, and as required, open investigations without delay to ensure accountability.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s representative said that the challenges faced by peacekeeping missions are not solely due to geopolitical and economic changes, but are rooted in the inherent imperfections of the United Nations Charter. He acknowledged the contributions of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), but added that, after nearly 25 years, it has had “mixed results” — with its presence failing to end an infernal cycle of massacres, human rights violations and the illegal exploitation of natural resources by armed groups.

Cameroon’s delegate, referring to the closure of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), said that well-planned troop-withdrawal schedules are needed to maintain UN credibility and prestige.  On ongoing peacekeeping reforms, he said that the definition of field-management roles can be improved.  He also urged the Security Council to adopt, by year’s end, a resolution on financing African Union peacekeeping efforts through the UN budget.

Cambodia’s representative said that the Organization’s review of peacekeeping should prioritize financing, personnel and performance, among other areas.  He also urged Member States to explore sustainable and predictable financing mechanisms, maintaining an adequate pool of qualified and experienced personnel and developing better ways to assess the performance of missions.

Germany’s representative, the only delegate from a Western Member State to take the floor today, said that there is strong Member State support for increased involvement of regional organizations in peace enforcement. He also supported discussions on adequate and sustainable funding for African-led peace operations, including in the Security Council.

The Fourth Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 2 November, to begin its comprehensive review of special political missions.

Peacekeeping Operations

HASANAIN HADI HASAN AL-DAHLAKI (Iraq), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the direct consequences of climate change imperil security, livelihoods and peace.  Natural disasters can displace millions of people, increasing the risk of armed conflicts, he said, calling for increased donations in favour of global peace and security.  He further called on Member States to use non-violent means to resolve conflicts.  Discussing Iraq’s fight against Da’esh, he said that its efforts involved substantial sacrifices and professionalism in order to protect civilians, security and infrastructure in regions that were occupied by terrorist groups.  Commending the pivotal role of women in the Iraqi forces, he reiterated his country’s support for Security Council resolution 1325 (2000).  He further expressed Iraq’s readiness to participate in peacekeeping operations and to share experiences. 

JOSÉ ALFONSO BLANCO CONDE (Dominican Republic) said that the efficacy of peacekeeping is inextricably linked with the United Nations ability to strengthen mandates and cooperate with affected communities. Stressing the importance of early warning and mitigation systems, he called for additional measures to improve peacekeepers’ capacities before deployment.  The international community must also consider when the necessary conditions will be met to transition to national authorities.  Underscoring the importance of a new generation of peacekeeping missions with guaranteed financing, he said that peacekeeping decisions are often based on the availability of financial resources, resulting in renewed outbreaks and backsliding.  Underscoring the need to improve women’s participation in peacekeeping, he said that missions should have more gender assessors to ensure protection of women in vulnerable situations.

CHRISTOPHER PIERRE (Haiti), aligning himself with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Group of Francophone Ambassadors, and associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, emphasized that peacekeeping operations help Member States overcome the difficult phase of transition towards long-lasting peace.  Missions need to work closely with host countries and other stakeholders to ensure success, which depends on consent and non-use of violence unless necessary. This is essential to trust-building with host communities.  Emphasizing that peacekeeping personnel must carry out their roles responsibly for the sake of the Organization’s reputation, he supported calls for raising awareness of various mechanisms, particularly those relating to misconduct and ethics, prior to the deployment of personnel.  The Secretariat and Member States must also continue the zero-tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and assault and, as required, open investigations without delay to ensure accountability.  He condemned the perpetration of violence against peacekeepers and called on missions to respect their mandates without interfering in States’ sovereignty.

Mr. NADARAJAH (Singapore) associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and aligning himself with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that UN peacekeeping has evolved from observing ceasefires to multidimensional operations.  Voicing support for the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) and Action for Peacekeeping Plus (A4P+) initiatives, he said that they have produced tangible improvements, such as reduced incidents of violence and fatalities, improved peacekeeper safety, increased participation of women in peace processes and stronger peacekeeping partnerships.  Despite its small size and limited resources, Singapore has deployed more than 2,000 military and police personnel to 17 UN peacekeeping and observer missions worldwide. “In today’s fragile and fragmented world, peacekeeping has never been more relevant and its success more urgent,” he said, calling on the international community to continue to support United Nations peacekeeping and to provide peacekeepers with the resources and capabilities they need to deliver on their mandates.

HAMAMOTO YUKIYA (Japan), noting the preponderance of prolonged and regionalized conflicts as well as a variety of new threats, such as improvised explosive devices and misinformation and disinformation, said that it is critical to ensure a coherent political strategy that anchors all peacekeeping stakeholders.  Conflicts must be resolved through political solutions, primarily led and owned by the host State.  Neighbouring countries and regional organizations may also play a constructive role, he said, reiterating the importance of clear, focused, sequenced, prioritized and achievable mandates.  The necessity for such mandates has grown as peacekeeping faces an increasingly challenging environment, intensifying pressure on resources.  Also stressing the need to enhance pre-deployment training, including capacity-building support, he said that each peacekeeping unit — and all personnel — must have sufficient capabilities, including knowledge of how to counter misinformation and disinformation and the emergence of new threats such as improvised explosive devices.

HALIDOU SAVADOGO (Burkina Faso), aligning himself with the Group of Francophone Ambassadors and associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, paid tribute to all those who have made the supreme sacrifice in peacekeeping operations.  Every year, on 29 May, his country marks the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.  He recalled that Burkina Faso has experienced massive population displacement due to deadly terrorist attacks, which over eight long years created a climate of insecurity that has hampered development efforts and social progress. Highlighting the steps taken by the transitional Government to stem this tide, including continuous training and equipment for defence and security forces, he said that his country appreciates the support of its multilateral and bilateral partners.  He also underscored the need for the United Nations to support regional initiatives politically, financially and materially.

ANNA M. EVSTIGNEEVA (Russian Federation) said that facilitation of political settlements and reconciliation should be at the heart of the United Nations peacekeeping.  She called for the reduction of non-core objectives for peacekeepers, such as human rights, gender and climate-related issues, suggesting that specialized UN agencies should handle these matters.  She further noted that the prolonged presence of peacekeeping operations without clear prospects for drawdown erodes trust among local populations.  Key avenues for the development of UN peacekeeping activities should be determined through an intergovernmental format, she said, encouraging deeper cooperation with regional and subregional organizations, including the African Union.  She noted the participation of Russian Federation personnel in several peacekeeping operations, including the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), and emphasized her country’s high-quality peacekeeper training.

AHMAD SAMIR FAHIM HABASHNEH (Jordan) said that the 120,000 Jordanians who have participated in various peacekeeping operations have been a model of discipline, preparedness and professionalism.  Across seven missions, 40 Jordanian peacekeepers have been martyred. Pointing to women’s participation in his country’s army, he added that Jordan has put in place legislation and national policies to increase gender parity.  He also emphasized the importance of clear and realistic mandates, stating that they should be bolstered with adequate financing and human resources.  Reaffirming support for the United Nations efforts to build peace, he also expressed commitment to ensuring the safety of all peacekeepers.

DEM MIJAEL CHOQUE ROSARIO (Bolivia) said that 75 years after the creation of UN peacekeeping, and considering that the world has undergone major transformations, “it is important that we assess the achievements and the challenges that peacekeeping operations currently face.”  Because mandates go unfulfilled, missions remain in the field for open-ended periods, causing them to be viewed as occupying forces and thus creating mistrust among local populations.  The result is the ineffectiveness of United Nations actions.  Beyond avoiding confrontation, root causes must be resolved, he continued.  He underlined the need for joint action between UN peacekeeping operations and other regional actors, explaining that this would strengthen action in the field. He went on to highlight the significant increase of women in peacekeeping and cautioned against politicizing or instrumentalizing missions, which hopefully one day will no longer be needed.

Mr. KEDAR (Israel), noting that his country is situated in the region marked by persistent instability and violence, recalled the recent “terrible acts” when Hamas terrorists entered Israel and massacred 1,400 people.  Pointing to the continuous volatility along his country’s borders, he said that the presence of existing peacekeeping forces in the region contributed to de-escalation and regional stability.  Emphasizing that peacekeeping operations face evolving challenges, particularly from non-State actors and terrorist organizations that operate under the guise of non-profit organizations, he said that wearing a blue helmet no longer guarantees full protection.  He commended the role of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), while emphasizing the persistent threat stemming from Hizbullah.  Backed and financed by Iran, that group endangers the stability to Israel, Lebanon and the wider region.  Raising concerns about the challenges faced by UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon, he said that peacekeeping operations should report to the Security Council in a detailed and impartial manner to ensure that they can successfully perform their duties.

MICHAEL KAPKIAI KIBOINO (Kenya), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and paying tribute to those who have paid the ultimate price, said that peacekeepers are increasingly being deployed to areas where there is no peace to keep.  Overpoliticization diminishes the efficacy of peacekeeping, he said, adding that rampant misinformation and disinformation on social media undermine the ability of peacekeepers to fulfil their mandate, particularly the protection of civilians.  Highlighting the role of region-led, Security Council-mandated peace operations, he said that this has been applied in Africa with remarkable success, but the missing link remains sufficient to ensure adequate and predictable funding.  “The assumption that a handful of external partners would bear the costs for expensive peace operation ventures being undertaken on behalf of the United Nations is both unrealistic and unhelpful,” he said, reiterating the African Union’s call for regionally led peace operations to be funded through assessed contributions.

ASHISH BHALLA (India), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the many sacrifices of United Nations peacekeepers is a testament to the challenging environments in which they serve.  Noting that peace operations are sluggish and increasingly unable to respond to volatile situations, he said that India is one of the largest troop-contributing countries with 6,000 peacekeepers deployed across 10 missions.  Conflict resolution lies in the sociopolitical domain, with peacekeeping creating the conditions for achieving a resolution.  Mandates drafted without consulting troop-contributing countries are set up for failure, he cautioned, adding that military, civilian and police components must work together and must be evaluated holistically. Stressing the need to support regional efforts in conflict zones, he said that host State security institutions must be strengthened so they can take on the protection of civilians.

BERNARD MABEBA (South Africa), aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that on account of evolving threats and protracted armed conflicts, peacekeeping operations need to be constantly reviewed to make them relevant and fit for purpose.  To this end, South Africa throws its weight behind the Secretary-General’s A4P and A4P+ priorities.  Welcoming the involvement of women in peace operations, he urged Member States to continue fulfilling their commitments on the women, peace and security agenda.  He expressed concern over rising sentiments against United Nations peacekeeping in some countries, as these place the safety and security of peacekeepers at risk. South Africa is also concerned about the conduct of certain peacekeepers and supports the zero-tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation and abuse.  Citing the Southern African Development Community (SADC) mission in Mozambique, he said that regional arrangements are increasingly taking responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security.

MICHEL TOMMO MONTHE (Cameroon) said that there has been a decrease in the number of peacekeepers killed in acts of violence as well as a reduction in allegations of misconduct.  The closure of complex operations such as the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) highlight the need for well-planned troop withdrawal schedules to maintain UN credibility and prestige.  On ongoing reforms, he said that the definition of field management roles can be improved.  He also urged the Security Council to adopt, by year’s end, a resolution on financing African Union peacekeeping training operations through the UN budget.

NOEL MANGAOANG NOVICIO (Philippines) said that as a responsible member of the international community, the Philippines has contributed actively to peacekeeping and the global effort to maintain peace and promote sustainable development.  It is improving its troops’ readiness to take on assignments and leadership positions, he added.  Underscoring commitment to the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and the Organization’s victim-centred approach, he said that national investigations officers must be deployed with all military units on mission.  Peacekeeping efforts must reinforce local political solutions and not supplant them. Increasing the number of women in uniform is crucial, he said, adding that a gender perspective must be mainstreamed into peacekeeping.

BRANISLAV RADOVIĆ (Serbia) said peacekeeping operations cannot achieve their goals without clear, prioritized and realistic Security Council mandates that focus on political solutions.  Peacekeeping operations must have adequate resources and the Security Council’s full political support while also maintaining continuous engagement with all parties.  Members of the Serbian armed forces are engaged in four of the 12 United Nations peacekeeping operations, he said, making it the third-largest European contributor to UN peacekeeping.  Detailing Serbia’s future efforts to support more efficient UN peacekeeping operations, he emphasized the importance of well-trained and well-equipped military and police personnel.

TITHIARUN MAO (Cambodia), aligning himself with ASEAN, called for a comprehensive review of peacekeeping to ensure that missions are fit for purpose in the twenty-first century. That review should prioritize such areas as financing, personnel and performance, he said, urging Member States to explore more sustainable and predictable financing mechanisms as well as an adequate pool of qualified and experienced personnel who are ready for deployment.  Better methods to measure and assess the performance of peacekeeping operations are needed as well.  Since 2006 Cambodia has turned from a host country into a troop-contributing country, ranking second among ASEAN nations in 2022, with 16.42 per cent of its personnel being female, bettering the UN target of 15 per cent.

HADI HACHEM (Lebanon), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, condemned all attacks against peacekeepers and called for perpetrators to be brought to account as soon as possible.  Incentives should be offered to attract more women to peacekeeping. Noting that ongoing attacks by Israel have displaced more than 20,000 people in Lebanon, he expressed appreciation for UNIFIL in advancing peace and security in the south of the country and emphasized the need for cooperation with the Government and army.

JOONKOOK HWANG (Republic of Korea), looking ahead to the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Meeting in Accra in December, reiterated the great importance of implementing and following up on the pledges made by Member States at the Ministerial Meeting in Seoul in 2021.  The Republic of Korea is implementing its pledges, including with the provision of helicopters for missions in Africa and providing engineering equipment and training to troop-contributing countries in Cambodia. He urged Member States to improve the medical capacities of peacekeeping missions, including mental health support. Underscoring the importance of strengthening the technological capacity of peacekeepers to ensure their safety and improve performance, he said that his country has contributed $600,000 to combat disinformation against peacekeepers.  With peacekeeping operations facing growing opposition from host countries, local engagement needs to be strengthened, he added.

ERIKA HELENA CAMPOS (Brazil), noting that more than 55,000 Brazilian military and police personnel have participated in United Nations missions over the past 70 years, emphasized the connection between investing in security and laying the ground for sustainable development. Efficient peacekeeping must abide by the basic principles of consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force except in self-defence and in the defence of the mandate.  When dealing with complex, multidimensional mandates, missions should have appropriate tools, she said, adding that it is essential to detect when conditions on the ground no longer require, justify or allow for peace operations.  She also underscored the need for strategic communications as a tool for countering disinformation and engaging with local communities.

RONA MARIE PANTELI (Cyprus), aligning herself with the European Union, called for sufficient manning, equipping and financing of peacekeeping operations, adding that decisions concerning them should not be based on political expediencies or financial constraints, but on situations on the ground.  She supported the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda and welcomed greater deployment of women in peace operations, noting that the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) was the first mission to appoint a woman as its Force Commander and to have women lead all its components. Recalling attacks on peacekeepers in August by the forces occupying a third of the country, she cautioned against double standards in seeking accountability for those incidents.

ZENON NGAY MUKONGO (Democratic Republic of the Congo), aligning with the International Organization of la Francophonie, said that the challenges faced by peacekeeping missions are not solely due to geopolitical and economic changes, but are rooted in the inherent imperfections of the United Nations Charter.  Discussing the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), he acknowledged its contributions, especially with regard to electoral processes, the armed forces, national police and humanitarian action.  However, after almost 25 years in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO has “mixed results” and its presence did not help to put an end to an infernal cycle of massacres, human rights violations and the illegal exploitation of natural resources by armed groups, including M23.  Pointing to growing frustration among Congolese with the mission, he emphasized the need for a fundamental reform in peacekeeping operations.

MICHAEL ALEXANDER GEISLER (Germany), aligning himself with the European Union, said that it is crucial to optimize existing processes and develop new frameworks to ensure that peacekeeping adapts to a new era of challenges.  There is broad support among Member States for a stronger role for regional and subregional organizations, not only in dialogue and mediation, but also in peace enforcement.  He supported discussions on adequate, predictable and sustainable funding for African-led operations and looked forward to the Security Council taking further steps in that regard, under the stewardship of its African members, in addition to the Peacekeeping Ministerial Meeting in Accra.  Germany is the fourth-largest contributor to the peacekeeping budget and the largest supporter of extrabudgetary projects, he said, with its significant, multi-year funding supporting the women, peace and security agenda, child protection, protection of civilians, medical support, operational resilience and renewable energy.

GLADYS EVANGELINA EFSON (Mozambique) said that the challenges faced by peacekeeping missions starkly illustrate the limitations of ambitious mandates that lack adequate political support. In Mozambique’s experience, a peacekeeping operation cannot succeed without sufficient political will for peace among the main stakeholders or when host Governments and conflict parties question the presence of peacekeepers.  The design and structure of future peacekeeping missions must be continuously reviewed, she said, calling for adequate resources and equipment, better strategic communication and partnerships with regional organizations. Missions must also leverage data and digital technologies and invest in training for early warning, dissemination and assessment of peacekeeping information, she said, adding that effective implementation of the zero-tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation and abuse is important as well.

DEO MUTABAZI (Rwanda), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the problems faced by peacekeeping missions are centred around a deterioration of consent from host countries.  The consequences include disinformation campaigns, violations of status of forces agreements, compromises in the safety and security of peacekeepers, and in some cases, the abrupt closure of missions without adequate preparation for their withdrawal.  Addressing these issues means identifying root causes, including how the UN manages consent and how global geopolitics impacts peace missions. Noting that mandates sometimes do not fit the relevant security, political and economic challenges, he suggested a review of each mission, with thought given to unconventional approaches to tackling specific issues.  A regional concept of peacekeeping is another solution that has proven to be effective on the ground, he said.

GIUSEPPE QUIRIGHETTI, observer of the Holy See, said that rising levels of armed conflict worldwide indicate a growing need for peacekeeping operations.  Achieving the universal common good cannot be imposed by force.  Rather, the principle of consent must be upheld as the basis for deploying a peacekeeping mission.  Such operations must also uphold the inherent dignity of the human person, with the protection of civilians being an utmost priority.  That includes not only physical protection, but also monitoring human rights violations.  Increased efforts are needed to eliminate all forms of sexual abuse or exploitation and to hold perpetrators to account, he said, adding that peacekeeping missions need to engage more with all segments of a host country’s society.  Faith-based organizations, in particular, have a unique capacity to mopportunities for forgiveness and reconciliation, he added.

IFIGENEIA KONTOLEONTOS, Permanent Observer of the International Organization of La Francophonie, emphasizing her organization’s commitment to supporting an increase in francophone peacekeeping capabilities, appealed for linguistic and cultural diversity in peace operations.  Doing so would seriously improve performance, bolster engagement with local authorities and communities, and assist the protection and safety of civilians and uniformed personnel alike.  She highlighted La Francophonie’s role in training future senior mission leaders and  female military officers and military advisers, as well as its collaboration on recruitment processes.  She further called for the promotion of multilingualism in United Nations bodies and field operations, with interculturality at the heart of peacekeeping-related mechanisms.

Right of Reply

The representative of Iran, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that the three UN peacekeeping missions in the Middle East were set up in response to the Israeli regime’s actions against other countries in the region.  Recent atrocities in Gaza are examples of what people under Israeli occupation have endured over several decades.  In addition, the Israeli regime is trying to hide its daily atrocities against Palestinians behind rhetoric directed at other countries, including Iran, he said.

The representative of Lebanon said that, since Israel started to attack Gaza and target southern Lebanon, UNIFIL headquarters has been struck several times, including most recently on Saturday.  Similar incidents have been recorded in UN reports.  That demonstrates Israel’s contempt for the United Nations, he said.

The representative of Morocco, responding to Algeria’s statement, said that that country does not contribute to UN peacekeeping, save for two experts.  That is not for want of manpower or resources; rather, it lacks political will and a belief in the United Nations’ role in maintaining peace and security.  The human rights situation in the Moroccan Sahara is far better than in Algeria and the Tindouf camps, she added.

The representative of Israel said that Iran’s delegate was making false accusations, distortions and blatant lies.  Iran is the world’s primary terror-sponsoring State and it is destabilizing the entire Middle East.  He added that Hizbullah is holding Lebanon and its people hostage. Israel does not target civilian areas; rather, when it comes under attack, it exercises its right of self-defence by returning fire, he said.

For information media. Not an official record.