HIS EXCELLENCY RAYMOND O. WOLFE
on behalf of caricom during the general debate of the 2010 substantive session of the special committee on peacekeeping operations (C34)
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the fourteen Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), including my own country, Jamaica.
CARICOM associates itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished delegate of Morocco on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
CARICOM expresses its thanks to the Secretary-General for the reports ‘Implementation of the recommendations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations’ contained in documents A/63/615 and A/63/615 Addendum 1; and Comprehensive analysis of the Office of Military Affairs in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, documents A/64/572 and A/64/572 Addendum 1. We also express our appreciation to the DPKO and DFS for the concept papers on robust peacekeeping and protection of civilians, which have generated much debate in the weeks leading up to the start of this Session, and which, I am certain, will continue to engage us in the weeks ahead.
We also thank Under-Secretaries-General LeRoy and Malcorra, for their detailed presentations to the Committee yesterday.
This year’s session of the C34 is set against the backdrop of the devastating earthquake in one of our Member States, Haiti, which took the lives of over 230,000 Haitian citizens over 100 MINUSTAH personnel, including soldiers; police; and civilian staff. In the past weeks our various Heads of State and Government, individually and collectively, have expressed their condolences over the significant loss of life that resulted from this tragic natural disaster. I reiterate those sentiments here today.
We extend our sincere gratitude to the MINUSTAH contingents and other members of the UN family, who were amongst the first responders on the ground, in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. Their heroic efforts were undoubtedly instrumental in saving countless lives. Not to be forgotten, are the tireless efforts of the DPKO/DFS staff here in New York, who were able to provide timely and up-to-date information on the situation on the ground.
We also take this opportunity to pay solemn tribute to those peacekeepers, throughout the Organisation’s fifteen peacekeeping Missions who have been injured and those who have paid the ultimate price in the cause for peace, safety, security, and long-term stability in countries emerging from conflict. The dedication of these individuals has contributed immensely to the success of the many peacekeeping missions around the world.
The long-term stability, growth and socio-economic development of Haiti, remains a major priority for all CARICOM Member States. In the aftermath of the tragic earthquake, this commitment has become even more paramount. Despite our limited means, CARICOM Member States and the Caribbean Diaspora have given unwavering support to our sister island Haiti. On behalf of Haitian people, we express our gratitude to the many governments and peoples across the world who have come to the assistance of Haiti, in their time of greatest need.
In the aftermath of the earthquake, the many CARICOM Governments have pledged assistance to the reconstruction efforts, including the governments of Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago that have each made a contribution of US$1 million; Doctors, health workers, search and rescue and other personnel, totaling some 300 CARICOM nationals from 11 Member States, including Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, St. Lucia St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Jamaica, have been dispatched to Haiti to date; and a contingent of soldiers from the Jamaican Defense Force arrived in Haiti on January 13, and will remain until March 5. CARICOM assistance on the ground in Haiti continues in the areas of Medical Assistance; Logistics, inclusive of the distribution of relief supplies and engineer assessments; Security; and Resource Mobilisation.
CARICOM is heartened by the response of the international community to the devastation in Haiti. We are committed to working with all members of the international community to ensure that Haiti’s recovery is indeed a lasting one, in which all Haitian citizens live in a safe, secure and economically viable environment. We look forward to fully participating in the forthcoming international meeting on Haiti, which will be held here in New York, on March 31, under the joint Chairmanship of the Governments of Haiti and the United Nations, with the assistance other major international donor countries.
CARICOM fully subscribes to the principle of ‘build back better’, which underpins current national, regional and international reconstruction efforts in Haiti. CARICOM supports this principle and the vision of a new Haiti, and we are cognizant of our duty and responsibility to ensure that this vision becomes a reality for Haiti.
National ownership is a critical component for success in reconstruction and development efforts. We commend the Government of Haiti for their resilience, and quick resumption of their governing functions under overwhelmingly harsh conditions. The Government needs the support of the entire international community, as they strive to overcome the immense challenges that lay ahead.
We feel it necessary to sound an urgent alarm, given the approaching tropical hurricane season. We have seen in recent times, the devastation wrought by hurricanes throughout the Caribbean region and in particular in, Haiti. We must work assiduously to ensure that the shelter needs of the Haitian people are capable of withstanding hurricane force winds, to avoid further devastation and loss of life.
Let me now briefly address matters related to peacekeeping as a whole.
UN peacekeeping is a unique contributor in the area of international peace and security. The principles of impartiality and neutrality, coupled with its multilateral configuration, form the basis of UN peacekeeping’s legitimacy as a genuine arbiter for peace. Legitimacy is critical to the success of current operations. Maintaining this legitimacy, and by extension, the trust and support of populations on the ground, should form the basis of all our actions as we work toward making peacekeeping more effective and efficient.
While we applaud the successes of UN peacekeeping to date, we must acknowledge that the resources to conduct peacekeeping operations are finite. Our ultimate goal as responsible members of the international community must be the creation of an international environment in which peacekeeping is no longer needed. To achieve this we must continue to strengthen our efforts in three critical areas: First is to strengthen conflict prevention mechanisms at the national, regional and international levels to prevent tensions from developing into full-scale conflict.
Secondly, we must address the root causes of conflict: poverty, competition for scarce resources, unemployment, and the systemic violation of human rights to name a few, and thirdly, to develop conflict early-warning and early-response systems.
These efforts must be accompanied by political will of all states to secure and enhance peace, wherever and whenever challenges exist.
There are a number of critical issues that are before the Special Committee this Session. One of the key issues is the nexus between peacekeeping and peacebuilding. We have taken note of documentation provided by the DPKO outlining measures to be taken to ensure the delivery of critical, early peacebuilding tasks, within its mandate as well as the strengthened cooperation between DPKO/DFS, the PBC and the PBSO.
We have often maintained that both peacekeeping and peacebuilding are working to achieve the same goal, to prevent a relapse in countries emerging from conflict, and create the necessary structures that will lead to long-term stability, and socio-economic development. We look forward to the development by the DPKO of strategies for the full and effective implementation of early peacebuilding tasks, where mandated, as well as strategies for the transition from UN peacekeeping operations, including transitions to integrated peacebuilding efforts.
Peacekeeping is not a static enterprise. As the nature of today’s conflicts become increasingly multidimensional and complex, so have Peacekeeping missions. Peacekeepers of today are now required to protect civilians and support humanitarians while striving to achieve sustained peace, security and development in many places. We as Member States must continue to exert enormous efforts in finding ways to address these complex challenges. This Session will seek to develop new strategies for meeting these challenges. CARICOM is committed to supporting all measures that will allow peacekeeping to achieve its mandate. In doing this however we wish to emphasise that problems are best fixed from the bottom-up. We have to make the foundations of peacekeeping secure. This starts with designing clear and achievable mandates based on adequate consultation and discussion among the peacekeeping triad the Security Council, the Secretariat and the troop and police contributing countries; as well as ensuring that mandates are in line with available resources. Ten years after the landmark Brahimi report, we continue to do many things right, but a number of critical elements still remain to be fixed.
In closing, allow me to reiterate CARICOM’s unwavering commitment to continue playing our part in the cause for peace.
I thank you.