H.E. Raymond Wolfe
Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations
at the General Debate of the 2008
Session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34)
10th March, 2008
At the outset, allow me to convey, on behalf of my delegation, congratulations on your election to Chair this august body. I extend congratulations to the other members of the Bureau on their election. I give you my assurances that the Jamaican delegation stands ready to work with you and other esteemed members of the Committee to ensure a successful outcome to our deliberations.
My delegation wishes to thank Under-Secretary General Mr. Jean-Marie Guéhenno for his comprehensive statement to this Committee outlining the current status of the reform process as well as the current challenges in the area of peacekeeping. Mr. Guéhenno, you have provided eight years of invaluable and dedicated service to UN peacekeeping operations. Jamaica values the role you have played over the past eight years in guiding UN peacekeeping operations and on behalf of my Government, I wish for you every success in the future.
Mr. Chairman, the Government of Jamaica aligns itself with the statement delivered by Morocco on behalf of the Group of Non-Aligned Countries.
Allow me to take this opportunity to pay tribute to UN peacekeepers, who were either severely injured or who have lost their lives whilst serving as part of active UN peacekeeping missions across the globe.
The increasing demands and multidimensional nature of peacekeeping make the safety and security of our peacekeepers of paramount concern. Our peacekeepers are increasingly being deployed in volatile situations, where their task is not only to restore peace, but to restore the institutions of law and order. My delegation is of the view that a life lost is one life too many.
It is for this reason Mr. Chairman, that my delegation fully supports the efforts of the DPKO to enhance the capacity of the Integrated Training Service, to better equip our peacekeepers who put their lives in danger everyday.
Central to the success of UN peacekeeping missions worldwide, is the support of the international community. We lose this support when our peacekeepers conduct themselves in an unprofessional manner, without care or concern for local laws, norms, customs or traditions. These peacekeepers tarnish not only their own reputation, but most importantly, they tarnish the UN’s image and those of countless others who are dedicated to the cause of fostering and maintaining peace.
Jamaica reiterates its zero tolerance approach to sexual exploitation and abuse welcomes the ongoing initiatives aimed at eradicating this behaviour. My delegation also welcomes recent initiatives to combat prostitution and transactional sex in UN peacekeeping missions. We believe, Mr. Chairman, that such initiatives will significantly contribute to maintaining a positive image of the organization and its peacekeepers.
2008 will see the full start-up and operationalisation of two new peacekeeping missions. The peacekeeping missions in Darfur and Chad and the Central African Republic, represent two major challenges to UN peacekeeping. The complex nature of these two missions, Mr. Chairman, reinforces the belief that success can only be achieved through a joint, coordinated effort. The provision of the necessary equipment, housing and other facilities that are necessary for the conduct of day to day activities is critical. Equally, of paramount importance is the need to ensure the full cooperation and support of the host counties where peacekeeping missions are being deployed.
During 2007, the Special Committee maintained that peacekeeping should not be used as a substitute for addressing the root causes of conflict. My delegation fully supports this position and to this end, wishes to applaud all initiatives being undertaken to enhance the ‘good offices’ capacity of the Secretary-General, thereby enabling the UN to play a more critical role in conflict prevention and the peaceful settlement of disputes.
The goal of each peacekeeping mission undertaken by this Organisation is to bring about an end to hostilities, restore peace and stability and set the stage towards preventing a relapse into conflict. Of these three goals Mr. Chairman, none is more critical than preventing a country from relapsing into conflict. By themselves however, UN peacekeepers cannot accomplish this task. They lay the foundation, but further assistance is needed, from other UN entities, namely the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), to ensure sustained and lasting peace in countries emerging from conflict.
Over the past years, through the tireless effort of this Committee and the Secretariat, we have seen a number of policy initiatives that have sought to make peacekeeping a more professional undertaking, one that is able to deliver on its mandates, and ultimately aid in bettering the lives of peoples in countries emerging from conflict.
This year, we add to that growing list, the final version of the document UN Peacekeeping Operations: Principles and Guidelines, otherwise referred to as the Capstone doctrine, which outlines the operational principles which are vital to the success of all UN Peacekeeping Missions.
The UN’s initiatives to increase the numbers of women serving in peacekeeping operations are to be commended and supported by all troop- and police- contributing countries. We cannot claim to be an all-inclusive organization, one seeking to restore peace and stability to the lives of all civilians in countries emerging from conflict, if we undermine the important role that women can and do play in the area of peacekeeping.
Another very important development in the past year has been the articulation of a policy of assistance to victims of sexual abuse and exploitation suffered at the hands of UN peacekeepers and related personnel. My delegation again reaffirms its commitment to the zero tolerance policy on acts of sexual abuse and exploitation, and firmly believes that the UN must never be seen to be condoning acts of sexual abuse and exploitation, by its peacekeepers or civilian staff in the field.
I therefore call on the Secretariat to ensure early implementation of this important strategy, as well as Member states here today to lend your full support the early implementation of this instrument.
I am certain that over the coming weeks’ we will spend much time discussing the ongoing restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support. Allow me to reiterate therefore Jamaica’s commitment to all initiatives aimed at strengthening the UN’s capacity to provide the support necessary to ensure the success of peacekeeping operations.
We will remain vigilant in ensuring that these reforms will neither result in the waste of already scarce resources nor duplication of effort, and will ultimately benefit peacekeepers in the field.
I thank you Mr. Chairman.