MRS NICHOLETTE WILLIAMS
PERMANENT MISSION OF JAMAICA TO THE UNITED NATIONS
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON
27 FEBRUARY, 2007
I have the honour to address the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. My delegation attaches great importance to the work of this Committee and remains confident that our continued deliberations on the issues before us will achieve positive outcomes. You and the members of the Bureau can be assured of our full cooperation to this end. Jamaica aligns itself with the Statement delivered by Morocco on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Let me also use this opportunity to thank the Under-Secretary General, Mr. Jean-Marie Guehenno for his Statement to the C34 which outlines the progress achieved and the many challenges being faced in the area of peacekeeping.
Peacekeeping is without doubt, one of the critical instruments employed by the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security. As such, the Special Committee has a vital role to play in reviewing in a comprehensive manner, all aspects of peacekeeping operations, including measures aimed at enhancing the capacity of the Organisation to conduct these operations all around the world. Against the background of an exponential increase in the number of conflicts, given the emergence of new ones and resurgence of old ones in various parts of the globe, it is hardly surprising that there has been an unprecedented sustained surge in UN peacekeeping operations which has far surpassed the capacity of the Organisation to fulfil its mandate.
The increasing demands on UN peacekeeping is evidenced by the deployment to date of almost 100,000 peacekeepers in 18 peace operations and further plans to establish new Missions in various parts of the world.
The “quality” of peacekeeping has also come under the spotlight. In sharp contrast to peacekeeping operations of a decade ago, contemporary peacekeeping operations have been vested with highly complex mandates within the context of limited resources. Peacekeepers are being called on to not only provide security and restore public order in volatile post-conflict situations, but also to provide meaningful support to national authorities in rebuilding the State, assist in the restoration of basic essential services, while attempting to address the root causes of conflict with a view to achieving sustainable peace and development. While peacekeeping missions are primarily concerned with inter-state conflict, they also operate in areas of civil/domestic conflict where these have been deemed to pose a risk to international peace and security and in cases of gross violation of international law.
At the same time, there is the added dimension of increased threat to the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel around the world, adding to the mix of complexities which characterise peacekeeping operations today. The resulting strain on the capacity of the Organisation to manage existing Missions while at the same time, making adequate preparations for new Missions, requires urgent action.
We have a collective responsibility to protect not only the peacekeepers whom we deploy to serve all over the world, but also the host populations which have placed their confidence in United Nations peacekeeping operations. Jamaica welcomes the emphasis being placed by the Secretary-General on improving the UN’s capacity to effectively execute its peacekeeping mandate through, inter alia, greater accountability, ensuring efficient and effective management of resources and improving the quality of peacekeeping personnel.
We note the recommendations put forward by the Secretary-General in his report (A/61/668) and are of the view that any reform process should take into account the need for preservation of unity of command which constitutes one important component of effective peacekeeping operations, and ensure the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel.
As the reform process of the UN DPKO continues, we look forward to the early operationalisation of the first phase of the Standing Police Capacity (SPC) and timely implementation of the other three phases in the stipulated time frame. This will greatly assist the UN to respond in a more timely manner in the establishment of new missions and offer valuable expertise to existing operations.
Jamaica also supports the view that a zero-tolerance approach should be maintained with respect to conduct and disciplinary issues, especially as it relates to sexual exploitation and abuse in UN peacekeeping operations. In this connection, we look forward to an early resumption of negotiations on the draft MOU and further consideration of the Secretary-General’s strategy on victim assistance.
In this regard, we look forward to engaging in meaningful dialogue over the next few weeks in formulating the modalities for reforming the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations as we chart the way forward.
Let me conclude with a quote from the first Prime Minister of India who stated: “Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind.” The onus is therefore on us to help to engender a culture of peace.
Jamaica pays tribute to those peacekeeping personnel who risk their lives daily in the quest to bring lasting peace to humanity and honours those who have paid the ultimate price for this noble cause.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you.