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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations


Open Meeting on Peacekeeping Operations
Security Council Chamber, 17 May 2004


I am pleased to welcome your Excellency in chairing this special event under the Pakistani Presidency on a subject of mutual importance to our two countries as troop contributors to UN peacekeeping missions. The concept paper prepared by your team for today’s theme has provided the Council an appreciation of the multi-dimensional scope of peacekeeping. Your Presidency’s initiative in this regard comes highly commended.

If we assess the outcomes of peacekeeping, the report card would yield mixed results. High scores will be accorded to beneficiary-countries currently experiencing stable peace and security or sustained cessation of hostilities; average to those that went through a “roller-coaster” experience but inched towards stability from a traumatic past; and low scores to those that underwent protracted crisis or experiencing a standstill for lack of political progress in their peace and security situations.

These differences are attributed mainly to the complexity of the situations in different conflict-stricken countries and the difficulty of contriving appropriate peacekeeping policy measures owing to resource constraints on the one hand and the political dynamics attendant in evolving peacekeeping mandates on the other.

The Brahimi Report issued four years ago contained recommendations deserving not only serious but continuing consideration by the organs of the United Nations – the Security Council and the General Assembly. Although a number of the Panel’s recommendations have resulted in new policies, which have strengthened the UN peacekeeping capability, the review process on the implementation of these policies should be given equal importance for many reasons such as the upsurge in demand for peacekeeping operations and the accompanying need for rapid deployment.

My delegation commends Pakistan for subjecting peacekeeping to a review by the Council. More than three years had already elapsed since the Council issued resolution 1327 on 13 November 2000 in response to the Brahimi Report. Considering the upsurge of need for PKO, the Council should consider reviving resolution 1327 more often. My delegation endorses the Presidential Statement on Peacekeeping Operations which will be issued shortly.

As reform is a continuing process, I would like to invite the attention of this meeting to few points my delegation considers important if peacekeeping is to be wielded as a veritable instrument to achieve the basic purposes of the United Nations. Two of them are doctrinal and the others - policy-oriented.

My first point calls for a doctrinal shift from the traditional dichotomy between peacekeeping and peace-building to a continuum as an integral process leading to a common end. It is similar to the continuum between security and development, between secure political environment and sustainable development. Many argue that peace-keeping is the responsibility of the Security Council while peace-building belongs to the General Assembly. It is a divisive argument and loses sight of the fact that these two organs are guided by common goals and functionally complementing each other in pursuit of these goals. Peacekeeping and peace-building should therefore be planned in tandem with each other, a process also requiring closer coordination between the Security Council and the General Assembly and even the Economic and Social Council.

The doctrine of equality among nations should not only be recognized but also observed particularly in peacekeeping. All countries, potentially or currently under Security Council mandate, should receive equal treatment. Influential global players should engage themselves in risky peacekeeping operations even when the conflict-stricken countries do not fall within their spheres of vital interests. Success stories in peacekeeping are generally associated with the level of involvement of these important global players, whether military or logistical, the scope or scale of UN mobilization, the pace of deployment, and even the content or depth of Council mandates. We have to de-mystify the so-called North-South divide by discarding selectivity and upholding the doctrine of equal treatment of states, notwithstanding their geographic location and strategic importance. At the end of the day, UN performance is gauged in terms of human lives protected from, notwithstanding the locus of, conflicts.

Exit strategies for peacekeepers should stand out in policy formulation. However, we have to caution ourselves against precipitate withdrawal. The Council should guard as resorting to termination of peacekeeping operations as an option, due to resource-constraints, to allow re-deployment of troops or re-channeling of resources for emerging crises. We have to learn lessons from the past to avoid the same pitfalls of having to cope with a relapse of conflict arising from precipitate withdrawal. Exit strategies have to be linked with peace-building measures to ensure long-term peace and stability. Peacekeepers and peace-builders are, therefore, inextricably linked to each other.

Lack of strong mandates and robust rules of engagement in hostile environments is humps the success of PKO. However, robust operations and clear mandates should not be limited to proactive measures to prevent killings and other destructive and violent actions against civilians but should also give due regard to the need for the unhampered implementation of peace-building strategy to help enhance and ensure the success of a mission.

Another policy area to be decisively addressed deals with rapid deployment. Despite all the merits of a UN rapid deployment capability such as deterrence from further escalation of conflicts, the final arbiter in decision-making rests in the availability of resources of the United Nations. To forestall this problem, many countries are willing to provide troops, self-sustaining for a limited period, for rapid deployment but could be discouraged in doing so because of delays in reimbursements. In this connection, there is an urgent need to further strengthen headquarters capability, that is, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, by infusing it with adequate and highly qualified personnel who should help provide solutions to troop contributing countries’ problems.

Allow me, Excellency, to stress one final point. There are a number of areas where progress can be made in ensuring the safety and protection of UN personnel. They are key players coordinating UN-wide programs in the field, serving as conductor in orchestrating the delivery of direly needed assistance and services not only in the humanitarian, social and economic fields but also in the re-building of political institutions and processes. In short, their crucial role can also be likened to a doctor who has to be protected to be able to continue ministering to the patients. Peacekeeping should, therefore, integrate the security of UN personnel in the rules of engagement as well as in the overall discharge of peacekeeping mandates.

In conclusion, the Council should consider in crafting mandates to look beyond cessation of hostilities to sustainable peace which can be ensured if peacekeeping is complemented by peace-building and if a peace-building strategy allows for maximum participation of concerned stakeholders, whether governmental or non-governmental, secular or sectarian, acting in synergy and close coordination, overseen by impartial international civil servants – the men and women of the United Nations.

Thank you, Mr. President.


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