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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
on Agenda Item 77:
At the outset, allow me to express the pleasure of my delegation in seeing you chair this committee and also the members of your bureau for their well-deserved election. We are confident that you will ably steer our Committee to a fruitful conclusion.
My delegation’s gratitude goes to the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations for its comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects. The Report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations contains important recommendations and conclusions which my delegation supports.
As stated last year by the Under-Secretary General, Mr, Jean-Marie Guehenno, which he reiterated this year, the demand for United Nations peacekeeping keeps on increasing in the past few years mainly in Africa such as Cote d’ Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Sierra Leone and Liberia. As a demonstration of the commitment of the Philippines to UN peacekeeping, our military and police personnel joined the UN peacekeeping missions in some of these conflict-stricken African countries.
Peacekeeping is a vital tool for the maintenance of international peace as mandated by the UN Charter. The Philippine participation in UN peacekeeping and peace building operations has been guided by its policy framework and guidelines for Philippine participation in UN peacekeeping programs.
Let me, first, stress the need for rapid deployment. We fully understand the complexity and difficulty of forming a UN peacekeeping mission from planning to soliciting resources from troop contributing countries to the actual deployment of personnel and material to the mission area. Troop contributing countries, like the Philippines, have to prepare their personnel for UN missions much ahead of actual demand to speed up the force-generation process. In this regard, there is a need for substantive and meaningful consultations between the Security Council, UNDPKO and the troop contributing countries in all areas of actual and potential UNDPKO cooperation. Additional mechanisms to ensure that troop-contributing countries are well informed of new developments and potential mandates at an early stage are needed to ensure their effective and timely decision to participate in field operations when the need arises.
Second, the Philippines believes that coordination on mission planning and training can be further improved. On training, we welcome the new focus of the UNDPKO to set up national and regional training centers and to support bilateral and regional training arrangements among troop contributing countries. In this regard, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has established a Peacekeeping Operations Centre, mandated to train and form stand-by units for deployment to UN peacekeeping operations. National centers are effective modalities in mobilizing national contingents for peacekeeping operations.
Third, rotation schedules should fall part of mission planning. Rotation schedules should be adhered to so that extensions of tours of duty of military or police personnel would be avoided. Downsizing of national contingents should be planned in advance so as to simplify the exit of contingents from peacekeeping mission areas. The composition of Force Headquarters, for example, should “as a rule of thumb” be composed, whenever possible, of nationals of countries that do not possess any political or economic interests in the theater of conflict.
Fourth, as a troop contributing country, the Philippines is gravely concerned about the continuing accidents, attacks and other violence against UN peacekeepers. Ensuring the safety and security of UN military and civilian personnel is not only crucial to boost their morale, but also important to enhance the credibility of the United Nations. The Philippines places high priority on the safety and security of UN and associated personnel in peacekeeping operations. While progress has been made to enhance the capacity of peacekeeping operations, we would like to urge that a clear set of guidelines for precaution and protection for both civilian and military personnel be put in place as a matter of urgency.
Fifth, the Philippines would remain fully engaged in UN peacekeeping activities, whenever possible and as far as its resources would allow. Peacekeeping has moved in to a more demanding era. The surge in demand for peacekeeping has started and has grown. Each situation is unique requiring a rationalization of peacekeeping operations. The Secretary-General should not be asked to do near impossible peacekeeping tasks with near non-existent resources. Still, the best way for the U.N. to respond to crises is to spot them before they even occur. Peacekeeping is costly. Conflict-prevention should be given particular attention in the maintenance of international peace and security. Conflict prevention needs good intelligence work and this can also be provided by the UN field offices. In this age of advanced technology, there should be no excuse to the claim of being ill- informed.
Finally, the whole question of peace-building has to be coordinated in such a manner as to be comprehensive. Failure in peace-building could result in a relapse back to peacekeeping, a vicious cycle with no end in sight. It can only be comprehensive if the General Assembly, the Security Council and ECOSOC address this issue in a coordinated fashion, not disparately, even if it calls for a supra-coordinating mechanism.
Allow me to conclude by reaffirming my Government’s commitment to the UN peacekeeping task. We will continue to contribute and participate in strengthening UN peacekeeping in all its aspects, whenever possible.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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