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Statement by H.E. Dr. Abulkalam Abdul Momen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations at the restricted Security Council debate on exit and transition strategies
New York, 12 February 2010
Let me begin by congratulating the French Presidency for bringing peacekeeping operations at the core of monthly debate of this august body. I also take this opportunity to thank Mr. Alain Le Roy and Ms. Susana Malcorra for their valuable contribution and specially to you, Mr. President for inviting my delegation to participate in this important event. I hope, your able leadership will guide our deliberations to a meaningful and effective transition and exit strategy of peackeeping operations.
My delegation aligns itself with the statement made by the distinguished Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
Article 43 of the Charter of the United Nations stipulates and I quote "All Members of the United Nations, in order to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security, undertake to make available to the Security Council, on its call..." Unquote. Bangladesh has been and is always ready to respond to this call with whatever means and capacity it has. In this context, I reiterate views of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh that she expressed during the meeting between US President and peacekeeper contributing countries in New York on 23 September 2009 “Bangladesh takes pride in contributing to the United Nations’ effort in the maintenance of international peace and security.” It is our constitutional obligation as well. We remain committed to UN peacekeeping as one of the most universal tools for helping societies in conflict and post-conflict situations and to rebuild their lives.
We subscribe to the view of the Non-Aligned Movement I quote "UN peacekeeping operations should be provided from the outset with political support, full and optimal human, financial and logistical resources, and clearly defined and achievable mandates and exit strategies." Unquote. In this regard, its often stretched-out mandates deserve special attention. As we all know, peacekeeping is no longer a job of standing between conflicting parties to end hostilities. Peacekeeping has evolved into a complex sum of activities involving military, police and civilian elements to preserve peace, assist in humanitarian and development activities, and thus to construct the foundation of sustainable peace through peacebuilding process. It is, therefore, critically important to ensure that the countries providing peacekeepers become an integral part of the decision-making process while drawing mandate of a particular peacekeeping mission by the Security Council. They should also be engaged at decision-making level in the peacekeeping missions. This will allow the UN to ensure that the mandate is achievable, manageable and truly effective. At the same time, the mandates should be accompanied by sufficient resources including human, logistical and financial resources at the disposal of the peacekeepers.
We agree with the Chairman of the Peacebuilding Commission when he says "...peacekeepers are early peacebuilders...", we, however, emphasize that peacekeepers role should not be ended abruptly at any exit point. In the context of “comparative advantage in particular areas”, my delegation firmly believes that the peacekeepers are uniquely positioned to assist in identifying and drawing on the most relevant capacity requirements on the ground in post-conflict countries. For example, Disarmament, Demobilization and Reorientation (DDR) and Security Sector Reforms (SSR) are recognized as two key elements in the peacebuilding process. However, these two elements are also included in the mandates of peacekeeping missions. Thus, any experiences gained and lessons learned in the peacekeeping operations could significantly assist and complement peacebuilding process. In this regard, we would like to recall the final paragraph of the Security Council’s presidential statement of 5 August 2009 (S/PRST/2009/24) that underscores the importance of introducing peacebuilding elements in peacekeeping operations before a transfer to the PBC, which, in reality, is yet to be translated in any country-specific context. My delegation, therefore, emphasizes the need for strong synergy between peacekeeping and peacebuilding mandates.
Peacekeepers now-a-days are entrusted with some non-conventional tasks which include, among others, electoral assistance, human rights situation monitoring, resettlement of refuges and internally displaced persons, provision of safe passage to UN and other humanitarian agencies, security sector reform and training of security personnel, disarmament and demobilization of armed groups, assisting medical and emergency care, women empowerment, assisting development of legal system and community involvement. Thus, UN peacekeeping can be considered as an important precursor to peacebuilding missions in many respects. We need to make proper synergy between the processes to derive end goal of sustainable peace. We also need to ensure unity of purpose and action for success in the process. The entire UN membership---the Security Council, the General Assembly, and the peacekeeper contributing countries--must have a shared and holistic vision about what we wish to achieve and how.
Now, let me turn to some specific areas where Bangladesh can and is ready to contribute for the cause of sustainable peace and security. Banlgadesh has extensive electoral experience. The Election Commission of Bangladesh has completed electronic voter registration and national IDs of a staggering 80+ million voters before the last general election in December 2008. We are ready to share this experience with other countries, particularly in post-conflict countries.
Microcredit financing has been playing a critical role including among others, income generation, poverty alleviation, youth employment as well as women empowerment in Bangladesh. This model has been successfully replicated in many countries as part of their development planning. Also in post-conflict situations, for example, Afghanistan, Liberia and Sierra Leone---just to name a few. Microcredit financing, however, must be supplemented by other essential poverty alleviation job creation tools such as building rural infrastructure, human capacity build-up, developing micro-enterprise, and provision of primary healthcare and universal education including non-formal adult education which can create an environment where access to financial capital can add significant value. Microcredit financing can be useful if it is seen as a 'means' rather than a 'goal'. Bangladesh also has the expertise of community involvement in nation building efforts and its NGOs have proved to be a successful agent of change. Mr. President, Bangladesh is ready to share its best practices and experiences at any time.
We have also established the Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operations (BIPSOT) as a training centre for peacekeepers from around the world. It has 'state-of-the-art' facilities and USG for PKO, Mr. Alain Le Roy was pleased with the institute when he visited it. In line with the recommendations of the Brahimi Panel, Bangladesh strongly feels that BIPSOT should be recognized as a regional peacekeeping trainig institute. We would be happy to welcome potential peacekeepers for training at BIPSOT as well as for returning peacekeepers for debriefing.
Before concluding, allow me to stress that the success of transition from a peacekeeping environment to an exit phase requires due consideration to the whole process starting from mandate drawing down to exit phase. Transition from one phase to another needs to be planned carefully with due emphasis on overlapping activities between phases. Experiences of previous steps must be used in subsequent steps to ensure efficient and effective use of resources---human, financial and logistical. Exit phase must be preceded by adequate work of sustainable peace and development and involvement of local community so that such doesn’t create a vacuum for undesirable elements to take over or the community feels let down with no hope in the tunnel. It is imperative that the exit strategy must create an environment of hope and a feeling of stability and empowerment by the local populace so that the exit of peacekeeper does not create any vacuum or hopelessness.
I thank you.