63th session of the United Nations General Assembly
Speech delivered on behalf of the European Union by H.E. Mr. Jean-Maurice RIPERT, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
EU statement for the opening session of the Fourth Committee on Peacekeeping
I am honoured to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, as well as Ukraine and Armenia, align themselves with this declaration.
As we approach the 10th anniversary of the Brahimi report, the European Union would like to reiterate its relevance and merit. This report should continue to guide us in order to strengthen capacities and the efficiency of peacekeeping operations.
The European Union welcomes the closer cooperation which it has built with the United Nations over the past few years. The EU and UN’s convergent conception of crisis management has facilitated this cooperation. In particular, these organizations share the conviction that all available instruments need to be mobilized, be they political, civil or military and that the transition between the management of a crisis and the Peacebuilding phase should be as smooth and as quick as possible. The European Union, like the United Nations, also believes in the need to work as upstream as possible of crises and to strengthen preventative action.
In this regard, the European Union recalls its offers to put its wide array of instruments to use to support UN actions.
With last year’s launch of the Stability Instrument, the EU now has an additional effective tool at its disposal to respond both rapidly and flexibly to crisis situations. As demonstrated by the actions undertaken thus far, supporting and complementing UN interventions is a core aspect of this new EU instrument.
In recent years, the European Union has been playing a major role in peacekeeping. As it currently contributes more than 40% to the UN peacekeeping budget, it is by far the biggest financial contributor to UN-led peacekeeping operations. The European Union also provides almost 12% of uniformed personnel to UN PKOs. As a whole, the states of Europe make up the largest contingent of peacekeepers.
Furthermore, the European Union participates directly in international efforts in the field of peacekeeping and security. In recent years, the European Union has led several ESDP crisis management operations mandated by the UN Security Council. The EUFOR Chad/CAR is emblematic of the cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations.
The EU is also stepping up cooperation with the African Union, notably through the "Africa Peace Facility," which specifically aims to support the AU and sub-region peacekeeping capacity, along with African-led peace support operations.
The European Union has also supported UN peacekeeping efforts in other ways. For example, recently in Georgia, mediation led by the Presidency of the European Union facilitated reaching a ceasefire in the conflict that broke out in August. The EU has subsequently deployed more than 210 European observers from 22 countries as a complement to the UN and OSCE missions in Georgia.
Lastly, it was the Europeans who, as of November 2007, took the initiative to protect World Food Programme (WFP) ships off the Somali coast. Today, the EU is at the core of the fight against piracy, which has become a global threat, and it is in the process of establishing new forms of operational cooperation between the UN and EU as regards maritime affairs.
The European Union would like to recall the importance of conflict prevention. We also underscore the need to anticipate the post-conflict phase during peacekeeping operations that will follow.
In this regard, the European Union emphasizes the essential role of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission and the vital importance of the Security Sector Reform and the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration programmes.
Late or partial arrival of needed civilian capacities remains a critical shortcoming in post-conflict stabilisation efforts. To facilitate the transition toward the post-conflict phase, the European Union proposes that the UN create a standby civilian expert capacity, to ensure the UN has the required capabilities in a timely manner.
The European Union would like to recall the importance it places on protecting civilians, which must remain the very core of all peacekeeping operations. At the very heart of peacekeeping operations, we must fight against the scourges of violence against women and the fate which all too often awaits children, as these are the first victims of armed conflict. Finally, the European Union would like to reiterate its full support for the mechanisms to combat impunity, in particular the International Criminal Court. The perpetrators of the most serious crimes must be aware that they will be held to account for their actions.
The European Union would like to note the significance of the new document entitled "United Nations Peacekeeping Operations - Principles and Guidelines". In this regard, the European Union urges speeding up the development of all parts of the doctrinal corpus, which should take into account the lessons learned from recent peacekeeping operations, especially as regards logistics.
In this respect, the European Union welcomes the development of a doctrine for Formed Police Units (FPU), which should provide greater clarity to Member States and to missions in terms of FPU roles and functions.
The EU welcomes the reinforcement of DPKO with a view to strengthening its capacity for planning and monitoring of missions, and requests that Members States be continuously informed about the changing status of this process. The EU believes that in the spirit of improved UN integration in peacekeeping operations, greater efforts should be made to enhance coordination between DPKO and other relevant UN entities.
The European Union looks forward to the recruiting process within the authorized OMA structure to be completed so that UN can efficiently meet growing demands. The European Union kindly requests the Secretariat to report to Member States on this issue.
Acknowledging the growing role of police in peacekeeping operations, the European Union expresses its fears that the Police Division may have be under ressourced to accomplish its tasks.
The European Union places great hope in the new SSR / Rule of Law competencies within DPKO, especially as regards developing PKO exit strategies.
The European Union firmly emphasizes that safety and security of all UN personnel is a paramount concern and recalls the primary responsibility of host states and parties to a conflict. In this regard, the European Union strongly condemns the recent targetted attacks on UN personnel.
The European Union calls for improved cooperation between the TCCs, DPKO and DSS and invites the Secretariat to emphasize its effort in terms of situation assessment.
The European Union expresses the view that the use of advanced technology in peacekeeping missions is a means to improving safety and security of peacekeepers in addition to operational effectiveness. It hopes to see the Secretariat’s efforts succeed in this regard.
The European Union would welcome a more complete and regular information exchange with United Nations. This would reinforce the cooperation between TCCs/PCCs and the Secretariat, as well as enhance peacekeeping.
The EU welcomes the steps taken over the last 18 months towards combating SEA. In this respect, we look forward to the full and effective rollout of the Model MoU provisions. The EU reiterates the importance of preventive activities, including adequate pre-deployment and in-theatre awareness training, along with measures to ensure full accountability in cases of misconduct.
The European Union supports the declaration to commemorate the 60th anniversary of PKOs and pays tribute to the 2,518 UN peacekeepers who lost their lives in the name of peace.
Finally, the EU expresses the hope that, unlike the previous two years, the 2009 session of the special committee will conclude with consensus and agreement on a report.
Thank you very much./.