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This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. For current information and action alerts from Africa Action, visit http://www.africaaction.org. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Africa: UN Peacekeeping

Africa: UN Peacekeeping
Date distributed (ymd): 000908
Document reposted by APIC

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: Continent-Wide
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +economy/development+ +security/peace+
Summary Contents:
This posting contains excerpts from a press release concerning the special Security Council summit meeting on peacekeeping, with special attention to Africa, as well as the text of the resolution. It also contains a press release on the report on peacekeeping presented last month by a special panel headed by former Algerian Foreign Minister Lakhdar Brahimi. The full report from the panel can be found at
http://www.un.org/peace/reports/peace_operations/report.htm

One of the greatest obstacles to implementing the called-for reforms in peacekeeping is unpaid peacekeeping obligations, which as of July 31 totaled $2.4 billion, $1.4 billion of it owed by the United States. News reports indicated behind-the-scenes progress in negotiating to lower the proportion of peacekeeping dues owed by the U.S., in order to overcome congressional opposition to paying the U.S. debts.

For more background on the issue of the UN's financial crisis, due largely to unpaid U.S. debts, see:
http://www.globalpolicy.org/finance

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Security Council leaders articulate vision for more effective peacekeeping

7 September -- Leaders from the 15 members of the Security Council, in a summit meeting today, articulated a vision of a more effective collective endeavour to maintain international peace and security in a debate which addressed fundamental issues of conflict prevention, more effective peacekeeping, intervention in the internal affairs of a State and Council reform.

The need to broaden the concept of security was a theme articulated by a number of speakers. This concept encompassed pressing social and economic problems, such as the spread of infectious disease, poverty and the illicit trade in natural resources, particularly diamonds, they argued. Such factors were identified as the root causes of many conflicts which must be tackled as a fundamental part of efforts to establish peace and stability in many regions of the world, particularly Africa. There was a strong consensus on the need to strengthen conflict prevention efforts. A number of speakers called for the establishment of early warning mechanisms and other measures for this purpose.

The question of when the Council should intervene was also a focus of many statements, with some speakers emphasizing the primacy of State sovereignty and others the imperatives of action to prevent human rights abuses and other humanitarian crimes. The working methods and size of the Council itself were also at issue, with several participants emphasizing the need for reform in these areas. Proposals for improving the UN's peacekeeping performance, especially those contained in the recent Report of the Panel on Peace Operations, were also widely discussed -- and widely endorsed -- by the leaders. They drew particular attention to the Report's call for bolstering the UN's capacity to deploy effectively by giving it the tools it needs to carry out the tasks entrusted to it by the Council.

At the outset of the meeting, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said there was a "crisis of credibility" facing the United Nations and called on the leaders present to give the world body the "means to make the difference between life and death." Referring to the recommendations in the Report, he pledged to "make those changes for which I am responsible" and urged the Council to do the same. ...

The President of Namibia, Sam Nujoma, said that while the use of sanctions had shown varying degrees of success, "they remain a valuable tool to use in various situations where wars and rebel atrocities are fuelled by the illegal trade in diamonds and other natural resources." By way of example, he said the situations in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone were cases in point. "Sanctions can be used in the same way to curb the illicit arms flow to and from Africa, which endangers lives and threatens peace and security."

Malian President Alpha Oumar Konare said that while weapons of mass destruction must be dealt with, for regions like Africa, small arms were the weapons of massive destruction. They were sometimes given away free of charge, sold under conditions that defied all agreements, or sold on credit on the promise of raw materials. He called for international normative standards to control the circulation of small arms. ...

"Rightful concerns over sovereignty cannot allow us to turn a blind eye to the forces of evil, but the speed and yardstick for collective action cannot be determined solely by strategic geopolitical considerations," said Prime Minister P.J. Patterson of Jamaica. He also addressed the issue of Security Council reform, saying it was "high time" to move forward with that process. "By failing to take note of changes in the relative standing of States in the past half century and the expansion of United Nations membership, the Security Council has allowed its representative character to be diminished and its democratic legitimacy to suffer," he said.

The President of Tunisia, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, stressed the need to improve the Council's working methods and expand its membership. "The aim is to ensure that the Security Council becomes more representative, keeps pace with the different developments on the world scene, and its resolutions assume greater effectiveness and greater credibility away from any form or manifestation of double standards," he said. ...

The only other time that the Council has met at the level of head of State or Government was on 31 January 1992. That summit was convened under the theme "the responsibility of the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security."


September 7, 2000

Security Council Declaration on Ensuring an Effective Role for the Security Council in the Maintenance of International Peace and Security, Particularly in Africa

The Security Council,

Meeting at the level of Heads of States and Government in the course of the Millennium Summit to discuss the need to ensure an effective role for the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security, particularly in Africa,

I

Pledges to uphold the Purposes and Principles of the Charter of the United Nations, reaffirms its commitment to the principles of sovereign equality, national sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all States, and underlines the need for respect for human rights and the rule of law;

Reaffirms the importance of adhering to the principles of the non-threat or non-use of force in international relations in any manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations, and of peaceful settlement of international disputes;

Recalls its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and resolves to strengthen the central role of the United Nations in peacekeeping and to ensure the effective functioning of the collective security system established by the Charter;

II

Pledges to enhance the effectiveness of the United Nations in addressing conflict at all stages from prevention to settlement to post-conflict peace-building;

Reaffirms its determination to give equal priority to the maintenance of international peace and security in every region of the world and, in view of the particular needs of Africa, to give special attention to the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa, and to the specific characteristics of African conflicts;

III

Strongly encourages the development within the United Nations system and more widely of comprehensive and integrated strategies to address the root causes of conflicts, including their economic and social dimensions;

Affirms its determination to strengthen United Nations peacekeeping operations by:

  • Adopting clearly defined, credible, achievable and appropriate mandates,
  • Including in those mandates effective measures for the security and safety of United Nations personnel and, wherever feasible, for the protection of the civilian population,
  • Taking steps to assist the United Nations to obtain trained and properly equipped personnel for peacekeeping operations;
  • Strengthening consultations with troop contributing countries when deciding on such operations;

Agrees to support:

  • the upgrading of United Nations capacity for planning, establishing, deploying and conducting peacekeeping operations,
  • the provision of a more up-to-date and sounder foundation for financing peacekeeping operations;

Underlines the importance of enhancing the United nations capacity for rapid deployment of peacekeeping operations and urges Member States to provide sufficient and timely resources;

IV

Welcomes the report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations of 21 August (S/2000/809), and decides to consider the recommendations which fall within its area of responsibility expeditiously;

V

Stresses the critical importance of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants, and emphasizes that such programmes should normally be integrated into the mandates of peacekeeping operations;

VI

Calls for effective international action to prevent the illegal flow of small arms into areas of conflict;

Decides to continue to take resolute action in areas where the illegal exploitation and trafficking of high-value commodities contributes to the escalation or continuation of conflict;

Stresses that the perpetrators of crimes against humanity, crimes of genocide, war crimes, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law should be brought to justice;

Emphasizes its determination to continue to sensitize peacekeeping personnel in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS in all operations;

VI

Calls for the strengthening of cooperation and communication between the United Nations and regional or subregional organizations or arrangements, in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter, and in particular in respect of peacekeeping operations;

Emphasizes the importance of continued cooperation and effective coordination between the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity and African subregional organizations in addressing conflict in Africa, and of enhanced support for the Organization of African Unity Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution;

VIII

Underlines that the ultimate responsibility for resolving disputes and conflicts lies with the parties themselves and that peacekeeping operations aimed at helping to implement a peace accord can succeed only to the extent that there is a genuine and lasting commitment to peace by all parties concerned;

Calls upon all States to intensify efforts to secure to world free of the scourge of war.


23 August 2000

Press Release SG/2066 PKO/94

Secretary-general Promises Major United Nations Peacekeeping Reform; Calls on Member States to Provide Funds, Improve Decision-making

Fully Endorses Far-Reaching Report by Independent Panel

NEW YORK, 23 August -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged world governments to join him in implementing far-reaching changes in the structures and management of United Nations peace operations recommended by a panel of international experts, saying that prompt action was "absolutely essential to make the United Nations truly credible as a force for peace".

The Panel's report recommends, among other reforms: extensive restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations; a new information and strategic analysis unit to service all United Nations departments concerned with peace and security; an integrated task force at Headquarters to plan and support each peacekeeping mission from its inception; and more systematic use of information technology.

Many of the proposed changes require political, financial or operational decisions from the United Nations Member States. For instance, the Panel urges the Security Council not to finalize resolutions authorizing large peacekeeping missions until Member States have pledged the necessary troops and resources; and recommends an increase in funding to strengthen the peacekeeping support staff at United Nations Headquarters.

In letters forwarding the Panel's report to the General Assembly and the Security Council, the Secretary-General today said he had asked his Deputy, Louise Frechette to follow up on implementing its recommendations, and to submit an action plan in time for the Assembly to consider it during this autumn's session. He also hoped the report would receive attention from world leaders, who will be in New York next month for the Millennium Summit.

The Secretary-General set up the Panel in March, after publishing two reports last year which highlighted the United Nations' failure to prevent genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and to protect the inhabitants of Srebrenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina) in 1995. Saying "we must all do our utmost not to allow such horrors ever to happen again", he asked the Panel to make "a clear set of recommendations on how to do better in future in the whole range of United Nations activities in the area of peace and security".

Chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi, a former Algerian Foreign Minister, the Panel included members from all six continents, with wide experience in humanitarian, development and police work, as well as military peacekeeping.

Among other key changes recommended in the report are the following:

Doctrine and strategy: The Panel calls for more effective conflict prevention strategies, pointing out that prevention is "far preferable for those who would otherwise suffer the consequences of war, and a less costly option for the international community than military action, emergency humanitarian relief, or reconstruction after a war has run its course". It says peacekeepers must be able to defend themselves and their mandate, with "robust rules of engagement", against those who renege on commitments or seek to undermine peace accords by violence. And it urges the Secretariat to draw up a plan for developing better peace-building strategies. Peacekeepers and peace-builders, it says, are "inseparable partners", since only a self-sustaining peace "offers a ready exit to peacekeeping forces".

Mandates: The Secretariat "must tell the Security Council what it needs to know, not what it wants to hear, when formulating or changing mission mandates".

Transitional civil administration: A panel of international legal experts should explore the idea of an interim criminal code, for use in places where the United Nations is given temporary executive powers (as currently in Kosovo and East Timor), pending the re-establishment of local rule of law and law enforcement capacity.

Timelines: "Traditional" United Nations peacekeeping operations (sent to monitor ceasefires and separations of forces after inter-State wars) should be fully deployed within 30 days; more complex peace operations, sent to help end intra-State conflicts, within 90 days.

Personnel: Member States should work together to form "coherent, multinational, brigade-sized forces", ready for effective deployment within those timelines; and should each establish a national pool of civilian police officers. The Panel does not call for a standing United Nations army, but says the Secretariat should establish "on-call" lists of about 100 military and 100 police officers and experts, from national armies and police forces, who would be available on seven days' notice to establish new mission headquarters. Conditions of service for civilian specialists should also be revised so that the United Nations can attract more qualified personnel, and reward good performance with better career prospects.

Speed and efficiency: The Secretary-General should be allowed funds to start planning a mission before the Security Council approves it, so that when approved it can be deployed quickly. Field missions should be given greater freedom to manage their own budgets. Additional ready-made mission "start-up kits" should be maintained at the United Nations Logistics Base in Brindisi, Italy.

Funding for peacekeeping support: The Panel remarks that, after 52 years, it is time to treat peacekeeping as a "core activity" of the United Nations rather than a "temporary responsibility". Headquarters support for it should, therefore, be funded mainly through the regular United Nations budget, instead of the current "Support Account" which has to be justified year by year and post by post.

The report begins by saying that "over the last decade, the United Nations has repeatedly failed to meet the challenge" of protecting people from war, "and it can do no better today". It concludes, on a more hopeful note, expressing the Panel's "shared vision" of a more effective United Nations in the future "extending a strong helping hand to a community, country or region to avert conflict or to end violence ... a United Nations that has not only the will, but also the ability, to fulfil its great promise, justifying the confidence and trust placed in it by the overwhelming majority of humankind".

Panel Members:

Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi (Algeria), Chairman,
Under-Secretary-General for Special Assignments in Support of the Secretary-General's Preventive and Peacemaking Efforts;

Mr. J. Brian Atwood (United States), former head of the United States Agency for International Development;

Mr. Colin Granderson (Trinidad and Tobago), former head of the Organization of American States (OAS)/United Nations International Civilian Mission in Haiti (MICIVIH);

Dame Ann Hercus (New Zealand), former Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Cyprus;

Mr. Richard Monk (United Kingdom), former Police Commissioner of the International Police Task Force (IPTF);

General Klaus Naumann (Germany), former Chief of the German defence staff and former Chairman of the Military Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO);

Professor Hisako Shimura (Japan), President of Tsuda College in Japan, former official in the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations;

Ambassador Vladimir Shustov (Russian Federation), Ambassador at large, former Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations;

General Philip Sibanda (Zimbabwe), former Force Commander of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM III); and

Mr. Cornelio Sommaruga (Switzerland), former President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).


This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC provides accessible information and analysis in order to promote U.S. and international policies toward Africa that advance economic, political and social justice and the full spectrum of human rights.

URL for this file: http://www.africafocus.org/docs00/un0009.php