Statement by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on Peacekeeping at the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34)

Susan E. Rice
United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
February 24, 2009


Madam Chair,

I am pleased to be here today. I offer my warmest congratulations on your election and my best wishes to you, Ambassador Normandin and the other distinguished members of the Bureau. I take this opportunity to convey my respect and gratitude to the many countries represented in this Committee, for their contribution of troops, police, financial, political and other support to UN peacekeeping operations, and to the UN personnel in the field and at Headquarters, who work tirelessly to translate into reality the mandates with which the Member States entrust them.

Madam Chair, the transition to peace and development in over a dozen conflict-affected areas, especially in Africa, depends heavily on the success of the UN operations deployed in their midst. Increasing the likelihood of success of current and future UN peacekeeping operations is among the highest priorities for the United States at the United Nations.
The U.S. remains mindful that UN peacekeeping is a collective global undertaking, whose success is not possible without the sacrifice, dedication and cooperation of the over 100 countries represented here.

The challenges are many. There is ample opportunity to improve the decision-making processes for the renewal of existing peacekeeping mandates and the adoption of new ones. This includes questions about the quality and timeliness of information on which such Security Council deliberations are based, and the availability of expert military and police advice, where military and police matters are concerned.

Many troop and police contributing countries are doing their best to match means to mandates. Yet, many of the processes and procedures applicable to peacekeeping do not adequately meet all of the operational needs of current and potential Troop Contributing Countries and Police Contributing Countries. We need to take these needs seriously and must not take for granted their contributions or sacrifice.

Financial contributors are also under deep strain, in the face of diminishing revenue at home and rapidly escalating peacekeeping costs. They, the United States included, understandably seek cost-effectiveness and efficiency, transparency and accountability for the resources entrusted to the United Nations for peacekeeping. And, they need to be able to reassure their tax-payers that able leadership and oversight mechanisms are in place and working to eliminate waste, misconduct or abuse.

The Secretariat, in turn, is being tasked with more complex missions. We must together ensure that the Secretariat is provided with the necessary resources, support and latitude to execute these complex mandates successfully. Further, the responsibilities and constraints of UN leadership and personnel in the field are not always well enough understood or appreciated as well as they should be.

And, last by no means least, regions, countries and ordinary civilians emerging from conflict seek assurance that UN peacekeepers will be ready, able and willing to address their immediate needs, but also respect their long-held customs, traditions, aspirations and dignity.

It is only natural that the qualitative and quantitative increase we have seen in UN peacekeeping activity would be accompanied by heightened anxieties across a diverse range of issues and constituencies. I am convinced that these different concerns can be met, if we work together on them with great seriousness. And, The United States is ready to do just that.

The U.S. is proud to be taking a leading role in helping to build peacekeeping capacity, particularly with regard to military and police programs. We look forward to exploring, during this meeting and on a continuing basis, the development and expansion of partnerships across the board with supporters of peacekeeping to respond to critical and emerging needs.
We are ready to consider fresh practices and approaches on the mandates and budgets of individual operations, as they arise. We will want to make sure that the operations will indeed be able to improve the situation and to make the best use of available resources.

We look forward to dialogue among Member States and between Member States and the Secretariat on the critical challenges facing UN peacekeeping, many of which were mentioned yesterday by the Under-Secretaries-General for Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support, Under Secretary Generals Alain Le Roy and Susana Malcorra, respectively.
We are ready to contemplate the launch of new reforms, wherever these hold the promise of bringing all key constituencies together to address the challenges that we collectively face.

Madam Chair, I wish you every success in this session. We owe our best effort to the brave men and women in the field, who risk and sometimes give their lives, to improve the lives of others. In conclusion, I wish to pay our tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of peace.

Thank you Madam Chair.


PRN: 2009/035