Statement by Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo, Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs, on Peacekeeping, in the Security Council

Rosemary A. DiCarlo
U.S. Ambassador and Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
January 23, 2009




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thank you, Mr. President.

My delegation would like to pay tribute to Ambassador Butagira and thank him for his valuable cooperation. We would also like to thank you, Mr. President, for chairing this timely meeting. We heard this morning from Under Secretaries General Leroy and Malcorra and from Special Representative Annabi about the new challenges facing UN peacekeeping. We thank them for their statements. Peacekeeping is one of the UN's most important tools to promote peace and security, and we must ensure that UN peacekeeping missions have the necessary mandates, resources and policy oversight to achieve their objectives. For this reason, my government welcomes this initiative to review UN peacekeeping and pledges to take an active role.

In recent years the Security Council has asked peacekeepers to take on multiple and increasingly complex tasks. In Haiti, Liberia, Eastern Congo, Darfur, and elsewhere, peacekeepers have been mandated to protect civilians, to facilitate humanitarian access, to support political negotiations and elections, to implement security sector reform and disarmament, and much more.

The Secretariat has made great efforts to implement these complex mandates. We applaud the Secretariat for its frequency of briefings to the Council and outreach to troop contributing countries. We look forward to cooperating with the Secretariat as it implements its "New Horizon Project", an effort to anticipate challenges to peacekeeping missions.

We also want to make certain that the Secretariat has the ability to respond to the increasingly complex mandates the Council is adopting. In this regard, the United States supports the streamlining of UN procedures for deploying and supporting UN missions.

Mr. President, despite all of our concerted efforts to improve peacekeeping practice, we cannot say, more than eight years after the Brahimi report was issued, that we have fully succeeded in institutionalizing its call for "clear, credible, and achievable mandates."

As one means of approaching this standard, the United States believes the Council should include specific benchmarks whenever possible when creating new peacekeeping mandates.

We believe such benchmarks would greatly improve mandate clarity, and we believe they can be articulated without overlooking the unique circumstances that give rise to each PKO. Clearly stated strategic goals would greatly enhance the capacity of the UN to effectively undertake complex peace operations and to review those operations once undertaken to ensure they contribute to the strategic objectives sought by the Council.

The Council should review carefully these mandates periodically to determine whether missions have fulfilled their objectives or outlived their usefulness. Member States must also ensure that these missions are cost effective and efficient. And we must continue to demand that peacekeepers meet ethical standards, particularly regarding sexual exploitation and abuse.

Mr. President, my government believes that improving UN peacekeeping performance demands that we help improve the operational capacity of available peacekeeping troops. Too often, member states that are willing to assume the responsibility and risks inherent in peacekeeping deployments find that the domestic training and equipment available to their troops are inadequate to the task at hand. Some member states, including the United States, make bilateral efforts to train and equip troops of Troop Contributing Countries. But this effort needs to be far more systematic and greater in scale if we are to meet the ever¬ increasing demand for effective peacekeeping troops.

Also, Mr. President, peacekeepers can only be one part of a larger effort of political reconciliation and economic development that will ensure their ultimate success and eventual departure.

UN peacekeepers cannot be the solution to every problem. UN peacekeepers neither fight wars nor develop economies. In the right circumstances and as part of an integrated solution, blue hats can be the difference between endless strife and suffering, and a reasonably quick return to stability and development.

We look forward to working with our partners on the Council, with the Secretariat, troop contributing counties and other Member States to ensure the success of UN peacekeeping.

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PRN: 2009/019