Remarks by Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, U.S. Alternate Representative to the United Nations, At the Fourth Committee Debate on Peacekeeping Operations October 26, 2011

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
United States Ambassador and Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs 
New York, NY
October 26, 2011




AS DELIVERED

Thank you, Madame Chair. I would also like to thank Under-Secretaries-General Ladsous and Malcorra for their extremely informative presentations to this debate.

I would like to take this opportunity of Under-Secretary-General Ladsous’ first appearance before the Fourth Committee to welcome him to New York. The Head of DPKO (and of DFS) are among the most demanding jobs in the UN system. It is not easy to manage crises and personnel across the globe, often in life and death situations. We thank him for taking on this very important assignment and look forward to supporting his efforts. We appreciate his opening statement, which reminded us of the indispensable role UN peacekeeping operations continue to play in preventing the recurrence or escalation of armed conflicts. USG Ladsous provided a very helpful stock-taking of UN peacekeeping’s accomplishments over the past year as well as the significant challenges the UN continues to confront. We welcome the emphasis he put on the need to maintain focus on the New Horizons reform agenda, to increase the participation of women, to improve the UN’s ability to plan and manage complex missions in an integrated fashion and to strengthen the global partnership that underpins the success of UN peacekeeping.

The United States is proud to be part of this partnership supporting UN peacekeeping operations, which for over 60 years has brought security and the hope of a better life to so many people around the world. I would like to add our voice to those honoring the 86 men and women who lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping missions this year. Their sacrifice reminds us of the deadly seriousness of the enterprise that we debate here today. And of course it is not only peacekeepers who are at risk – but also the civilian populations that peacekeepers protect.

Over the past few years, the UN community has reasoned together to find ways to make peacekeeping more effective and efficient. We are all cognizant of the challenges we face in preventing and responding to armed conflict – human, material, and financial.

At times over this past year, reaching agreement on how to meet these challenges has been a challenge in itself. This is valuable: a lively and frank debate that airs everyone’s concerns and needs is critical. We have a collective responsibility, however, to ensure that the debate does not impede our mutual efforts to restore stability and establish sustainable peace in areas of conflict.

Madame Chair, the United States is doing its part to support peacekeeping. We have trained over 140,000 peacekeeping troops since 2005, and supported the training of 41,000 more through partner countries. We have facilitated the deployment of more than 138,000 peacekeepers from 31 countries to 19 peacekeeping operations around the world. We have sustained our commitment to meet our obligations under the UN peacekeeping assessed budget, annually about $2 billion. We have made a substantial additional commitment -- $23 million over the last two U.S. fiscal years – to help enhance the operational capacity of police personnel and to contribute to the development of UN doctrine, policy, and training on policing.

Peacekeeping efforts have resulted in several significant accomplishments since we met last year. The new state of South Sudan has become a member of the United Nations; the democratically-elected government of Cote d’Ivoire has taken office; and Liberia held first-round elections. MONUSCO is providing vital logistical and technical support to Congolese authorities for the upcoming Presidential and National Assembly elections, in addition to its critically important protection efforts. None of this could have happened without the help of the dedicated men and women – military, police, civilian – serving in UN peacekeeping operations.

Also over the past year, we have seen progress in a number of areas that will help missions to do their jobs better, faster and more cost-effectively. The Security Council agreed on procedures for inter-mission cooperation that maintain oversight but allow critical assets to be shared more quickly. The Secretariat has produced invaluable resources to help missions protect civilians. In addition to its extensive work on pre-deployment training, the resource matrix and detailed planning framework are remarkable achievements. The United States and other partners are working with the Secretariat on tools to help missions plan for crises. The Global Field Support Strategy is already beginning to show results – not just in efficiency and accelerated services, but in actual savings and in operational effectiveness. We welcome the Secretary-General's intention – as noted by Under-Secretaries Malcorra and Ladsous in their remarks – to develop additional regional service centers, which draw on the lessons learned from the Entebbe service center. We look forward to continuing to work with the Secretariat on implementation of each of the regional service centers to reach their full operational potential.

We welcome the creation of the Senior Advisory Group on Troop Reimbursement and Related Issues. This panel presents an opportunity to address a wide range of issues that will improve the management of uniformed personnel in the field.

Overall, it is clear that UN peacekeeping has achieved much in the past year, and continues to develop and reform in ways that will make peacekeeping even stronger as a tool for peace and security. But we must also collectively consider the things that are not working as well as they should.

We would like to see more clarity about how missions' operational resources—personnel and equipment – correspond to mandated tasks and missions' ability to fulfill mandates. We must also ensure that missions have the political will to carry out their mandates. As part of that, Force Commanders must be confident that the contingents under their commands can and will carry out orders.

We must do more to combat sexual misconduct on the part of peacekeeping personnel – in all categories, not just soldiers. There is still an unacceptable level of reports of sexual misconduct by UN peacekeeping personnel, notwithstanding the concrete steps that have been taken in recent years and a reduction in the number of allegations. The UN must continue to take steps to ensure that violators are not permitted to serve again in the United Nations. These few taint the reputation and hinder the effectiveness of the vast majority of peacekeepers. We welcome the thoughts of our colleagues and TCCs on prevention and effective response for sexual misconduct.

Finally, force generation continues to be slow and cumbersome. We must consider what can be done to respond to emergency requirements. In this regard, we would particularly welcome the thoughts of regional and sub-regional organizations.

The United States welcomes this opportunity to discuss the key issues, successes, and challenges that face UN Peacekeeping, and the chance to hear from our colleagues about their views. We look forward to continued work with the Secretariat and with other Member States to make our mutual efforts to support UN peacekeeping even more effective in the future. Thank you.

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PRN: 2011/217