Remarks at the Fourth Committee General Debate on Special Political Missions; Christopher Klein, Political Minister Counselor, U.S. Mission to the United Nations

Christopher Klein, Political Minister Counselor
New York, NY
November 4, 2013


Thank you, Mr. Chair. And thank you to Assistant Secretary General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco for today’s briefing on the issue of Special Political Missions.

The United States remains a strong supporter of SPMs and of the unique and diverse capabilities they provide to the United Nations system in the maintenance of international peace and security. As political missions have evolved over the decades, they have come to play invaluable roles in preventing and resolving conflict.

SPMs help to provide necessary capacity building and political support for countries in transition, such as in Libya where UNSMIL is assisting authorities with the development of rule of law, strengthening human rights, and helping to restore public security. And last year, UNSMIL’s electoral assistance helped enable the first democratic elections in Libya in half a century. Political missions can also play a useful coordination role in facilitating and mobilizing support for host countries, such as Special Coordinator Plumbly’s efforts in Beirut on behalf of the recently established International Support Group for Lebanon.

We have also seen that Special Political Missions must adapt to the realities on the ground. In the case of BINUCA in the Central African Republic, the mission has had to adapt to the security threat posed to civilians and UN staff by the takeover of an armed rebellion which has wreaked havoc on civilian communities throughout the country. The Security Council responded by passing a resolution last month that has enhanced BINUCA’s capacity to move outside of the capital, conduct expanded human rights monitoring, and closely coordinate with an eventual African Union peacekeeping mission. The Council has also authorized the creation of a UN guard force to ensure the safety of BINUCA staff in these efforts.

With regards to the resolution currently under discussion in the Fourth Committee, we welcome the constructive dialogue among Member States to reach a common understanding on how to increase the sharing of information on SPMs, while respecting the Security Council’s primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, as set forth in the Charter. And we also hope that the work of this Committee continues to avoid overlapping consideration of administrative and budgetary issues, which remain under the purview of the Fifth Committee.

Finally, we appreciate the comprehensive report issued by the Secretary General on the long history and wide-range of issues pertaining to SPMs and the effort to identify recommendations to improve transparency and effectiveness of SPMs. We look forward to future informal dialogue on the subject.

Thank you.


PRN: 2012/218