UNSC endorses ‘multidimensional’ approach to peacekeeping

Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Security Council debates peacekeeping
[UN Photo/JC McIlwaine] 
New York: The United Nations (UN) Security Council has endorsed an approach to peacekeeping that focuses on laying the groundwork for lasting stability in conflict-plagued countries, in the midst of a day-long meeting opened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Though the unanimous adoption of resolution 2086 (2013), the 15-member body emphasized that "United Nations peacekeeping activities should be conducted in a manner so as to facilitate post-conflict peace building, prevention of relapse of armed conflict and progress toward sustainable peace and development."

Endorsing an approach that goes well beyond the basic tasks of monitoring ceasefires and peace processes, the resolution states that multidimensional peacekeeping missions may be mandated to support a range of activities that aimed at future stability.

Such efforts included the strengthening of national security sectors, the implementation of programs to reintegrate ex-combatants into civilian life, the strengthening of rule of law, reconciliation and inclusive political processes, protection of civilians and their rights, building of governance institutions and delivery of humanitarian aid.

With the aim of supporting national governments in those efforts, the Council stressed the need for personnel with suitable skills and the importance of wide partnerships among international, regional, non-governmental and other organizations, with clear roles for all actors.

In his opening remarks, the Secretary-General called on UN Member States to support this approach in an integrated, coherent manner.

He pointed out the need to do more than integrating the work of the United Nations system. He said that "we have to coordinate with other international partners", stressing however, that better coordination has to extend to regional organizations, the World Bank, bilateral donors and countries in the region, aligned with national priorities developed in consultation with a broad cross-section of civil society.

And when it came to the security of the civilian population Ban also noted that host states were "ultimately responsible for ensuring the protection of civilians", pointing out that effective institutions were "essential to this effort".

Ban said that the national counterparts "must take this obligation seriously, as peacekeeping operations can never act as their surrogate in protecting the civilians within their borders".

In his remarks, Pakistani Foreign Secretary Abbas Jilani who chaired the meeting affirmed the importance of UN peacekeeping which he said had saved tens of millions of lives around the globe. Jilani noted the success of the multidimensional approach in missions such as the ones in Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste, yet, he said that "there are situations where challenges are larger than the UN wherewithal. This calls for a more calibrated response".

Mike Kelly, Australia's Parliamentary Secretary of Defence said that while building national capacity his country had identified the need for inclusive and transparent political mechanisms and processes as well as the imperative of the evolving national institutions and good governance which can minimize and hopefully eliminate corruption. Nothing is ore corrosive to the progress of peace building".

While recognizing that one of the UN strengths was that it could deploy "a truly multidisciplinary response" in a way that other actors couldn't, he said that was only an asset "if the whole is greater than the sum of its parts which requires deep and sustained intromission cooperation".

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant noting that since 2009 the Secretary-General had "consistently" identified the need for the UN to "broaden and deepen" the pool of civilian expertise complained about the fact that recent figures showed that "over twenty percent of civilian rule of law posts in UN missions remains vacant. This shortfall is unacceptable and we must deal with it".

And French Ambassador Gerard Araud noted the need to be able to "draw up exit strategies" from crisis ensuring a lasting return to peace.

Araud said that Peacekeeping operations were "not aimed at lasting forever" for this reason he said the organization "must draw operational conclusions on the gap between peacekeeping and peace building so that each stage of the United Nations presence prepares for the subsequent stage in order to better to anticipate and predict exit strategies". -UNifeed
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