2004.10.26: Agenda Item 77: Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects

H.E. Ambassador Kim Sam-hoon, Permanent Representative, at the Fourth Committee of the General Assembly

Mr. Chairman,

I thank Under-Secretary-General Guenno for his comprehensive and insightful report on the work of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the nature of the challenges it faces.

The Republic of Korea attaches great importance to the role of United Nations peacekeeping operations in maintaining international peace and security. For a growing number of people mired in conflicts and violence, especially in failed or failing States, UN peacekeeping remains a beacon of hope. The image and relevance of the UN in the eyes of the peoples we represent are shaped more than anything else by the performance of UN peacekeeping operations. The sheer magnitude of the resources that the UN devotes to peacekeeping attests to the collective political commitment of Member States to this task. The Republic of Korea has actively participated in peacekeeping operations around the world, from Somalia, Angola, and Western Sahara to Timor-Leste. We are also contributing a significant number of troops to the UN-authorized multinational peace operations in Iraq.

Mr. Chairman,

As Under-Secretary-General Gu?enno reported yesterday, peacekeeping is again at a crossroads. The demands for UN peacekeeping throughout the world today exceed the capacity of the UN or any other regional or sub-regional organization to meet. With the upcoming creation of a new peacekeeping force in the Sudan and increases in troop levels in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the total number of UN peacekeepers is soon expected to exceed the all-time high of 78,000 in 1993. UN peacekeeping operations are rapidly increasing not only in scale, but also in the complexity of their mandates. UN peace operations are increasingly becoming as much peace-building as peacekeeping, involving political, economic and social dimensions and diverse partners.

The most daunting challenge the UN faces is how to meet the surging demand for UN peace operations of growing scale and complexity with the limited resources available to the UN. The Republic of Korea wishes to share its views on how this challenge can be met.

First of all, the UN痴 operational capabilities should be further strengthened. This requires not only increased input of resources, but also constant improvements in the quality of personnel deployed in the field and the efficiency of mission support from the headquarters. We welcome the substantial progress achieved by DPKO over the past four years under the leadership of USG Gu?enno, especially in the areas of organizational and managerial reforms, planning, training, logistic support, rapid response capability and command and control. We look forward to further improvements building upon the lessons learned and best practices codified. Given that each post-conflict situation poses unique challenges, we share the view that the mandate of each peace operation should be tailored to the specific nature of the problems to be addressed. In this regard, we underscore the importance of equipping peacekeeping missions with the capability for nimble and flexible response when needed.

The importance of cooperation between the UN and regional arrangements cannot be overemphasized. We are encouraged by the many success stories of such cooperation, including partnerships between the UN and the African Union, ECOWAS, the EU, NATO, OSCE, OAS, and CARICOM in Liberia, Cote d棚voire, Burundi, Sudan, Kosovo, Haiti and Afghanistan. We believe it is vital to further enhance the roles of regional arrangements and to make the best use of the comparative strengths of the UN and regional arrangements in a mutually complementary and reinforcing manner in order to maximize the effectiveness and synergies of peace operations. To this end, we welcome the UN-EU Joint Declaration and ongoing UN-AU cooperation. We encourage DPKO to develop an optimal division of roles and responsibilities with regional and sub-regional arrangements.

Given that the bulk of the demand for UN peace operations arises from Africa, it is imperative to strengthen the peacekeeping capabilities of African States. We welcome and support the efforts and initiatives of the African Union and African sub-regional arrangements to enhance their capacity to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts on the African continent. Such laudable efforts by African States to take primary responsibility in regional crisis management should be strongly encouraged and supported by the UN, other external regional organizations and Member States, especially in the area of training and rapid deployment capacities. In this regard, we welcome in particular the establishment of the European Union Peace Facility for Africa.

Mr. Chairman,

The Republic of Korea shares the view that peace-building should be an integral part of peacekeeping mandates. The success of peacekeeping operations should be defined not merely by the cessation of armed conflicts, but by the irreversibility and sustainability of peace. As the recent case of Haiti demonstrates, peace can be elusive when it is not backed by good governance, development, inter-faction reconciliation and institutions that ensure the rule of law. In this regard, we support a comprehensive and integrated approach that addresses not only the short-term security aspect, but also the root causes of conflicts.

For some time now, there has been a tendency to add one mandate after another for UN peacekeeping missions, from DDR to rule of law and gender mainstreaming. It is true that such an expansion of the scope of peacekeeping mandates can contribute to addressing sustainable peace more comprehensively. At the same time, however, overloading peacekeeping missions with increasingly multidimensional and complex mandates can stretch the capacity of the missions and raise new problems of coordination among diverse actors on the ground who may have different mandates and organizational cultures. In this context, we believe it is useful to evaluate how and to what extent the increase in the complexity of peacekeeping mandates affects the operational efficiency of peacekeeping missions, particularly in carrying out their core mandates.

Mr. Chairman,

The surging demand for peace operations will stretch to the limit not only the UN痴 response capacity, but also the capacity of Member States to provide requisite personnel and financial support. Therefore, there is no substitute for a stronger and sustained political commitment to peacekeeping from Member States. In securing such a commitment, it is essential for the Security Council and DPKO to engage the major stakeholders in the decision-making process, including potential troop-contributing countries and those Member States that share a significant part of the financial burden. The principle of no taxation without representation is as relevant in the UN as in Member States.

In closing, Mr. Chairman, the Republic of Korea pays tribute to the valiant men and women who are serving and have served in peacekeeping operations in trying circumstances all around the world. Furthermore, we take this opportunity to honour the memory of all those who have lost their lives in the service of United Nations peacekeeping. To all of them, we express our profound gratitude for their professionalism, dedication and courage.

Thank you.