2005.10.24: Item 32: Comprehensive Review of the Whole Question of Peacekeeping Operations in All Their Aspects

H.E. Ambassador Shin Kak-soo, Deputy Permanent Representative, at Fourth Committee of the General Assembly

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

1. First of all, allow me to express my delegation’s appreciation to Under-Secretary-General Guenno for his illuminating presentation to this Committee last Thursday on the work of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). We were quite interested in the Under-Secretary-General’s five priorities for the future direction of the DPKO, and our preliminary response is positive. Indeed, this is the kind of comprehensive strategic thinking that should be encouraged throughout the United Nations. The specifics presented by the Under-Secretary-General deserve serious study and consideration by Member States, and we look forward to seeing more detailed proposals in each of the five areas.

2. My delegation also commends the DPKO for its hard work to strengthen its operational and managerial capacities. We note with satisfaction the successes of many peacekeeping missions, including those in Afghanistan, Burundi, and Liberia, and especially the successful completion of the missions in Timor-Leste and Sierra Leone.

Mr. Chairman,

3. The unprecedented surge in the number and scope of peacekeeping operations in recent years presents us with opportunities as well as challenges. Each peacekeeping operation is an opportunity for the United Nations to discharge its responsibility under the Charter to maintain international peace and security. Such operations have saved the lives of countless people and greatly reduced the suffering caused by the scourge of conflict.

4. At the same time, UN peacekeeping operations today face many challenges. The demands for UN peacekeeping missions throughout the world are greater than ever before, seriously overstretching the resources and abilities of the DPKO. The nature of peacekeeping operations has also become more complex and multidimensional, expanding the responsibilities of the DPKO beyond peacekeeping to include support for political missions and offices. The range of competencies required of the DPKO has thus become much wider.

5. The rapid increase in the number and scope of peacekeeping operations has also resulted in a considerable increase in the financial resources required, placing a substantial burden on UN Member States. New missions have been established much more quickly than existing missions have completed their work. This process of expansion cannot go on indefinitely. Going forward, we need to define the mandate of each peacekeeping mission clearly at its inception, and to the extent possible, to devise exit strategies as well.

6. Moreover, today’s peacekeeping operations entail diverse missions beyond just maintaining peace. In post-conflict situations, factors such as security, DDR, reconstruction and social stability are equally important. Approaches to these matters should be integrated into all peacekeeping operations, beginning at the initial planning stage. To this end, all relevant UN bodies should provide the DPKO with their knowledge and expertise. In this regard, we welcome the DPKO initiative, together with the UN agencies, funds and programmes, to undertake a review of the Integrated Mission Planning Process, and we look forward to its early results.

7. To facilitate integrated planning, there is a real need for a specific mechanism that ensures the deployment of an appropriate mixture of political, military, development and humanitarian measures. That is why the Republic of Korea has steadfastly supported the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission. We sincerely hope that Member States will finalize the negotiations on the PBC’s modus operandi, including its composition, institutional locus and funding, so that it can begin its work no later than the end of this year, as mandated by the world’s leaders.

Mr. Chairman,

8. If the United Nations is to respond to crises in time to prevent them from escalating and spinning out of control, the rapid deployment capacity of the DPKO must be strengthened. At the World Summit in September, our leaders called for the development of the capacity for rapid deployment and endorsed the establishment of a standing civilian police capacity. We also note with interest the proposal to create a Strategic Reserve. In our view, cooperation with regional groups such as NATO, the European Union and the African Union deserves consideration as a way of realizing a Strategic Reserve.

9. Indeed, the value of increasing cooperation between peacekeeping operations and regional groups such as the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was emphasized by our leaders in September. We are pleased to see that the DPKO has already made considerable progress in this direction. Building on this valuable foundation, we believe that there is a need to explore avenues for trilateral cooperation among the UN, regional groups and donor countries.

10. In our view, cooperation should extend to all stakeholders, including major financial contributors, in the form of regular consultation. In this regard, we are pleased to see the importance of regular consultation emphasized in the report of the Special Committee.

11. We also welcome the increased role of African countries in peacekeeping operations. To facilitate their continuing involvement, the UN should continue its efforts to help strengthen the peacekeeping capacities of African States.

12. Regarding recruitment of DPKO staff, we emphasize the importance of balanced geographic distribution, and we call upon the Secretary-General to continue his efforts to improve the current balance. In addition, special consideration should be given not only to applicants from troop-contributing countries, but also to applicants from financial contributing countries.

Mr. Chairman,

13. We are deeply concerned by the allegations and deplore the proven instances of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeeping personnel. The criminal actions of these individuals have severely tarnished the honourable reputation and record of accomplishment of the entire UN peacekeeping endeavour. We thus welcome the comprehensive report prepared by H.R.H. Zeid Raad Al Hussein, special advisor to the Secretary-General on this issue, as well as Part Two of the report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping. Furthermore, the Republic of Korea strongly supports the Secretary-General뭩 zero-tolerance policy and hopes to see its specific implementation. In particular, we would like to see plans for strengthening the investigative capacity within the UN. We fully support increasing the responsibility of commanding officers for the misdeeds of the peacekeeping personnel under their authority. To ensure that all new policies are widely acknowledged, understood, adhered to and enforced, unified guidelines applicable to all UN peacekeeping personnel should be developed and implemented.

Mr. Chairman,

14. The Republic of Korea is strongly committed to peacekeeping as a vital mechanism by which the United Nations helps to maintain international peace and security. We have lived up to this commitment by our substantial financial contribution and by our participation in peacekeeping operations around the world, including those in Somalia, Angola, Western Sahara and Timor-Leste. With profound respect and admiration for those who take on the challenging and often dangerous work of peacekeeping, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families of those who have given their lives in this noble work. As we work to strengthen and improve the peacekeeping capacities of the United Nations, we should keep these brave souls in mind, and even more, we should remember the many people around the world for whom peacekeeping is a matter of life and death.

Thank you.