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Statement by Ambassador Zhang Yishan at the 2006 Session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations

2006-02-27 00:00

Mr. Chairman,

Peacekeeping operation is one of the major means of the United Nations in fulfilling its duty of maintaining international peace and security. Currently, UN peacekeepers are active in almost all continents around the globe. The UN peacekeeping operations in Cote d'Ivoire, Haiti, Sudan and the DRC have been strengthened over the last year, and missions in Timor-Leste, Sierra Leone and Burundi will gradually phase out, having successfully completed their peacekeeping task on the ground. Peacekeeping operations have played an important role in helping countries concerned consolidate peace, maintain stability and engage in national reconstruction. As a result, they have won ever-increasing support and trust of all parties, and also aroused greater expectations.

China maintains its view that peacekeeping operations should follow the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, fully respect the views of the parties concerned and strictly preserve neutrality. The emphasis of a peacekeeping operation should be put on making full use of its political influence and integrated functions instead of on military function alone. Only in this way can a peacekeeping mission help maintain long-term peace and security in its task area, obtain widespread support and achieve success. China firmly supports and actively participates in UN peacekeeping operations. Up till now, China's contribution in terms of personnel to 15 UN peacekeeping operations has reached the level of more than 5,000 and as we speak, there are about 1,000 Chinese peacekeepers serving in 13 mission areas. China is willing to continue to increase its participation in UN peacekeeping operations, thus making its contributions, together with other countries, to the maintenance of international peace and security.

Mr. Chairman,

Five years ago, the Brahimi Report marked the beginning of the peacekeeping reform of the UN. Five years later, we should look more to the future and reflect on ways and means to further reform and improve UN peacekeeping operations.

At present, UN peacekeeping is characterized by two trends. The first is that peacekeeping operations are constantly expanding in scale and requirements for new peacekeeping operations keep growing; the second is that functions of peacekeeping operations are becoming more and more multi-faceted and have grown from traditional cease-fire monitoring to a series of tasks, including assisting countries concerned in holding elections, restoring law and order, implementing DDR programs and engaging in post-conflict reconstruction. Such a situation not only reflects the support and expectation of the international community for UN peacekeeping, but also poses great challenges to the Secretariat and the member states. The further strengthening of the UN peacekeeping operations is helpful to the enhancement of the authority of the United Nations so that the role of the collective security mechanism can be brought into full play. Reasonable and necessary reform of UN peacekeeping operations must continue so as to fill the gap between the increased demand and diversification of tasks on the one hand and the existing capacity on the other.

In principle, China supports the series of recommendations proposed by the Secretary General in his report. We believe that reform measures should correspond to real needs, and their implementation should result in the integration of existing resources and full development of potentials of existing mechanisms. Here, I'd like to stress the following four points:

First, it is necessary to strengthen the forward-looking research in deploying peacekeeping operations. In view of the increasing demand for peacekeeping operations as well as the expansion in scale and multiplication in function of these operations, the DPKO, before a peacekeeping operation is deployed, should make prior assessments on the necessity and feasibility of such a deployment, provide thoughtful analysis and recommendations regarding the function, scale and budget of potential operations in order to facilitate the preparation of member states, especially troop contributing countries. In this way, once the Security Council decides to authorize deployment, all necessary personnel will be in place in a timely manner.

Secondly, it is necessary to summarize, improve and update the modalities and theories of peacekeeping. Past and present peacekeeping operations share many common characteristics, but they also have respective special features. The DPKO should carry out systematic comparison and analysis and, in view of practical situations and needs, put forward recommendations for improvement, including on optimizing the organizational structure of missions, improving command systems, judiciously defining the scale of mandate, effectively managing financial resources and strengthening rapid deployment capabilities, all with a view to genuinely enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of peacekeeping operations.

Thirdly, the internal management of peacekeeping operations should be effectively enhanced, monitoring and coordination boosted, human resources, financial and other relevant systems improved and personnel training strengthened both in the pre-deployment stage and during actual operations. The scandals in peacekeeping procurement and cases of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse involving peacekeepers that have come to light in recent years not only greatly damaged the overall image of UN peacekeeping operation, but also revealed gross deficiencies in the internal management of the UN. The Secretariat, senior management in particular, should draw lessons therefrom. It is necessary not only to strictly discipline persons responsible, but also to carry out reform at the system level with a view to improving management so as to ensure the proper ethics and behavior of peacekeepers, address such incidents appropriately and prevent them from recurrence.

Fourth, all member states should keep in mind the strategic importance of maintaining global and regional peace, security and stability and display political good will by providing timely and sufficient political, financial and personnel support to the UN peacekeeping operations and their reform. We support the existing mechanisms like the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations of the GA, the Security Council Working Group on Peacekeeping and meetings with TCCs in fully playing their role, so that communication and coordination among the Security Council, the Secretariat and member states of the UN can be continuously improved.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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