AMBASSADOR, H. E. MR. MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA
Representative of Japan
At the Meeting of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations
11 February 2002
I would like first of all to congratulate His Excellency, Ambassador Arthur Mbanefo of Nigeria, on his re-election to the chairmanship. I am confident that, under his able guidance, this Committee will be able to address the question of peacekeeping operations in a productive manner. I regret that he is unable to be with us today and wish him a speedy recovery.
I would also like to express my gratitude to Ambassador Michel Duval of Canada for his leadership, as Chairman of the Working Group, in preparing for the discussions of the Working Group and achieving consensus among Member States in the past sessions.
I also thank Mr. Jean-Marie Guehenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, for his detailed statement today, which included the developments that have transpired since the Secretary-General's report (A/56/732) was issued.
In recent years, peacekeeping operations have experienced significant changes, including the establishment of new missions and a corresponding sharp increase in personnel and budgets, as well as an expansion of the mandates entrusted to the operations. As a result of these changes, close coordination and cooperation between the UN Secretariat, Member States and other UN agencies has become all the more important. At the same time, the need to enhance the policy formulation and planning capabilities of the UN Secretariat, improve rapid deployment capabilities, and strengthen the safety and security of personnel has also become more urgent.
As a result of our discussion of the Brahimi Report and the Comprehensive Review, more than two hundred staff members have been added to the Secretariat, most of them in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Such a substantial increase is unprecedented in the history of the UN. Japan has supported this significant expansion of the Secretariat in the belief that it will strengthen the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations. Needless to say, the increase in staff will not automatically bring about reform. What is most important now is that the Secretariat show how it will utilize its staff to carry out peacekeeping operations more effectively.
It is also necessary that both new and rotation posts be filled promptly. In this connection, I wish to emphasize that, in filling these posts, the representation of underrepresented and unrepresented Member States should be improved, in compliance with General Assembly resolution 56/241.
My delegation notes with interest that the DPKO has set five strategic goals, including the reform of the management culture of the Department and the strengthening of its relationship with Member States, field missions and other parts of the UN system. We hope these goals will be translated into a concrete plan. We also encourage the DPKO, when it conducts a regular and systematic review of its capacity, to evaluate the results of reform efforts in light of these strategic goals.
The safety and security of personnel continues to be a source of concern to all of us. In 2001, sixty peacekeepers lost their lives in the line of duty (ten more than in 2000). It is therefore regrettable to note that the Secretary-Generalrsquo;s report does not adequately prescribe the concrete steps that should be taken to improve the safety and security of personnel based on the findings of the DPKO's own security review and the recommendations of this Committee.
In this connection, I wish to recall that, at the General Assembly last year, we supported the creation of the full-time position of United Nations Security Coordinator at the Assistant Secretary-General level. My delegation calls upon the Secretariat to take advantage of this new post to redouble its efforts in various areas, such as training, equipment, public information and lessons learned, to ensure the safety and security of all personnel working in UN peacekeeping operations. We also wish to request a briefing from both the DPKO and the Office of the United Nations Security Coordinator (UNSECOORD) on what specific measures the Secretariat plans to take to enhance safety and security.
One important issue pending from our discussion over the last two years is the question of how to enhance rapid deployment capabilities. While we fully appreciate that this question should be examined in its personnel as well as financing aspects, as Under-Secretary-General Guehenno pointed out today, I shall limit my remarks to the issue of the creation of a strategic deployment stock. The exchange of views between Member States and the Secretariat arranged by Assistant Secretary-General Sheehan last October on this subject was very useful. At the meeting, the views of Member States were divided as to the size of stock. In our opinion, the size of stock should be based on assessed needs. Japan continues to believe that, when the Secretariat prepares a budget for the stock, it is more realistic to use the planning assumption for the deployment of one complex mission per year, since at least for the moment we do not see an imminent need to prepare for two simultaneous missions.
I now would like to touch upon the issue of cooperation with troop-contributing countries. Japan presented its position on this matter at the informal meeting of this Committee last December. We anticipate that communication between the Security Council and contributing countries will further improve through various meetings convened according to Security Council resolution 1353. We will observe closely whether the new consultative mechanism agreed upon by the Council last month will be managed in a transparent and non-exclusive manner.
Lastly, I would like to refer to the efforts made by Japan recently to contribute to peacekeeping operations. Japan commenced preparations for deploying an engineering unit of approximately 700 personnel to the UN peacekeeping mission in East Timor (UNTAET). They will be dispatched in March and April and will probably include female peacekeepers for the first time. The Japanese Government also revised its law to broaden the scope of participation of its Self-Defense Forces in UN peacekeeping operations. I would like to add that we are planning to hold a seminar in Japan this year, in cooperation with the DPKO and under the joint auspices of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the Institute of Policy Studies of Singapore and the Japan Institute for International Affairs, in order to review the work of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor.
Now that the reinforcement of the Secretariat staff has been completed, it is time to move to the implementation phase of reform so as to enhance the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations. With this recognition in mind, I would like to conclude my statement by reaffirming my delegation’s readiness to continue to play a constructive role in the deliberations of this Committee.