(Check against delivery)
Statement by H.E. Mr. Motohide Yoshikawa
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Open Debate of the Security Council
On U.N. Peacekeeping Operations
11 June 2014
I would like to begin by expressing my sincere appreciation for your leadership in convening today’s open debate. I would also like to thank Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his briefing.
From its inception, U.N. Peacekeeping has been evolving. Contemporary peacekeeping has become multidimensional with broader roles and responsibilities. About 15 years after the Brahimi Report, Security Council Resolution 2086 renewed our consideration of trends on peacekeeping. Recent peacekeeping also has delivered several innovations including the Intervention Brigade, Unmanned Unarmed Aerial Vehicles, and Inter-Mission Cooperation, among others.
The most important fact is that peacekeeping continues to be a flagship initiative of the U.N. for international peace and security. We should maintain and improve this important tool. A key question in this regard is “how do we make the U.N. peacekeeping operations sustainable in both financial and human resources aspects?”
First is the financial challenge. The U.N. peacekeeping budget for 2014/15 is likely to greatly exceed its historical high of $8 billion. While we fully recognize the important role of the PKO in the maintenance of international peace and security, the fiscal environment of member states, including Japan, does not allow unlimited resources for peacekeeping. Very strong measures of efficiency are called for.
Right-sizing is a promising approach to meeting such financial challenges. When an idea to establish a new mission emerges, full consideration should be given to whether it is cost-effective or not. The mission’s mandate has to be elaborated based on the reality on the ground, and should be responsive to the changing field situation. To this end, the Secretary-General should keep a close eye on developments on the ground, and make timely and realistic recommendations to the Security Council. The Security Council should review the mandate of each mission in a timely manner and ensure the effectiveness of the mission’s activities. Automatic renewal of mission mandates should be avoided and mandates of prolonged missions should be thoroughly reviewed.
Second is the challenge of human resources. Even though a large number of qualified peacekeepers is definitely essential for peacekeeping activities, we very often struggle to meet that requirement. Due to today’s surge in the demand for peacekeeping missions, human resources are overstretched. It is a pressing task to increase the number of qualified peacekeepers and create a strong pool of them. In this regard, I would like to highlight two points.
First, broadening troop contributors is a way to increase the number of peacekeepers. It is true that current peacekeeping missions depend on a limited number of troop contributing countries. In order to break such limitations, we should continue to assist prospective troop contributing countries.
Second, we need more training, which is a very strong tool to create qualified peacekeepers. Discipline of peacekeepers, including preventing sexual exploitation and abuse, is essential to ensuring a mission’s credibility. In addition, peacekeepers are now required to be competent in a broader range of complex tasks. Therefore, we should provide full spectrum training to create qualified peacekeepers.
Japan has participated in peacekeeping operations for more than 20 years.
From the time we joined UNTAC in Cambodia in 1992 up to the present day, Japan has actively participated in U.N. peacekeeping operations. Japan has dispatched 10,300 personnel to 12 PKO missions in Cambodia, Mozambique, the Golan Heights, Timor-Leste, Haiti, and South Sudan, among others. Japan has delivered engineering, transport, police capacity building, and electoral support. In South Sudan, Japanese engineering units are currently supporting nation building efforts.
Japan also has provided material, funding, and support for initiatives for peacekeeping operations. Last March, in order to support the rapid reinforcement of UNMISS, Japan provided logistics assistance, including 200 tents and 4,000 plastic sheets. In the same month, Japan also disbursed approximately $524,000 to support training programs for the protection of women from sexual violence, and the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse for all peacekeepers. Japan also supports the ongoing initiative on capability standards manuals, as chair of the engineering working group, closely cooperating with the Republic of Indonesia.
Japan wishes to contribute to peacekeeping operations by broadening its involvement under the banner of “Proactive Contribution to Peace.”
In closing, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to all peacekeepers. I also express our deepest condolences for those peacekeepers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
I thank you, Mr. President.