(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
28 July 2014
I would like to begin by expressing my sincere appreciation to you for your leadership in convening today’s very important and timely open debate on U.N. Peacekeeping Operations.
I am also grateful to H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Maciej Popowski, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service; and H.E. Mr. Téte António, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations, for their briefings.
I believe that there is a consensus within this organization that PKO is the most important tool that the United Nations has for the maintenance of international peace and security, and this tool should be constantly reviewed and improved. The challenge before us is how to make U.N. peacekeeping operations more sustainable in both financial and human resource aspects.
In this connection, I would like to touch upon the latest development concerning the U.N. peacekeeping budget for 2014/15. The budget was finally adopted on 3 July. For the first three days of the month, there was “no budget” to pay for U.N. peacekeepers. While acknowledging the difficulty of the negotiation and the severe financial conditions that many of us, including Japan, face in coping with the ever increasing size of the PKO budget, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that such anomaly does not happen again.
Let me turn to the main topic of today, that is, the partnership between the United Nations and regional arrangements. Regional and sub-regional organizations can provide vital capabilities for peacekeeping operations. Their deep knowledge and understanding of regional matters, as well as local networks, significantly improve the effectiveness of U.N. peacekeeping operations, in a synergetic manner with the United Nations.
Security Council Resolution 2167 adopted today paves the way for further strengthening such partnership. Japan welcomes its adoption and appreciates your leadership.
Nine out of sixteen current peacekeeping missions are operating in Africa and their personnel and budget make up more than 70 percent of the whole. This reflects how crucial peace and security in Africa is for international peace and security. I would like to highlight two points regarding the way forward on the partnership between the United Nations and regional arrangements, particularly in the context of Africa.
My first point is about enhanced coordination between the United Nations and regional arrangements. Regional arrangements are often the first groups to respond to regional crises. Therefore, they are indispensable partners for the United Nations to fulfill its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
In Africa, we see several key developments on such a partnership. Let me take three examples: 1) A hybrid operation of the African Union and the United Nations in Darfur; 2) A re-hatting of African-led missions to the U.N. peacekeeping missions in Mali and the Central African Republic; and 3) The provision of logistical support to the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia by the U.N. mission.
Regular and intensive dialogue is necessary for effective peacekeeping missions in Africa. Japan welcomes recent efforts to coordinate partnerships, including the annual consultative meetings between the U.N. Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council and looks forward to seeing further developments in this regard.
My second point is on the importance of support for regional arrangements. In order for regional arrangements to fulfil their role as first responders to maintain regional peace and security, it is essential to strengthen support for regional capacity building. The international community can be more active to support them.
In this regard, Japan has been supporting Africa from two approaches. The first approach is support for the activities of African Union in peace and security. For 17 years, Japan has been supporting African Union in this field, through contributions to AU Peace Fund. The total contribution is approximately 12 million dollars. Most recently, Japan has donated 5 million dollars to this fund to address various challenges in Central Africa, South Sudan and Sudan. For example, Japan supported the implementation of the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (MVM) in South Sudan through the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and activities of the African Union’s High-Level Panel on Sudan and South Sudan. Japan believes that such regional support compliments ongoing Japanese peacekeeping activities in the U.N. Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) and contributes to achieving lasting peace in the region.
The second approach is support for enhancing African regional capacities, particularly on human resources. Since 2008, Japan has provided a total of 37 million dollars and dispatched our trainers to 13 African peacekeeping training institutions. Among those, today, I would like to elaborate on our support to Rwanda. In 2008, Japan provided 3 million dollars to support to the establishment of the Rwanda Peace Academy. This Academy has conducted 25 courses and workshops covering a wide range of issues related to peacekeeping operations, such as the protection of civilians, security sector reform, and peacebuilding. Since 2010, more than 700 personnel have received training through the Academy. They are mainly from African countries, but also include peacekeepers coming from other regions. The Rwanda Peace Academy has become one of the regional centers of excellence for training and serves to strengthen regional peacekeeping capabilities.
In my view, Japan’s approach, which I have outlined, goes in line with today’s resolution. Japan wishes to contribute to peacekeeping operations by broadening its involvement, in conjunction with strengthening its cooperation with regional arrangements, under the banner of “Proactive Contribution to Peace.”
In closing, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all peacekeepers and offer my deepest condolences for those peacekeepers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
I thank you.