Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Koro Bessho Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations At the Open Debate of the Security Council on Peacekeeping
August 29, 2017
Thank you, Mr. President.
I thank Egypt for convening this timely debate on UN peacekeeping. I also thank Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, Ambassador Gert Rosenthal, and Dr. Youssef Mahmoud for their briefings.
At the outset, Japan commends all troop-contributing countries, police-contributing countries, and mission personnel for their commitment to maintaining peace and security. Situations that require UN peacekeeping operations are becoming ever more complex. The review of the UN peace and security architecture is also underway. It is clear that improvements are needed in UN peacekeeping. Our question should be: how can we fundamentally strengthen the impact of peacekeeping on the ground?
It is the responsibility of the Security Council to ensure that peacekeeping contributes to durable peace. The Council should assess how to achieve more efficient and better-performing missions, as well as better-defined mandates and appropriate mandate reviews.
Today’s peacekeepers must be sufficiently prepared to respond to today’s challenges. How can we achieve this? I would like to touch upon several priority areas.
The first is capacity building. Troop-contributing countries have the obligation to send personnel with the training and ability to meet UN standards and effectively do their jobs. But the reality is that we continue to see gaps and capacity shortfalls. These gaps have implications for the Security Council’s credibility in enforcing its mandates and for the ability of missions to succeed. They also directly affect populations that depend on the UN to restore peace and stability. Force generation and capacity building are therefore crucial and interlinked. During the April briefing on peacekeeping organized by the United States, the Secretary-General encouraged trilateral arrangements under which countries provide additional training and support to peacekeeping personnel. Japan strongly encourages expanded discussion in the Council on trilateral capacity building efforts between the UN, troop-contributing countries, and a third country.
Even capable and well-prepared troops cannot perform without realistic mandates that meet current needs. The role of the Council here is of vital importance. During the briefing in April, Japan noted that we must engage in more serious discussions on concise and strategically prioritized mandates that give missions the tools to succeed. Recycled language and ballooning resolution lengths cannot substitute for frank assessments of what is needed on the ground today. Clearer benchmarks will go a long way towards meeting and adapting both short- and longer-term mission tasks.
Peacebuilding and local reconciliation efforts should also receive increasing attention as part of comprehensive efforts to sustain peace. Within missions, this requires closer collaboration between civil and political affairs teams to ensure that localized conflicts do not spread or derail nationwide efforts, and also that local reconciliation efforts be positively linked to the overall political process. There is room for enhanced mission support to local reconciliation work, in close cooperation with UN agencies and programs, including through the Peacebuilding Fund. Japan supports developing the practice of regularly drawing upon the advice of the Peacebuilding Commission throughout the mission lifecycle, including during mission formation, review, and drawdown. At the drawdown stage, the advice of the PBC could support smoother transitions between missions and the UN Country Team.
Nearly seventy years since the deployment of its first operation, UN peacekeeping remains more important than ever. Conflicts have become more complex, and sustaining peace is a persistent challenge. Peacekeepers require both the capacity and mandates to undertake their difficult and expanding work. The Council has the responsibility to regularly and more thoroughly discuss these matters to make sure that every mandate authorization and renewal counts.
I thank you, Mr. President.