2003 Statement



Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan

At the Meeting of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations

03 March 2003

Mr. Chairman,

First of all, I would like to congratulate Your Excellency, Ambassador Arthur Mbanefo of Nigeria, on your reelection to the chairmanship. We in this Committee are confident that, with your wisdom and able guidance, this session will be led to a constructive conclusion. The Government of Japan attaches utmost importance to the role of the United Nations in maintaining peace and security, and fully supports efforts to strengthen UN peacekeeping operations. You may be assured of my delegation’s continued cooperation as you discharge your responsibilities.

I thank the Secretary-General for his report which gives us an update on the progress made in the implementation of this Committee’s recommendations. My thanks go as well to Under-Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guéhenno for his comprehensive statement this morning, supplementing the Secretary-General’s report. His statement, together with the report, will serve as a useful basis for our discussion.

Mr. Chairman,

As indicated in the Secretary-General’s report, UN peacekeeping operations have made significant progress in such areas as the Balkans, Timor-Leste and Africa. The missions in Bosnia and Prevlaka successfully completed their mandates last December. Peacekeeping operations are thus continuing to play an important role in maintaining international peace and security, often amid complex and difficult situations. It is the task of this Special Committee to address such complexities and difficulties surrounding peacekeeping operations in recent years. Today, I would like to touch upon several issues that require particular attention as the Committee carries out its important task.


Mr. Chairman,

As peacekeeping assumes an increasingly multi-disciplinary character, it has become interrelated with wider efforts for peace and security. This international trend is apparent in Japan too. An advisory group headed by former Special Representative of the Secretary-General Yasushi Akashi submitted a report to my Government last December, recommending various ways in which Japan might enhance its international peace cooperation. The Government is in fact strengthening its efforts focusing on the consolidation of peace and nation building, in various regions including Africa. From the same viewpoint, we appreciate the timely initiative by the Secretariat in the discussions on security sector reform and the rule of law. Responding to this initiative and reaching a certain consensus on how peacekeeping should get involved in these activities are major items on this session’s agenda.

Security sector reform is often critical in the consolidation of peace. It is also an emerging concept in development assistance, and has recently been incorporated in the activities of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). We look forward to the discussion between Member States and the Secretariat on this subject, including our experiences in Afghanistan.

I would also like to refer to the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants (DDR), which is an important component of security sector reform. As pointed out in the Secretary-General’s report, effective DDR requires the coordination of different actors, including the parties to a conflict, international organizations, donors, in addition to peacekeeping missions when so mandated. My government has extended consistent support in this field. For example, we supported a research project by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations on principles and guidelines of DDR in a peacekeeping environment. And just two weeks ago, Japan, as the lead country in DDR efforts in Afghanistan, hosted the Tokyo Conference on Consolidation of Peace, with a focus on DDR. We are pleased that Afghanistan demonstrated its resolve and a clear policy for the promotion of DDR, and that the international community, in turn, showed it is committed to that effort.

The issue of the rule of law also deserves our consideration. Given the reality that in a post-conflict situation the UN is occasionally called upon to administer an area on an interim basis or to provide extensive support to a new government, and given that the maintenance of basic law and order is a prerequisite for humanitarian and development assistance, it is necessary to look into rule of law issues in peacekeeping from various angles. We welcome the report of the Executive Committee on Peace and Security (ECPS) as a basis for further discussion. I would also point out that, as we consider this question, it is important to adequately take into account local norms, custom and situations.

Mr. Chairman,

The safety and security of peacekeeping personnel continues to be a question of great importance for all personnel-contributors and UN staff members. Despite the overall downsizing in the number of personnel deployed in 2002, the number of fatalities remains high (there were 64 fatalities in 2002, the same number as in 2001). Both the seminar in Tokyo in 2001 and the DPKO’s own subsequent security review found room for improvement in the security management system for peacekeeping operations. While Japan appreciates the steps that are being taken, as described in the Secretary-General’s report, we cannot but note that much more needs to be done. We therefore once again encourage the Secretariat to address this issue as a matter of highest priority and to accelerate its efforts for a clearer delineation of responsibilities and closer cooperation between the DPKO and the Office of the UN Security Coordinator (UNSECOORD). Also needed are a mechanism for accountability, as well as enhanced training, the development of minimum equipment standards, legal measures, and better information flow to personnel-contributing countries in the event of a crisis. In addition, as the majority of the fatalities in 2002 occurred as a result of accidents, greater attention must be given to safety measures.

Mr. Chairman,

Communication between the Secretariat and Member States is another important issue we should revisit. A better understanding among Member States of UN guidance on peacekeeping-related matters will be of mutual benefit to the Organization and the membership, and will in turn enhance the effectiveness of peacekeeping efforts. We appreciate the fact that the DPKO consults periodically with Member States on the UN Standby Arrangement System and that it holds workshops on contingent-owned equipment. We would also like to suggest that a comprehensive list of DPKO policy papers, guidelines, manuals, SOPs and training materials be provided to Member States on a regular basis. Moreover, it is important that the Secretary-General’s report to this Committee provide feedback, whether positive or negative, on all its recommendations, to enable continuous exchange. We believe the DPKO, with its enhanced capacity, should be able to comply with these requests.

Furthermore, I would like to encourage the Secretariat and Member States to share experiences. This is essential in view of the increasing complexity of peacekeeping endeavors. In this connection, my delegation has distributed to all members of this Committee and the Secretariat the co-chair’s summary of an international conference held in Tokyo in September 2002 on lessons learned from the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor (UNTAET). The discussion at the conference extended to security, law and order, administration, capacity building, elections, relations with the host country, gender issues, humanitarian assistance and exit strategy, and I hope that the summary will prove of interest to all.

Mr. Chairman,

Before closing, I wish to say a few words on the restructuring and staffing of the DPKO. The members of this Committee, including my country, supported enhancing the Department in the interest of strengthening the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations. We would now encourage the Secretariat to evaluate the utilization of the additional staff in light of the five strategic goals set out by Mr. Guehenno last year.

Despite the Secretary-General’s suggestion that the discussion on the staffing issue should be considered as completed, I must point out that the goal of achieving equitable geographical distribution within the DPKO, which the General Assembly has supported, has not yet been met. Indeed, against the almost 200 additional posts approved for the DPKO, only 13 candidates from under-represented and unrepresented Member States were selected in 2002, and only 6 in 2001. We cannot but conclude that efforts made in this regard have been inadequate. We therefore request the Secretariat to redouble its efforts to improve the representation of under-represented and unrepresented Member States in future recruitment, both within the DPKO and in the field.

Mr. Chairman,

I wish to conclude my intervention by emphasizing once again that my delegation is ready to contribute actively to the deliberations on the important question of peacekeeping.

Thank you very much.