2004 Statement


H.E. Mr. Toshiro Ozawa

Ambassador of Japan to the United Nations

At the Meeting of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations

29 March 2004

Mr. Chairman,

Peacekeeping operations provide an effective option for promoting conflict resolution. The Government of Japan has actively contributed to the PKOs, in a direct way by dispatching troops and personnel, or by providing financial and material support, and also in an indirect way by engaging in activities to promote the peace process and assist in peace-building.

The number of peacekeeping operations and the size of their total scale are expanding rapidly today with new missions in Africa. Estimates given to us show that during this year the number of PKO personnel will exceed 60,000, - in fact, Mr. Jean-Marie Guéhenno, in his presentation this morning, mentioned 70,000 troops as a probable figure - and that the total PKO budget will surpass 3 billion dollars. These figures clearly tell us that peacekeeping operations are approaching an unprecedented level of activity.

Both the Secretary-General's report and Mr. Jean-Marie Guéhenno's presentation refer to this development with some concern. The report points out that this "will test the enhanced capacities for peacekeeping of the United Nations", and asks the Member States if we are ready to support such enhanced peacekeeping operations. My government fully understands the concern behind this question. Moreover, my Government is concerned about the rapid increase of PKO budgets due to the creation of new PKO missions which the Japanese Government does not participate in the decision process for establishment. Peacekeeping resources are not unlimited, and securing the necessary human and financial resources will pose challenges to all of us.

Mr. Chairman,

A large-scale PKO was set up in Liberia last year. This year, another major PKO is being initiated in Cote d'Ivoire, and in the horizon, new missions are expected in Burundi, Haiti and Sudan. Having reiterated the importance of the PKOs and the Japanese government's position to cooperate with these PKOs, we have to be insistent on some points in order to be accountable to the Japanese taxpayers who bear about 20% of the total PKO budget; when creating a new mission, full account of the necessity of the mission, the appropriateness of the plans and the exit strategy for each case must be put forward. And, after the missions are established, periodic reviews must be made in order to ensure that the activities of each mission are implemented both effectively and efficiently including through further cost reductions by enhancing synergy of the regional missions. We also wish to point out that the size of a mission must be reduced step-by-step in line with the gradual fulfillment of its mandate. The activities of UNMISET in Timor-Leste may well serve as a good model to this end.

Mr. Chairman,

With regard to the challenges facing PKOs as enumerated in the Secretary-General's report, we wish to point out two areas in which my government has deep interest.

The first area relates to the roles of the regional/sub-regional organizations and the United Nations. We all witnessed the efforts for peace by such organizations as the AU and ECOWAS for Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia, - efforts which we very much commend. We would indeed like to stress that helping these regional/sub-regional organizations to strengthen their capacities would prove beneficial not only to these organizations, but also to the confidence-building in the region and to the peace and stability of the international community as a whole.

At the same time, more deliberations should be encouraged on the subject of the desirable relationship between the United Nations and these regional/sub-regional entities. As the capacity of the regional/sub-regional organizations improves, the modality of the assuming the reassignment of their activities by the United Nations should be seriously considered, for each specific case.

The second area relates to the safety and security of the peacekeeping personnel. The Government of Japan attaches great importance to this matter. Japan was one of the first countries to ratify the Convention on the Safety of the United Nations and Associated Personnel, and my Government has made efforts to raise awareness on this matter through co-hosting international seminars and other means. The nature of this issue has changed dramatically after the events of 9.11, as is underlined by the tragic bombing of the United Nations Headquarters in Baghdad on 8.19. The Government of Japan is prepared to continue to work together with DPKO and the Security Coordinator for improvement of the safety and security of the personnel. On the other hand, we believe that the United Nations and the Member States should seriously consider how the peacekeeping operations of the United Nations ought to be conducted, for these operations to earn the respect of the people in the region that they are assisting. We believe that such respect will be earned through the demonstration of their universal objectives and their discipline, and in turn, will guard them from attack.

Mr. Chairman,

The year 2005 will be the fifth anniversary of the issuance of the Brahimi Report. Last year, this committee requested the Secretariat to conduct an independent review of the status of the implementation of the reform process initiated by the Report, to be presented to the General Assembly at its fifty-ninth session. The Government of Japan has been closely observing this process because we have deep interest in seeing the follow-up of the recommendations of the Report. We are pleased to submit to the Committee our study on the implementation of the Brahimi recommendations, based on relevant reports of Secretary-General and other sources. Japan sincerely hopes that our study will be helpful to all participants of the review process. In carrying out the review of the Brahimi Report recommendations, the Committee will no doubt take into account the transformed environment surrounding peacekeeping operations including the limitedness of resources for PKO missions, and may also wish to refer to the future report of the Eminent Persons Panel on New Threats and New Challenges. My delegation will participate actively in such discussions.

Mr. Chairman,

I wish to conclude by emphasizing that my delegation attaches great importance to the activities of this committee and will continue to make valuable contribution to the committee.

Thank you very much.