STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. TAKAHIRO SHINYO
DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF JAPAN
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS
61ST SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
26 FEBRUARY 2007
About five years ago, the number of troops and police contributed to United Nations peacekeeping activities was approximately 40,000, and the budget stood at 2.6 billion dollars. As of December 2006, UN peacekeeping operations deployed about 80,000 military and police personnel, for a total of 100,000 personnel including the civilian component, with a budget of 5.2 billion dollars. And these operations are expected to continue to grow.
The expansion of UN peacekeeping reflects the high expectations and evaluation of the international community with regard to the role of these operations in resolving conflicts and bringing about lasting peace. The role of the Special Committee for Peacekeeping operations has also increased in importance, since this forum is in charge of the comprehensive review of all aspects of peacekeeping operations, which now occupy a core status among UN activities. Our delegation believes that, under your chairmanship, this committee will conduct fruitful discussion and thus will be able to contribute to the more effective and efficient conduct of UN peacekeeping operations.
UN peacekeeping is now faced with various challenges occasioned by its expansion.
First, expanded peacekeeping requires a greater contribution of human and financial resources from Member States. While serving as a non-permanent member of the Security Council during 2005-2006, Japan was actively engaged in the establishment of new missions and expansion of existing missions in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. While we are prepared to continue our support and cooperation for peacekeeping, as one of the major financial contributors which provides approximately one fifth of the entire peacekeeping budget, we also intend to continue to be engaged appropriately in the process of establishing, expanding and terminating missions, with sound strategy. It is regrettable, from that point of view, that consultation with the major financial contributors has yet to be realized as a part of the working methods of the Council. Our delegation will continue to call for improvement in this regard. We also consider it our responsibility to encourage the Secretariat to make progress in improving accountability and to utilize the resources contributed by the Member States more effectively and efficiently.
As regards human resources, it continues to be a challenge to secure highly qualified personnel and to train troops applying appropriate standards, including measures to address sexual exploitation and abuse. Our delegation would like to recall that it is the troop and police contributing country that has primary responsibility for maintaining discipline among the troops and police and training its detachment properly. As a troop contributing country, Japan takes the utmost care to select highly trained troops for UN peacekeeping operations and considers it a serious responsibility to maintain discipline among its dispatched troops.
The civilian components in field missions also face challenges which derive from the more complex mandate of peacekeeping. Field missions now need to be staffed with personnel with high expertise in order to discharge their mandated tasks properly. However, as the report of the Secretary-General indicates, to secure the requisite highly qualified experts to serve in the challenging environment of a field mission is not an easy job. Our delegation is concerned about the reported severe understaffing in the field. Last August, Japan co-hosted with United Nations University a seminar entitled "Human Resource Development in Asia for Peacebuilding." Japan is now studying devising a scheme, especially in Asia, for training experts for peacebuilding prepared to work on the ground in a peacekeeping mission.
Secondly, an effective organization is needed to provide strategic guidance and timely support to missions in the field, in order to enable them to operate unhindered. To this end, the Secretary-General has proposed the restructuring of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Japan shares the view of the Secretary-General that management functions need to be strengthened in order to accommodate and support UN peacekeeping during this period of rapid expansion. And we appreciate the Secretary-General's initiative on restructuring the Secretariat. The proposal should be reviewed in appropriate fora, including this Committee, and our delegation will be actively engaged in the discussion.
In this regard, our delegation considers that the proposal should be reviewed from the point of view of whether the proposed organization can respond positively to requests from the missions and contribute to the effective management of UN peacekeeping in its entirety, and whether accountability to the Member States, including in the area of financial discipline, will improve.
Concerning the strengthening of the military division, we also share the concern of the Secretary-General that the military division currently has only 13 military planners. We would like to encourage the Secretariat, first of all, to establish effective management and utilize existing resources to address this issue. The relationship with other organizations including the Strategic Military Cell established last year should also be taken into account.
Let me also take this opportunity to raise the issue of recruitment of civilian staff members for Peacekeeping missions. I wish to express our concern over the as yet uncorrected imbalance in geographical representation in field missions and to reiterate the need to improve representation in future recruitment.
Before closing, I would like to say a word about the relationship between TCCs and other stakeholders and the Security Council. The reports of the Special Committee for Peacekeeping Operations have underscored the importance of having better interaction between the Security Council and TCCs. Last December, the Security Council Working Group on Peacekeeping submitted its report to the Council. The report recommends that the Security Council Working Group hold a meeting at the time of the creation of a new mission or of a renewal involving substantial changes in the mandate, structure or size of a mission, inviting TCCs and other stakeholders, including major financial contributors. I strongly believe that it is necessary for the Security Council to continue its efforts to strengthen interaction with major stakeholders when it makes decisions on peacekeeping. I would like to encourage all Member States to make efforts to implement this recommendation, even outside the Security Council.
I would like to conclude by reiterating the great importance Japan places on the activities of this Committee, which deals with a flagship activity of the United Nations, and by emphasizing our continuing commitment to contributing to the discussion.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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