10 March 2008

Mr. Chairman,

This year marks the 60th anniversary of UN peacekeeping operations. Since joining the United Nations, Japan has been a staunch supporter of peacekeeping operations, which have played an indispensable role in maintaining international peace and security. In January this year, Prime Minister Fukuda presented an initiative to advance Japan's role as a "Peace Fostering Nation" in the annual policy speech at the Diet. The Prime Minister stated that under this initiative Japan will play a further role in international community to contribute to peace and prosperity in the world. We are seeking additional ways to enhance our personnel contribution to UN peacekeeping operations. We would also like to take this opportunity to renew our commitment to contribute to the evolution of this noble activity of the United Nations by constructively engaging in the discussion in this Committee.

Mr. Chairman,

UN peacekeeping operations are now highly acknowledged among the international community and have recently been assigned more complex and multidimensional tasks. Last year alone, the UN peacekeeping launched UNAMID and MINURCAT. Those operations have posed a formidable challenge, not only for the harsh operational environment and the difficulties presented by logistical support, but also from the point of view of the enormous resource requirement for the United Nations. It has been quite challenging for the UN to ensure timely deployment and establish operational capacity in those two missions while maintaining fifteen other peacekeeping missions and supporting special political missions.

One of the measures taken to cope with these more complex peacekeeping challenges was a large scale realignment of DPKO and the establishment of DFS. Although the two departments still have significant vacancies to fill, including among the top management, a smooth and swift transition to the new configuration is imperative in order to achieve the goals of the realignment. These two departments were restructured and newly created, respectively, in order to respond effectively to the recent expansion of UN peacekeeping operations. We will continue to monitor closely the operations of these two departments to examine whether that rationale is borne out.

This year we have learned that a new structure and capacity for the Office of Military Affairs are soon to be proposed. My delegation will listen carefully to the rationale of the proposal and consider from a constructive perspective the most appropriate posture of the OMA within the context of the total DPKO and DFS structure.

Mr. Chairman,

Difficult situations surrounding UN operations pose serious challenges for the safety and security of each mission. Last week, we witnessed with great sorrow another tragic accident in Nepal. Security measures to address threats to the operations cannot be over-emphasized, and the safety aspects are no less important. The safety standards for utilizing commercial contracted aviation for UN operations should be carefully reviewed.

UN peacekeeping also faces a challenge in securing qualified staff to support missions of various kinds. We would like to emphasize our commitment to instilling in our personnel the highest level of skill, morale and discipline before deployment of troops to UN operations. Japan also supports UN peacekeeping operations by training civilian personnel who are prepared to work in field missions. Last year we launched a program to train "peacebuilders" in Asia. The program, entitled "Pilot Program for Human Resource Development in Asia for Peacebuilding", commenced last September in Hiroshima, with diverse participants from Japan and other countries in Asia. We hope the talented young and enthusiastic people who complete this program will soon be contributing to UN peacekeeping missions.

Let me also take this opportunity to reiterate Japan's position on the issue of recruitment of civilian staff members for peacekeeping missions and for headquarters. I wish to express our concern over the as yet uncorrected imbalance in geographical representation and to reiterate the need to improve representation in future recruitment.

Mr. Chairman,

For the successful completion of UN peacekeeping missions, host nations need to acquire the capability to sustain peace and avoid a reversion to the chaos of the post-conflict period. In this context, the importance of security sector reform (SSR) to rebuild reliable security institutions and capacities, while a peacekeeping mission temporarily maintains public security, should be recognized adequately. The United Nations currently retains useful expertise in various UN organs to support the SSR process when so requested by States. It is necessary to formulate integrated and coherent guidelines and policies on the UN support for SSR in order to maximize the use of these existing capacities.

Mr. Chairman,

DPKO recently published "United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: Principles and Guidelines", also known as the Capstone Doctrine. We commend the efforts by DPKO to formulate this long-needed practical document for reference in the field. We anticipate that this doctrine will greatly enhance the initial planning and training for newly created missions and will also benefit existing operations. We appreciate the fruitful dialogue between the Member States and the Secretariat in the process of formulating the document. Although this document is an internal publication and should be subject to periodic review, it will provide the Member States with a good reference to study and review UN peacekeeping operations.

Mr. Chairman,

Before closing, I would like to reiterate the importance of meaningful interaction between troop-contributing countries and other stakeholders and the Security Council. The Security Council Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations is one of the appropriate fora for this purpose. Japan strongly believes that it is necessary for the Security Council to continue its efforts to strengthen interaction with stakeholders when it makes decisions on peacekeeping. As one of the major stakeholders in UN peacekeeping, Japan is ready and able to contribute to the discussion in the Working Group. I would like to encourage all Member States including those outside the Security Council to make efforts to implement this recommendation,

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Related Information (UN PKO and other International Peace Cooperation)
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations Official Web Site other site

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