UNSECCO: Statement on Strengthening Cooperation with Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs)
Before making my intervention, I would like to commend warmly the outgoing members of the Council, Argentina, Canada, Malaysia, Namibia and the Netherlands, for their excellent contribution to the work fo the Council over the last two years. As an incoming member of the Council, Irelandd is fully committed to carrying out the tasks with which the member states have entrusted us.
We warmly welcome today's debate under your Presidency, Mr Minister, and we particularly support the format. As was noted by many speakers this morning, this is a very timely initiative of the Singaporean Presidency which responds to the concerns of many troop contributing countries that the Security Council must do more to take into account the views of TCCs.
Ireland associates itself with and supports the statement made this morning by Sweden on behalf of the European Union. In addition to the comments made by the European Union, I would like to add the following in my national capacity.
While the order in which I take the floor today reflects Ireland's current status as a member of the Security Council, that position is a temporary one. This is in contrast to our position as a significant troop contributor which, over the last forty years can reasonably be described as permanent. My remarks therefore reflect the interests of both a member of the Security Council and a committed troop contributor.
It is entirely appropriate for the Security Council to discuss in this way with troop contributing countries how their concerns can best be taken on board by the Council. It is vital that the Council engages with and listens to TCCs before taking any decisions affecting the mandate of a peacekeeping operation.
Under Article 24 of the Charter, member states confer on the Security Council the "primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security" and to carry this function out on their behalf.
The Security Council has certain obligations under the Charter in this regard. The creation of peacekeeping operations is among the most important of its responsibilities. But in fulfilling its obligations, the Council also has a responsibility to take in to account the views of the countries which contribute troops to these missions.
Troop contributors have a particular concern to ensure that the mandates adopted by the Security Council are clear, credible and achievable. This point should be readily understood by all, including by those members of the Organisation which commit their troops to UN command and those which are sometimes reluctant to do so.
The point made by India, this morning, about the high rate of peacekeepers provided by developing countries is a telling one which should give rise to reflection.
As a contributor to many UN missions over the years, Ireland is convinced that we, and other TCCs, can make an essential practical input in to the work of the Council when it is considering the mandate of a mission.
We agree with Brahimi that TCCs should be consulted at the very initial stages, and at all stages throughout an operation, most particularly where a change of mandate is involved.
Resolution 1327 (2000) is the most significant element to date in the evolving framework for consultations between the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop contributors.
We take a practical approach to what needs to be done. We look at the useful mechanisms which are already in place, ask how they can be used more effectively and then question what more needs to be done.
It is important to register that consultations have improved dramatically over the past two years. The new Military Advisor, General Ford, has made a particular contribution since his appointment. The Secretariat must be commended for this effort.
The Military Adviser must continue to brief the Security Council on military matters. The Council needs to have at its disposal the best information available to it when making decisions and the presence of the Military Adviser is crucial to this requirement.
The Military Advisor should also be available to brief TCCS. Indeed, we welcome the openness and receptiveness expressed by Deputy Secretary-General Frechette on behalf of the Secretariat this morning in this regard.
The Secretariat now circulates their briefing notes to contributors. This is a positive development. We ask that both military and political briefing notes be made available to troop contributors well in advance of consultations and that every effort be made to ensure that briefings are as comprehensive as possible.
We, the member states of the UN and the Secretariat, must draw on lessons learned from recent experiences. We suggest, as a matter of course, that when a mandate is completed, there should be routine discussion with troop contributors, the Council and the Secretariat on lessons learned.
The President of the Security Council, representatives of the Secretariat and, importantly, all members of Council, should be present at a senior level at all consultations with troop contributors. This is very usefully re-affirmed in Resolution 1327. I wish to underline the importance that we attach to this.
This requires Troop Contributors to take the consultations seriously, to be present at an appropriate level and to participate actively. For useful interaction to occur, all sides must become involved.
All of this involves resources. The Secretariat requires manpower to respond to all of these demands.
My delegation has been disappointed at the response of the membership to the request of the Secretary General for resources to implement the recommendations of the Brahimi Panel. During the main session of this General Assembly, less than half of the posts requested by the Secretary General were approved. Many of those posts would have improved the quality of service which the Secretariat provides to troop contributors, and which we demand of the Secretariat.
If we are serious about improving UN peacekeeping, and improving the manner in which troop contributors are engaged in the system, it follows that we must be prepared to finance the necessary posts. If we are not prepared to accept the recommendations of the Secretary General as to what he requires to do a better job, there is something hollow in those demands we hear for a greater contribution from the Secretariat.
My delegation has listened very carefully to the debate so far. We have heard several delegations call for the creation of a permanent structure which would allow troop contributors to remain in ongoing dialogue with the Security Council about the preparation, amendment and implementation of peacekeeping mandates in which their troops are involved.
We support such a concept and look forward to discussing specific proposals, such as that which Canada intends to bring forward and that which the UK has proposed.
For our part, we feel that useful purpose would be served if the Security Council were to put in place a structure for ongoing dialogue with significant troop contributors. This arrangement could operate both vertically, in relation to individual peacekeeping missions, and horizontally, in relation to cross-cutting issues applying to peacekeeping more generally. Picking up the point made by Australia this morning, these new structures should not be burdensome, nor should they affect the ability of the Council to make timely decisions.
However, we would not, for the moment, wish to see this mechanism replace the current provisions under which the Council has a formal consultation with troop contributors prior to each mandate renewal.
Many other interesting proposals have been put forward during today's discussions. We look forward to discussing these in more detail with troop contributors and within the Security Council. Top