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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

Mr. Chairman

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Croatia, Turkey and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia as well as Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this statement.

Mr. Chairman,

The International Community has witnessed, over recent years, an unprecedented surge in Peacekeeping Missions. The current year has been no exception to this trend. In fact, one the most challenging Peacekeeping Mission ever to be conducted jointly by the U.N. and the AU, the Hybrid United Nations/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), was recently mandated and the international community is looking forward to having it implemented. With UNAMID and United Nations Mission in Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), the number of mandated DPKO led Peace Operations has risen to 20. The present number of over 102000 peacekeepers is expected to rise up to about 140000 with the deployment of the authorized personnel in these newly mandated missions. The aforementioned continuous demand in UN led Peacekeeping Missions constitutes clear evidence that the UN is still – and will continue to be – the appropriate forum to address arising threats to international peace and security and that the UN missions are still one of the most valuable instruments available to the international community to deal with such situations.

Mr. Chairman,

The EU has been playing, over the years, a major role in preserving global peace and security. It is our intention to further deepen our involvement with the United Nations, which stands as one of the cornerstones in EU’s external relations, in line with the European Security Strategy. The EU commitment in supporting UN Peacekeeping Operations is clearly demonstrated not only by our financial contributions, which currently stand over 40% of the UN Peacekeeping budget, but also through the troop contributions by EU member States to UN Peacekeeping Missions, such as, for example, UNIFIL and its Maritime Task Force, totaling over 13% of overall contributions as we speak.

The European Union is also of the view that cooperation between the UN and regional and international organizations are a key factor in addressing international peace and security issues. In this regard we are very encouraged by the progress in the cooperation between the UN and the EU in crisis management, in particular the signing on 7 June 2007 of the Joint Statement on UN-EU Cooperation in Crisis Management. We are also encouraged by the Joint Communiqué, adopted on 16 June 2007, between the UN and the African Union, which calls for the strengthening of relations between the SC and the PSC of the AU, particularly on conflict prevention, management and resolution.

In the context of own efforts towards strengthening cooperation with regional and international organizations, we would like to recall the EU’s “Africa Peace Facility”, an original commitment of € 250 million (which after several replenishments has reached a total amount of €384.2M, including additional voluntary contributions by EU Member States of over €39M) from the EU’s development aid budget to support African led peace support operations and to enhance the institutional capacities of the African Union and sub-regional organizations in relation to peace keeping and conflict prevention. In fact €305.6 million have already been committed in support of the AU peace keeping mission in Darfur, €23.4M in support of the “Communauté Economique et Monétaire des Etats d’Afrique Centrale” (CEMAC) mission in the Central African Republic, €5 million in support of the AU mission in the Comoros (AMISEC) and €15.5 million are provided under the Africa Peace Facility for the AU mission in Somalia (AMISOM). As for capacity building a total amount of €27 million has been committed so far.

We also would like to mention the new European Community (EC) Instrument for Stability set to support the UN-administered Trust Fund for the AU-UN ‘Joint Mediation Support Team’ for Darfur, building upon earlier support to the Darfur peace process under the EC ‘Rapid Reaction Mechanism’. This new instrument will also support the establishment of a UN trained Chadian police component in the context of a combined UN-EU intervention to improve the security situation in eastern Chad and Northern CAR. In the case of Somalia, the Instrument for Stability is supporting the establishment of the ‘Strategic Management and Planning Cell’ (SPMC) within the AU Commission’s Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD).

Mr. Chairman,

The EU believes that the concerted efforts of the international community under a stronger UN leadership in the field of conflict prevention would have a beneficiary impact on UN peacekeeping operations. Tremendous costs of peacekeeping missions could be reduced if the effective prevention reinforced responsive actions, as it was pointed out last August during an open debate of the Security Council. Peacekeeping operations going hand in hand with peacebuilding assistance, development aid and conflict prevention shall be the modern UN response to global security threats.

Mr. Chairman,

While recognizing that missions are deployed in ever more dangerous areas, the EU strongly reaffirms that the safety and security of all UN deployed personnel is a paramount concern. Missions have to be provided, from the very beginning, with appropriate capabilities and resources, including situation awareness and early warning systems, to prevent the reoccurrence of such attacks. Attention should also be paid to the proper physical protection of the UN compounds in all stages of its build-up. In this regard, the EU strongly urges the Secretariat to implement the measures recommended in the last reports of the Special Committee for Peacekeeping Operations.

The EU demands that all parties at the mission areas abide by the Geneva Convention and that host Governments hold accountable those responsible for violent acts against peacekeeping personnel and ensure that perpetrators of such acts are brought to justice in accordance with international law.

Mr. Chairman,

The EU is also extremely concerned with the great number of casualties occurring in peacekeeping missions not resulting from violent action. The EU looks forward to being provided with a comprehensive data analysis concerning the circumstances of these casualties as requested in the C34 report. The EU commends the Secretariat for keeping this aspect in the focus of its attention.

The EU considers the training of peacekeepers as a key factor in preventing casualties of all kinds among peacekeepers deployed around the world. The EU is actively engaged in assisting the AU in its preparation of its support of UN PKOs. An example of this effort is the decision taken by the EU to embrace the training part of RECAMP as an EU venture.

The EU believes that more information on current risks and the environment of mission areas, prior to deployment, could be of enormous help to properly equip and train troops in order to prevent casualties. In this sense, we are of the opinion that DPKO should produce pre-deployment threat assessments to share with member states. We also believe that more cooperation on this matter between DPKO and DSS and more interaction with potential TCC/PCC are needed from the early planning stages. Additionally, The EU countries also believe that they will be in a better position to present pledges to new missions if the possibility of making reconnaissance visits prior to such pledges existed. We urge the Secretariat to explore ways to make those reconnaissance visits possible.

Mr. Chairman,

The EU is concerned with the cases of misconduct perpetrated by peacekeeping personnel. Especially when related to sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), acts of misconduct severely harm the credibility of the United Nations and bring increased suffering to those they were supposed to protect. We are strongly supportive to the SG’s zero tolerance policy on SEA cases and we believe that more attention should be put on prevention.

Peacekeepers and UN personnel deployed in the missions should have access to effective recreation activities and programs as these are essential in the prevention of misconduct. Updated information from the last developments in this area would be very welcomed.

The EU is very pleased with the adoption of the revised draft model Memorandum of Understanding last June, which includes provisions to address SEA within contingents. We hope that the new model MOU is already being used and that it can replace the older MOU’s already signed. In this regard the EU would be pleased to learn from the Secretariat the status of its implementation.

The EU commends both the SG’s draft policy statement and draft comprehensive strategy on assistance and support to victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations staff or related personnel (A/60/877) and is committed to help producing an effective Victims Assistance Strategy in the December’s session of the Ad-Hoc WG on this matter.

Mr. Chairman,

The EU considers that a common and updated UN peacekeeping doctrine is essential for the efficiency and effectiveness of UN peacekeeping operations in the future and it will help contributing countries to better educate and train their contingents prior to deployment. To this end, we look forward to the release of the Capstone Doctrine document and we praise the wide consultation process that took place to produce it. The EU also looks forward to the development of the full set of related doctrinal publications.

Mr. Chairman,

While it is encouraging to see that Member States continue to support UN peacekeeping effort by providing troops to newly established missions, the EU follows with some apprehension the recent practice of selectiveness which exclude from the force generation process certain TCC, who were willing to pledge their contingents to a peace operation. Such an approach undermines UN’s credibility. Furthermore, we believe that the UN is best placed to decide which contingents should be deployed to any given mission and to verify their conformity with the COE standards. Different standards among contingents in the strength of the units, training or equipment not only affect operational efficiency undermining mission’s capacity to fulfill the mandates, but also create conditions to increased vulnerability of the personnel implementing mandated tasks, especially in dangerous areas.

Mr. Chairman,

The EU supported, from the very beginning, the SG’s intention to restructure the DPKO and we believe to have played an important role in such process. We understand that this is the time to implement all the agreed changes but we would welcome more information about the status of that process, especially in what concerns the activation status of the Integrated Operational Teams, which we think are a key tool to improve the efficiency of the Secretariat to better plan and support the missions on the field.

The EU has noticed that several senior staff positions are still unfilled or took too long to be filled. The EU would welcome a more expedite appointment of senior UN officials, once we are convinced that such long delays are not contributing to improve the Secretariat restructuring process nor to improve the support to the field missions.

The EU puts great expectations in the new SSR / Rule of Law competence of the Secretariat and looks forward to the issuance of the SG’s report on this matter.

Taking the opportunity of the ongoing restructuring, the EU believes that important lessons can be learned from the UNIFIL Strategic Military Cell and used to improve the working organization of the Office of Military Affairs.

Mr. Chairman,

The EU believes that a better communication between the Secretariat and Member States would help to increase the knowledge of the work that has been done and would allow MS to better support the UN. In that sense, we would suggest DPKO/DFS to streamline the way they share information with member states. There are some areas where more information on a regular and systematic basis would be very much appreciated, notably regarding the implementation of Enhanced Rapidly Deployable Capacities (ERDC) and Integrated Mission Planning Process (IMPP) concepts.

In conclusion, the EU is committed to continue supporting the UN in its effort to bring peace, security and development to where it’s most needed and we believe such effort to be more effective in a context of close coordination and cooperation with international and regional organizations. We commend the efforts of the Secretariat to cope with the new demands and we stand ready to help improving the efficiency of this organization.

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