Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

United Nations peacekeeping operations: new trends

NEW YORK, 11 June 2014

STATEMENT BY H.E. Karel J.G. van Oosterom Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations Open Debate of the Security Council on “United Nations peacekeeping operations: new trends”

Mr President,

Thank you for organizing this timely and important debate about the continued evolution of Peacekeeping Operations.

The Netherlands aligns itself with the statement by the European Union.

We would like to take this opportunity to pay our respect to the men and women who have sacrificed so much in the service of Peace. In particular we pay homage to those fallen in Peacekeeping operations and welcome the renewed attention for the commemoration of fallen peacekeepers on the 29th of May. We express the hope that further enhancements to the commemoration will be agreed upon in the coming year. 

Our common aim is to improve mission effectiveness, protect civilians and personnel, and facilitate transition after the end of conflict. To realize this aim, in our view four dimensions are fundamental: Innovation, Integration, Instruction and Information. 

Innovation

Circumstances in which peacekeeping operations take place have changed fundamentally. In the past, the key function of missions was inter-position in fixed locations between states. Nowadays, non-state actors, rapidly changing environments, challenges which are at the same time military, political and socio-economic, new threats and new mandates call for new and innovative approaches for our peacekeeping missions. 

Key elements for us are the use of new technical possibilities, enhanced robustness and the need for guaranteed escalation dominance. For our contribution to MINUSMA, the Netherlands has deployed cutting-edge equipment and technology. The more effective we can make Peacekeeping Operations, the sooner transition to the post-conflict phase can take place. 

The new challenges also call for better integration of our efforts.

Integration

Peacekeeping operations cannot function in isolation. In conflict-situations peace, justice and development issues are closely interlinked. Therefore planning of peacekeeping operations must integrate Diplomacy, Defense and Development (3D-approach). This integration should be done at the strategic, operational and tactical level and during the whole lifecycle of a mission.

At the operational and tactical level, strengthening logistical support to balance mission tasks with the necessary assets will help mission start-up and effectiveness. 

Civil-military co-operation and coordination at the country level are fundamental to effective mandate implementation. Such coordination is vital in the complex situations in which missions operate. 

Optimizing inter-mission collaboration ensures the best use of existing assets and resources, as well as temporary backstopping when necessary. 

In order to improve integrated mission planning and execution, we encourage the strengthening of the planning capabilities in the UN secretariat and at mission management level.

Instruction    

When addressing the new challenges, we should further improvement the instruction of peacekeepers. The most valuable asset of the United Nations is its personnel. Our men and women serve in dangerous locations where they can find themselves in harm’s way while upholding the ideals of the Charter and the international community’s Responsibility to Protect. 

Solid training for military and police personnel is of key importance. It prepares them for their difficult task and directly contributes to the effectiveness of the mission. With the multidimensional mandates of today’s peacekeeping operations, peacekeepers need training that establishes basic understanding of the entirety of activities conducted by a mission, as well as the mission’s roles and responsibilities. 

Special attention should be given to the gender and child protection perspective, but also to the role of women in conflict prevention, peace-making and peacebuilding processes. I would like to echo the EU’s words welcoming the UN's resolve in preventing and combating sexual exploitation and abuse and emphasize the key role senior mission leadership plays in ensuring accountability.

Reinforcing the capacity of regional organizations to conduct such training would be one way of providing cost-effective instruction. The Netherlands is actively engaged with regional training programs aimed at enhancing the capabilities of Peacekeepers. 

Information

Adaptability and anticipation are fundamental requirements in situations of conflict, and we must ensure Peacekeeping Operations fulfil both. In order to make balanced decisions, around the clock situational awareness is crucial. 

All Sources Information Fusion Units, such as fielded by the Netherlands in MINUSMA, contribute to such awareness. They are the eyes and ears of the UN in the field, supporting military efforts, but also contributing to the Rights Up Front Initiative through early-warning concerning Human Rights and Protection of Civilians. We encourage the introduction of similar units in other missions in need of better situational awareness. 

In conclusion

In applying innovation, integration, instruction and information, peacekeeping missions will be more effective in realizing the mandates given to them by this Security Council. 

As said before, it is the ambition of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to be a partner for peace, justice and development. 

We will continue to be a partner for other member-states and the UN-system to cooperate in making peace keeping missions more effective. 

Thank you, Mr. President.