Statement delivered by Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council briefing on the United Nations peacekeeping operations —
I thank the Under Secretary-General Lacroix and the Force Commanders for their briefings that are a valuable contribution to the current debate on the reform of the peacekeeping.
In a world where global security challenges have increased dramatically, peacekeeping remains a crucial tool to maintain peace and security.
Yet, resources are limited and should be utilized in a cost-effective way. We need a more holistic approach and peace operations should be declined in the broader context of “Prevention”, “Peace Building” and “Sustaining Peace” in a sort of “peace continuum”, where the quest for political solutions must be our primary goal.
Peacekeeping missions should therefore be regularly reviewed to assess their effectiveness, adherence to their mandate and the need for adjustments to address evolving situations on the ground. This would make it possible to identify and thus fill in potential gaps.
In this context, it is of paramount importance to receive briefings and evaluations from Force Commanders and to have in depth discussion among us on possible options.
Listening to the Force Commander today, we are more concerned about the security situation in the DRC and we would like to hear more about the assessment of the situation in the Kasai region. The threats flaring up all over the country require an even more mobile posture of MONUSCO, that has to ensure the protection of civilians in several provinces and at the same time, to assist the Government in the run-up to elections. In this context, flexibility is key. We are confident that the last renewal of the mandate, that envisages also the possibility to use troops and assets from other missions in the region, will provide sufficient flexibility and that in the coming months MONUSCO will be able to improve its performance, enhancing its mobility and effectiveness.
The situation in CAR is another example of the different challenges and asymmetric threats peace missions have to face today. We commend the robust posture of MINUSCA, that prevented the armed groups in CAR to expand their control over larger swathes of the country. However, it is very unfortunate that in recent weeks the UN mission was the target of deadly attacks, which resulted in five peacekeepers killed and several wounded. We reiterate our deepest sympathy to the families of the victims and to Cambodia and Morocco.
On a more positive note, I would like also to underline the support of the EU Training Mission (EUTM) in CAR that is providing an invaluable contribution to the reconstruction of the national army. The involvement of regional actors and the role of regional and sub-regional organizations is key to establish an effective and successful political process. In this regard, the European Union can have a major role in complementing on the ground the efforts of other relevant players.
We also believe that the “Mutual Commitment Framework” signed between the International Community and CAR is proving as a valuable instrument of cooperation. This is a clear example of how the mandate of the mission can be linked to political progress to enhance the local ownership of the stabilization process and prevent dependency on the missions.
Speaking of UNDOF, its area of operations is quite a risky one and the presence of non-State actors can lead to unintended escalation arising from accidental clashes between the parties. In terms of preventive diplomacy, it would be advisable that UNDOF can strengthen coordination mechanisms with the parties on the model of what realized in the same region by UNIFIL through the remarkable tripartite mechanism. This mechanism has shown how important the coordination and liaison functions can be, for a peacekeeping mission, in order to maintain stability, defuse tensions and prevent escalation of incidents.
As regards UNMIL, after almost 14 years everybody recognizes the success story behind this peacekeeping operation. Throughout these years, UN presence in the country has helped to rebuild what a devastating civil war had destroyed, leading the Liberian authorities to assume fully responsibility for their own security.
At the same time, UNMIL case exemplifies a flexible and modern approach to peacekeeping, based on a gradual methodology in managing troops and police presence in the country, on an appropriate integration mechanism with the other regional peacekeeping operation, as well as on coordination with the peacebuilding dimension, in order to ensure an orderly withdrawal in march 2018. In this regard it is important to avoid early disengagement that can be counterproductive. “Strategic patience” should be at the core of our evaluations.
Finally, I want to thank the Presidency for this opportunity to listen to Force Commanders and to engage with them in a fruitful dialogue. We stand ready to continue to discuss peace missions, also with TCCs and PCCS, with the common aim to have smarter PK missions, that are effective and accountable to the maximum extent possible.