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Security Council – Open Debate on Peacekeeping Operations

Statement delivered by Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on Peacekeeping operations: Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace —

I thank the Egyptian Presidency for today’s debate which is in continuity with the strategic discussions the Council is having on how the UN and its peacekeeping missions can best contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security. Our upcoming meeting with the Peace and Security Council of the African Union will add to these discussions.
Allow me to thank all the briefers for their insights and in particular Amb. Rosenthal whose clear recommendations and views are at the heart of the Sustaining Peace agenda. Implementation has to be our key word now.

Mr. President,

Italy aligns itself with the statement to be pronounced by the Delegation of the European Union and wishes to add some national remarks.

Thanks to the parallel SC and GA resolutions on Sustaining Peace, the concept of “peace continuum” is embedded in our daily narrative. It must now be implemented. In this regard, we encourage the Secretary General to advance in his vision and review of the Secretariat structure, including through new distribution of roles and responsibilities. We commend the remarkable efforts already undertaken and look forward to further recommendations which will focus on the peace and security pillar.

Mr. President,

The pursuit of political settlements should be the UN’s overall aim when it intervenes to restore peace and security. Preventive diplomacy and working towards a negotiated, inclusive, political solution before a crisis erupts are, in our opinion, the measuring stick of our work and the smartest choice. Once a crisis has erupted despite all such efforts, and after the UN has successfully stopped escalation, it then becomes essential to avoid relapse in conflict after that initial intervention.

Against this background, my delegation would like to advance some concrete suggestions:

First, Mandates.

Peacekeeping missions should have in their mandates a core objective to contribute to creating the conditions for an inclusive political process, aimed at national dialogue and reconciliation, by defusing domestic tensions and violence.

It is thus key to define an entry strategy, clear attainable objectives and measurable benchmarks for all the parties involved. At the same time, clear benchmarks for launching a responsible and coordinated exit strategy should be provided at the onset to prevent “mission creep” and the potential relapse of conflicts. These benchmarks must take in full consideration the overall final and long-term objective of “peace continuum’’. As a result, mandates should not be seen as crystalized.
They should be flexible to evolve not only as the situation in the Country and in the region evolves, but also as new challenges and threats to peace and security emerge. In this context, regular mission reviews are also key.

Second, Capacities to implement mandates.

We should not refrain, when possible and appropriate, from phasing out the military mission with a more agile and light footprint mission based on specialized police and civilian units. Such a move would help us to better focus on so called “bridging tasks” between peace keeping and peace building, such as stabilization, rule of law, justice and the protection of civilians. These tasks are essential to anchor the initial progress made and contribute to a truly sustainable peace.

In this sense, we should also take in due consideration all the tasks that can enhance the effectiveness of peacekeeping mission, thus helping to pave the way to a sustaining-peace-oriented transition, such as the protection of cultural heritage – which is part of the MINUSMA mandate – or the provisions for an enhanced vigilance to the environmental footprint of peacekeeping mission, reaffirmed in MONUSCO.

Equally, institutional consolidation is key to bridge peacekeeping and sustaining peace efforts; in this regard, the transition this Council enacted from MINUSTAH to MINUJUSTH in Haiti is a model case and test of the UN ability to shore up national authorities in the critical shift from crisis management to a durable peace while envisaging a responsible exit strategy from peacekeeping towards a strengthened development assistance.

Last, but not least, for a real sustainable peace, it is key to ensure that those who are responsible for the implementation of the mandate, that is peacekeepers, are reliable points of reference. This is why it is essential to adopt a zero tolerance policy against those Blue Helmets who have committed sexual exploitation and abuses. It is not only a matter of full respect of fundamental human rights, but also a matter of UN’s credibility.

In this framework, training, in particular pre-deployment and mandate-oriented, is of course key. In this regard, allow me to recall Italy’s role as a training and logistics hub thanks to its facilities in Vicenza (COESPU), Brindisi (Global Service Center) and Turin (UN Staff College).

Third, partnership.

The UN cannot and should not do everything on its own but should work in close partnership as an enabler for peace with entities and individuals that can contribute to our common objective.
The involvement of regional and sub-regional organizations and the implementation of Chapter VIII of the Charter are crucial to address international crisis and find sustainable solutions. In this respect, this Council’s visit to Addis Ababa to meeting its counterpart at the African Union is an important step to further strengthen the cooperation between the two Organizations. I would also like to recall the initiative of the G5 Sahel Countries and the role of European Union as both can have a major role in complementing on the ground the UN’s efforts.

There is also clear evidence that no sustainable and lasting peace is possible without civil society’s active involvement in peace processes and in particular the involvement of women. The full and sustained implementation of UNSCR 1325 and following ones, including, in particular, UNSCR 2242 is therefore key and the UN and its member States should multiply their efforts in this direction. Making more use of women’s capacity as change makers when it comes to conflict prevention, mediation and preventive diplomacy, will lead to higher peace dividends and dispute settlements and is at the core of an initiative promoted by Italy to establish a network of Women Mediators in the Mediterranean, in order to reduce and prospectively fill the existing capacity gap in this area .

Fourth, better use of tools already at our disposal.

I will limit my remarks to the role of Peace Building Commission and the need for this Council to constantly improve the use of this advisory body to break the silos between our three pillars of action and between headquarters and the field. The overall objective must be strengthening the UN’s capacity to “deliver as one”.

Finally, resources.

They are limited and should be utilized in a cost-effective way. Nonetheless, savings cannot be an objective in itself, but a means, when appropriate, to enhance the efficiency not only of peacekeeping missions but also, more broadly, of UN’s activities. This thus includes the need to progressively close the gap between the resources this Organization spends on peacekeeping and the budget for mediation and Special Political Missions.

As per our peacekeeping missions, the different options to provide financial support envisaged in the report of the Secretary-General can be chosen on a case by case basis. Already in 2008, the report prepared by the panel of experts chaired by former Prime Minister Romano Prodi called for predictable and sustainable financial support to United Nations-approved African Union peacekeeping missions. We are therefore in favor of exploring the use of assessed contributions, provided, of course, that the appropriate set of requirements in terms of troop quality, training, equipment and high accountability standards are met, especially when it comes to effectively counter exploitation and abuse cases.

Mr. President,

the new approach that we are requesting to the peacekeeping operation requires a strong collective effort and political commitment. Italy will work to construct consensus together with the Secretary General, the Secretariat our partners in the Council, and the broader membership.

Thank you.