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Consiglio di Sicurezza – Meeting sulle operazioni di peacekeeping delle Nazioni Unite

Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Sebastiano Cardi, Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al Meeting in Consiglio di Sicurezza sulle operazioni di peacekeeping delle Nazioni Unite —


I thank the Presidency for convening this debate on Peacekeeping and the Secretary-General for his statement, pointing the way to radical changes in peace missions to make them more “fit for our time.”

Italy is a global security provider. We are the top blue helmet among western countries. In addition we participate in a range of non-UN missions such as in Afghanistan, in Iraq, as well as in Somalia and in the Mediterranean to fight human trafficking. We are ready to share our experience to help shape the future of UN Peace Operations.

Madam President,

In a world where the global security challenges have increaseddramatically, peacekeeping remains a crucial tool to maintain peace and security. We should not forget the many success stories of UN peacekeeping on which we should build upon.

UNIFIL, for example, plays a fundamental role of interposition between the parties and of mediation through the Tripartite Forum Mechanism. It is a concrete example of conflict prevention with patience, dedication and continuous effort by the parties.

In West Africa, in Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire, peace missions achieved their goals thanks also to the political dimension of the UN presence, to a coordinated action at regional level and to the critical role of ECOWAS and UNOWAS office. Haiti is another Country where UN intervention has restored conditions of peace and stability.

As the Secretary General underlined, a more holistic approach to peace needs to be embraced. Peace operations should be declined in the broader context of “Prevention”, “Peace Building”, “Sustaining Peace” and post-conflict stabilization, in a sort of “peace continuum”, where the quest for political solutions must be our goal.

Yet, resources are limited and should be utilized in a cost-effective way, including by progressively closing the gap between the resources this Organization spends on peacekeeping (almost 8 billion USD) and the budget for mediation and Special Political Missions (600 million USD). Not only is prevention right, it is also an investment and a savings multiplier.

We agree that peacekeeping missions should be regularly reviewed to assess their effectiveness, adherence to their mandate and the need for adjustments to address evolving situations. This would make it possible to identify and thus fill in potential gaps.

However, when phasing out peacekeeping missions we should avoid early disengagement merely to reduce costs that could force a re-deployment of a new mission in a deteriorated environment, in which restoring peace would cost more in terms of budget and casualties.“Strategic patience” should be at the core of our evaluations.

Madame President,

future peace operations should be shaped by four main principles.

First, the primacy of politics and the centrality of the people. Peacekeeping missions should have a core objective to create the conditions for an inclusive political process, aimed at national dialogue and reconciliation. The protection of civilians, also in conformity with the Kigali Principles, must be one of the main functions of peacekeeping operations.

Second, mandates. We should 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 exit strategy should be provided at the onset to prevent “mission creep”. Sequenced benchmarks linked to political progress in the Country should be established as well as local ownership of stabilization to prevent dependency on the missions.

Mandates should also be flexible to evolve as the situation evolves. We should not refrain, when possible, from phasing out of the military mission with a more agile and light footprint mission based on specialized police units and civilian units focused on stabilization, rule of law, justice and the protection of civilians.

Third, 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, I wish to mention the report prepared in December 2008 by the group of experts chaired by Mr. Romano Prodi calling for predictable financial support to UN-approved African Union peacekeeping missions.

In this context, the European Union can have a major role in complementing on the ground the UN’s efforts, improving triangular cooperation on mandates and mission planning and concluding technical agreements to operate jointly with UN, as is already the case for EUTM in Mali and in the Sahel, as well as for the EU presence in Central African Republic.

Fourth, as we discuss how to make missions more efficient, intelligence, equipment and training are essential. Technological innovation is crucial to improving the performance of peace missions and increasing the security of peacekeepers as highlighted by the use of UAVs in MONUSCO, which Italy provided, first in a mission, several years ago. It also enhances the environmental management of the Peacekeeping operation, as indicated by the recent DFS Environment Strategy.

Training, in particular pre-deployment and mandate-oriented, is of course key. There must be a strong commitment to achieving the highest standards of conduct and discipline of UN peacekeepers, promoting trilateral initiatives between countries providing training, TCCs and PCCs, and donors, including efforts to prevent sexual abuses and exploitation. The long-term challenge consists in promoting self-sufficiency of TCCs and PCCs.

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).

In conclusion, I wish to pay tribute to the women and men serving in UN peacekeeping missions and in particular to those who have lost their lives over the years.