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UK Mission to the United Nations

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London 18:34, 02 Jan 2013
New York 13:34, 02 Jan 2013

“Over the past several years, inter-mission cooperation has become an important characteristic of UN peacekeeping”

12 December 2012

Statement by Sir Mark Lyall Grant, Permanent Representative of the UK Mission to the UN, to the Security Council meeting on Inter-mission Cooperation in UN Peacekeeping
Ivory Coast UN Peacekeepers

Thank you Mr President for convening this afternoon’s briefing on inter-mission cooperation in UN peacekeeping and more generally for your active chairmanship of the Working Group on Peacekeeping. I would like to thank Under-Secretary-General Hervé Ladsous and Under-Secretary-General Ameerah Haq for their briefings today.

Mr President

Over the past several years, inter-mission cooperation has become an important characteristic of UN peacekeeping. We see this most visibly in the sharing of assets, such as helicopters, and troops between missions in response to crises. As many have said, the support that the UN mission in Cote d’Ivoire received from its sister mission in Liberia in the aftermath of the contested Ivorian Presidential elections is an excellent example of such inter-mission cooperation. Mr Ladsous and Ms Haq have referred to many other such examples.

But inter-mission cooperation is both wider and deeper than an asset-surge in times of crisis.

A new mission can be bolstered and deployed more quickly by the temporary transfer of resources from neighbouring missions. Often speed of deployment is politically critical in such missions. We saw this in the example of UNSMIS benefitting from staff redeployed from UNIFIL and UNDOF for an urgent Syrian mission.  And peacekeepers operating in the same region can profit immensely from sharing risk analysis, from conducting joint planning and operations against common threats, and from sharing experiences of conflict prevention and peacebuilding work in communities living in border regions.

Transferring military assets and personnel, civilian expertise, experience and planning is  a natural response to challenges which escalate quickly to crisis point, and which may not respect international borders. The Security Council should recognise and welcome this reality. Mr Kapoor for India suggested that inter-mission cooperation is promoted not to increase the effectiveness of peacekeeping missions, but to cut down the resources available to individual peacekeeping missions. I do not recognise this description. Effective use of resources is, of course, important, but the motivation behind inter-mission cooperation is greater effectiveness. The Security Council saw this for itself in West Africa, that Force Commanders on the ground are actually often the driving force behind inter-mission cooperation and it is capitals that put a break on such cooperation. And in this context, I pay particular tribute to the flexibility shown by Pakistan on this particular case whose troops were involved on that occasion.

We have heard several strong examples to illustrate the benefit of inter-mission cooperation this afternoon. MONUSCO, UNMISS and UNOCA have begun working together to tackle the threat posed by the Lords Resistance Army, including by establishing a joint radio network for information sharing. MONUSCO helicopters provided critical support to UNMISS during the crisis in Jonglei in this year. UNISFA, UNMISS and UNAMID are set to begin monthly co-ordination meetings to support the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring mechanism. As I mentioned, Military Observers were redeployed from across the region to ensure rapid deployment of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria in earlier this year.

The United Kingdom recognises that some Council members have reservations about inter-mission cooperation. We understand that inter-mission cooperation, while critical to effectiveness, usually offers only temporary solutions and it should not prevent us from addressing more deep-rooted structural deficiencies faced by individual missions. Nor should it be used to avoid addressing shortages of critical assets which affect several missions.

But we are confident that inter-mission cooperation as currently practiced by the United Nations adheres to peacekeeping principles. Appropriate and necessary consultation with TCCs will continue, of course, to take place, and final authority will, of course, remain with the UN Security Council. So, while we understand why delegations may wish to express their concerns and set down their constraints; we feel that these should not be over-emphasised at the expense of a concept which has led to more effective peacekeeping that we should all support.

Mr President

We know that armed groups posing a threat to security and stability frequently live and operate in border areas. We have in this Chamber held debates to consider the insecurity caused by the illicit flow of weapons, drugs and people across porous borders which separate countries affected by, or at risk from, conflict. We know that borders may often be breached by flows of refugees which can be a cause of greater instability. We must therefore ensure that peacekeeping operations either side of such borders have greater flexibility to share resources, expertise and planning in developing joint approaches to tackling such challenges. Peacekeeping operations must be able to surge assets to the point of a crisis rapidly. We remain open to proposals to make inter-mission cooperation easier to achieve in order to ensure that peacekeeping missions are more effective and sustainable.

I Thank you.

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