Mr. O. C. Onowu

Minister/Security Council

Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN

New York, NY

26th August, 2011

As Delivered

I thank you, Sir, for the initiative of convening this open debate and the excellent concept paper (S/2011/496, annex) that provides the basis of our discussions today. I also thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive briefing.

 Peacekeeping, a rather recent concept that is not reflected in the Charter, has evolved as the United Nations flagship endeavour. As a nation from the continent with the highest concentration of current United Nations peacekeeping operations, Nigeria places a special premium on this subject. Informed by our national experiences, my contribution this morning will focus on the outlook for United Nations peacekeeping operations from three perspectives.

 The first is the issue of mismatch between resources and mandates. Meeting the demands of modern peacekeeping operations has stretched the United Nations capacity to its limits and put a strain on the effectiveness of peacekeeping. In this context, it is not surprising that several peacekeeping missions cannot deliver the results expected of them. There is a need to strike a balance between the expectations of the Council and the resources given to enable peacekeeping missions to implement their mandates.

 Our mandates must not only be clear but also adequately resourced, in terms of both personnel and of international outlay. Hence, there is a need for accurate assessment of mission requirements, the optimal use of available resources across our missions, and the firm commitment of Member States to United Nations peacekeeping.

 The second issue relates to partnerships and capacity-building. The multidimensional nature of the new generation of peacekeeping operations requires improved collaboration and coordination among peacekeeping actors, including regional organizations. It is vitally important to better align the objectives and performance criteria of the various peacekeeping missions. In keeping with the spirit and letter of resolution 1353 (2001), partnership also implies seeking the views and benefiting from the experiences of the troop- and police-contributing countries in the deliberations on and design of peacekeeping missions. In this regard, I wish to reiterate the strategic role of the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations. We strongly believe that the platform of the Working Group can be better harnessed in synchronizing the efforts of the troop-contributing countries and the Security Council in the formal atmosphere it provides.

 As regards capacity-building, we note the considerable progress that has been made in several missions — such as the United Nations Mission in Liberia and the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste, among others — in strengthening the capacity of host countries in various areas, including police, judicial and corrections capacities. However, the real test of the success of these various missions’ support to the host countries is the degree to which the host authorities are able to sustain efforts initiated by the peacekeeping operations after their departure.

 Following the independence of South Sudan on 9 July, UNMIS was brought to a successful close and the Council shepherded the establishment of two new peacekeeping missions. Drawing on the lessons for missions that have had to contend with national conflicts with subregional dimensions, such as MONUSCO, we believe that the authorities of the new missions — the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei — should work more closely together with host nations in deterring and eliminating threats posed by armed groups and focus efforts on disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration. Such collaboration would make significant contributions to improving daily lives of the residents of Abyei and South Sudan.

 Thirdly, I wish to seize this opportunity to remind ourselves that peacekeeping has become a valuable instrument for maintaining international peace and security. As with all valuable instruments, the integrity of peacekeeping operations must be protected and preserved.

 We must ensure that the principles relating to the use of force do not by themselves jeopardize a mission’s objective. Indeed, when force is deployed, the operational mandate should adapt to the local context and the requirements of the field. It is equally important to emphasize respect for the principle of national sovereignty. A peacekeeping operation should be considered only in situations in which parties previously at war have agreed to sheathe their swords and to involve the United Nations in enforcing a peace accord. The United Nations must remain one hundred per cent neutral in conflicts.

 Guided by these principles and practices, Nigeria remains fully committed to the principle of collective security, as enshrined in the Charter. It will remain a reliable contributor of troops to the United Nations operations.

 In concluding, we would like to thank Council members, the Secretary-General and the international community for their words of support following the bombing incident that occurred in Abuja today.