Prof. U. Joy Ogwu
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations
New York, NY
12th May, 2011
The Nigerian delegation would like to thank Mr. Guéhenno for his concise briefing and his able stewardship of the Senior Advisory Group for the Review of International Civilian Capacities. We are also grateful to Ms. Malcorra for sharing the invaluable perspective of the Department of Field Support on this issue. We also recognize the presence of Ambassador Gasana, Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, and appreciate his contribution to this debate.
The civilian capacity review is an ambition yet necessary advancement in the effort to make our service delivery more responsive to the needs of Member States in the twenty-first century. As threats to peace and stability increasingly arise from health and environmental hazards, as well as from armed conflict, our response mechanisms must be recalibrated and optimized. The framework so well delineated in the report before us (see S/2011/85) provides a solid foundation for this project. Nigeria accordingly supports the vision of the review.
The four key pillars which frame the recommendations are very well defined. They aim to strengthen national ownership, broaden and deepen the pool of international civilian capacity and improve the appropriateness, timeliness and effectiveness of United Nations support. There are several peacekeeping and peacebuilding programmes that would benefit from a better harnessing of the capacities of all actors. Indeed, transition situations, such as in South Sudan, that we have identified this morning present opportunities to identify best practices in applying civilian capabilities in consonance with nationally determined priorities.
The need to assess local needs and existing local capacities, including the capacity to absorb assistance, before we even set about deploying international capacities has often been central to our discussion, especially in the Council. This is mostly true of countries emerging from conflict, which face critical shortages of the capacities and institutions to sustain peace. The United Nations system has an obligation to support the development of home-grown capacities while temporarily filling the gaps to re-establish the rule of law and restore basic services.
With this review, we now have a policy proposal that will determine how these strategies are implemented in the field. As the report seeks to enlist all the key actors in this endeavour, we are encouraged by the initial steps taken by the United Nations Development Programme and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) to review their needs and capacity assessment methodologies to better attune their work in the field. We sincerely hope that the DPKO and the Council can together find ways to reflect certain elements of the review when renewing peacekeeping mandates.
I must say that we are encouraged that the review addressed even the most sensitive areas of analysis, including training for better leaders among a civilian core and creating a culture of accountability. The recommendations in this regard acknowledge that, as a facilitator and partner for peace, the United Nations must be guided in its every action by the needs and priorities of the communities that we serve.
Nigeria would very much like to see this review as a catalyst for change. It is with satisfaction, therefore, that we welcome the Secretary-General’s decision to establish a Steering Group empowered to facilitate decision-making and pursue coordinated action. We have no doubt that Ms. Malcorra is up to the task of leading the Steering Group. We look forward to receiving the formal views of the Secretary-General and his proposals on concrete reform measures and resource allocation.
The civilian capacity review enjoins all of us to utilize available resources more effectively and more efficiently, to seek out and deploy our brightest and best, and to draw on the full range of global and national capacities. In that way, we can increase the ability of the United Nations to keep pace with changing circumstances in the field.
In concluding, I must state that Nigeria has invaluable experience in building international civilian capacities. The Nigerian Technical Aid Corps Scheme, since its inception 17 years ago, has deployed over 2,000 volunteers to complement national efforts to fill capacity gaps in more than 27 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, in the true spirit of South-South cooperation. Indeed, we have shared technical knowhow and expertise with recipient countries based on assessed and perceived needs. In supporting the review, we are willing to offer lessons learned and to work closely with the United Nations.