Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu

Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN

New York, NY.

27th July 2011

As Delivered

My first words must be to express appreciation to Under-Secretary-General Le Roy for the guidance he has provided for this debate, particular in organizing the Force Commanders. I want to warmly welcome the presence of the Force Commanders in the Council. The clarity and incisiveness of their perspectives on the issues under consideration bear out the wisdom and importance of this interaction, which aims to foster greater synergy between the field and the Security Council. Let me commend them especially for their immeasurable sacrifices in leading the various peace missions.

 Since our last engagement with Force Commanders, in August 2010 (6370th meeting), there have been several important developments throughout the United Nations system toward making our peacekeeping efforts more effective. We have seen a more purposeful implementation of peace agreements and maintenance of ceasefires. We have established two new peacekeeping missions — the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) and, following the closure of UNMIS, the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).

 However, major challenges remain in such critical areas as civilian protection, bridging the gaps in capacity in human and material resources, and capping troop casualties. The topics under consideration this morning are therefore apt and responsive to trends in contemporary peacekeeping discourse.

 My point of departure this morning will be the key issue of the conditionality policy of the United

Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) examined by General Prakash.

 We share his assessment and views, and we remain convinced that it is prima facie counterproductive for MONUSCO to provide support to or carry out joint operations with the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC) where the latter has known human rights violators in strategic and command positions. Indeed, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Roger Meece, once noted, “the conditionality policy has resulted in the removal of some of such FARDC commanders involved in the perpetration of crimes against civilians in the regions where MONUSCO has a strong presence”.

 To strengthen such positive assessments, the conditionality policy must be adequately complemented by sustained efforts to build the capacity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to maintain internal security through disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration — and, of course, security sector reform. With structural fragmentation, absence of clear command and control, operational weakness and improper discipline, FARDC is often unable to effectively provide protection for civilians. In debating the conditionality policy, therefore, my delegation prefers a strategic alliance between MONUSCO and FARDC that will complement the capacity of FARDC, retain MONUSCO’s relative oversight and ultimately boost the operational effectiveness of the Force.

 The primary expectation of civilians in the communities where peacekeepers deploy is that they will be afforded appropriate protection. Protection of civilians is therefore at the heart of the mandate of most United Nations peacekeeping missions, including the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

 With reports of aerial bombardments, artillery shelling and heavy fighting between the Sudanese armed forces and armed movements, particularly in the areas of Shangil Tobaya in Northern Darfur and Djebil Mara in Western Darfur, deterring attacks on civilians remains a daunting challenge in Darfur. Although the primary responsibility to protect civilians rests with the Sudanese authorities, greater cooperation between the Government of the Sudan and UNAMID will undoubtedly ensure better protection of civilians.

 My delegation commends UNAMID for employing a more robust posture to protect civilians and for increasing active patrolling in Western Darfur. In particular, we welcome its enhanced logistical support to humanitarian organizations and support for the child protection mainstreaming agenda.

 Since the adoption of Council resolution 1701 (2006) and the deployment of troops of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), south Lebanon has gradually moved toward stability. The progress can be partly attributed to UNIFIL’s close coordination with the Lebanese armed forces and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). However, the security situation remains very fragile. The deadly incident of 15 May along the Blue Line and the terrorist attacks on 27 May on six UNIFIL peacekeepers call for further reflection. Yesterday there was another attack on five peacekeepers at Sidon.

 My delegation unequivocally condemns these attacks. We call on the parties — the Lebanese armed forces and the IDF — to fulfil their obligations under resolution 1701 (2006) to ensure the safety and security of UNIFIL personnel. Indeed, the parties must leverage the regular tripartite meetings convened by the UNIFIL Force Commander to strengthen confidence and reinvigorate hope in the UNIFIL forces.

 United Nations peacekeeping is at a critical juncture. Meeting the demands for peacekeeping operations has stretched the Organization’s capacity to the limits, exerting enormous pressure, enormous strain, on its peacekeeping efficiency. Our peacekeeping operations are increasingly multidimensional, requiring greater coordination and cooperation between the various constituents, including the military, civilian police and regional and other, informal, organizations. The challenges have been varied, ranging from preventing the appearance of conflicts to restoring peace when the conflicts eventually do appear.

 Deploying troops with the necessary training, equipment and logistical support to effectively undertake the complex and potentially dangerous task faced by peacekeepers remains a key determinant of an operation’s success. In that connection, my delegation reiterates that adequate emphasis be placed on the deployment of troops with the capacity to respond adequately to the cultural nuances in each field station. That, from our point of view, should also be a priority when considering inter-mission cooperation, as was recently seen in the United Nations Mission in Liberia and the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI).

 The early resolution of peace across many of our missions is increasingly dependent on the work of civilian experts in key areas such as the rule of law, human rights and child protection. Recent developments in UNAMID and UNOCI lend further credence to the significance of building sustainable national capacities in these areas. In this regard, we encourage the Office of the Rule of Law and Security Institutions to coordinate its activities with relevant actors within and outside the United Nations, including the non-governmental organizations that inherently have the capacity to remain in the field well after the conclusion of a United Nations peacekeeping mission.

 As we continue to confront the diverse challenges to peacekeeping, we must leverage the lessons learned from previous experiences. We can begin by identifying the issues that have most often held missions back from assuming their full range of capabilities. An effective early warning system can forestall conflict, limiting threats to international peace and security. Member States and regional bodies should seek more effective strategies to identify and address the deep-rooted causes of conflict within their countries and regions. That will ultimately help to ensure that when peace comes, it will be deeply rooted and sustainable.

 I want to affirm that Nigeria remains fully committed to collective security, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter. While paying tribute to those who have paid the ultimate price in the line of duty so that others may live in peace, let us take this opportunity to renew our resolve as peacekeepers to respecting and preserving the fundamentals of United Nations peacekeeping.