Statement by Ambassador Peter Thomson, Permanent Representative of Fiji at the Open Debate of the Security Council on “Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining international peace and security”
From the outset, the Fiji Delegation would like to thank you for choosing the subject of this thematic debate. It is most pertinent given the growing number of mandates on peacekeeping arising from the Security Council, and the increasing complexities of the tasks of peacekeeping missions.
Peacekeeping missions of today are not the peacekeeping missions of yore. They include mandates that go well into peacebuilding and sometimes developmental mandates related to rebuilding of national capacities in the security sector.
Fiji has in various forums expressed the need for implementation of Security Council peacekeeping mandates to be focused on the needs of the local situations. This includes providing expertise most suitable for the systems of the local situations, and sourcing peacekeeping expertise from States and regions which are able to provide unified or similar advice, particularly in the areas of capacity building of local institutions. Where expertise from different backgrounds gives well-intentioned advice, it can nonetheless result in local capacities that are not uniform, and may not be best suited for the local context.
In such situations, the contributions of regional and/or sub-regional groupings which benefit from coming from similar backgrounds to the host country can be advantageous. What we are saying is that the UN should not measure the success of contributions to any peacekeeping mission by the number of States contributing troops, police, corrections or other experts, but by the efficacy of the contributions made in meeting the host country’s requirements. It is therefore the Fiji delegation’s contention that in examining the principles and forms of cooperation between the UN and regional/subregional organizations, one element that is often missing from the discussion is how to encourage contributions to peacekeeping from regions that are most suited to the local situation in the country concerned, and to encourage and use collective peacekeeping capabilities accordingly.
In the Pacific Islands region, we are taking regional initiatives to support UN peacekeeping. Fiji already has a well-established record in the service of UN peacekeeping. We have recently taken on a new challenge upon request by the UN – that of contributing 501 troops to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights, at a critical juncture in the Mission’s work. Recognising our established tradition of peacekeeping, and the ability of our region to contribute further, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has recently agreed to the concept of establishing an MSG Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The MSG is a subregional organization headquartered in Port Vila, Vanuatu comprised of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, the FLNKS of New Caledonia and my own country Fiji. The MSG’s peacekeeping concept is focused on developing collective peacekeeping capability in the area of police peacekeeping. The UN DPKO has agreed to meet a MSG delegation in New York to discuss UN support for the development of such collective peacekeeping capability. We look forward to the fruition of this visit, and to useful discussions being held while the delegation is in New York with a view to assisting the MSG realise its potential to play a positive role in the UN peacekeeping community.
In addressing the principles and forms of cooperation between the UN and regional and subregional organisations for the maintenance of international peace and security, we recognize that the UN must adhere to the provisions of the Charter which specifically prohibit any enforcement action without the authorization of the Security Council. Actions by regional and/or subregional organisations must therefore be consistent with the mandates and authority of the Security Council.
I would like to conclude by paying tribute to all those who have served in UN peacekeeping operations since 1948. For their sake, and for the sake of the people in whose countries they serve, our efforts must remain focused on optimising UN peacekeeping in response to changes in global realities. Today's discussion is surely a further step in that direction.
I thank you Madam President.