Sumario: EU Presidency Statement - Security Council: Cooperation between UN and Regional Organisations in Maintaining International Peace & Security (17 October 2005: New York)
Security Council Public Meeting: Co-operation between the United Nations and Regional Organisations in Maintaining International Peace and Security, UK Statement on Behalf of the European Union by H.E. Sir Emyr Jones Parry, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations, New York
I have the honour to speak also on behalf of the European Union. The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.
Mr President, first of all may I thank you for convening this debate on co-operation between the UN and regional organisations; a subject in which the European Union takes an intense interest. For this reason, the UN and the EU signed a joint declaration on co-operation in crisis management in September 2003. We also see this debate as part of the implementation process of the World Summit Outcome. In addition, I'd like to thank all those representatives of regional organisations and entities that have joined us today.
Over the past few years, we have seen co-operation in peace and security between regional organisations and the UN expand, strengthen and develop in unprecedented ways. In many senses, this reflects the changing nature of conflict. Most conflicts of the last fifteen years have been internal conflicts - civil wars that may have erupted owing to failures of governance, abuse of human rights, religious or ethnic persecution and economic exclusion. These internal conflicts have invariably spilled over causing regional problems. Such conflicts may affect or even destabilise neighbouring countries through flows of refugees, insurgents and arms across borders.
For these countries torn apart by civil war, peace is hard won, and recovery a long and complex process. And for the international community, support for a peace agreement following civil war is not just about observing violations of a ceasefire. It is a multi-dimensional task. It extends beyond observation to "robust" peacekeeping where necessary. But it also encompasses the full range of civilian and civilian police tasks: from provision of immediate humanitarian assistance, to support for long-term development plans; from demobilisation of ex-combatants to re-integration programmes for those returning to their communities; from meeting immediate need for police on the ground, to long-term institutional reform of the police force and monitoring and promoting human rights. Both the UN and regional organisations have been involved in all these tasks in conflict situations, in many cases in partnership with each other. They have had to adapt their capabilities and modes of co-operation to meet these new needs.
Mr President, let me give just a few examples of how the UN and regional organisations have co-operated in recent times. In Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote D'Ivoire, it was ECOWAS that provided the first troops on the ground and therefore the initial capability for stabilisation, in advance of UN peacekeeping operations. Similarly, the African Union provided the initial troops for Burundi, before the UN mission was established. In Darfur, the African Union's peacekeeping force, AMIS, is carrying the burden on the ground, and functions with the financial support of the European Union through the African Peace Facility. In Bosnia, there have been a number of linked interventions by the UN and its partners, including more recently the UN police and civilian mission, UNMIBH, which worked closely with NATO's military peacekeeping force, SFOR. The UN mission has now been succeeded by the EU's Police Mission in Bosnia. In addition, in Bosnia, the OSCE is an important stabilising factor engaged in promoting a wider concept of security, including human rights and public administration reform. And the EU has replaced NATO in the main stabilisation role, with support from NATO. Another example is Kosovo, where NATO troops have provided the main stabilisation force, KFOR, which has operated under a UN mandate and in tandem with the UN Interim Administration Mission, UNMIK. Furthermore, UNMIK itself provides an example of the UN's co-operation with others, through the EU's leadership of UNMIK's pillar IV, and the OSCE's leadership of UNMIK's pillar II.
From the development perspective, there are several instances of useful co-operation. One such example is the strategic partnerships and agreements concluded between the European Commission and several UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes. Amongst other things, these partnerships aim to build co-operation for conflict prevention and crisis management. The European Union also makes substantial financial commitments to peacebuilding activities throughout the world through its development programmes.
Mr President, the European Union believes that the case for co-operation between the UN and regional organisations has been emphasised by these examples and many more. Co-operation matters because regional organisations may have a more profound understanding of the situation in these countries, they may have leverage where the UN or other international partners do not, and like good neighbours, regional organisations care more about what is happening in their own backyard and may be prepared to do something about it more quickly than others. Regional and sub-regional co-operation is also an important factor in stabilisation and confidence building. There is a further reason for increasing co-operation between the UN and regional organisations. No one country or organisation can be expected to have all the capabilities to assist a country in conflict, not even the UN. Partnership is essential if we are to get the tasks of conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding done. In doing so, we must, however, keep in mind the overall responsibility for international peace and security vested in the Security Council. Regional organisations should continue to brief the Security Council, where they are involved in issues of international peace and security, including for the prevention of armed conflict.
Mr President, let me turn to some of the opportunities and challenges of strengthening co-operation between the UN and regional organisations.
First, the European Union believes that more can be done to improve co-operation in conflict prevention and to help regional organisations prevent conflict in their own regions. The UN and regional organisations should, as a matter of course, share early warning information, and where possible take forward joint work to prevent the outbreak of conflict. The European Union and the UN Secretariat conduct regular desk to desk dialogue for this very purpose, and this should be strengthened. Where preventative action involves good offices work for conflict resolution, the UN Secretariat and the relevant regional organisation should co-ordinate efforts closely.
Second, in his report, In Larger Freedom, the Secretary-General urged us to establish "an interlocking system of peacekeeping capacities that will enable the United Nations to work with relevant regional organisations in predictable and reliable partnerships". We need to build an understanding of the comparative capabilities of different organisations, and the know-how to work together in a range of different circumstances at short notice. This is not to say that there should be a strict division of labour. Rather, in order to be effective, the international community needs to know which organisation can do what, and in what timeframe.
The Summit Outcome built on In Larger Freedom by encouraging the efforts of the EU and other regional entities to develop capacities for rapid deployment, standby-and bridging arrangements. We should take forward work on these areas now, including issues of interoperability and how to effect a successful transition from an operation led by the UN to one led by a regional entity, and vice versa. Some of this work has already begun. The UN and regional organisations are more regularly carrying out joint exercises, conducting staff exchanges, sharing training, exchanging doctrine, conducting joint planning of operations, sharing information and carrying out joint lessons learned and best practices work. The European Union is working with the UN and the AU in several of these areas.
Third, the relationship between regional organisations and the Peacebuilding Commission will be vital. Their place in the Commission's crucial country-specific work is assured in the Summit Outcome. Regional organisations will have a key role to play in providing information from the field and helping formulate peacebuilding strategies during discussions of the Commission. It will also be the means to build greater coherence between actions of the UN and regional organisations on peacebuilding issues.
Fourth, capacity building of regional organisations needs to be given serious long-term support. In particular, the European Union welcomes the reference in the Summit Outcome Document for the development and implementation of a ten-year plan for capacity-building with the African Union. Many regional organisations are still developing capabilities for the maintenance of peace and security, including the European Union. Direct contact and co-operation among regional organisations should be encouraged. To this end, the European Union supports the development of such capabilities in the African Union and sub-regional African institutions through the African Peace Facility and ESDP mechanisms. And the United Nations also has role to play in this, given its wide experience, network of expertise and its potential to play a co-ordinating role.
Fifth, the developments relating to regional organisations should become a regular part of the Secretary-General's reporting to the Security Council and, as appropriate, the Council should meet regularly with the heads of regional and sub-regional organisations. In this way the Council will be better informed about the situation on the ground, and the options available for the country. In this respect the European Union welcomes the provisions of the Security Council Resolution that has been agreed for this meeting.
Finally Mr President, a word about co-operation between the UN and regional organisations in combating terrorism. In our increasingly inter-connected world, terrorist networks, just like international businesses, cross international borders. Pursuing terrorists or proliferators requires a cross-border response. Regional organisations may often be ideally placed to help countries make a successful response. But at the same time, to be able to tackle these threats with really effective international co-operation, we as individual States need to have some common ground. We need a common vision, and a common language. We need common standards in what we do - in the form of new legal or political norms. This is where the inter-governmental bodies of the UN have a major role to play. The European Union would welcome the opportunity to further enhance counter terrorism co-operation with the UN.
In conclusion, Mr President, regional organisations now play a major role in assisting in the Security Council and United Nations as a whole, in the maintenance of international peace and security. This is a fact that is being borne out today in conflict and post-conflict situations all around the world. The European Union looks forward to strengthened co-operation with the UN and regional organisations in all capacities.
* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.