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A Broader Approach To Security Stressed

Senior UN Peacekeeping Official Stresses Efficiency And A Broader Approach To Security

New York, Oct 19 2006 8:00PM

Highlighting the increasing importance of United Nations peacekeeping operations, with more staff deployed than ever before, the UN’s top official in the area today stressed the importance of improved efficiency and the need for a broader approach to security to help countries emerging from conflict rebuild without falling back into bloodshed.

“We are coming to see UN peacekeeping as a core activity of this Organization, an activity that is unique in its scope and breadth, and in which we all have a substantial stake,” Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, told the General Assembly’s Fourth Committee.

Noting that the UN has over 93,000 staff in 18 peace operations worldwide, and adding that the figure could grow to 140,000 with a potential operation in Darfur, he said that this showed Member States’ commitment to address conflict worldwide and also a better sense of what UN peacekeeping can and cannot do.

“To respond effectively to this immense demand, I believe that we must focus on two strategic priorities. The first priority is to run the machinery of peacekeeping effectively,” Mr. Guéhenno said, before outlining various improvements, including quality of personnel and other issues, which he first outlined in a reform programme ῰resented to the Assembly last year.

“Our second strategic priority is to run ourselves out of business. It is, quite simply, not possible to take on new demands without managing down our caseload as we go. We have to enhance our capacity to create the conditions for withdrawal while ensuring that the exit of UN peacekeepers is a lasting one.”

“Where we still need to improve… is in the degree and quality of our support to the establishment of sustainable national security institutions and processes… A holistic security sector approach, rooted in early reconstruction, effective governance, human rights and sustainability is an essential component to effective peace operation.

Pointing to Timor-Leste, where deadly violence earlier this year lead the UN to create a new mission for the tiny nation, as well as ongoing day-to-day experiences in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Afghanistan, Mr. Guéhenno pointed out that “efforts to reform parts of the security sector stand little chance of success unless they are part of an overall national security strategy.

Ends

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