Statement by Mr. Fazlı Çorman, Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations, at the 2009 Substantive Session of the Special Commitee on Peacekeeping Operations

Fazlı Çorman 23.02.2009
Madam Chairperson,

I would like to begin by joining the previous speakers in congratulating you and the members of the Bureau on your election.

I would also like to take this opportunity to extend our appreciation to the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report on the implementation of the recommendations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, and Under-Secretary General Alain Le Roy and Susana Malcorra for their comprehensive and informative statements.

Having associated ourselves with the statement made by the Czech Republic on behalf of the European Union, I would now like to make the following additional remarks reflecting more on the Turkish point of view.

Madam Chair,

Turkey is firmly committed to UN peacekeeping and currently participates in 10 UN peacekeeping missions with a total of 677 personnel, which include military observers, staff officers as well as troops on the ground. Our participation spans various geographies near and far; from the Middle East and Africa to Asia and Latin America. Turkey is also a major troop-contributing country to UN-mandated peacekeeping operations conducted by other regional organizations, namely NATO, the European Union and the OSCE. We also attach particular importance to the civilian component of the UN missions throughout the world. Turkey is presently among the top 15 police-contributing countries in the UN, with 257 police officers deployed at UN missions around the globe. More efforts are also underway to support the new UN peacekeeping operations particularly in Africa.

Turkey fully supports the leading role of the United Nations in peacekeeping operations. However, we also know the complexities faced by UN peacekeeping operations today. Indeed, many UN missions around the world encounter serious human, material, logistical and financial constraints. Some of these constraints significantly restrict the ability of these missions to effectively carry out the mandates formulated by the Security Council. This compels us to improve the effectiveness of peacekeeping missions through better preparation, planing, oversight and evaluation. In view of these considerations, we have lent our support to the joint French-UK initiative launched at the Security Council last month, advocating a comprehensive approach to address the challenges confronting UN peacekeeping in our era.

The enhanced scope of UN peacekeeping operations, coupled with ever-growing demand for peacekeeping around the world, against the background of global economic recession, food and energy crisis and financial meltdown mean that resource constraints will continue at an increasing rate in the years to come. Maximizing global capacity in the face of these difficulties is a major challenge confronting our Organization. Resource generation, capacity-building at the local level and developing effective partnership with other stakeholders as well as improving interoperability among all participants are therefore, essential elements for the sustainability of these operations.

In order to prevent duplications and to save efforts, it is imperative for the UN to establish more effective arrangements with other regional organizations that have complementary peacekeeping capabilities, such as the EU, NATO and in particular the African Union. In this context, we welcome the recent report of the African Union-United Nations Panel on modalities for support to African Union's peacekeeping operations. In particular, we welcome the efforts made towards the enhancement of African peacekeeping capabilities. The success of these efforts requires support from all the relevant UN bodies and organs, as well as from the Member States.

Madam Chairperson,

The UN should also consider ways to ensure a more effective use of existing resources devoted to peacekeeping. This could be achieved, for example, through scaling down peacekeeping missions in those places where the level of security and political stability have been reasonably high through years, and beefing up the peacekeeping forces in countries where conditions remain precarious and unstable. For sure, this requires real-time monitoring of the situation on the ground and a good working report system.

In our quest to improve the efficiency of UN peacekeeping, there is an obvious need to further enhance consultations and cooperation among all the relevant stakeholders, particularly the Security Council, the Secretariat, C-34, the Fifth Committee, the Peacebuilding Commission as well as troop- and police-contributing countries. In this regard, the importance of creating a meaningful partnership between the Security Council, the Secretariat and the troop-contributing countries cannot be overemphasized. After all, it is only natural that those who plan and mandate the peacekeeping operations should interact closely with those who implement these mandates and take the risk on the ground. Through their experience and expertise, troop-contributing countries can provide invaluable assistance to the Security Council at all stages of the preparation, conduct and evaluation of operations. Holding regular meetings of the troop- and police-contributing countries in a timely fashion prior to the Security Council consultations and providing these countries with detailed situation reports would be steps in the right direction.

In addition, more detailed and analytical weekly briefings on peacekeeping operations could be organized by the DPKO, including in the summer months when the activities of many missions actually intensify.

We believe that the UN Secretariat could also benefit from a better balance in the distribution of professional posts related to peacekeeping issues. It is rather disheartening that various major troop- and police-contributing countries are not adequately represented at the Secretariat. Turkey, as one of such countries, expects this imbalance to be rectified. As a result of our long standing peacekeeping operations experience, we believe that we have highly qualified personnel who can provide an important added value, particularly to the operations planning capacity of the Secretariat.

Training of peacekeepers is also an indispensable component of conducting a successful peacekeeping operation. Bearing this in mind, Turkey established a Partnership for Peace Training Center in Ankara in 1998. Since its inauguration, this Center has provided training for some eight thousand peacekeepers from over 70 different countries. The Center continues to cooperate with the UN Secretariat and aligns its programs with the UN standard training modules. We will continue informing the relevant UN bodies on beneficial events organized by the Center which we believe fills a gap in the training aspect of peacekeeping operations. Taking this opportunity, we would like to express our commitment to continue our cooperation for the training of UN peacekeepers in this Center.

Policing is an area that has shown exponential growth for peacekeeping over the last few years. We tend to underscore the importance of the policing function within peacekeeping operations. It constitutes an important pillar to stabilise the situation on the ground. In this context, we welcome the report on the comprehensive review of the role and responsibilities of the Police Division at the UN headquarters and look forward to the implementation of its recommendations, including enhancement of its resource requirements, to improve the effectiveness of UN's policing work.

Madam Chair,

As a major troop- and police-contributing country, Turkey has a keen interest in strengthening the viability, sustainability and effectiveness of UN peacekeeping. The Committee may rest assured of our full cooperation and support during its upcoming deliberations.

Before I conclude, I would like to pay tribute to all the peacekeepers throughout the world and particularly those who have sacrificed their lives in pursuit of a more peaceful world.

Thank you.