Statement by H.E. Yaşar Halit Çevik, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the UNSC Open Debate on UN Peacekeeping: A Multidimensional Approach

Yaşar Halit Çevik 21.01.2013
Mr. President,

At the outset, I wish to express our appreciation for the participation of H.E. Mr. Jalil Abbas Jilani, Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, as he presided over the debate today. I commend the efforts of your Delegation, namely you Ambassador Khan, and you able team, in preparing the comprehensive concept note and in the adoption of Resolution S/2013/27, both of which highlight the issues and challenges that need more attention. The convening of today's debate and adoption of this resolution are a clear reflection of the longstanding exemplary commitment of Pakistan to UN peacekeeping efforts throughout the world. I would like to also thank the Secretary General for his briefing.

Mr. President,

Peacekeeping operations play a critical role in supporting a country in providing a better future for its inhabitants, and may have different functions depending on the unique circumstances of each host country. Security is a precondition for development, and development generates more security. Therefore, although assisting the host country to create a physically more secure environment is one of its primary tasks, supporting national peacebuilding efforts should lie at the heart of peacekeeping operations. We thus welcome the concept of peacekeepers being “early peacebuilders”.

Over the past year or so, the UN Secretariat and the Security Council have spent considerable time and energy in developing a new conceptual framework for peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities. Thanks to these efforts, we now have a better and a more thorough understanding on these issues. In particular, clarification of the nexus between peacebuilding and peacekeeping was highly useful and important.

Peacemaking should also be added into this nexus. We believe that it is essential to use all three tools within a coherent, integrated and strategic framework, in order to achieve sustainability. Turkey placed particular emphasis on these issues during its membership of the Council in 2009-2010, including by holding a Summit in September 2010, and an informal retreat for the members of the Council in İstanbul, in June 2010, on this subject. Now, together with Finland and the Group of Friends, we are working on how to further the concept of mediation in all stages of conflicts, including in peacekeeping and peacebuilding phases.

Now that we have a better conceptual framework and a better understanding of the interlink between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, the next step should be to concentrate on translating this framework into concrete action both in the Security Council and in the field. In this regard, producing clear and achievable mandates and adjusting them as needed, to reflect changing circumstances are necessary for successful outcomes.

Actively supporting national authorities in building their capacities is essential, particularly taking into account the fact that peacebuilding is primarily a national responsibility. In this regard, we welcome the Civilian Capacities Initiative. Furthermore, as peacekeeping missions are economic forces on their own, it is important to further strengthen their link with the local economies. This is indeed, a peacebuilding measure in itself.

On the other hand, we have to be realistic and recognize the fact that there is considerable local resentment, reaction and opposition to peacekeeping missions. One of the priorities of any peacekeeping mission should be to win the hearts and minds of local peoples, which can be primarily achieved by demonstrating the path to a better future. As such, carefully addressing root causes is to the benefit of the international community at large.

Mr. President,

Ensuring coordination and coherence within the UN, including through exchange of information and consultation among the Security Council, the General Assembly, ECOSOC and the Peacebuilding Commission, is clearly a prerequisite not only for a more effective outcome here in New York, but on the ground as well. Partnerships are equally important. Actors that have similar peacekeeping and peacebuilding capabilities, especially regional and sub-regional organizations, should be supported. Such streamlining could also be viewed as a sound investment in a time of austerity. Additionally, there’s also a need for more regionally coordinated approaches. Involvement of regional stakeholders will increase the chances of success and sustainability of peacebuilding efforts, even after the peacekeeping missions have completed their mandates.

The peacebuilding element of peacekeeping operations is also important during the transition and withdrawal phases. We must ensure that transition from a peacekeeping setting will not lead to a loss of interest and support to the relevant country. Ironically, many peacebuilding tasks are needed even more after the withdrawal stage. Therefore, even when peacekeeping contingents are being scaled down, the level of support for peacebuilding tasks should not dwindle. If the conditions to prevent a relapse are not properly established and sustained, ultimately a waste of precious human and material resources and duplication cannot be avoided.

Last, but not least, let me also underline the importance of mainstreaming women’s participation in all stages of the peace processes. We welcome the increasing awareness within the UN system and among Member States to remove the constraints on such participation, and look forward to seeing further empowerment of women’s role in peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding endeavors.

Before concluding, I wish to pay homage to the women and men serving as Blue Helmet, and express our condolences for the peacekeepers who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.

Thank you.