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Open Debate - United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

(New York, August 25 2011)

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Néstor Osorio Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations 



Mr. President,

Allow me to express my congratulations for your initiative to organize an Open Debate on Peacekeeping Operations and to thank you for the important document that serves as the basis for our discussion. We concur with the views expressed in the sense that, although the notion of "Peacekeeping Operations" does not appear explicitly in the United Nations Charter, it has become one of the main instruments of the organization. Furthermore we agree that despite the shortcomings that still occur, Peacekeeping Operations represent perhaps the most tangible manifestation of collective work and joint efforts of Member States to maintain international peace and security.

Mr. President,

Colombia closely follows the discussions in regards of the restructuring and strengthening of the functioning of Peacekeeping Operations.

Convinced of the necessity to promote peaceful coexistence, we continuously participate in a constructive manner of the tasks that the Organization develops in this area, particularly in Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding Operations, such as the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, Multinational Force & Observers in the Sinai and the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone.

For Colombia, the fundamental principles of Peacekeeping such as the consent of the parties, impartiality and the use of force only in the case of self-defense or defense of the mandate are of crucial compliance. We consider it appropriate to reiterate the validity of these principles and to highlight the fact that they must be taken into account when analyzing the alternatives which seek to respond to the challenges imposed by reality.

We are encouraged by the initiatives oriented to improve the approach between the Security Council, a body that adopts plans and mandates on Peacekeeping Operations, with those who must implement them, especially with the troop-contributing countries. We concur with the perspective in which the definition of the Peacekeeping Operations mandates must address the political context and be oriented towards realistic and clear objectives, which maintain a relation with the available resources. In this sense, the contributions of the widespread membership represented in the General Assembly and in particular in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and in the Fifth Committee are fundamental in the task of seeking greater efficiency and transparency in the tasks relating to Peacekeeping Operations.

I consider it important to highlight three key issues for the effective and efficient functioning of the PKO's: "collaboration on purposes", dedicated to the political and planning aspects of the Peacekeeping Operations; "the collaboration in action", oriented to the operational aspects in the field; and "the collaboration for the future", focused on the development of sustainable capacities to meet the challenges ahead.

One of the essential aspects to make this a concrete collaboration is the establishment of a timely dialogue that takes place before the approval and renewal of the mandates. I wish to emphasize, in this sense, the established practice of the Security Council to convene meetings with troop-contributing countries prior to the renewal of the mandate of the respective mission. We encourage to continue the application of this procedure regularly.

It is appropriate to make a balance of the significance and scope of the Peacekeeping Missions of the United Nations, as we consider it appropriate to review and, if applicable, proceed to rethink the nature and purpose of this kind of Missions. Likewise, be more audacious in the deployment of troops and the civilian component, which becomes effective, because the dynamics of conflicts has changed substantially, due to factors such as organized crime, mass displacement, and violation of human rights, among others. It is well known fact that, the Peacekeeping Missions can not be limited only to the deployment of military and police elements, but also must have a strategic plan that includes the affected countries own national capacities or "hosts" accompanied by programs of social, political and self-sustaining development, on the principles of respect and protection of civilians (the most vulnerable), sovereignty and self-determination of peoples as enshrined in the Charter.

I would also like to highlight the continued willingness and openness to dialogue that my delegation has encountered in the officials of the Peacekeeping Operations Department, during the coordination of diverse contributions to Haiti made by my country, both bilaterally and through MINUSTAH.

Colombia renews its willingness to share the developed institutional progress. Moreover, its compliance to continue contributing in the maintenance of the Peacekeeping Operations to the extent that our domestic conditions allow and to actively participate in discussions regarding the restructuration and strengthening of the capacity of the United Nations in this field.

Thank you very much Mr. President.


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Statement 2011