by Delegation of Ukraine,
at the general debate of the regular session
of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations
(25 February 2014, New York)
Let me begin by congratulating you and other elected members of the Bureau.
I would like to thank USGs Hervé Ladsous and Ms Ameerah Haq for their informative briefings. Our appreciation also goes to DPKO and DFS for the informal briefings as well as many other useful pre-session materials.
Ukraine aligns itself with the statement by the Delegation of the European Union. At the same time, I would like to make few specific points in my national capacity.
I would like to take note of the very important for my delegation briefing “Military helicopters in support of Peacekeeping Operations” which was recently conducted by the Secretariat. We acknowledge the progress that we all achieved during last year, especially on increasing of the utilization rates of the combat helicopters to 70%.
We are working together with the Secretariat in order to reach our common goal – to close the existing gap. In this respect we fully support the ideas of the regular review of Force Requirements through Mission Capability Studies, improvement of LOA incentives, continuation synergies through inter-mission cooperation, further increase of the utilization rates.
Ukraine is committed to further support the UN in its peacekeeping endeavor. Last year, at the Secretariat’s request, we contemplate doubling our military aviation unit in MONUSCO. Recognizing added value of inter-mission cooperation in terms of military advantages, cost-effectiveness and promotion of regional approaches to regional issues, Ukraine will further pioneer this innovative form of peacekeeping. As all you know, Ukrainian Parliament granted approval to the permanent transfer of our armed helicopters from Liberia to Cote d’Ivoire, to be used in both countries along and across their border in accordance with Council’s resolution 2062 (2062).
But in order to reach our common goal we all have to realize that the existing gap is a real security challenge for the today’s PKOs. According to the SG report A/67/632, “UN peacekeepers continue to require the critical force enablers and multipliers and enabling capacities that provide missions with the necessary mobility and rapid reaction capacity” .
Ukraine fully backs Secretariat’s emphasis on innovative and “out of box” solutions such as relevant pilot projects. We agree that priority is to further review pertinent reimbursement and contracting provisions. It is perfectly in line with recommendations of this Committee. It also brings us closer to the genuine answer to this problem – creation of more robust incentives to countries contributing military helicopters. It is the only sustainable solution to this critical gap.
In this regard, we would like to propose to make changes in the existing system of reimbursement.
To be specific, we would like the respective delegates to think about establishing a system, when TCCs would be reimbursed not for every hour of helicopter flight, but instead, they will get fixed amount of reimbursement per month, regardless the actual number of flying hours.
It will allow the Mission leadership to avoid their common practice of intension to save some money from their budget trying to use, when the situation allows, civilian helicopters instead of military. This behavior of the Missions leadership is based on presumption that civilian helicopters are already paid monthly, so why Mission needs spending additional money to pay for every single flight hour of military helicopters?
The new approach to the reimbursement for the military helicopters allows us to avoid such bad thinking, and to encourage TCCs to be more active in providing military helicopters to the Missions to reduce that sadly well-known gap.
At the same time we would like to draw the attention to the fact that no improvement has been made in UN aviation transportation management. ATS section of Department of Field Support and Procurement Division keep demonstrating lack of dedication to introduce adequate mechanisms in the system of procurement of aviation services.
To name just one recent example as evidence for what I am stating. As you are aware number of tenders for aviation services (helicopters) were announced last year and for several months results have not been declared. However, on February 3rd, 2014 Procurement Division announced the cancellation of the tender for Mali (ITBS-2896) without any explanation. What raises big concern here is not the fact of the cancellation itself and not even the fact, that according to preliminary evaluations Ukrainian company had the best proposal and best chances to win, but the atmosphere of lack of transparency and lack of argumentation in which this decision has been made. It provides stronger ground for the suspicion that someone in DFS or Procurement Division has personal interest. The professionalism of those, responsible for planning and organizing tenders, is also questioned because of the absence of proper analysis and preplanning for necessity of tenders for aviation services.
We also have a feeling that ATS of DFS and UNPD have specifically negative position as to my country’s commercial vendors and military helicopter units. As an example, I would like to draw your attention to situation with Ukrainian military helicopters in MONUSCO, UNMIL and UNOCI, that are currently operating without legal grounds, namely without extended LOA, expired on February 9, 2014 and despite our continuous demands for extending. On the other hand, our commercial company “Ukrainian helicopters” is not being fully paid for services rendered to UN. As of February 10th, 2014 they received only 18% of scheduled payments. Such policy by Procurement Division and DFS creates considerable financial difficulties for commercial company, which has financial obligations to pay bank loans under contractually agreed terms.
Using this opportunity, I would like to recall that in November 2013 Ukraine held a special briefing-presentation on the multi-functionality of the UN helicopters. This March we are planning to hold another presentation focusing on UN multitask and convertible helicopter in order to provide protection for civilians in armed conflicts.
Also we look forward to further periodic briefings by the Secretariat on progress made in redressing this major problem.
Ukraine continues strongly advocate that, beyond key enabling assets, our peacekeepers should be duly equipped with and feel no shortage of mechanisms of legal protection.
Our Delegation sees merit in exploring ways of incorporating relevant elements of MOU investigative mechanism into procedures of internal UN investigations of crimes committed against peacekeepers. For instance, we could consider introduction of a requirement to include a representative of concerned Government in an internal investigation team, as well as to provide relevant TCCs and PCCs with a complete report on internal inquiries.
We look forward to having further constructive discussions on these issues with other delegations and the Secretariat. It is of paramount importance for credibility of the UN to ensure that crimes both against and by peacekeepers do not go unpunished.
Turning to the issue of triangular cooperation, a cornerstone of my Delegation’s position remains the need for closer, more transparent and effective cooperation between all stakeholders. We can not but welcome the fact that UN peacekeeping continues to figure prominently on the Security Council’s agenda both as a thematic and country-specific issue. We also take positive note of some fresh practical elements.
Yet there is still a lot of space for improvement. Here I primarily mean bridging the gap in shoulder-to-shoulder interaction between the Security Council members and troop- and police-contributing countries. There are still instances of the lack of transparency and outreach in decision-making, especially in crisis situations.
Security Council’s decisions on peacekeeping mandates are still being taken two-three days prior to or even on the very day of their expiry. In the meantime, Ukraine has a very strict legislation on sending our peacekeepers abroad. Only the Parliament has a right to authorize decisions on such deployment. For this exact reason it takes us up to one month to bring new or modified peacekeeping mandates in line with Ukrainian legislation. This creates a month-long legal gap in terms of national authorization.
As a result, if the SC takes decisions so close to expiration of mandates there is no other option than sending our troops back home and redeploying them in the same PKO once the relevant national law is passed. This is not only an additional financial and logistical burden both for Ukraine and the UN. It also poses serious security challenge to a given PKO.
In this context my Delegation would like to once again encourage the Council to make the practiceand timingof adopting peacekeeping mandates, including renewal of intermission support mechanisms, more “TCC friendly”. Taking relevant decisions, whenever feasible, well in advance of the target date would provide TCCs and PCCs with enough breathing space to bring new or extended SC mandates in line with their national legislation, thus facilitating timely deployment of their national units.
As an active police-contributing country Ukraine closely follows developments in the area of strengthening UN police capacities and policies. We commend and fully supportUN Police Division efforts to this end.
In particular, my Delegation takes positive note of the ongoing development of the Strategic Guidance Framework aimed at promoting standardization within the UN police and welcomes the adoption of its first phase’s product - the DPKO/DFS Policy on United Nations Police in Peacekeeping Operations and Special Political Missions.
We note the timeliness of the prepared Policy, when we observe obvious need for standardization of the police peacekeeping activity, and note with appreciation the broad engagement of Member States in the preparatory process.
We recognize the importance of the further development of a strategic guidance framework in an open and consultative manner, and in this regard, we look forward to the findings of the upcoming thematic consultations as a next phase of this initiative.
Ukraine recognizes the importance of Secretary-General’s initiative to establish the Joint DPKO-UNDP Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections areas in the rule of law in post-conflict and other crisis situations, which should strengthen the United Nations ability to fill appropriate critical civilian capacity gaps in the aftermath of conflict. The structural changes of engaged UN entities as well as the first achievements of the established partnership are already in place, but a lot more need to be done to ensure further effective implementation of assigned tasks, including the necessity of further strengthening of appropriate Police Division’s section.
We took positive note of recent adoption of Standard Operating Procedures on assessment of formed police units and individual police officers, as well as launch of the recent Police Division’s initiatives in the area of selection and recruitment, including identification of skill-sets, Senior Police Leadership Roster and Specialized Team package approach. We believe that these initiatives will help United Nations Police to overcome the challenges faced in recruiting qualified personnel, which is critical issue for the UN Police in terms of current complexity of its mandated tasks.
My delegation notes with appreciation the ongoing efforts, taken by the Police Division, on the implementation of the revised policy on formed police units in United Nations peacekeeping operations as well as initiative on FPU Stand-by Arrangement that enhance the efficacy of formed police units on the ground and insure the readiness for FPU rapid deployment when needed. Ukraine recognizes FPUs as an effective tool in supporting the host state police, providing them with operational and security assistance which makes even greater sense in the context of reducing military components of some UN missions and potential increase in demand of such capacities in future.
We continue to regard the Special Committee as a unique and necessary forum. Ukraine is an advocate of effective, efficient and result-oriented C-34. We can and should benefit more from its proved added value and comparative advantages. In this respect my Delegation fully supports efforts aimed at strengthening and enhancing the working methods of the C-34.
Ukraine is ready and willing to do its share. As a matter of priority we back creative and progressive ideas designed to increase our Committee’s relevance and its impact on the ground. Organizing Committee’s field visits, in our view, is a proposal of this kind.
Last 20 years have witnessed an active military, police and civilian engagement of Ukraine in over 20 missions under the UN mandate. As of today my country has contributed over 34,000 “blue helmets” to UN peacekeeping efforts in every region of their deployment around the world.
Our country is truly proud of contribution of its sons and daughters – military, police civilian personnel – who have been serving and continue to serve the cause of peace under the UN flag.
We are resolved to maintain and advance our multidimensional engagement in UN peacekeeping operations in the years to come.
I thank you.