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Written Testimony on Confronting New Challenges Facing United Nations Peacekeeping Operations


Testimony
Susan E. Rice
Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
Written Testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Washington, DC
July 29, 2009

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USUN PRESS RELEASE #151(09)

(As prepared remarks)

Chairman Berman, Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen, Distinguished Members of the Committee, thank you for convening this hearing on the opportunities and challenges for international peacekeeping operations, particularly in Africa. I deeply appreciate the Committee’s broad interest in these questions.

I am particularly pleased to make my first appearance on the Hill as U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN to discuss an issue that has enjoyed such strong bipartisan support for more than sixty years. From the Truman Administration’s backing of the first dispatch of UN military observers to the Middle East in 1948, to the Bush Administration’s support for unprecedented growth in UN peacekeeping between 2003 and 2008, the United States has repeatedly turned to UN peacekeeping as an essential instrument for advancing our security.

Increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of peacekeeping is one of the Obama Administration’s highest priorities at the United Nations. As you know, seven of the UN’s 15 current peacekeeping operations are in Africa, accounting for some three-quarters of the military, police, and civilian peacekeepers that the UN has deployed world-wide.

The Administration recognizes that many of today’s peacekeeping operations face significant limitations and challenges. But we believe it is important to continue the long and bipartisan tradition of U.S. support for UN peacekeeping because, like our predecessors, we also know that it addresses pressing international needs and serves our national interests.

UN Peacekeeping Is in Our National Interest

There are five compelling reasons why it is in the U.S. national interest to invest in UN peacekeeping.

First, UN peacekeeping delivers real results in conflict zones. UN peacekeepers can provide the political and practical reassurances warring parties need to agree to and implement an effective cease-fire. Their deployment can help limit or stop the escalation of armed conflict and stave off wider war. But today’s UN operations do much more than just observe cease-fires. They provide security and access for humanitarian aid to reach the sick, the hungry, the vulnerable, and the desperate. They help protect vulnerable civilians and create the conditions that will let refugees return home. And, they help emerging democracies hold elections and strengthen the rule of law.

Many countries are more peaceful and stable today due to past and current UN peacekeeping efforts. They include Namibia, El Salvador, Cambodia, and Mozambique. More recently, UN peacekeepers helped avert an explosion of ethnic violence in Burundi, extend a fledgling government’s authority in Sierra Leone, keep order in Liberia, and take back Cite Soleil from lawless gangs in Haiti. All of these countries, I should note, now enjoy democratically elected governments.

The U.S. appreciates these efforts—both because they offer millions of people the prospect of a more secure, prosperous, and dignified future and because they advance U.S. national security interests. With the help of UN peacekeeping, war-torn states are able to better provide for their citizens and better meet their international commitments and obligations, including protecting their borders; policing their territory; halting the flow of illicit arms, drugs and trade; and denying sanctuary to transnational terrorist groups such as al-Qaida.

UN peacekeepers also continue to play their more traditional role as cease fire monitors. This function remains extremely important – often providing the cover and confidence that states and non-state actors need to stop fighting and disengage their forces. We have witnessed this again and again over the decades – in Kashmir in 1949, the Suez crisis in 1956, Cyprus in 1964, the Golan Heights in 1974, Central America in 1989, and the Great Lakes in 1999.

Second, UN peacekeeping allows us to share the burden of creating a more peaceful and secure world. America simply cannot send our armed forces to every corner of the globe whenever war breaks out. Today, UN peacekeeping enlists the contributions of some 118 countries, which provide more than 93,000 troops and police to 15 different UN operations.

Many countries have stepped up impressively. African countries such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Senegal now provide most of the uniformed personnel in the seven UN peacekeeping operations on their continent. Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay supply thousands of troops and police for the UN mission in Haiti. Italy and France together have contributed more than 4,000 troops to the UN force in Lebanon. Countries from Asia and the Pacific have provided the majority of the UN peacekeepers in Timor-Leste for the past decade.

As this suggests, countries come forward with personnel, by and large, because they have a clear stake in international peace and stability, especially in their own regions. But regional actors often cannot supply the numbers and capabilities that a given UN mission demands. Over the past decade, UN peacekeeping operations have often included battle-tested troops from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India—by far the three largest contributors to UN operations, together providing almost 30,000 uniformed personnel and accounting for about a third of the UN troops and police deployed in Africa. Other countries—such as Nepal, Jordan, and, more recently, China and Indonesia—have increasingly demonstrated the ability and will to send large numbers of uniformed personnel to UN missions across the globe. We are grateful for all their efforts to help forge a safer, more decent world.

This is burden sharing at its most effective: The United States currently contributes 93 military and police personnel to UN peacekeeping missions—approximately 0.1 percent of all uniformed UN personnel deployed worldwide. Sixty-five countries contribute more than the United States, including the other four permanent members of the Security Council: China with 2,153; France with 1,879; Russia with 328; and the United Kingdom with 283. Many of these countries recognize the current factors that constrain our ability to play a more robust, direct role in peacekeeping. At the same time, they appreciate both the professionalism of the personnel that we do contribute and the significant enabling support we provide in such areas as training, equipping, and transportation of UN units.

Third, UN peacekeeping is cost-effective. The total cost of UN peacekeeping is expected to exceed $7.75 billion this year. Yet, large as this figure is, it represents less than 1 percent of global military spending.

The United States contributes slightly more than a quarter of the annual costs for UN peacekeeping. The European Union countries and Japan together pay more than half the UN’s peacekeeping bill. We estimate that the U.S. share of the Fiscal Year 2009 costs will reach $2.2 billion. We are grateful to Congress for the appropriations that will enable us to make our payments in full during Fiscal Year 2009, as well as address arrears accrued from 2005 to 2008.

$2.2 billion is a lot of money, but the costs of inaction would likely be far greater, in both blood and treasure. That is particularly true if the absence of peacekeeping today were to compel us to resort to U.S. military intervention later on. According to a 2006 Government Accountability Office analysis, the U.S. contribution to the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti was $116 million for the first 14 months of the operation—roughly an eighth of the cost of a unilateral American mission of the same size and duration. That works out to 12 cents on the dollar—money that seems particularly well-spent when one recalls that the arrival of UN peacekeepers in Haiti let American troops depart without leaving chaos in their wake. UN blue helmets did the same thing to help us avoid a lengthy U.S. troop deployment in Liberia. Knowing that the Security Council had authorized deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission, U.S. troops handed over to Nigerian forces, who came under the UN flag two months later.

Fourth, the United Nations is uniquely able to mount multi-faceted missions. We have learned in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere how important it is to have an integrated, comprehensive approach. The UN has particular expertise here: it can pull political, military, police, humanitarian, human rights, electoral, and development activities together under the leadership of a single individual on the ground. And this involvement can be critical even in cases where the UN does not provide the troops; largely civilian UN missions in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan have assumed vitally important civilian and police responsibilities, working alongside U.S., NATO, and other forces. The Special Representatives of the UN Secretary-General who head these operations often play indispensable roles—mediating disputes, advising fledgling democracies, coordinating international assistance, and leading UN efforts in country.

Fifth, sometimes warring parties won’t let other outside actors in—except for the UN. Governments, rebels, warlords, and other antagonists often don’t want foreign forces in their country. But the UN’s universal character and unique legitimacy can make it a little easier for some governments to decide to let constructive outsiders in. The UN’s unmatched ability to draw forces from a range of countries and to choose effective, trusted international mission leaders can provide further reassurance. And the UN’s political and development tools reduce the potential that peacekeepers will be seen as occupiers.

All of these factors make UN peacekeeping an effective and dynamic instrument for advancing U.S. interests. It relieves the burden on our brave men and women in uniform. It saves American lives and American dollars over the long run. It brings to bear unique expertise, versatility, and credibility. And it is often the only available option. As a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, the U.S. exercises full control over where and when a UN operation is established, and what tasks it is authorized to perform. Once we decide to adopt a peacekeeping mandate, it is in our national interest to promote its successful implementation.

The Key Challenges in UN Peacekeeping

At the same time, we must be clear about the very real challenges facing UN peacekeeping, especially its missions in Africa. Let me highlight three of them.

First, the sheer volume and growth of peacekeeping has put the UN and its missions under severe strain. Over the past six years, the UN has had to launch or expand eight missions in rapid succession. In 2003, the UN had about 36,000 uniformed personnel deployed around the world. Today, it has more than 93,000. And maintaining over 90,000 troops in the field requires training, preparing, and deploying a much larger number, in light of troop rotations every six months to one year.

This has meant drawing upon and supporting hundreds of thousands of military personnel. And during the same period, the UN has had to recruit tens of thousands of civilian personnel, including political officers, lawyers, human rights monitors, procurement experts, and logisticians.

UN officials are the first to acknowledge that it has been difficult to generate, recruit, and deploy the numbers of personnel required, while keeping quality high and ongoing improvements on track. A series of initiatives started in 2000 greatly enhanced the UN’s administrative and logistical support capabilities, but they never envisaged the scale and scope of today’s deployments. To take just one example, the 2000 reforms did not anticipate that, nine years later, UN peacekeeping operations would operate a fleet of 270 aircraft and 17,350 vehicles, consume $1.75 million of fuel and 11 million liters of water every day, or require more than 17,000 procurement transactions valued at some $1.43 billion in 2008 alone.

In 2007, UN member states approved UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s proposals for further peacekeeping restructuring: doubling the number of senior peacekeeping managers at UN Headquarters, creating a new Department of Field Support and funding a few hundred additional positions to help manage the dramatic rise in activity. But as anyone who has ever run a large organization knows, managing restructuring, change, and growth simultaneously is a daunting challenge for the most capable and adaptable organizations. The UN has struggled to keep up through this period. Some key posts have only recently been filled, and many core business processes are still under review. The UN Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support have been beefed up on paper, but it will take time before the full tangible benefits materialize. There is still much more to be done.

Second, the UN is being asked to take on harder, riskier operations—often without the support and capabilities it needs from member states. The Security Council has recently given some very ambitious mandates to peacekeeping operations in Africa, such as protecting civilians under the threat of physical violence—including sexual violence—in vast and populous territories with limited infrastructure, faltering peace processes, ongoing hostilities, and uncooperative host governments.

Consider the difficulty of trying to tamp down the embers of the North-South conflict in Sudan, which has claimed the lives of more than 2 million Sudanese. The UN Mission in Sudan, or UNMIS, was established to help implement the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which brought an end to decades of fighting. But the implementation of the CPA, in letter and in spirit, remains incomplete, and the parties continue to disagree on such issues as sharing power, distributing wealth and resources, and setting boundaries. So the North-South peace process is precarious. UNMIS depends on key international and regional actors to encourage the parties to abide by their commitments and address outstanding issues that could have grave implications for the future of Sudan.

The world is also asking a great deal of UNAMID, the hybrid African Union-UN mission in Darfur. Darfur is about the size of California, with a pre-war population of 6.5 million. Only twenty thousand peacekeepers are inherently limited in their ability to patrol territory so vast, and to protect so many civilians. Imagine how much more difficult their task becomes when the host government actively hinders their efforts, the parties balk at cease-fire talks, and the peacekeepers are deployed below their full operating capacity.

The Government of Sudan has repeatedly failed to cooperate with international peacekeepers and humanitarian workers, denying them freedom of movement and access, refusing entry visas for desperately needed personnel, blocking the delivery of critical logistics support, and even, on March 4, expelling 13 international non-governmental organizations and revoking the registrations of three Sudanese aid agencies that were doing lifesaving work to feed, shelter, and heal those huddled in Darfur’s refugee camps. While President Obama’s Special Envoy for Sudan, General Scott Gration, helped persuade the Government of Sudan to let four new humanitarian NGOs in, we continue to urge Khartoum to fill the gaps in critical humanitarian aid services and to improve its cooperation with UNAMID.

At this moment, UNAMID has only 69 percent of the 19,500 troops it was authorized to field and only 45 percent of its authorized police strength of 6,400. Providing logistics support to these troops is an additional challenge. Key supplies are brought through a single port, Port Sudan, on the other side of the country from the UN mission’s headquarters in El-Fasher. Bureaucratic delays at customs are frequent. Then, the goods need to be transported over 1,200 miles on barely passable roads—about the same distance from Washington, DC, to Dallas, Texas. And UNAMID is not alone in facing logistics challenges and troop shortfalls: the UN mission across the border in Chad, MINURCAT, functions in equally remote locations and is now deployed at 46 percent, with European Union forces bridging the gap. The UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUC, is yet to obtain and deploy the additional 3,000 troops that the Security Council authorized in November; they are expected to arrive in the next two to three months.

Beyond deployed strength; a peacekeeping force’s capacity to operate effectively depends on several other factors, many of which are in short supply in the missions in Darfur, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These factors include robust command-and-control arrangements; adequate training and equipment for the troops; the capacity to rapidly deploy and move forces in theater; readily available medical, engineering, intelligence, and aviation -- particularly helicopter -- units; and perhaps most importantly, the peacekeepers’ capacity and determination to defend themselves and their mission mandate.

The United States has provided over $100 million worth of heavy equipment and training, as well as $17 million worth of airlift assistance, for African peacekeepers in Darfur. We helped secure a pledge of five tactical-helicopters for UNAMID from the Government of Ethiopia. But you may recall that UNAMID has been pleading with the international community for two years for 18 medium-sized utility helicopters and about 400 personnel to fly and maintain them— still to no avail. The missions in Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo also lack critical helicopter units to enable them to quickly deploy to areas where vulnerable civilians need their help most.

Third, host governments often lack the security and rule-of-law capacities needed to take over successfully from the UN peacekeepers when they depart.

Let me offer just a few examples. Liberia has made considerable progress during the six years that the UN Mission, UNMIL, has been on the ground—as I saw for myself in May, when I led a UN Security Council mission there. But Liberia still has far to go. The will to pursue peace and development is present at the highest level of government, but the state capacity to sustain it is not. Liberia’s army, police, justice, and prisons systems are very weak; poverty, unemployment, and violent crime are high; disputes over land and ethnicity persist. The country’s hard-won progress could unravel if UN peacekeepers leave too soon.

Even more daunting challenges face the Democratic Republic of the Congo—a vast country the size of the United States east of the Mississippi, with a population nearly twice that of California. The DRC has scant paved roads and few functioning courts, prisons, or municipal governments. Its national army and police have only recently been cobbled together, sometimes by bringing together former foes. Few security personnel are educated; most are barely paid, if at all. The country also suffers from a culture of impunity, where illegal armed groups, as well as members of the armed forces (FARDC) and national police, are responsible for staggering numbers of cases of horrific sexual violence and human rights abuses.

The Administration strongly supports the steps that the UN mission in the DRC has taken to better protect civilians from rape, assault, and murder, including Joint Protection Teams, rapid-response cells, and quick-reaction military units. But Congolese security institutions will have to be significantly strengthened and the rule of law significantly deepened to make a lasting difference.

Our Strategy for the Way Forward

It will take concerted action by many actors to meet the difficult challenges facing UN peacekeeping. It will also take U.S. leadership—in areas where we are uniquely able to provide it. The new Administration is already moving on six particularly important fronts.

First, we are working with our fellow Security Council members to provide credible and achievable mandates for UN peacekeeping operations. We are also currently negotiating a Presidential Statement that would outline a better process for formulating peacekeeping mandates, and measuring progress in their implementation.

We have demonstrated our commitment to resist unachievable or ill-conceived mandates by opposing in present circumstances the establishment of a UN peacekeeping operation in Somalia. Peacekeeping missions are not always the right answer; some situations require other types of military deployments, such as UN authorized regional efforts or regional or multinational forces operating under the framework of a lead nation. UN peacekeepers cannot do everything and go everywhere. There are limits to what they can accomplish, especially in the midst of a full-blown war or in the face of opposition from the host government. And effective mediation must precede and accompany all peacekeeping efforts, if they are to succeed. Thus, we are urging the Council to continue to weigh the full range of responses to a given challenge.

At the same time, poorly armed and disorganized gangs, rebel groups, and others outside a peace process should not be allowed to thwart a peacekeeping mandate or block a UN deployment. That is why the Security Council often must authorize peacekeepers to use appropriate force to defend themselves and fulfill their mandate, including protecting civilians under imminent threat of violence. They must be willing and able to do so.

Second, we are breathing new life into faltering peace processes where peacekeeping operations are currently deployed. Our objective is to get the parties in fragile peace talks to abide by their commitments, cooperate with peacekeepers, and build mutual trust.

Our most immediate priorities in Africa are Darfur and Sudan’s North-South peace process, the Great Lakes region, and the Horn of Africa. Sudan Special Envoy Gration is working closely with the UN-AU Joint Chief Mediator, Djibril Bassolé, to reenergize the Darfur peace process. He has traveled extensively to the region and met with representatives from Chad, Qatar, Egypt, Libya, and other parties, such as China, that can influence Khartoum and Darfur’s rebels. Special Envoy Gration has also worked tirelessly to reinvigorate the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and resolve the issues that might threaten a sustainable, long-term peace. His efforts include recently hosting a conference on this subject in Washington that was attended by more than 30 countries and organizations. And last week he helped to smooth all parties’ acceptance of the potentially explosive, but thankfully well accepted ruling of the Permanent Court of Justice on the disputed Abyei region.

We also seek to support the work of MINURCAT, the UN mission in the Central African Republic and Chad. Established in 2007 out of recognition that the Darfur conflict has important regional dimensions, the long-term success of MINURCAT relies heavily on improved relations between the governments of Sudan and Chad. So the United States continues to urge both countries to implement the May 3 Doha accord and honor their previous agreements. U.S. officials have also met at the highest levels with Sudanese and Chadian officials, as well as other international actors, to push the parties to end cross-border support for the warring factions and demonstrate a commitment to normal relations.

Improved relations between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda played a key role in defusing the crisis in the eastern DRC last year. The United States welcomed this development and encouraged President Kabila of the DRC and President Kagame of Rwanda to broaden and deepen their countries’ relationship. Further rapprochement would help create the conditions in the eastern DRC that would allow for MONUC to reduce its size, and ultimately depart.

Where such diplomatic efforts, pursued with many other partners, succeed, they will dramatically improve the safety of civilians menaced by physical violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, in Darfur, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and elsewhere. But the U.S. can afford no illusions. Some of the actors involved have long histories of lofty pledges and paltry results. We will not take merely the word of those who have committed genocide and crimes against humanity. We will insist on verifiable, significant and lasting action before we offer meaningful rewards.

Third, we will do more to help expand the pool of willing and capable troop and police contributors. Our immediate priority is to help secure the capabilities that the missions in Darfur, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of Congo need to better protect civilians under imminent threat. But we are also pursuing more long-term efforts.

Since 2005, the U.S. Global Peace Operations Initiative, or GPOI, and its African component, ACOTA, have focused on training the peacekeepers needed to meet the spike in global demand. As of June 30, the program had trained more than 81,000 peacekeepers and helped deploy nearly 50,000 of them to peacekeeping operations around the world. More than 10,000 of these forces are deployed or will deploy imminently to Darfur, and another six thousand to the DRC. In February, ACOTA started training troops bound for Chad, in addition to non-African missions, such as in Lebanon.

Nonetheless, we recognize that more attention to quality and sustainability are needed. So we have shifted GPOI’s focus toward helping develop the ability of troop-contributing countries to be fully self-sufficient. We are training trainers. This approach, over time, will consistently yield higher numbers of capable peacekeepers. We must also do more to ensure that peacekeepers have access to vital equipment, particularly in Africa. This means not only providing equipment packages, such as those provided to UNAMID-bound peacekeepers, but also supporting equipment facilities in Africa and elsewhere.

The State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement is also training the Formed Police Units, or FPUs, that are so urgently needed in peacekeeping missions today. GPOI also helps meet this need through its support for the Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units (COESPU), located in Italy. Productive as these efforts have been, they are not enough. The Administration intends to develop more Formed Police Unit capacities in willing countries and help provide the infrastructure and material for FPUs in countries that are interested in increasing their support for UN peacekeeping.

Still, several UN missions need much more help than that. For this reason, the Administration is exploring the possibility of partnering with nations that share both an interest in seeing UN peacekeeping succeed and who possess some of the key assets needed by UN operations, such as tactical helicopters, engineers, highly mobile infantry units, and Formed Police Units that specialize in crowd control. We expect an exploratory meeting to be held in the fall.

We must also prime the pump to generate more peacekeepers. Other countries’ willingness to provide troops and police is likely to increase if they see that key Security Council members, including the United States, not only value their sacrifice but respect their concerns. We will intensify our dialogue with current and potential troop- and police-contributing nations—to better understand their concerns and to spell out our expectations. Our top priorities will be talks with states or regional groupings that could contribute combat-ready, battalion and brigade-size forces—the all-important units that could join, reinforce, or buy time for UN peacekeepers during a crisis.

The United States, for its part, is willing to consider directly contributing more military observers, military staff officers, civilian police, and other civilian personnel—including more women—to UN peacekeeping operations. We will also explore ways to provide enabling assistance to peacekeeping missions, either by ourselves or together with partners.

Fourth, we will consider ways to do more to build up host governments’ security sectors and rule-of-law institutions. Our immediate priorities are Haiti, Liberia, and the DRC—three places where such efforts could help let UN peacekeeping missions depart sooner. But in all three countries, the road to success will not be a short one. In Haiti, our bilateral assistance is aligned with the Haitian government’s priorities of economic growth and sustainable development, and supports reform of the judiciary and strengthening of the Haitian National Police. The Administration is undertaking a comprehensive review of our assistance to Haiti to identify ways it could have greater and more lasting impact.

Liberia has made some progress establishing its Armed Forces, with the help of the United States. Now, we need to turn greater attention to assisting the Liberian government to strengthen and reform its police and justice sectors, which are lagging behind.

In the DRC, the United States and our European Union partners are expending considerable resources to train and equip local soldiers and police, including to respond more effectively to sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). Important as these train and equip programs are, they are not enough. The DRC needs a comprehensive plan for meeting the oversight, management, and resource requirements of the security sector, especially the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC). We need to work with international partners to help the Congolese elaborate and implement it.

As a host government’s capacities grow, the role of a UN mission can be reduced. But we will not be rushed out of lasting results. We have made it abundantly clear to our Security Council partners that while we seek to lessen the UN’s peacekeeping load, as appropriate, we will not support arbitrary or abrupt efforts to downsize or terminate missions.

Fifth, will continue close collaboration between the UN and regional organizations, especially the African Union (AU). Without sufficient support for regional operations, the road to successful UN operations can be longer and more treacherous. Regionally-run peacekeeping operations can sometimes be an effective early component of efforts to bring stability to a conflict zone. We will therefore continue to help to strengthen the AU in several areas including mission management, logistics, budgeting, and meeting equipment standards.

We are also willing to share with our African partners best practices, doctrine and lessons learned from the experiences of the Civilian Response Corps in the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization. The Civilian Response Corps is preparing a cadre of trained civilian experts, from eight federal agencies and departments, who could deploy when needed to assist in critical reconstruction and stabilization efforts in Africa and elsewhere.

And finally, the United States will pursue a new generation of peacekeeping reforms at the UN Secretariat. We will support reforms that help achieve economies of scale and realize cost savings; that strengthen oversight, transparency, and accountability; that improve field personnel and procurement systems; that strengthen the process of mission planning; that reduce deployment delays; that encourage stronger mission leadership; and that clarify the roles and responsibilities of all UN actors, in the field and at headquarters.

The Administration will also encourage reform efforts that elevate performance standards and prevent fraud and abuse, including sexual exploitation. The United States continues to play a leading role in international efforts to ensure that UN peacekeepers—military, police and civilian—neither exploit nor abuse the vulnerable people they have been sent to protect. The UN has taken several critical steps in recent years to establish and implement a zero-tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeeping personnel—including establishing a well-publicized code of conduct and creating Conduct and Discipline Units in the field to perform training, carry out initial investigations, and support victims. In recent days, the MONUC force commander sent a mission to the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo to reinforce preventive measures against sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers. The Administration strongly supports these measures, and we will remain vigilant to ensure that they are implemented effectively.

Finally, another key reform area that often gets short shrift is, simply, leadership. The right UN Special Representatives, commanders and managers can make all the difference in the world. They can point to dangers that others may not see; spur action that some wish to shirk; cool the fury of those bent on war; and solve problems that defeat others. Some truly extraordinary individuals have served and are serving the UN, but there aren’t enough of them. We must do more to identify, support, and empower the commanders and leaders that peacekeeping missions need in order to succeed, especially qualified women.

Conclusion

Chairman Berman, Ranking Member Ros-Lehtinen, Distinguished Members, I hope that this provides a helpful starting place for our discussions today. It is pragmatism and a clear sense of America’s interests that drives us to support UN peacekeeping today. But it is also pragmatism and principle that drive us to pursue critical reforms of this important national security tool. We need peacekeeping missions that are planned well, deployed quickly, budgeted realistically, equipped seriously, led ably, and ended responsibly. I look forward to your good counsel and your continued support as we work together to build a more secure America and a more peaceful world.

It’s a pleasure to be with you today. Thank you again. I look forward to your questions.



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