Panel Discussion: Statement by Ambassador Thoms at IPI Event "EU-UN Partnership in Peace Operations: Lessons-Learned and the Way Forward"

Jul 17, 2014

(as delivered:)

Excellencies, Mr. Ladsous, Colleagues and friends,

Ambassador Lambertini has already explained the overall rationale of the project launched by the Italian EU-Presidency, which we are happy to cooperate in, along with the Berlin-based Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF).

I will focus my brief remarks on the Berlin seminar to be held in November and on how we hope that it will feed into the broader discussion here in New York and in Brussels.

We feel that this is timely. There is a growing sense that peace operations need to be made more effective to meet the multiple challenges they face. To that end, UN Secretary General Ban has announced a peacekeeping review. And our colleagues from Ruanda will organize an open debate in the Security Council later this month on the regional dimension of peacekeeping, which we agree is a key aspect for international peace and stability. 

What we seek to achieve with the Berlin-seminar in November, is to bring the discussion from the theoretical to a more practical level. Our key goal is to improve cooperation on the ground between peace operations deployed by the EU and the UN by drawing concrete lessons from selected mission settings.

We hope that the findings of the workshop and the overall series of events will also feed into the review of UN peace operations announced by the Secretary General.

At the seminar in Berlin, we will concentrate on two topics:

The first will be “coherence in mandates, mission planning and coordination on the ground". The relevance is obvious: The sequential or parallel deployment of UN and EU peace operations has become the norm rather than an exception, especially in Africa but also elsewhere.

The EU has become a key partner for the UN in peacekeeping, along with the African Union. But with more such deployments on the ground, we also have more lessons to be learned on what works in that partnership and what needs to be improved.

Resources are limited, that is why improved synergies are required. And this is what we want to get at.

How should this be factored into the planning process of both organizations? How could respective mandates reflect this partnership on the ground? What are the requirements for improved cooperation, including operational, legal and resource aspects? These are just some of the questions that we seek to address at the seminar.

The second topic will be EU-UN cooperation in Security and Justice. Policing, Security Sector Reform, judicial reform have become key tasks not only for UN but also EU peace operations. They are also key elements for an exit strategy for peace operations.

In addition, more strategic aspects come to mind, such as the need for the development of joint guidance material, strategic documents, and structures to improve synergies and avoid overlap. How can we ensure that efforts both by the UN and the EU feed into each other rather than develop in parallel? How can headquarters and member states policies and priorities be better brought in line? What are the comparative advantages of both organizations, and how can we capitalize on them to achieve the common goal?

Of course, each of these topics could easily warrant an entire seminar or even series of seminars. But we only have one day. We will focus on a select number of concrete cases to ensure that discussions will be focused. Such cases could be Mali, CAR and Congo – each of which currently host both UN and EU operations.

We also want to hear from practitioners on all sides, to keep the discussion as operational as possible.

We of course very much hope that you, Mr. Ladsous, will be able to attend, along with other key UN staff from New York. To get a hands-on experience from both organizations, we will also invite selected heads of mission as well as Force Commanders and Police commissioners from UN and EU missions to share their experience.

I hope that this has given you a good sense of what we intend to achieve in Berlin. We will be happy to provide those of you interested with additional information once the preparation has taken more concrete shape.

Thank you. 

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