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Opening Remarks of Mr. Jean Marie GuI am delighted to appear before this Committee again, now for the fourth time. I look forward to these sessions as an opportunity to exchange views with you on the future of UN peacekeeping and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, which I am honoured to head.

The topics for discussion at this year's session are clear, as laid out in the Secretary General's report. It should contain no surprises. We have also circulated a matrix summarizing the implementation status of all of the Committee's previous recommendations that are not covered in the report.

I look forward to hearing your initial reactions, fitflop online especially on the proposals to establish a standing civilian police capacity and a military strategic reserve force. These are two investments, in my view, that could help make UN peacekeeping operations more efficient, effective and therefore more cost effective as well.

Too often we spend a great deal of effort and money making up for lost time and correcting mistakes committed at the outset of missions. But imagine if we were able to deploy, within 72 hours, 20 highly skilled police specialists, geographically and gender balanced, who had trained and worked together before, to plan and kick start UN police mandates? They could probably make more of an impact than 10 times their numbers of generalists, trickling in, piece meal, over the course of several months.

And what if there was a predictable and rapid military response available to shore up a UN peacekeeping operation threatened by crises beyond its means to contain? The proposed UN strategic reserve force would be an important insurance policy for the substantial investments you make in complex peacekeeping operations. The certainty that a mission would be provided with swift additional help if seriously challenged could also deter potential spoilers.

I know that you have considerable interest in these proposals, but also questions and concerns. As there will be ample opportunity to discuss these and other important initiatives later in the week, I thought I would take advantage of this occasion to share my reflections with you on the big picture. What were the most important developments in UN peacekeeping in 2004, and what might they imply for the year ahead? For me, three things stand out in particular, as follows:

First, there were many positive developments that may not be on everyone's radar screen . Several missions have met or exceeded expectations, and a few are preparing to actually wind down, having successfully completed their mandates. A substantial number of the reforms proposed in the Brahimi Report, and supported by you, have been implemented and have improved the way we plan and deploy UN peacekeeping and related operations. We continue to get better at what we do. Your investments over the past four years have paid off. They will continue to yield dividends in the years to come.

Second, I am nevertheless concerned about taking on too much and spreading ourselves too thin. Despite the successes and the depth of reform that has taken place, several missions are operating in volatile and precarious environments. They need to be bolstered and supported, in order to achieve their mandated objectives. There are also many reforms that still need to be consolidated. And, there are complex strategic dilemmas about the direction UN peacekeeping should take over the next five to ten years, the implications of which have yet to be fully thought through, let alone reconciled. For these, among other reasons I will explain a bit later, I sincerely hope that the Organization will not be required to deploy any new complex peacekeeping operations in 2005, beyond what is already on our plate or in the pipe line.

Third, allegations that MONUC personnel have sexually exploited and abused Congolese is cause for serious concern . Just as the catastrophic failure of any one operation could irreparably erode public confidence in UN peacekeeping, so, too, could acts of gross misconduct, if we do not respond to them with the utmost seriousness in 2005. We have a real substantive problem, not just a PR issue that needs to be pun? We have to deal with it collectively, aggressively and quickly. And, we must prevent it from happening elsewhere.

I will elaborate on each of these three points.

Point 1. The good news is that investments and reforms are paying off.

In many respects, 2004 has been a very good year for UN peace operations. L ong term efforts are bearing fruit in a number of locations previously considered irreparable, for example:

in Timor Leste, the UN is successfully winding down its mandate to assist in creating the sustainable institutions of a viable and independent democratic state;

in Sierra Leone , a democratically elected government, while still consolidating a fragile situation, is in the process of taking over responsibility for security from the UN mission. Prior to the mission's arrival, over five years ago, the country was fractured and engulfed in bloody and vicious warfare;

the UN mission in Afghanistan started the year by successfully supporting the Afghan Constitutional Loya Jirga as it approved a new constitution, and in October, UNAMA played an instrumental role in helping Afghans ?including millions of women ?to democratically elect and install Hamid Karzai as their President;

in Liberia, over a decade of war has come to an end and the country, a founding member of the UN, is experiencing a measure of stability that its younger generations have never known;

and, the UN operation in Burundi deployed swiftly and established its credibility from day one as a critical component of promoting peace in the country.

The reforms at Headquarters initiated in 2001 also are paying off in how we generate forces, deploy and sustain them. If not for the investments you made a few years ago, we would not have been able to meet the dramatic surge in activity in 2004. Today, the 17 UN peace operations managed by DPKO comprise over 75,000 military, civilian police and civilian personnel, compared to 55,000 this time last year. That represents a net increase of over 35 percent.

In total, 120,000 military and civilian police personnel, drawn from over 100 countries, rotated through our missions in 2004. We generated resources, deployed and sustained them, this time around, in a manner that no other organization in the world could replicate as efficiently or as cost effectively. This has entailed making skillful use of 127 systems contracts, aggressively deploying Strategic Deployment Stocks (SDS), negotiating over 300 Memoranda of Understanding with Member States, and conducting in depth evaluations and inspections. We chartered 319 aircraft and 52 ships, and currently operate an aircraft fleet comprising 57 fixed wing and 114 rotary wing aircraft ?a 50% increase in 2004. We transported 580,000 passengers and 470,000 metric tones of cargo in over 90,000 flight hours. We currently operate 14 military hospitals and 120 clinics, operate over 4,000 generators with a total capacity of 300 MW, enough to supply power to 200,000 homes ?one third of Long Island , NY . You will no doubt appreciate that much of this activity was achieved in areas with little or no infrastructure at all.

New missions deployed w ith force packages that took into account the recommendations of the Brahimi Report and the painful lessons of the 1990s. attack helicopters), quick response forces and formed police units capable of responding to civil unrest without resorting to lethal force. This shift in our posture has already paid off. In Liberia and Haiti , for example, UN forces were tested and proved equal to the task, helping to restore order in Monrovia and working with local law enforcement to improve security in Port au Prince .

The way we plan new operations has also undergone a positive transformation. DPKO planners have been present at key moments in the peace talks on Sudan . In some instances they have been able to advise on the feasibility of security provisions. They have been able to conduct planning on the basis of first hand knowledge of the negotiations. Concurrently, an advance mission was established in situ , thereby ensuring that the core of the mission's headquarters would already be on the ground once the anticipated full scall deployment began. And, at Headquarters, our Sudan Team in the Office of Operations has guided a truly inclusive planning process along the lines recommended by the Brahimi Report and articulated in the Integrated Mission Planning Process template. These reforms should not be over looked, even if the tragic developments in Darfur , and the parties' own sensitivities vis the force composition, have greatly complicated efforts.

As you can see, a great deal has been accomplished in 2004. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the contribution of troops, civilian police, financial assistance and political support from you, the Member States. In a world in which the commitment to work together for the common good is not always clear, your continued investment in UN peacekeeping represents just that. I can sincerely say that, in many countries recovering from war, that investment has been worth it. Millions of some of the world's most vulnerable populations now have a real chance for a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future.

The second point I want to stress is that we should now consolidate the successes and reforms, instead of growing too fast or spreading ourselves to thin.

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