Since its inception, the Non-Aligned Movement has played a significant contribution towards maintaining international peace and security. NAM regards peacekeeping as the flagship activity of the United Nations. NAM believes that the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security rests with the UN and that the role of regional arrangements, in that regard, should be in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter, and should not in any way substitute the role of the UN, or circumvent the full application of the guiding principles of the UN peacekeeping operations.
At the 17th Meeting of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly on 25 October 2017, NAM has called for a more cautious and careful approach to UN peacekeeping. Non‑Aligned Movement welcomed the interactive nature of the Department’s consultations with Member States in the review process, which would help to reinforce confidence between the key stakeholders in peace and security, namely States and members of the Security Council, and the Secretariat. NAM underlined the creation of the new Department of Peace Operations, which was indicative of a big shift from “peacekeeping operations” to “peace operations”. That move should also be examined carefully and comprehensively to ensure consensus among Member States on the development of its policies.
NAM has emphasised that the establishment of any peacekeeping operation, or extension of the mandate of existing operations, must strictly observe the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, as well as the principles of impartiality, non‑use of force and consent of the parties. NAM has also stressed the need for a strong and clear Security Council commitment to draft clear and achievable mandates, in consultation with troop and police‑contributing countries as necessary for the development of integrated planning.
NAM believes that the link between the formulation of policy and implementation on the ground is paramount to achieve success of UN peacekeeping mission. The Movement has also reiterated the importance of protecting civilians and the need for peacekeeping to support national civilian‑protection efforts.
At the 72nd UNGA session, Indonesia, associating the country’s statement with that of Non-Aligned Movement, stated that 2017 marked a renewed approach to peacekeeping marked by the concept of “sustaining peace” and the incorporation of prevention and conflict‑resolution elements into peace building and long term development. It was important to ensure that all missions could deliver on their mandates and to guarantee the safety and security of peacekeepers, reaffirming the continued relevance of the basic principles of peacekeeping, including consent of the parties, impartiality and non‑use of force except in self‑defence and defence of the mandate.
Indonesia called for increased consultations with troop- and police‑contributing countries in the current process of reforming the peace and security architecture. Operations transitioning from peacekeeping into political or special political missions required sufficient capacities and financing, while the United Nations system must increase its focus on the safety, security and well‑being of peacekeepers and related civilian staff. Iran, too associating itself with NAM, stated that Peacekeeping operations should be guided by the United Nations Charter, and the respect for the principles of sovereign equality, political independence, territorial integrity and non‑intervention in matters of exclusively domestic jurisdiction.
India, associating with the Non‑Aligned Movement, noted that whereas decisions on peacekeeping mandates were within the purview of the Security Council, longer‑term development issues were dealt with outside that forum, a situation that presented coordination challenges. While peacekeepers confronted increasingly complex and dangerous security challenges, their mandates were becoming less clearly defined and far less adequately resourced.
As the largest cumulative troop contributor, India understood the evolving complexities, and noted that the country’s peacekeepers had long acted proactively in defence of mandates now being described as for the protection of civilians. India had worked with the Organization and with partner countries to help with the training of peacekeepers, especially women and partners in Africa. NAM has called for adherence to all relevant Council resolutions as well as consultations with concerned States — including host countries – and has stated that the priorities of the latter must be considered, especially when designing and devising mission mandates and exit strategies in order to ensure the smooth functioning of the United Nations Peacekeeping operations.
By Dr. Pawan Mathur