PARLIAMENTARY Secretary for Defence Mike Kelly addressed the United Nations Security Council in New York on Monday, before the 15-member body unanimously endorsed a resolution calling for a “multi-dimensional approach” to peacekeeping - the first such resolution in more than 10 years.
The Member for Eden-Monaro was the first Australian to participate on the UN Security Council in 26 years.
The day-long debate, opened by Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, saw the Security Council resolve that peacekeeping activities “should be conducted in a manner so as to facilitate post-conflict peace-building, prevent relapse of armed conflict and progress towards sustainable peace and development”.
Secretary-General Ban told the council peacekeeping missions were becoming more varied and complex, but he was confident member states could work together to meet these challenges.
“We aim to deploy, work hard, fulfil the mandates you entrust us, and leave behind strong structures to maintain lasting peace,” the Secretary-General said.
Mr Kelly - who himself wore a “blue helmet” as a UN peacekeeper during his 20-year military career - spoke on behalf of Australia, which has now taken up the non-permanent seat on the Security Council it won last October.
He highlighted the need to integrate the military and civilian aspects of peacekeeping, and stressed the importance of helping governments in areas of conflict take the lead to build peace and eliminate corruption.
“Australia welcomes the evolution in the approach to peacekeeping over the past decade,” Mr Kelly told the Security Council.
“All missions have unique characteristics, but we have had sufficient experience to tell us that there are generic aspects that occur time and again…such as the establishment of public security, the management of the displaced, transitional justice, political transition, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration.”
The ultimate aim of peacekeeping missions, Mr Kelly said, is “they must constantly be focused on their own redundancy”.
“We need to avoid situations in which a government becomes reliant on a peacekeeping mission over the long term to do things it needs to be doing itself,” he said.
“In Australia’s own region, Timor-Leste has demonstrated the gains that can be made when a nation takes strong and decisive leadership on its peace-building path.”
Both Secretary-General Ban and Mr Kelly emphasised the need to protect women in areas of conflict, and to involve women in peace-building through the work of leaders, role models and gender advisors.
Mr Kelly said Australia was developing its own integrated approach to peacekeeping strategy through the Australian Civil-Military Centre, and looked forward to sharing its experiences with other member states.
* The full text of Mike Kelly’s UN Security Council statement can be found at www.unny.mission.gov.au/unny/130121_peacekeeping.html.