Address by Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja in United Nations Security Council Ministerial-Meeting

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland Erkki Tuomioja
United Nations Security Council Ministerial-Meeting with Heads of Regional and Other Intergovernmental Organisations

20 September 2006, New York

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Mme. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I have the honour to address the Security Council speaking on behalf of the European Union.

Let me first thank the Presidency of the Security Council for organising this timely meeting. At the 2005 World Summit, the UN membership agreed on supporting a stronger relationship between the United Nations and regional and subregional organisations pursuant to Chapter VIII of the Charter. One of the EU priorities for UNGA 61 is to support the development of the co-operation between the United Nations and relevant regional organisations as a way to strengthen effective multilateralism. We see this as an area with potential, and this cooperation has already yielded results. The cooperation between the European Union, the United Nations and the African Union is a good example of how these efforts can lead to concrete achievements. The EU will address this particular aspect in further detail at the Seventh High Level Meeting the day after tomorrow. Capacity building to enhance the cooperation between the African Union and the UN is also addressed in the excellent discussion paper by the Greek Presidency of the Security Council, and the EU is ready to discuss the recommendations.

We welcome the emphasis on the regional organisations’ increased responsibility for and ownership of efforts to solve regional conflicts. At the same time it is important that this will take place in the UN framework and with the Security Council's support, and that the universal principles such as rule of law, human rights, and peacebuilding are respected.

It is useful for us to be together here today to exchange views on the way forward. I would, however, also like to add a word of caution. We should look for results, and we should be careful to avoid creating additional structures. I fully agree with the Secretary General when he states that the establishment of a more effective partnership should be based the comparative advantage of each organisation. We should also be careful not to force a uniform framework on organisations that are very different.

It can be useful for provide conceptual clarification on the role of the organisations participating in this framework. As underlined in the report of the Secretary-General, this partnership could grow to include 30 or more organisations wishing to be involved in the process. The Capacity Survey by the United Nations University clearly shows the vast discrepancy in the working areas, roles and capacities of the organisations taking part in this partnership. While fully supporting the efforts to enhance capacity-building, in particular of the African Union and of African subregional organisations, the EU agrees with the Secretary-General that we should not adopt a “one size fits all” approach. What counts are the results. The EU considers that flexibility, light structures and first of all pragmatism should be the guidelines for the cooperation between the UN and regional organisations.

The report of Secretary General on challenges and opportunities for a regional-global security partnership identifies a number of areas for strengthened cooperation, in particular conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and disarmament and non-proliferation.  These are all areas where the EU is active and cooperates with the UN. I myself as well as representatives from the European Commission and the Council Secretariat will address these issues in further detail in our interventions the day after tomorrow at the Seventh High Level Meeting on 22 September. In this context, I will rather explain the philosophy behind the EU’s cooperation with the UN and give a concrete example of how this is translated into action, in particular in the area of crisis management.

The European Union considers that its relations with the United Nations are one of the cornerstones of its external action. As stated in the European Security Strategy from 2003, one of EU’s central priorities is strengthening the United Nations and equipping it to fulfil its responsibilities and to act effectively. The EU is itself a structure for peace and security in its region. The EU was created to overcome the legacy of the two world wars and to prevent new wars in Europe. The founding idea of the EU is to create a zone of peace and prosperity based on the voluntary pooling of sovereignty, common institutions and the rule of law. The EU emphasises the same values in wider international relations. Building on its own experience, the EU is an active proponent of effective multilateralism.

The EU’s commitment to support the UN has been reaffirmed at many occasions, both in important statements, including at the level of Heads of State and Government, and through action. Relations between the EU and the UN have been intensified during the latest years. This development has taken place on many levels. I would in particular like to highlight the EU-UN cooperation in crisis management. The relations between the EU and the UN began to develop at a time when the UN was looking at the reform of its peace operations in the framework of the Brahimi report process, which coincided with the laying of the foundations of the European Security and Defence Policy. The UN, confronted with the changing nature of peacekeeping, sought increased support from regional actors. Two ESDP operations in 2003 were real and successful tests for the EU-UN relationship. The EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina took over the UN international Police Task Force. The EU-led operation Artemis carried out in summer 2003 in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1484 succeeded in stabilising the security conditions, improving the humanitarian situation on protecting the civilian population in Bunia in Eastern DRC.

These examples of cooperation on the ground were a major breakthrough in the relations between the two organisations. The experience of working together on the ground led to a better knowledge of each other’s working methods. A framework for consultations between the two organisations was set up by the “Joint Declaration on EU-UN cooperation in crisis management” of September 2003 which identified four areas for further cooperation: planning, training, communication and best practice. A consultative mechanism, the Steering Committee, was set up in order to enhance the coordination in these two areas between the UN – in particular DPKO and DPA – and EU staff. This Steering Committee meets twice a year.

Since the beginning of 2003, the EU has engaged in more than a dozen military or civilian operations, most of them in close cooperation with the UN. The new relationship with the UN has undoubtedly also stimulated the EU efforts at improving its crisis management capacity, and it has developed into a very fruitful cooperation.  I will not go into details on the technical cooperation between the UN and the EU, but just briefly call your attention to a recent achievement. Under Security Council Resolution 1671, the EU has deployed a military operation in DRC to support MONUC during the election period in DRC. The mandate of this operation, code-named EUFOR RD Congo, is inter alia to support MONUC to stabilise a situation, in case MONUC faces serious difficulties, in fulfilling its mandate within its existing capabilities, to contribute to the protection of civilians in the areas of its deployment and to contribute to airport protection in Kinshasa.  EUFOR RD Congo includes the deployment of an advance element to Kinshasa of several hundred military personnel and a battalion-size force over the horizon, quickly deployable if necessary. This concept of EU-UN cooperation could constitute an example for future operations.

The UN and the EU also cooperated constructively in DRC as regards election observation. The deployment of some 300 EU observers occurred with the full logistical support of MONUC, and the EU Election Observation Mission’s security arrangements enabled it to request assistance by MONUC where required throughout the period of  deployment of the EOM.

Another recent development is the EU’s role in the efforts to ensure a swift implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701. At the extraordinary meeting of the Council of the EU on 25 August, the EU Foreign Ministers had an exchange of views with UNSG Kofi Annan on the situation in Lebanon. The Council welcomed the elements provided by Kofi Annan on UNIFIL's operational framework. The significant overall contribution of the EU Member States, becoming the backbone of the UNIFIL, demonstrates that the European Union lives up to its responsibilities.

A further area of cooperation which I would like to emphasize, as the Secretary-General has done in his report, is conflict prevention.  Indeed, since 2003 a regular geographical desk to desk dialogue has been taking place between the EU and the UN on conflict prevention. By focussing on areas of potential conflict the European Commission services and the UN Secretariat exchange information and engage themselves, when possible, in joint preventive actions. Four rounds of dialogues have taken place so far and we expect to hold the fifth in the near future.

Let me finally mention the newly established Peacebuilding Commission, which is now becoming operational. The PBC will have a central role in the UN system in the definition of peacebuilding strategies for countries emerging from conflict and in enhancing co-ordination. Close co-operation with regional organisations and the involvement of the civil society in peacebuilding will be important for the Commission’s success. The relevant regional organisations should be involved in accordance with their working areas, roles and capacities.  As a leading global player in peacebuilding and a major provider of funds to this effect, the European Union is committed to fully and actively contribute to the work of the Commission from the beginning.

Mme. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me conclude that it is a priority for the EU to continue to deepen and broaden its cooperation with the UN, both in the areas indicated above and in many other areas. The EU advocates a pragmatic and action-oriented approach, both for the EU-UN cooperation and for the broader context of cooperation between the UN and regional and other organisations.

Thank you very much.