Opening speech by Secretary of State Antti Satuli at the UN Civilian Police Conference in Helsinki 14.2.

United Nations Civilian Police Expert Conference
Helsinki 14-15 February 2002

Opening Address by

Mr. Antti Satuli
Secretary of State
Ministry for Foreign Affairs

On behalf of the Government of Finland it is my pleasure to welcome you to Helsinki.
Finland is a long-standing supporter of United Nations peacekeeping. Since 1956, Finland has sent some 41,000 Blue Helmets to different UN operations. Finnish participation in UN police operations started in the early 1990s.

In this opening address let me build on three factors, which could be considered as the underlying platform for discussions at this seminar: the changing nature of conflict, changing requirements, and regionalization.

Firstly, I would like to comment on the changing nature of conflicts. Since the Cold War, the challenges to the international security environment have undergone a drastic change. The perception of conflict has become more complex. The roots of modern conflicts are mainly found in disparate social, ethnic, political or humanitarian problems. Therefore there is a need for a comprehensive peacekeeping approach. This approach should cover the complete conflict cycle - namely conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peace building. Each part should have a very strong emphasis on prevention, as advocated by the Secretary-General. Prevention is, after all, the cheapest and best way of managing crises.

Operations such as UNTAG in Namibia, UNMIK in Kosovo and UNTAET in East-Timor have considerably broadened the approach to crisis management. Multidimensional and integrated peacekeeping operations, encompassing police and rule of law functions as well as a number of peace building tasks, have become the rule rather than the exception. The UN-mandated ISAF operation and the planned UNAMA operation in Afghanistan underline the capacity and capability required to deal with very unstable situations.

With a strong executive mandate, the police operation in Kosovo had to step in to fulfil the tasks of the non-existent local police. This meant a new challenge for civilian crisis management. It soon became clear that without an adequate supportive judicial system – prosecutors, judges and penal system – the international law enforcement capacity would have remained incomplete. It is my wish that this conference will provide us with the opportunity to discuss the synergy between civilian policing and rule of law components.

Secondly: new terrain requires modified vehicles. The profound change that is now part of the modern security environment constitutes a challenge both to our national administrations and to the United Nations’ system. Both national and international authorities have to react to it. This was one of the core messages that the report of the Brahimi Panel conveyed. The report included a wide range of recommendations both to the Member States and the UN Secretariat on how to reform the existing UN peacekeeping practices. The proposals were in many respects avant-garde, but they had their roots in a soil stained by brutal episodes like Rwanda and Srebrenica. To our satisfaction, the vast majority of UN members have accepted a substantial part of the recommendations. The approved proposals have made the organisation better equipped to deal with multifaceted and complex situations/operations efficiently and effectively. It is important for the two trails charted by Mr. Brahimi, the peacekeeping reform and the launching of a peace operation in Afghanistan, to converge successfully.

In this connection, let me once again draw your attention to a point that cannot be stressed enough: in striving for the goal of enhancing the UN crisis management capabilities, the member states are in a key position. We, the broad membership, are responsible for navigating the UN through the reforms needed for more efficient crisis management.

Now, to take up my third point: in the period after World War II until the end of the Cold War the United Nations was the organization with the authority to design, mandate and implement peacekeeping operations. However, the developments in the aftermath of the Cold War have to some extent changed this traditional pattern. While the UN still provides the chapeau and mandate under which most of the peace operations around the world function, a growing number of operations are implemented by regional organizations or different coalitions of willing players.

In compliance with Chapter VIII of the UN Charter the UN has enhanced the capacity of regional organisations to deal with several crisis management operations. In Europe, on the civilian side, the OSCE has already organized police operations in the Balkans. The organization has also gained valuable experience in institution-building. The EU - for its part - is developing its police capacity and preparing to lead an operation in Bosnia for the first time. On the military side, Nato has been called upon in Bosnia, Kosovo and FYR Macedonia.

It is extremely important that the various organizations co-operate in a complementary manner, sharing experiences and responsibilities. A number of international organizations - both intergovernmental and non-governmental - are always present in crisis areas. Good coordination among them is a key to successful crisis management. The UN-led operation in Kosovo (UNMIK) has been a trailblazing example of an interdisciplinary effort. Its unique way of entrusting tasks to various international actors provides us with valuable lessons.

The core objective of this conference is to discuss one particular aspect of enhancing the UN peacekeeping capacity: namely improvement in the rapid deployment capability of civilian police and other civilian personnel. This capacity is one of the main pillars of the Brahimi Panel's recommendations.

The same need led, in the OSCE, to the creation of the programme called Rapid Expert Assistance and Co-operation Team, REACT. It also led the EU to adopt, as part of its overall policing strategy, the objective of deploying police within 30 days for international crisis management work.

From our national point of view this is timely. With broad public support, civilian crisis management has become a priority area in Finnish foreign and security policy. Finland is doing its best to strengthen civilian crisis management capacities in each of the three major forums: the United Nations, the OSCE and the European Union.

To sum up, it is important to relate horisontally all aspects of civilian crisis management. In order to be really successfull and effective, we have to enhance coherence in conflict prevention, crisis management and peace building covering all aspects and forms of our action. Coherence must naturally be underlined also in the actions of the international organizations.

There are many topical issues on the agenda of the international community. Preparations for a future civilian operation in Afghanistan are currently underway at the UN. The European Union is busy preparing a possible follow-on mission for the IPTF in Bosnia-Herzegovina. These examples show how challenging it is to assemble the resources for crisis management.

Finally, I wish you every success in your discussions and a pleasant stay in Helsinki.