09.05.2012 13:07

Puolustusministeri Stefan Wallinin puhe 8.5.2012 IPI:n puhetilaisuudessa New Yorkissa

8th May 2012, International Peace Institute, New York

Wallin IPI NY

It is a great pleasure and honour for me to speak at the IPI today. I express my sincere thanks to both the Permanent mission of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Nations and the International Peace Institute for co-organising this event with Finland. Today, I would like to use this opportunity to share my thoughts about current issues on the field of peacekeeping from a Finnish perspective.

Participation in peacekeeping is an important part of international burden-sharing. Finland has done its fair share by taking part in peacekeeping and missions led by the United Nations, European Union, NATO and OSCE. Finland has participated actively to 30 UN and other UN mandated operations. Some 50 000 Finnish peacekeepers have served in these. This tradition is well illustrated in Finland’s peacekeeping exhibition in main building, which we opened yesterday

The nature of crises has become more complex and conflicts seem to last longer due to relapses. Too often there is no peace to keep when the decision to act is made. The case Syria is a current example. In addition, many peacekeeping operations take place in fragile states. There is also a large number of different – and often uncoordinated international actors that crowd the crisis area. This creates additional challenges. Therefore, Finland promotes comprehensive crisis management This means well-functioning coordination between military, police and civilian components of peacekeeping missions as well as close cooperation between peacekeeping and peacebuilding actors in order to ensure smooth transitions.

The success of comprehensive crisis management is often dependent on the ownership:  active participation of national and local authorities, international organisations and the civil society.  We should not forget the interaction between the peacekeeping actors and the local population. The need to understand local cultures and reinforce local ownership is critical. Winning hearts and minds has a major impact on any operation and on the force protection.

That’s why it is also critical to emphasize the promotion of human rights, gender equality and the rule of law from the very beginning of new operations. Particular attention has to be paid to the status and participation of women as well as to the protection of children in in order to build truly inclusive and truly sustainable peace.

In a perfect world, there would be  an international model of comprehensive approach approved by all stakeholders. This model would include stabilization of the security situation, immediate functions of rule of law and governance as well as other nation-building efforts, such as education and health care. Finland has, on her turn, developed a National strategy on Comprehensive Crisis Management. This was prepared in close cooperation with all relevant government branches and the strategy underlines  that while the roles and responsibilities of military and civilian acts are distinct, they should be mutually complementary. The objective is to improve coherence and effectiveness with due regard to each actor’s own area of responsibility and expertise.

Let me now turn to the role of regional organisations and our experiences in supporting UN peacekeeping through them especially in Africa.

Even though the United Nations is the highest authority in decision making in global security the importance of the commitment of regional organisations has increased. Cooperation and coordination between the UN and these organisations is crucial. There is a need to rely more on different organisations’ comparative advantages. This should become a norm already at the planning stage of any operation.

United Nations and European Union have a long tradition of cooperation in crisis management. All EU military operations have been UN mandated and some of them have been launched to support UN missions. A good example is the EU operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo launched 2006 to support the UN mission during elections. A more recent example is the EU operation in the Central African Republic and Chad launched 2008. The aim of the operation was to allow the UN to launch its own mission. Finland participated in the EU operation and during the hand-over we re-hatted our troops and continued in the UN mission. Even though there were some technical challenges during the hand-over, I believe the EU operation in the CAR and Chad is a good model for future cooperation between the UN and other actors. For example, in initial stages of an operation, the troops in high readiness can be used in order to prepare ground for a UN follow-on mission.

Another example of UN-EU cooperation is in the Horn of Africa for the benefit of Somalia. Here the EU is also cooperating with the AU. Improving security is one the key elements to improve the situation in Somalia. The International community’s helps in this is needed. The EU has recently published its strategy for the Horn of Africa. The EU and its member states support the AMISOM also financially. In addition, the EU Training Mission in Uganda offers capacity building for the security forces of the Transitional Federal Government, Finland contributes and participates in this effort.

The EU also contributes to stabilizing the situation in Somalia through its naval operation off the coast of Somalia and in the Indian Ocean, ATALANTA. The operation protects UN and AMISOM shipping. A third mission has already been outlined. In the near future the European Union will engage in the development of both maritime capabilities and public administration in the states of the region. The activities cover also the development of the judicial system, the police, border management and coastguards.
It cannot be stressed too much that all these activities – current and upcoming - are conducted in a co-operative manner with partners. These are also firmly based on the UN Security Council’s resolutions on Somalia.

In addition, The Nordic countries Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark have a common Nordic activities in Eastern Africa. Since 2009 we have coordinated our support to Eastern African Standby Force to develop its capacity. We have established a coordination staff in Nairobi and agreed on a support plan until 2015. The support includes training and capacity building. Finland is responsible for the peace support operations training component. For example, last year we conducted two courses in Kenya and Sudan. We also train African officers in our Nordic training centers. The experience has been positive and beneficial to all parties.

These coordinated and shared Nordic activities to support stability in the Eastern Africa could serve as good examples for future arrangements for Capacity building somewhere else.

Finland is proud of its work in the area of peacekeeping training. We have just celebrated the graduation of the 100th United Nations Observer Course which was conducted recently in the Finnish Defence Forces Training Centre (FINCENT), which was established in 1969 being the very first training centre in the world dedicated to peacekeeping training. The training selection has also the comprehensive approach dimension focusing on the integration of different components of peacekeeping and peace-building. This is conducted by the joined effort of FINCENT and Crises Management Centre (CMC Finland), the training institution focusing on peace-building. The expertise of peacekeeping and peace-building training in Finland is based on the experiences gained over the decades and is available to any nation not only by the courses but also in terms of sharing the training knowledge and offering the support to capacity building. The development of the training content is following the requirements of UN and other organisations. Finland is willing to share her training expertise.

To conclude, Finland will continue to be an active and consistent promoter of collective security. Some weeks ago the decision was made to attend the observer mission in Syria. Finland will also return back to the UNIFIL-operation later this month. We emphasize the need for action ranging from preventive diplomacy and mediation through peacekeeping to peace-building and overall support for sustainable development.

Our previous president Mr. Martti Ahtisaari has shown us Finns the way on how to mediate effectively. His key lessons include

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