6/2010 "Transitions" from peacekeeping to peacebuilding: Recent experiences from Timor-Leste

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Paper presented by Ameerah Haq at CMIS 2010.

Paper presented by Ameerah Haq at CMIS 2010.

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  • 1. C I V I L - M I L I TA R YW O R K I N G PA P E R S6 / 2 010‘TRANSITIONS’ FROM PEACEKEEPING TO PEACEBUILDING:RECENT EXPERIENCES FROM TIMOR-LESTEAmeerah Haq w w w.c i v m i l co e . gov. au
  • 2. Disclaimer:The views expressed in this Civil-Military Commentary/Civil Military Working Paper/Civil-Military Occasional Paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflectthe position of APCMCOE or of any government agency. Authors enjoy the academicfreedom to offer new and sometimes controversial perspectives in the interest offurthering debate on key issues.The content is published under a Creative Commons by Attribution 3.0 Australia(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/) licence. All parts of this publicationmay be reproduced, stored in retrieval systems, and transmitted by any means withoutthe written permission of the publisher.ISBN: 978-1-921933-05-9Published 2011.CIVIL-MILLITARY WORKING PAPERS ii
  • 3. ABSTRACT In this paper, representing the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, I share recent experiences from Timor-Leste where I serve as Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s Special Representative.Today’s topic, transitions, is a timely one. In its history of over more than 60 years, peacekeeping has gone through a series of surges and periods of consolidation. Following the most recent surge of new peacekeeping missions in the early 2000s, we expect the next few years to represent a period of consolidation and drawdown. Our mission in Chad will close at the end of December; in Timor-Leste and Liberia, transition planning is already underway, in others like Cote d’Ivoire, it is a little further on the horizon. In all transitions, we have to manage the departure of peacekeeping missions in a way that helps consolidate and build peace. The topic is also timely as UN Member States are in the midst of important policy debates in the Security Council as well as the 4th and 5th Committees of the General Assembly, on the interface between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, the role of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Security Council, and on allocation of resources across multiple instruments like peacekeeping operations or special political missions, and development assistance. Thoughts about the role of these instruments are evolving and there is some way to go to make sure they all work together effectively. Key Words: transitions, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, United Nations, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste, Head of UNMIT Ameerah Haq Ms Ameerah Haq has been appointed as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste and Head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) on 2 December 2009. She most recently served as the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan as well as the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan (2007–2009). Before that, she served as the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan as well as the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan (2004–2007). She was formerly the Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director of the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery at UNDP Headquarters in New York. She served as the United Nations Resident Coordination and UNDP Resident Representative in Malaysia from 1994 to 1997 and in the same capacity in Laos from 1991 to 1994. Ms Haq worked in the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific at UNDP Headquarters in various capacities from 1980-1990. She is a graduate of Western College in Oxford, Ohio (USA) and holds Masters Degrees in Community Organization and Planning from Columbia University (USA) and Business Administration from New York University (USA).‘Transitions’ From Peacekeeping to Peacebuilding: recent experiences from Timor-Leste 1
  • 4. INRODUCTIONToday’s topic, transitions, is a timely one. In its history of over more than 60 years, peacekeeping has gonethrough a series of surges and periods of consolidation. Following the most recent surge of new peacekeepingmissions in the early 2000s, we expect the next few years to represent a period of consolidation anddrawdown. Our mission in Chad will close at the end of December; in Timor-Leste and Liberia, transitionplanning is already underway, in others like Cote d’Ivoire, it is a little further on the horizon. In all transitions,we have to manage the departure of peacekeeping missions in a way that helps consolidate and build peace.The topic is also timely as UN Member States are in the midst of important policy debates in the SecurityCouncil as well as the 4th and 5th Committees of the General Assembly, on the interface betweenpeacekeeping and peacebuilding, the role of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Security Council, and onallocation of resources across multiple instruments like peacekeeping operations or special political missions,and development assistance. The way we think about the role of these instruments is evolving and we stillhave some way to go to make sure they all work together effectively.PEACEKEEPING/PEACEBUILDING NEXUSI want to start by challenging the title of this session by emphasising that we should not be thinking in terms of“transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding”. Peacekeeping and peacebuilding are not alternatives to eachother nor are they two sequential phases of activity. Peacebuilding does not begin when peacekeepers leave,or when we deploy something we call a peacebuilding office.Peacebuilding is a national process whereby a country emerging from conflict builds long-term stabilityand restores the social contract between the Government and its people. It is a national challenge andfundamentally a political process. It entails a range of activities aimed at making peace self-sustaining andreducing the risk of relapse into conflict.Peacekeeping on the other hand, is one of several policy instruments that may support peacebuilding. It bringsa certain set of capacities to support peacebuilding in the critical early stages when risks are highest. Thatincludes facilitating political process, providing a security umbrella, and enabling others to channel supportwhere it is needed, as well as by undertaking certain tasks ourselves as we are mandated.Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Services sets out what we see as the threemain roles of peacekeepers in peacebuilding: we help governments to articulate priorities, we enable the workof others, and we implement a number of tasks:CIVIL-MILLITARY WORKING PAPERS 2
  • 5. Firstly, peacekeeping missions support consensus among national counterparts and the broader internationalcommunity, and guide overall strategy development and implementation vis-à-vis peacebuilding priorities.Secondly, they enable other national and international actors to implement peacebuilding tasks, by providinga security umbrella and political space for reconciliation efforts and economic recovery to develop, as well aslogistics support.Thirdly, they implement certain early peacebuilding tasks themselves, including engaging in capacity building,in close collaboration with other partners. Which peacebuilding tasks peacekeepers take on depends on thecountry setting, the mandate and the capacity of other actors to deliver.I would like to illustrate how UN peacekeepers contributed to peacebuilding efforts in Timor-Leste followingthe April-May 2006 crisis. The United Nations Integrated Mission (UNMIT) was established in August 2006following the crisis that saw the collapse of the national police in the capital Dili, massive displacement ofpeople, and large-scale destruction of property. The Mission was mandated to, amongst other tasks, ensure,through the presence of United Nations Police (UNPol), the restoration and maintenance of public security;and to support Timor-Leste to consolidate stability, enhance a culture of democratic governance and facilitatepolitical dialogue. Let us remember that Timor-Leste is a very young state, so it is perhaps not surprisingthat democratic institutions and processes were not yet robust enough to deal with the challenge at hand.However, since 2006, institutions have learned from the experience and are taking necessary measures toprevent future relapses into violence.UNMIT’s peacekeepers provided critical support right after the crisis, helping lay the foundations for thelarger peacebuilding effort. UNPol, in partnership with the Australian-led international security forces, playedan important role in reestablishing security, enabling a stable environment for political discourse. Beforethe elections, UNMIT played an important role by facilitating the signing of a Political Party Pact in whichpolitical parties committed to non-violence and fair play. We created an environment for the presidential andparliamentary elections of 2007. UNMIT and UNDP, in an example of the mission’s integrated approach thatharnesses the collective work of different parts of the UN system, provided technical and logistical support forthose elections which led to a peaceful transfer of power.Today UNMIT is concentrating on supporting state institutions, consolidating peace and ensuring that they areself-sustaining. This includes helping national institutions to: maintain security and stability reinforce respectfor human rights, and address the long-term socio-economic needs of the people. I continue the Mission’sgood offices in various ways, including regular meetings with national leaders, political parties, and women’sgroups to discuss issues of importance. More recently, since April of this year UNMIT has been providingtechnical assistance to the newly established Anti-Corruption Commission, including the development of alegal framework for the Commission. While continuing to support police operations by the national police,the United Nations is also working closely with key bilateral partners to strengthen institutions in the securityand justice sectors. For example, we are delighted to be working closely with Australia to strengthen Timor’spolice and justice systems.‘Transitions’ From Peacekeeping to Peacebuilding: recent experiences from Timor-Leste 3
  • 6. TRANSITION AND BENCHMARKSLet me turn to the issue of transition and answer first what we mean by that term. Transition refers to theprocess of removing the international security umbrella that peacekeeping provides. It implies also removingthe human, financial and logistical support that comes with peacekeeping and which supports peacebuildingalso; hence the need to ensure planned and orderly transfer of ongoing responsibilities to national authoritiesor others, including UN agencies or bilateral partners that are likely to stay in situ.Transition is firstly a political and strategic challenge. In some settings, host governments want to seepeacekeepers leave as soon as possible, even before security in the country is self-sustaining. There are othersettings in which host governments want the peacekeeping mission to stay as long as possible, partly becauseof the international attention and support that it brings.We have to get the balance right. The key is to identify the conditions under which drawdown and transitioncan safely occur, without risk of a security vacuum and relapse into conflict. This is an art, not a science, andrequires a deep understanding of the regional and local context.Benchmarks or similar targets jointly agreed by the Security Council and national counterparts can be usefulin navigating this process. They articulate aspects of an end-state in which it will be possible for internationalsecurity forces to leave without threatening the peace process.Benchmarks have been developed in a number of missions including Timor-Leste, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Haiti,Chad and Sudan. Our experience is that they are most useful when they are developed together with nationalcounterparts and form a shared analytical framework for navigating decision-making about transition.In contexts where such political consensus is lacking, the Council’s engagement with the host country is criticalto help establish agreement on the end-state of the mission. Our process for review and decision-making atthe strategic level, between the host governments, Security Council, UN needs to manage risk and ensure aprogressive handover of responsibilities, including in security that can still be reversed quickly if setbacks occur.In Timor-Leste, the next national elections must be held by 2012. If they go well, and conditions continuingas they are I am optimistic that they will, and stability reigns in the post-electoral period, this will be a majorindicator of peacekeeping and peacebuilding. It will be a sign that UNMIT can successfully conclude its workin December 2012. UNMIT and the Timorese authorities have established a jointly owned transition planningand implementation mechanism which is guided by a high-level committee comprising the President, the PrimeMinister and members of his cabinet on the Timorese side and myself and the Mission senior managementon the UN side. Technical working groups are looking at substantive areas such as democratic governance;police and the security sector; rule of law/justice/human rights; socio-economic development; mission supportand logistics; training for Timorese UN staff; and the impact of the mission’s departure on the local economy.The aim of this mechanism is to ensure that the activities currently carried out by UNMIT and which willbe needed after 2012 can be effectively transferred to other institutions. International partners are beingconsulted regularly throughout the process.CIVIL-MILLITARY WORKING PAPERS 4
  • 7. IMPLEMENTATION OF TRANSITIONIn addition, transition also faces important implementation challenges. Transitions require strong leadershipand capacity for integrated planning. We have to map out the peacebuilding tasks that are being undertakenand look at how they can be transferred to national or international actors. That process must involve nationalcounterparts as well as the donors and the UN. Handover of security and criminal justice tasks to nationalinstitutions requires an intensive capacity development effort as well as putting in place agreements forlong-term capacity building beyond mission drawdown. We are looking at innovative models for progressivehandover of tasks on a district by district basis, for example in policing, which empowers the Timorese to takeover responsibilities but offers the flexibility to re-engage if need be.Where peacebuilding tasks shift from peacekeepers to the UN agencies or other actor’s resource mobilisationbecomes a major challenge. We need to plan for transition early enough to identify funding gaps and alertdonors early enough to enable adjustments in current programmes, agreement between UN agencies and thegovernment and the way ahead, and resource mobilisation without which programmes cannot continue.In this context we welcome the growing focus on the World Bank as a strategic partner for peacekeeping.This partnership needs to be strengthened and pursued more consistently in states emerging from conflict.Ensuring continuing donor attention to peacebuilding after the withdrawal of a peacekeeping mission is one ofthe main objectives of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Support OfficeTransition is also a time of change inside the peacekeeping mission itself, with both national and internationalstaff worried about their own employment. We foresee a ‘full steam ahead’ approach until after the 2012elections. Thereafter, we expect quickly to draw down our budget from its current USD206 million and ourstaffing complement of 2,000 international and 1,000 national staff. Addressing such concerns transparentlyis vital to ensure two things: first that the peacekeeping mission has the staff it needs up to the end of itsmandate and, second, that staff that have performed well have jobs to go to once a mission comes to a close.We are on the case in Timor, with innovations such as a comprehensive package for national staff to upgradetheir skills so that, once UNMIT leaves, either the public or private sector – or perhaps the embassy ofAustralia in Dili – can have access to highly trained and motivated professionals who are, after all, the future ofTimor-Leste.Transition demands also clear communication, both vertically and horizontally, in meetings, town halls, onthe radio, and via TV and the internet. We are engaging in a major outreach campaign with all concerned toexplain what transition means, and what it does not.All this means that transition is a major undertaking that requires dedicated professional staff. It requiresstrong senior leadership and dedicated planning and support teams who have the right skills and cansee through a transition. We are over two years away from UNMIT’s expected exit from Timor-Leste.Our transition team is being put in place. It’s a race against time, one we hope to win in order to helpconsolidate peace.‘Transitions’ From Peacekeeping to Peacebuilding: recent experiences from Timor-Leste 5
  • 8. INTEGRATED PLANNINGAcross the UN system we are working hard to improve our capacity to transition in an integrated way. Wecontinue to make strides to improve integrated planning for our peacekeeping operations, including throughthe Integrated Strategic Framework. The ISFs are a valuable new tool for coordination with the UN agenciesOn the implementation side, we have put a lot of emphasis on partnerships with UN actors. Joint assessmentsand joint programmes with UNDP and others, for example in Afghanistan, DRC, Haiti, Liberia, and Sudanhave become a common feature of our implementation practice. Yet, we continue to face challenges of‘interoperability’ around joint programming and common services. DFS is leading an inter-agency workinggroup on support aspects of integration and Member States support for the UN’s proposals, as they areoutlined next year, will be important.ROLE OF MEMBER STATESMember States and the wider international community have a major role in supporting transitions and long-term peacebuilding. With regard to the actions of the Council and its members, Member States’ work in amore coordinated manner is very welcome. More Member State coherence across the different governingboards of the UN and World Bank, for example, facilitates our own coherence.This is important because there are key areas such as economic revitalisation and restoration of basic serviceswhere peacekeepers are not in the lead but rather play a supporting role. Without strong collaboration andcoordination with our partners in the UN agencies as well as the World Bank, bilateral and other partners wewill not be able to implement coherent peacebuilding and transition. Member States can also help by ensuringthat resources are focused on those priorities agreed on with our national counterparts. One key instrumentavailable to donors is providing pooled funding through trust funds and other mechanisms, which allows for abetter alignment of resources with agreed priorities.CIVIL-MILLITARY WORKING PAPERS 6
  • 9. CONCLUSIONTo conclude, I would like to emphasise that while transitions and peacebuilding is ultimately a process thatmust be led by the people and leaders of a given country, the engagement of the United Nations, MemberStates and the wider international community is essential in ensuring its success. The United Nations iscommitted to peacebuilding in post-conflict countries all over the world and I am charged with ensuringsuccess in Timor-Leste.‘Transitions’ From Peacekeeping to Peacebuilding: recent experiences from Timor-Leste 7