Good morning, everybody. Welcome to the defence committee and our discussion on Canada's contributions to peace support operations.
This morning we have with us Zoé Dugal, Deputy Director of Field Operations, CANADEM; Alexandra Novosseloff, Senior Visiting Fellow, International Peace Institute, from New York; Ms. Peggy Mason, Former Ambassador, from the Rideau Institute; and as an individual, Major-General (Retired) David Fraser.
Thanks to all of you for coming.
I'll turn the floor over to you, Ms. Novosseloff. We have you via video and we have a good feed right now, so in case we lose you later on, I'd rather get your testimony on the record up front. Without further ado, I'm going to give you the floor.
Everyone will have up to 10 minutes. If you see my signal, it means that I need you to start winding down within 30 seconds so that I can keep the time fair for everybody. Thank you very much.
Madam Novosseloff, you have the floor.
Thank you very much for having me here today. I'll give brief remarks just to kick-start the conversation this morning.
I will start by saying that peacekeeping is one of the most difficult tasks there is, and it is a very specific activity that differs from other types of military intervention. It is an inherently temporary measure, a limited instrument that creates the space for a nationally owned political solution.
Peacekeeping is also one of the most criticized activities of the UN, prone to a lot of debates and regularly making headlines for its alleged failures. It is also one of the less understood ones. It is complex. It often creates a lot of expectations. These operations have often been given mandates that are too ambitious and create too many expectations. At the same time, they are given too many tasks. They are provided with the unachievable protection of civilian mandates, conceived in security terms, in countries where there is no infrastructure and where the willingness of the parties to the conflict to comply with Security Council resolutions is questionable at best.
We tend to assess peacekeeping also on what it cannot deliver—meaning enforcing peace—forgetting that the UN can only be a facilitator, an honest broker, in those crises that need to be solved by the parties to the conflict themselves.
It is also an activity that has always been suffering from a lack of investment, whether political, financial, or military. Peacekeeping operations have always been done on the cheap.
When the Secretary-General requested 8,000 troops to protect the security zones of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s, the council authorized the deployment of only 3,000 peacekeepers. Where an American soldier costs $800,000 annually, a UN peacekeeper costs only $20,000. When NATO deploys some 130,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, the UN deploys about 11,000 blue helmets in the north of Mali, which is twice the size of Afghanistan. When NATO is deploying 50,000 soldiers in Kosovo, the UN is deploying 16,000 blue helmets in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is the size of continental Europe.
Although 80% of peacekeeping operation expenditures are militarily related, they are financed through limited civilian budgets, and not through the larger military budgets where peacekeeping spending could be more easily absorbed.
Contrary to what people generally think, UN peacekeeping is a particularly cost-effective activity, but of course there's a limit to what you can do and what you can achieve in those circumstances. Peacekeeping is also a very diverse activity, from observation and monitoring missions to multi-dimensional mandates and political assistance and mediation. It is also an activity that has gone through constant reform for almost the past 20 years, the latest reform being the Secretary-General's action for peacekeeping initiative. I can also, of course, go back to this in the debate, if you wish.
Peacekeeping is also an activity that is constantly evolving in a changing and increasingly challenging environment, with the most challenging one today, certainly, being MINUSMA, which in my view is testing the outer limits of peacekeeping.
Peacekeeping operations are also the only international interventions where, for the most part, with the noticeable exception of China, those who decide and mandate—i.e. members of the Security Council—are not the same as those who contribute financially, and therefore, decide on budgets in the fifth committee after mandates are voted upon. Also, those who contribute in troops...and 2017 has been the deadliest year for peacekeepers, with 134 peacekeepers who have died.
That situation creates a delusion of responsibility, where it is often easy to put the blame on the UN. It is easy to see the UN as an exit strategy for the deployment of some countries or regions in the most remote places of the world, where big powers' strategic interests are not at stake.
Nevertheless, having said that, I think that these peacekeeping operations are value for the money. They concern the stability of our planet as a whole. In the way they manage crisis and conflicts, I think that they are the only method worth pursuing, combining the political with the military, the police, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.
As I said earlier, it is an activity that is constantly improving and, of course, like any other endeavour, it depends on the investment of its member states, on their capacity, and their comparative advantage. The universal composition of peacekeeping is what forms their added value and of course, it has a cost, in terms of interoperability.
Peacekeeping needs a diversity of contributions and western countries' contributions can fill some of the traditional gaps that these operations often face, such as medical assets, helicopters, engineer companies, reserve capacity, and staff officers. There are certainly operations that are much more integrated than NATO or EU ones, which are more contingent on operations. For western countries contributing to peacekeeping, it is also a way to be willing to work with African and Asian countries that often have less capability and training.
I think I will stop here and answer your questions.
Mr. Chair and members, thank you very much for the opportunity to talk to you today.
I believe your work is of critical importance to our country. I served with the Canadian Armed Forces for over 31 years, and I took pride in my country every day I wore my uniform. I continue to be proud of the men and women in uniform who protect the life we take for granted, and I'm especially proud that our country believes in helping others in need and providing them with the same hope and opportunities you and I take for granted. That is why I think the decision by our government to contribute to the UN is of national importance. Canada as a founding member of the United Nations has a long and distinguished history of supporting the organization and other international organizations. Canada has contributed to the UN Charter, including maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations, achieving international co-operation, and solving international problems of economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character while promoting and encouraging respect for human rights.
In 1957 our Prime Minister Pearson committed Canada to the United Nations Emergency Force, which resulted in his being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. More to the point, this represented Canada's commitment to fulfilling our contribution to the UN Charter and our nascent what I would call whole-of-government approach for the time, which was to have military and police necessary to keep the borders at peace while a political settlement was being worked out.
Peacekeeping from that point onward has evolved as our own national contribution has evolved. The 1970s and 1980s brought us to support missions like the one in Cyprus, where I earned my first UN medal. Peacekeeping in those days, while dangerous and demanding, was still a state-to-state mission. In those days, the host nation asked the UN to assist in the resolution, and affected states by and large adhered to the rules for UN participation. Peacekeeping continued to evolve into missions like the one we experienced in Bosnia in the 1990s, which were far more dangerous than previous missions. The key factor was that there continued to be state actors that to a degree adhered to conventions while a political settlement was found. The success of Bosnia is a tribute to the United Nations in facing adversity and the ever-changing scope of operations, and in working through to allow affected nations to find their own path to resolution. It was heartening to see Croats in Afghanistan working alongside us on our latest mission to provide peace and stability in that war-torn country.
Our notion of peacekeeping is dated and not helpful at all. The original definition, which stated that peacekeeping was “the deployment of international military and civilian personnel to a conflict area with the consent of the parties to the conflict in order to stop or contain hostilities or supervise the carrying out of a peace agreement” was good enough up until about Bosnia. Since then there has been a paradigm shift and the notion of state actors has been replaced by other players including terrorist organizations that respect no laws and no human rights.
The result of this new reality is that UN operations today are far more dangerous than ever, and the concept of operations to prosecute missions must be amended to the reality on the ground.
In short, I do not believe peacekeeping or peacemaking in the traditional UN sense of the word truly reflects the operational reality on the ground today. In short, the terms are misleading. Average Canadians don't understand them and have a perception of them, based on history, which is that we should be proud of them, but that's not the reality of where we are today.
Mali is a perfect example of how dangerous UN operations have become. Over 160 UN soldiers have been killed on this mission, and in addition to UN operations, there are counterterrorist operations occurring simultaneously. There are no state actors who are willing to comply with any guidelines.
In short, this is more complex than the average Canadian citizen's understanding of what UN missions mean. This includes our Canadian citizens.
I commend the Vancouver conference and the announcement of the QRF, the Elsie initiative, and child soldier guidelines. These are all good initiatives, in keeping with Canadian values and our contributions over the years to the United Nations.
The government announcement will provide needed capabilities to UN missions. The March announcement of four helicopters and up to 250 personnel to Mali will be a welcome addition to strapped, limited UN capabilities. These are valuable. However, I wonder if we could not better package our contributions into a more coherent package that comprises our C-130 aircraft, QRF, and helicopter contribution into one mission where greater effects can be achieved.
Penny packeting our efforts, while useful, does not give us a strategic voice or effects on the ground. Like what we did in Afghanistan, Team Canada came together with a whole-of-government approach and achieved significant improvements on the ground, while giving Canada a strategic voice. Going back to the Pearson commitment that Canada had in 1957, he took a whole-of-government approach. I think we've learned that a whole-of-government approach, a Team Canada approach, is an effective way to use our resources, and also gives us a voice to achieve the 's intent.
Combining our efforts of the military and other government departments along with our diplomatic efforts, in my opinion provides a more comprehensive approach that achieves the national effects and voice that I understand our and government want. While the national interest of establishing peace and security for Mali is understood, what is not clear is the national end state. What are the metrics for success following the 12-month participation of our helicopter contribution? I asked myself this question, which is probably what most Canadians have asked themselves to have a better understanding of what our UN strategy is. I believe that Canada, as a G8 nation, has much to offer, and people are looking to Canada for leadership and ideas.
The other question I have is on the time it is taking to go from a stated intent to the announcements of delivered capabilities on the ground. DND and the Canadian Armed Forces are superb planners. They will ensure that risks are mitigated and understood, and determine what resources are needed to deliver the governmental effects that are expected. Why all this has taken this long continues to elude me.
Canada is a great nation, and one that has a history of meaningful contributions to international organizations and helping those less fortunate than us. Our historical contributions to the United Nations, to NATO, and other international organizations have been significant. I believe we can achieve a tremendous international contribution of significance that is in our national interest, as our PM has stated.
The mission to Mali is dangerous, and the traditional idea of UN missions or peacekeeping is a thing of the past. This is not a reason not to participate. It is a call to understand the strategy of how we will harness all the Canadian government capability, like we did in Afghanistan. In other words, the whole-of-government approach that we have learned in previous missions brought better comprehensive effects on the ground and mitigated the logistical requirements for multiple locations, creating the conditions for a strategic voice.
I wonder why we are not enacting the lessons learned from our previous missions in history. This includes why we no longer have our super deputy minister, who can break down the silos here in Ottawa and harness all the departments together, working for a Team Canada approach.
We have much to offer, and the contributions being offered, if packaged in a more comprehensive manner and within a strategic plan, would offer us a greater return on our investment. I believe that we have capabilities that are needed by the United Nations and in keeping with the UN Charter, which are also supported by our own Canadian values.
The men and women who participate in these missions will do their best and will make us proud. I want to make sure that what we do is recognized in the international community.
I look forward to your questions. Thank you.
My comments will focus on the value added of UN peacekeeping and the urgent need for Canada to upgrade its training for effective re-engagement. I will hopefully build very much on the previous speakers.
UN peacekeeping is no miracle cure and there are no guarantees of success, but when properly mandated, resourced, and managed, UN peacekeeping offers the best chance for a country to transition from civil war to stable governance. Peacekeeping is the front end of a complex, long-term process of helping conflicting parties create the necessary conditions—political, socio-economic, and security—for sustainable peace. At the centre of this effort is the peace process.
Complex political problems always lie at the heart of violent conflict and require political solutions that are negotiated and agreed to by the parties. A capable security force will be essential in both the peace negotiation and implementation phases, but it is the supporting element of the overall mission nonetheless.
As our Afghanistan experience has so dramatically and tragically illustrated, no amount of military robustness and professionalism on the part of international military forces can make up for the lack of a credible peace process. That, of course, remains true to this day. The statistical evidence is clear. Looking at all past wars of the last quarter century, only 15% have ended decisively on the battlefield and, in these cases, the rebels prevailed at least as often as the governments they fought. All the rest ultimately had to be settled at the negotiating table.
It is precisely because of the primacy of the peace process that today's multi-dimensional UN peace operations are much more than military operations charged with providing a safe and secure environment. The core of the effort comprises civilians mandated to facilitate the peace process, promote the rule of law, and support the establishment of legitimate and effective institutions of governance. Increasingly, mandates like that of MINUSMA in Mali also include security assistance to the elected government so that it can reassert its authority nationwide. This military assistance is in concert with diplomatic and technical support for national political dialogue and reconciliation efforts.
For a collective enterprise of this magnitude to succeed, as UN peacekeeping does more often than not, the international effort must be perceived as legitimate and impartial. It must have the broadest possible international support within a coherent legal and operational framework. Only the UN Security Council can mandate such an operation, and only the UN organization can lead the mission if it is to be broadly, internationally acceptable.
Headed by a civilian in the role of special representative of the UN Secretary-General—of course you had at least one here in Carolyn McAskie, Canadian former SRSG—with all the other components, including the military and police reporting to him or her, the very structure of the UN peacekeeping mission reflects the centrality of the peace process. This stands in sharp contrast to NATO-led military missions, even where authorized by the UN Security Council to assist in stabilizing the conflict, because the military mission is separate from the UN political, diplomatic, humanitarian, development, and governance mission, not an integral part of it.
How can the military effectively support the peace process under a separate command structure? My 10 years of training exercises with senior NATO commanders preparing for their deployments to Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Kosovo have demonstrated time and again that a divided command structure at the operational or strategic level is a recipe for a less effective command structure.
NATO-led stability operations lack the perceived legitimacy and impartiality of UN-led operations precisely because their political and military leaders are seen to represent a very specific set of powerful countries and interests. Not only does the separate military command structure undermine coherence in the international effort, NATO leadership can constitute a gift to spoilers on the ground decrying alleged foreign occupation, the presence of additional non-NATO forces notwithstanding.
Of course I hasten to say that narrow national interests are still in play in the capitals of UN troop contributors, but the structure and composition of a UN peacekeeping mission at least works to mitigate this tendency in both perception and reality. An integrated mission under the overall authority of the SRSG also allows the UN command and control to be decentralized to the operational level. This contrasts with the more centralized top-heavy command structures operating in NATO, which was a constant focus of concern in all those years of exercises that I participated in.
To recap, the main comparative advantages for a UN peace operation is its integrated command structure under civilian authority, which in turn reflects the primacy of the peace process, and which facilitates unity of purpose and of effort, and the fact that the UN is the only organization through which the forces of the P5 and all major powers, including rising and regional powers, can jointly participate. Only the UN, therefore, offers the possibility of a politically diverse and operationally capable mission, but if and only if the P5 and other major powers invest in UN operations.
I want to touch briefly on the challenge of consent. This picks up very much on the comments by the opening speaker on the outer limits of UN peacekeeping, and on General Fraser's comments as well.
Consent, impartiality, and non-use of force are core principles of UN peacekeeping, yet Security Council mandates have grown increasingly ambitious, especially around the use of force. Peacekeepers are deployed in theatres where they do not have the consent of all parties. Extension of state authority through military means and policing is now part of the core UN peacekeeping mandate, as we've seen in Mali, requiring use or projection of force not only to fend off direct attacks from spoilers but as part of deliberate strategies to expand and secure the authority of a government in contested territories.
This type of mandate and use of force against spoilers must not obscure the fundamental lesson from the landmark 2000 Brahimi report on UN peace operations, that peacekeeping cannot substitute for an effective political process. This in turn means the greater the number of parties outside the agreement, the greater the difficulty in keeping the peace process credible.
Exacerbating this problem is the increasing tendency of the Security Council to include in mandates the “targeting” of certain groups for “degrading”, so as to seemingly move them totally beyond the negotiating pale. This might be seen as the anti-terrorist them-or-us mindset infecting peacekeeping, but peacekeeping is based, and this is its value-added, on the fundamental premise that even highly problematic rebel groups must still be engaged to the maximum extent possible if peace is to be achievable.
I want to briefly turn to training. Leadership and international peacekeeping training and practice requires a world-class international training centre at home. As all the speakers have said, peace operations have evolved dramatically since Canada was last engaged in any significant way and continue to do so. Modern, complex, multi-dimensional UN peace operations require in-depth training and education. That was the recommendation of the Somali inquiry way back when peacekeeping was a lot simpler.
If the Government of Canada is to fulfill its oft-repeated promise to lead an international effort to improve and expand the training of military and civilian personnel deployed in peace operations, then we must urgently re-establish our own capacity to undertake world-class, multidisciplinary peacekeeping training here in Canada for Canadian and international military police and civilian peacekeepers. Such training is also indispensable for an effective re-engagement by Canada in UN-led peacekeeping operations.
To this end, Canada should establish a Canadian international peace operations training centre under civilian leadership, at an arm's length from government, with reliable funding, and clear links to and support from the Department of National Defence and Global Affairs Canada.
Thank you very much. I look forward to your questions.
Members of the committee, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to address you today.
I will echo some of what my colleagues have said before.
Canada has had a long history of involvement in peacekeeping. Since 1948, the UN has established more than 60 peace missions on five continents. Canada has been part of most of them through the deployment of military and police personnel, as well as civilians.
The nature of conflicts has changed greatly since 1948. Peacekeeping was initially created to address conflicts between states after a ceasefire had been agreed upon. Although challenging, this work was fairly straightforward and could be carried out by military observers and other personnel in relative safety.
Conflicts today are mostly taking place within states and involve insurgent groups, armed factions, organized crime, and terrorists. New threats have emerged that were not present during the initial creation of peacekeeping. Those include terrorism, human trafficking on a large scale, and the use of the Internet to spread hatred and violence, amongst other things. Many times, peacekeepers from the UN and other multilateral forces are all that stand between civilians and violence, in contexts in which there is often no peace to keep.
The changing nature of conflicts has led to a crisis of peace operations, as challenges faced by the UN and the international community in general have increased. Having said that, peace operations are still the best and often the only instrument at our disposal to respond to conflict and human suffering. Therefore, as the international community, we must find ways to address these challenges and adapt peace operations to the new realities of today's world.
Canada has not been as active in the last decade and is only now trying to re-engage. In my view, it is crucial that this engagement is informed by the latest trends and developments in the UN system, to ensure that Canada's contribution achieves the highest impact possible.
The UN has commissioned a number of reviews of its peace operations system over the years, including the “Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations” or the Brahimi Report, in 2000, named after its chair, Lakhdar Brahimi, which my colleague mentioned, and more recently, the report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, known by its acronym as the HIPPO report. The high-level panel was appointed by the then-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2014 and conducted extensive consultations with UN member states and practitioners over a period of several months before publishing its final report on the June 1, 2015. The report is considered by the UN as the new road map for contemporary peace operations. As such, it should be integrated in Canada's planning and policies for peace operations.
I would like to turn now to the main points from the report that I think are especially relevant to Canada as it re-engages in peacekeeping and peace operations.
The report recommends four shifts in how peace operations are conducted.
The first one is that politics must drive the design and implementation of peace operations. Some of my colleagues have touched upon this topic. Lasting peace can only be achieved through political solutions, not through military means only. For that reason, the civilian aspect of peace operations is crucial and Canada should invest in supporting the numerous, highly qualified Canadian civilians working in the UN and other peace operations around the world. CANADEM, the organization I work for, was created by the Canadian government in 1996 to strengthen UN peace operations. It continues to act as Canada's civilian reserve by deploying and supporting Canadian experts in peace and humanitarian operations within the UN system all over the world, and with other multilateral organizations like the OSCE. We have 40 Canadians serving with the OSCE mission in Ukraine at the moment.
The second shift is that the full spectrum of UN peace operations must be used more flexibly to respond to changing needs on the ground. Peace operations include, but are not limited to, traditional peacekeeping. As such, Canada must invest in diplomacy, the creation of partnerships, and long-term inclusive development to prevent conflicts from reoccurring.
The third shift is that a stronger, more inclusive peace and security partnership is needed for the future. This means engaging with our partners in the international community and fostering a common understanding of democratic values, human rights, and the protection of civilians, especially women and children.
Lastly, the UN Secretariat must become more field-focused and UN peace operations must be more people-centred. Canada can play a role in UN reform.
The report then recommends new approaches to effect these shifts. Many of these approaches are directly in line with Canadian values, foreign policy interventions, and expertise.
I would like to highlight a few of these new approaches recommended by the report that, in my view, Canada should consider in priority.
The first and most important one, in my view, is that we should focus on prevention. This is the idea that it is much more efficient, in terms of resources and the avoidance of unnecessary destruction and human suffering, to prevent conflicts than to solve them after they have erupted. This may sound obvious, but the international community does not have a very good track record on conflict prevention. This has partly to do with funding arrangements that are only designed for ad hoc responses rather than acting before problems arise.
Second, we must invest appropriate resources in the protection of civilians. This has been a long-term Canadian field of engagement, and Canada has been at the forefront of international debates on this topic for decades, notably on the concept of the responsibility to protect, which Canada has sponsored. States have a legal and moral duty to protect their citizens, and when they fail to do so, the international community has a moral obligation to intervene.
We must also foster sustainable peace, which requires an involvement in the long term. Peace agreements and ceasefires will not effect sustainable peace on their own. For this, reforms, development, inclusive governance, and economic recovery are necessary. A special focus must be put on the security sector in countries after conflict. This includes creating state institutions like a justice system, the police, etc., that are transparent, inclusive, and representative of the population and that respect the rule of law and human rights.
In addition, the speed of deployment and capacity of uniformed personnel under the UN system must be improved. This can be achieved by selecting military and police officers who have specific skills relevant to each peace operation they are going to be deployed to and deploying them in a timely manner where they are needed. In terms of Canadian involvement, this may include, for example, deploying police officers with specific language skills—such as French in Mali and the rest of francophone Africa—community policing experience, expertise in combatting organized crime, and other things. Following on this recommendation, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations has started requesting personnel with specific skill sets from member states. Canada should liaise with DPKO and attempt to fill the needs as they arise.
Finally, we must improve leadership in UN headquarters and in the field, including by having more women in decision-making positions. This includes civilian leadership that is experienced, competent, and diverse. We have a lot of Canadians who have those skills. The high-level panel recommends the appointment of more women to positions of leadership as well as at all levels of civilian and uniformed personnel deployments in line with UN Security Council resolution 1325. This is also a priority of the Government of Canada and should be addressed as a matter of priority in our deployments.
In conclusion, peace operations cannot be seen exclusively in terms of peacekeeping with military personnel, but have evolved to include a wide range of activities at the disposal of the international community. The high-level panel insists on the fact that political solutions are necessary to prevent, manage, and resolve conflicts and foster sustainable peace beyond post-conflict transitions. Technical, bureaucratic, and military approaches often come at the expense of political efforts and in-depth analysis of each situation. Each peace operation and the range of tools it will use must be tailored to the specific context.
I thank you for your attention.
Thank you for your question.
At CANADEM, we feel that we need a mechanism for deploying Canadian civilian staff, just as our armed forces and the RCMP have mechanisms to deploy their soldiers and police officers around the world.
However, those civilians lack support. So we have a large number of civilians who participate in global missions of the UN or other multilateral organizations, such as the OSCE, but who do not receive much support from the Canadian government or Canada in general. I have worked as a Canadian civilian in a number of locations, such as Afghanistan and throughout Africa, but it had nothing to do with Canada. I was rather working for various multilateral organizations or even for the German government.
However, we are still Canadians and we represent Canada, whether we like it or not. We are seen as Canadians, and we take our Canadians values with us. There are many extremely qualified Canadians around the world, including many women. In that regard, it is important to recognize under UN resolution 1325 that there are a lot of Canadian women on mission around the world. The goal of Paul LaRose-Edwards and CANADEM is really to establish a centre that could support all those Canadians and train them.
As Ms. Mason explained a few minutes ago, not much training is provided to civilians. Soldiers and police officers receive training before deployment, but Canadian civilians don't have that opportunity. A number of countries have training centres, such as Sweden and Germany. Those countries are somewhat similar to Canada in the sense that they have the same values and the same desire to be represented in international forums.
The idea would really be to create a centre to help Canadian civilians be better trained and equipped once on the ground, but also to establish improved connections with the Canadian government, so that the government would be better informed of everything those people are doing around the world.
I think it's not a binary question of yes or no. I think the example of Afghanistan has shown us that.... As the ambassador said, there was a UN mission in Afghanistan. There was NATO. The chain of command was as complex as anything I had ever seen, at that stage of the game, in 25 years. That being said, you needed NATO to do the fighting and to establish the conditions necessary for the UN and the peace process to have some chance of succeeding.
I think in Mali, definitely, the counterterrorist operations led by the French and what the French are actually doing, which is fighting against a terrorist organization, are absolutely necessary to create the conditions to the point where in fact the UN comprehensive peace process can start to take place. It will take time. The UN is not mandated, organized, structured, or trained to operate against the insurgents that you see in Mali. They don't have intelligence capabilities. They have information capabilities. The quality of the troops that go out there has a direct effect on the types of effects you'll get on the ground. In fact, as complicated as it is, you need the French to actually set the conditions that allow for the UN.
The other thing I want to mention here is the human geography of any nation or country that you're operating in. Do the locals view whatever international agency as having credibility? Do they have the credibility to talk? For example, Afghanistan is a warrior nation. It's broken down essentially into three tribes—the Tajiks in the north, the Hazaras in the centre, and the Pashtuns in the south. They understand one thing: strength.
In Afghanistan, whether you liked it or not, the reality was that it was a male-dominated society. It was a warrior society. They understood strength. They looked to NATO, and mainly the United States, because they were an equivalent for them philosophically. They did not look to the UN as an equal. Quite frankly, the UN could not operate in Afghanistan because there was so much fighting going on, but they were there to start a process called a “peace settlement”.
You need to keep pushing the peace settlement process. That's where the diplomatic efforts come in. I think Mali's a prime example. Ultimately, there is no military solution to operations today. Where you had a Wellington and a Napoleon who could stand up and say, “The war is....” The ambassador said it: 15% of operations around the world have been resolved militarily. I would say that today it's going to be zero.
All that military operations give you is time—time for a peace settlement to find itself and to come in. In that peace settlement, you have to give voice to the opposition called “the terrorists”. You have to find out who in those organizations are moderate enough that they want to come over and talk, in whatever government process, and then create a voice for them. Once you start having that dialogue, peace has a chance. But until those conditions are set, all the military operations are doing is buying time—time for diplomatic efforts to happen until you bring all the parties together, around a table just like this, where they leave the guns at the door and go in and debate the issues.
That's what we're going to need to do.
Yes. I might note at the outset, with respect to polling, that the most recent polling introduces the element of risk and puts forward to Canadians that peacekeeping is now of greater risk. That doesn't seem to have diminished their support for it.
Peace operations is a more accurate term, yes, but for better or worse, peacekeeping is the UN term. As long as member states are using that term, we shouldn't abandon it.
With respect to this really important question about there being no peace to keep, that was really what I was trying to talk about. Building the peace is actually perhaps the most accurate way to describe what the UN multi-dimensional missions are trying to do now, because it's not a sequential process. It's not that the military tries to stabilize everything and then the peace process works. It has to work in tandem.
That really was the problem with respect to Afghanistan. For most of the time the UN was there, it had no mandate to work on a comprehensive peace process. Actually, it never had a mandate to work on a comprehensive peace process. Even when there was relative stability, there wasn't that opportunity to take advantage of it and to bring all the players in, because that's the story with Afghanistan.
I've heard General Fraser talk in past days about the frustration of the Taliban fighters going back to Pakistan for R and R, but Pakistan had its own security interests that had to be addressed, and it didn't do any good to lecture and tell Pakistan to stop doing this. There needed to be a comprehensive peace process that took into account Pakistan's concerns over India.
Zoé's comments about the regional complexities of Mali also hit on a really important factor. I would just like to quote one comment from the observations of the Secretary-General in the December report on Mali. With respect to this interrelationship of the counter-insurgency force and the UN mission, he said:
I commend the commitment of the States members of the Group of Five for the Sahel to tackling the threats to peace and security, terrorism and transnational organized crime through the establishment of a joint force. While it has the potential to contribute to an enabling environment for MINUSMA, only a multidimensional approach that addresses the root causes of instability will be effective in countering terrorism, including by improving governance and creating opportunities for young people while bringing those who are disenfranchised back into the fold of society. Consequently, the success of the joint force—
This is the counter-insurgency force.
—remains intimately linked to the full implementation of the [peace] Agreement.
To come back to the question, no, there isn't a peace to keep. There's a peace to build, and it can be done by a fully resourced UN multi-dimensional peacekeeping mission.
Yes, thank you very much. I'm very pleased to do that.
Before I do that, though, I'll echo comments that have been made by others here about this whole-of-government approach. Canada needs to focus on supporting the peace process. If we're going to send military peacekeepers, then we have to do more with respect to supporting the Mali peace process. We have contributed some money to the UN trust fund in support of the peace process, but I think we can do a lot more in that regard.
Turning to the training, of course the frustration for many of us is that we were ahead of the game back in 1995 when we set up the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre. It was the first, if you will, integrated training centre—civilian, military police. That's the key. They have to be brought together.
Part of the challenge of a multi-dimensional operation is all of these key actors with their own role to play: How do they interact? What are the limits? What can they expect of the others?
Therefore, if you have a training environment where you bring together all those elements, in both your training staff but also in the composition of those being trained, then you can start to get at some of these problems. You cannot only train for current missions, but you can be thinking ahead and looking at these problems, the one that was raised earlier about protection of civilians, but also accountability, such as for sexual misconduct or other misbehaviour of forces. This is a tremendous problem but it's not something the Secretary-General can solve. It's individual troop contributors who maintain the discipline. They will not allow the UN to handle it.
These are the kinds of things that a multi-dimensional centre can look at. The most important part, though, is what Zoé Dugal said, that there is no opportunity.... I mean, the military needs this kind of training in conjunction with civilians. They get a bit of training, but most organizations cannot provide this training. It's really, really important. If we recognize how important the civilian dimension of peace operations is, then we better step up on the training in that regard.
The biggest change, and I think Bosnia was a transition.... Up until that point, national institutions were in place when we went in to conduct operations. I don't want to call them peace operations. I'll call them UN operations. It's a more generic term. It still uses something so that people understand it's the United Nations and that embraces a concept.
We had institutions that were still in place in Bosnia onwards. If I use Iraq, if I use Afghanistan, if I look at Mali, those national institutions were erased, destroyed. Colin Powell said once, “You break it, you own it”. Well, we, the international community, broke a lot of countries. We broke Afghanistan, we broke Iraq, and we broke Syria. We took national institutions and erased them, which made operations.... I hate the term “root cause” because it's too generic, but the root cause was getting rid of the national institutions, because you set the country back about four generations. Now it's going to take four generations at least to build what an institution that is called a country looks like again.
That's not a military operation, that's a whole-of-government operation. That is diplomatic. That is judicial. That is policing, and we start with policing first, not the army. It's about social policing and those institutions. When we look at any situation today around the world, if we look at a country, we can't think about it in terms of what Canada looks like. We're starting from a blank piece of paper, and we have to rebuild it.
Capacity building is the idea. Capacity building is how you want to do things. I firmly support what the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre did, but that was stage one. Capacity building, in my recommendation, is done in the host nation, not here in Canada but in the host nation, so that the legacy that Canada leaves, as part of an international community, is a college, a university, or a training centre in the host nation where we train the trainers, they train their own people, they build it, and then we exit from that. It's not a combat operation and it's not missions out in the field. It's about building capacity and building national institutions that, in today's operations, are completely obliterated because of the lack of state actors. They are gone.
Yes, absolutely. I completely agree. Prevention is at two levels, in my view. The second level is what the general was just referring to. After a conflict, we send in peacekeepers, we stop the fighting, and now we have to rebuild the country. This is the second level of prevention, because you want to prevent the conflict from reappearing. Police are crucial. It can't be taken in isolation. As you've just said, the police, the justice system, the prison system, etc., are a continuum.
The military is important, but what affects civilians' lives day to day are the police and the justice system. This is absolutely crucial. It cannot be done in isolation, either. You have to rebuild all state institutions at the same time, and it's a huge task.
The first level of prevention, though, is to prevent the conflict in the first place. This is where the international community has not been very good. We are better at trying to prevent reoccurrence of conflict after a transition. The UN and others have been learning a lot over the last 50 years on how to rebuild states. It's not been very successful in Afghanistan or Iraq, I agree with the general. It's been much more successful in other countries like Bosnia, East Timor, and Kosovo, for example. There are a lot of UN successes that we can build on. There are a lot of lessons learned that are there for the UN to use. There have also been a lot of successes in Africa. We could spend the rest of the session discussing those.
However, instead of doing this, you could also start with not having a conflict in the first place, in which case the institutions wouldn't get destroyed. They could be reformed at a slower pace within the society itself with some help from the international community.
When there's a risk of conflict, it's because there's a problem in the society that cannot be addressed through the traditional means of government. The government needs to reform, and the state needs to reform, but it doesn't have to pass through this phase of violent conflict, which is extremely disruptive in terms of infrastructure, human suffering, and destroying institutions. It's much better if we can try to prevent conflict and work on reforming institutions without having to destroy them in the first place.
Let me use a different term, which is “human geography”. People who understand the human geography are far more effective in communicating and establishing relationships. To give an example of human geography, in Afghanistan we were using the wrong maps, because we were using maps written and done up by people back in the 1800s. I asked my staff to go and get me a tribal map. When we understood the human geography, the complexity just exploded off the page. We started to have different relationships, and we started building those relationships and having a better understanding of the cultural sensitivities of the groups that we were dealing with and an understanding of what their grievances were with each other and what their grievances were with us, because we didn't understand them—wrong culture, wrong race, wrong religion, blah, blah, blah.
The more we sat down and talked to them, the better we could understand it. You put a big bowl around that whole thing and that's called intelligence, intelligence and understanding the situation that you have to deal with. The better intelligence you have, the better informed decisions you can make and you can actually deliver the right effect at the right time with the right results. It's not about killing. It's about engaging in relationship building, and we need significant capability.
One of the greatest assets that Canada has provided on operations throughout our history.... I used “us” in Afghanistan. I said, “We're multicultural, multi-ethnic.” I used to show up in meetings. I had my political adviser, who was a woman, and my development adviser, who was a woman. I was a guy. I had an imam with me, and I had a guy you might know. His name is and he is a Sikh. I said, “Welcome to Canada. This is Team Canada. This is what we come with. This is just us.”
The one thing about Canadians is that we'll talk the crap out of you, because all we want to do is talk to you and we want to understand what's going on. Then the imam would say a prayer, and they'd be really confused because he was wearing a uniform and he was speaking in their language and he was praying with them. After we had the prayer, we sat down and had a talk. You want to talk about a multiplying effect? Canada was a superstar over there. We found out stuff that the Americans and other international agencies did not because we are just unique because we are multicultural and multi-ethnic. That's intelligence. Understanding that, Canada just being Canadians going over there and doing what Canadians do best.... I don't think there's another country in the world that can do it as well as we can. We just don't give ourselves enough credit.
Women must be involved at all levels. Is not enough to send a few women in some contingents. As soon as peace negotiations begin, in the peace agreement, women from the country in question must be involved in all aspects of the negotiations. But that hasn't really been done. The few times that has been done were very successful.
It has been proven that peace negotiations that involved local women brought a sustainable peace in those countries because women have a different position and see things differently. Often, they are not fighters. They come from communities and are local leaders. They provide a perspective and think of including things in the peace agreement that men would not include.
It is crucial for women to be involved at all levels, from the very beginning. It must also be determined how they can be integrated into the UN. There are women on the civilian side. In fact, there are more women than men within the UN. However, women must be encouraged to take on leadership positions. There are women at lower levels and some in the middle, but we need women to be special representatives of the secretary general and be involved at high levels in UN missions. In addition, there must be women at the UN headquarters, In New York, and not only on the ground.
In terms of military and police services, every member state must ensure to increase the number of women in those organizations. It must begin with having more women in police services and in the army. Those women will then be deployed on the ground. If there are no women in police services, they cannot be sent abroad.
That is basically my answer.