Updated: 31-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus

Press Communiqué

Meeting of
the North
6 Dec 1995

Progress Report to Ministers by the Political-Military Steering Committee/ Ad Hoc Group on Cooperation in Peacekeeping

  1. The Political-Military Steering Committee/Ad Hoc Group on Cooperation in Peacekeeping (PMSC/AHG) was established to serve as the main NACC/PfP body for consultations on the political and conceptual aspects of peacekeeping, for the exchange of peacekeeping experience, and for the consideration of practical measures for cooperation in peacekeeping. During 1995, the Group continued efforts aimed at developing, within the NACC/PfP framework and beyond, a common understanding of key conceptual aspects of peacekeeping; the Group also sponsored work in several areas, such as training, communications, and command and control, to improve practical cooperation in peacekeeping.

I. Conceptual Approaches

  1. The Group continued its thorough review of the definitions, principles, and criteria set out in the Report on Cooperation in Peacekeeping endorsed by NACC Ministers at Athens in June, 1993. Elements for a "follow-on" report to the Athens Report, updating aspects of it in light of experience gained since 1993, were discussed in detail at Group meetings during the second half of 1995. This discussion provided an opportunity for all Group members to share views and experiences relating to conceptual aspects of peacekeeping. Significant common understanding was reached among Group members on the characteristics of, and principles and criteria associated with, what the United Nations Secretary-General has called "multifunctional peacekeeping operations". A copy of the agreed document is being submitted separately for endorsement by Ministers with a view to making it public.

  2. In addition to work on the follow-on to the Athens Report, the Group also heard and commented on ideas for improving the United Nations' rapid reaction capabilities. These ideas, presented by several Group members, included: the creation of a United Nations rapid reaction capability and rapid deployment brigade; improved use of existing standby commitments of forces; and the establishment of a "vanguard concept" permitting the UN to quickly plan responses to crises and deploy forces in response.

  1. A Seminar on "Legal Aspects of Peacekeeping" took place in Bucharest in July, hosted by Romania. The Seminar provided legal experts with an opportunity to discuss a number of important issues related to peacekeeping operations, such as peacekeeping mandates, the legal status of peacekeepers, status of forces agreements, peacekeeping exercises, and the role in peacekeeping of international humanitarian law and the UN Convention on the Safety of UN and Associated Personnel. A Seminar on "Military/Civilian Cooperation in Peacekeeping Operations" was organised by Denmark and held in Copenhagen from 15th-17th November. The Seminar discussed ways to improve coordination and working relationships among various groups involved in peacekeeping operations. In addition to Group members and observers, both Seminars were attended by United Nations and OSCE representatives and by Japan as an observer.

  2. For 1996, the Group has established, in the context of the overall Partnership Work Programme, the attached work programme, which will continue to focus on sharing experience and developing a common understanding of conceptual issues associated with peacekeeping cooperation. The Group will work developing concrete lessons learned from peacekeeping operations, and begin discussions of the humanitarian aspects of peacekeeping, drawing on the work of the 1994 Budapest Seminar and involving representatives of a range of international humanitarian organisations.

    II. Measures for Practical Cooperation in Peacekeeping

  3. With regard to activities of practical cooperation, work continued within the Technical Sub-Group (TSG) of the PMSC/AHG, based on the programme endorsed by Ministers in December 1994.

  4. Peacekeeping Exercises. The TSG took stock of this year's PFP exercise programme. The number of multinational NATO/PfP exercises increased from three in 1994 to ten in 1995. In addition there were some 40 associated seminars and workshops to prepare the exercises and to train individual staff officers. PfP officers thus not only benefited from the exercises themselves, but also gained useful experience from participating in the planning process. The focus of the exercises was to prepare staff officers for duties in multinational headquarters and to prepare national forces for operations within multinational formations. The exercise objectives were achieved in all cases. A large number of bilateral and multilateral exercises were also conducted in 1995 in the spirit of PfP.

  1. Cooperation in Communications and Command and Control. The Netherlands-led study on the development of a peacekeeping communications concept, and an examination of the feasibility of developing a communications database, has been completed and has been presented to the TSG. Experience gained from the NATO/PfP exercises in 1995 has highlighted the importance of this subject, in particular the need for interoperable equipment and procedures. Work has continued in the related field of command and control.

  2. Cooperation in Training. In Spring 1995 Denmark issued a revised version of its Peacekeeping Course Handbook, with a comprehensive summary of information provided by nations on national peacekeeping courses and other related training capabilities. This Handbook will be updated and re-issued in 1996. Under Danish lead training experts have also presented a booklet to the TSG aimed at improving a common understanding of basic and mission- oriented training requirements in peacekeeping operations.

  3. Many countries hosted a variety of peacekeeping training and courses in 1995. One country, Canada, briefed on the unique courses offered by Canada's Lester B. Pearson Training Center and on the newly created "Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres".

  4. Cooperation in Logistics. Cooperation in logistics aspects of peacekeeping operations in 1995 included the first-ever meeting of the Senior NATO Logisticians Conference with Partners, a logistics exercise - COOPERATIVE SUPPORT 95 - held in Norfolk in the United States, and the first logistics course for Partners, held in Germany. Proposals aimed at improving UN military logistical procedures were submitted to UN Headquarters in New York, some of which have already been accepted by the UN. In 1995, for the first time, Partners were offered access to NATO's Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA), for technical assistance. Several Partners have already been in contact with NAMSA.

    PMSC/AHG Work Programme - 1996

    Annex to 6th December 1995 Report to Ministers

    I. Development of A Common Understanding of Concepts and Requirements for Peacekeeping


    1. Continue exchanges of views on concepts, terminology and national doctrines on peacekeeping within the NACC/PfP framework.

      • Discuss and exchange views on humanitarian aspects of peacekeeping, including civil-military relations;

      • Examine concrete lessons learned from peacekeeping operations.

    2. Continue to expand contacts with the United Nations and OSCE on peacekeeping issues, and encourage exchanges of information on this subject with other concerned bodies such as the European Commission and the Western European Union;

    3. Public Relations: a Seminar to be held in 1996.

    II. Cooperation in Planning for Peacekeeping Activities


    1. Command and Control: Expert Seminar, plus further development of the topic based on conceptual developments (under IA above) and practical experience.

    III. Development of a Common Technical Basis in Peacekeeping


    1. Communications: Further discussion on the development of a peacekeeping communications concept and the possible implementation of a communications database. Link the work, as appropriate, to Command and Control work in II.A. above.

    IV. Peacekeeping Training, Education and Exercises


    1. Training Course Handbook: Update (Danish lead);

    2. Training Standardisation Pamphlet: Update (Danish lead);

    3. Exercises: Consideration of lessons learned, based on after-action reports of NATO/PfP exercises and on national inputs on bilateral, multilateral and NATO/PfP exercises; and application in other areas of practical cooperation;

    4. Briefings by nations on national peacekeeping training.

    V. Logistics Aspects of Peacekeeping


    1. Update the Compendium of lessons learned, based on national inputs;

    2. Discuss logistic peacekeeping issues in Senior NATO Logisticians Conference with Partners;

    3. Support Exercise COOPERATIVE SUPPORT 1996, a logistics peacekeeping exercise/seminar, and the NATO Logistics Course.

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