United Nations Peacekeeping One of Global Community’s Most Effective Tools in Maintaining Stability, General Assembly President Tells Committee
Justice Critical to Creating Trust among All Groups Delegate Stresses
United Nations peacekeeping operations are a vital means to ending conflicts and laying the groundwork for building stability, speakers told the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34) at its first meeting of the 2022 session, while stressing the need to implement an action plan and its associated priorities for 2021-2023.
Abdulla Shahid (Maldives), President of the General Assembly, noted that the Special Committee was established in 1965 under the General Assembly Fourth Committee to review and provide recommendations on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations. The Committee consists of 157 Member States involved in peacekeeping missions, as well as observing members.
He went on to laud United Nations peacekeeping operations as “one of the global community’s most effective tools in the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security”. He also noted progress in areas such as the reduction of peacekeeper deaths and an increase in environmental risk management, while noting that further work needs to be done on protecting civilians, particularly in areas such as early warning and community engagement.
He welcomed what he described as a “conceptual shift” to peacebuilding, noting that it is “one of the most significant outcomes of recent UN reforms”. Indeed, peacekeepers often carry out activities that are related to peacebuilding, he said. In all of this, the root causes of conflicts should not be forgotten, he cautioned, noting that they were embedded in poverty, inequality and the serious violations of human rights.
Alexandre Zouev, Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions of the Department for Peace Operations, speaking on behalf of Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, said that the Committee has the chance to build on the work of its previous session, the first to be held virtually in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Critically, this work should focus on the main areas of focus of the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) Plus plan, ramping up progress in order to obtain the best achievable results.
In the ensuing debate, delegates took to the floor to express their views on the progress made and challenges faced by peacekeeping missions, with many noting that political solutions were needed for desirable outcomes to be achieved. Norway’s delegate declared “there can be no peace without political solutions”, underscoring that a robust political process is vital in the creation of a protective environment for the general population. Additionally, justice must be seen to be delivered, in order to create trust. In that regard, he praised measures to extend the arm of justice institutions through the use of mobile courts.
Noting that the “primacy of politics” is the focus of A4P Plus, the representative of Pakistan emphasized that there are political causes and political solutions for threats to international peace and security. Against that backdrop, he raised the example of Jammu and Kashmir and the ongoing presence there of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).
Sounding a note of caution, China’s delegate urged against any disproportionate involvement of peacekeeping operations in matters that are the purview of the host country. Such overreach may result in worsening relations with that country. To guard against this, reasonable mandates are better than all-encompassing ones, he suggested.
Morocco’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed that above all, peacekeeping operations need political support, as well as mandates that are both well-defined and achievable. Condemning all threats against peacekeepers, he noted that, as the leading provider of such personnel, the bloc is dedicated to their safety and security.
In a similar vein, the representative of Indonesia, speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that his group deploys close to 5,000 peacekeepers and urged host countries to investigate any cases of attacks on such personnel and bring perpetrators to justice.
Several delegations raised the importance of protecting not just the physical well-being but the mental health of those serving in peacekeeping operations, with the representative of Viet Nam emphasizing that it is important to introduce measures to ensure the protection of both body and mind. Israel’s delegate said that her Government, in collaboration with that of Germany, has introduced a new mental health strategy for peacekeepers.
At the outset, the Committee elected by acclamation Tijjani Muhammad Bande (Nigeria) as Chair of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping. Also by acclamation, it elected Fabián Oddone (Argentina), Richard Arbeiter (Canada), Yukiya Hamamoto (Japan) and Mateusz Sakowicz (Poland) as Vice-Chairs, as well as Abdullah Ibrahim Abdelhamid Alsayed Attelb (Egypt) as Rapporteur.
In other business, the Committee approved the provisional agenda for the session (A/AC.121/2022/L.1). With regard to the organization of work, it also re-established the Working Group of the Whole on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, with Richard Arbeiter (Canada) continuing to serve as its Chair.
Also speaking were representatives of Brazil (also on behalf of Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico), Canada (also on behalf of Australia and New Zealand), Djibouti (on behalf of the group of French-Speaking Ambassadors), South Africa, United Kingdom, Jordan, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Mexico, Argentina, United States, Cuba, Côte d'Ivoire, Venezuela, Ecuador, India, Guatemala, Thailand, Philippines, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Senegal, Republic of Moldova, Kenya, Turkey, Peru, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Fiji, Bhutan, Nepal, Republic of Korea, El Salvador, Tunisia, Japan, Switzerland, Russian Federation, Eritrea, Ireland, Timor-Leste, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Haiti.
The representative of the European Union also spoke.
The Chair of the Working Group of the Whole on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations also spoke.
A representative of the International Organization of la Francophonie also spoke.
The Special Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 15 February, to continue its general debate.
RICHARD ARBEITER (Canada), serving as Chair of the Working Group of the Whole on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations for the fourth year, said his role is to provide Committee members with a platform to consider peacekeeping in all its aspects. He noted that in the previous three years, reports had been delivered that improved the understanding and implementation of recommendations, with timelines accelerated in delivering reports to the Secretary-General, and that the Secretariat delivered 16 briefings in autumn 2021 to improve peacekeeping in all aspects. He expressed confidence that this session will be used to think through such recommendations.
ALEXANDRE ZOUEV, Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions of the Department for Peace Operations, speaking on behalf of Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, said the steps the Committee has taken demonstrate its commitment to peacekeeping and its support to colleagues in the field as they carry out their missions and mandates. In 2021, the Committee held its first virtual negotiations in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, it has an opportunity to build on this legacy, especially on Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) Plus, which focuses on seven priority areas. It does not replace Action for Peacekeeping, but rather aims to accelerate progress in all its areas of commitment. In the weeks ahead, he expressed his hope that the Committee will be guided by the spirit of cooperation and compromise and that its dialogues will reflect a common purpose in the search for consensus.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, commended peacekeepers for their dedication and courage in difficult circumstances and paid tribute to the men and women who lost their lives defending United Nations values. Noting the Committee is the only body making recommendations for strategies in peacekeeping, he cited progress in its annual report. The Non-Aligned Movement is focused on new language in the peacekeeping environment, with the understanding that all previous recommendations remain valid unless superseded by new ones. As the leading provider of personnel with more than 90 per cent of peacekeepers deployed, the bloc remains focused on their safety and security in volatile contexts, including fighting misinformation and hate speech targeting peacekeeping operations.
He condemned all threats against peacekeepers, as their security is a shared responsibility for all stakeholders, welcoming inclusion of accountability and citing the importance of fighting impunity. Peacekeeping operations require political support, facilities, and defined and achievable mandates, with leadership, performance and accountability at all levels, including eliminating caveats. Member States must uphold their financial obligations, he said, also citing the importance of Security Council resolution 2538 (2020) in bolstering women’s roles in peacekeeping, and called for improved geographical representation.
ARRMANATHA CHRISTIAWAN NASIR (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and affiliating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the region deploys close to 5,000 peacekeepers and is a firm supporter of the A4P Plus initiative. He stressed the importance of the enhancement of partnerships between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in peacekeeping. He went on to underscore that better training of peacekeepers correlates with both their performance and their safety. He also expressed ASEAN’s support for the full and meaningful participation of women in peacekeeping operations, noting that they have improved the performance of all aspects of peacekeeping, including in community engagement and the protection of civilians.
The bloc also attaches great importance to ensuring the safety and security of peacekeepers, he said, noting its condemnation of attacks on peacekeepers and urging host countries to swiftly investigate cases and bring the perpetrators to justice. He commended the continued commitments of peacekeepers to carrying out their duties, especially in the context of the pandemic. Peacekeepers cannot be expected to “do more with less” resources, he cautioned, urging Member States to pay their contributions on time and without conditions.
RONALDO COSTA FILHO (Brazil), also speaking on behalf of Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico, noted the need to ensure that the Special Committee remains the primary body in the United Nations system in charge of discussing all aspects of peacekeeping operations. Despite the challenges posed by virtual negotiations in its previous session, the Committee succeeded once again in adopting a balanced, comprehensive and practical report. The redesign adopted for the 2020 session’s report provided a basis for delegations to present concrete recommendations aimed at improving peacekeeping activities and overcoming a range of challenges. Welcoming renewed momentum generated by the Secretary-General’s A4P Plus priorities, he also praised women’s crucial contribution to peacekeeping, peacebuilding and the prevention of conflicts. Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Mexico are also staunch supporters and promoters of close coordination between members of the General Assembly — especially troop- and police-contributing countries — host nations, the Security Council, regional organizations and the Secretariat.
Speaking in his national capacity, he outlined Brazil’s long history of supporting United Nations peacekeeping operations. It participated in more than 40 missions in the last 74 years, deploying some 55,000 military and police personnel around the world. Brazil also held the command of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) for 13 consecutive years, a feat unmatched in United Nations peacekeeping history, and it relinquished command of the Maritime Task Force of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in 2021 after a decade of uninterrupted service. Welcoming the Secretary-General’s A4P Plus priorities as a critical tool to enable the progress of the A4P agenda and enhance the impact of peacekeeping operations, he added that mandates should be clear enough to be precisely understood and communicated by peacekeepers on the ground, while missions must have the adequate capabilities, equipment and resources to discharge their responsibilities as effectively as possible.
ROBERT KEITH RAE (Canada), also speaking on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, commended the direction provided by the Secretary-General for the A4P and A4P Plus strategies to guide its collective efforts to make United Nations peacekeeping operations more effective. The Committee should provide clear recommendations to improve peacekeeping. He noted recent visits by its members to missions in Cyprus and Lebanon to observe them first-hand and bring the Committee a better understanding of these communities. Canada, Australia and New Zealand have focused on the achievements to date to give priority to the full equal participation and leadership of women in peacekeeping and peace processes at all levels. The expansion of their contribution to peacekeeping means that peace that is more lasting can be built. The recommendations of this Committee increased focus on a gender-aware approach. However, he underscored that there can still be improvements made to eliminate the obstacles faced by women. He also expressed his support for comprehensive integrated approaches to protect civilians from violence. While encouraged by partnership efforts under way to strengthen early warning and rapid response systems, he noted that it is possible to do more to protect civilians from violence. His bloc strongly supports the zero-tolerance policy on abuse by personnel. Much work needs to be done for prevention, accountability and assistance for survivors.
MOHAMED SIAD DOUALEH (Djibouti), speaking on behalf of the Group of French-speaking ambassadors and aligning himself with the statement to come from A4P, said the public health crisis of the pandemic has revealed the fragility of multilingualism, calling for actions on the ground in that domain to be bolstered. He stressed that personnel from troop- and police-contributing countries must absolutely speak the local language. With United Nations commitments in theatres of operations changing to meet emerging threats, multilingualism is an asset, as it provides an advantage in ensuring full cooperation.
Noting the largest peacekeeping operations are in French-speaking areas, he said that being able to interact in French — if that is the local language — is crucial in bolstering trust and acceptance of missions. Similarly, it is important to translate all handbooks on procedure into the applicable local language. While the Group is aware of the challenges facing the Secretariat in deploying means and resources, he stressed this must not hamper equality between languages. He further paid tribute to the women and men deployed in all theatres of operations for their exemplary commitment to peace.
SILVIO GONZATO, European Union, in its capacity as observer, said the operational and political environments in which United Nations peacekeeping missions are deployed in have become ever more challenging. Advocating for efforts to ensure that missions are as effective and flexible as possible in accordance with the A4P agenda and its implementation plan, A4P+, he said the United Nations-European Union strategic partnership on peace operations and crisis management is both strong and consistent. With the adoption in January of new 2022-2024 priorities, the bloc and its members reiterated their commitment to a multilateral, rules-based global order with the United Nations at its core. The European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy missions complement United Nations missions in Mali, Central African Republic, Somalia, Libya, Balkans nations and Iraq, and close to 5,300 of its personnel are deployed to peacekeeping missions.
Noting that European Union member States together make up the second-largest financial contributor to the United Nations peacekeeping budget, he said the renewed partnership aims to help the Organization respond more effectively to evolving threats and cross-cutting challenges such as climate change, disruptive technologies, misinformation and the impacts of COVID-19. The bloc also works within the framework of trilateral cooperation between the United Nations, the European Union and the African Union, and through the European Peace Facility it contributes to the financing of peace support operations led by international partners. It supports all political efforts for peace undertaken by the African Union and subregional organizations, in particular in the Sahel region, he said, reiterating the bloc’s commitment to Mali and its regional partners based on the principles of mutual accountability. He also underlined the need to maintain a continued focus on improved mission performance, which remains at the core of better peacekeeping, and noted the centrality of civilian protection as well as human rights monitoring to the mandates of peacekeeping operations.
DIYANA SHAISTA TAYOB (South Africa), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that as a top-ranking troop- and police-contributing country, South Africa remains an active player in the work towards global peace and security. She noted that the recent spike in fatalities of peacekeepers highlights the need to ensure their safety, as well as safe passage for injured peacekeepers, which remains a key concern. She went on to note that cost-effective technology can make huge strides in improving the safety of United Nations personnel and assets. South Africa is scheduled to host a symposium on technology and peacekeeping in June 2022, which represents a good opportunity to share best practices in operational data. The pandemic serves as a reminder that alternative measures must be put in place to “protect our protectors”, she said.
JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) paid tribute to 74 peacekeepers who fell to the pandemic, and called for all perpetrators of violence to be brought to justice. He welcomed priorities for 2022-2023, as well as the pledges made by Member States at the Peacekeeping Ministerial in Seoul. The United Kingdom has contributed $6 million to the Elsie Initiative Fund to promote uniformed women’s participation. Over the last 12 months, the United Kingdom Long-Range Reconnaissance Group deployed to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has demonstrated the effectiveness of a peacekeeping-intelligence led approach to protection of civilians, operating securely at distance from base and responding rapidly to threats, and informing recommendations on improving counter-improvised explosive device and medical capabilities, including response times for evacuations. The United Kingdom trains about 10,000 peacekeepers each year, he noted, and the Comprehensive Planning and Performance Assessment System has been rolled out in all missions and is proving its worth in supporting better data-driven coordination. However, work remains to be done in realizing those benefits. While welcoming steps taken by senior leaders to repatriate those involved in sexual exploitation and abuse, recent incidents highlight the need for more robust risk management to identify potential for misconduct before it occurs.
MAHMOUD DAIFALLAH HMOUD (Jordan) expressed his support for efforts by the Secretary-General to reform and restructure the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, particularly given the thorny challenges facing peacekeeping operations as well as the complicated circumstances in which they work. He paid tribute to the Secretary-General for the creation of A4P and A4P Plus, which are aimed at accelerating the progress of peacekeeping missions, including through digital technological cooperation. Noting the development of the concept of United Nations missions and the changing nature of their duties, he went on to highlight the creation in 1996 of a Jordanian centre for training peacekeepers, which has trained more than 120,000 troops. It also has sessions that pertain to the working methods of peacekeeping operations, as well as for military observers on the protection of civilians and children. Jordan believes in the principle role of women in preventing and settling disputes and strengthening the effectiveness of United Nations peacekeeping.
RUDY ADRIANTO (Indonesia), affiliating himself with ASEAN and the Non-Aligned Movement, said the safety and security of peacekeepers remains the top priority, condemning increased attacks against personnel and calling for perpetrators to be brought to justice. Peacekeepers must be equipped with adequate resources to execute their mandates effectively and safely. As a country prone to natural hazards, Indonesia is well aware of the dangers and impediments they present to peacekeeping. The international community must also enhance capacity-building, and his delegation will continue to advocate stronger partnerships in that domain. Similarly, it is important to advance the role and participation of women in peacekeeping in line with Security Council resolution 2538 (2020) at all levels and positions.
JOSÉ ALFONSO BLANCO CONDE (Dominican Republic), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the pandemic has been a catalyst for peacekeeping operations to develop new contingency plans to minimize risks for the people being protected, as well as the peacekeeping forces themselves. He highlighted the importance of their work to support national authorities, protect United Nations staff, mitigate virus spread and help to protect vulnerable communities. He said that it is of great importance that more advisers are deployed with regard to gender and the protection of women in United Nations peacekeeping missions. A major point for the progress towards gender equity has been the coordination of countries that contribute troops and police, he said, underscoring that they have been able to increase the number of women in uniform deployed.
OSAMA MAHMOUD ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, as a major troop- and police-contributing country, his nation remains convinced that peacekeeping reform will remain elusive unless it is embraced by all actors. That vision was embodied in the Cairo Roadmap on Enhancing Peacekeeping Operations, which remains relevant. Enhancing the safety and security of peacekeepers must be front and centre in a holistic approach considering resources and intelligence. Missions must be guided by clear strategies taking into account realities on the ground, with performance measured in relation to political realities and achievable and adequately resourced mandates. He acknowledged the important role of women in peacekeeping operations, noting Egypt has deployed 82 female officers. It is important to strengthen cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, with increased funding, and ensure greater geographical representation.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that as a long serving troop-contributing country, it has an interest in the continued success of peacekeeping operations. Its personnel recently protected civilians and guarded United Nations equipment in the face of high-risk situations with limited resources in the drawdown and closure of peacekeeping missions. He welcomed the focus of A4P Plus on the primacy of politics, noting that threats to international security have political causes and ultimately political solutions. One such dispute can be found in Jammu and Kashmir, where the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) has been deployed for the last 70 years. Underscoring that training for peacekeepers has become vital due to the increase in high-risk deployments, he went on to note that there should be an equitable distribution of women in peacekeeping, including at senior positions, both in the field and at the Secretariat.
JUAN GÓMEZ ROBLEDO VERDUZCO (Mexico), aligning himself with Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico, said peacekeeping operations must tie the three pillars of the United Nations together, considering national priorities. He noted delegations cannot speak of peace without accenting the full participation of women in all aspects. Mexico co-chairs the Informal Expert Group on Women and Peace and Security, and is moving towards a new stage in peacekeeping, including design of institutional policies to address gender gaps, and will deploy its first contingent of engineers with the latest technology, with at least 25 per cent of them women. As part of its membership on the Security Council, his delegation is strengthening synergies, including in peace consolidation. Mexico is also continuing its fight against small arms and light weapons and has adopted Security Council resolution 2616 (2021).
MARÍA DEL CARMEN SQUEFF (Argentina), aligning herself with Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico, said that her country is committed to peacekeeping operations by the United Nations, contributing with staff deployed over the last 63 years. Argentina supports a system of peacekeeping that is democratic, transparent and effective, she said, noting that the Special Committee is unique in its dedication to addressing questions on peacekeeping operations. Within the framework of the ongoing pandemic, she highlighted the role of the Department of Operational Support among other offices that have allowed peacekeeping staff to continue their operations successfully. On the matters that will be negotiated in this year’s report, she highlighted the section on women, peace and security, reiterating Argentina’s commitment to including women in missions in such a way that their roles are improved.
RODNEY M. HUNTER (United States) paid tribute to those peacekeeping personnel injured or who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Peacekeeping operations help build the space required to enhance international peace and security, he noted, hailing progress in reform in recent years including with regards to resolution 2272 (2016) and 2436 (2018). He welcomed initiatives including A4P Plus. The Committee is also charged with enhancing response to sexual exploitation and abuse and is an important forum for recommendations, while also offering opportunities for concrete actions. Rather than repeating things, he called on delegations to ask how the Committee can move from talk to real action. He looked forward to delivery of a consensus-based report with actionable recommendations to assist peacekeepers and the vulnerable populations they protect.
TRA PHUONG NGUYEN (Viet Nam), affiliating herself with ASEAN and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that it is concerning that peacekeepers are operating in increasingly complex environments. It is clear that the international community can and must do more, including strengthening the capacity to protect peacekeepers. The Special Committee should agree on the way forward to enhance situational awareness and to continue to provide training and equipment to ensure the safety of peacekeepers. It is also important to strengthen medical capacity of peacekeeping operations and to mitigate the spread of the pandemic, as well as introducing other measures to protect the health and mental health of those in the field. Women can contribute greater credibility and efficiency of the missions. As a strong supporter of the women and peace and security agenda, her country pays great attention to their participation in peacekeeping missions.
YUMIRKA FERNÁNDEZ PALACIOS (Cuba), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed the importance of non-intervention in the affairs of sovereign States, calling for full respect for impartiality. Anything outside of that framework is an infraction. Given the growing complexity of peacekeeping in the context of multidimensional operations, she reiterated that mandates must not just align with the Charter of the United Nations but be adapted to the ends they were created for. She expressed concern that peacekeeping operations are used to impose peace, often fighting against terrorism, which may increase attacks against personnel. The framework of security must allow for strategies applied towards sustainable development. Noting that the main responsibility of protecting civilians in peacekeeping operations rests on States, she called for the international community to strengthen active participation of all countries, which is not always the case. Technologies must be applied on a case-by-case basis, she said, while State sovereignty must always be respected.
ODD INGE KVALHEIM (Norway) said that the strengths of United Nations peacekeeping missions have been demonstrated during the ongoing pandemic, as they continue to carry out their mandates and support peacekeeping processes. He added that Norway counts peace diplomacy, protection of civilians as well as climate and security among its top priorities. “There can be no peace without political solutions,” he noted, adding that a well-functioning political process is key for civilians, as it helps support a protective environment. Efforts by peacekeeping missions to strengthen the rule of law and fight impunity are equally important to the protection of civilians, he emphasized, pointing out that seeing justice served builds trust. He went on to highlight the effective use of mobile courts to improve the reach of justice institutions, while deploring the continued use of sexual violence as a method of warfare.
YASSI MAXIMIN BROU (Côte d’Ivoire), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of French-Speaking Ambassadors, said peacekeeping mandates must be adapted to complex environments. Paying tribute to all personnel, some of whom have paid the ultimate price in executing their duties, he reiterated his delegation’s support for the A4P Plus initiative. He went on to emphasize the importance of prioritizing political solutions when considering exit strategies and of strengthening the communication strategy to combat disinformation. Stressing the importance of appropriate training, he expressed his country’s ongoing commitment to the zero-tolerance policy on crimes against peacekeeping personnel and to increased participation of women.
DAI BING (China) said that even as the pandemic rages on, there are further challenges in the field of peace and security, adding that, in that context, peacekeeping operations should continue to be improved. Calling for reasonable mandates rather than a “trying-to-do-it-all” approach, he noted armed conflicts ultimately need political solutions. Excessive involvement of peacekeeping missions where host countries should play a leading role will not only yield poor results, but could negatively impact relations with those countries, he warned, going on to stress that missions should respect the laws of host countries. The safety and security of peacekeepers also needs attention, he said, underlining that missions can only be successful when given sufficient resources to fulfil their mandates and use those resources efficiently.
JOAQUÍN ALBERTO PÉREZ AYESTARÁN (Venezuela), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said his delegation rejects all attacks or threats against civil or military personnel. He noted that instead of just upholding ceasefires, peacekeeping operations have become engaged in many other issues, including the protection of civilians. He went on to emphasize the importance of non-interference in the affairs of States and of peace operations avoiding political influence, including by supporting parties to conflict. Peacekeeping operations also require economic support in the pursuit of long-lasting and sustainable peace, always respecting the right to self-determination, he said, stressing that plans must be coordinated with national Governments, in full consultation with troop-contributing countries.
SHERRY ZILBERGELD (Israel) said that, over the years, her country has collaborated with the Department of Operational Support to increase the effectiveness of medical care in the field, adding that Israel sends “super-trainers” to train troops before their deployment. In December 2021, the Government of the Republic of Korea hosted a peacekeeping ministerial-level meeting in Seoul, she recalled, describing the meeting as a highly important and “visually magnificent” event mounted in spite of COVID-19 challenges. She went on to state that her country’s surgeon general announced the support of the Governments of Germany and Israel for a new mental health strategy for peacekeeping personnel.
ANDRÉS EFREN MONTALVO SOSA (Ecuador), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said peacekeeping is part of the backbone of the United Nations on the ground and must be preserved, modernized and strengthened. Contributions to strengthen governance are critical, especially during the pandemic. Ecuador has taken a number of steps, from endorsing relevant resolutions to deploying women as part of peacekeeping missions, in line with gender-responsive action. Peacekeeping mandates must consider the tools and principles of the United Nations Charter, including the protection of civilians and their human rights. Prevention, management and the resolution of conflict are essential actions, he said, anticipating a fruitful Special Committee session and reiterating Ecuador’s commitment to these and related efforts.
RAVINDRA RAGUTTAHALLI (India), endorsing the statement delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country has deployed more than 250,000 troops in 49 missions over the years — the largest among troop-contributing nations. Today, peacekeeping operations are increasingly called upon to, among other things, restore the rule of law and protect civilians. Making several suggestions, he said technology must be harnessed to advance peacekeeping. An effective mandate can only be crafted with the participation of troop-contributing countries, he said, adding that national ownership is critical for a successful mission. Peacekeeping missions are meant to be transitional, requiring timebound exit strategies. Caution must be exercised with doctrinal approaches, he said, adding that all components must by synchronized to ensure efficient performance. Recently, peacekeepers have faced asymmetric threats and they must have the required tools to protect themselves. In this vein, enhanced information sharing is needed. For its part, India donated COVID-19 vaccines to United Nations peacekeepers and continues to deploy troops to various missions. Highlighting areas for action, he said pending reimbursements for closed missions need urgent attention and he anticipated a constructive session.
LUIS ANTONIO LAM PADILLA (Guatemala), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated great concern about civilian and peacekeeper safety in the face of recent targeted attacks. For security reasons, it is impossible for staff of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) to access certain areas, he said, condemning the killing of more than 50 people and calling on the Government to hold perpetrators accountable. Efforts must work towards clear, realistic mandates, considering geographic and other challenges on the ground, with host Governments playing their important role in implementing Security Council mandates and resolutions and facilitating access for peacekeeping operations and the delivery of munitions. Triangular cooperation is needed. The Security Council should analyse transition situations, he said, referencing when the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was replaced with the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) and urging the Special Committee to use all available tools to ensure these and other pertinent issues are addressed and resolved.
THOETSAK JAIAREE (Thailand), endorsing the statements of ASEAN and the Non-Aligned Movement, said that as a long-standing troop- and police-contributing nation, his country will continue its efforts through, among other efforts, the promotion of greater coherence among the work of the Special Committee, the Economic and Social Council and the Peacebuilding Commission. The Special Committee’s adoption of a comprehensive annual report that provides strategic guidance and recommendations in advancing the question of peacekeeping will be a critical enabler to the peace process. Thailand also anticipates further implementation of the Action for Peacekeeping initiative and the women, peace and security agenda, he said, strongly encouraging closer coordination between the Special Committee and the Secretariat, which can help to identify new areas for South-South cooperation, triangular partnerships and the light coordination mechanism. Peacekeeping operations should be viewed in full perspective of the peace continuum, from capacity-building and training to community health care, he said, encouraging the Secretariat to explore possible modalities to support and enhance the role of peacekeepers as early peacebuilders. As an example, he pointed to the Thai Horizontal Military Engineering Company at the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), which built and repaired more than 400 kilometres of roads to support national economic development and established a learning centre to share with the local community Thailand’s best practices in such areas as agriculture and water management.
ABDULLA SHAHID (Maldives), President of the General Assembly, said that United Nations peacekeeping operations are one of the global community’s most effective tools in the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security. He welcomed the significant progress that has been made to reduce the number of fatalities amongst peacekeepers, to establish robust systems to manage the risks of misconduct, including sexual exploitation and abuse, as well as to improve the environmental risk management and performance of peacekeeping operations. Efforts to prioritize gender equality must continue, he said, noting that he is organizing a Holhuashi Dialogue on the women and peace and security agenda in March. “More women in peacekeeping means more effective peacekeeping,” he said.
Capacities of the protection of civilians, including early warning, civilian harm mitigation, training and community engagement, must be strengthened, he said. There are clear positive interlinkages between peacekeeping, peacebuilding and sustaining peace. In that context, he welcomed the conceptual shift to peacebuilding and sustaining peace, calling it “one of the most significant outcomes of recent UN reforms”. While peace operations lay the foundations for peacebuilding in host countries, on many occasions the peacekeepers perform specific peacebuilding related tasks aimed at sustaining peace. “Prevention should be the foundation of building and sustaining peace. The root causes of conflicts and crises often lie in poverty, exclusion, inequality, discrimination and serious violations of human rights,” he said.
ENRIQUE AUSTRIA MANALO (Philippines), affiliating himself with ASEAN and the Non-Aligned Movement, welcomed the Secretary-General’s resolve in implementing peacekeeping reforms. Noting that the Philippines has deployed almost 15,000 peacekeepers to 21 missions, he said the country’s armed forces also continue to build capacity in support of future deployments and meets its pledges under the Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System. Spotlighting the importance of ensuring the safety and security of peacekeepers, he supported calls to build a platform to strengthen information-sharing, policy coordination and capacity-building, as well as maintaining updated rules of engagement that are attuned to the realities on the ground. Troop- and police-contributing countries should prioritize the protection of civilians under imminent threat of danger by all necessary means when required, while enhancing the focus on prevention. He also made recommendations related to partnerships and the women and peace and security agenda, calling for the integration of gender perspectives into all aspects of peacekeeping.
TAYE ATSKESELASSIE AMDE (Ethiopia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country has a record of longstanding cooperation with the United Nations, most recently including offering aviation service at the onset of the pandemic. Stating that peacekeeping missions should serve clear, focused mandates matched by adequate resources, he expressed regret that financial considerations are driving decisions to draw down or reconsider peacekeeping operations in areas that need more, not less, international community support. This has overburdened the Blue Helmets, directly resulting in fatalities. Africa has taken up funding for peace support on the continent, where half of peacekeeping missions are engaged; however, he called on the United Nations to allocate sufficient resources required for their mandates. Of 12 current peacekeeping missions, six are in Africa, requiring coordination with the African Union, including on deployment and review. Citing the end of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), he pointed to the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), which has undergone review by the United Nations, and paid tribute to all those working to prevent a border war in one of the most isolated areas. The United Nations must also be mindful of regional dynamics.
MD MONWAR HOSSAIN (Bangladesh), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that peacekeeping has always been a priority for Bangladesh. It is the leading troop- and police-contributing country, with over 5,000 deployed in nine peacekeeping missions. He noted that the situations facing missions have become more complex and hazardous in nature, including with regard to the challenges of the pandemic. The mandate of all peacekeeping missions should promote the positive interlinkages to peacebuilding in order to obtain lasting peace in host countries. The pandemic has shown the need for medical capacity-building. In line with its commitment to the women and peace and security agenda, Bangladesh calls for an increase in the number of female peacekeepers.
MAGUETTE DIEYE (Senegal), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, honoured those soldiers who had paid the ultimate price to protect others from the scourge of war. He went on to note that Senegal is the top United Nations police contributor. His delegation affirms the importance of telemedicine, especially in remote deployment areas, in keeping with resolution 2589 (2021), and is fully in line with the zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse. Prevention and mediation are absolute priorities in peacekeeping, he stated, and Africa must occupy a special place in United Nations strategies. Welcoming tangible progress in United Nations and African Union collaboration, he noted it is also important to strengthen special political missions with adequate funding as provided for peacekeeping missions. “Resources must be aligned with mandates and not the other way around,” he stressed, as performance is largely dependent on that issue. He affirmed ongoing support for South-South and triangular cooperation.
GHEORGHE LEUCĂ (Republic of Moldova), aligning himself with the European Union, said United Nations peacekeeping constitutes the most efficient and crucial tool kit for the international community to promote peace, security and sustainable development in countries struggling to overcome conflicts, and foster reconciliation at a time challenged by the pandemic, climate emergency and geopolitical tensions. More coordinated work among peacekeeping stakeholders is needed, he said, reiterating full support for the Secretary-General’s effort to make United Nations missions stronger, safer and more effective, and noting the Republic of Moldova’s expanded contributions to the peacekeeping process. No conflict should be excluded from United Nations attention, whether or not it is on the Security Council’s agenda, he said, highlighting the protracted conflict in the eastern part of the Republic of Moldova, exacerbated by an illegal military presence — the Operational Group of Russian Forces — and munitions stockpiles in Cobasna. Reiterating a readiness to engage in a constructive dialogue with the Russian Federation regarding the withdrawal of the Russian troops and equipment, he said the transparent process should be conducted under international monitoring, and the issue of transforming the current peacekeeping mechanism into a multinational civilian mission under an appropriate international mandate should remain on the agenda. He also highlighted the importance of women’s full participation in international peace and security, noting that the national action plan recognizes the key role they play in this regard.
NJOROGE NJUGUNA GITOGO (Kenya), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the prevailing peace and security environment is unpredictable and presents extreme danger to peacekeepers. Kenya continues to focus on the security of peacekeepers wherever they are deployed. Peacekeeping mandates should be well-defined and achievable and based on political solutions. A greater understanding of operational environments is needed, as well as increased cooperation with regional security mechanisms. Solutions that ignore the concerns of regional bodies risk becoming counter-productive. Missions best achieve their mandates when they are supported with the necessary resources. Kenya supports the Secretary-General’s A4P and A4P Plus, and all its provisions, including on the performance and accountability of peacekeepers. The number of women peacekeepers should be increased at all levels, he said.
NACI YILDIZ (Turkey) said triangular cooperation between the Security Council, the Secretariat, and troop- and police-contributing countries is essential to ensuring a shared understanding of peacekeeping mandate conduct and operation. Given the magnitude of current challenges, he said enhanced collaboration between the United Nations and regional organizations is crucial, along with engaging local authorities and understanding local cultures. Mandates must be coordinated with the principle of consent, as affirmed in various resolutions, and peacekeeping operations must avoid becoming party to conflicts, with protection of civilians remaining a key priority for full application of mandates. Sexual and gender-related violence must be a priority in peacekeeping operations, he said, expressing support for the full participation of women, with constraints removed and special training provided. Turkey contributes to seven United Nations peacekeeping operations and is committed to further efforts.
LUIS UGARELLI (Peru) said that his country recognizes the multinational dimensional nature of conflicts and the key role played by United Nations peacekeeping operations in solving conflict. Fresh challenges have arisen in recent years, all pointing to the need to make peacekeeping operations more effective, for example through better technology for military and police forces, as well as training on medical care, social responsibility and gender equality. Peacekeeping operations generally take place in hostile and dangerous environments known for armed groups, violent extremism and terrorism, exclusion and impunity. In that context, the protection of peacekeepers is essential, as is containing and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and protecting vulnerable populations, as well as ensuring the full and equal participation of women in peacekeeping operations.
CARLOS AMORÍN (Uruguay), associating himself with the statement delivered by Brazil on behalf of Argentina and Mexico, emphasized the essential need to further implement commitments made under the A4P and A4P Plus initiatives and to recognize that today’s operational environment is increasingly complex due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic. He said Uruguay is committed to the zero-tolerance policy on sexual violence and exploitation, including the victim-centric approach to that issue. Calling for equitable representation of troop- and police-contributing countries in consultations, he stressed the need to avoid all national restrictions on implementing successful mandates and any negative impact on peacekeepers and the protection of civilians, a fundamental objective. All training materials must be included in national pre-deployment training, he said, also recognizing the pressing need to advance the women, peace and security agenda.
MARITZA CHAN VALVERDE (Costa Rica), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed her delegation’s commitment to the new phase of the A4P Plus initiative and support for the Secretary-General’s efforts to move towards agile, technology-enabled peacekeeping for the digital transformation of United Nations peace operations. She emphasized the crucial need for the full participation of women in all peace processes, in line with the women, peace and security agenda. It is essential that all appointments and deployments meet or exceed the gender parity targets established by the Secretary-General’s system-wide strategy on gender parity, she added. Costa Rica supports the zero-tolerance policy and reiterates the need to train personnel before and during deployment, as well as to investigate alleged cases of sexual exploitation and abuse, she stressed. While noting that peacekeepers mandated to protect civilians do have the authority and the responsibility to prevent and respond rapidly to threats of violence, she underlined that conflict prevention must be based on respect for human rights.
BRIAN CHRISTOPHER MANLEY WALLACE (Jamaica), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed the crucial importance of peace and security, especially to a small island developing State like his own. Reiterating his delegation’s firm commitment to the participation of women in all initiatives to promote peace and security, he expressed support for the Secretary-General’s system-wide strategy to achieve gender parity among internationally recruited staff across the United Nations system by 2028. Concerning Haiti, he welcomed the adoption of Security Council resolution 2476 (2019) to establish the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH), the extension of its mandate until 15 July 2022, and the request for an assessment of the mandate to further determine how it could be adjusted to address the ongoing challenges faced by Haiti.
NEUMI QARANIVALU VAKADEWABUKA (Fiji) said that per capita, his country is one of the highest troop- and police-contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations. Noting that missions are today demonstrating better integration of humanitarian, development and peacebuilding interventions, all while we address the pandemic, he nevertheless spotlighted the myriad complex global challenges they face. Peacekeepers have a direct impact and change lives, including by preventing violence. As such, Fiji has included human rights, gender, the protection of civilians, conflict-related sexual violations, sexual exploitation and abuse and child protection in its standardized training materials for all peacekeepers and integrates those cross-cutting themes into the training of its deployed personnel. He went on to outline one important alliance, the Vuvale Partnership between Australia and Fiji, as an example of concerted regional efforts in peacekeeping and disaster relief.
DOMA TSHERING (Bhutan), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, welcomed the A4P Plus initiative, citing its seven priorities and two cross-cutting themes as being especially pertinent. With safety and security of peacekeepers in 12 mission areas being the highest priority, she paid tribute to those injured or fallen in the line of duty. Updating the Special Committee, she noted Bhutan will deploy a light quick-reaction force to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), its first uniformed contingent. At the Seoul Peacekeeping Ministerial, her delegation made six practical pledges to reduce its carbon footprint — modest pledges, but an effort to advance comprehensive peacekeeping efforts, and welcomed the trust placed in a small country’s capacity to make its contribution.
AMRIT BAHADUR RAI (Nepal), endorsing the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, recalled his country’s contributions to United Nations peacekeeping missions since 1958 and underlined key elements essential for building a durable peace, including national ownership. Peacekeeping operations should support political processes. While expressing support for the A4P Plus strategy with its priorities and cross-cutting themes, he said a pragmatic approach must be adopted to bridge the prevalent disconnect between strategic policy guidelines and realities on the ground. Better performance must be rewarded and valued accordingly, he said, highlighting other such critical areas as adequately equipping peacekeepers. Unity in the Security Council, a clear mandate and matching resources are important to effectively discharge mandates. Nepal remains committed to ensuring the highest standard of conduct and to increasing the number of female peacekeepers. Condemning all attacks against peacekeepers, he requested the relevant Governments to bring perpetrators to justice and encouraged the Secretariat to enhance safety and security by analysing mission-specific needs. In addition, the timely reimbursement to troop- and police-contributing countries is important for enhancing peacekeepers’ operational capabilities. As one of the largest and the most experienced peacekeeper contributors, Nepal firmly believes that these countries should be given fair and equitable opportunities to serve in senior positions at Headquarters and in field operations commensurate with their contributions.
BAE JONGIN (Republic of Korea) said that his country hosted a peacekeeping ministerial in December 2021 and he went on to thank Member States for the concrete pledges they made at that event. It is now time to focus on implementing these pledges, he said. The Special Committee should focus on technology and medical capacity-building of peacekeeping operations to improve the safety of peacekeepers and improve their performance. It should also make recommendations to enhance the capability of missions to meet their mandates in today’s complex environments. It is the responsibility of the international community to provide the necessary support with regard to training while holding peacekeepers accountable for proper conduct and the delivery of their mandates. His Government has pledged to contribute 16 MD 500 helicopters to missions in Africa.
EGRISELDA ARACELY GONZÁLEZ LÓPEZ (El Salvador), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said as a troop- and police-contributing country, her nation is currently working in five peacekeeping operations and special political missions, recognizing the importance of laying the groundwork for lasting peace. Expressing concern over attacks against peacekeepers, including the use of improvised explosive devices, she reiterated the importance of specific reintegration of contributing countries to counter the negative effects of delays in reimbursing them. The international community must reaffirm its commitment to the highest standard for conduct of personnel and the zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and violence and acknowledge the importance and challenges of full, equal and meaningful participation of women in all peacekeeping contexts. She stressed it is crucial to ensure that the objectives and command structures of all mandates are viable, clearly defined and well-articulated, as is essential in high-risk contexts. El Salvador is working on a project to deploy an artillery helicopter unit along with the Republic of Korea and the United States.
ALI CHERIF (Tunisia), endorsing the statements by the Non-Aligned Movement and Group of Francophone countries, said peacekeeping efforts in his country began in the 1960s and have included 24 missions. Recently, emerging issues and evolving threats have led to adjusting approaches, he said, emphasizing that the A4P Plus strategy can produce relevant responses, particularly in terms of prevention, peacebuilding and the central role of women in these processes. Condemning any act of violence against peacekeepers, he said all missions must have adequate resources and training to ensure that all personnel can effectively discharge their mandates. Civilian protection, early warning mechanisms and prevention efforts are equally important. Highlighting the significance of the African Union, he said regional organizations play a key role in determining effective approaches to peacekeeping in Africa.
YUKIYA HAMAMOTO, Minister for Political Affairs of Japan, highlighting the harsh reality that at least 25 peacekeeping personnel were killed in malicious attacks in 2021, said missions still operate in the shadow of COVID‑19. It is the Special Committee’s responsibility to transform the powerful momentum of the past year’s achievements into a set of actions that make real a difference in peacekeeping on the ground. Suggesting ways to do so, he said strengthening partnerships among the Secretariat, Member States and troop- and police-contributing countries is key to improving performance. Equally important is ensuring the safety and security of peacekeepers, he said, noting that Japan has provided training in this regard, with the full use of innovative technologies remaining the key in this area. Gender mainstreaming and parity must be considered in peacekeeping at all levels. Ensuring a successful transition to self-sustained peace requires cooperation with the Peacebuilding Committee, the Security Council and the General Assembly.
VINCENT CHOFFAT (Switzerland) paid tribute to United Nations peacekeepers and condemned attacks against them — which may constitute a war crime — in the strongest terms. Calling for redoubled efforts to ensure their security while ensuring that their performance fully contributes to the protection of civilians, advancing political solutions and sustaining peace, he cited a current shift towards peace operations with a lighter footprint than in the past. “This transition requires careful consideration so that missions can meet the expectations placed on them,” he said. In line with Security Council resolution 2594 (2021), Switzerland encourages more empowerment of host States as well as integrated planning and coherence of all actors during a transition. It is also crucial to take into account the protection of civilians during transitions, he said, calling for initiatives aimed at community violence reduction and the management of arms and ammunition. He also echoed calls to enhance the performance of peacekeeping missions.
ANNA M. EVSTIGNEEVA (Russian Federation) noted the importance of peacekeeping in resolving conflicts and assisting in State-building in the post-crisis stage. She pointed to an emerging trend in reducing peacekeeping operations and favouring special political missions, as the former have not been as effective as expected. Day-to-day interaction between peacekeeping operations and local authorities is often absent, she stated, while monitoring human rights and gender issues is put at the forefront, inflating missions with non-core tasks, and duplicating other efforts in other forums. On the African continent, the desire for local authorities to take on a larger role runs into opposition from the international community, which prevents the allocation of more robust mandates or funding, with the focus often placed on associated rather than core issues. The Special Committee is the platform for any such discussions, and any parallel tracks cannot replace work within the body itself. In this session, the focus will be on strengthening the safety and security of peacekeepers and increasing the effectiveness of missions. Fundamental principles including the sovereignty of States, the Charter of the United Nations and the non-use of force must remain immutable, she affirmed, adding that the primary responsibility for the security of populations and eliminating the cause of crisis lies with host States.
DANIEL ABRAHAM HADGU (Eritrea), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said United Nations peacekeeping is going through a critical juncture, as it deals with tasks beyond traditional roles. Accordingly, operations have been adapting approaches in response to emerging threats, as the Secretary-General’s reform efforts are being implemented. Peacekeeping operations, however, are not substitutes for political solutions. Unfortunately, peacekeeping mandates are not accompanied by a strategy to find political solutions. Challenges persist, he said, emphasizing the vital importance of clear mandates, political support and an exit strategy. Security Council mandates must be formed in line with local requirements, and such efforts must be based on neutrality and other universal principles, including the United Nations Charter.
BRIAN PATRICK FLYNN (Ireland), aligning himself with the European Union, recalled his country’s contributions to peacekeeping, which are at the centre of its Security Council membership. Highlighting several areas relevant to the A4P Plus strategy and the Special Committee’s work, he emphasized that clear exit plans must ensure sustainable peace, as outlined in resolution 2594 (2021). In this regard, the Special Committee must affirm its commitment to all elements of this resolution. The security and safety of peacekeepers is also important, he said, noting that Ireland has deployed trainers and training programmes on such issues as responding to the threat of improvised explosive devices. Reiterating Ireland’s strong support for the women, peace and security agenda, he highlighted several activities to promote their participation. As the Special Committee begins its work, Member States now have a real opportunity to advance the reform agenda in these and other key areas, he said.
KARLITO NUNES (Timor-Leste), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, renewed his delegation’s commitment to strengthening peacekeeping through A4P Plus. Although peacekeeping operations have become more effective and efficient, more work must be done to protect peacekeepers and civilians, with operations cooperating with the host country and boasting achievable mandates and an exit strategy. Situational awareness and the integration of new technologies can further enhance their effectiveness and efficiency. Representing a troop- and police-contributing country, he cited data suggesting that support from trained female leaders and personnel benefits peacekeeping operations, expressing support for the zero-tolerance policy. He noted that all Timor-Leste personnel deployed in operations are fully vaccinated in line with United Nations policy.
THOMAS NWANKWO CHUKWU (Nigeria), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, noted with concern the challenges confronting United Nations peacekeeping missions today, including rising asymmetric attacks, especially the use of landmines and improvised explosive devices by armed parties against peacekeepers. Paying tribute to peacekeepers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and those injured, he condemned in the strongest terms the targeting of peacekeepers and called on all stakeholders to ensure their safety. He condemned any act of exploitation of civilians, especially women and children as well as the conscription and use of child soldiers. Nigeria will continue to support the zero-tolerance of sexual exploitation of civilians by peacekeepers as well as related investigations and prosecutions, he added. Urging the Special Committee to improve cooperation and collaboration with regional organizations, he called for renewed multilateral efforts towards the demobilization, disarmament and rehabilitation of all irregular warriors involved in conflicts.
PHILIP JOSEPH SCHENKS (Sierra Leone), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country had seen first-hand the results of peacekeeping. Sierra Leone is one of the United Nations success stories, with peace, law and order in place, due to peacekeeping efforts. Sierra Leone is now exporting peace around the world, he said, citing contributions to such missions at UNIFIL and MONUSCO and expressing gratitude to partners, including the United Kingdom and United States. While national efforts had scaled down during the Ebola pandemic, Sierra Leone is now increasing its contributions through boosting its police units, he said, adding that the A4P agenda is vital to making progress, but the question now is how best to contribute. For its part, Sierra Leone has a good training environment and stands ready to provide more formed police and military units. He called for bilateral partnerships to help with this endeavour and provide the required equipment to enhance performance. Turning to other concerns, he called for action to bring all perpetrators of sexual violence to justice. In addition, women play a key role in peacekeeping, he said, emphasizing Sierra Leone’s strong support for their participation at all levels.
GUY METAYER (Haiti) said the Secretary-General’s latest report provides perspective on key United Nations peace operations, but a more rigorous application of the Special Committee’s recommendations is needed to achieve an improvement in peacekeeping. The ultimate purpose of the United Nations is maintaining peace, with peacekeeping operations being the most visible tool in addition to being an investment towards achieving that goal. Recalling that since 1993 Haiti has hosted eight United Nations missions, he said some still hold negative memories for its citizens, including sexual exploitation cases that have been documented in the Secretary-General’s latest report on accountability. The high number of cases reported in Haiti and other countries dishonours the United Nations, and, at the same time, many cases against MINUSTAH staff were dropped by their countries of origin. Cholera — brought to Haiti by peacekeepers — claimed 10,000 lives and affected 820,000 people in Haiti, with the United Nations waiting until 2016 to recognize this fact. To date, the victims have yet to receive any justice or compensation. The apology from the United Nations was far from sufficient, he said, reiterating the call for justice and reparations for the victims.
JOSEPH NKALWO NGOULA, International Organization of la Francophonie, said peacekeepers are facing ever more challenging environments while personnel continue to protect lives. As the Special Committee prepares to make new recommendations, he highlighted several points, including the importance of deepening partnerships. His organization has worked for decades for the development of French linguistic and cultural skills among peacekeeping missions. Working with the African Union and the League of Arab States, the Special Committee would benefit from including his organization in peacekeeping areas, as the largest missions operate in French-speaking countries. In line with A4P, which recognizes the benefits of language skills, he underlined the importance of performance and training in the official languages of the United Nations. Interculturality is central to the work of the International Organization of la Francophone, he said, welcoming the Special Committee’s previous related recommendations regarding cultural and religious awareness.