Secretary-General, at Chiefs Summit, Hails United Nations Police as Multilateralism in Action, Embodying Promise of Organization
Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks to the United Nations Chiefs of Police Summit, in New York today:
I am very pleased to welcome you to the third United Nations Chiefs of Police Summit. This gathering comes at a critical time for the United Nations Police, for peacekeeping, for our Organization and for the global community.
United Nations Police — women and men — contribute their individual expertise, skills and commitment towards the greater good, in the service of peace, in United Nations operations around the world. But, they are deployed in an increasingly complex and challenging environment — sometimes in places where there is no peace to keep.
We now face the highest number of violent conflicts since 1945. The COVID‑19 pandemic, the climate crisis and geopolitical tensions mean conflicts are more complex and prolonged. Increasingly, our peacekeeping operations are targeted by violent extremists and peace spoilers.
In response, we have designed the Action for Peacekeeping initiative, which is aimed at making our missions stronger, safer and more effective. We are able to deploy new military and police capabilities more quickly, and to include more women peacekeepers, police and civilians in our operations.
Action for Peacekeeping Plus, which was launched last year, aims to accelerate implementation. I think the United Nations Police are a cornerstone of our peacekeeping work, as well as the vision contained in our report on Our Common Agenda. That report outlines a blueprint for action that includes recommendations for a new agenda for peace, a new vision for the rule of law, a new social contract anchored in human rights and better management of critical global commons.
Your officers are key players. Whether in the streets of your cities or the complexities of a United Nations peacekeeping operation, police officers are on the front lines of our efforts to forge a better, safer world.
More than ever, we need specialized policing expertise to keep the peace, maintain public order, fight increased organized crime and natural resource trafficking, and advance environmentally responsive policing practices.
As societies emerge from conflict, violence and instability, rule of law institutions, including the police — which is the first element of the justice chain — are essential for preventing relapse into conflict and paving the way for sustainable peace, stability and prosperity.
A measure of success for United Nations peacekeeping is a timely exit, where our host countries can undertake primary security responsibilities, protect populations and enhance people’s trust and confidence in State institutions.
Time and again, we have seen the power of the United Nations Police to achieve this — for example in Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Timor-Leste. Since the first deployment of United Nations Police in 1960, they have continued to embody the promise, hope and optimism of our Organization. By joining together as a community of peoples and ensuring a people-centred approach where no one is left behind, we can improve the lives of all. The success of Our Common Agenda depends on all of us.
Coming from more than 90 different countries, the United Nations Police represents multilateralism in action. I offer my heartfelt thanks to all of you for providing your best officers to the United Nations, and particularly your women officers. This has helped us surpass our gender parity targets and ensure our policing is gender responsive.
The United Nations stands ready to support these efforts through the work of its Inter-Agency Task Force on Policing to ensure the United Nations Police remains fit for purpose and continues to make a difference in places where the rule of law is weak or absent.
Finally, the safety and security of the personnel you provide is paramount. I therefore urge all of you to help us increase our capabilities, including technological enablers, to keep pace with the needs of today and tomorrow.
Let us work together to strengthen our capacity, so outstanding performance becomes the standard. I take this opportunity to thank all Member States that made police-related pledges during the Peacekeeping Ministerial in Seoul last December.
Investing in the United Nations Police bolsters your own domestic policing efforts, and ultimately, empowers the communities they serve.
The United Nations greatly appreciates the difference you make every day around the world. I wish you a productive meeting. I thank you and I wish all the best to your countries’ police officers.