– As delivered –
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Acceding country Croatia*, the candidate countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+ and Serbia*, the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
Let me first thank the Under-Secretary-General Ladsous and Under-Secretary-General Haq for their comprehensive and informative statements on the current peacekeeping agenda.
The EU and its Member States consider it important to continue to address evolving challenges of peacekeeping in the 67th Session of the General Assembly. Peacekeeping is a flagship activity of the United Nations and we need to ensure that it is given proper attention. The important work that all actors are doing in partnership is a tremendous effort which may not always be given due recognition.
Today’s debate is also a good opportunity to start preparing for the next session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, in order to ensure a meaningful and timely outcome. We welcome that the Senior Advisory Group on troop costs and related issues has been able to finalize its report and we will study its recommendations carefully. We believe that this outcome will help to assure that the Special Committee discussions on peacekeeping maintain an expert and technical character.
We must make the Special Committee’s report more focused and ensure a timely implementation of its recommendations. We should aim at streamlining and shortening the report, and consider options for how to achieve this.
Last year’s Canadian-Moroccan initiative on working methods provides a good starting point, and last year’s session started well by adopting decisions in this direction. This year, we should make sure that these decisions are implemented and are complemented by further reforms. We encourage the C34 Chair to resume this work and engage with all relevant actors. Equally, we would support an enhanced role for the Bureau in making the Committee’s work more effective.
Turning to the main themes on the peacekeeping agenda, let me make a few comments. In times of austerity, we need to focus on using existing capabilities in the most effective way possible, and on making sure that these capabilities can perform in an optimal way. We welcome the efforts of USG Ladsous and USG Haq in this sense, in particular the effort to “rightsize” the UN’s peacekeeping operations and to focus on performance, standards and targeted training to improve the quality in the field while assuring that the safety and security of peacekeepers remain a priority. We also commend the Secretariat’s effort towards the wider use of modern technologies in peacekeeping operations.
We also welcome the continued strong focus on the protection of civilians. This is one of the crucial dimensions of peacekeeping today, and is often decisive for the success and legitimacy of UN peacekeeping operations. We need to focus on the implementation of PoC mandates by the missions on the ground by making sure that both PoC training and necessary resources are further enhanced.
The recent High Level Meeting on the rule of law once again highlighted the centrality of rule of law for peacekeeping. We commend the establishment of the Joint DPKO-UNDP Global Focal Point. Properly implemented, this arrangement will allow improved coordination and avoid duplication of efforts. We also encourage on-going efforts to fully implement Security Council Resolutions on women, peace and security. We welcome the UN’s resolve in preventing and combating sexual exploitation and abuse. While much has been achieved in this regards, these efforts need to be continued.
Last but not least, peacekeeping missions play an important role in peacebuilding and the continued work on the peacekeeping peacebuilding nexus remains important. We strongly support the Civilian Capacity Review. We know from our own experience that stronger civilian capacities allow for more targeted and successful peacekeeping operations, more sustainable transitions in partnership and with national ownership of host governments. We particularly welcome in this context the emphasis on South-South Cooperation which demonstrates well these core principles.
The EU and its Member States welcome the increased attention given to the role of regional organisations in peacekeeping. For its part, the European Union will continue to look for ways to enhance its support to UN peacekeeping, as well as to shoulder its own responsibilities in our own region. We were pleased to be able to provide timely and useful support for the rapid setting up of the UNSMIS operation in Syria, and we stand ready to act in similar ways in the future.
In looking forward to next year, we need to ensure that the Special Committee continues to have a relevant role in addressing the peacekeeping agenda. I trust that we all have this interest in common and we look forward to working with you all in order to achieve that aim.
* Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+ Iceland continues to be a member of EFTA and the European Economic Area.