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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

– As delivered –

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States.

The Acceding country Croatia*, the candidate countries Turkey, 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.

We welcome the initiative of Pakistan to hold an open debate on UN peacekeeping and its multidimensional nature, focusing in particular on the important linkages of peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Let me also thank the SG for his briefing as well as note with satisfaction the adoption of the UNSCR.  

Peacekeeping is the UN’s flagship activity, and therefore a crucial tool paving the way for longer-term stability and development of countries emerging from a crisis. The important work of all actors in partnership with the UN is a tremendous effort which may not always be given due recognition. Recognising the demanding conditions in which peacekeepers carry out their work, we are deeply appreciative of the sacrifices they make, and I would also like to express our deep appreciation and respect for those who have lost their lives in the service of the UN.

The EU and its Member States make an important contribution to UN peacekeeping and have a great interest in making UN peacekeeping even more efficient. Welcoming the increased attention given to the role of regional organisations in peacekeeping, the European Union will continue to look for ways to enhance our support to UN Peacekeeping. As a recent example, 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.

The next session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations is approaching and we have a keen interest in ensuring that this forum can continue to provide relevant and meaningful guidance on peacekeeping, based on consensus. We must make the Special Committee’s report more focused and ensure a timely implementation of its recommendations. This is all the more important in times of austerity where we need to optimize the use of scarce resources.

Mr. President,

As the Secretary-General has stated, peacekeepers are peacebuilders and they must seize the window of opportunity in the immediate aftermath of conflict. They are the first to set priorities, they have a unique mix of capabilities at their disposal, and they have to get this on right from the start.

The nexus between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, which was referred to by Indonesia has been addressed closely in recent years. The EU and its Member States welcomed the DPKO/DFS strategy on this topic and we encourage further development and updating of the strategy, as well as planning effective training and exercises to enhance its implementation.

Recently, the SG report on peacebuilding in the aftermath of conflict addressed this challenge, by stressing inclusivity and institution-building in which peacekeeping operations have an important role to play, with a view to building more resilient states and sustainable peace. Institution building, for instance in the fields of security and justice, are key to the capacity of the host state to move forward. In this context, the strengthening of the rule of law should be an overarching objective. 

In a similar vein, the Civilian Capacity initiative helps to enhance the ability of peacekeeping operations to contribute to this aim by expanding the pool of relevant civilian experts suitable for peacekeeping operations in a post-conflict situation. Equally, the UN-wide policy on transition demonstrates the close links between these different activities, with the aim of producing a positive outcome to post-crisis situations.  

These recent reports and initiatives point in the same direction – key for ensuring positive sustainable development is to start as early as possible and in as comprehensive manner as needed. In view of the longer-term perspective, a coordinated strategic assessment to ensure an integrated and coherent approach to post-conflict peacebuilding and sustainable peace is a crucial starting point. A concerted action from a wide range of interested stakeholders is required in order to ensure mutually reinforcing activities.

Peacekeeping operations need to be planned and conducted in such a manner as to facilitate post-conflict peacebuilding and progress towards sustainable peace and development. Peacekeeping operations with multidimensional tasks and mandates should incorporate a peacebuilding perspective, and the implementation of these activities requires close coordination between peacekeeping operations and UN Country Teams and development actors.

Peacekeeping operations have a role both in supporting critical tasks and in enabling others, through supporting countries in developing critical peacebuilding priorities and strategies, creating an enabling environment for national and international actors, by implementing certain early peacebuilding tasks themselves.

Taking into account the contribution of various actors as well as the key principle of national ownership and priorities, an integrated approach to early peacebuilding is successful if every actor is clear on their contribution. This will make the comparative advantage and the added value of each actor clearer. Despite good progress, there continues to be a need to identify additional competences, and to further clarify everyone’s role and responsibility.

Ensuring coordination and coherence is key. This necessitates system-wide support within the UN. There has certainly been further progress made in this respect, but the efforts to enhance coordination need to continue, also as regards the Peacebuilding Commission,  where coordination with other UN bodies, in particular the Security Council, should be further improved.  

Partnerships are increasingly important across the board. UN agencies, funds and programmes and their growing link with regional and subregional organizations and international financial institutions need to explore partnership opportunities that support peacekeeping operations in their peacebuilding tasks. The Peacebuilding Fund is an integral part of the UN’s peacebuilding structure. It is a nimble funding mechanism which is relevant also for the peacebuilding tasks within peacekeeping operations.

In view of future models of cooperation, the civilian capacity initiative provides a good example. As the report of the Secretary-General on civilian capacity states, the initiative will apply across the various responses of the UN system. We encourage the UN system to continue to work together, in finding the optimal ways to be more nimble, responsive and innovative in post-conflict situations.

Mr. President,

Countries emerging from a post-conflict situation continue to risk the recurrence of armed conflicts. Peacekeeping operations have an important role in preventing this. We need to do the utmost to prevent such an evolution. Peacekeeping operations also set the scene for initiatives in institution-building. It is therefore important to optimize the way peacekeeping operations contribute to early peace and state-building, guaranteeing a comprehensive start from the beginning and a smooth transition to greater stability.

* 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.

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