12 October 2015, New York – Statement by H.E. Mr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly, Agenda item 122 – Strengthening of the United Nations
– As delivered –
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Republic of Moldova and Armenia, align themselves with this statement.
Let me first thank the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his report which gives us a valuable and comprehensive picture of the state of play of peace operations today and of the challenges that we need to collectively address. We are grateful for the work done by the Secretariat and the Panel led by President Ramos-Horta. We equally value the consultative approach that underpinned this process.
When adopting the 2030 Agenda we have agreed a development framework that – ultimately – will contribute to global stability. The link between security and development is unquestionable. We very much welcome the inclusion of goal 16 on peaceful societies in the 2030 Agenda. The security-development-human rights nexus is critical to achieve long-lasting stability and in that sense the global 2030 Agenda and the global peace and security agenda cannot be separated.
The global security environment has changed dramatically in recent years. The UNSG report clearly identifies the challenges that need to be tackled. This can only be done in a truly global partnership. We are happy to attest that the EU and the UN enjoy such a partnership. We have recently identified jointly priority areas for strengthening our UN-EU Strategic Partnership on Peacekeeping and Crisis Management from 2015 to 2018.
At the same time, we are encouraged by the opportunities provided by the review of the UN peace and security architecture. Business as usual is no longer an option. With the imminent release of the Global Study on the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 and the launch of intergovernmental negotiations on the peacebuilding architecture, we now have all the three building blocks for efforts to enhance UN’s effectiveness in the global security environment.
The outcome of all ongoing reviews should be bold in ambition and propose concrete steps to enhance effectiveness. No one reform should be undertaken in separation of the others. The search for coherence, synergies and complementarities among these reviews should guide our work ahead.
We welcome the Secretary General’s report on the future of UN peace operations. Many of the suggestions of the High-level Independent Panel have been picked up and further developed. Key issues that the EU and its Member States have identified have found a place in the SG’s report – such as the need for coherence, linking development and security efforts, making use of the full spectrum of responses, placing the protection of civilians upfront, mainstreaming gender aspects throughout, better and more clearly defined mandates and transition arrangements. Allow me to reflect on some of these aspects.
Firstly, we fully support the notion that the “full spectrum” of peace operations should be used in a “continuum of responses”. We encourage all within the secretariat to work collaboratively to ensure a coherent response.
Secondly, even the most successful peace operations cannot substitute political processes. Prevention and mediation – making full use of the Secretary General’s good offices, the early deployment of UN SPMs, UN regional and bilateral peacebuilding and mediation tools and public diplomacy – must become a priority. It would show that the global system is intent on reducing armed conflict. Likewise, consolidating peacebuilding efforts must be on the agenda throughout and the peacebuilding agenda must be fully synchronised with peacekeeping efforts. Wider peacebuilding activities must be given the means to be effective.
Thirdly, the protection of civilians and the prevention of atrocity crimes must be at the core of any peace operations’ mandate. We welcome the emphasis on a regular assessment of the mission’s political and protection effect, the extent to which the mission has the capabilities to fulfil its protection mandate and the additional political and practical support required.
Crucially, the protected must not be harmed by those meant to protect them. We welcome the UNSG’s emphasis on increased accountability and his efforts to strengthen the system’s ability to deal with sexual exploitation and abuse swiftly and decisively.
Local ownership is an important factor in protecting civilians. We welcome the suggestion for mission wide strategies and guidance to engage with the local populations. Similarly, corruption should also be recognized as a driver of conflict and instability.
Fourthly, we are committed to advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda, both internally and in relations with third countries. The focus on gender mainstreaming in mission settings is welcome, as is the intention to strengthen the gender expertise in missions.
Fifthly, UN peace operations need to be equipped with clear, coherent and achievable mandates that include a strong human rights component. Adequate resources needed for peace operations, including Special Political Missions, should be ensured so that they can deliver on their mandated tasks. Operations should make the most efficient use of human, political and financial resources.
We are keen to understand the benefits of the Secretary-General’s proposal that dedicated capacities for child protection and conflict-related sexual violence should cease to exist as separate entities in peace operations and should instead be consolidated within mission human rights components. The EU attaches great importance to these special protection mandates and any changes in mission structures should not curtail their ability to effectively protect women and children in situations of armed conflict.
In light of the complex and dangerous environments that missions are operating in, we underline the important role of information and intelligence for mandate delivery and personnel protection. We support efforts by the UN to further develop these capacities for current and future missions.
Finally, we welcome the reference to reinforcing global-regional partnerships. As stated earlier, our two organizations have recently agreed to cooperate deeper on topics of mutual interest, ranging from rapid response to facilitating the EU Member States contribution to UN peacekeeping, Security Sector Reform, mutual support and enhanced information exchange.
We also conduct missions and operations in support of UN objectives and UN peacekeeping across the world. Currently, seventeen EU crisis missions are deployed (6 military and 11 civilian). These allow for burden sharing and support to the UN, notably in Mali, the Central African Republic, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in the Balkans.
We also remain committed to give full support to Africa’s efforts to manage its own security. The EU has agreed to increase its African Peace Facility from 750 to 900 million Euros for the period 2014-2016.
The role of regional organisations within UN-led interventions can be better defined, facilitating – when appropriate – rapid deployment, acting as complementary to UN operations, or deployed in a bridging capacity.
Let me conclude by reiterating our commitment to a strong global order and to an effective United Nations. More than ever, Europe is ready to play its part!
This affirmation – Europe is ready to play its part – are the last words which I have the honor to pronounce in my capacity as Head of Delegation of the European Union before this august Assembly. And I am happy I had the opportunity to conclude with these very words.
I thank you.
* Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
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