21 February 2017, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States delivered by H.E. Ms. Joanne Adamson, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations at the United Nations Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, General Debate.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
I would like to thank USG Ladsous and USG Khare for their comprehensive briefings on the state of play. We are grateful for the work done by the Secretariat and we value the partnership between all actors involved. We also trust UNSG Guterres to keep up the momentum for a more effective UN peace and security agenda through a more integrated peace and security architecture, while also strengthen interlinkages between policy areas, including the SDGs.
Peacekeeping operations are a vital instrument in advancing peace and security in the world and remain a flagship activity of the United Nations. I would like to recognise the demanding conditions in which peacekeepers carry out their work, and to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives in the service of the United Nations.
Peacekeeping, at the core of UN action, is in continuous evolution. The EU and its Member Sates reaffirm their commitment to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the basic principles of peacekeeping, namely the consent of the parties, impartiality and the non-use of force except in self defence and defence of the mandate, and underscore that peacekeeping operations should observe these important guiding principles. Today’s operations have moved on from the traditional military models of ceasefires observation to become more proactive and multidimensional operations – combining military, civilian and political aspects – that strive to promote stability in the aftermath of conflict. Taking into account the changes in the nature of conflicts, as well as the increased complexity demanded of peacekeeping operations, the EU and its Member States consider it important to continue to address these new challenges.
Over the last couple of years we have benefited from a series of recommendations brought forward by a number of major reviews, including the HIPPO report, aimed at improving the future of the global peace and security architecture. The EU and its Member states continue to support these far-reaching proposals to which we have made contributions over the years, including through the work of the Special committee. Taking this important work forward will require a truly global partnership. Furthermore, it should not be forgotten that partnership and cooperation of the international community is essential for providing support in the efforts of stabilisation and reconstruction after the initial crisis and conflict has ended.
These reports, together with the UNSC resolution 2242 (2015), and the substantively similar resolutions on the review of the peacebuilding architecture adopted by the UN General Assembly (262/2016) and the Security Council (2282/2016), continue to provide substantial guidance for the Committee’s work ahead. The search for coherence and complementarities among these reviews should guide our activity.
The EU and its Member States continue to stress the paramount importance of political solutions to conflicts, to address root causes and drivers of conflict, as well as the priority that should be given to prevention. The EU and its Member States welcome the Sustaining Peace approach. 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 the priority. It would show that the global system is intent on reducing armed conflict. We frequently refer to it, but it is worth repeating – this is also cost effective. War costs a lot more. Likewise, efforts to sustain peace must be on the agenda throughout, and the peacebuilding agenda must be integrated with peacekeeping efforts. Special attention should hence be devoted to strengthening the capacities in the field of security through Security Sector Reform – SSR, in order to ensure sustainable peace and security.
Challenges remaining in terms of effective implementation of protection mandates and we need to continue to address them. Effective implementation of the protection of civilians as a whole-of-mission effort requires better planning support to missions, capturing lessons learned effectively and improving the analysis and understanding of how to support host states in protecting civilians. Operations need to be equipped with the tools to better address the root causes of crises. Peacekeepers must protect civilians under threat of physical violence consistent with clear mandates. Different levels of threat must be met with the appropriate and commensurate use of force, as necessary. Here, again, prevention is key – the UN must work with host countries to prevent the needs to protect civilians from arising.
The EU and its Member States have been leading efforts at the General Assembly during the last few years to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel, as well as the protection of UN personnel. In this context, better integration of modern technology and intelligence capabilities into peace operations should continue to be pursued. It can help improve the situational awareness of troops in real time, thus contributing to the implementation of the missions’ mandate, to the protection of civilians and to the security of the UN personnel on the ground. At the same time, technology alone cannot bring about solutions and increased effects. Instead, the coherent merge of modern technology with relevant methods put at disposal of well prepared and trained staff, will be imperative in the pursuit of enhanced operational output. We continue to support efforts by the UN to further develop these capacities for current and future missions.
We are deeply committed to advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda. We welcome efforts to strengthen gender mainstreaming in mission settings, as well as the intention to reinforce the gender expertise in missions, as stated in Resolution 2242 (2015). While we acknowledge that the DPKO has been receptive to the recommendations of the Panels, and values very positively its engagement in this file, we cannot lose sight of the important challenges that still have to be tackled for a successful implementation of the WPS agenda. In the same spirit we also support the implementation of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda, as established in UN Security Council resolution 2250 (2015). It is important to recognize youth as positive contributors to conflict prevention as well as peacebuilding.
No child should be involved in conflicts in any form. In line with relevant UNSC resolutions, concerns related to children and armed conflict must be addressed in the mandates of relevant peace operations. The continued deployment of child protection advisors to support and assist mission staff as appropriate needs to be ensured
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.
In many ways, training is the cornerstone in carrying out peacekeeping mandates. We believe that the SG’s initiative to request adequate training certificates is a step in the right direction. Training and equipping mission personnel, before and during deployment, whether they belong to a military, police or civilian component, on the basis of consolidated standards is important in order to ensure mission success. It is essential that such training includes predeployment and in-mission training on human rights components, including child protection, and combating sexual and gender-based violence as well as exploitation and abuse. This is especially relevant in increasingly complex environments and could also be enhanced in cooperation with regional actors.
Strengthening police, justice and corrections institutions are crucial measures to safeguard the rule of law and create the necessary preconditions for lasting and sustainable peace. This is done inter alia by supporting local institutions in their capacity to focus on human security and upholding individuals’ rights and building stable societies. Policing has a central role in this work. The Strategic Guidance Framework for International Police Peacekeeping is therefore important in that it offers a platform for a better global common understanding on some key overarching principles, approaches and standards related to policing in crisis areas and its continued implementation is key to prepare police officers for their challenging tasks in mission areas. New ways to increase the dialogue and input of policing advice in UN peacekeeping must also be pursued.
The need for prioritized and sequenced mandates to allow missions to develop over time “rather than trying to do everything at once, and failing” was underlined by HIPPO and the SG reports in 2015. We welcome the establishment of the EOSG strategic analysis and planning cell as a step towards improved assessments and options for UN response to be presented to the Council. Assessing progress in strategic objectives as well as mission performance should enable better tailored operations. However, mission mandates also need to be underpinned with appropriate conflict analysis to set the priorities and objectives right from the beginning. The UN peace operations need to be equipped with clear, coherent and achievable mandates that include a strong human rights component. Transition arrangements between different operations or distinct organisations including UN Country Teams, and exit strategies, should be explored early on to ensure a smooth process as well as strengthening of the remaining UN entities’ authority in the country. From an early stage onwards, transition arrangements should take into account elements which will contribute to the assessment of the overall efficiency of the missions, once they will be terminated.
Adequate force generation and rapid deployment remain challenges to take into account in mission planning. There is a need for UN Member States, including EU Member States, to match political intent and operational might in order for peace operations to succeed. Our work forward should look into ways of facilitating force generation, especially in terms of enablers and others critically needed capabilities. The 2015 Peacekeeping Summit that focussed on generating more pledges to UN peacekeeping as well as the London Defence Ministerial conference which considered peacekeeping reform based on planning, pledges and performance, have made an encouraging impact in that regard. We welcome initiatives aimed at strengthening peacekeeping such as the conference on peacekeeping in francophone environments, convened in Paris last October, and look forward to the next Defence Ministerial to be hosted by Canada. We also welcome the establishment of the Strategic Force Generation and Capability Planning Cell in conjunction with Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System with the aim of enhancing strategic coordination and improved mission planning.
Last year, the Committee looked carefully at recommendations on the need to empower the field through adequately delegated authorities. The Committee recognized the outstanding necessity for the UN to become more field-oriented and people-centred organisation. It also stressed that achieving flexibility agility and responsiveness to do so will require both near and long –term administrative and institutional reforms, as well as a change in mind-set. We note that the peace operations review has emphasized the need for better field support management, particularly with respect to the improvement of logistics, procurement and human resources. The Committee has also stressed the importance to reduce the overall environmental footprint of UN peacekeeping operations. While adequate resources needed for peace operations should be ensured so that they can deliver on their mandated tasks, these resources should to be used in an effective and efficient way, as well as in an accountable and transparent manner.
We also note that, in implementing a more field-centred approach, the Special committee also encouraged the Secretariat to drive forward with a more comprehensive capabilities and performance framework and to improve command and control architectures.
The commitment and professionalism of mission leadership remain key to the effective implementation of mission mandates.
The EU remains a loyal partner, not only by supporting UN Peacekeeping operations, but also by deploying our own missions within the framework of our strengthened Common Security and Defence Policy. These allow for burden sharing and support to the UN, notably in Mali, the Central African Republic, Somalia, and in the Balkans. In this vein, we welcome the increased focus on global-regional partnerships. The UN and the EU are deepening their cooperation on topics of mutual interest as part of our Strategic Partnership on Peacekeeping and Crisis Management for the period 2015 -2018. We also remain committed to give full support to Africa’s efforts to manage its own security.
We continue to advocate for a better definition of the role of regional organisations within UN-led interventions, facilitating – when appropriate – rapid deployment, acting as complementary to UN operations, or deployed in a bridging capacity.
The international community will continue to address many challenging issues on the peacekeeping agenda, and we have made important progress, including in the framework of the C-34. This progress needs to be consolidated and taken forward. The EU stands ready to continue to engage in this work constructively.
I thank you.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
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