8612th Security Council Meeting: United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

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09-Sep-2019 03:37:16
United Nations plays critical role in countries facing violence, conflict, speakers stress, at Security Council debate on Peacekeeping Operations at 8612nd meeting.

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Fostering more flexible peacekeeping operations, building stronger partnerships, improving rapid deployment and ensuring stable funding for mandates are part of measures required to enhance safety and security of the blue helmets and improve results on the ground for the people who depend on them, the Under‑Secretary-General for Peace Operations told the Security Council today.

“Peacekeeping is changing for the better; it is better prepared, more robust and more reactive, but the journey has just begun, and it cannot be taken alone,” he said, pledging his office’s commitment to enhance performance and building on achievements. Since the Secretary-General launched the Action for Peacekeeping initiative in 2018, he said a range of new mechanisms and measures have worked to improve operations and ensure better results on the ground, including with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and other operations.

Providing some examples, he said increased coordination with police- and troop-contributing countries has led to deploying mobile training teams in MONUSCO and MINUSMA and providing context- and skill-specific modules, from “jungle warfare” to tactical military decision‑making, has improved performance. Indeed, collective actions within the United Nations depend on cooperation, including in combating the spread of Ebola, ensuring a smooth mission transition in Haiti and supporting endeavours with support from the European Union and subregional organizations.

However, challenges remain in several critical areas, he said, calling on Member States to stand by their commitments to the Action for Peacekeeping and Council resolution 2436 (2018), which outline how to enhance operations. This includes providing regular funding for missions to ensure that mandates can be fully discharged and improving deployment preparations for police- and troop‑contributing countries to ensure personnel are adequately trained and equipped.

Taking stock of progress and challenges, Council members and the wider United Nations membership largely agreed on the critical role peacekeepers play along the road to peace in countries facing tensions, violence and conflict. Rwanda’s delegate said United Nations peacekeeping should bridge the gap between a State’s primary responsibility to protect civilians and an absence of its capabilities to do so in times of conflict.

Delegates also voiced concerns about the ever-evolving threats they face, from the increased use of improvised explosive devices by armed groups to targeted attacks on United Nations troops, vehicles and camps, with many delegates paying tribute to fallen peacekeepers and victims, including those recently killed in the 8 September terrorist attack in Burkina Faso. They also roundly called for women’s increased participation, and they condemned sexual exploitation and abuse.

Echoing many representatives’ calls for action, African delegates requested the Council’s focused attention on the continent, whose States make up the bulk of United Nations peacekeeping operations that are trying to tackle multiple deadly threats, from coping with the spread of terrorism and brutal armed groups to protecting civilians living in zones of tension and violence. South Africa’s delegate reiterated a call for sustainable and predictable funding for African Union-led peace support operations.

Echoing that call, Egypt’s representative called for enhancing partnerships, pointing out that the Cairo road map benefited from consultations with key stakeholders, including troop-contributing countries, to provide clear guidance on implementing the Action for Peacekeeping initiative. Indeed, the very success of the African Union Master Road Map of Practical Steps for Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020 depends on partners supporting the regional organization’s critical peacekeeping efforts on the continent.

Sierra Leone’s delegate called for unity on common issues, recalling the divergent views expressed at the last session of Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, where representatives failed to adopt an annual report amid disagreements on funding modalities of the African Union-led peace operations. He also pointed out that effective peacekeeping rests on addressing the drivers of conflict.

Canada’s representative said that, despite differences, there is still a clear and common desire to improve the way peacekeeping operations are designed and delivered.

“We are at a crossroads,” France’s representative said. Underscoring that the responsibility lies with all parties, the Secretariat, Security Council, as well as troop-contributing countries, he acknowledged a critical need to establish United Nations support for peace operations in Africa, which acknowledges African ownership and establishes a hierarchy which upholds the critical role of the Security Council.

The United States representative called for the Secretariat to provide regular briefings on achievements in the field, including performance data and detailed reports. As the largest financial contributor to peacekeeping operations, the United States encourages all Member States to boost their efforts to ensure peacekeepers are well-equipped and well‑trained, he said.

Some police- and troop-contributing countries shared their perspectives and suggestions. Ethiopia’s delegate said engagement among the Council, troop- and police contributing countries and the Secretariat will help to enhance coordination of missions’ leadership and mandate delivery. However, such a triangular consultation mechanism has not taken root due to some established norms in the Council, he said, expressing hope that the next reform will fix the imbalance of the cooperation.

Pakistan’s representative, noting that her country has provided more than 200,000 troops to 46 peace operations, underlined the need to provide troops with the best possible equipment. At the same time, the Secretariat bears the responsibility of providing pragmatic and realistic analysis of the situation on the ground. “Peacekeeping is a shared responsibility,” she said, adding that, rather than focus on just cutting costs and troop numbers, operations must dictate logistics.

Also speaking today were representative of Côte d'Ivoire, China, Belgium, Kuwait, Poland, Peru, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, Germany, Dominican Republic, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Morocco, Senegal, United Republic of Tanzania, Fiji and Italy.

The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 1:38 p.m.

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