– Check against delivery –
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries 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 and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
We would like to warmly thank USG Lacroix and USG Khare for their briefings which gave us a valuable and comprehensive picture of the state of play. We are grateful for the work done by the Secretariat and we value the partnership between all actors involved.
The EU and its MS welcome the UN Secretary-General’s continuous efforts to implement the HIPPO recommendations, as well as launching the Secretariat’s reform to ensure a peace and security architecture emphasizing prevention, better crisis management, strengthened working methods, stronger leadership, accountability and transparency, and conducive working culture towards more effective peace operations. We assure UNSG Guterres of the EU’s and its MS’ support for his efforts in partnership with others in this regard.
We welcome the prioritization of prevention in the work of the UN. At the same time, we recall the important role that peacekeeping operations play in advancing peace and security in the world. Peacekeeping operations remain a flagship activity of the United Nations and no effort should be spared to ensure continuous improvement of UN’s crisis management tools. It is important 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 States 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-defense and defense of the mandate. We underscore that peacekeeping operations should observe these important guiding principles and we underline the need for the full delivery of the mandates of peacekeeping operations, which are specific to each situation and whose full implementation is key to achieving greater peace and security.
Over the last couple of years a number of major reviews, in particular the HIPPO report, brought forward a series of recommendations aimed at improving the future of the global peace and security architecture. Taking this important work forward will require a truly global partnership. As such, the EU welcomes the emphasis that UNSG Guterres puts upon the EU-UN Partnership as key to global peace and security.
With partnerships at the centre stage of both of our ongoing efforts to try to ensure that we better serve the needs of those suffering from instability, insurgencies and conflict, we share perhaps an unprecedented commitment to our strategic partnership on peacekeeping and crisis management. We continue to support each other and burden share in-theatre in for example Mali, the Central Africa Republic, Somalia, Libya, the Balkans, and soon also in Iraq. We share best practices on for example conduct and discipline, and lessons learned from strategic reviews and assessments of our missions and operations. In our bi-annual Steering Committee, we discuss operational needs, agree on benchmarks and ensure the strategic direction of our partnership; all to better align our efforts and improve our modalities for cooperation in different areas.
Discussions on what comes next after the UN-EU 2015-2018 joint priorities on peacekeeping and crisis management could not come at a better time. It is with great enthusiasm that we look forward to further deepening, but also widening this partnership to increasingly work in a trilateral format with, for example the African Union whenever relevant and useful. 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.
The aforementioned recent reviews, 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 us with substantial guidance. We welcome the recent adoption of UNSCR 2378 (2017) and its focus on the primacy of politics.
In this regard, the EU and its Member States continue to stress the paramount importance of political solutions to conflicts, to address root causes of conflict and prioritize modes of prevention. The EU and its Member States welcomes the formula for “Sustaining Peace”. 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 primary tools in this undertaking. We frequently refer to it, but it is worth repeating – this must be also cost effective. Likewise, efforts to sustain peace must be on the agenda throughout, and the peacebuilding agenda must be integrated with peacekeeping efforts in order to manage transitions more effectively.
The protection of civilians and the prevention of atrocities must be the common denominator of any peacekeeping operations’ mandate. We welcome the emphasis on regular assessment of the mission’s political and protection effect, the extent to which the mission and T/PCCs have the capabilities to fulfil its protection mandate and the additional political and practical support required.
The EU and its Member States attach great importance to the child protection and conflict-related sexual violence mandates and urgently call upon the UN to ensure that Missions structures are optimised to ensure Missions are able to effectively protect women and children in situations of armed conflict.
We strongly support the Secretary-General’s leadership in combating sexual exploitation and abuse, based on the pillars of prevention, enforcement, victim support and accountability. We welcome the results of the 18thSeptember high level event: the appointment of Ms. Jane Connors as system-wide Victims’ Rights Advocate, the establishment of the UNSG`s Circle of Leadership and the meaningful adherence of the membership to the Voluntary Compact on SEA.
We are also committed to advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda, both internally and in relations with third countries. 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).
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. 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.New ways to increase the dialogue and input of policing advice in UN peacekeeping must also be pursued.
UN peace keeping operations need to be equipped with clear, coherent and achievable mandates that include a strong human rights component. Exit strategies, should be explored from the outset. Where appropriate, early consideration should be given to transitions. In all cases, arrangements should take into account elements which will contribute to the assessment of the overall efficiency of the missions, once terminated.
Adequate force generation remains a challenge when taking into account the 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 continue to facilitate adequate force generation, especially in terms of key enablers and others critically needed capabilities. We welcome innovative approaches to force generation, such as the development of rotation plans and smart pledges. The 2015 Peacekeeping Summit as well as inter alia the London ministerial conference and the Paris Ministerial Conference on Peacekeeping in the Francophone Area made an encouraging impact in that regard. We hope that the incoming Vancouver ministerial meeting will continue to highlight ways in which strategic force generation and force planning can contribute to performance improvements over time, and to enhancing the overall effectiveness and efficiency of United Nations peacekeeping.
Related to training, we believe that the request for 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, recognising the respective responsibilities of the Secretariat and TCCs. This should include standardised gender-sensitive training, appropriate language training and skills, and operational training on the issue of children and armed conflict. This is especially relevant in increasingly complex environments and could also be enhanced in cooperation with regional actors.
We also note that, in implementing a more field-centred approach, the Special Committee on Peacekeeping also encouraged the Secretariat to drive forward with a more comprehensive capabilities and performance framework and to improve command and control architectures.
The commitment, professionalism and accountability of mission leadership remain key to the effective implementation of mission mandates
We recognize the necessity for the UN to become a more field-oriented and people-centred organisation. We also stress 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. At the same time, we underline 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 cannot overstate in this regard the importance of the provision of an efficient operational and logistical support. Such support must serve the overall performance of peacekeeping operations, and be delivered in a reactive manner, adapted to the conditions on the ground.
In light of the complex and dangerous environments that missions are operating in, we underline the critical role of information and intelligence for mandate delivery and personnel protection. We also encourage the use of modern technology in peacekeeping and make additional efforts to ensure the security, safety and adequate medical support of the UN peacekeepers. We support efforts by the UN to further develop these capacities for current and future missions.
The EU remains a key partner in this endeavour, not only by supporting UN Peacekeeping operations, but also by deploying our own missions within the framework of our Common Security and Defence Policy. We continue to advocate for a better definition of the role of regional organisations within UN-led interventions, facilitating – when appropriate – rapid deployment, acting in complementary to UN operations, as it is the case with EU Training Missions within the framework of SSR or deployed in a bridging capacity. In this regard, we also continue to support the development of African peace capacities, which increasingly contribute to peace and security on the continent.
The international community will continue to address many challenging issues on the peacekeeping agenda, and we have made important progress. 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.