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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Member States of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, North Macedonia*, Montenegro* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilization and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
I wish to first take this opportunity to thank Mr. Chandru Ramanathan, Assistant Secretary-General, Controller, for introducing the Secretary-General's overview report on the financing of the peacekeeping operations. Please let me also thank Mr. Cihan Terzi, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, for introducing the recommendations of his committee on this report.
The Member States of the European Union are committed to ensuring that UN peacekeeping is as effective as possible in order to serve the need of maintaining peace and security, in line with the commitments set out in the A4P Declaration. We are actively engaged as participants in UN-mandated peacekeeping operations and other relevant activities, contributing with troops, civilian police and other personnel. And we are important contributors financially.
We would like to take this opportunity to commend once again the hard work and commitment of all UN personnel involved in peacekeeping. Let us also once again pay tribute to all those who have lost their lives in the pursuit of peace.
The Secretary-General’s overview report on the financing of peacekeeping operations highlights key developments and challenges facing UN peacekeeping. UN management reform provides an opportunity for Missions to develop better accountability, transparency, cost-efficiency and performance management. This in turn will support better overall effectiveness in delivering mandates and, for some missions, in transitioning towards drawdown.
We believe that uniformed personnel form the backbone of peacekeeping and we commend all troops for their dedication to peacekeeping. We attach great importance to the capabilities and performance of the troops deployed, and to the importance of fully operational equipment as agreed to by the TCCs and the Secretariat in the MOUs. We also recall that TCCs and the UN have differing but complementary responsibilities in terms of training and providing medical support to their uniformed personnel.
UN peacekeeping should also always make use of the best technology available to improve the security and safety of the troops and of UN personnel and reduce the environmental footprint of the missions. Modern technologies like UAVs but also the use of radars and other surveillance equipment do save lives. In that regard, and in line with the Santos Cruz report, we stand ready to engage further to consider means and ways to better protect troops and UN personnel and ensure that the peacekeeping missions have the necessary capabilities to do so.
We note the progress made in the area of environmental management, which is key to a responsible and sustainable presence of the UN in the field and therefore to mandate delivery For this reason, we welcome the ongoing implementation of the Secretariat's six-year environment strategy, as well as the recent efforts to develop global environmental management systems and tools to improve the environmental performance of missions.
Peacekeepers also play a critical role to ensure respect for the universal principle of human rights and to protect the most vulnerable in armed conflict, especially women and children, which in turn support effective mandate delivery. Gender aspects must be mainstreamed throughout peacekeeping work, including the early stages of all operational planning. Therefore, the necessary gender expertise must be ensured in the Secretariat structures when reforming the peace and security architecture. We also strongly support the continued, sufficient, deployment of gender advisors and child protection advisors to assist mission staff as appropriate in those missions with such mandates. Well trained child protection focal points and their cooperation with civilian child protection advisors are essential to ensure effective monitoring and reporting of grave violations. Reinforcing gender expertise in missions is also crucial to enhancing the effectiveness of peacekeeping overall, for example by enhancing the interaction with local communities. As reiterated this week in our statement on the Secretary-General's report on Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse, the EU Member States fully support the SG's zero tolerance policy.
In line with the integrated vision of the Secretary-General's reform and the Action for Peacekeeping initiative, peacekeeping should always be part of a broader political process and should be accompanied by measures that support peacebuilding and stabilize the situation, both during the lifespan of a peacekeeping mission, as well as in transition from peacekeeping missions to UN Country Teams. Civilian-military cooperation is crucial to a mission’s success. We think that missions and UNCTs should develop strong links and exchanges on the ground, if we want to be successful in creating a continuum between peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development. Programmatic activities can play a role in this regard; however, we would like to recall that these should not overlap with the activities of the UN Country Teams - and we expect the same levels of transparency, accountability and cost-effectiveness of all money spent by missions, including a direct link to the mission’s mandate.
We regret that in the last two years, this Committee has not been able to find a comprehensive agreement on the cross-cutting issues as a whole. Given the current context of reform implementation that promises to enhance the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations, among other areas, it is of outmost importance that we take a step in the right direction. We hope to conclude the session with a forward looking outcome that would encapsulate our common spirit about peacekeeping. As always, the Member States of the EU stand ready to engage constructively during the negotiations, in order to achieve consensus, through a spirit of compromise and collective thinking in the interest of the Organization as a whole.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
* North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.