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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North 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.
Peacekeeping operations continue to be a central instrument in advancing peace and security in the world.
In the European Union, there is no doubt that working with, and supporting the United Nations, is the best way to serve our collective interests of peace, security and global stability. And peacekeeping is a clear case in point, where partnerships are more important than ever.
When last year the UNSG asked for a renewed commitment to UN peacekeeping, the EU and all our Member States joined the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative. This illustrates our collective commitment to providing support and continued political backing to UN peacekeeping, as well as to the wider UN reform agenda for a joined-up response to global challenges. Over the past few months, 7 EU Member States, together with other UN Member States involved in Peacekeeping, have volunteered to champion thematic areas of the Declaration of shared commitments supporting the efforts, actions and contributions of all in order to implement these A4P commitments in the field.
Concerning the Special Committee on Peacekeeping operations (C34), we are looking forward to the Committee`s work next year on the basis of a revised structure of the annual report. As the EU, we contribute to make this first exercise a meaningful one and we would like to use this session also to address those issues which can be solved by the C34. Only in this way we can make the new report a useful tool for peacekeeping. We trust the new structure will circumvent some of the difficulties encountered in the past.
We can assure the UNSG of the EU's and its MS' support for his efforts towards a truly global partnership for peacekeeping. The EU welcomes the emphasis that UNSG Guterres puts upon the EU-UN Partnership as key to global peace and security. We are fully committed to our strategic partnership with the UN on peacekeeping and crisis management which we agreed to reinforce, in September last year, through strengthened cooperation in eight priority areas from 2019 to2021. The first priority area entails working more closely together to strengthen the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Furthermore, we set out to strengthen our cooperation in the field through increased reciprocity in asset-sharing, coherence and continuity, and from the initial stages of planning, to transition and exit. We agree to work on ensuring that a conflict prevention lens is applied across our priority areas, through enhancing our joint situational awareness and strategic communication efforts.
The EU will facilitate partnerships among its Member States and partner countries (T/PCCs) in support of UN peacekeeping, with particular focus on critical enablers such as training and capacity-building.
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 EU and its MS strongly support the Secretary General's initiatives to make the UN's delivery of peace and security more effective and efficient on the ground, and we strongly support the SG in his position recalling the primacy of politics, especially in light of the fact that the lack of progress in finding political solutions may hamper implementation of peacekeeping operations` mandates.
In this regard, the EU and its Member States continue to stress the paramount importance of political solutions to conflicts, and conflict prevention. Prevention and mediation primary are essential tool in this undertaking in a cost effective manner.
The EU and its MS support the UN Peacebuilding Fund through their voluntary contributions and encourage further EU-UN cooperation in the realm of peacebuilding and sustaining peace.
Likewise, efforts to sustain peace must be on the agenda throughout, and the peacebuilding efforts must be integrated with peacekeeping efforts from an early stage, in order to manage transitions more effectively.
UN peacekeeping operations need to be equipped to respond to their mandates, and they should be established on the basis of clear, coherent and achievable mandates. However, mandate delivery is inextricably linked with adequate financial resources. We therefore call on all member states to pay their contributions in full and in a timely manner, without conditions, both for the regular and the peacekeeping budgets.
We continue to underscore that the protection of civilians must be at the core of peacekeeping mandates. Peacekeepers must protect civilians and be able and prepared to use force when those are under threat of physical violence, consistent with clear mandates, while operations must be equipped with the necessary tools in this regard. This includes but it is not limited to the necessary equipment and training as well as training changed mind-set.
The EU and its Member States attach great importance to the child protection mandates. Peacekeepers do play a critical role to protect children in armed conflict. 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, but also that children associated with armed forces and groups are treated primarily as victims.
Member States should also actively strive to improve the gender balance in all components of peacekeeping operations, in order to achieve a more equitable gender representation. We therefore welcome all efforts in this direction, in particular the UN System-wide Strategy on gender Parity and the Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy 2018-28 (UGPS). The EU and its Member States continue to support adequate financing of gender expertise in missions. In the context of the implementation of our partnership on peace operations and crisis management, EU and UN missions and operations are actively working together on the ground to enhance the integration of a gender perspective throughout their activities. In addition, we are holding a joint EU-UN workshop in Brussels on 21 November, on enabling factors for engaging more women in all roles and areas of expertise, and at all levels of peacekeeping and crisis management. We hope to encourage a practice of regular informed and practical exchanges on enabling factors for engaging more women in peacekeeping between EU Member States, other UN Troop and Police contributing countries and experts in this area.
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 through significant efforts in training and awareness in order to realise the zero tolerance.
Adequate force generation and police recruitment remain a challenge when taking into account mission planning. There is a need for UN Member States, including EU Member States, to match political intent and operational capabilities in order for peace operations to succeed. We welcome innovative approaches to force generation and police recruitment, such as the development of rotation plans and smart pledges.
Related to training and more concretely pre-deployment 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 is important in order to ensure mission success, recognising the respective responsibilities of the Secretariat and TCCs and PCCs.
This is also reflected in the 2019-21 priorities of the UN-EU Strategic Partnership. As one of our eight priorities, we have agreed to contribute to the enhancement of performance.
We underline the importance to reduce the overall environmental footprint of UN peacekeeping operations.
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, including personnel protection and the protection of civilians. 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.
Let me stress that the EU and its Member States will continue to strongly support UN peacekeeping, not only by supporting and deploying in UN 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 complementary to UN operations, as it is the case with EU Training and Capacity-building Missions and Operations 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 Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.