This statement is on behalf of the Member States of the EU. The Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, 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.
At the outset, the EU and its Member States would like to thank all UN staff and all uniformed personnel for their dedicated support to the cause of peace and their continued presence on the frontline of the missions, in spite of the difficult circumstances. We would also like to pay our tribute to all those who have lost their lives in the pursuit of peace. The member states of the EU remain strong supporters of peacekeeping. We contribute through our financial contributions, our presence in the field and our overall political support to the UN. We are fully committed to ensuring that UN peacekeeping is effective and accountable in order to serve the need of maintaining peace and security, in line with the commitments set out in the A4P Declaration. We also pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in their service to maintain international peace.
The Secretary-General’s overview report on the financing of peacekeeping operations highlights key developments and management challenges facing UN peacekeeping. We welcome progress made in developing better accountability, transparency, cost-efficiency and performance management as a direct result of the UN reforms. We remain convinced that the reforms offer great support to overall effectiveness in delivering of mandates and in transition towards drawdown of missions, in particular in light of the current pandemic and fragile situation. We reiterate our support to the call by the Secretary-General for a global ceasefire.
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 we see great importance in fully operational equipment as agreed to by the TCCs and the Secretariat in the MOUs. It is also vital to continue ensuring safety and security of UN troops and personnel and we welcome the progress made in the implementation of Action Plan on Improving Security of UN Peacekeepers. Modern technology, if properly applied and integrated into UN peace operations, has the potential to change the face of peacekeeping with enhanced capabilities to detect threats, identify targets and improved situational awareness. 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.
Peacekeeping operations play a critical role in ensuring respect for the universal principle of human rights through different means including by monitoring compliance, reporting violations and offering assistance to victims to name a few. Missions also play a crucial role in protecting the most vulnerable in armed conflict, especially women and children. EU and its Member States strongly believe that gender aspects must be mainstreamed throughout peacekeeping work, including the early stages of all operational planning, and we welcome progress made in the implementation of Women, Peace and Security agenda. We offer our full support to continued redeployment of all gender advisors and emphasise the need for well-trained child protection focal points and their continued cooperation with civilian child protection advisors, crucial for ensuring effective monitoring and reporting of grave violations. 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 look forward to a truly system-wide and integrated response to sexual exploitation and abuse.
In line with the Action for Peacekeeping initiative, the EU and its Member States strongly believe that peacekeeping should always be part of a broader political process, 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 UN Country Teams should develop strong links and exchanges on the ground, if we want to be successful in creating a continuum between peacekeeping, peacebuilding and development.
We also strongly believe in the importance of effective environmental management, which is central to responsible engagement with host countries and communities in operational settings. We welcome the progress made in each of the five pillars of the Secretariat's six-year environment strategy and call for missions with significant environmental risks to continue efforts in reducing their footprint.
Lastly, as we are aware that new challenges and opportunities in the areas of signal intelligence, cyber defence, big data and technology for force protection, are emerging, we believe that UN needs to continue adapting to the needs of time and meet these challenges.
This session provides a new opportunity to find a comprehensive agreement and to give the Secretariat further guidance on a number of cross-cutting issues of UN peacekeeping. The challenging circumstances we are currently facing should remind us of the importance to give the missions the necessary tools to succeed and implement all of its mandates. The same circumstances also speak to the importance of the whole Committee to be pragmatic in discussing and reaching a consensual outcome. 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.
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.