I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Member States of the European Union.
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 Andorra, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine align themselves with this statement.
At the outset, I wish to thank Mr. Chandru Ramanathan, Assistant Secretary-General, Controller, for introducing the Secretary-General's overview report on the financing of the peacekeeping operations, and Mr. Abdallah Bachar Bong, Chair of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions for introducing the corresponding recommendations of his committee.
The Secretary-General’s overview report on the financing of peacekeeping operations highlights key developments and challenges for UN peacekeeping.
We welcome the progress made in developing better accountability, transparency, cost-efficiency and performance management as a direct result of the UN reforms, notably so that of the Peace and Security pillar. We remain convinced that the reforms offer great support to overall effectiveness of all UN operations, and proved instrumental in ensuring business continuity and adaptability of the missions. Accordingly, we support the conclusions of the OIOS report that many of the existing perceptions about organizational culture in peacekeeping missions are not in line with the high standards adopted by the Organization. These need to be addressed, to fully support the effective functioning of missions.
Uniformed personnel are the backbone of peacekeeping. It is vital to continue to ensure safety and security of UN troops and personnel. In this regard, UN peacekeeping should also always make use of the best technology available: if properly applied and integrated into UN peace operations, modern technologies like drones (UAVs) may provide enhanced capabilities to detect threats, identify targets and improve situational awareness. In that regard, and in line with the Santos Cruz report, we stand ready to engage on how to better protect troops and UN personnel.
The Member States of the European Union attach great importance to both the capabilities and performance of the troops deployed and their operational equipment, as agreed to by the TCCs and the Secretariat in the MoUs. We are aware that new challenges and opportunities are emerging in the areas of signal intelligence, cyber defense, big data and technology for force protection, and we believe that UN needs to continue adapting to meet these challenges.
We also 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. We welcome the transition to the new phase of the Secretariat's environment strategy, as well as the continued efforts to develop global environmental management systems and tools to improve the environmental performance of missions and reduce their environmental footprint.
Peacekeeping plays a critical role in ensuring respect for the universal principle of human rights, including by monitoring compliance, reporting violations and offering assistance to victims. 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 in mainstreaming gender aspects throughout peacekeeping work. We welcome the progress made in the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. We offer our support to continued deployment of gender advisors and emphasize 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.
EU and its Member States continue to call for zero-impunity for all civilian, military and police personnel. In this regard, we strongly believe that addressing sexual exploitation and abuse and ensuring that vulnerable groups are not harmed by those who are meant to protect them, must remain a priority of the Secretary-General and the entire leadership of the UN. We welcome the progress made so far and express our continued support for efforts related to integration and institutionalization of a victim-centered approach across the UN, as well as the Secretary-General’s determination to strengthen accountability and risk management frameworks. At the same time, we acknowledge the remaining challenges such as improving the United Nation’s engagement with the implementing partners. We offer the Secretary-General our full support in these efforts.
The Member States of the European Union would also like to reiterate their appreciation for the important work carried out by the Board of Auditors, despite the challenges of a remote setting, and commend its invaluable analysis of many key elements of UN peacekeeping. We place particular importance on the Board’s findings regarding the UN Mine Action Service. Mines continue to be a global threat, especially to the most vulnerable: children and other civilians in conflict zones. For the EU Member States this makes the mine action work of the Organisation critical and any impediment to efficient and successful execution of mandates needs to be addressed. We therefore fully support the Board’s recommendations with regards to the UNMAS-UNOPS relationship.
This session provides a new opportunity to find a comprehensive agreement on a number of cross-cutting issues of UN peacekeeping and to give the Secretariat further guidance. The challenging circumstances we are 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 tangible and 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.
I thank you Mr. Chair
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.