C34 Plenary Debate - CANZ Statement

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Statement delivered on behalf of CANZ by Ms. Ally Tang, Adviser


I am honored to deliver this statement on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the CANZ group of countries.

Today, modern peace operations face a more complex and challenging environment than ever before, with the rise of regionalised conflicts, the erosion of host-state consent, resource constraints and the spread of mis- and dis- information.

It is evident that within a rapidly changing political and security landscape, peacekeeping missions need to continue to adapt to increasing demands. The international community depends on UN peacekeeping as a crucial institution and pivotal tool to support peace and collective security.

CANZ will continue to play our role in supporting advancements in UN Peacekeeping to address these challenges. And we welcome the opportunity to enhance UN Peacekeeping through discussions in the lead up to this year’s Summit of the Future.

The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, the C34, plays a crucial role in shaping the future policy direction of UN Peacekeeping. As we look to the upcoming session later this month, I will outline some of the key priorities for Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Chair, UN peacekeeping operations have an important role to play in advancing gender equality and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. As the 68th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women nears, we are reminded again of the importance of ensuring a strong gender-responsive approach to all aspects of peace and security.

We welcome diverse and inclusive leadership across all levels within peacekeeping operations. Through our collective efforts, gender parity targets and concrete initiatives under the Elsie Initiative Fund, CANZ is committed to creating enabling environments for gender equality in UN peacekeeping.

CANZ places great importance on gender-responsive leadership and flexible funding to remove gender barriers to the recruitment, selection and deployment of uniformed women. But, it is evident that we still have a long way to go to ensure their meaningful participation. We cannot afford to lose momentum.

Chair, UN peacekeepers who cannot protect civilians rapidly lose credibility. Equally, the UN must be able to investigate and report on incidents where civilians are harmed and hold perpetrators accountable.

This is the 25th year that the protection of civilians has featured as a mandate of UN Peacekeeping missions. This anniversary offers an important opportunity for us to reflect on the evolution of Peacekeeping and our future approach to conflict prevention and crisis response.

CANZ welcomes Action for Peacekeeping commitments to implement comprehensive protection strategies, enhance early warning systems and reduce the risk of peacekeepers harming civilians themselves. Peacekeeping missions are often in a unique position to support conflict parties to protect human rights and prevent violations of international humanitarian law, and in some cases to start responding to the needs of civilian victims.

CANZ remains deeply concerned by the prevalence of sexual exploitation and abuse in UN field missions and within peacekeeping missions. In 2023, we saw a 20% increase in allegations of SEA reporting in field missions. And we know the real number is much higher, due to the persistent challenge of underreporting.

More attention is also needed to combat the issue of sexual harassment and abuse within peacekeeping missions. We urge continued implementation of the Secretary General’s zero-tolerance policy, with a renewed focus on prevention, accountability and support for victims’ rights.

Effective protection from sexual violence in conflict is vital to building trust and the legitimacy of UN peacekeeping.

Chair, CANZ continues to encourage dedicated attention on peacekeeping transitions and drawdowns.

With the drawdown of the UN Mission in Mali, and the accelerated withdrawal of MONUSCO, engagement with local actors and the UN Country Team is even more vital to mapping a clear path ahead for drawdowns. Transition planning should always prioritize the capacity of the national government, UN, and civil society actors to support the various protection elements of a mandate after a peacekeeping withdrawal.

It is crucial that peacekeeping continues to pave the way for sustainable and lasting peace.

CANZ welcomes the milestone of allocating assessed contributions to the UN Peacebuilding Fund, beginning in 2025, and reiterates our support for adequate, predictable and sustainable peacebuilding financing to tackle peace and security challenges. The UN’s peacebuilding architecture plays a vital role and is well-placed to improve collective efforts towards conflict prevention and responding to post-conflict challenges.

We also welcome the resolution on financing for African-Union-led Peace Support Operations (UN Security Council resolution 2719) in December 2023. It recognises the demands for multiple models of peace support operations, including those led by African partners with funding through UN assessed contributions to respond to peace and security challenges on the continent. We encourage the UN and regional organizations, including the AU, to work closely in times of transition to ensure coordinated and cooperative approaches to deploying peace support operations to help resolve conflicts and protect civilians.

Chair, in closing, I pay tribute to all peacekeepers – military, police and civilian – serving under the UN flag in the pursuit of peace. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

CANZ commits to deliver concrete, consensus-based recommendations that strengthen peacekeeping efforts to be more effective, inclusive and accountable.

Thank you, Chair.


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