UNGA73: Fourth Committee - joint statement on peacekeeping by Canada, Australia and New Zealand
I have the honour to address the Committee on behalf of Australia, New Zealand and my own country, Canada.
CANZ are proud to have endorsed the ‘Action for Peacekeeping’ initiative and look forward to cooperate with others on the implementation of the ‘Declaration of Shared Commitments on UN Peacekeeping Operations’. Advancing political solutions and protecting civilians, particularly women and children, are the best way for us to help those affected by conflict. We support efforts of the Secretary-General to reform and improve the ability of the United Nations to deliver on mandates. We also know that for peacekeeping to be successful we – the Member States – have a responsibility to engage more meaningfully with all partners in peace operations.
Last November, Canada hosted the United Nations Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial in Vancouver, where the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers was launched. Canada also announced the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations to increase women’s meaningful participation in UN peace operations. Canada, Australia and New Zealand (CANZ) firmly believes that Member States’ support and implementation of these initiatives and others like them will enhance the effectiveness of UN peace operations.
Safety and Security and UN Reform
Last year, 71 peacekeepers died in the line of duty, one of the deadliest years on record. Together, we must make every effort to protect those we send in harm’s way, and every effort to make peacekeeping more effective and more successful for the 21st century.
CANZ is a strong advocate for the use of new technologies and modern operational practices to enhance operational effectiveness and increase the safety and security of those serving in peace operations. Earlier this month, New Zealand hosted the International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres’ Conference on ‘Innovative Capacity Building for Effective Peace Operations’. It is important that we - Member States - continue to work together to enhance shared approaches to peacekeeping training to improve performance in the field.
CANZ supports the Peacekeeping Intelligence Policy Framework as an instrument that articulates a consistent and principled approach to peacekeeping intelligence We encourage its full and unhindered implementation by the Secretariat as a matter of high priority. We also commend the work the UN has undertaken to enhance the security of peacekeepers since the publication of the Cruz report. These efforts must continue as part of Secretary-General Guterres’ important reform agenda.
Smart Pledging and Critical Capabilities
Given Growing demands on dwindling financial and critical capability resources make it imperative to find new and innovative solutions to adequately equip UN peacekeeping operations. CANZ is looking forward to the full implementation at the earliest opportunity of the Light Coordination Mechanism proposed in the Declaration of Shared Commitments as a means to coordinate Smart Pledges by Member States. The effectiveness of the pooling of resources and critical capabilities in a peacekeeping environment has been proven in the UN Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in Mali and should serve as an example for our future planning.
Performance and Accountability
CANZ strongly supports all efforts to inculcate a robust culture of performance evaluation and accountability in UN peace operations, to improve the safety and security of both civilians and peacekeepers alike.
We welcome Security Council resolution 2436 and 2018, as well as the Secretariat’s integrated performance policy framework for mandate implementation, which establishes clear performance standards for all peacekeeping personnel.
As Member States, we must ensure that our troops and police are not only well trained and equipped, but also deploy to the field willing and able to implement their mandates.
This is especially critical in those missions with a protection of civilians mandate. because, we know when peacekeepers are able to meet this core obligation, including through the use of force, lives are saved.
We must also establish clear, focused, prioritised and achievable mandates matched by appropriate resources. And we must provide our peacekeeping missions with clear exit strategies by investing in peacebuilding. This includes implementing the Secretary-General’s 2018 report on Sustaining Peace and Peacebuilding.
Women and Peacekeeping
Improving the effectiveness of UN peace operations is more than simply ensuring we have the right number of troops and the right assets.
It is about reassessing how our peacekeepers interact with the communities they protect. In this context we believe that including women is both the right and smart thing to do.
This is not about political correctness or virtue signalling. This is about a real solution to hard security problems. When women are present, and when gender perspectives are fully integrated, peacekeeping missions are more likely to succeed and the peace they create is likely to be more enduring.
When women patrol in conflict zones, they learn more about threats and conflict dynamics because women connect with the local communities differently than men. Women peacekeepers are also able to go to spaces where women gather, to speak to them and to build trust.
We are working with partners across the UN system - including through the International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres - and civil society, to increase the meaningful participation of uniformed women in peace operations, because we know that it will make a tangible improvement to peacekeeping performance.
This focus forms one part of our commitment to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, and UN Security Council Resolution 2242, which outlines specific targets for women’s participation. We are also focused on incorporating gender perspectives in all our peace and security efforts.
Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
For UN peace operations to maintain their credibility, we must make every effort to address the scourge of sexual exploitation and abuse. Every single case of sexual exploitation is a case too many. We expect full implementation of the zero tolerance policy.
Addressing sexual exploitation and abuse it not only a conduct and discipline issue, it’s also one of performance and operational effectiveness. Instances of sexual exploitation and abuse undermine the credibility of UN operations by breaking down the trust between the mission and the communities they serve.
Canada and Australiaare proud members of the Secretary-General’s Circle of Leadership on the Prevention of and Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in United Nations Operations. We are also strong advocates for the full implementation of the victim-centered strategy outlined in the Secretary-General’s 2017 ‘Report on Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.’ Our collective efforts to implement this strategy must span the entirety of the UN system – sadly, sexual exploitation and abuse is not confined to peacekeeping. Victims must be able to access an integrated and responsive system that treats them with dignity, investigates claims, and offers a path to justice and restitution. CANZ supports the ongoing work of the UN’s Victims’ Rights Advocate, Ms Jane Connors of Australia.
The ‘Declaration of Shared Commitments on UN Peacekeeping Operations’ urges all parties to translate high-level political support into concrete action to address the most urgent challenges facing peacekeeping operations. Now is the time for us all – the Secretary-General, the Secretariat, troop, police and financial contributors, host governments, and Member States – to implement what we have all committed to undertake. It is time for us all to match our rhetoric with action.
We are convinced that when peace operations are properly mandated and resourced, where peacekeepers are willing and able, peacekeeping remains one of the most effective tools we have to respond to crises and contribute to lasting peace.