United Nations, Fourth Committee debate on peacekeeping - statement on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand
Delivered on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand by Ambassador Richard Arbeiter, Deputy Permanent Representative to the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations, 4 November 2019
Mr. Chair, I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of Australia, New Zealand and Canada. We would like to thank USG Jean-Pierre Lacroix and USG Atul Khare for their presentations, as well as all speakers for their remarks.
We take this opportunity to recognize the tireless efforts of peacekeepers who continue to serve in conflict zones around the world, and pay our respects to the 83 peacekeepers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of peace this year.
Their selflessness serves us all.
It serves the rules-based international system. It serve states, regions, and the international community as a whole. Most of all, it serves the communities and people directly affected by armed conflict.
As peacekeeping operations become more complex and dangerous, we must look at new ways to address longstanding challenges and increase the effectiveness of peace operations.
To do so, we must continue to enhance performance in missions and hold peacekeepers accountable for effective performance under common parameters.
We see enhancing performance through the lens of advancing a culture of accountability to improve the safety and security of peacekeepers and the populations they are mandated to protect.
That’s why we are encouraged by recent initiatives of the Secretariat, including the rollout of the Comprehensive Performance and Assessment System (CPAS), the development of the Military Performance Evaluation Taskforce and initiatives of the Department of Operational Support that seek to increase transparency, comparability and accountability for all peacekeeping missions.
I had the opportunity to visit UNFIL and UNMISS last year as part of the C34 field trip, and was encouraged to see CPAS being rolled-out in both missions.
Making peace operations more effective also means addressing cases of sexual exploitation and abuse. These cases are an egregious betrayal of trust that undermines the ability of UN missions to effectively carry out their mandates. We commend efforts to strengthen the UN zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse. Addressing sexual exploitation and abuse is the collective responsibility of the UN Secretariat and of all Member States, and we must spare no efforts towards that goal.
The United Nations must also continue to look for ways to enhance collaboration and planning with regional organizations.
Regional organizations are particularly key as they often have a better understanding of the regional context of peacekeeping operations.
The African Union is the prime example on the African continent.
Strengthening peace operations in Africa is not just a question of resources, will, or capabilities, but also a question of how we combine our efforts to innovate and maximise our impact.
Australia, New Zealand and Canada welcome the signing of a Joint Declaration by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Secretary-General of the UN in December 2018.
Along with 149 Member States who have signed the Action for Peacekeeping Declarations of Shared Commitments, Australia, New Zealand and Canada are also committed to find more predictable, flexible and sustainable financing mechanisms for African-led peace operations.
We stand ready to support peace operations in Africa by providing innovative contributions and addressing critical capability gaps such as high-end military capabilities.
Canada’s deployment of a tactical airlift detachment and a C130 aircraft to the UN Regional Service Center in Entebbe is one example of the innovative and predictive contribution CANZ is committed to providing support to peace operations in Africa. Elsewhere, in the Pacific region, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji have stepped up their peacekeeping cooperation, including through combined pre-deployment training and provision of strategic airlift.
The expansion of the Triangular Partnership Project into South East Asia will also have a real impact. These targeted training and capacity-building activities help ensure that troop-contributing countries deploy professional, capable and sustainable contingents.
Women, Peace and Security
Achieving sustainable and inclusive peace is not possible without the full and effective implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security agenda.
That’s why we were proud to work with South Africa during its Presidency of the Security Council including its Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security. We welcomed its focus on the need to fully implement the WPS agenda.
Time and time again, we have seen that it is impossible to do without the full and meaningful participation of women, and impossible without integrating a gender perspective into all stages of peace operations.
We also recognize that it is vital to increase the number of civilian and uniformed women in peacekeeping at all levels and especially in key decision-making positions. This includes addressing the root causes of gender inequality in our own national institutions.
This is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do. Peace operations that are more representative of the populations they are asked to protect are better situated to build trust between peacekeepers and local communities.
We are proud to move from words to actions to address these issues. For example, because of the growing evidence that an increased participation of women improves operational effectiveness of peace operations, Canada launched the Elsie Initiative in 2017. It is a multilateral pilot program aiming to develop innovative approaches to enhancing the meaningful participation of women within United Nations peace operations.
To help build momentum for regional dialogue and action, this year New Zealand and Samoa co-hosted the Women, Peace and Security Summit and launched the Pacific Defence Gender Network. New Zealand each year also contributes instructors to the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre’s Gender, Peace and Security Master’s course.
CANZ is concerned about the worsening liquidity crisis that continues to affect the United Nations.
The United Nations is confronting its worst financial crisis in recent memory, and this crisis is affecting the Regular Budget of the Organization, including Special Political Missions, as well as Peacekeeping Operations The contributors of troops, police and equipment to peacekeeping operations are often the first victims of United Nations arrears and liquidity problems.
As we have stated in other fora, to function effectively UN peacekeeping must be based on stable and predictable funding.
Canada, Australia and New Zealand pay our UN contributions in full, on time and unconditionally.
We call on all other Member States to do so because stable and predictable funding is essential for UN peacekeeping operations to continue to serve the people they are mandated to protect.
Before I conclude, I would like to take a few moments, in my national capacity as Chair of the Working Group of the Whole, to update you on preparations for the next session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations - the C34.
This past summer, following nearly 3 months of inter-sessional consultations, the C34 reached an agreement in principle on a new structure for its annual report, using the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative as its basis.
C34 members also committed to putting an emphasis on reaching agreement on concrete and specific recommendations in negotiations.
We are now planning for the next C34 session in February – March.
On Thursday, the Permanent Mission of Japan will host a workshop to help prepare for our upcoming session and share guidelines for language submissions - I invite all delegates to attend.
In December, the Special Committee will conduct its fifth annual field trip and will visit the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali.
And later this year, the Departments of Peace Operations and Operational Support will deliver its annual briefings focused on the 8 themes of the new C34 report structure and the A4P declaration.
Taken together, these elements will help inform annual negotiations and help the Committee focus on its added value: clear recommendations on policies that can improve the effectiveness of UN Peacekeeping Operations.
We are confident that the agreement we reached will improve the clarity of our recommendations and the impact of our work, and we hope to bring this summer’s sprit of collaboration to our next annual negotiations in February 2020.
We must all do our part to make peacekeeping as effective as it can be, so it better serves the international community, and the populations they are mandated to protect.
Canada, Australia and New Zealand are committed to work with all delegations to fulfill this goal.