United Nations General Assembly: Statement on behalf of CANZ Group on Peacekeeping

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Delivered by Permanent Representative, H.E. Craig J Hawke.

Madam Chair,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

We thank USG Jean-Pierre Lacroix and USG Atul Khare for their presentations, as well as all speakers for their remarks.

We pay our respects to peacekeepers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of peace this year as well as remembering those from previous years. Deploying under the United Nations flag into increasing complex and difficult situations, they and all peacekeepers, military, police, corrections and civilian, demonstrate their selflessness in the pursuit of peace. Their families are in our thoughts today and every day.

Madam Chair,

Since March 2020 and the onset of the global pandemic we have all learned that no one country can address the complexity of COVID-19. The fragility and the importance of working together in a multilateral system is nowhere more evident than in building and sustaining peace.

With this in mind Canada, Australia and New Zealand continues to support greater transparency and inclusion in UN Security Council open debates. We encourage the Security Council to revisit its working methods as recommended by the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group.

Despite the immense challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, its presence has also illustrated the agility of peacekeeping operations. CANZ recognises that we need to plan and conduct peace and security operations far differently in the wake of the pandemic and we applaud the direction provided by the Secretary General through Action For Peacekeeping and its subsequent accelerated operationalization over the next three years, Action For Peacekeeping Plus (A4P+). More recently, The Digital Transformation of UN Peacekeeping provides timely direction on the importance of understanding and harnessing technology in support of peace operations.

Clear direction to member states and field missions on shared commitments and deliverables is needed now more than ever to address these unique times and changing requirements on the ground.

The importance of next year’s Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, C34 cannot be under estimated. We look forward to the C34 Report in 2022. CANZ would envisage a report that provides unambiguous and operationally focused recommendations that reflect the A4P+ priorities.

Another key opportunity to strengthen field operations will be the upcoming Seoul UN Peacekeeping Ministerial in December. The Ministerial is an important milestone to renew our shared commitments under A4P, address ongoing capability gaps and bolster training opportunities and capacity building, through sustained partnerships. CANZ is fully supportive of the main themes of medical capabilities and technology for this Ministerial.

CANZ welcomes the mainstreaming of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda across the seven A4P+ priority areas. The increased investment in gender responsive initiatives across peacekeeping is the right thing to do. We shouldn’t need to quantify or explain that this is the intelligent and necessary thing to do as we search for diverse and effective solutions. CANZ will continue to prioritise the full equal and meaningful participation and leadership of women in peacekeeping and at all levels because we cannot afford to wait another 30 years to reach parity for military troops in UN Peacekeeping. Women have also been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. It is in our hands to change that, by supporting the leadership of women civil society actors, human rights defenders, and peacebuilders in all areas.

Madam Chair,

Canada, Australia and New Zealand also welcome A4P+’s focus on accountability. Accountability to peacekeepers and accountability of peacekeepers.

At the beginning of this statement we acknowledged the sacrifice of peacekeepers. These peacekeepers deserve and demand a process that fairly and promptly investigates and prosecutes perpetrators crimes and attacks against peacekeepers, in order to prevent future loss. We thank India in particular for its leadership on this issue through the recent Security Council Resolution 2589. CANZ echoes the calls for more action to address impunity for crimes against peacekeepers.

The instruction and demonstration of the very best practices in conduct and discipline are essential. The highest standards of conduct should be the foundation of all peacekeeping missions to achieve their respective mandates and serve the local population. Last year’s launch of the Integrated Peacekeeping Performance and Accountability Framework and the continued implementation of the Comprehensive Performance Assessment System has been an important step towards enhancing the performance and effectiveness of all mission components.

This is particularly relevant in addressing cases of sexual exploitation and abuse. In addition to causing irrevocable harm to survivors, these incidents are human rights violations and undermine the work of UN missions and their ability to carry out mandates. We commend efforts to strengthen the UN’s zero-tolerance policy and strengthen efforts and services for survivors. It is our collective responsibility to act in ethical and transparent ways, and at all times building respectful relationships that call out abusive behaviour, including harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace.

Madam Chair,

We also welcome the current emphasis on technology data-driven peacekeeping, through the launch of the Secretary General’s Strategy for the Digital Transformation of UN Peacekeeping. We see this as essential to each mission being equipped with the right capabilities and mindsets to deliver its mandates and to effectively improve whole of mission performance.

Nowhere is this more critical than in fulfilling Protection of Civilian mandates. CANZ is encouraged by the partnership work underway, such as the Partnerships for Technology in Peacekeeping, to strengthen early warning and rapid response systems, to improve the comprehensive approach to protection. But more can be done and the integration of new technologies, training and resources, are key to providing the strong analysis and situational awareness needed to protect civilians and keep peacekeepers safe.

Madam Chair,

CANZ looks forward to working with all members of the C34 to build on the success of our 2021 Report. We remain focused on ensuring effective implementation of the committee’s recommendations and hope to see the next report continue in the spirit of our agreed reforms – to deliver a concise, targeted report which directly contributes to more effective peace operations.

The work of peacekeeping missions will be more important than ever over the next few years as the international community faces increasing geo-strategic complexity. We must therefore all do our part to ensure that UN peacekeeping is able to navigate an ever changing peace and security landscape.

Canada, Australia and New Zealand are prepared to support the implementation of the Secretary General’s A4P+ priorities with agility and commitment and in partnership with all delegations.

Thank you.


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