Delegates highlighted the essential importance of adequate training and gender parity for the success of peace operations today, as the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) continued its general debate on the comprehensive review of United Nations peacekeeping.
Ethiopia’s representative emphasized that, as the nature of peacekeeping and modern conflict evolves, the international community must invest in training and build capacity to improve the safety, effectiveness and performance of peacekeepers. The safety and security of peacekeepers has become a vital element of peace operations, he said, adding that pre-deployment training and capacity- building initiatives for peacekeepers must make use of innovative approaches like early‑warning systems, triangular partnerships and co‑deployment among troop- and police‑contributing countries.
Cambodia’s representative, underlining that pre‑deployment and in‑mission training are essential to the success of peace operations, said core instructions should be supplemented with training that ensures effective communication among peacekeepers, promotes the reduction of risks and ensures sensitivity to local cultural norms.
South Africa’s representative said the Organization should tap the vast experience and expertise of troop- and police‑contributing countries, urging the Secretariat to consult with African States that have training centres. South Africa provides in‑mission training interventions, he noted, adding that the Government has undertaken DNA testing for all deployed South African troops since June 2018, and it has proven to be a best practice in addressing sexual exploitation and abuse.
Many delegates also expressed support for gender parity in deployment for peace operations, with the representative of the Maldives citing saying evidence demonstrates that women peacekeepers reduce conflict and confrontation, improve access and support for local women, and provide local populations with a greater sense of security. The presence of more women in peacekeeping contingents is also credited with higher reporting of sexual and gender‑based violence, she pointed out.
Nepal’s representative described women as indispensable “change agents”, saying they provide innovative perspectives on sustaining peace. He said his country is committed to increasing the number of its female peacekeepers, reporting that it already met United Nations targets in that regard and has also begun to integrate female engagement teams into uniformed units.
In similar vein, Gambia’s representative reported that 50 per cent of her country’s military officers deployed in United Nations field missions are female, adding that 15 of its 20 police officers serving in the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) are women.
Guatemala’s representative, addressing sexual exploitation and abuse in peace operations, said covering up such misdeeds cannot be tolerated, describing them as a stain on the Organization. As such, he called for strengthening follow‑up mechanisms relating to claims of sexual abuse and exploitation, saying such offences contradict the objective of peace.
Also speaking today were representatives of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Paraguay, Uruguay, Viet Nam, Peru, Cuba, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Syria, Nigeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Lebanon, Eritrea, Egypt, Ukraine and Israel.
The Fourth Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 6 November, to continue its general debate on the comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects.
ABDALLAH Y. AL‑MOUALLIMI (Saudi Arabia) noted that his country pays its contributions to the peacekeeping pillar and has always been at the forefront in responding to global calls for emergency humanitarian assistance. As such, Saudi Arabia provides aid in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Yemen and Sudan, he said, also pledging financial support for the G5 Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) and technical support for its joint force. Concerning Yemen, he called for a comprehensive solution to the Houthi coup in that country and for an end to its destabilization. Saudi Arabia has provided $500 million to support the 2019 United Nations humanitarian support plan for Yemen, he announced, reporting also that his country has provided Yemen with more than $14 billion in total support. The Riyadh Agreement represents the culmination of Saudi Arabia’s efforts in that regard, he added. He went on to state that all United Nations entities must uphold the mandates entrusted to them in the countries where they are responsible for peacekeeping, while emphasizing that they must refrain from intervening in domestic affairs.
AMRIT BAHADUR RAI (Nepal), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said the lack of adequate resources for peace operations due to late payment and withholding of assessed contributions “adds insult to injury”. Noting that the resultant delays have led to deferred reimbursements to troop- and police‑contributing countries, he said they seriously hamper morale, capability and overall performance on the ground. He went on to stress the need to provide peacekeepers with specialized and tailor‑made training, noting that well‑trained and fully resourced peacekeepers are critical to effective operations. More than 140,000 peacekeepers from Nepal have served in 58 United Nations missions across four continents, he said, describing his country as the fifth largest contributor of troops and police. He went on to reiterate Nepal’s readiness to contribute up to 10,000 troops upon request by the United Nations while expressing commitment to fulfilling pledges made at the peacekeeping ministerial conferences. Describing women as indispensable “change agents” because they provide innovative perspectives on sustaining peace, he said Nepal is committed to increasing the number of its female peacekeepers, reporting that the country has already met United Nations targets in that regard and has also begun to integrate female engagement teams into uniformed units.
MOHANNAD ADNAN MOUSA SHADDAD (Jordan), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, recalled that his country established a training institute on peacekeeping operations in 1997 and has since trained 66,000 of its own soldiers as well as troops from other countries. The curriculum covers protection of civilians and children, disarmament and various other aspects of peacekeeping, he said, adding that its courses are intended to increase the cultural knowledge and sensitivity of participants. He went on to underline the importance of adequate redeployment training and of the participation of women in preventing and resolving conflict. Jordan managed to meet the 15 per cent target for female soldiers among its peacekeeping troops, he said, adding that his country currently contributes personnel to eight missions.
ISATOU BADJIE (Gambia), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, recalled that her country’s Government has contributed troops and police to more than 17 United Nations peacekeeping missions around the world over the past three decades, Gambian personnel having been amongst the first to serve in Darfur and the last to depart Liberia. Reaffirming the Gambia’s commitment to the Action4Peacekeeping initiative, she emphasized the need to review and improve peace operations despite the progress and sacrifices made over the years, emphasizing that those efforts must run in parallel with sustained political processes addressing the root causes of conflict and seeking solutions. She went on to reiterate the need for more funding for operations, suggesting that countries in possession of heavy equipment should enter into strategic partnerships with developing States to meet the operational needs of field missions. The Gambia joins other countries in accelerating efforts to incorporate a gender perspective into its military and police deployments to United Nations peace operations, ensuring that women are recruited, trained and appointed to key positions, she said, noting that 50 per cent of Gambian military officers deployed in United Nations field missions are female, with 15 of its 20 police officers in the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) being women. She went on to condemn strongly all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse committed in United Nations peace operations.
OMAR CASTAÑEDA SOLARES (Guatemala), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, described peacekeeping as a world alliance, said triangular cooperation makes it possible to ensure clear, precise and viable mandates that take into account the need to manage the expectations of all involved. Reiterating the importance of consensus in the Special Committee, he warned against repeating the early deadlock of 2019. Turning to the empowerment of women, he said they should be fully involved in all aspects of peacekeeping and peacebuilding. He went on to emphasize that covering up sexual exploitation and abuse cannot be tolerated, describing such actions as a stain on the Organization. As such, he called for strengthening follow‑up mechanisms relating to claims of sexual abuse and exploitation, saying such misdeeds contradict the objective of peace.
JULIO CÉSAR ARRIOLA RAMÍREZ (Paraguay), expressing support for the Action for Peace initiative, said that his country’s Joint Peacekeeping Operations Training Centre aims to prepare soldiers before deployment, with special emphasis on ethical behaviour. Paraguay currently contributes personnel to five missions, he added. Increasingly complex threats require the international community and the United Nations to respond accordingly, including through better assessment of risks, identification of threats, clear professional requirements, pre‑deployment training and proper equipment, he emphasized. Moreover, the protection of civilians must be explicit in each mandate, with clear, vigorous rules defining that protection. Stressing the importance of women in peacekeeping efforts, he condemned sexual exploitation and abuse within peace operations.
XOLISA MFUNDISO MABHONGO (South Africa) said peacekeeping benchmarks and measures should not be used to negatively target troop- and police‑contributing countries, emphasizing that the focus should remain on the holistic improvement of mission capabilities. Effective peacekeeping performance requires matching mandates with appropriate resources, including adequate uniformed and civilian personnel, complemented by sustainable funding, he said, cautioning in that regard that budget cuts imposed on some missions have negative effects on their ability to carry out their mandates effectively. He went on to emphasize that regional organizations such as the African Union serve as first responders and can deploy early where necessary, thereby enabling the United Nations to deploy when conditions are more favourable. As such, he called upon the Security Council to ensure predictable and sustainable funding for African Union‑led peace support operations. Moreover, the Organization must tap into the vast experience and expertise of troop- and police‑contributing African countries, he said, urging the Secretariat to consult with African countries that have training centres. Noting that his country provides in‑mission training interventions, he reported that the Government has undertaken DNA testing for all deployed South African troops since June 2018, and it has proven to be a best practice in addressing sexual exploitation and abuse.
LUIS HOMERO BERMÚDEZ ÁLVAREZ (Uruguay) said his country has deployed more than 50,000 troops in more than 20 peace operations around the world, adding that it is the main contributor from the Americas. Uruguay has come forward as a voluntary champion in the areas of civilian protection and the security of peace personnel. He went on to note that the launch of a comprehensive performance‑assessment system in six missions will facilitate the gathering of better information for improved decision‑making on renewing mandates. On women in peacekeeping, he emphasized that their participation is essential for effectiveness, saying Uruguay has taken internal steps towards including more of them. He added that his country is a member of the Elsie Initiative and is working to identify barriers in that regard.
NGUYEN NAM DUONG (Viet Nam) associated himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), saying that sustainable political solutions should remain at the heart of peace operations and the resolution of conflict. Moreover, ensuring national ownership of political solutions is the key to operational success and, as such, every effort to sustain peace must be made with the consent of the States and parties involved, he emphasized. Concerning regional solutions to conflict, he highlighted the plan of action to implement the United Nations‑ASEAN joint declaration on comprehensive partnership. He went on to report that, with other ASEAN countries, Viet Nam has been hosting project training exercises on triangular partnership, stating also that women account for more than 15 per cent of his country’s peacekeepers already deployed in the field.
FATHIMATH NAJWA (Maldives), noting that peacekeeping must be a collective endeavour, said proposed mandate changes must be assessed not only through the analytical tools of the Security Council, but also by taking into account the needs of local communities on the ground. Furthermore, any review process must consider the unique historical, political and economic circumstances of each individual situation, she emphasized. Welcoming efforts to increase the number of women deployed in peace operations and appointed to senior position, she said the evidence shows women peacekeepers reduce conflict and confrontation, improve access and support for local women and provide local populations with a greater sense of security. The presence of more women in peacekeeping contingents is also credited with higher reporting of sexual and gender‑based violence, she pointed out.
HUMBERTO VELÁSQUEZ (Peru) emphasized the need for troop‑contributing countries to have updated and specific information about the mandates and challenges of any given operation. Measures must be taken to increase effectiveness and make operations adaptive to each unique situation, he said. Stressing the importance of synergies between the United Nations on the one hand and regional and subregional organizations on the other, he also called for improved triangular cooperation, suggesting greater interaction during informal meetings, including prior discussions of specific objectives. He went on to condemn inappropriate or immoral behaviour on the part of any United Nations staff member, pointing out that Peru has signed the voluntary compact suggested by the Secretary‑General.
HUMBERTO RIVERO ROSARIO (Cuba) highlighted the essential principles of sovereign equality, political independence, territorial integrity and non‑interference, while emphasizing that the deployment of peace operations requires the consent of all parties involved. Citing the tendency for peace operations to become more extensive and complex, he stressed that they must not be a substitute for addressing the root causes of conflicts. Additionally, operations must not impose peace nor endeavour to fight terrorism or organized crime, he stressed, cautioning that such efforts leave peacekeepers vulnerable to attacks. Furthermore, peace operations cannot be an end unto themselves but must accompany a strategy of social and economic development, he said. Regarding the use of drones in United Nations operations, he said that while such technology can be useful, it cannot be a substitute for peace operations, adding that the use drones should be considered on a case‑by‑case basis. In closing, he said that eliminating threats to peacekeeping personnel requires realistic mandates and adequate resourcing.
EDWARD RUGENDO NYAGA (Kenya), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said the effectiveness of peacekeeping missions depends largely on financial support, among other factors. Noting that peacekeeping budgets have decreased with the attendant effects of reducing support for peacekeepers, he called upon the United Nations to consider funding for African Union‑led peace support operations thorough assessed contributions. Kenya is ready to partner with the Organization and other stakeholders in preparing and training peacekeepers on counter‑improvised explosive devices, mitigation threats, disposal of explosive ordinance and disposing of conventional munitions. He urged the Security Council, through its Somalia sanctions committee, to consider listing Al‑Shabaab under resolution 1267 (1999) concerning Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), Al‑Qaida and other associated groups, in order to exert more pressure on the terrorist group. Through the cooperation between the United Nations and regional security organizations, he noted, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has largely succeeded in eliminating Al‑Shabaab in many parts of that country. He went on to express support for Somalia’s Federal Transition Government while warning that caution should be exercised during the ongoing reconfiguration to avoid the possibility of seeing a reversal of the gains already made. Kenya urges the international community to invest more in Somalia’s national security institution, he said, urging the Council to transform AMISOM into a United Nations peace operation.
KSHENUKA DHIRENI SENEWIRATNE (Sri Lanka), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, called for cooperation between the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, peace operations and Member States for the sake of lasting peace. Amid the current challenges and dangerous environments, the management of peace operations within the United Nations must be fair and equitable, she added. Recounting her first‑hand experience of a unilateral decision conveyed by the Department of Peace Operations relating to adjustment of Sri Lanka’s contribution to a peacekeeping mission “that resulted in an unjust treatment at the hand of the Secretariat of the United Nations”, she described the incident as a matter of questionable procedure that violated the relevant memorandum of understanding, thereby calling into question the adopted procedure, “which has been flawed since the beginning”. The Department, she said, sought to link its decision not to replace a contingent of peacekeepers — on rotation to an internal deployment in accordance with Sri Lanka’s sovereign right — thereby challenging the Head of State of a member country. She went on to say that in light of the paucity of funding, peacekeeping mandates should consider the complexities of current operations and be clear and operable.
ALIAA ALI (Syria), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, highlighted the Charter principles of sovereignty and non‑interference in internal affairs, emphasizing that peace operations must abide by them, including the need for prior consent from the host Government before deployment. The host country bears primary responsibility for protecting civilians, she said, stressing that the issue of civilian protection should not be used as an excuse for violating national sovereignty. Regarding the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), she said its organizational structure should remain in accordance with its mandate. The Government of Syria supports its redeployment, she added, noting that UNDOF’s full return to the area of separation constitutes a priority for the Force. She went on to state that after liberating its southern areas from armed terrorist groups, Syria reopened the Quneitra crossing to its pre‑2011 status and it is operational around the clock, she reported. However, Israel continues to consider the crossing a border point and to block passage, she said, underlining that Israel’s ongoing Israeli occupation of Arab territories constitutes the reason for three United Nations peacekeeping missions in the region.
IBRAHIM MODIBBO UMAR (Nigeria), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, commended efforts to strengthen the strategic peacekeeping partnership between the United Nations and the African Union. He went on to call for sustained, predictable and flexible financing of African Union‑led peace support operations authorized by the Security Council. Nigeria also welcomes the fact that the African Union Peace Fund is operational, the increase in contributions to it, and the adoption of the African Union policy on conduct and discipline for peace support operations, among others. He went on to condemn incidents of sexual exploitation and abuse, expressing support for the zero‑tolerance United Nations in that context while pointing out that Nigeria has contributed financially to the trust fund established to support victims.
TAREK LADEB (Tunisia), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, highlighted the need to draw up clear peacekeeping mandates with precise objectives. Sufficient resources are also needed, he observed, urging the building of greater capacity to guarantee the safety and security of peacekeepers. Emphasizing his country’s determination to increase the presence of women in peace operations, he stressed the importance of tackling sexual exploitation and abuse. Recalling that Tunisia recently deployed a military unit to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), he said the contingent includes one aircraft and its crew. The unit’s mandate is to provide support in terms of transport, personnel, equipment and evacuation, he said, adding that a Tunisian brigade has also been trained for immediate response. He reported that his country is currently participating in six missions and called for sufficient resources to ensure lasting peace and security across Africa.
SAMRITHPISETH SDAN (Cambodia) said his country has deployed more than 6,000 peacekeeping troops to various United Nations missions over the last decade. That experience reinforced the importance of pre‑deployment training, reliable field support and access to modern technologies, he added. Calling for the integration of civilian protection into all mandates, he pointed out that peacekeepers often find themselves in complex and challenging situations, with insufficient logistical support and financing. He called for predictable and steady financing streams for peace operations, stressing that mandates must be clear, credible and achievable. Reiterating further that pre‑deployment and in‑mission training are essential to the success of peace operations, he said core instructions should be supplemented with training that helps effective communication among peacekeepers, promotes the reduction of risk and ensures sensitivity to local cultural norms. A gender perspective should also be integrated into all stages of analysis, planning, implementation and reporting, he emphasized, noting that Cambodia has deployed 17.2 per cent of the female United Nations military experts as well as military staff officers to various missions.
REDAE GIRMAY ABRAHA (Ethiopia), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, noted that today’s multidimensional peacekeeping operations are deployed around the world to facilitate political processes, protect civilians and assist in disarming, demobilizing and reintegrating former combatants. As the nature of peacekeeping and modern conflicts evolves, the international community must invest in training and capacity‑building to improve the safety, effectiveness and performance of peacekeepers, he emphasized. Noting that the safety and security of peacekeepers has become a vital element of peace operations, he said pre‑deployment training and capacity‑building initiatives for peacekeepers must make use of innovative approaches like early warning systems, triangular partnerships and co‑deployment among troop- and police‑contributing countries.
ALI AL-MASOODI (Iraq), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said his country is stable thanks to peacekeeping. Iraq was one of the first countries to pay for peace operations, he said, adding it supports the proposal to build United Nations capacity in order to enable the Organization to better shoulder its responsibilities. Describing peacekeeping as the exclusive province of the United Nations and a key function of the Organization, he declared: “We invite the whole world to respect the letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter,” including the principle of non‑interference in internal State affairs.
AMAL MUDALLALI (Lebanon), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said emphasized the importance of preventing sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers, a problem that has been somewhat mitigated. Describing the prevention of conflict as an essential priority of the entire international community through the early containment of root causes and deployment of peacekeeping operations, she emphasized, however, that peacekeeping is “not an alternative” to political solutions. Noting that Lebanon has hosted two peacekeeping operations, since 1949 and 1978, respectively, she said it also enjoys close cooperation with them, describing the missions as a bright spot in the annals of peacekeeping. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) plays an important role in establishing potential conditions for peace, particularly through the Tripartite Agreement, and also plays an important role in supporting the local environment, as in helping firefighters battle fires that erupted in Lebanon recently. She noted that her country has benefited from peacekeeping for four decades and now wishes to support peace operations by offering a small but meaningful contribution of forces. She concluded by asking the international community to pressure Israel to stop occupying and seizing Lebanese territory.
ELSA HAILE (Eritrea), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said the success of United Nations peacekeeping is anchored in universal support for its sacrosanct principles, which symbolize neutrality and international cooperation. “The continued relevance and success of United Nations peacekeeping could be realized through upholding these universal principles and the United Nations Charter,” she added. Reiterating calls for all peacekeeping initiatives to focus on prevention and to address the root causes of conflict, she said greater effort should be made to avert and resolve rather than manage conflicts, which, unfortunately, is what most of deployed operations are currently doing. Noting the growing trend of geographic regions assuming greater responsibility in peace operations within their respective backyards, she said caution is necessary in many instances, especially in Africa, when deploying troops from neighbouring countries because calculations of national interest often drive them to interfere in the affairs of the host State.
ABDULLAH IBRAHIM ABDELHAMID ALSAYED ATTELB (Egypt), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, expressed regret that the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations did not reach a consensus. However, its adoption of a new structure for its report offers new opportunities, he said, adding that the report should be brief and direct. Noting that consultations on that matter focus on peacekeeping’s organizational issues while neglecting political aspects, he said that leads to controversy among Member States. The valuable sacrifices made by peacekeepers are not considered, thereby opening the door for the shedding of responsibility in terms of mandate implementation, he said, adding that it also affects the implementation of Security Council mandates, contrary to the very substance of peacekeeping. Discussions involving the Security Council, the Secretariat and troop‑contributing countries should pay adequate attention to the strategic dimension that makes them genuine partners in efforts to achieve strategic objectives. As a troop‑contributing country, Egypt has been at the forefront of reform initiatives and has presided over a high‑level regional conference on that question, he said, adding that the Cairo Roadmap for Enhancing Peacekeeping Performance provides a practical framework within which to implement the Action for Peace initiative and a clear definition around implementation.
VICTORIA KUVSHYNNYKOVA (Ukraine) said that despite recent success stories, the potential of United Nations peacekeeping has yet to be realized and calls for further comprehensive efforts. As such, Ukraine urges continued and decisive reform, she said, expressing support for the Secretary‑General’s efforts and for the Action for Peace initiative in terms of strategic generation of forces — including aviation units — as well as the development of intelligence capacity and the reduction of environmental footprints. Moreover, the Security Council should receive from the Secretary‑General timely, frank and substantive assessments, initiatives and options around United Nations peacekeeping, she emphasized.
IDO BROMBERG (Israel) said that his country’s Government remains committed to the 1974 Agreement on Disengagement between Israeli and Syrian Forces and will not allow any violation of the Area of Separation or the Area of Limitation. Noting the crucial role that the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) plays in ensuring a peaceful border between Israel and Syria, he urged it to fulfil its obligation to monitor the Area of Limitation and keep the border free of foreign forces and non‑State actors. Turning to Lebanon, he emphasized that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) must fully implement its mandate or witness a potentially dangerous escalation undermining that country’s sovereignty as well as Israel’s security. He went on to warn that the international community must not be deceived by the appearance of relative calm in southern Lebanon, where Hezbollah continues to accumulate an unprecedented arsenal of 150,000 rockets and missiles in populated areas, while using the people as human shields. Israel has foiled attempts to use terror‑attack tunnels during the past year, he said, stressing that it is vital for UNIFIL to report frequently to the Council to reflect the reality on the ground rather than the façade. Its reports must include the exact areas to which UNIFIL is denied access, he added. He went on to point out that with peacekeeping operations In Africa facing unprecedented challenges, Israel has expanded its partnership with the United Nations to improve camp security and provide training, as “we must recognize that wearing a Blue Helmet no longer guarantees protection”.