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GA/PK/237
17 February 2020
262nd & 263rd Meetings (AM & PM)

Delegates Underline Need for Greater Funding of Peacekeeping Operations, Increased Investment in Capacity-Building, as Special Committee Opens Session

Investing more in training is among the best ways to increase the capacity of United Nations peace operations, while these missions should not be asked to do more with less resources, speakers told the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations today at the first meeting of its 2020 substantive session.

The Special Committee was created by the General Assembly in 1965 to conduct a comprehensive review of all issues relating to United Nations peacekeeping.  The three-week session will focus on some of the pressing issues facing roughly 110,000 military, police and civilian personnel currently serving in 13 operations worldwide.

During the opening segment, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande (Nigeria), President of the General Assembly, said that United Nations peacekeeping operations cost $6.5 billion for the fiscal year through 30 June 2020, compared with the global military spending of $1.8 trillion in 2018, highlighting the need for more investment in capacity-building.

“Offsetting military expenditure by investing in peace, and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals which address the root causes of conflict, is essential to creating peaceful and prosperous societies,” he said.

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, said that the session is taking place a little over one year after the endorsement of the Action for Peacekeeping Declaration of Shared Commitments on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations — a road map to improving peacekeeping.  A total of 152 Member States endorsed the Declaration, sending a powerful message of political support for peacekeeping, he added.

Expressing hope that the spirit of cooperation will prevail during this session, he went on express his expectation that the Committee delivers concrete guidance that will strengthen the Organization’s ability to deliver on mission mandates.

In an ensuing debate, delegates explored ways to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of peacekeeping operations, also exchanging views on issues related to funding, threats to peacekeepers, civilian protection, performance failures, the importance of partnerships and the participation of women.  They also discussed the Committee’s role and heard the views of troop- and police-contributing countries as well as financial and in-kind donors.

“We cannot continue demanding more from missions while giving less,” said Indonesia’s representative, who spoke on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.  The bloc’s member States contribute 5,000 troops to United Nations peacekeeping.  He added that peacekeeping missions must be supported with adequate resources, urging Member States to make financial obligations in full, on time and without conditions.

Several speakers highlighted the dangerous environment in which peacekeepers operate, with Ethiopia’s delegate saying:  “Targeted attacks against peacekeepers and indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians have become the norm rather than an exception.”  Brazil’s delegate pointed out that fatalities by violent acts against blue helmets dropped significantly in 2018 but this downward trend slightly reversed in 2019, calling for greater investments to proper training, adequate equipment and medical and logistic support.

Shining a light on performance and accountability, the representative of the United States said that while missions are becoming more effective and efficient, more remains to be done to keep peacekeepers safe, to better protect civilians and to lay the political groundwork for peacekeeping missions to eventually transition and close.  Her country worked continuously to promote a culture of accountability for performance within United Nations peacekeeping, she said, drawing attention to Security Council resolution 2436 (2018), which calls for timely, transparent reporting to the 15-member organ when there are performance failures.

The speaker from the European Union said performance can and should be measured at all levels of peacekeeping, voicing strong support for the development of clear measurements of performance for assessing and evaluating all United Nations personnel, as well as benchmarks to measure mission performance.  Relevant and appropriate training is also essential to improved performance, mission success and the safety of peacekeepers, he added.

Nepal’s delegate joined other speakers in stressing the importance of training, saying that his country hosts a world-class peacekeeping training centre in the region, which offers services to enhance the professional capability of both emerging and established troop- and police-contributing countries.

At the outset, the Special Committee elected Samson Sunday Itegboje (Nigeria) as its Chair, and re-elected Alejandro Guillermo Verdier (Argentina), Richard Arbeiter (Canada), Namazu Hiroyuki (Japan) and Mariusz Lewicki (Poland) as its Vice-Chairs.  Abdullah Attelb (Egypt) was elected as its Rapporteur.  It also adopted its agenda and programme of work.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Morocco (for the Non-Aligned Movement), Australia (also for Canada and New Zealand), Peru, India, Switzerland, Ireland, Thailand, Argentina, Egypt, South Africa, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Uruguay, Iraq, Chile, Norway, Ukraine, Guatemala, Cuba, Viet Nam, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The Special Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 18 February, to continue its general debate.

Opening Remarks

TIJJANI MUHAMMAD-BANDE (Nigeria), President of the General Assembly, recognized the contributions of United Nations peacekeeping personnel to save the succeeding generations of the scourge of war, noting that they operate in complex situations around the world.  He expressed his appreciation to Member States for their contributions, including sending troops and making voluntary in-kind and financial contributions, which are critical to peacekeeping operations.  Stressing the importance of the work of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, he expressed concern that it closed its 2019 substantive session without reaching consensus.

He went on to emphasize the need for more investment in capacity-building, adding that the current budget places United Nations peacekeeping operations in a precarious situation.  It stands at $6.5 billion for the fiscal year 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020.  In comparison, the total world military expenditure was estimated at over $1.8 trillion in 2018.  “Offsetting military expenditure by investing in peace, and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals which address the root causes of conflict, is essential to creating peaceful and prosperous societies,” he said.  He also highlighted the need for peacekeeping missions to be adequately funded through consistent and predictable funding.

The year 2020 marks the twentieth anniversary of the women, peace and security agenda, he said, noting that the United Nations is seeking to increase female peacekeepers at all levels.  Lastly, he stressed the nexus between peace and development as Member States implement the Sustainable Development Goals.  “Peacekeeping remains one of the main UN tools to protect civilian populations, help prevent new conflicts, reduce violence and strengthen security on the ground,” he declared.

RICHARD ARBEITER (Canada), Vice-Chair of the Working Group of the Whole on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, said that the Committee reached an agreement in July 2019 for a new structure for its annual report.  It also committed to putting an emphasis on clear recommendations in that report.  Throughout the current session, he and all members of the Bureau will engage with all delegations to help achieve consensus.

JEAN-PIERRE LACROIX, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, said that the session is taking place a little over one year after the endorsement of the Action for Peacekeeping Declaration of Shared Commitments on Peacekeeping Operations — a road map to improving this instrument of multilateralism.  A total of 152 Member States endorsed the Declaration, sending a powerful message of political support for peacekeeping.  He said that on 19 February, he, alongside colleagues from the Department of Operational Support and the Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, will brief the Committee on respective efforts to advance the Action for Peacekeeping Declaration and highlight the areas in which United Nations peacekeeping would need the support of Member States.  Expressing hope that the spirit of cooperation will prevail during this session in search for consensus, he said that he expects the Committee to deliver concrete guidance that will strengthen the Organization’s ability to deliver on mission mandates.

Statements

The representative of Morocco, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the upcoming session of the Committee will be crucial for its future, as it could not come to agreement during the 2019 session and remains the only United Nations forum mandated to comprehensively review peacekeeping operations in all aspects.  She noted that Member States are often referred to as troop- and police-contributing countries as opposed to financial contributors but engage considerable resources in training troops and are unreimbursed expenses.  She strongly condemned the killing of United Nations peacekeeping personnel and all such acts of violence, which constitute a major challenge to the credibility of the Organization’s field operations, and welcomed the condemnation of perpetrators of attacks in the Central African Republic responsible for killing 10 peacekeepers in 2017.

She stated that any restriction, stipulation, condition and limitation with direct bearing on implementing a mandate or the Force Commander’s ability to employ forces, as “caveats”, should be avoided.  It is important to assess mission performance as a whole, not only that of contingents, requiring a systemic approach.  A contingent cannot be blamed for lacking the appropriate equipment, she noted, if the United Nations does not include it in the Statement of Unit Requirements, or if it is inadequately trained because the modules provided are not updated or mission-specific.  While some difficulties may hamper contingents from carrying out their mandates, she said “as we often declare, peacekeeping is a collective responsibility”.

MOHAMMAD K. KOBA (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, noted that member States contribute about 5,000 peacekeepers in missions worldwide.  He emphasized the need for clear, focused and achievable mandates devised by the Security Council in close consultation with troop- and police-contributing countries, host States and regional organizations.  It is important to address the persistent gap between those leading the mandate process and those contributing troops, police and financial resources.  ASEAN supports closer collaboration between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, which play an important role at the strategic and operational levels.

“We cannot continue demanding more from missions while giving less,” he said, stressing that United Nations peacekeeping must be supported with adequate resources and calling on Member States to make financial obligations in full, on time and without conditions.  Similarly, he noted regret that the recent meeting of the Working Group on Contingent-Owned Equipment failed to reach consensus on the reimbursement rate.  He expressed support for greater participation of women, increasing their representation in professional posts and leadership positions at Headquarters and in missions.

SILVIO GONZATO, European Union, said that United Nations peacekeeping operations are a critical factor in upholding a level of peace and stability in some of the world’s most complex violent conflicts.  The conflicts that the United Nations is asked to tackle have changed profoundly, as has the concept of peacekeeping.  The duties of the parties to the Committee are to guide the way towards needed changes and to promote more effective peacekeeping in a rapidly changing environment.  In 2019, no agreement was reached on a final Committee report.  This year starts with a blank page, which enables parties to focus on the most pertinent issues.

The European Union welcomes the decision to structure the Committee’s report in accordance with the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative, he said.  Strengthening peacekeeping also means strengthening leadership and accountability.  Performance can and should be measured at all levels of peacekeeping.  It also strongly supports the development of clear measurements of performance for assessing and evaluating all United Nations personnel, as well as benchmarks to measure mission performance.  Relevant and appropriate training is also essential to improved performance, mission success and the safety of peacekeepers.  The Union is also deeply committed to advancing the women, peace and security agenda and all efforts aimed at increasing the number and participation of women as well as gender perspectives in all aspects of peacebuilding and peacekeeping.

MARK JENNINGS (Australia), speaking also for Canada and New Zealand, said the Special Committee must keep pace with the ever more complex and dangerous operating environments of peacekeeping missions.  Recognizing the collaborative approach taken by delegates in 2019, he welcomed agreement on a new report structure for the Committee.  Aligning the Committee’s work with the Action for Peacekeeping initiative maintains momentum on implementing the reform agenda and demonstrates a commitment to a report that provides more actionable advice to address key challenges and gaps.

Highlighting key priorities, he noted the importance of effective partnerships.  Recalling the Committee’s field trip in December that for the first time included participation from all regions of the world, he said such inclusion added value for all involved.  Partnerships also play a key role in improving operational effectiveness, with the United Nations using new models to deliver stronger capabilities in the field through multinational rotation schemes and co-deployments, among other things.  Increasing women’s participation is also essential, and actors must implement lessons learned and address barriers in national institutions to achieve gender parity.  Despite progress in how performance data is collected, analysed and reported, gaps must be narrowed to improve operations.  Operational failures or serious underperformance, particularly in protecting civilians, must swiftly be assessed and action taken to address shortcomings in the field and at Headquarters.

NÉSTOR POPOLIZIO (Peru) said that in recent decades there have been several processes of change within the international system that have brought with them more complex peace and security needs.  As a result, the United Nations has had to rethink how it organizes its peacekeeping operations.  The Secretary-General’s reforms grant greater emphasis on coordination between the General Assembly and the Security Council and determining more efficient use of human and logistical resources.  The Action for Peacekeeping initiative is an important approach to increase the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations.  It is fundamental to ensure the adoption of measures that will increase the efficiency of missions to ensure they are tailored to each environment.  Such measures could include the use of advanced technology and the construction of military rapid response units, as well as establishing plans for the deployment and evacuation of troops.  It is time to build better relationships between troops and local communities in order to build a bond of trust.

SYED AKBARUDDIN (India), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that over the years, United Nations peacekeeping has kept pace with the complexity of challenges in a changing global environment while adhering to its core principles.  The Committee has a unique role in assessing these challenges and recommending appropriate measures to update the tools used to keep the peace.  The Action for Peacekeeping initiative is the commonly agreed template to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of peacekeeping within the contours of shared understandings.  There are areas of the initiative that require effective follow-up and implantation, such as the inclusion of all stakeholders and all phases of peacekeeping operations in the performance-based accountability mechanism, as well as the development of a common culture of peacekeeping and the enhanced participation of women.

DOMINIQUE MICHEL FAVRE (Switzerland) said conflict prevention and the promotion of sustainable peace must be at the core of all United Nations activities, including peace operations.  The new structure that gives a more central role to the Peacebuilding Support Office and thus to prevention is a significant step in this direction.  He encouraged the Secretariat to strengthen joint analysis and planning between peace operations and the United Nations country teams.  Stressing the need for measures to support effective performance and accountability, he said training is essential.  He went on to emphasize the need to implement measures to achieve a better representation of women in peace operations, also welcoming the publication of the updated policy on protection of civilians in United Nations peacekeeping last November.

The representative of Ireland, associating himself with the European Union, said that his country is Europe’s largest contributor of peacekeepers per capita, with an unbroken record of over 60 years of service.  He looks forward to a report that will focus on actions and on reforms that are fully aligned with the Action for Peacekeeping initiative.  As the negotiation process begins, it is important to remember that the Committee’s work is about ensuring a peacekeeping system that is accountable, that performs and that protects its citizens in the fullest possible way.  Full understanding of the protection of civilians’ mandate in peacekeeping is essential.  The Department of Peace Operations’ recent gap analysis on the implementation of the Action for Peacekeeping initiative highlights how further predeployment training on the protection of civilian mandate is needed.  He also welcomed efforts to strengthen the partnership with the African Union and recognized the significant potential for the African Union to play a stronger role in mediation, conflict prevention and resolution and peacebuilding.  Ireland is also a strong supporter of the women, peace and security agenda and the efforts being put in place by the Secretariat to advance the number of female peacekeepers at every level, he said.

RICARDO DE SOUZA MONTEIRO (Brazil), as a founding member of the Special Committee, is ready to continue working to ensure that it remains the main body discussing all aspects of peacekeeping.  The Action for Peacekeeping initiative has produced some promising results, but there is much more work to be done on all of its fronts, including the safety and security of peacekeepers.  Fatalities by violent acts against blue helmets dropped significantly in 2018 but this downward trend slightly reversed in 2019.  “We must redouble our investments to proper training, adequate equipment and medical and logistic support with a view to addressing capacity gaps that undermine a mission’s ability to fulfil its mandate,” he said.  Brazil stands out as an important provider of predeployment training and in-mission training in various areas, including jungle warfare training and demining, and engineering equipment maintenance.  Brazil will continue to work closely with the Secretariat as well as with Japan, Kenya and Switzerland in the triangular partnership project, which successfully trained African military contingents on the management of engineering projects.

SUPARK PRONGTHURA (Thailand) said proper qualities, discipline and conduct of all peacekeeping personnel are crucial for their effectiveness in fulfilling their mandates.  For peace to take root and grow in strength, it needs concomitant efforts in sustaining peace, peacebuilding and development to ensure well-being of the locals as well maintaining and promoting their political, social and economic rights.  “Peacekeeping operations should be an enabler of the entire peace process,” he said, stressing that mandates must be commensurate with resources available.

ALEJANDRO GUILLERMO VERDIER (Argentina) reaffirmed his country’s ongoing commitments to peacekeeping operations as well as its support for a transparent and efficient peacekeeping system.  Peacekeeping must be part of a holistic strategy that includes the prevention of conflicts and the building of a lasting peace, as well as tackling the root causes of conflicts.  Peacekeeping mandates must be adapted to the specific contexts of each operation.  There is a tendency to demand better performances from missions in increasingly risky contexts while seeking to freeze or reduce their resources.  It is important to promote and protect human rights and gender equality and he supports these components in peacekeeping operations.  Argentina believes in the full implementation of the women in peacekeeping agenda and is committed to the zero-tolerance policy of the Organization on abuse.  With complex negotiations ahead, he trusts that the session will approve by consensus a report within the established timeframe.

CHERITH NORMAN-CHALET (United States) said that while the Security Council retains primacy on all matters related to international peace and security, her delegation recognizes the value of the consensus-based Special Committee and its report.  The United States will engage constructively and transparently in an effort to adopt a report by consensus.  While missions are becoming more effective and efficient, more remains to be done to keep peacekeepers safe, to better protect civilians and to lay the political groundwork for peacekeeping missions to eventually transition and close.  Her country worked over the past three years to promote a culture of accountability for performance within United Nations peacekeeping, she said, drawing attention to Security Council resolution 2436 (2018), which calls for timely, transparent reporting to the 15-member organ when there are performance failures.  Since 2005, the United States has committed nearly $1.5 billion in peacekeeping capacity-building assistance.

MOHAMED FATHI AHMED EDREES (Egypt), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the implementation of shared commitments is still selective and slow.  The results of the Committee’s 2019 session were disappointing, as a consensus report could not be reached and opportunity to build on the Action for Peacekeeping initiative was lost.  Turning to the meetings of the Working Group on Contingent-Owned Equipment, he regretted that the rent on the equipment could not be increased to reflect the market value.  This defective situation, where the troop-contributing countries are shouldering the largest financial and humanitarian burden, must be addressed immediately.  He hoped that they could learn from past lessons.  A new structure for the Committee’s report has been proposed that would be aligned with the eight pillars of the Action for Peacekeeping initiative.  All stakeholders must be involved to implement the commitments agreed upon.

XOLISA MFUNDISO MABHONGO (South Africa) said that since its inception, United Nations peacekeeping operations have had successes and challenges.  The Committee helps ensure that peacekeeping missions are assessed and also helps them evolve in a sometimes-unpredictable peace and security environment.  Among the challenges that is being faced is that the operations are less resourced in relation to their mandated tasks.  Most missions, especially in Africa, are expected to do more with less resources.  This endangers the lives of peacekeepers.  This is a key challenge that needs to be addressed if the integrity of peacekeeping operations is to be maintained in the future.  It is important that each mission has its own unique set of indicators to avoid the one-size-fits-all approach to different operations with diverse mandates.  His country is fully committed to a zero-tolerance policy in peacekeeping operations.  The safety and security of peacekeepers remains a cardinal concern.  Widely available technology can make huge strides in ensuring the safety of United Nations personnel and assets, he said.

DAVID CLAY (United Kingdom) said that as a troop contributor, a major peacekeeping budget contributor and a training partner, his country attaches great importance to the work of the Committee.  It is a landmark year for the Committee.  It has been working to implement the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping agenda for almost two years.  The United Kingdom welcomed the consensus reached in 2019’s intersessional to try out a new Committee report structure, aligned with the Action for Peacekeeping agenda and focusing on closing the gaps on implementation.  A collective challenge now is to refine the wealth of concrete, actionable proposals put forward by the Committee’s membership into a concise, focused report.  The United Kingdom’s pledge of 250 military personnel to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was made in response to specific capability requirements.  They will form a Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrol Task Group, providing improved situational awareness and information.

Mr. SIMATUPANG (Indonesia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that his country deploys about 3,000 personnel in eight peacekeeping missions.  The pursuit of political solutions to conflicts should guide the work of United Nations peacekeeping.  Peacekeeping operations provide an enabling environment for peace processes to take shape.  Continued consultation between the Security Council and troop- and police-contributing countries, host counties and regional organizations is essential throughout all states of peacekeeping.  It is unrealistic to expect peacekeepers to do more with less.  Adequate budget should be allocated to peacekeeping, including for reimbursing personnel and equipment as well as for training and capacity-building activities.  In 2020, Indonesia, in cooperation with Japan and the United Nations Secretariat, will host a triangular partnership project on engineering.

TAREQ MD ARIFUL ISLAM (Bangladesh) stressed the human-centred approach to peacekeeping by his country’s late Prime Minister, welcoming that the Action for Peacekeeping initiative is on track.  He said his delegation was pleased that the structure of the Committee’s report has been aligned with the Action for Peacekeeping initiative.  Peacekeepers perform multiple tasks with diminishing resources, he said, calling for adequate funding.  He went on to express regret that the Committee failed to overcome differences in 2019, hoping for reaching consensus during this session on its final report.  He also stressed the importance of triangular cooperation among the Security Council, troop- and police-contributing countries and the United Nations.  Bangladesh co-chairs, with Italy, the Group of Friends for reducing environmental footprint in the field.

CARLOS AMORÍN (Uruguay) said that the new session will be quite special, as in the 2019 session the Committee could not achieve a consensus regarding its report.  However, members showed a willingness to consider new ways of tackling their tasks.  A new structure for the final report, based on thematic areas on Action for Peacekeeping initiatives and an updated programme for the work, will make it possible to be more efficient in the use of time available for negotiations.  This will contribute to improving peacekeeping operations.  For the success of the work, it is important to work to achieve consensus among members, he said.  It is the strength of the Committee to be able to speak with one voice.  It has a shared vision and expresses that on basic principles underpinning peacekeeping operations.  He warned that restrictions or national caveats, especially the undeclared ones, have a negative impact on peacekeeping staff and the protection of civilians.  Solutions need to be found to design a procedure that is clear and transparent to deal with restrictions and national caveats.

YAARB AHMED NASER AL-TEMEMY (Iraq), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, emphasized the importance of peacekeeping, which is a collective responsibility based on partnerships.  Peacekeeping is achieved by adopting a common vision for society while addressing the root causes of conflict and fostering socioeconomic development.  The United Nations was founded to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.  Peacekeeping is one of the tools to achieve that objective.  The responsibility of United Nations peacekeeping has gone beyond its mandates to include peacemaking and peacebuilding.  There is a need to adopt a mandate by considering the needs of the host country with respect for that State’s sovereignty.  Field visits would be helpful for assessments on the ground as peacekeeping adapts to new challenges.  Peacekeeping must be equipped with adequate funding, he said, noting that Iraq paid its peacekeeping dues in full and on time.

RENÉ ALFONSO RUIDÍAZ PÉREZ (Chile) said that peacekeeping operations are perhaps the most visible part of the United Nations work.  Adapting capacity and infrastructure with regard to needs on the ground and the use of resources should be flexible and effective, in keeping with the reform process and the Action for Peacekeeping initiative.  This will enable the United Nations to focus on the most vulnerable people.  Chile supports the initiatives on zero-tolerance and gender parity.  He recognized the needs of civilians and military personnel on the ground, as well as the moral imperative to give them the tools they need to fulfil their mandates.  Only in this manner can peacekeeping operations fulfil their role.  It continues to be vital to look at the key link between security and development as a means of achieving sustainable peace.  He reiterated his country’s commitment to the coming work of the Committee with a view to maintaining consistency between the words and actions of the Organization.

Mr. GANGA (Ethiopia) said that peace operations over the past 74 years have evolved to become one of the most visible activities of the United Nations.  Peacekeeping has been an indispensable instrument for managing conflict and protecting civilians affected by conflict.  Increasingly, in the absence of functioning State institutions, blue helmets are facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance and basic public services.  Current United Nations peacekeeping missions are facing unprecedented challenges.  “Targeted attacks against peacekeepers and indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians have become the norm rather than an exception,” he noted, underscoring that peacekeepers are operating in volatile environments caused by an emergence of new threats, including those resulting from transnational crimes.  It is important that United Nations peacekeeping continues to evolve to keep pace in a dynamic global security environment, he said.

ODD INGE KVALHEIM (Norway) expressed support for strengthening peacekeeping as a vital conflict management tool and looking for innovative solutions to make it more effective.  Pointing out that Norway’s rotational concepts for MINUSMA transport aircraft and specialized police teams are models for force generation and deployment, he said keeping the Organization’s operations relevant hinges on the Committee agreeing on proposals for implementing the 2018 Declaration of Shared Commitments on United Nations Peacekeeping.  In this vein, Norway supports the priority given to advancing political solutions to conflict and the development of clearer and more realistic civilian-protection mandates.  To further protect peacekeepers, Member States must ensure that all deployed personnel are trained and equipped for first aid and other eventualities, he said, welcoming progress in enhancing United Nations medical standards.  Highlighting other action areas, he said Norway is an active supporter of the comprehensive performance assessment system because understanding why a United Nations mission fails or succeeds is essential.  Recognizing the crucial role of the rule of law in sustaining peace, he said funding must continue to implement the strategic guidance framework for international police peacekeeping, including ongoing efforts in Mali and South Sudan.  United Nations partnerships with regional organizations are key to advancing political solutions, he said.  Pledging support for the Secretary-General’s gender parity strategy, he said it is vital to increase the number of female peacekeepers at Headquarters and in the field.

YURII KRAVETS (Ukraine) said the United Nations remains the only global organization that has the unique capabilities and potential to take effective measures to prevent and stop conflicts, including the Russian Federation’s aggression against his country.  The Action for Peacekeeping initiative concerns strategic force generation, including aviation units.  Of equal importance are the tasks of developing advanced intelligence, introducing mission-wide use of modern technologies, reducing the operations’ footprint on the environment, ensuring proper training for personnel, strengthening their safety, and eradicating sexual exploitation and abuse.  Achieving these goals will require a new quality of peacekeeping.  It is evident that the United Nations should continue to build and enhance its strategic partnerships with regional organizations.  His delegation sees potential in establishing more close interaction with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

OMAR CASTAÑEDA SOLARES (Guatemala), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the Committee is the only United Nations forum with a mandate to review all issues related to peacekeeping, and as such its conclusions should be taken into account by the main bodies and funds of the Organization.  The performance of peacekeeping operations should be measured relative to operative and political realities, as well as to the priorities set forth in the implementation of the mandate and resources.  “Budgets follow mandates; mandates do not follow budgets,” he said.  He urged the Secretariat to evaluate all cases for the performance of all actors in peacekeeping.  He expressed concern over cases of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations staff and others and underscored strengthening measures to address this problem.  Prevention and accountability are key so that Member States can demonstrate commitment to the “zero-tolerance” policy.  Regarding mandates of peacekeeping missions with peacebuilding components, the Security Council can better leverage the consultative role of the Peacebuilding Commission.

GHANSHYAM BHANDARI (Nepal), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, called on the United Nations Secretariat to put in place a credible withdrawal plan for the peacekeepers deployed in an asymmetric threat environment when their safety and security at stake.  Noting that his country hosts a world-class peacekeeping training centre in the region, he said it offers services to enhance the professional capability of both emerging and established troop- and police-contributing countries.  Nepal is committed to increasing the number of female peacekeepers.  It has already met the United Nations targets in this regard.  Nepal firmly believes in balanced, fair and equitable opportunities for troop- and police-contributing countries to serve in senior positions.

Mr. RUIDIAZ PEREZ (Cuba), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said peacekeeping requires the full respect and preservation of the principles of impartiality, consent of the parties and non-use of force, except in cases of self-defence.  Any conduct that deviates from these principles is against international law.  He said the General Assembly has a primary role in the development of concepts, policies, doctrines, strategies and budgetary matters, underscoring that the Committee is the only United Nations forum mandated to extensively analyse the issue of peacekeeping operations in all its aspects.  Regarding the use of drones, the use of new technologies can complement the work of troops in the field but not replace it.

DANG DINH QUY (Viet Nam) said United Nations peacekeeping has proven to be an essential instrument in the maintenance of international peace and security.  Every effort by peacekeeping missions in assisting national Governments in sustaining peace must respect the principles of sovereignty, political independence and non-intervention in the internal affairs of host States.  Regarding training and capacity-building, it is the women and men on the ground that determine the success of peacekeeping missions.  They can only do so if they work with discipline, professional skills and full dedication.  Under the United Nations Triangular Partnership Project, the Organization has appointed Viet Nam as the host to one of the four international training centres in South-East Asia for training international peacekeepers.  Viet Nam is proud that all 176 Vietnamese women and men deployed in the Central Africa Republic and South Sudan have met United Nations standards and requirements.  More financial resources and efforts should be spent on training and capacity-building.

MOHAMMAD AAMIR KHAN (Pakistan) stated that despite a clear mandate to discuss peacekeeping, the Committee did not achieve consensus in its 2019 session.  Noting that a misplaced focus on cutting costs does not achieve results, he said a robust mission must have a clear set of priorities and be well-equipped with material and human resources, as needs should drive peacekeeping, not a narrow focus on costs.  Performance assessments must be data based, and efforts must aim for a zero-caveat environment.  He expressed disappointment on a lack of agreement on costs to 33 troop-contributing countries, which produce 80 per cent of those resources.  There is a need to emplace fair mechanisms for true and fair reimbursements.  “Providing less but expecting more is not a workable model for any enterprise,” he said.  He noted female peacekeepers from Pakistan had recently been recognized for their efforts.

MESTIYAGE DON UDAYAKANTHA VIJENDRALAL GUNATHILLEKA (Sri Lanka), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the increase in the targeting of the lives of United Nations staff and peacekeepers remains a concern.  Sri Lanka has had soldiers that have laid down their lives in peacekeeping missions and it will continue to contribute troops as a demonstration of its commitment to international peace and security.  To achieve durable and sustainable peace internationally, there must be greater cooperation and coordination between the United Nations peacebuilding architecture, its peacekeeping operations and respective Member States.  In this context, this must be Member State led.  In view of the political, economic and social exigencies of contemporary peacekeeping, the Committee is of pivotal importance as the body mandated by the General Assembly to provide guidance on all peacekeeping issues.  It is therefore crucial that this forum is proactive rather than reactive.  Peacekeeping is a shared responsibility that requires clear and actionable mandates, consistent political engagement, sufficient resources and durable consent from all parties to a conflict.

For information media. Not an official record.