|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General, at China Peacekeeping Centre, Tells of Intensifying
‘Asymmetric Threats’, Other New Challenges Facing ‘Blue Helmets’
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks as prepared for delivery at the China Peacekeeping Military Training Centre in Beijing on 19 June:
I have seen the bravery of Chinese blue helmets helping struggling communities around the world. China provides more peacekeepers to the United Nations than all of the four other permanent members combined. I applaud this solidarity. A total of 14 Chinese have lost their lives in the service of peacekeeping. We will carry on their legacy by pursuing their noble work for peace.
Today I would like to discuss three major challenges in peacekeeping. The first challenge we face is to support complex political processes and protect civilians in high-risk environments characterized by asymmetric threats. These asymmetric threats are not new to the United Nations, but they are more intense.
While our United Nations mission does not have a counter-terrorism mandate, the use of suicide bombs, improvised explosive devices and other tactics of irregular warfare threaten security. It will not be easy for MINUSMA [United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali] to carry out core civilian tasks. We are taking steps to mitigate the risks. We are also working closely with the French-led operation in Mali that is undertaking counter-terrorism operations.
The second major challenge concerns ensuring that peacekeepers are trained and equipped to address new threats and operate in increasingly difficult environments. We need specialized skills and enablers, such as engineering units and field hospitals. I am deeply grateful for China’s support in these important areas, particularly China’s most recent pledge to our operation in Mali.
We must also improve our peacekeepers’ capacity to react rapidly. They should be able to gather and analyse accurate information. For the first time, we are deploying an unarmed, unmanned aerial system in the Democratic Republic of the Congo so our peacekeepers will have real-time, first-hand information on conditions in remote areas where combatants may threaten civilians.
Peacekeeping’s third challenge is to maintain the commitment and unity of its constituencies. Successful peacekeeping demands sustained political and material support from the Security Council, from countries that contribute troops and police personnel and from those who contribute funds to our operations. I am committed to strengthening the partnership among these different actors.
United Nations peacekeepers face new mandates and challenges that require the use of force. We all recognize that force alone cannot solve today’s complex challenges to peace and security. The Force Intervention Brigade in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is meant to reinforce a strong political framework.
The new operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Mali do not mark a doctrinal shift away from the core principles of peacekeeping. Rather than a “revolution”, we are seeing a possible “evolution” in United Nations peacekeeping which must adapt to new threats of our time. I welcome China’s strong and growing operational and political engagement with peacekeeping.
There will be tests in the coming months. The United Nations will do its best to rise to the challenges we face. I look forward to an even stronger partnership with China for peace.
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