Opening of annual session of Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations

Opening statement on behalf of H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at opening of the annual session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations

16 February 2016


Mr. [Deputy] Secretary General, Excellencies, distinguished delegates, President Lykketoft would have liked to join you at your meeting today but unfortunately other commitments meant that this was not possible.

While he will find an opportunity to address this Special Committee at a later stage during this session, he asked me to deliver the following remarks on his behalf.


Excellencies, distinguished delegates, it is a pleasure to address the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations as you begin your important work this session.

Firstly, I want to congratulate Ambassador Ogwu on her election. I wish you all the best and success for this new session.

This session follows on from the very timely and indeed very necessary initiative from the Secretary-General to launch a review of peace operations.

As you are all aware, the report from the high-level independent panel on peace operations and the Secretary General’s implementation report made a number of concrete recommendations.

A General Assembly Resolution, conveying the commitment of the membership to assess those recommendations in accordance with established procedures, was adopted in November.

This session will be crucial to consider the different peacekeeping dimensions of the Peace Operations review in more detail and to assess its practical implications.

Ladies and gentlemen, while peace operations have contributed greatly to peace and security in our world these past 70 years, it is crucial that the UN’s approach keeps pace with and responds to evolving challenges and new threats.

The continued escalation of violence in many parts of the world, particularly in Syria, and the magnitude of the global humanitarian crisis, illustrate in the most tragic way the consequences of a lack of international unity and effective action from the UN.

The spread of violent extremism, the proliferation of all sorts of weapons, asymmetric warfare and new threats including those in cyber space and epidemics like Ebola, demonstrate also that threats to global peace and security are indeed changing all the time.

In this ever more complex and interconnected world, UN peace operations require consistent refinement, using adequate analytical and operational capabilities and leveraging new technology to boost impact.

Special attention needs to be given, for example, to effective preventive diplomacy, political settlements, comprehensive approaches and greater flexibility in addressing budgetary and management issues.

The peace operations review – but also the 10-year review of the peacebuilding architecture as well as the global study on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security –  were all inspired by the same sense of urgency and by the need to strengthen the UN’s role, capacity and efficiency in this area.

For this reason, I will hold a high-level thematic debate on the 10th and 11th of May to provide member states and others with a platform to identify common themes and synergies from these reviews and to enhance the coherence in the UN system on the issues of peace and security.

The C34 will have completed its important work on the peacekeeping dimensions of the peace operations review by then. I hope that it will pave the way for a more focused debate on that occasion. For this to happen, it is crucial that all delegations demonstrate political commitment to ensuring consensus on the recommendations emanating from the C34.

Ladies and gentlemen, this year brings a unique opportunity to reshape peace operations in the future. I wish you all successful negotiations and I urge all members to work together to use this opportunity to the full and make future UN peace operations more efficient and effective and more capable of responding to threats in today’s complex world.

Thank you.