– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly

15 February 2021

Distinguished delegates,

It is a pleasure to address the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations as you begin your important work this session.

I congratulate my predecessor Ambassador Muhammad-Bande on his election as Chair of the Committee and all the members of the Bureau for their re-election. I wish the Bureau great success in discharging its duties during this session.

Peacekeeping operations are central to this organization and to multilateralism as a whole. We cannot fulfil the peace and security mandate of this Organization, set out in the UN Charter, without well trained, well equipped and well supported peacekeeping forces. Peacekeepers not only save lives, but, in a tangible example of the three interlinked and mutually reinforcing pillars of the United Nations, peacekeepers support human rights and the conditions for sustainable development, while upholding peace and security.

In filling such an important role, these brave women and men put themselves at risk for the well-being of others. The safety and security of all peacekeepers remains of paramount importance and is closely linked with improving the performance and accountability of peacekeeping.

I wish to pay tribute to the brave women and men in Blue Helmets who are out there today, protecting the lives of so many, and to those who have lost their lives while serving in the field. I reiterate my deepest gratitude for their service.

I would also like to thank the Troop and Police Contributing Countries for committing military, police and civilian personnel to UN peace operations and to Member States for other important in-kind and smart pledges that support our joint peacekeeping endeavours. Your efforts and support enable the UN and the multilateral system to deliver on critical issues of peace and security.

It is crucial that the UN’s approach keeps pace with, and responds to, evolving challenges and new threats and opportunities. In this ever more complex and interconnected world, UN peace operations require constant refinement, drawing on analytical and operational capabilities, while leveraging new technology to increase their impact.

Volkan Bozkir

President of the UN General Assembly

Excellencies, dear colleagues,

The COVID-19 pandemic has added additional challenges to already complex peacekeeping operations. I welcome the steps United Nations Peacekeeping has taken to adapt its daily operations to include mitigation measures against the spread of COVID-19, to help protect peacekeepers and local communities while maintaining operational continuity. I also welcome the discussions on vaccinations of uniformed personnel that are underway. Peace operations are also supporting government-led efforts to both prevent and prepare for COVID-19 outbreaks at the country level.

Amidst these daunting challenges, it is essential that we provide peacekeeping operations with clearly defined mandates and realizable objectives, adequate resources based on a realistic assessment of the situation on the ground, as well as secure financing.

I fully support the Women, Peace and Security agenda in all its aspects, including greater gender parity within peace operations and enhancing the participation of women in political processes. Gender equality in peacekeeping not only is a goal in itself. It enhances the operational effectiveness of each mission.

It is crucial that the UN’s approach keeps pace with, and responds to, evolving challenges and new threats and opportunities. In this ever more complex and interconnected world, UN peace operations require constant refinement, drawing on analytical and operational capabilities, while leveraging new technology to increase their impact.

In this regard, the work of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations is critical. I encourage you to ensure the “comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects” delivers concrete guidance to strengthen the Organization’s ability to deliver on mission mandates.

I also note the upcoming Peacekeeping Ministerial in Seoul, Korea to be held in the later part of this year, which will serve as an opportunity for member countries to reaffirm and expand their commitment to peacekeeping.

I call on all delegations to demonstrate the good will, flexibility and political commitment required to ensure meaningful consensus on the basis of the newly adopted revised structure of the annual report, which complements the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping Initiative. 

I wish you all success in your deliberations. My Office and I stand ready to support you.

And thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to address you at this very important meeting. And I congratulate Ambassador Muhammad-Bande once again for being Chair of this wonderful committee. Thank you very much.