Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, on the occasion of the handover of the report of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, in New York today:
Today marks an important moment for the United Nations. Some 15 years ago, Lakhdar Brahimi was asked to chart a course for peace operations to ensure they could perform effectively in the face of complex and difficult challenges. Mr. Brahimi and his Panel delivered an invaluable contribution to our progress. In the decade-and-a-half since then, we made significant advances for UN peace operations. But, dramatic changes during this time raised critical new questions.
Our peace operations now face formidable challenges as the nature of conflict changes and violent extremism spreads. Many of these operations have had to deploy into environments where there is little peace to keep. They are given ambitious mandates to protect civilians in the midst of ongoing conflict. That is why I decided to urgently carry out a fresh review of peace operations — to look at how the United Nations and its missions must adapt to respond to the rapidly evolving challenges facing humanity today.
The Independent Panel I appointed, led by Mr. [José] Ramos-Horta and Ms. [Ameerah] Haq, rose to this very complex task. I have followed the work of the Panel closely over the last several months. I was especially impressed by how the Panel engaged in an open, consultative process, including meetings with the Security Council, several General Assembly committees and others.
I am also impressed by the Panel’s in-depth consultations with regional organizations, Member States and civil society. I appreciate the Panel members’ extensive travel to reach these stakeholders. The Panel’s work has already paid dividends. Member States, civil society and other partners have expressed to me satisfaction that their hopes and concerns are being heard.
I sincerely thank Mr. Ramos-Horta for his leadership. He chaired lively, productive discussions and built consensus on a wide range of issues. And he helped to convey the collective analysis and wisdom of the Panel’s eminent members. I thank Bela Kapur and her team in the Panel’s secretariat for their hard work and dedicated service. I thank each Panel member for their contributions.
I will study the recommendations of the report carefully and transmit it to the General Assembly and the Security Council. I look forward to working closely with the Member States and other key partners as we review the report and carry out its valuable proposals. I intend to take this report forward with the same spirit of inclusiveness and consultation that the Panel drew on to produce it. We will be leading the implementation phase from my office, with the close participation of all the key departments. My instruction to them will be to carry on the spirit the Panel employed, to be bold and to see the task as nothing less than preparing the United Nations to rise to the challenges of the future.
This year, the United Nations commemorates our seventieth anniversary with a meaningful look ahead at how, as an organization, we can better serve the world’s people. The Panel’s work is an integral part of this process. We will strive to make the most of the report’s recommendations, and to link them strategically with the other ambitious reform processes under way on gender, peacebuilding and development. I intend to ensure that the Member States understand this important opportunity — and I will do everything possible to enable them to seize it.