Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message, delivered by Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, to the twelfth Meeting of Heads of United Nations Police Components, in New York today:
I am pleased to greet the twelfth United Nations Police Week. Let me extend a special welcome to Commissioner [Luis] Carrilho as the new Police Adviser.
I witnessed the vital work of United Nations Police during my recent visit to the Central African Republic.
You have saved countless lives, protected civilians, promoted human rights and helped heal divisions between communities and the police that serve them. You support the United Nations across the peace continuum — from prevention and conflict resolution to police reform and peacekeeping operations. You are also crucial to transitions from peacekeeping to peacebuilding and development, facilitating exit strategies and building capacity in rule of law among host Governments.
In this way, you form a bridge between pillars. Through my reforms, I am seeking a more joined-up, cross-pillar approach to improve what has for too long been a fragmented and siloed way of working. Your role will continue to be central.
We must also do more to eliminate sexual exploitation and abuse by our personnel. I count on you to exercise leadership over your components and ensure that these crimes are not tolerated under the United Nations flag.
It is also critical to increase the number of women in United Nations police, including in positions of leadership. I have committed to reaching parity at the senior leadership level within the Organization by 2021, and across the Organization well before 2030. These efforts extend to our uniformed personnel and I call upon you to empower qualified and well-trained women to command positions in your components.
I also ask you as senior leaders to ensure a working environment that promotes gender equality. This is of course essential for its own sake. But is also clear that a more diverse workplace will make us more effective and efficient.
I am proud of the progress achieved by United Nations police, including the tremendous contribution of Commissioner [Stefan] Feller over the past four and a half years. As you return to your mission areas, I ask you to convey my message of appreciation to the 12,000 officers serving under the United Nations flag.