Personnel Safety, Recruitment of Women Top Debate, Russian Federation Queries Link between Human Rights, Civilian Protection Issues
The Security Council underscored the importance of peacekeeping as one of the most effective tools available to the United Nations in the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security.
Taking up United Nations peacekeeping operations under the theme “Investing in Peace: Improving Safety and Performance of UN Peacekeepers”, the Council issued a presidential statement read out by Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, whose country holds the Council presidency for May.
According to presidential statement S/PRST/2019/4, the Council recognized the vital role played by peacekeepers, and reaffirmed the basic principles of peacekeeping, including consent of the parties, impartiality and non-use of force except in self-defence or defence of the mandate.
Further by the statement, the Council welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts to mobilize all partners and stakeholders in support of more effective United Nations peacekeeping through his Action for Peacekeeping initiative and recognizes the added value that the Declaration of Shared Commitments on Peacekeeping Operations has in relation to training and capacity-building. The Council also welcomed the United Nations Peacekeeping Ministerial, the United Nations Chiefs of Defence Conference and the United Nations Chiefs of Police Summit to strengthen support for peacekeeping operations.
During the ensuing day-long open debate, more than 60 delegates highlighted a range of developments, including a trend towards cutting peacekeeping budgets to the detriment of desired performance, emerging threats such as improvised explosive devices and targeted attacks against peacekeepers, and how best to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse.
“Improving performance is at the heart of our collective effort,” Secretary-General António Guterres said, outlining how the Organization is rolling out training exercises to advance the Action Plan to Improve the Security of United Nations Peacekeepers. Among its goals are preventing sexual exploitation, strengthening medical and engineering training and increasing the number of women in peacekeeping operations, including by developing a talent pipeline for senior female military officers.
To enhance these efforts, he said, it is essential that Member States provide support through funding, training programmes, mobile training teams and the translation of training materials into the six official United Nations languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Citing training gaps in such critical areas as weapons handling, first aid, human rights and protection, he urged Member States to consider providing increased funding and trainers, as well as contributing in-kind equipment so as to ensure the long-term sustainability of partnerships and initiatives.
He also highlighted programmes already making an impact in five high-risk missions: the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
Lieutenant General Elias Rodrigues Martins Filho, Force Commander of MONUSCO, elaborated on some of those activities, highlighting the Mission’s complex mandate and the innovative ways in which it has matured and adapted since inception in handling the changing situation on the ground. Emphasizing that the focus of MONUSCO’s analysis, planning and operations since 2018 has entailed a comprehensive approach incorporating the views, priorities and expertise of all concerned personnel, he said the main priority remains changing the mindset of all peacekeepers, civilians, military and police, who must comprehend the environment and evolving challenges, with civilian protection as the core mandate.
Mission-specific and in-mission training remains essential to fostering further performance improvements, he continued, citing the deployment of “jungle warfare experts” in the Beni territory, the stress testing of various contingency situations, enhancing female engagement and strengthening command-and-control arrangements through regular field visits. Challenges persist, however, he said, noting that evacuation initiatives remain a challenge due to infrastructure limitations. In addition, communication with locals and the international community must be improved, he stressed, noting that MONUSCO achievements are not widely known, including its rescue of 6,000 children from armed groups.
Björn Holmberg, Director of the Challenges Forum International Secretariat, urged cooperation between the United Nations and Member States to develop an interactive archive of different complex and challenging scenarios confronted by peacekeepers in the field, for use in regular and generic training exercises. The United Nations Secretariat and field missions can also identify and share examples of peacekeepers performing exceptionally in the field, for use in training exercises, he added.
He underlined the importance of the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations in deploying women to such operational and outward-facing roles as female engagement and female investigative teams, as well as in combat roles to broaden the spectrum of deployment. Police- and troop-contributing countries should be encouraged to increase the deployment of women in the field, he said, adding that in all these considerations, it is crucial that all parties “keep walking the talk, convert words into action, and turn Action for Peacekeeping commitments into real results on the ground”.
With the debate open, many delegates expressed grave concern, with Germany’s representative emphasizing the need to prioritize the safety and security of the 100,000 peacekeepers in the field. Delegates also called attention to targeted attacks against peacekeepers, armed children and the need for peacekeepers to communicate in local languages.
Many speakers agreed that adequate training in these and other key areas, including gender issues and how to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse, is essential for missions to succeed in fully discharging their mandates. Some stressed that pre-deployment and in-mission training must give all peacekeeping personnel effective tools to handle emerging and evolving challenges effectively.
However, the Russian Federation’s representative emphasized that his delegation cannot support the linking of human rights issues with the protection of civilians since human rights cannot be monitored through the use of force. The effectiveness and security of missions do not depend only on training, but also on how the Council formulates its peacekeeping mandates, he said. Tasks must be commensurate with capacity, he added, cautioning that the right to use force increases the danger to the “blue helmets”, whereas their task is to reduce risk, not increase it.
Raising a different concern, the Dominican Republic’s representative said that providing humanitarian assistance in safe spaces depends largely on effective partnerships with aid actors and peacekeeping operations, which requires increasing the skills of military personnel in terms of delivering aid.
The need to foster strong partnerships was a recurring theme, with Equatorial Guinea’s representative saying that the Action for Peacekeeping initiative strengthens international peacekeeping missions because of its focus on collective efforts. Further actions are needed, however, in accordance with the Declaration of Shared Commitments. For instance, the African Union must be endowed with the necessary resources to fulfil its responsibility under Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, he said. As such, troops undertaking African Union missions must be provided with adequate training and equipment, with a view to fully silencing the guns in Africa by 2020.
China’s representative said the international community must enhance the African Union’s role in peacekeeping on the continent. As a major troop-contributing country with 2,500 peacekeepers deployed in eight task areas – including demining, transportation and security – China’s personnel are well trained, well equipped and disciplined, he said, adding that his country’s Government has provided more than $100 million in resources to the African Union. Since 2016, China has established a fund supporting more than 10 African projects intended to build peacekeeping capacity, he added.
Also delivering statements today were representatives of Côte d’Ivoire, Kuwait, United Kingdom, Poland, South Africa, Peru, Belgium, France, United States, Ukraine, Uruguay, Canada, Italy, India, Brazil, Japan, Pakistan, Estonia, Norway (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Israel, Fiji, Argentina, El Salvador, Slovakia, Jordan, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Sudan, Guatemala, Morocco, Venezuela, Romania, Thailand (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Portugal, Djibouti, Egypt, Ireland, Netherlands, Ethiopia, Viet Nam, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Cambodia, Australia, Bangladesh, Senegal and the Philippines.
Others delivering statements included the Head of the European Union delegation and the Permanent Observer for the African Union.
Beginning at 10:08 a.m., the meeting ended at 4:31 p.m.
ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said peacekeepers are deployed to increasingly complex and often hostile environments, with training preparing them for vital tasks and improving their performance. Training reduces fatalities, making it a necessary and strategic investment, he said, noting that the General Assembly confirmed the responsibility of Member States for the pre-deployment training of uniformed personnel, with the Secretariat helping to establish training standards and providing training materials. The Organization has introduced a range of activities to advance the Action Plan to Improve the Security of United Nations Peacekeepers, he said, noting that they include the roll-out of a comprehensive training plan.
He went on to state that support, assessment visits, casualty evacuation training, stress testing and crisis management exercises cover the five high-risk missions: the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Strengthening medical training is another key component, he said, adding that efforts are under way to address the threat of improvised explosive devices and other dangers. There is also a renewed emphasis on in-mission training and on developing mobile training teams, he noted, encouraging Member States to deploy them.
A framework for assessing performance standards and leadership training initiatives have also been established, he continued. There are also efforts to increase the number of women in peacekeeping operations, including by developing a talent pipeline for senior female military officers. To enhance these efforts, he emphasized, it is essential that Member States provide support through funding, training programmes, mobile training teams and the translation of training materials into the six official United Nations languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Strengthening conduct and discipline is another key priority, he said, stressing that the Organization is helping police- and troop-contributing countries to improve pre-deployment training on the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse by making core training materials available and deploying mobile teams upon request by those States.
He went on to state that a collective commitment to better train and equip peacekeepers led to effective triangular partnerships with Member States, resulting in the training of 330 uniformed engineers and 2,700 other uniformed personnel. Following the success of engineering training efforts in Kenya, the United Nations will launch a course for field medic assistants in Uganda in 2019, and engineering training in Indonesia and Viet Nam in 2020. Yet, despite progress, much remains to be done, he emphasized, highlighting training gaps in such critical areas as weapons handling, first aid, human rights and protection. To ensure the long-term sustainability of triangular and other partnerships and initiatives, Member States should consider providing increased funding and trainers, as well as contributing in-kind equipment. Underlining the importance of receiving more nominations of women to take part in training, he commended States sponsoring 50-50 male-female officer courses, asking more countries to do so. “Improving performance is at the heart of our collective effort,” he said.
ELIAS RODRIGUES MARTINS FILHO, Lieutenant General and Force Commander of MONUSCO, outlined the Mission’s complex mandate and the innovative ways in which it has matured and adapted since inception in handling the changing situation on the ground. The main priority remains changing the mindset of all peacekeepers, civilians, military and police, who must comprehend the environment and evolving challenges, with civilian protection as the core mandate. Emphasizing that there is no pure military solution to the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he said the solution is political and involves all components of the Mission.
As such, the focus of MONUSCO’s analysis, planning and operations since 2018 has entailed a comprehensive approach incorporating the views, priorities and expertise of all concerned personnel, he continued. Noting that prevention does not generate headlines, he emphasized that efforts to communicate with both locals and the international community must improve. He went on to express regret that MONUSCO’s successes are not widely known, saying they include the Mission’s rescue of more than 6,000 children from different armed groups over the last three years. Among the Mission’s other achievements are the very effective implementation of the concept of protection through projection, he said, noting that it prevented an increasing number of attacks against villages and, in 2019, forced the surrender of more than 5,000 members of armed groups.
Training is an essential for the desired performance of peacekeepers and must be mission-specific, he reiterated, providing a snapshot of Mission activities, from deploying a team of “jungle warfare experts” in the Beni territory to providing manuals and training exercises. In terms of building capacity, he said regular evaluations are shared with the Secretariat, adding that stress testing of various contingency situations is practised at Headquarters and in the field. An analysis of existing security mechanisms for military observers has been completed with a view to suggesting deliberate guidelines for implementation, he said.
While evacuation initiatives remain a challenge for MONUSCO due to infrastructure limitations, the Mission has implemented them where possible, he said. Meanwhile, command-and-control arrangements have been strengthened through regular field visits and MONUSCO implemented new air threat and risk assessment standards, as well as various measures for enhancing female engagement. The Mission is committed to fulfilling its mandate through innovation and professionalism, he said, describing the troops deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as being proactive and demonstrating the willingness to overcome challenges and difficulties.
BJÖRN HOLMBERG, Director, Challenges Forum International Secretariat, said today’s meeting aims to share both that partnership’s recommendations from the 2018 Annual Forum hosted by the Folke Bernadotte Academy and the Swedish Armed Forces in 2018, and those of the Challenges Forum’s updated guidance for leaders of peacekeeping operations. To strengthen safety, security and performance, the United Nations Secretariat should cooperate with Member States to develop an interactive archive of different complex and challenging scenarios confronted by peacekeepers in the field, for use in regular and generic training exercises, he said. In addition to learning from mistakes, it is also important to build on good safety, security and performance practices. Based on risk premium award processes, the Secretariat and field missions can identify and share examples of peacekeepers performing exceptionally in the field, for use in training exercises.
He went on to emphasize the importance of the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations in deploying women in such operational and outward-facing roles as female engagement teams and female investigation teams, as well as in combat roles to broaden the spectrum of deployment. Police- and troop-contributing countries should also be encouraged to increase deployment of women in the field. He stressed the importance of clearly communicating information on different training gaps and needs so as to help Member States concentrate their support. All uniformed personnel should have completed the Basic and Advanced Security in the Field online training, he said. As for mission leadership, it is a key condition for security, he said, adding that training in team-based leadership should be strengthened by applying modern management tools and approaches.
Pre-deployment training should be enhanced through in-mission scenario-based exercises for senior and middle-management teams, he continued, noting its particular importance for civilian leaders, who usually have less exposure than uniformed personnel. Training together builds cohesion, increases preparedness and effectiveness, and helps in managing mission security. It is important to ensure the sustainability of the initiative to provide mentors for women and men serving as senior mission leaders, and to expand it, he said, emphasizing that mentors can play an important role in helping them cope with and manage difficult considerations. In all these considerations, it is crucial that all parties “keep walking the talk, convert words into action, and turn Action for Peacekeeping commitments into real results on the ground”, he said.
RETNO L.P. MARSUDI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia and President of the Security Council for May, spoke in her national capacity, noting that for decades, the “blue helmets” have been a distinct model of global partnership, collective leadership and shared responsibility for peace. However, amid today’s new political and security realities, the challenges facing peacekeepers are enormous, she said, adding that the changing nature of conflict, lack of commitment to political solutions, inadequate preparation of troops and the involvement of transnational actors all impact the safety and performance of peacekeepers. Emphasizing the importance of bearing in mind that peacekeepers are the face of the Security Council on the ground and protect millions around the globe, she said that as conflicts evolve, support for peacekeepers must keep pace with the challenges at hand. A mission-specific approach is critical and community engagement crucial, she added, also underlining that investing in women equals investing in peace.
TIEMOKO MORIKO (Côte d’Ivoire) said that although the basic doctrine of peacekeeping persists, increasingly complex situations on the ground are ever-changing, raising new challenges that the international community must address through innovative solutions. Collective efforts among all peacekeeping partners are essential, he said, adding that the roles played by all stakeholders must dovetail into a coordinated approach. Training must focus on mastery over equipment, combat strategy and evacuations so as to allow peacekeepers to cope with various scenarios, including targeted attacks against mission personnel, he said, adding that the role of women must also be considered. Enriched by its own experience of hosting a peacekeeping mission, Côte d’Ivoire will deploy a contingent to MINUSMA, he said. Emphasizing that the success of peacekeeping operations hinges on the actions of all partners, he expressed support for the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative and Declaration of Shared Commitments.
JOSÉ SINGER WEISINGER (Dominican Republic) said that providing humanitarian assistance in safe spaces depends largely on effective partnerships with aid actors and peacekeeping operations, which requires increasing the skills of military personnel in terms of delivering aid. Targeted attacks against peacekeepers demand measures to safeguard mission personnel, who should receive adequate training in this regard, he said. Tangible measures are needed to improve training and build capacity, including by sharing mechanisms among the Secretariat, Member States and the Security Council; maintaining constant assessment of peacekeeping personnel; and undertaking collective and proactive analysis of the main threats on the ground preventing missions from fulfilling their mandates. Peacekeeping personnel must receive effective training, including on gender issues, he reiterated. A child protection component must be part of every United Nations peacekeeping mandate, he emphasized, citing his country’s contributions to peacekeeping missions, including those in Kosovo and Mali.
BADER ABDULLAH N.M. ALMUNAYEKH (Kuwait) said the Declaration of Shared Commitments reflects a collective drive to strengthen the capacity of peacekeeping operations. Emphasizing that all stakeholders must play an active role in shaping mandates, he said the latter must be based on the needs of a host country’s citizens, including the requirement of language skills for peacekeepers, and the right of host States to select troops in a way that makes it possible to implement mandates in full. Kuwait remains grateful for the role that women play, he said, commending their contributions to peacebuilding and peacekeeping.
KAREN PIERCE (United Kingdom) said that the better trained the peacekeepers, the better prepared they will be to perform to the highest standards. Emphasizing that Member States must protect the safety and security of peacekeepers and help them to meet the challenges of complex multidimensional mission environments, she said the Government of the United Kingdom recognizes that it bears the responsibility of training its own uniformed personnel, or it will fail both them and the civilians they are charged to protect. Member States who fail in that area should be held to account, she said, urging the Secretariat to provide the Council with regular reports on transparency and accountability. The United Kingdom has worked to support Viet Nam’s preparation of its peacekeepers, she said, stressing that the men, women and children under protection must be able to trust in the effectiveness of the blue helmets operating in United Nations peacekeeping initiatives.
CHRISTOPH HEUSGEN (Germany) noted that his country is the fourth-largest financial contributor to peacekeeping and has peacekeepers deployed in nine separate missions. The Government of Germany conducted its first military observer course for female peacekeepers in 2018, he said, adding that his country will send mobile training teams for pre-deployment training, and supports training centres in Ghana and Mali, among other countries. Echoing the statement that investing in women equals investing in peace, he pointed out that they remain underrepresented in missions, emphasizing that mission effectiveness is strengthened by their increased presence. “Work on this begins at home,” he added. With 100,000 peacekeepers in the field, their safety and security must be prioritized, he said, noting that peacekeepers on the ground need more adequate information. The international community must improve training on preventing sexual and gender-based violence in conflict, he said, stressing that peacekeeping must be embedded in political strategy. There was a political solution to conflict in Côte d’Ivoire, but not in South Sudan, he pointed out.
JOANNA WRONECKA (Poland) said that as one of the first endorsers of the Declaration of Shared Commitments, her country perceives the document as a clear road map for all relevant stakeholders to continuously enhance United Nations peacekeeping missions. Poland believes strongly in tailor-made pre-deployment training and adequately adjusted equipment for troop and police units, he said. Poland supports collective action to improve United Nations peacekeeping, including through triangular partnerships, she said, stressing that effective and efficient performance culture in peacekeeping missions requires the sharing of information capabilities. Information- and data-driven analysis is a key entry point to enhanced peacekeeping, she said, noting that better situational awareness, including country-specific information from local communities, improves planning and allows the identification of clear and achievable benchmarks.
ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea) said that investing in stable and lasting peace requires social and institutional transformation and decisive action. This entails guaranteeing the rights of citizens and building relations among social, public and private stakeholders on the basis of trust and transparency. Peacekeeping is the responsibility of each nation and success requires cooperation among the United Nations, Member States and regional organizations, he emphasized. Peacebuilding must be seen as transcending the end of a war and must include efforts to tackle learned prejudice and promote a change in mindsets to ensure that violence and force are not the tools with which to pursue peace. Specialized, high-performance skills must help peacekeeping personnel to meet ever-changing needs and tackle new challenges, he said, citing the need for rapid deployment and training units fluent in the languages of host communities. The Action for Peacekeeping initiative strengthens international peacekeeping missions because of its focus on collective efforts, yet further actions are needed, in accordance with the Declaration of Shared Commitments, he said. For instance, the African Union must be endowed with the necessary resources to fulfil its responsibility under Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, he said. As such, troops undertaking African Union missions must be provided with adequate training and equipment, with a view to fully silencing the guns in Africa by 2020.
DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) said the issue of training for complex mandates in dangerous conditions cannot be resolved by the United Nations alone, and responsibility also falls upon Member States. The Russian Federation has men and women serving in eight peacekeeping missions and provides aviation services for the United Nations, he said, adding that it is also training foreign peacekeepers. Modern realities and needs must determine what kind of peacekeepers are required, taking the needs of troop-contributing countries into account. He emphasized that the effectiveness and security of missions are not dependent merely on training, but also on how the Council formulates its peacekeeping mandate. Tasks must be commensurate with capacity, he added, cautioning that the right to use force, among other things, increases the danger to blue helmets, whereas their task is to reduce risk, not increase it. He went on to underline that the Russian Federation cannot support the linking of human rights issues with the protection of civilians since human rights cannot be monitored through the use of force. All specific peacekeeping initiatives must be developed on a basis of consensus and mutual respect, he said.
MARTHINUS VAN SHALKWYK (South Africa) said the Security Council must ensure that peacekeeping operations are fully resourced, entrusted with the appropriate mandate to respond to the context-specific environments in which they are deployed and adequately equipped with troops that are able to protect themselves when carrying out their mandates. The safety and security of peacekeepers must be strengthened by adopting the use of modern technology in peacekeeping operations, he said, urging the United Nations also to adopt the use of smart technology and heighten key capabilities so as to enable peacekeepers to counter attacks by armed groups and other forms of increasingly prevalent asymmetrical threats to peacekeeping. With regard to training and capacity to increase the number of women in peacekeeping operations, South Africa will continue supporting efforts to advance women’s meaningful representation and participation in peacekeeping missions, he said.
LUIS UGARELLI (Peru), emphasizing the need to analyse the multiple challenges facing peacekeeping operations in increasingly hostile environments, offered a number of suggestions, including that the Security Council provide clear guidance to missions. Expressing concern about attacks against peacekeepers, he said specialized training must be provided to all personnel so they can safely and fully discharge their mandates. States must provide specialized mission-specific training in areas outlined in clearly drafted, realistic mandates, and in such tasks as civilian protection, human rights activities, disarmament strategies and demining work. Capacity and integration projects in host communities must be built on mutual trust, he said, stressing also that personnel must undertake gender-related training to highlight the important role that women play. In Latin America, the Peace Operations Training Institute (ALCOPAZ) continues to strengthen its links and capacities in various areas, he said, calling for partnerships and cooperation agreements involving civil society and relevant institutions in order to promote the efforts of peacekeeping operations.
MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium) expressed support for the Secretariat’s training activities, including the provision of updated materials in the languages of the country of deployment. Training and preparation in the theatre of peace operations must then allow personnel effectively to fulfil their mandated tasks, including mobile training teams, he said, adding that Belgium has provided MONUSCO with several such units to address emergency first aid. Appropriate training on handling children involved in armed conflicts is also of critical importance, he emphasized. Unfortunately, interacting with an armed child is a reality on the ground because armed groups continue to arm children. As such, peacekeepers must be made aware, through effective training, of how to deal with such situations and how to protect children, he said, adding that Belgium will continue to support a broad range of training activities.
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) stressed that blue helmets must be well trained, well equipped and fully aware of their mandate, noting that adequate equipment in Mali would have avoided a number of peacekeeper deaths. Many theatres require better training of general staff and greater inter-operability between them, he said, emphasizing in particular the importance training at the leadership level. He said that his country systematically consults troop-contributing countries throughout the year, prioritizing mandates wherever possible and supporting six contingents in Africa, three in Latin America and one in Asia, he said. France is also committed to training 30,000 African military personnel in 2020 for deployment in peacekeeping operations. He went on to stress the crucial importance of multilingualism, saying it not only lies at the heart of United Nations DNA, but also at the heart of effective peacekeeping. Underlining the importance of women’s participation, he said France has the world’s fourth-highest female military participation.
MA ZHAOXU (China) said shared commitments improve peacekeeping. Citing the importance of building the capacity of troop-contributing countries, he said the international community must pay attention to enhancing capacity-building efforts in developing countries, both in terms of training and resources. Stressing the importance of actively building bilateral, regional and international partnerships, he said the international community must enhance the role of the African Union in peacekeeping on the continent. As a major troop-contributing country with 2,500 peacekeepers deployed in eight task areas – including demining, transportation and security – China’s personnel are well trained, well equipped and disciplined, he said, adding that his country is also helping troop-contributing countries in the developing world by holding international workshops and sending trainers abroad. As a result, they have helped to train more than 1,800 peacekeepers, he said, adding that the Government has provided over $100 million in resources to the African Union. Since 2016, a Chinese fund has supported more than 10 African projects to build peacekeeping capacity, he added.
JONATHAN R. COHEN (United States) said qualified police and troops can better protect civilians, and effective training can prepare them to better respond to situations on the ground. As the world’s largest bilateral training provider, the efforts of the United States are working, including in providing troops to the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and other peacekeeping operations of the Organization. Moreover, long-term partnerships help police- and troop-contributing countries, he said. Turning to gender issues, he said more than 11,000 female military and civilian personnel have participated in training programmes and gender-related topics have been integrated into general training materials. Having qualified women in critical roles has a positive effect on peacekeeping operations, he said, adding more broadly that better reporting on peacekeeping will help the Council to make better decisions.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA (Ukraine), associating himself with the European Union, expressed his full support for the Secretary-General’s efforts to implement a robust, comprehensive United Nations reform agenda within the Action for Peacekeeping initiative. There are certainly palpable results achieved in the implementation of the September 2019 Declaration of Shared Commitments on United Nations peacekeeping operations, which Ukraine also joined. Ukrainian blue helmets have been participating in United Nations operations throughout the world. In many cases they have been instrumental in achieving peace, from the Balkans to Liberia. His country’s involvement in peacekeeping did not halt even at the height of the ongoing armed aggression against it, he said, noting that Ukraine itself still awaits action from the Security Council on peacekeeping operation deployment to the occupied territory in the Ukrainian Donbas.
LUIS HOMERO BERMÚDEZ ÁLVAREZ (Uruguay) highlighted that, over several decades, his country has deployed more than 45,000 peacekeepers to more than 20 operations worldwide and is the top troop contributor in the region. Underscoring that enhanced training and capacity-building is needed at a time of increasingly complex security realities, he observed that many missions are multidimensional, with a variety of tasks - from strengthening institutions to protecting civilians. Any kind of deficiency in training and equipment can negatively affect mission performance and increase safety risks for all. General Assembly and Security Council resolutions and action plans emphasize the key importance of ensuring the kind of training that makes a positive difference on the ground. Expressing concerns about a trend to reduce peacekeeping budgets, he said such actions could negatively impact critical activities such as civilian protection. For its part, Uruguay recently hosted an international conference which, among other things, offered training and capacity-building in civilian protection. Mindful of the critical role women play in peacekeeping, he emphasized that a gender-related component is part of broader efforts.
MARC-ANDRÉ BLANCHARD (Canada) said training needs to be specialized, context-specific and, where possible, scenario-based. It should also be carried out before deployment and in theatre as needed. Summarizing Canada’s contributions, he said it has provided $20 million in the past three years for United Nations training and professional development needs. It has also partnered with institutions such as the Ecole de maintien de la paix Alloune Blondin Beye de Bamako to deliver essential training to peacekeepers. He underlined the importance of expanding training opportunities for women assigned to peacekeeping missions, as well as the need to build language skills, particularly among blue helmets deployed in francophone countries.
MARIA ANGELA ZAPPIA (Italy) stressed that training plays a critical role in guaranteeing the high-level of effectiveness, efficiency and performance required by the blue helmets. Yet, training and capacity-building activities are more than one-off initiatives; they are essential tools to enhance operational effectiveness through the life cycle of a mission. As such, they should be calibrated to specific missions and involve a steady dialogue among the Secretariat and police- and troop-contributing countries. As the first provider of blue helmets in the Group of Western States and one of the most generous contributors to the peacekeeping budget, Italy’s military training centres have provided specialized activities to tens of thousands of uniformed personnel from 118 countries and 17 international organizations, covering a range of topics. Training also plays an important role in increasing women’s participation in peacekeeping operations, she said, pointing out that a new set of courses covering the gender perspective are now being offered.
SYED AKBARUDDIN (India) said peacekeeping today is a vaguely defined no-man’s-land between trying to keep peace in fragile environments and enforce the maintenance of peace where there is none. Noting his country’s long tradition in peacekeeping, he said the Secretariat must realistically assess the contingents being deployed, with troop competencies being a critical requirement. However, troop-contributing countries must adhere to training plans so that key mission tasks do not rely on “learning on the job”. Capacity-building and training benchmarks relating to preventing sexual exploitation and abuse, conduct and discipline, and environmental standards are key ingredients. In that regard, India has commenced funding of the United Nations Pipeline to Peacekeeping Command Programme. Mobile training teams and training of trainers also represent an innovative effort to assist new troop-contributing countries, sharing United Nations experience with minimal financial implications. He pointed to Indian partnerships with other Member States in capacity-building, with a recent successful co-deployment initiative with Kazakhstan in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). His Government recently concluded a field training exercise in peacekeeping with 18 African countries and will engage in more. “The more peacekeepers sweat in times of peace, the less they bleed in situations of conflict,” he pointed out.
MAURO VIEIRA (Brazil) said that the recent attacks against blue helmets demonstrate the continued need to ensure troops have proper training and equipment, as well as the necessary logistical support to implement missions’ mandates and guarantee their safety and security. That goal requires a comprehensive and integrated approach, comprising of political will, financial support, realistic mandates, adequate equipment, cooperation from regional actors, peacebuilding activities and tailored training. When it comes to training, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It is essential to strengthen the existing mechanisms to assess the concrete needs of each mission so that training efforts can factor in specific challenges. Towards that end, the Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System is becoming an important tool to address the capacity gaps of missions.
KORO BESSHO (Japan), recalling that over the past five years his country has supported capacity-building for peacekeepers from 45 countries, said the training and capacity-building needs of troop- and police-contributing countries and field missions should be addressed through partnerships. The Triangular Partnership Project launched by the Secretariat in 2014 can be applied to the development of any type of capabilities, in addition to addressing a wide spectrum of training needs. He also suggested establishing an effective mechanism to rapidly scale up critical expertise to a huge number of personnel in a short period of time.
MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan) said that her country’s participation in United Nations peacekeeping is the most tangible demonstration of its commitment to the Organization and a practical way of reaffirming its abiding faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. Pakistan is also host to one of the earliest peacekeeping missions, namely the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). This mission continues to play an invaluable role in a volatile and fraught environment. Conflicts today are becoming more complex, prolonged and lethal, posting new challenges for peacekeepers. Pre-deployment training of peacekeepers is the key to success in the field. Best practices and real experience must be incorporated into manuals and shared with key players. The drafting of peacekeeping mission mandates should be a phased process to allow for consultation with relevant troop- and police-contributing countries, she said.
GERT AUVÄÄRT (Estonia), aligning himself with the European Union, underscored the importance of better-prepared troops. Pre-deployment training based on consolidated standards is vital to meet the increasing expectations of the United Nations, he said, also voicing support for more realistic, robust and tailored mandates for peacekeeping operations. Because peacekeeping operations are the most visible representatives of the Organization, directly working with communities every day, it is imperative to increase the number of female peacekeepers. In that regard, Estonia has increased training opportunities for women in its armed forces, he said.
MONA JUUL (Norway), also speaking for Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden, said that the Nordic countries are involved in a wide range of training courses that are vital to the effective implementation of peacekeeping mandates. These courses are open to all Member States, thus allowing for a wide range of valuable perspectives to be brought into discussions. The Nordic countries are also supporting the review and updating of United Nations police training architecture, in line with the Strategic Guidance Framework for International Police Peacekeeping.
Expressing her support for the emphasis on innovative approaches to make training more effective, she spotlighted the in-mission training carried out by the Nordic Mobile Training Team in Mali as an example. During five weeks in Timbuktu, a team from Finland and Sweden trained more than 400 soldiers and officers from Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt and Liberia. The training focused on strategies to cope with the demanding security environment in the mission area, including counter-attack tactics, medical first aid, escorting and patrolling. If the safety, security and performance of peacekeepers is to be improved, training should focus on crisis management. This includes casualty evacuation and medical evacuation. Training should also focus on the protection of civilians. Situational awareness is vital, as is good conduct and a gender-sensitive approach, she said.
NOA FURMAN (Israel) said that, because of her country’s commitment to sharing its state-of-the-art medical expertise and enhancing the medical training of troop- and police-contributing countries, it has been working with the United Nations to develop a first aid manual for peacekeepers. It also provided one of the Organization’s first “super trainers”, who has taught master trainer courses for troop- and police-contributing countries in Italy and Ireland. In addition, Israel is working with the United Nations to develop a curriculum for field medic guidance and training. However, because of her country’s involvement, she noted that there are significant differences in the level of preparedness of troop- and police-contributing countries. The United Nations should provide guidance and oversight to ensure that standards and training materials reflect operational requirements.
The representative of Fiji said that over 15,000 peacekeepers from Fiji have participated in more than 50 United Nations missions - from Timor-Leste to South Sudan. However, his country has also paid a heavy price, having also lost 60 peacekeepers. Peacekeeping casualties are a reminder of the importance of training and capacity-building, especially as conflicts have become more complex, varied, regional and international. Missions have evolved over the years from overseer and peacekeeper to stabilization and multidimensional enforcement tasks, and the United Nations and its peacekeepers are being asked to do more and more. However, of all the work the Organization does, peacekeeping is the most important. It needs to be well supported, and that support must be consistent and predictable. When the Organization does peacekeeping well, it saves lives, promotes sustainable development and demonstrates progress across the Sustainable Development Goals as well, he said.
MARTÍN GARCÍA MORITÁN (Argentina) noted that thousands of military personnel and civilians from Argentina and elsewhere have passed through its national peacekeeper training centre since its inception 23 years ago. Returning peacekeepers are debriefed to share lessons learned, while cross-training is given on such subjects as sexual exploitation and abuse, international humanitarian law and the Sustainable Development Goals. Noting that the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) is discussing the next peacekeeping budget, he warned against further cuts to posts and programmes in such areas as development, human rights and gender. Fresh cuts will undermine the capacity of missions to protect vulnerable populations, he said, adding that the deployment of women peacekeepers can lead to “a huge step change” in communications between missions and local communities.
RUBÉN ARMANDO ESCALANTE HASBÚN (El Salvador) observed that the debate is being held in a context of major challenges. His country is currently committed to eight missions, ensuring that it fulfils the specific mandate of each mission and complies with the performance standards of the United Nations and the codes of conduct agreed upon by Member States. Peacekeepers should be provided with the best capacity available so that they have the necessary tools to be professional, capable and effective, while sustaining peace over the long term. It is important to comply with the objective of protecting civilians, with a special stress on protecting the most vulnerable. El Salvador is making huge efforts to train through its peacekeeper training operations centre, he said.
JOÃO PEDRO VALE DE ALMEIDA, Head of Delegation of the European Union, highlighted the importance of political solutions to conflicts and addressing root causes and drivers of conflict. In addition, priority should be given to prevention. That is a central component of the European Union Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy that drives efforts to strengthen the European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy, structures and instruments. It is also in line with the Secretary-General’s determination to place prevention at the centre of the United Nations peace and security efforts. Only an integrated approach can lead to truly sustaining peace and, in that respect, the quality of the training and the overall performance of the peacekeepers are of paramount importance.
The European Union and its member States have been leading efforts over the last few years to ensure the safety and security of United Nations personnel, he said, adding he welcomed United Nations initiatives to better integrate modern technology and peacekeeping intelligence capabilities into peace operations. By helping to improve the situational awareness of troops and police in real time, this will contribute to the implementation of missions’ mandates, the protection of civilians and the security of personnel, including humanitarian actors. However, technology alone cannot be the solution. Instead, a coherent combination of modern technology with relevant methods at the disposal of well prepared and trained staff is imperative, he said.
MICHAL MLYNÁR (Slovakia), associating himself with the European Union, said that as a troop-contributing country, Slovakia has developed a demanding national training system that emphasizes mission specifics, rules of engagement and situational awareness. In addition, women are an integral part of training teams. He welcomed the recently launched comprehensive performance assessment system in selected United Nations missions, including in the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), where Slovakia has its largest contingent. Timely, systematic and inclusive communication among all stakeholders is the key to successful force generation, he emphasized.
SIMA SAMI I. BAHOUS (Jordan) said that peacekeeping is an important tool that allows the United Nations to carry out its mission, including maintaining international peace and security. For decades, Jordan has participated in United Nations peacekeeping operations around the world, contributing more than 100,000 personnel, she said, adding that there was never a second thought about participating, despite the difficult and dangerous environments. Her country also attaches special importance to the efforts of the Secretary-General to reform and reconfigure the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Jordan is among the first nations to support the Action for Peacekeeping initiative, she recalled.
LUIS GALLEGOS CHIRIBOGA (Ecuador) said pre-deployment training is key to eradicating sexual exploitation and abuse. Stakeholders must work together to ensure the effective and responsible deployment of peacekeepers. The new peace and security architecture, which is supported by most States, is aiming to assess the performance of peacekeeping operations. He went on to emphasize Ecuador’s commitment to increasing the number of women observers deployed in United Nations operations.
KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan) said States have a moral responsibility to provide an adequate level of training, preparedness and equipment. He emphasized the need to invest in training in such areas as equipment sustainability and strategic planning. As well, there should be training for civilian components, increased deployment of women and bilateral and multilateral cooperation to address the lack of adequate technology in peacekeeping missions. He went on to invite Member States and others to participate in a United Nations symposium on technology for peacekeeping to be held in his country on 28-31 May.
HUSNI MUSTAFA YAGOUB HUSNI (Sudan), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that partnerships between the United Nations and regional organizations, including the African Union, is pivotal to enhancing the capacity and training of the peacekeepers, not only for the United Nations peace operations but also for the African Union-led peace operations. Streamlining training and capacity-building in Africa is imperative to maintain inclusivity by equally covering the African subregions, enhancing the participation of women and supporting the agenda of silencing the guns in Africa by 2020. Consideration of the culture, values and traditions of the host nations is crucial in capacity-building and training of peacekeepers to make them fit for purpose, he said.
JUAN ANTONIO BENARD ESTRADA (Guatemala) said that troop- and police-contributing countries are committed to deploying well-equipped and uniformed personnel. Training and discipline before, during and after deployment is essential. The Secretariat has published training guides on the protection of civilians. However, there is a lack of elements in place to ensure that the training is effectively delivered to all military and police staff on the ground. The Secretariat bears the primary responsibility for developing, implementing and validating the standards involved in delivering training for peacekeeping operations. He highlighted the importance of translating the training materials into the official languages of the United Nations.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco) said primary responsibility to provide quality training in line with United Nations standards lies with troop-contributing countries. Well-trained troops can better defend themselves and their mandates. However, performance cannot be linked to them alone. Training is but one factor among many and must be properly managed, with countries that require training matched with those that can provide it. As well, women must be able to benefit from all the training they need. Recalling that Morocco has been a troop-contributing country since the 1960s, he said it will shortly be hosting medical and engineering training for the benefit of French-speaking countries.
SAMUEL MONCADA (Venezuela), noting that the 10 largest troop-contributing countries are members of the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated that peacekeeping must be carried out in strict compliance with the United Nations Charter, the principle of national sovereignty and territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of States. Peacekeeping operations must be accompanied by participatory political processes based on national ownership. The performance of peacekeeping missions needs to be looked at comprehensively, not just from a troop perspective, he stressed. As well, the deployment of more women at all levels would send an important signal to host counties about gender equality.
ION JINGA (Romania) noted that since 1991, when the first Romanian military peacekeepers were deployed in the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM), more than 12,500 Romanian military, police and close protection personnel served under the blue flag in 25 United Nations missions all over the world. Before deployment, Romanian peacekeepers follow a special training course focused on communication in both English or French and first aid, among other skills. More than 240 francophone officers from 28 States in Europe, Africa and Asia have also participated in training courses for foreign officers. In addition, the Romanian Protection and Guard service is the only service in the world providing close protection units of 12 officers that ensure the protection of high-level United Nations officials.
VITAVAS SRIVIHOK (Thailand), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, emphasized the importance of regional and subregional collaboration in training and capacity efforts to enhance missions’ peacekeeping competencies. Towards that end, the ASEAN Defense Ministerial Meeting Plus Experts’ Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations meets annually to discuss key challenges faced in peacekeeping and to share ideas on how member States can strengthen mandate implementation in the field.
Ensuring peacekeepers meet United Nations standards before and during deployment is everyone’s priority, he stressed. All peacekeeping stakeholders share the responsibility to ensure realistic mission mandates, adequate resourcing, effective training and efficient administration for the success of peacekeeping missions. Every stakeholder has its share of responsibility to ensure the safety of peacekeepers while undertaking their duties. The most direct and effective way is to ensure training competency and adequate equipment for the demands of the mission. Speaking in his national capacity, he noted that his country is organizing a regional training course on children and armed conflict.
NUNO VAULTIER MATHIAS (Portugal), aligning himself with the European Union, called the last 10 years of United Nations peacekeeping “particularly tragic” with an exceedingly high number of fatalities. Noting the recent efforts by the Organization and Member States to improve safety and reduce that number, he called for continued work to achieve a zero-fatality rate. As Portugal is a police- and troop-contributing country, training is a top priority. He also pointed to the role of female Portuguese troops in MINUSCA performing combat roles in a very volatile security environment. His Government is working with the Department of Peace Operations on the possibility of organizing 50/50 gender parity training courses. He also spotlighted how participation in MINUSMA with Belgium, Denmark and Norway is an example of cooperation among Member States.
MOHAMED SIAD DOUALEH (Djibouti) said training for peacekeepers is a strategic investment. The United Nations and the international community must promote greater coherence and cooperation in conflict prevention, particularly on the continent, with more real-time consultation with the African Union and subregional organizations to provide decision-makers with coherent operations. It is also crucial that French-speaking troop-contributing countries be provided with more information. In that regard, his country will host a seminar in June to raise awareness among francophone States about the contributions they can make, including through the deployment of women.
MOHAMED FATHI AHMED EDREES (Egypt) highlighted the correlation between providing training and capacity-building. However, political aspects should also be recognized, as peacekeeping is a tool to support the political solution of conflict. Training and capacity-building of troops in the absence of clearly defined mandates, verifiable tasks and adequate resources cannot achieve the wanted results. Hence, it is important to have a comprehensive approach when addressing the subject of performance and the safety of peacekeepers, he said.
GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland) said that her country recently hosted personnel from fellow troop-contributing countries for a training course on the protection of civilians. As Co-Chair of the United Nations Military Intelligence Working Group, Ireland is helping build a better intelligence picture of peacekeeping environments. Her Government is also partnering with the United Nations Mine Action Service to train personnel in dealing with improvised explosive devices and anti-personnel mines. Noting the participation of women in peacekeeping impacts both the mission and the local population, she said her country is working to increase the numbers of women at every level of operations. Quoting Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, she said “in Ireland we are as proud of the blue helmets as we are of the harp or the shamrock”.
LISE GREGOIRE VAN HAAREN (Netherlands), associating herself with the European Union, said that in addressing training and capacity-building challenges, Member States and the Secretariat must stay focused on implementing the Declaration of Shared Commitments under the Action for Peace initiative. Emphasizing that coordination is key for strengthening missions and improving the security of peacekeepers, she encouraged the Secretariat to proactively identify training needs and meet those needs with pledging countries. The Netherlands provides training, often alongside other Member States, in a wide variety of areas, including intelligence, protection of civilians, policing and gender. It also supports United Nations mobile training teams.
TAYE ATSKESELASSIE AMDE (Ethiopia) underscoring that training and equipment determine performance, emphasized that realistic mandates and sufficient resources are critical if missions are to be successful. The Council, troop- and police-contributing countries and the Secretariat must work together to create the conditions needed for well-trained and properly equipped personnel. Mandates and resource requirements must be balanced if missions are to achieve their aims. Peacekeeping operations must be provided with adequate financial and human resources, he said, recalling his country’s experience. Gaps in capacity and capability are major impediments to creating “fit for purpose” peacekeeping operations.
DANG DINH QUY (Viet Nam), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, spotlighted his country’s endorsement of the Declaration of Shared Commitments, adding that it is ready to provide well-trained and well-equipped personnel. Pre-deployment preparation of personnel is crucial to their safety, security and effective performance. This preparation must include adequate awareness pertinent to the deployment environment. The Core Pre-deployment Training Materials are extremely useful and should continue to be updated by the United Nations, with the assistance of relevant countries, as well as regional and international organizations.
CHO TAE-YUL (Republic of Korea) said that training programmes should be designed based on a thorough and in-depth analysis of both the mandate and the local context where the mission is operating. The analysis could include the host country’s priorities, threats to the safety of peacekeepers, overall capability of mission, composition and capacity of troop- and police-contributing countries and the command-and-control of the mission. It is critical to strengthen the capacity of the Secretariat for data collection and analysis, as well as planning and review. The Security Council can also engage with relevant stakeholders for this purpose. In addition, the Secretariat and Member States should ensure that all personnel are properly trained and equipped. Some troop- and police-contributing countries may face limited resources and it is a collective responsibility to provide them with the necessary support, he said.
MOHD SUHAIMI AHMAD TAJUDDIN (Malaysia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, said that because United Nations personnel are often deployed in volatile and perilous locations, they must be equipped with the right attitude, strong survival skills and unquestionable competency in order to be effective. This is important due to the more comprehensive peacekeeping mandates that include protecting civilians, addressing sexual violence and overcoming challenges to human rights. A common module of training prior to deployment is vital for the safety and security of peacekeepers. In addition, women peacekeepers play a vital role in the success of a mission. To demonstrate Malaysian women’s active support in United Nations efforts at maintaining peace and security, Malaysia currently has four female military observers from the rank of captain to lieutenant captain. It has also consistently deployed 40 female peacekeepers in its battalion in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
AMRIT BAHADUR RAI (Nepal), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, called on the Secretariat to deploy mobile support teams that can provide training on mission-specific mandates, rules of engagement and the use of force, to name a few. Mission-specific performance indications should be drawn up, with mission leadership held accountable for whole-of-mission performance. At no time should the absence of national caveats make a contingent prone to unreasonable tasks, deployments, rotations or scapegoating. Specific training should be developed for female peacekeepers. In addition, the Department of Peace Operations and Department of Operational Support should assume the lead for ensuring common standards for peacekeeping training at the national, regional and international levels.
FATIMA KYARI MOHAMMED, Permanent Observer for the African Union, underscored that seven of the Organization’s 14 peacekeeping missions are in Africa and that African countries represent 18 of the 30 top contributors of uniformed personnel in peacekeeping operations. Almost half of all uniformed peacekeepers come from African Union member States and the African region contributed 63.4 per cent of women in United Nations peacekeeping. “Our peacekeepers deserve to be better enabled and qualified to face their difficult assignments and discharge their responsibilities effectively,” she said.
She went on to underscore important ways to boost the performance of peacekeepers, including realistic mandates and the means to enable missions to carry out their tasks, protect civilians and help countries move towards sustainable peace. Turning to the issue of financing, she reiterated the African Union’s call for access to United Nations assessed contributions to fund African peace support operations. In responding to threats to peace and security, such operations are acting on behalf of the United Nations, she said, calling for the Council to take a fresh look at the issue.
SOVANN KE (Cambodia) said that over the past decade, Cambodia has contributed thousands of blue helmets to peacekeeping operations worldwide. Regrettably, at times, peacekeeping duties demand the highest sacrifice from those who serve. So far, nine Cambodian peacekeepers have lost their lives, she noted, calling for greater efforts to be made to prevent casualties. As peacekeeping operations are becoming increasingly complex, peacekeepers find themselves in challenging situations, faced with insufficient logistical support and financing. To alleviate the risks posed to peacekeepers and to ensure the effectiveness of operations, peacekeeping missions must be given the requisite resources while being provided access to modern technology and information.
TEGAN BRINK (Australia) said that peacekeeping is not a static phenomenon. Today’s missions operate in a very different environment from 1948, when Australia first deployed peacekeepers to support a United Nations operation. She welcomed progress on the Action for Peacekeeping, adding that rhetoric must be transformed into action. As well, sustaining peace demands innovation. Successful mandate implementation requires the continual evolution of training and significant improvements to joint planning and analysis. Strong partnerships at the bilateral, multilateral and regional level provide the best opportunity to address key training and capability gaps, she said.
MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh) said his country, ranking fifth among police- and troop-contributing countries, has 6,700 peacekeeping personnel active in 10 different missions around the world and is increasing female participation. Because of barriers to women, including sexual exploitation and abuse, his country initiated “Awareness against Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Cases” - a key part of pre-deployment training. Bangladesh and Germany also conducted a “train the trainers” course on improvised explosive devices last year. Highlighting training gaps in areas of human rights, safety and protection of troops and civilians and gender violence, he stressed the importance of sharing relevant experiences and recommendations of senior mission leaders. There is also a need for data on why instances of sexual exploitation and abuse are occurring and whether guidelines should be revised.
ABDOULAYE BARRO (Senegal) said that, as a major troop-contributing country, Senegal personnel undergo at least four months of training in one of the nation’s tactical centres that best reproduces the climate of the country of deployment. While that infrastructure is currently only sufficient for their own military and police units, it is being scaled up to suit other States in the sub-Saharan region. However, the Department of Peace Operations should not leave training solely to troop-contributing countries and he called for better quality control and more involvement by that body, taking into account specificities of the theatre of deployment and needs of the contingent. In addition, he emphasized the importance of greater involvement by women and of francophone countries in Africa.
KIRA CHRISTIANNE DANGANAN AZUCENA (Philippines) said that each peacekeeping operation’s ability to protect civilians and themselves is a standard by which United Nations peacekeeping is measured. While the greatest credit to the United Nations has come from peacekeeping, its biggest and deepest stains have come from failing in the same. Although peacekeeping should not decide political outcomes, it does commit to establishing humane conditions. Noting her country has taken steps to meet performance standards and address misconduct cases, she encouraged Member States to host regional centres to support trainers. She also recommended that threat analyses and data be shared with other missions and voiced her support for the call to limit national caveats from host States. In addition, there should be more women peacekeepers deployed, including in the highest posts.