Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message for the third anniversary of Action for Peacekeeping (A4P), today:
It is a pleasure to greet the peacekeeping partners who have gathered for this event. I thank the Government of the Netherlands for bringing us together.
Three years ago, I launched the Action for Peacekeeping initiative, asking you to join me in making our operations more efficient and impactful. Together, we produced the Declaration of Shared Commitments. One hundred and fifty-four Member States and four organizations have endorsed this road map and we have made progress on all fronts.
I thank our peacekeepers for their outstanding service. Every day, these men and women continue to put their lives at risk to protect others, despite the unprecedented challenges posed by a global pandemic. Under the A4P umbrella, we have taken steps to protect our personnel. After a significant decrease in the number of peacekeepers killed due to malicious acts, the recent spike in deadly attacks demonstrates the need to expand our efforts.
Our missions continue to work tirelessly to support political solutions to conflicts. We have improved the responsiveness, flexibility and equipment of our missions. We are also working to prevent and respond to misconduct, including by actively addressing accountability with concerned Member States and pursuing a victim-centred approach.
Effective peacekeeping requires more women. We have significantly increased the number of women in our missions and are working to ensure a welcoming environment to them.
The presence of peacekeepers can be the difference between life and death. Protecting civilians, where mandated, will remain a key priority. And following drawdowns and closures, we are working with development and humanitarian partners so that the missions’ gains can be preserved. This is all made possible by strong partnerships with host Governments, regional and subregional organizations, and communities.
Despite this progress, much more remains to be done. The next phase of the initiative, Action for Peacekeeping Plus, aims to focus on key priorities that are designed to be catalytic and enhance our missions’ impact. For example, the pursuit of durable political solutions requires reinforcement. This is why we will focus on the need for coherence and strong engagement of our missions and their partners behind a common political strategy, making the best use of the unique convening power of our missions.
A4P+ will also reinforce our focus on integration within peacekeeping operations, across the UN system and with our peacekeeping partners. We will continue to place accountability at the heart of our shared efforts: accountability to peacekeepers by ensuring the safety, security and well-being of our personnel, and accountability of peacekeepers. We must enhance our efforts to improve performance where needed, and better recognize outstanding performance.
We must intensify our efforts to protect from, and respond to, sexual exploitation and abuse. That includes strengthening the response to victims of sexual exploitation and abuse and advancing paternity and child support claims. We rely on all Member States to engage with us to address these challenges. We must also better respond to the challenges of disinformation, while better communicating on the achievements of our peacekeepers.
I wish to thank Under-Secretary-General [Jean-Pierre] Lacroix who will speak to these A4P+ priorities in greater detail later in today’s event. I count on your continued strong engagement as we further strengthen our collective efforts for the challenges ahead.