Ministers of Defence, Foreign Affairs, and high-level officials from more than 130 Member States and intergovernmental organizations gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to discuss and generate the specialized capabilities necessary for contemporary peacekeeping, with a specific focus on performance, the protection of civilians and women, peace, and security.
During the meeting, participants renewed their mutual commitment to peacekeeping operations. Ministers voiced their support of the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative and highlighted progress on relevant commitments in the Declaration of Shared Commitments on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations. Member States also announced specific pledges of key peacekeeping capabilities requested by the United Nations, including specialized enabling capabilities for high-risk missions, rapidly deployable units, training and capacity-building support and related partnership initiatives.
In particular, participants reaffirmed their commitment to the Women, Peace and Security agenda, while pledging to make further progress on the established goals on women's participation, in part by increasing the training opportunities for women. Similarly, participants voiced support for the Secretary-General’s Gender Parity Strategy. Regarding training, speakers noted that standardized training is crucial to the achievement of high-performance standards on the ground. Many expressed support for triangular partnership training and pledged to offer more training opportunities to other troop and police-contributing countries. Other participants made clear their intention to provide equipment support to countries with shortfalls.
Member States encouraged the Secretariat to continue with the implementation of the Action Plan on Improving the Security of UN Peacekeepers, acknowledging the success in reducing peacekeeping fatalities in 2018. They noted in this regard the importance of continuing efforts aimed at improving medical support. Participants further made a call to ensure that peacekeepers maintain the highest standards of conduct and discipline and fully adhere to the UN’s zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse. They also reaffirmed their commitment to support environmentally-responsible solutions for our operations.
The meeting marked an opportune time to highlight the 20th anniversary of the first protection of civilians mandate for a UN peacekeeping operation. While the UN has made great strides over two decades, participants suggested that there is still a critical need to improve the implementation of protection of civilians mandates. Similarly, UN officials and Member States spoke of the ongoing efforts to measure and improve the performance of UN peacekeepers, as well as enhance transparency and accountability. Performance shortfalls that are identified can be rectified through enhanced training, equipment, support and partnership.
In closing, participants were congratulated on the support they have shown and the pledges they have made to improve the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations.