New York

21 February 2017

Secretary-General's message to the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations

[Delivered by Ms. Maria Luiza Viotti, Chef de Cabinet]

I wish to congratulate the Chargé d'affaires a.i. of Nigeria on his re-election as Chair of the Special Committee.
I offer best wishes to all the members of the Committee as you identify a way forward at this critical time for international peace and security.
Le maintien de la paix est un instrument unique en son genre.
C’est aussi un instrument dynamique.
Depuis ses débuts en tant que mécanisme de surveillance de cessez-le-feu, il a pris de l’ampleur pour devenir un atout exceptionnel.
Le fait qu’il existe à l’heure actuelle 16 opérations de maintien de la paix témoigne de la gamme d’activités et de techniques que la communauté internationale peut déployer pour répondre aux conflits.
Lorsqu’elles disposent des mandats et de l’appui dont elles ont besoin, les opérations de maintien de la paix restent l’un des outils les plus souples et les plus adaptés dont l’Organisation dispose pour alléger les souffrances, faire face aux crises et aider les pays qui sortent d’un conflit à prévenir une rechute.
Peacekeeping is a partnership in which the Member States deploy their political will, financial resources, military and police capabilities. 
Above all, Member States put the lives of their citizens on the line to transform conflict into sustainable peace.
This is a profound expression of commitment to collective security that brings the UN Charter to life for people in need.
But this partnership is not always easy. 
In today’s evolving global peace and security landscape, we face critical questions.
How can peacekeeping adapt to new peace and security challenges while retaining its core character and global nature?
What tools do missions require to do the job safely and effectively?
How can they work effectively with other diplomatic, regional, humanitarian and development actors? 
I would like to pay tribute to the thousands of courageous and dedicated troops, police and civilian personnel who venture to the frontlines of conflict and risk their lives to carry out the mandates given to them by the Security Council. 
Indeed we have a collective obligation to fulfil our duty of care to peacekeepers.
That means calibrating our approach to the security environments into which we deploy, and ensuring that peacekeepers have the capabilities, assets, skills and authority necessary to do the job.
Peacekeeping operations support societies in forging new beginnings after conflict.
But at a minimum, they must do no harm.  In that spirit, an effective and responsible mission must earn the confidence of the local population.
The blight of sexual exploitation and abuse by some peacekeepers does irreparable damage to the lives of civilians and to the credibility of the United Nations.
The Secretary-General has established a high-level task force to develop proposals to aggressively address the causes and repercussions of these acts. 
The Secretariat remains ready to work closely with Member States on structural, legal and operational measures to make the zero-tolerance policy a reality.
The Secretary-General has also set in motion a review of the United Nations peace and security architecture. 
As the nature of conflict changes and we face new challenges such as asymmetric threats, transnational crime and the expanding reach of terrorists and extremists, the structures and practices designed even ten years ago are not always keeping pace. 
The United Nations has to be more nimble, pragmatic and flexible in its ability to plan, launch and manage a more diverse range of operations. 
We should not give people caught up in harrowing situations the illusion of protection. 
We must focus more attention on the critical moment of transition when operations leave a country. 
And we must do more to prevent conflicts from erupting or spinning out of control. 
The Internal Review Team will put forward proposals for improvements in the months ahead.
Achieving gender parity is as critical in the field as it is anywhere else, and we absolutely must increase the number of civilian and uniformed women, as well as the number of women in leadership positions in peacekeeping operations, peace processes and the ranks of special envoys. 
Greater numbers of women in peacekeeping have been proven to increase our credibility, our protection reach, and our relationship with communities, and to decrease incidents of sexual exploitation and abuse.
I encourage the C-34 to consider carefully the recommendation of the 2015 peace and security reviews, echoed in Security Council resolution 2242, to move us beyond the current level in which just 3 per cent of peacekeepers are women.
El Comité de los Treinta y Cuatro desempeña una función fundamental en el fortalecimiento del mantenimiento de la paz y la facilitación de la labor de las Naciones Unidas para servir mejor a todos los habitantes del mundo en el mantenimiento de la paz y la seguridad internacionales.
Con ese espíritu de tarea común, les expreso mis mejores deseos de que las deliberaciones del debate abierto de esta semana sean fructíferas y de éxito en su labor de preparación del informe anual.
I thank you.