Swedish Statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on UN Peacekeeping Operations
National Statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on UN Peacekeeping Operations, 12 September 2018, New York.
We very much welcome this annual debate on peacekeeping, and the implementation of resolution 2378, which takes place in a context of our collective efforts to strengthen peacekeeping, and to move from words to action in making peace operations fit for the 21st century. I want to thank Under-Secretary General Mr. Lacroix for his briefing, as well as Ms. Sarah Blakemore for your very important perspectives and also for the important work you do and your organization.
I think Madam President, that this is an appropriate occasion to pay tribute to the thousands of women and men peacekeepers who do a tremendously important and courageous job every day in implementing decisions by this council, very often in complex and dangerous circumstances.
Sweden aligns itself with the statement to be made later today on behalf of the European Union.
We stand firmly behind the Secretary-General’s reform agenda, putting prevention and sustaining peace at the heart of our efforts. We also strongly support the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative to strengthen global partnership. Its holistic approach, where performance along with peacebuilding, partnerships, people and politics form the basis, will make UN delivery more effective and efficient on the ground.
But this requires that the UN as a whole is able to engage flexibly and effectively throughout the conflict cycle, from prevention to transition. Peacekeeping is one of the most effective instruments available in this regard, and a crucial means to protect civilians and create conditions for successful political processes. But it is also our most costly and exposed instrument and it will only be truly effective if all other parts of the system fall into place.
Today I want to focus on three aspects that we find particularly important to the discussion on peacekeeping and performance, namely situational awareness, strong leadership and the accountability of our peacekeepers.
First, for the Council to be able to engage effectively on conflict prevention, management and resolution, access to candid and timely information and analysis is critical. This is also crucial for ensuring the safety and security of both peacekeepers and civilians. We therefore welcome the Secretary-General’s efforts to streamline and coordinate information and situational awareness within the Secretariat and encourage continued implementation of the new policy on peacekeeping intelligence.
Secondly, the Secretary-General’s reform agenda foresees greater delegation of authority to the field. This, together with the multidimensional nature of peace operations, requires well-prepared and cohesive leadership on the ground. Crisis management situations also require clearly defined roles and chains of command.
Thirdly, making peacekeeping more effective and efficient is a shared responsibility between troop and police contributing countries, member states, the UN and host states. It also requires a broad approach to performance encompassing military, police and civilian personnel.
We welcome the development of a comprehensive performance policy on peacekeeping. Harmonized and integrated standards and guidelines are crucial in the field. In addition, enhanced cooperation between the UN and regional organizations, not least the African Union, is important for increased effectiveness.
Uniformed units must have the right training, skills and equipment to be able to protect civilians as well as themselves, and to deliver on mandates. We need to hold troop and police contributing countries accountable for this, but also support pre-deployment training, including in human rights and international humanitarian law.
Sweden as a committed contributing country will continue to take full responsibility for our units and that they are fully trained and equipped to meet the challenges they face in our peacekeeping missions. We also commit to continue our support to other troop and police contributing countries through training and capacity building.
Experience clearly shows that participation of women in peacekeeping missions increases operational effectiveness and performance. Women’s participation and active engagement in peace processes and peacebuilding is also crucial for achieving sustainable peace. We must all step up our efforts and deliver on promises to include more women in these processes and in our missions.
We also stress the importance of full implementation of the human rights due diligence policy, the human rights screening policy and the zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse. These are all important measures for preventing violence and abuse in connection to peacekeeping, and as such they contribute to strengthening the legitimacy of UN operations. Abuse, such as the cases we’ve heard from Ms. Sarah Blakemore’s testimony here today, are unacceptable and must be followed-up, both in tending to the victims but also in ensuring accountability for individual perpetrators.
Finally, in two weeks’ time the Declaration of Shared Commitments on UN Peacekeeping Operations will be adopted. We will endorse the declaration and call on others to do the same. We believe that the performance of peacekeeping can be improved, if we all live up to our joint commitments and the implementation of this declaration.
Thank you very much Madam.