Remarks at a Meeting of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations

Ambassador Michele J. Sison
U.S. Deputy Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
February 21, 2017



Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would like to thank Ambassador Bosah and Ambassador Grant for their productive approach to the C-34 process, which continues to make a substantial contribution to the success of the Special Committee’s annual work. The Secretariat’s briefings and support keep this machine operating, and we are once again grateful.

We recognize the many challenges and dangers facing UN peacekeepers. We honor and value their contributions and welcome the steps already underway to improve their security – particularly with enhanced tools for gathering and disseminating information.

It is also critical to build their capacity and give them the right resources. This includes supporting greater delegation of authority to the field to allow for rapid and appropriate response to changing requirements and circumstances on the ground. Responding to medical emergencies is an area where this is especially important.

The series of summits and ministerial meetings we have had on peacekeeping since 2014 have produced substantial commitments in personnel, equipment, and enablers that will vastly improve the ability of peacekeeping operations to carry out their responsibilities.

The United States will continue its partnerships with many troop and police contributing countries to build capacity for peacekeeping through training, equipment, and advisory support. We look forward to the upcoming peacekeeping Ministerial meeting that Canada will host later this year. The United States looks forward to working with Secretary-General Guterres and his team to fully implement measures to improve the ability of UN peacekeeping operations to carry out their mandates effectively, flexibly, and efficiently, and to shorten the time needed for deployment.

As part of this, the protection of civilians remains at the core of UN peacekeeping – but we must be able to get peacekeepers where they need to be quicker. We welcome the steps already taken to improve the planning and execution of field operations, but realize there is considerably more to be done to make UN planning nimble and truly integrated, taking into account military, police and civilian activities over the lifespan of a mission.

Last year, the External Police Review and the Secretary-General’s report on policing made recommendations on the measures needed to bring UN policing into the center of planning and operations, as a critical component in building enduring stability.

This year, we hope to see substantial progress on implementing reforms. This includes the work underway to develop manuals and training to operationalize the Strategic Guidance Framework and have a common vocabulary for UN policing.

The United States also looks forward to working with the Secretary-General to strengthen the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union, particularly on issues that have a direct impact on mission performance, including joint analysis and planning, conduct and discipline standards, international humanitarian and human rights law, and improving accountability and transparency.

In this regard, we are heartened by the measures taken so far to truly enforce the policy of zero tolerance of sexual exploitation and abuse, and welcome the Secretary-General’s naming Special Coordinator Jane Holl Lute to lead a high-level task force to develop a strong, visible strategy to address this persistent and corrosive problem. Such acts damage confidence in UN peacekeepers and the UN as an organization more generally. They also reflect a weakness in the command structure that is a core challenge as we push forward with reforms in leadership, capacity and accountability for performance.

To conclude, we look forward to working with our C-34 colleagues over the next few weeks to develop a report reflecting our mutual commitment to international peace and security.

Thank you.