Remarks at a UN General Assembly Open Debate on Peacekeeping Operations

Ambassador Richard Mills
Acting Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
February 15, 2021


Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Members of the committee, distinguished colleagues, I am pleased to be here with you today to reaffirm the United States’ unwavering commitment to the international organizations that shape our world.

Since the UN’s founding 75 years ago, the United States has been critical to the success of the United Nations, and the United Nations, in turn, has been central to U.S. efforts to advance peace and security, prosperity, and respect for human rights.

Like others, I’d like to begin my comments by expressing the gratitude of the United States to the troops, the police, and the civilians who serve, at great personal risk, to protect people in need, and to those who have lost their lives serving in UN peacekeeping. Their sacrifices are not forgotten.

Mr. Chairman, while the Security Council retains primacy on all matters related to international peace and security, the United States recognizes the value of a broader discussion forum that includes all the parties that are critical to the success of peacekeeping, including, of course, the troop- and police-contributing countries. Our goal at the end of this process is to achieve a consensus-based report from this group through the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. We see the report as offering an opportunity to provide guidance and recommendations to the Secretariat that will have the unique weight of all member states agreeing to the report’s content. We will engage constructively and transparently in an effort to adopt a report by consensus.

UN peacekeeping remains among the most effective mechanisms to address the global challenges to international peace and security. Yet more progress and reform is required. The United States is committed to strengthening and reforming peacekeeping operations so that they can deliver on their vital global mission.

We must work together to continue reforming peacekeeping operations to make them as successful as possible, that includes ensuring that peacekeepers are given the training and the equipment they need to fulfill their mandate, and increasing the operational effectiveness of missions by maximizing leadership, performance, transparency, and accountability.

As others have said before me, the unanimous adoption of the U.S.-drafted UN Security Council Resolution 2436 made it clear: performance and accountability in UN peacekeeping is a priority of the Security Council. The 2020 launch of the Integrated Peacekeeping Performance and Accountability Framework is a concrete step toward those goals. The framework aims to standardize the performance evaluation of all peacekeeping personnel based on clear standards and to hold them accountable for meeting those standards. We welcome the progress made so far and look forward to the framework being finalized and implemented.

Let me also say that, like others have mentioned, increasing meaningful participation of women in peacekeeping is also at the heart of effective peacekeeping. Women peacekeepers offer unique skillsets, unique perspectives, and opportunities for engagement, thereby making peacekeeping more effective. This leads to lower incidents of sexual exploitation and abuse, and peacekeeping missions that are more responsive to the communities they serve are more effective at implementing their mandates. The dedicated women who serve in peace operations around the world inspire women and girls globally to be leaders in their communities and agents of change in peace efforts.

Mr. Chairman, let me end by saying, peacekeepers serve every day to build a more peaceful world. The United States looks forward to engaging in the C-34 forum to advance the highest standards of performance, accountability, safety, and security to ensure the most vulnerable are protected.

Thank you.