Remarks at a UN Security Council Annual Briefing on the UN Police Contributions to the Action for Peacekeeping Plus Priorities

Ambassador Robert Wood
Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
November 14, 2022


Thank you, Mr. President. I wish to thank Under Secretary-General LaCroix and our briefers today, and a special thanks to Ghana for bringing us together to discuss how UN police can support the implementation of the Action for Peacekeeping initiative. It is critical that we continue to support the A4P+ initiative, which aims to ensure that United Nations peacekeepers live up to the high expectations that come with wearing the blue helmet or the blue beret. At the same time, it strives to ensure that those who bravely volunteer to serve in the name of peace have adequate resources and support to keep them safe and empower them to carry out their important peacekeeping missions.

We were honored that Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield spoke as a panelist with Under Secretary-General LaCroix at the UN Chiefs of Police Summit in September, and I am glad that we are here today to continue this conversation. We meet today in the midst of a global pandemic, a food crisis exacerbated by continued Russian aggression against Ukraine, and a battle against climate change that so deeply affects the security of African nations and our peacekeeping and policing missions therein. But despite all this, the mission and the dedication of UN Police has remained the same: to help restore, establish, or strengthen the rule of law in places where it has broken down due to conflict or complex emergencies.

The United States is a strong supporter of UN Police peacekeeping. Since 2012, we have provided more than $80 million to help prepare thousands of police from a dozen countries for service in peacekeeping missions. We are dedicated to making peacekeeping, including police peacekeeping, stronger, safer, and more effective. Moreover, we believe, and studies have shown that these goals are mutually supporting; peacekeepers who perform better are better at keeping themselves, and others, safe. Performance promotes safety and security.

The United States strongly supports the efforts of the UN Police Division, the Integrated Training Service, UNITAR, and others that are working to strengthen the doctrinal and curricular framework of UN Policing, which provides the foundation of strong peacekeeper performance. We are pleased to see, for example, that the pre-deployment training for Formed Police Units is being updated and revised to be more practical and tailored to the threats that peacekeepers face on the ground. We also note that training for Individual Police Officers is now more robust and focused on preparing these officers to carry out their critical advisory roles.

These are positive trends, and we look forward to seeing them continue. At the same time, challenges remain. For UN Police to be effective in dangerous and complex environments, there must be regular, meaningful assessments of performance in mission, along with recommendations to address any deficiencies. The best way to keep peacekeepers safe is to promote their effectiveness.

It is our shared responsibility to ensure that the tools we have, including the Integrated Peacekeeping Performance and Accountability Framework, are implemented fairly and thoroughly, and that the performance data from in-mission assessments is appropriately shared and analyzed to address common challenges. And let me be clear: there must be continued implementation of a zero-tolerance policy for sexual abuse and misconduct.

It is necessary to talk about the critical role that women play in all this work. Because we know that police peacekeeping units with greater gender representation are more effective. Studies have shown that the presence of women peacekeepers promotes community trust and increases the mission’s ability to engage with women and girls; groups that we know are disproportionately impacted by conflict. Women’s integration into police peacekeeping has come far, but not far enough.

Lastly, peacekeepers remain at risk, facing growing threats from both direct attacks and indirect threats, such as mis- and dis- information that can create more hostile operating environments. In order to better address these concerns, the United States hopes that the Secretary-General will issue a new report on UN Policing in the near future so we can all track the important progress we’ve made while taking stock of where we need to improve. We look forward to working with the distinguished briefers here today, the UN, and Member States moving forward to address today’s challenges to police peacekeepers and empower them to carry out their missions as fully, safely, and effectively as possible.

Mr. President, in support of making this session more interactive, I have a couple of questions for the Police Commissioners from MINUSCO and UNMISS. The first question; how are you both seeing the effects of climate change during your daily mission activities and how is climate security impacting your work? And the second question; can you discuss your experiences with mis- and dis- information? Are you combatting this, and what can the security council do to help? Thank you.