Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Peacekeeping Operations: Police Commissioners

Amy Tachco
Political Coordinator
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
November 6, 2017


Thank you very much, Mr. President. Thank you, Under-Secretary-General Lacroix and the Police Commissioners, for your briefings. It’s really quite inspiring to hear about the work that you do and the challenges that you face every day in completing your mission. And it’s clear to us that police work is a crucial part of UN Peacekeeping. I also want to thank Italy for putting forth the resolution we have adopted today. It is truly an important step toward improving the performance of UN police.

One of the key elements of our efforts to make UN peacekeeping more effective is a clear exit strategy. The ability of a peacekeeping mission to complete its work and depart depends on our collective ability to strengthen the capacity of the state to provide for the safety of its citizens.

Alas, as we have seen in many countries with peacekeeping missions, host governments often lack not only capacity in their security sector institutions, but basic legitimacy with the citizens they are meant to protect and to serve. In these contexts, we must not only build the capacity of security sector institutions, but redefine the very notion of what a country’s military, police, and justice institutions are meant to achieve.

This requires building an integrated security architecture that seeks to ensure the safety of citizens, rather than the longevity of the governments that lack legitimacy with their own citizens. Police have a really crucial role to play in making this vision a reality.

We have seen in the recent transition from MINUSTAH to MINUJUSTH the essential role UN police play in working with national forces to maintain security and stability while seeking to build the capability of the Haitian National Police. We are hopeful the new mission will find a willing and engaged partner in the Haitian government as the mission begins to implement its rule of law program.

Likewise, as UNAMID continues its planned reconfiguration, the role of the mission’s police forces will take on an even greater importance in building local capacity.

In Mali, the challenges are different and great. UN police in MINUSMA assist Malian authorities in addressing the transnational crime and drug trafficking that feed terrorist movements in the region. As we saw during out recent Council visit to the Sahel, this assistance and capacity building is a crucial element as part of a larger package of assistance to creating an environment conducive to a solution to the overall conflict.

Police cannot be second class citizens in UN peacekeeping. The UN bureaucracy must model the same level of integration among military, police, and justice components that we seek to develop in host nations through peacekeeping operations. Police expertise must be consistently integrated into the mandates and decision-making structures of UN peace operations, both peacekeeping and Special Political Missions.

We welcome this resolution’s emphasis on strengthening UN police doctrine and its implementation, as well as the call to define clearer standards for personnel, equipment, operations, performance, and assistance to host-state police services.

We also welcome efforts to collect, manage, and analyze data on peacekeeping operational requirements and unit field performance to support performance based decision-making.

Over the past 14 years, the United States has demonstrated its strong commitment to improving the performance of UN police by investing more than $40 million to directly train or support 16,000 police from 15 countries. We see the partnerships called for in the resolution today as crucial to continue to build capacity to deploy well-qualified, well-trained police to peacekeeping.

Ultimately, we recognize the essential role of UN police in building the capacity of host nations to ensure the safety of all of their citizens and creating the conditions for successful mission conclusions. This resolution is an important step toward ensuring UN police are able to help secure lasting and sustainable peace in UN peace operations around the world.

Thank you very much.