Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Peacekeeping Operations (via VTC)

Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
Acting Deputy Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
September 14, 2020


Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, Under-Secretary-General Lacroix, for your important briefing today and for the various updates on so many initiatives that you are undertaking, along with the Secretary-General.

The United States is deeply committed to UN peacekeeping as a critical tool for promoting international peace and stability. To ensure this tool effectively serves its purpose, we seek strong leadership, performance, and accountability across missions.

Improving peacekeeping performance is an integral part of the Secretary General’s Action for Peacekeeping agenda, a priority for the UN Security Council, as outlined in Resolution 2436, and a focus area of the UN General Assembly’s Special Committee on Peacekeeping, or known as the C34.

The United States was pleased to host a high-level event on Performance in December 2019 during our Council presidency, where the Secretary-General reaffirmed his commitment to peacekeeping performance and to, quote, “build a framework, in cooperation with Troop and Police-Contributing Countries, to better systematize performance evaluation and accountability.” End quote.

The Trump Administration is committed to elevating and maintaining momentum on peacekeeping performance and accountability, which we will emphasize in our preparatory event for the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial and which will certainly feature prominently in the ministerial agenda.

The United States remains the largest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping, as well as the largest capacity-building contributor. Since 2005, the United States has invested nearly $1.5 billion through our military and police peacekeeping capacity-building initiatives alone. In addition, the annual budget for our U.S. Global Peace Operations Initiative increased over the past three years to over $70 million. These investments have yielded positive outcomes for peacekeeping performance and for the populations whom the blue helmets protect and work alongside.

We deliver this support through partnerships with politically willing, operationally capable troop and police contributors who want to improve their national peacekeeping training and capacity. We also directly invest in the UN Secretariat’s capacity to develop and implement performance evaluation frameworks and standards for uniformed forces.

We also recognize missions must have the necessary resources and capabilities to fully carry out their mandated tasks in complex, fragile environments. Robust training and equipment are necessary, but not sufficient alone, to improve performance. They must be backed by a commitment to the mission, and sustained by a culture of performance and accountability. Consistent with Resolution 2436, troop and police contributing countries should meet UN performance standards for personnel, while maintaining the highest standards of conduct.

Peacekeepers must adhere to the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse. And those who do not meet such standards should be held accountable, including by the relevant troop and police contributing countries. Improved performance across the board provides safety and security to peacekeepers everywhere, and is in everyone’s interest.

I want to also highlight he role of women in peacekeeping and its particular importance. Women improve peacekeeping performance and effectiveness, and we have long supported increasing the number and meaningful participation of women in UN peacekeeping and we were pleased to co-sponsor Resolution 2538, the first standalone resolution on women in peacekeeping. We continue to encourage governments to adopt and promote policies to address the persistent barriers to women’s participation in peacekeeping and to increase women’s participation both in UN peacekeeping, as well as in their countries’ own militaries and police.

Good performance starts early in the force generation process, from the moment of the pledge, through the training and pre-deployment verification process, to the deployment and operational readiness, to in-mission assessments of ongoing performance. It is a full-time pursuit that requires leadership and dedication.

The UN’s Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System is helping to regularize, register, and validate the readiness of peacekeeping units. More than 200 capabilities are now registered in the PCRS. We should consistently leverage the PCRS system so that the most qualified and capable units are deployed.

Additionally, the Comprehensive Performance and Assessment System, CPAS, is helping the Secretariat gather, analyze, and integrate data on mission performance to drive more efficient and effective planning and decision-making. We fully endorse these data-driven approaches to reforming peacekeeping and improving performance and accountability, and we expect to see them more widely and consistently used.

The recent launch of the Integrated Performance Policy Framework represents the fulfillment of several performance and accountability requests made to the Secretariat over the last few years, and we appreciate the many months of work and consultation that have gone into creating this process. We welcome the framework’s emphasis on whole of mission performance, civilian and leadership accountability, the importance of capacity building, and strengthening remedial and accountability actions for formed units.

In conclusion, Mr. President, the Trump Administration remains committed to advancing peacekeeping reform, performance, and accountability. We remain equally committed to helping the UN develop and promulgate sound policy, doctrine, training materials, and performance and accountability standards to help TCCs and PCCs perform well.

We support the continued development and refinement of the integrated performance policy framework, and we look forward to its full utilization across missions.

Blue helmets represent the best of all of us. Working together, we can ensure that the trust, competence, and professionalism we recognize in so many peacekeepers remain the expectation into the future.

Thank you very much.