Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
September 6, 2022
Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to thank China for its successful stewardship of the Security Council presidency last month and extend warm wishes to France as it begins its Council presidency. Given the importance of peacekeeping to international peace and security, this is a fitting meeting with which to begin the month. Thank you, Undersecretary-Secretary-General Lacroix for your comprehensive briefing.
The United States is deeply committed to UN peacekeeping. To ensure the success of peacekeeping operations, it is clear that all stakeholders must fulfill their responsibilities. To further the capacity of peacekeepers to effectively implement the mandates given to them by this Council, and to promote peacekeeper safety and security, the United States continues to work both within the UN system and bilaterally to promote peacekeeping leadership, performance, and accountability across missions.
Improving peacekeeping performance is an integral part of the Secretary-General’s “Action for Peacekeeping” and “Action for Peacekeeping Plus” agenda and UN Security Council Resolution 2436 shows it is a priority for the Council, as well.
One of the most important responsibilities of today’s integrated and multidimensional peacekeeping missions is the protection of civilians. We welcome that the Secretary-General’s “Action for Peacekeeping” and “Action for Peacekeeping Plus” initiatives prioritize protection of civilians, as well as performance and accountability; conduct and discipline; and women, peace, and security initiatives.
These efforts further a mission’s ability to be as efficient and effective as possible and to identify and secure appropriate resources, training, equipment, and personnel to carry out the mandates authorized by those of us around this table.
All of us around this table can play a part in enhancing peacekeeper safety and effective mandate implementation, by giving peacekeeping missions realistic and achievable mandates. We can also support efforts to ensure missions have the necessary resources and capabilities to fully carry out their mandated tasks in complex, fragile environments.
Of course, robust training and equipment are necessary, but not sufficient on their own to improve performance and effectiveness. It is essential that all UN personnel meet UN performance standards, while maintaining the highest standards of conduct. This especially means adherence to the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse. Those who do not meet such standards should be held accountable, including by the relevant troop- and police-contributing countries. Those who have been victimized deserve to know those responsible will face consequences for their actions.
Accountability, however, is a two-way street, and “Action for Peacekeeping” reminds us that we are also accountable to peacekeepers, and, to that end, we must do everything possible to improve the safety, security, and well-being of our peacekeepers. Improved performance across the board provides safety and security to peacekeepers everywhere and is in everyone’s interest.
Mr. President, we are deeply concerned by countries that, by failing to take appropriate action, are putting peacekeepers at risk. We call on all stakeholders to abide by status of forces agreements. Host nation cooperation is critical to ensuring that peacekeepers have the full access and freedom of movement to achieve their mandated tasks, safely and effectively. Where host nation cooperation is lacking, we owe it to the peacekeepers on the ground, and to the populations they serve, to engage bilaterally and multilaterally in search of solutions that restore trust and confidence.
Another growing threat to peacekeeper safety and security, as well as mission effectiveness, is disinformation that leads to an erosion of trust between local populations and peacekeeping missions. It is imperative for the Security Council to support the integration of strategic communications into mission planning and risk management efforts, to highlight mission successes, mange expectations of local populations, and address misinformation and disinformation in real-time. We all know the tragic consequences for peacekeepers when such disinformation is not strongly and quickly addressed. We hope that all Council members will join us in strongly condemning all actors that spread misinformation, disinformation, or incite violence against UN peacekeeper operations.
The United States also welcomes the importance of women, peace, and security as a cross-cutting theme of “Action for Peacekeeping Plus”. We already know that women increase peacekeeping performance and effectiveness. That is why we have long-supported increasing the number and meaningful participation of women in UN peacekeeping and why we were pleased to co-sponsor UN Security Council Resolution 2538, the first standalone resolution on women in peacekeeping. Though peacekeeping’s integration of women has come a long way, adopting resolutions is not enough. We must work together to ensure these resolutions are effectively implemented.
The United States remains committed to advancing peacekeeping reform, and we stand ready to work with all stakeholders to ensure these missions have the tools and support that they need to succeed.
Thank you, Mr. President.