Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on UN Peacekeeping Operations

Ambassador Robert Wood
Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
September 7, 2023


Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, Under-Secretary-General Lacroix, for your briefing and for your leadership on peacekeeping reform.

In recent years, there has been a disturbing trend of increasing threats of violence against UN peacekeepers. Just this past month in August, UNFICYP peacekeepers were physically assaulted in Pyla. Violence perpetrated against UN peacekeepers is unacceptable. We call on the Secretary-General and member states, particularly host governments, to do everything they can to promote the safety and security of UN peacekeepers.

One of the largest, and growing, threats to that safety is misinformation and disinformation. Misinformation and disinformation campaigns, such as those we have seen targeting MINUSCA, hinder missions’ abilities to protect civilians, investigate human rights violations, and facilitate political dialogue. Misinformation and disinformation breed mistrust of the mission by local populations, which makes peacekeepers a target for violence.

Peacekeeping missions must proactively shape public messaging to include factual information about a mission’s mandate in local languages on accessible media platforms. Host governments must also increase their efforts to combat misinformation and disinformation campaigns targeting UN missions.

Environmental management is a cross-cutting issue that impacts peacekeeper safety and security, mission operations, and the legacy that peacekeepers leave behind. More reliance on renewable energy, and less reliance on diesel, means fewer supply convoys which expose peacekeepers to attacks and lessens the flow of funding to conflict actors who control supply chains. The bottom line is this: “greener” peacekeeping leads to safer peacekeepers, and safer and cleaner environment for host communities.

To encourage greater support for these efforts, the United States will host a side event for the 2023 Accra Peacekeeping Ministerial to explore innovative partnerships with troop and police contributing countries to meet key UN environmental management goals.

The United States underlines the importance of the Secretariat and Member States continuing to work to improve performance of peacekeeping operations. 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.

The Council must continue to seek accountability for underperformance in UN peacekeeping, and to do our part to ensure that missions have the support they need to succeed.

Thank you, Mr. President.