Remarks at an International Peace Institute Virtual Event Previewing the 2021 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
November 16, 2021


Thank you, Adam. Thank you to the Republic of Korea and the International Peace Institute for hosting today’s meeting. I would also like to thank Rwanda, both for co-hosting the preparatory meeting on “Partnerships for Performance and Accountability” with us, and for its partnership with the United States as a troop- and police-contributing country.

The U.S.-Rwanda partnership is an example of how Member States can work together to develop high-performing uniformed personnel and capabilities in UN peacekeeping operations. Performance, and especially accountability for performance, are key goals of UN peacekeeping reform. This is clear in the Secretary-General’s “Action for Peacekeeping” and “Action for Peacekeeping Plus” initiatives, which the United States strongly supports. The U.S.-Rwanda preparatory conference focused on how partnerships can advance these goals. We heard voices from UN Headquarters, from peacekeeping operations in the field, from major troop- and police-contributing countries, and from capacity-builders, and their wide range of perspectives highlighted three main takeaways.

First, although pre-deployment training is necessary, it is not sufficient for performance. Troop- and police-contributing countries require institutional capacity: for force generation, for self-sustainment, and to increase the deployment of women. To achieve this, troop- and police-contributing countries need long-term, sustainable partnerships, not one-off training initiatives.

Second, operational capacity alone does not lead to effective protection of civilians. Training must focus on the rules of engagement and practical guidance for protection of civilians, and troops and police must have the necessary technology for situational awareness to protect both themselves and civilians. Sustainable partnerships can strengthen these capacities; however, the UN must also empower mission leadership to hold troops and police accountable if undeclared caveats or risk-averse mindsets impede protection of civilians on the ground.

Finally, the practical side of partnerships is equally important. Troop- and police-contributing countries, as well as capacity-builders, rely on the UN to facilitate the creation and maintenance of these partnerships. The UN Secretariat should fully utilize the Light Coordination Mechanism and increase its efforts to pair troop- and police-contributing countries with capacity-builders based on their individual needs and capabilities.

So, thanks for the opportunity to speak about the importance of partnerships in achieving performance and accountability in UN peacekeeping. And, of course, we look forward to participating in the upcoming ministerial in Seoul.

Thank you very much.