Remarks for General Assembly Opening Debate on C-34

Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet
Acting Deputy U.S. Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City, NY
February 17, 2020


Members of the committee, and distinguished colleagues, the United States looks forward to engaging the special committee on peacekeeping operations as we support full implementation of the “Action for Peacekeeping” (A4P) agenda.  The United States supports effective peacekeeping operations that advance the highest standards of conduct, performance and accountability, advance political solutions, promote partnerships, include women, and prioritize protection of the populations they serve.  Peacekeeping missions are integral to maintaining international peace and security.  We salute the uniformed and civilian components of Missions that work tirelessly to protect the most vulnerable civilians, mediate conflict, and re-establish the rule-of-law.  Often working in conflict areas far from home, peacekeepers’ sacrifices are as real as their work is essential.

While the Security Council retains primacy on all matters related to international peace and security, the United States recognizes the value of the consensus based C34 and its report.  The committee’s report offers an opportunity to provide guidance and recommendations to the Secretariat, with the unique weight of all member states agreeing to the report’s content.  We will engage constructively and transparently in an effort to adopt a report by consensus.

The United States views missions and peacekeeping reforms through the lens of our five principles.  Peacekeeping missions must have the consent and cooperation of the host country; support political solutions; adjust to progress and failure; possess realistic and achievable mandates; and have an exit strategy.  We believe that missions are becoming more effective and efficient, but more remains to be done to keep peacekeepers safe, to better protect civilians, and to lay the political groundwork for peacekeeping missions to eventually transition and close.

We also know based on data that visible support from trained and dedicated female leaders, uniformed personnel, and staff makes peacekeeping more effective. The United States strongly supports increasing the participation of women in meaningful roles and in leadership in UN peacekeeping operations.

Additionally, the United States has continually worked over the past three years to promote a culture of accountability for performance within UN peacekeeping.  In our view, performance and accountability mutually reinforce several of the other pillars of A4P, from improving the safety and security of our peacekeepers, to promoting better conduct and discipline standards, to expanding partnerships with those troop and police contributors who demonstrate the willingness to improve.  The unanimous adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2436 made it clear that performance and accountability in UN peacekeeping is a Security Council priority.  The resolution calls for timely, transparent reporting to the Council when there are performance failures, accountability for those failures, and concrete incentives to foster better performance.  Resolution 2436 built on the work of this Committee and the 2018 C-34 report.  Together, A4P, UNSC resolution 2436, and C-34 recommendations have the ability to markedly improve peacekeeping effectiveness.

In December, the U.S. co-hosted a high-level event on improving the methods of accountability in order to enhance the performance of peacekeeping.  We very much appreciate our co-hosts: India, Portugal, Senegal, Vietnam and Uruguay, and all delegations who attended to demonstrate their commitment accountability for the performance of uniformed and civilian components in peacekeeping.  Although we have seen progress in this regard, it remains essential that all peacekeeping components are incorporated into an accountability framework, in line with a larger integrated performance policy framework.

We recognize African troop and police-contributing countries and their unique value in providing peace and security on the continent.  Since 2005, we have committed nearly 1.5 billion dollars in peacekeeping capacity building assistance to countries deploying to UN and regional peacekeeping operations – mostly in Africa.  Our Global Peace Operations Initiative partners with fifty-four troop and police contributing countries to build their capacity.  We greatly value these partnerships and will continue to invest in committed, willing, good-performing partners to ensure peacekeepers have the training, skills, and equipment they need to effectively perform in missions.

Mr. Chairman, the heroic work of peacekeepers is unmatched.  We owe it to the communities, women, and children they serve to ensure that the blue helmet represents the gold standard of peacekeeping.  We look forward to engaging in the C-34 forum to advance the highest standards of performance, accountability, safety, and security to ensure the most vulnerable are protected.  Thank you.