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C34: General Debate

Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ms. May-Elin Stener in the 2017 Substantive Session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34), 21 February 2017.

Check against delivery

Chair, Excellences, ladies and gentlemen,

Norway welcomes the Secretary-General’s initiative to enhance the UN Secretariat’s performance in the peace and security pillar.

We trust that it will pave the way for a more field-oriented approach and better use of the full spectrum of UN peace operations, in line with the excellent analysis and recommendations in the report of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations – the HIPPO – and other recent reviews.

There is no lack of ideas; the proposals are there, and 2017 should be a year of implementation. Norway stands ready to provide support.

I will focus my remarks on six key areas:

(1)

First, the HIPPO-report stressed the need for more agile field support, to make UN missions more field-focused and people-centred. With more than 120 000 personnel deployed in 29 field missions, field focus should be an obvious priority.

However, these essential shifts are yet to be made. The organisation continues to be managed by rules and regulations that seriously hamper the effectiveness of field missions. The implementation of the recommendations of the internal reviews seems to have stalled and bottlenecks remain. 

Norway applauds Secretary-General Guterres’ initiative to review the administrative rules and management system in order to increase the focus on delivery. We call on fellow Member States to support him in this endeavour.

(2)

Second, the UN must continue to strengthen its capacity to protect civilians, taking into account the recommendations of the Cammaert-report on the violence in Juba last July. Norway supports the view that the Special Representative of the Secretary-General should play a proactive role in engaging with the parties; without a real commitment from the host government, there can be no peace. 

The report also underlines the need to establish clear expectations as to what a protection mandate entails. In this context, Norway encourages fellow Member States to endorse the Kigali Principles on the protection of civilians. 

Combatting conflict-related sexual violence is a key protection objective. Norway supports ongoing efforts in this regard, in close cooperation with the DPKO, through the development of a handbook aimed at increasing military capacity to prevent and address the scourge of conflict-related sexual violence. 

Norway welcomes the Secretary-General’s commitment to make the UN’s zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse a reality. We are looking forward to engaging with the high-level task force established by the Secretary-General to develop a strategy to achieve ‘visible and measurable’ further improvement in the UN’s approach to preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and abuse.

(3)

Third, strengthening the safety and security of peacekeepers is a key priority for Norway. It is essential that the missions have the necessary equipment, intelligence, logistics and medical support to be able to operate in increasingly hostile environments. The Force Commander must have full tasking authority for military utility helicopters in order to be able to respond in a timely manner to crises or accidents. 

Norway welcomes efforts to establish a medical performance framework to ensure that missions abide by UN medical standards.

Norway strongly supports the work of the Force Generation Service and the Strategic Force Generation Cell. However, we believe it would be beneficial to have a more open dialogue with current and potential troop-contributing countries on how the capability gaps can be filled most effectively. Priority should be given to creating partnerships between TCCs to find burden-sharing solutions. 

The rotational concept that Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Portugal and Sweden have established for providing transport aircraft to MINUSMA is one example of how small countries can provide critical assets. Partnerships of this kind offer stability, predictability and cost-effectiveness for both the UN and the TCCs.

(4)

Fourth, Norway welcomes the report of the previous Secretary-General on UN Police, which includes his response to the 2016 external review of the functions, structure and capacity of the UN Police Division. Both texts can be seen as milestones in the reform and improvement of the UN Police, at headquarters and in the field. We look forward to their follow-up.

Norway is pleased that the second phase of the Strategic Guidance Framework for International Police Peacekeeping was completed in December. Now it is time to focus efforts on the third phase, which involves the production of manuals to ensure that the same model is used as the basis for all UN police peacekeeping.

The reestablishment of policing and other rule of law functions is vital for enabling UN operations to withdraw.

(5)

Fifth, Norway fully supports the Secretary-General’s commitment to gender parity in leadership positions. We call on fellow Member States to nominate more women for all positions – especially positions in the field.

At the same time, efforts must continue to mainstream gender throughout peacekeeping operations, thereby increasing their capacity to sustain peace.

(6)

Last, but not least, the UN should do even more to partner with regional organisations, as recommended by the High-level Panel. Norway fully supports UN Security Council resolution 2320, with its emphasis on strengthening and further enhancing the relationship between the UN and the AU.

Cooperation is vital to ensure the best use of scarce resources at a challenging time for international peace and security.

Thank you.