UN peacekeeping is multilateralism in practice. Norway is a long-standing and consistent supporter of the UN’s efforts to succeed in this demanding endeavour. This includes supporting the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative. UN member states must draw on the momentum generated by this initiative to make meaningful progress in the area of peacekeeping.
I will make five points here today.
First, it is vital to work for lasting political solutions. The costs of any relapse into conflict are high, both financially and in terms of human suffering. It is crucial to ensure the engagement of all parties involved, and not least to secure the political will of host states and opposition groups.
We welcome the recent visit by the UN Security Council to South Sudan. This is a good example of how the Council can support political processes. However, we believe that the impact would be even greater if the Peace and Security Council of the African Union could join the Security Council on such visits.
This leads me to my second point, the importance of improving peacekeeping partnerships. Norway is a determined champion of partnerships. We strongly believe that partnerships with regional organisations will strengthen the UN’s capacity to address global peace and security challenges.
Norway encourages fellow member states to ensure that all relevant regional and sub-regional organisations endorse the Declaration of Shared Commitments on UN Peacekeeping Operations. The AU was one of the first organisations to do so. This was natural, given the UN’s extensive engagement in Africa.
A robust relationship between the UN and the AU is key to ensuring the success of peacekeeping in Africa. It is encouraging to see the strong commitment shown by the UN Secretary-General and the Chairperson of the AU Commission to enhancing the partnership between the two organisations.
Norway will use the Group of Friends of the UN-AU Partnership that we established in Addis Ababa this spring together with Rwanda and other partners to exchange ideas and galvanise support for the strategic partnership between the two organisations. We are now, together with Egypt, working on establishing such a Group of Friends in New York as well.
Third, we must strengthen the protection provided by peacekeeping operations.
Norway is pleased to note that the protection of civilians, which was previously a highly contested topic, now has widespread support among UN member states, despite some differences on related issues. This makes it easier to focus on further strengthening protection efforts. Good situational awareness is key in this context.
Norway is an active supporter of the development of the UN’s Peacekeeping Intelligence Policy. In 2019, Norway has co-chaired the working group on UN Peacekeeping Military Intelligence, and we will contribute to the training course in Entebbe in December. Training is key to enhancing peacekeepers’ ability to make use of intelligence for the protection of civilians and themselves.
Norway is pleased to be contributing to the development of a whole-of-mission handbook for UN operations on prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence. We are doing this in close cooperation with the Department of Peace Operations, as well as other parts of the UN Secretariat.
Fourth, the impact of peacekeeping on sustaining peace needs to be strengthened.
Building national capacity in the security and justice sector is key to sustaining peace. Norway has great faith in the specialised police team model that we pioneered in Haiti. Norway is currently in the process of deploying a team to Mali. The team will provide high-level expertise in the field of crime scene management.
Norway is considering providing increased numbers of correctional officers to UN missions. Having an efficient – and, not least, humane – correctional service is vital if former inmates are to make a positive contribution to their societies.
Fifth, it is crucial to implement the women, peace and security agenda. Norway has also chosen to be a champion for women, peace and security, and we are pleased to see that many other countries have done the same.
Norway will continue to push for a better gender balance at all levels and in all fields of peacekeeping activities. Norway is convinced that there is a need for a strong base of women candidates at the national level in order to be able to deploy high numbers of women internationally.
Norway will work to explore synergies and opportunities for cooperation within the Global Alliance of Regional Women Mediator Networks, which was launched here in New York in September. The Alliance is highly relevant to the top priority of A4P, namely advancing political solutions.
Before I conclude, I would like to assure you that Norway will continue to look for innovative solutions, such as the rotational concept for military transport aircraft that we initiated in Mali. The aim is to ensure that UN peacekeeping has the quality and predictability it needs to remain relevant.