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C34: 2020 Substantive Session

Opening statement by Ambassador Odd-Inge Kvalheim in the 2020 Substantive session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, 17 February 2020.

| Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations

Chair,
Excellencies,
Colleagues,

UN peacekeeping is the most visible conflict management tool at the disposal of the multilateral system. It helps millions of people in countries devastated by war and conflict. Norway is a consistent supporter of efforts to strengthen this tool, while at the same time looking for innovative solutions to make peacekeeping smarter and more effective.

We are pleased to see that our rotational concept for transport aircraft for MINUSMA, and our Specialised Police Teams, can serve as models for UN force generation and deployment.

If UN peacekeeping is to stay relevant, it is vital that this committee agrees on concrete proposals concerning the continued implementation of the 2018 Declaration of Shared Commitments on UN Peacekeeping.

Norway welcomes the decision to align the structure of this year’s report with that of the Declaration. Our comments here today also follow this structure.

First,
Norway fully supports the priority given to advancing political solutions to conflict.

The experience Norway has gained as a facilitator of peace processes clearly indicates that political solutions stand a far greater chance of success if women are included. Peacekeeping missions should therefore do everything they can to ensure the full and equal participation of women from the host country at all stages of peace processes.

Second,
Efforts to strengthen the UN’s capacity to protect civilians must be continued.

Protection mandates must be made clearer, more realistic, and part of a coherent political strategy.

Armed conflicts are increasingly exposing civilians to extreme violence, including sexual violence.

The UN needs a practical tool that can be used to develop mission-wide strategies to combat this scourge. Norway therefore welcomes the new UN policy as well as the forthcoming handbook on preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence.

It is important to understand why and how civilians are being targeted.

Situational awareness is key to the effective protection of civilians, but also to enhancing the safety and security of peacekeepers, and, consequently, to ensuring effective implementation of the mandate.

Relevant information needs to be systematically gathered, analysed and provided to all those who need it – whether field commanders or the Security Council.

Norway therefore supports the implementation of the UN Peacekeeping Intelligence Policy.

Third,

To further strengthen the safety and security of peacekeepers, member states must ensure that all deployed personnel are appropriately trained and equipped for first aid. And that they have rehearsed casualty evacuation procedures prior to deployment.

Norway therefore welcomes the progress that has been made in enhancing UN medical standards, including through the Casualty Evacuation in the Field Policy.

Fourth,
We must be able to evaluate and understand why a UN mission fails or succeeds.

Norway is therefore an active supporter of the Comprehensive Performance Assessment System (CPAS). CPAS is unique in its focus on the impact of the performance of all mission components.

It also provides missions with a tool for dynamic adaptation to evolving contexts.

Fifth,

Norway recognises the crucial role of the rule of law in sustaining peace, and supports efforts to strengthen the capacity of the police and justice sector in host states. This includes the continued provision of funding for the implementation of the Strategic Guidance Framework for International Police Peacekeeping, as well as recent deployments. For example, in Mali, a Norwegian Specialised Police Team is engaged in strengthening the capacity of local authorities in crime scene management. And in South Sudan, a team of Norwegian correctional officers is helping to ensure that detention conditions are humane and appropriate.

Sixth,
UN partnerships with regional organisations are key to advancing political solutions.  The UN’s partnership with the AU is a special case in point, with cooperation on peace operations as an important component. Norway is a strong supporter of ongoing efforts to develop a strategic relationship between the two organisations. This includes the establishment of the Groups of Friends of the UN-AU partnership in Addis Ababa, and here in New York. Constructive dialogue is crucial for ensuring progress, not least when it comes to enhancing the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing for AU-led peace support operations.

Seventh,
Norway fully supports the Secretary-General’s Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy. It is vital to increase the number of women peacekeepers – particularly in senior managerial positions – both at UN Headquarters and in the field. Balanced gender representation is key to improving the operational efficiency of peacekeeping operations.

Finally,
Efforts must continue to ensure that all UN personnel act in accordance with UN standards of conduct. Any failure to do so undermines the credibility of the UN, and thereby its capacity to be an effective provider of help to countries in need of assistance.

Chair,
Norway is looking forward to working with fellow member states to draw up and deliver a report setting out concrete suggestions as to how UN peacekeeping can improve its ability to assist countries ravaged by war and conflict. Our aim is for the report to be concise and to the point, to make it easier to agree on a joint text.

Thank you for your attention.