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GA: Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations

Statement by Ambassador Mona Juul at the General Assembly plenary meeting on the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, 15 February 2021.

COVID-19 is a powerful reminder of the need to keep up the effort to strengthen UN operations, following up on the Action for peacekeeping initiative (A4P). Norway is pleased to support these efforts, both as an elected member of the Security Council and as a member of this committee.

I would like to highlight six Norwegian peacekeeping priorities:

First,

The A4P’s emphasis on advancing political solutions must be maintained. This has been a more complicated task under the pandemic. Progress in 2020 has focused on local conflict resolution and mediation. That is a good way of moving forward – if it is complemented by efforts and political will at the national level.

All activities of mission sections must be aligned and collectively targeted toward addressing specific political drivers of conflict - and at achieving concrete outcomes. Our emphasis on this point is based on the findings of the independent review of the UN operation in South Sudan (UNMISS).

However, we believe that there is room for improvement in this regard in most mission settings.

Second,

Norway is deeply concerned by widespread violations of international humanitarian law as well as human rights violations and abuses in several mission areas. Facilitating and supporting political processes is key to preventing such violations and abuses.

This core aspect tends to be overshadowed by the focus on the need for physical protection of civilians, which, while crucial, is not sufficient to establish a stable protective environment.

Norway is alarmed by the ongoing impact of conflict on children. We must strengthen the capacity of missions to protect them.

We are following up on our engagement on conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) through support to the implementation of the policy and handbook for UN field missions.

Fighting impunity helps protect civilians.

Norway is pleased to contribute to this important task, including through the training of Malian police in forensic investigations.

Third,

Several recent deadly attacks against peacekeepers are tragic reminders of the continued need to strengthen their safety and security. In that regard we would like to highlight the importance of peacekeeping intelligence to enhance situational awareness.

Norway urges fellow Member States to train and deploy personnel and units with capabilities as set forth in the Peacekeeping-Intelligence Policy.

Norway further calls upon the Secretariat to facilitate senior mission leadership training to ensure that leaders are prepared to execute peacekeeping intelligence activities in the missions. 

Fourth,

Norway fully supports the Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy as the guiding document on increasing women’s participation in peace operations.

Focus should be on the full, equal and, meaningful participation of women. Norway is actively promoting women for leadership positions in UN operations. We encourage other Member States to do the same.

Fifth,

Efforts must continue to strengthen the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union.

As noted by the Secretary-General in his report to this committee, this partnership remains central to the engagement of the UN to facilitate and support political processes as well as other mandated tasks in countries in Africa.

Finally,

Norway would like to encourage the UN to increase the use of renewable energy in its field missions, in line with the UN Secretariat’s 10-year Climate Action Plan.

Chair,

Norway looks forward to engaging further with the other members of this committee on how we can ensure that UN peace operations remain well-suited to deal with an increasingly complex peace and security landscape.