Chair, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Norway is a proud contributor to UN peacekeeping operations, and has been since 1949.Participating in the C-34 negotiations is important to us – it is yet another way to contribute to UN reform.The expertise in this room is important for ensuring that UN peacekeeping remains fit for purpose.
In order to achieve this goal, make UN operations more operationally effective, combat sexual exploitation and abuse, and make operations safer, Norway strongly believes that we need to engage more women and deploy more female peacekeepers.
We fully support the Secretary-General’s goal to have 15 % female staff and liaison officers and 20 % female police officers, and we are very proud that General Kristin Lund is Head of Mission of the UN Truce Supervision Organization and that Anne Kristin Kvilekval is the Chief of Police for the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.
To assist efforts to reach the Secretary-General’s goal with regard to female military personnell, Norway, together with Sweden and the UN Secretariat, has establised a Female Military Network here in New York.
We are also happy to announce that we will hold a seminar this spring on the role Member States can play in increasing the percentage of female peacekeepers. I would now like to underline other Norwegian priorities for this year’s negotiations:
First of all we must do more to ensure a safer and more secure environment for our personnel – and for the people they are sent to protect. Before our personnel can fulfil the often overwhelming task of protecting civilians they must first feel safe themselves.
Safety and security can be achieved in many ways. Listening to and engaging local communities and local expertise is essential for the success of any mission.
Learning from experienced field personnel is equally important. Norway welcomes the report of General dos Santos Cruz on improving the security of UN peacekeepers. Among other things, he highlights the need to improve the quality and availability of first aid and level 1 hospitals.
The use of peacekeeping intelligence is another key factor. We owe it to our personnel to give them the tools they need to operate in increasingly challenging environments. The work underway to develop a military handbook on the use of peacekeeping intelligence will be of great importance to the further implementation of the policy adopted last year.
We strongly support the initiative of Under-Secretary-General Lacroix to develop quarterly forward-looking threat assessments tailored to missions with a mandate to protect civilians. This initiative is very much in line with a study conducted by Norwegian research institutions on a threat-based approach to the protection of civilians.
Let me also underline the importance of combatting conflict-related sexual violence. We are encouraged by the work currently underway to develop a UN policy on this issue, and we are proud to be able to contribute to the development of a handbook on preventing this scourge.
I would also like to mention the enhanced efforts by the Police Division to promote specialised police teams as an important tool for addressing serious organised crime and terrorism in all UN operations. Secondly, we must continue to explore different ways to fill critical gaps, and make force generation easier and more flexible.
To this end, we hope that we can capitalise on the lessons learned from the multinational rotational concept for transport aircraft currently serving MINUSMA. Concepts like this will make it easier for all Member States, but especially for smaller Member States like Norway, to make substantial UN contributions.
We will invite Member States that are considering making a similar contribution to a seminar in April, where experience from the ongoing rotational concept will be shared.
We are very encouraged by the work being done to push for more openness and transparency with regard to force generation. The initiative shown by the Secretariat and many Member States has paved the way for better and more efficient force generation.
To sum up. We see these priorities as practical ways to support the broader UN reform that the Secretary-General has called for. Norway will continue to support his efforts whole-heartedly.
Finally, I would like to add that we support the view that peacekeeping operations must be based on and guided by a political strategy.
In order for this to work in practice, all those engaged need to know what the overall political goal is. Only then can we ensure that we are all moving in the same direction. This is a shared and collective responsibility for us all.
And it is crucial if we are to achieve true reform.
We also believe that the UN needs to work more closely with regional organisations. As noted by the Secretary-General in Addis Ababa last month, UN peacekeeping is not the solution to all crises.
The AU, and the sub-regional African organisations and coalitions are better placed to enforce peace and conduct anti-terror operations in Africa. And it is vital to ensure close cooperation and coordination when they lead operations in the same area as the UN.
Norway looks forward to engaging with all of you on these important topics in the upcoming negotiations.
Thank you for your attention.