Thank you, Mr Chair.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the five Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway.We warmly welcome the initiative by the Netherlands to organise this open debate on how to strengthen UN peace operations.
Let me also thank the Secretary-General for outlining his vision and proposed timeline, and the Chair of the African Union Commission and the Director of GREFFA for their valuable contributions.
Mr Chair. The Nordic countries would like to make four points:
First, the success or failure of a peace operation is defined primarily by whether it helps to bring about a sustainable and peaceful settlement of the conflict. All missions must therefore be guided by a clear political strategy, and they need to have the full backing of the Security Council, the contributing countries, regional actors and host nations in order to fulfil that strategy.
Consultations about when and how to deploy an operation should involve all stakeholders, including troop and police contributing countries.
It is also important to consult with regional and subregional organisations, most notably the African Union. In this regard, we welcome the joint UN-AU framework on peace and security as a basis for further deepening that partnership.
Second, missions must be mandated, planned and designed in response to each specific context. A gender-sensitive and whole-of-system approach should guide this process. Our goal should be to reduce the gap between expectations and the ability to deliver.
The new practice of conducting independent reviews of missions is a major step towards a more strategic approach. These reviews can be used by the Security Council when drafting and revising mandates in order to ensure that they are better prioritised and sequenced.
Close coordination between those who mandate, plan, manage and implement operations is necessary.
We welcome the agreement earlier this month on guidelines to improve the existing mechanisms of triangular cooperation, and we call on all parties to use those mechanisms actively.
Third, UN missions must be better adapted to the increasingly complex and high-risk environments in which they operate.
The Nordic countries fully support the Secretary-General’s Action Plan for follow-up of the Cruz report to address crucial safety and security concerns. Uniformed units must have the right training, skills and equipment to be able to protect themselves and deliver on their mandate.
We must collectively seek to measure and improve performance at all levels and for all categories of personnel. The zero-tolerance policy against sexual exploitation and abuse must be fully respected and implemented. We can only reach these goals by working together.
Finally the Nordic countries are firm backers of the Secretary-General’s ambition to double the number of women peacekeepers. We support the goal of having 15 % women military officers and 20 % women police officers in UN operations by 2020.
We strongly believe that an increase in the number of women peacekeepers will have a positive effect on the ability of UN operations to deliver on their mandates.