Let me start by thanking Under-Secretary-General Lacroix for his briefing on the status on United Nations peacekeeping reform.
Peacekeeping is the UN’s most powerful tool to be used in the maintenance of international peace and security. But with this tool comes responsibility.
As members of this Council, we have an obligation to ensure that UN peacekeeping operations are adequately planned and equipped, so that mandates can be executed in the best way possible. The Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping Initiative (A4P) reflects and frames this responsibility.
Since the launch of the A4P, most Member States have committed themselves to this reform initiative. We welcome the concrete action that have been taken to improve the implementation of the mission mandates. This includes advancing lasting political solutions, the strengthening of the protection of civilians, including children, as well as the safety and security of our peacekeepers, and the follow-up of the Women, Peace, and Security agenda.
Our commitment is essential to maintain UN peacekeeping as an effective tool to help countries torn by conflict to transition to lasting peace.
However, commitments and initiatives are nothing without implementation. In the few years since the A4P was launched, we have learned of some challenges to its progress. This includes the increasingly difficult security situation in many host countries. In some cases, this is further complicated through the presence of foreign security personnel. Different views among Member States on how missions should deal with this situation adds to the challenge.
Let me assure you that Norway is very supportive of Action for Peacekeeping Plus. It is well designed to drive the reform process forward. The focus should be directed at translating priorities into concrete action. In this respect, Norway is disappointed that the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations was not able to conclude a consensus report this year, as many important concrete recommendations were agreed upon.
Let me highlight key Norwegian reform priorities:
Ensuring a coherent strategy in support of political solutions must be at the core of all peacekeeping. Women must be included for peace to be sustainable. And we, the members of this Council, should do our part by putting aside whatever differences we have, to support peace processes.
For missions to be effective, efforts must continue to strengthen strategic and operational integration between civilian staff, UN police and the military component.
All UN member states must ensure that both women and men are available for recruitment to all peacekeeping functions at all levels.
All peacekeepers must be trained, prepared and willing to fulfil their designated task. This is of particular importance when it comes to the protection of civilians, including children.
Peacekeepers must be provided with the equipment needed to stay as safe as possible and to perform as expected.
The focus on strategic communication must be maintained. This is key to create trust among local communities, and to counter the increasing challenge of mis- and disinformation and hate speech.
Finally, I would like stress Norway’s support for the A4P+ ambition of moving towards a data-driven and tech-enabled peacekeeping. We will continue to contribute financially to the new strategy for digital transformation of UN peacekeeping, which has quite rightly been described as a game-changer.
Let me conclude by reiterating Norway’s commitment to the reform of UN peacekeeping and the continuous work to ensure effective implementation of all peacekeeping mandates.