National Statement by Sweden at the Security Council Briefing on Peacekeeping
National Statement by Sweden, Ambassador Olof Skoog, at the briefing on Peacekeeping. Thursday, 06 April 2017, New York.
Let me begin by thanking the Presidency for scheduling today's debate. It comes at an important moment for the United Nations and the international community. The range and nature of threats to international peace and security are evolving and multiplying. And, as the Secretary-General has previously told us, the United Nations must make changes to its 'culture, strategy, structures and operations' to respond to these new challenges.
Peacekeeping is an essential, unique – and by many measurements successful - instrument within the United Nations' peace and security toolbox. Over the past 70 years, peacekeeping operations across the globe have saved countless lives. However, for the United Nations to live up to its commitment in the Charter to maintain peace and security, these operations must not only become more effective, but also improve their contribution to sustainable peace. We should also bear in mind that resources are finite and need to be used in the most efficient way possible. Nonetheless, the starting point is to save lives not money. And to save lives, we have to solve conflict. For this reason, the focus in today's discussion, on the political foundations necessary for the success of peacekeeping operations, is particularly valuable.
The findings of the three 2015 reviews of the UN peace and security architecture all agree on the need for reform and provide a roadmap to achieve it; now it is time to follow through on their recommendations. At the heart of these reviews is a clear understanding that the UN needs to take a more holistic approach to maintaining peace and security. We welcome the work already underway, including the internal review of the Secretariat's Peace and Security Architecture. We hope this will lead to a UN equipped to respond in a system-wide and well-coordinated fashion to threats to peace and security. Furthermore, lasting peace requires the involvement of the entire population, meaning that the full, equal, and effective participation of women should also be hardwired into all of our efforts towards peace and security, as should human rights.
Sweden sees a number of areas for reform.
Firstly, how often do we hear in this Council that there are no military solutions to a particular conflict? We must recognise the 'primacy of politics'; meaning that peace can only be delivered on the basis of political solutions that aim to sustain peace. This should guide all peace operations and is also crucial with regard to the protection of civilians.
Building effective political strategies requires a thorough understanding of the conflict and its context. It means asking some of the difficult questions that we are grappling with here today. The answers will be unique to every setting. The Council thus needs to be supported in its work with high-quality and reliable conflict analysis, prepared jointly by the whole of the United Nations system.
For example, Secretariat briefings should give a more comprehensive overview of the situation, to enable the Council to make better informed decisions. Strategic reviews in advance of the mandate renewals should be improved and include clear options to help inform Council decisions.
Secondly, acting on this information, the mandates adopted by this Council should be truly 'fit for purpose'. Agreeing more realistic, context-tailored and flexible mandates will increase the potential for successful outcomes. Within mandates, tasks need to be prioritised, sequenced and adjusted over time. Exit strategies and transitional phases of peacekeeping operations need to be analysed and planned at an early stage in cooperation with all relevant actors. It is important to understand 'what success looks like' by including clear and measurable objectives accompanied by benchmarks for progress. We should not fear to review mandates regularly and correct course when needed.
Clear objectives and benchmarks are also an important tool for dialogue with the host country, which is crucial. A good example is the Mutual Commitment Framework between the Central African Republic and the international community, where delineated responsibilities and objectives demonstrate what all involved bring to the table to deliver peace.
Thirdly, to better prevent conflict and promote long term stability, all the tools in the toolbox need to be considered by the Council and the UN. They need to be used more strategically in support of identified political objectives; with the whole of the UN system acting in a holistic manner in support of countries.
Therefore, increased coherence between peacekeeping operations and the UN development and humanitarian systems is critical. Police capabilities play an essential role distinct from the military and should also be integrated. Broader strategies that address the peace continuum must be inclusive and based on the full respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.
The UN must also take into account how they cooperate with other relevant actors, including regional actors. Regional actors that undertake missions on behalf of the Council, such as the AMISOM mission in Somalia, are indispensable, and must be supported, including through predictable financing.
Finally, the dialogue between the UN Security Council and troop and police contributing countries (TCCs/PCCs) needs to be strengthened and made more dynamic, both in the design and implementation of mandates. The challenges and experiences of troop and police contributing countries are an invaluable source of information for the Council. As well as listening, the Council must ensure that UN troops and police better reflect the diversity of the UN's member states, meet the requirements and standards and deliver on the tasks set out in mandates. This requires contributing countries to declare any caveats. In addition, the capacity building needs of peacekeepers should be assessed and supported.
Let me stress that every peacekeeper and every peacekeeping operation must do all they can when civilians are under imminent threat. There must be zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse.
The United Nations Charter states our commitment to 'unite our strength to maintain international peace and security'. The peacekeeping operations mandated by this Council and supported by troop and police contributing countries have often been the means through which we have lived this commitment.
In this period of new challenges, we must not waiver in this commitment and stand united in support of peace.