National Statement by Sweden at the Security Council Briefing on Peacekeeping Operations


National Statement on behalf of Sweden, Ambassador Carl Skau, at the Security Council briefing on Peacekeeping Operations. Tuesday, 23 May 2017, New York.

Mr President,

Let me begin by thanking today's briefers for their insightful remarks. I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the brave men and women serving with the United Nations, who, on a daily basis, place themselves in some of the most difficult and dangerous contexts in the world. We appreciate their commitment, which over the last 70 years has saved countless lives.

Today's briefing provides a timely opportunity to discuss operational challenges across the peacekeeping realm, not least in light of the ongoing review of the UN peace and security architecture. We welcome the Secretary-General's efforts to institute a more holistic approach to sustaining peace. This work deserves our full support. We encourage the Secretary-General to be bold in his recommendations.

Mr President,

The broader concept of the 'primacy of politics', is key to ensuring effective peace operations and successful implementation of peacekeeping mandates. As sustainable peace can only be delivered on the basis of political solutions, political strategies must be built across all pillars of the UN system. Military components represent a crucial part of these integrated strategies. Clear and measurable objectives accompanied by benchmarks for follow up and reporting back to the Security Council should guide these integrated mission planning and leadership.

Today's briefings, highlighting the diverse challenges facing different missions, also point to the need for a system-wide and context-specific approach to the design and configuration of missions. This work needs to be supported with high-quality conflict analysis, including through intelligence, and prepared jointly by the whole of the United Nations system.

Experience shows that 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. We encourage efforts to enhance the flexibility and the ability to correct course, including through frank input from across the system and enhanced capacity to engage with local communities. To achieve this we also need to empower the field, including by simplifying administrative procedures and achieving greater delegation of authority, but also by ensuring that the highest caliber candidates are appointed to lead these UN missions in the field.

Mr President,

Support for capacity building needs and better reporting of caveats by troop and police contributing countries are essential. All peacekeepers, as well as contributing countries, need to be properly prepared, trained and equipped in order to meet the heavy challenges they will face in the field.

Mr President,

There is an inherent link between security and human rights. Human rights components should be standard in peace operations, in order to enhance their quality and effectiveness, not least in the promotion and protection of civilians. The protection and promotion of human rights must constitute a 'whole-of-mission' approach. In addition, when a gender perspective is implemented from the beginning of a mission it leads to more operational effectiveness, better situational awareness and more security for our troops. All missions should continually report on how gender considerations are included across operations.

Mr President,

Let me turn now to some of the points raised by today's briefers.

Firstly, on drawdowns; the type of cross pillar political strategies mentioned above should lay the groundwork for successful drawdown. Experience tells us that there is room for improvement in how the UN deals with transitions. Exit strategies and transitional phases of peacekeeping operations need to be analysed and planned at an early stage in cooperation with all relevant actors. Realistic expectations of what can be achieved in the immediate aftermath of the drawdown must be coupled with clear commitment from the government to further key structural reforms.

We for example ask ourselves if the UN, through the UNCT – is equipped and resourced to deliver on the ambitious Peacebuilding Plan (PBP) in Liberia. As chairs of the Peacebuilding Commission, we feel that the commission has an important role to play in monitoring and follow-up, that the international community can provide the support needed to deliver on this Peacebuilding Plan and this important transition phase for Libera.

Secondly, if peacekeeping is to be robust, mandates must be matched with adequate capabilities in order for missions to fulfill their objectives. A robust stance will also require flexibility to adjust to changed circumstances. Helicopters, intelligence and Quick Reaction Forces, as well as proper training of troops, is key in this regard. In addition to military or police resources, this is an area where human rights expertise is essential. We need to consider short-term objectives in relation to longer-term consequences when developing strategies for the protection of civilians. Local engagement is essential for understanding conflict dynamics and allow the mission to carefully weigh its options.

Mr President,

Peacekeeping is an essential, unique – and by many measurements successful - instrument within the United Nations' peace and security toolbox. Nonetheless, it is essential that it evolves in response to the changing nature of the challenges we face today. In supporting this evolution, we must not waiver in our commitment to those who serve and those who they seek to protect.

Thank you.


Lisa Laskaridis
Head of Press and Communication, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN
Phone +1 212 583 2543
Mobile +1 917 239 0941
email to Lisa Laskaridis