Statement by Sweden at the Security Council Briefing on UN Peacekeeping Operations – Strategic Force Generation


National Statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on UN Peacekeeping Operations – Strategic Force Generation, 5 October 2017, New York.

Thank you very much Mr President,

I would like to thank also the Under Secretary-General Lacroix for his briefing, the representative of Canada for the update today on the upcoming Ministerial in Vancouver and also for hosting it, and not least a great expression of appreciation to the contribution of Bangladesh, thank you very much, as a major troop contributing country, your input is very important. I also want to take the opportunity to express our condolences on the latest loss of Bangladeshi peacekeepers in Mali only a few days ago.

Let me begin by paying tribute to the men and women of all countries who have served with United Nations peace operations. Their commitment and dedication has saved countless lives. Many have lost their own lives in the service of the UN and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude, as others have said.

Mr President, first

The Secretary General's proposal on reform of the Secretariat's Peace and Security Architecture aims to create a better framework for more effective UN peace and security efforts. It is vital that we give him our full support, and stand united behind him in this endeavour. The Secretary-General's proposal seeks, amongst other things, to strengthen the link between political strategies and operations. This is a prerequisite for success and must remain our point of departure when we consider how to best configure peace operations. It is essential that peacekeeping operations have the capabilities they need from the start.

We must also continue to explore concrete options for more sustainable and predictable financing for all Security Council mandated peace operations, including from assessed contributions. It is important to keep in mind that reform and efficiency are not primarily a budgetary question. It is about delivering better with the resources available. Efficiency should be measured in deliverables, criteria for success and performance indicators on how well we keep the peace and protect those in need of protection.

Mandates that are more realistic, context-tailored, prioritized and flexible will increase the potential for successful outcomes. There must be possibilities to course-correct and adjust when things are not working. This requires frank input from across the system and from troop and police contributing countries. Flexibility will ensure that operations are tailored to the specific challenges on the ground. To achieve this, we need to empower the field and strengthen leadership capacity as proposed by the Secretary-General.

Operational plans based on clear and measurable objectives, accompanied by benchmarks for follow up and reporting back to the Security Council, should guide integrated mission planning and leadership. The inclusion of operational 'Criteria for Success' can help to sequence the campaign plan and thereby mitigate the capability shortfalls.

All of the above requires informed analysis from the Secretariat, including sound, strategic military and police advice, based on 'troop-to-task' analysis. The ability of the Council to give dynamic and strategic mission mandates will demand greater frankness in the manner in which the Secretary-General reports to, and presents options for, the consideration of the Council, which was raised by many colleagues here this afternoon.

A stronger common understanding of operational needs – shared with troop and police contributing countries during the force generation process – will also allow smaller contributing countries the possibility of joining together to provide the UN with unique capabilities. The contribution by my country, Norway, Portugal, Denmark and Belgium of C-130 air transportation to MINUSMA provides an example. Another one is multinational training teams with the ability to train UN-missions headquarters in the field to improve cohesive command and control.

We welcome resolution 2378 and look forward to the Secretary-General's recommendations on a mechanism to fill existing gaps in terms of force generation, including through effective and efficient training and capacity building. Contributing countries have a responsibility to ensure that peacekeepers are properly prepared, trained and equipped in order to meet the challenges they will face in the field.

Mr President,

Troop contributing countries' meetings related to the mandates of peace operations are important. However, we need to do more to realise the full potential for interaction between contributing countries and the Secretariat, which will allow the Secretary-General to provide the Council with in-depth and strategic military and police advice. For this reason, we need more predictable, uniform and coherent processes for triangular cooperation and dialogue. The additional TCC-meeting on MINUSMA in January led to a more open process, which contributed to the new and welcome approach from the Secretariat towards mission-specific strategic force generation, which resulted in the Force Generation Conference for MINUSMA in May. We truly believe that this format can strengthen the force generation process.

As we all agree, troop and police contributing countries must fully adhere to the UN zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse. We commend the Secretary-General for his leadership on the issue, including the High-Level Event on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse held during High Level week. As requested in resolution 2272, we must be prepared to replace military units or formed police units when appropriate steps to investigate allegations have not been undertaken.

Mr President,

We are deeply concerned by the increasing risks that our blue helmets face in difficult and complex environments. The Council, together with the troop and police contributing countries, have a responsibility to ensure that the commanders and troops that we send into the field have all the tools needed to protect both the communities they serve and themselves.

We firmly support new capabilities such as the use of modern technology, qualified air-assets and peacekeeping-intelligence assets. Such new capabilities are key force multipliers that can improve performance and reduce casualties. Denying the development of these type of capacities hampers UN-forces ability to protect themselves and civilians. These capabilities, together with enhanced training and equipment, will allow us to become more agile and to do a better job with less risk. In addition, reaching the goal of at least 15% female observers and staff officers in the field will increase missions' effectiveness.

Mr President,

In summary, we believe that force generation can benefit from: greater openness and transparency in the process; increased frankness and better strategic military and police advice from the Secretary-General to the Council; sequenced mandates with prioritized tasks; and the use of enhanced new capabilities that reduce risks and enhance performance.

My country has a long tradition of participating in UN peace operations, with over 80,000 Swedish women and men having taken part to date. From the very first group of military observers, who participated in the Golan Heights in 1948, to our current engagement in the UN stabilisation mission in Mali (MINUSMA), Sweden's commitment has remained firm.

We will continue to contribute, as well as doing everything we can to ensure that UN peacekeeping can meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Merci beaucoup.


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