Виступ делегації України на засіданні РБ ООН щодо миротворчих операцій ООН
I wish to thank you, Madam President, for the timely initiative and opportunity to have a fruitful discussion on the flagship UN activity, namely its peacekeeping operations.
We also commend the Secretary-General for continuing the practice of personal briefings to the Council on various critical issues of international peace and security.
It is a common wisdom that these days the world is an increasingly dangerous place to live in, warranting more, and not less, engagement of the United Nations in the area of peace and security.
Ukraine, as an active troop and police contributor and a country where a foreign-led armed conflict continues to rage, views the issue of maintaining peace and conflict prevention as the most important tasks of the Organization.
Over the years, peace operations proved to be an adaptive instrument and contributed to resolution of numerous conflicts. A number of success stories of UN peacekeeping endeavor have contributed to an increase in demand for UN PKOs, leading to their significant expansion in size, geography, budget and resources as well as in mandates.
Following the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations report, various aspects of the PKOs have been debated extensively both by the General Assembly and this Council. We fully share the view that «lasting peace is achieved not through military but political solution», UN PKOs are merely one of tools to achieve adequate conditions on the ground for advancing a respective peace process.
Indeed, PKOs are a tool and not a solution for conflicts. Yet, sustainable de-escalation and progress in peaceful settlement and peacebuilding, including holding elections, are not possible without a robust international security presence, capable of ensuring and monitoring implementation of all security-related provisions until legitimate security sector and law-enforcement institutions are established or restored.
That is why today UN peacekeepers are expected to deliver more. That is why, hence, the task of protection of civilians has evolved into an integral part of UN peacekeeping; performance in this area is often decisive for the success and legitimacy of a peace process.
Therefore, even in situations when political negotiations are in a stalemate, PKOs continue to play an important stabilizing role and should be provided with adequate technical, human and financial resources. If a PKO loses trust of a local population, the political process has minimal chances to succeed.
In this regard, we fully agree with the need to identify the missions that are in need of structural reform and to thoroughly consider every mission’s mandate and monitor the efficiency of its implementation, with the focus on protection of civilians and achieving a political solution.
We believe that missions should be provided with clear, coherent, achievable and, at the same time, resilient mandates, sufficient to ensure security and safety of civilians, including stopping illegal inflow of weapons and mercenaries.
Taking into account that security situation on the ground in conflict areas could change swiftly and dramatically, such mandates should include provisions enabling PKOs to use force in circumstances of direct threat to its personnel or civilians, including terrorist threats.
This Council as the one and only UN PKO mandating body should be up to this task.
Another crucial aspect is timely transition from peacekeeping operations to other forms of UN presence. We have witnessed a success story of a steady restoration of peace in Cote d’Ivoire. Ukraine is proud to be among those TCCs who have actively contributed to this endeavor by supporting the UN Operation in that country.
Let me also take this opportunity to welcome the efforts of the Cote d’Ivoire government, with the support of the international community, to address remaining issues and challenges in various areas, and note the commitment of the country’s leadership to continued cooperation with the UN and regional organizations to enhance stability in the country and the region.
Here, one can clearly see how success is achieved through carefully gauging the nature and strength of UN involvement against progress in consolidating stability and peace. We also believe the same approach should be applied to Liberia, which is already on the way toward assuming from the UNMIL full responsibility for its security. Rewarding success is an important incentive, which should motivate countries emerging from conflict to achieve more and move faster.
Speaking of the right bag of tools: today, the UN peacekeeping is trying to address challenges of the 21st century with tools of the 20th century. I will not reveal a big secret stating that sometimes UN peacekeepers are underequipped, poorly informed, and thus may refrain from intervening, even in the face of terrible atrocities. While the world’s technological revolution proceeds, a cliché image of the UN peacekeeper remains a soldier in a blue helmet with binoculars. It is long overdue to move from traditional peacekeeping to cost-effective «smart peace-keeping» introducing modern technology, from data gathering to remote observation and nonlethal weapons. This can greatly assist with civilian protection and, indeed, the entire range of peacekeeping mandates. Many of these issues were reflected in the reports of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations and the UN’s Panel of Experts on Technology and Innovation in 2015. However, apart of the introduction of UAVs in two missions and surveillance balloons in one capital, not much was implemented since then and the soldiers with binoculars are still there. It would be appropriate to request the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of panels’ recommendations and prepare a study on comparative cost-effectiveness of «digital» vIs-a-vis «traditional» peace-keeping.
We are confident that the United Nations can benefit immensely from a plethora of technologies to assist its peace operations. Missing such opportunities means missing chances for peace, as has happened far too many times in the past when the United Nations was ill-equipped for difficult mandates.
One more issue we should not overlook is overreliance on the UN mission’s support. However, here too, we have to apply a far-sighted approach. In some cases, host countries are getting dependent on the UN presence, while in others mission’s long-lasting cycle of life could be a sign of its indispensable role as local and regional security factor. We share your vision that our main goal should be to make every UN mission a story of success, but not turn it into an infinite process with no light in the end of the tunnel.
Last but not least. Over the past decade, the role of the relevant regional arrangements in promoting peace and security has only expanded. ECOWAS engagement in the Gambian post electoral crisis is the most recent case in point.
Therefore, the United Nations should build and enhance its strategic partnership with regional organizations working in concert with them and using comparative advantage of each actor in peacekeeping and conflict management. If there is a conclusion that this Council should benefit from the open debate on conflicts in Europe organized by Ukrainian presidency in February is that this kind of interaction is important as never before for UN-OSCE, UN-EU and UN-NATO cooperation today.
In conclusion, Madam President, I would like to reaffirm the commitment of Ukraine to strengthening the UN peacekeeping operations and, therefore, our readiness to work constructively with all parties involved.