11 February 2019 Statement by HEPR at the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34) meeting

Statement by H.E. Mr. Masud Bin Momen, Permanat Representative of Bangladesh to the UN at the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34) meeting

Monday, 11 February 2019, Conference Room 1

Mr. Chairman,

Bangladesh aligns itself with the statement delivered by the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Morocco on behalf of NAM.

02. Inspired by our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as he espoused, “Friendship to all and Malice towards none” as a cornerstone of our Foreign Policy and owing to our constitutional obligation, Bangladesh takes a value-driven approach to peacekeeping. We are providing full support to United Nations peacebuilding efforts and the notion of ‘sustaining peace’ as well as to Secretary-General’s call for a ‘surge in peace diplomacy’. We also support the Secretary General’s Action for Peacekeeping agenda (A4P). In keeping with our significant contribution to UN Peacekeeping Operations in all its dimension, our Hon’ble Prime Minister participated in Secretary General’s High-level Meeting on the A4P in September 2018 and expressed her deep commitment to this important global agenda. We appreciate various initiatives for A4P implementation and look forward to contributing to that end through all possible means including C-34 process in the days ahead. It would perhaps be useful for the A4P agenda to develop a systemic linkage with C-34 for drawing upon the latter’s work.

03. We welcome the Secretary General’s reforms in the Peace & Security architecture to which we have been lending our support. We now look forward to their positive impacts on the ground especially in terms of better performance by the Secretariat as well as improved coherence, safety and security, and operational effectiveness of the UN Peacekeeping Operations. We expect the new departments to prove the justification of their reconfiguration through their deliveries.

Mr. Chairman,

04. Peacekeeping remains an important pillar in our foreign policy priorities. We have never faltered to respond to UN’s call for participating in Peacekeeping missions.

05. Today Peacekeeping has become more complex, demanding and dangerous than ever before. Peacekeepers are required to accomplish multi-dimensional and complex tasks, often under extremely severe and difficult conditions. They continue to face growing, unconventional and asymmetric threats from non-state actors.

06. Under such an evolving scenario, and in view of the operational and policy challenges facing peacekeeping today, my delegation emphasises on the need for a frank dialogue on the future direction of UN peacekeeping in the days ahead under C-34 platform. The overriding goal should be to further strengthen the UN peacekeeping architecture; to ensure that our Blue Helmets do not suffer from the lack of appropriate resources in carrying out their mandates.

07. We cannot overemphasize the primacy of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34) to ensure a healthy debate among all members of the United Nations on all aspects of peacekeeping. There is, thus, a need to inject renewed vigor and energy in the C-34 process. A well-functioning C34, in our view, complements and consolidates the triangular partnership between the member states, Security Council, and the secretariat.

Mr. Chairman,

08. We all agree on the need for change for the better, but we diverge on how to make that happen. My delegation feels that there are certain critical issues where we need to strive for a common ground to ensure the efficiency and sustainability of the UN Peace keeping operations:

First, we must strengthen the triangular relationship among the T/PCCs, Security Council and the Secretariat for mandate setting. Peacekeepers should be given clear, realistic, and achievable mandates commensurate to their capabilities and pegged to the ground realities; they be adequately authorized and equipped and resourced to fulfil their mandates. In doing so, we need to be sufficiently responsive to the messages coming from the field and adjust accordingly. Fair representation of T/PCCs in deciding and implementing peacekeeping mandates needs to be ensured. Peacekeeping should be regarded as a facilitating factor for reaching a political solution to a conflict not a panacea to all problems.

Second, we must improve the safety and security situation of the Peacekeepers on the ground. This again has to be duly aligned with the notion of Responsibility to Protect. Challenges beyond the capacity of peacekeeping missions such as those arising from terrorism and non-state actors should be addressed through other competent means without risking the credibility and security of peacekeepers. My delegation is ready to support any constructive suggestion in this regard during the C-34 negotiations. There needs to be improvement on a range of issues from rapid deployment to unimpeded access, and from physical security to human intelligence gathering. Member States in a position to provide resources and specialized equipment and training must come forward with unequivocal commitment to enhance situational awareness, access, agility and performance of peacekeepers. Requirements of the main T/PCCs whose men and women are risking their lives on the ground should be given due consideration.

Third, we align with the call for developing an integrated performance evaluation and analysis framework for all peacekeeping components based on data, evidence and impact assessment. This culture of performance should be predicated on accountability and transparency. But we must also recognise that performance has close links with needs-based, predictable resources and critical enablers specific to each peacekeeping mission. Alleged performance failures should not be the ground for cost-cutting and force reduction.

Fourth, we need to stand strongly behind SG’s zero tolerance policy against all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers. Bangladesh is doing its part. Our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is a member of the Circle of Leadership on the prevention of and response to sexual exploitation and abuse by Peacekeepers. We are also party to the SG’s Voluntary Compact to eliminate sexual exploitation and abuse. Yet we need to remind ourselves of the great services the peacekeepers have been doing to the humankind. The triangular cooperation should focus on strategic communication with media and civil society to project shared challenges and preserve common interest so that the reputation of UN peacekeeping is not overshadowed by a few stray incidents.

Fifth, we must redouble our efforts to increase the number of female peacekeepers by incentivizing their participation and by adopting innovative approaches for creating enabling environment for them.

Sixth, we must find out new and innovative ways of limiting environmental footprints by our peacekeepers on the ground. In this regard, we need to build consensus on mainstreaming well-accepted elements for mitigating environmental footprints in the deployment and operational activities of our peacekeepers. Bangladesh, as Co-Chair together with Italy, of the “Group of Friends for leading on environmental management in the field” (LEAF) is working towards that end.

Seventh, in view of the need for use of technological advancements (drones etc.) by peacekeeping missions to address the rise of asymmetric threats coming from non-state actors, care should be taken so that such use does not give rise to any national sovereignty issue of the host country.

Before I conclude Mr. Chairman,

09. I wish all members of the Committee fruitful and successful negotiations. My delegation looks forward to playing a constructive role to help reinforce our unqualified support to UN peacekeeping. Let us all focus on collective action and consensus building in the days ahead.

10. I thank you, Mr. Chairman