Statement by Mr. Tareq Md. Ariful Islam, Deputy Permanat Representative of Bangladesh to the UN at the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34) meeting Monday, 17 February 2020, Conference Room 1

Mr. Chairman,

We align with the statement delivered by the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Morocco on behalf of NAM.

2. Our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in his maiden UNGA speech in 1974 said, and I quote “Peace is an imperative for the survival of humanity. It represents the deepest aspirations of men and women throughout the world”. Inspired by this human-centred and value-driven approach towards global peace, we have been providing full support to the UN peacekeeping operations over the last three decades.

3. We endorse Secretary general’s renewed focus on prevention across the peace continuum and the implementation of the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) agenda. We are pleased to see that the A4P is on track towards contributing to performance, safety, protection of civilians, and WPS Agenda in the field. As a manifestation of our political commitment to this agenda, we expressed our interests to champion some of the themes. We have also been encouraging a systematic linkage between C-34 and A4P. We are happy to see that member states have reached consensus to align C-34 report structure with the A4P priorities this year.

Mr. Chairman,

4. As Secretary General has noted in his report to this committee, “Peacekeeping missions are performing multiple interdependent tasks in non-permissive and high-risk environments, with diminishing resources.” The challenges are indeed multi-dimensional and multifaceted, namely unconventional and asymmetric threats, the proliferation of armed groups, exclusion, impunity, the effects of new technologies, and climate change. Yet peacekeeping remains our best bet to restore peace in most of the conflict-affected parts of the world. It offers unique advantages including the universality of its mandate, political acceptability, and breadth of its experience. We must, therefore, preserve its centrality within the international community’s wider efforts to advance global peace.

5. The C34 provides us the required platform for a healthy debate among member states on all aspects of peacekeeping. We have a new reporting structure this year. We hope this will help us overcoming our failure during the last reporting cycle and coming up with a consensus-based report this year.

Mr. Chairman,

6.  My delegation feels that there are certain critical issues where we need to strive for a common ground this year:

First, we stress the need for further strengthening the triangular relationship among the T/PCCs, Security Council and the Secretariat for mandate setting. The utmost need in the United Nations peacekeeping missions is clear, realistic, and achievable mandates commensurate to their capabilities, ground realities, and available resources.

Second, we support the implementation efforts of the Secretary General’s Action for Peacekeeping agenda (A4P) particularly through in-depth and focused conversations with all stakeholders including those working at the field level. We feel that the United Nations should further systematize the process of incorporating concerns coming from the field in its major policy documents. This will help missions contribute effectively to prevent and tackle conflicts before they erupt into serious situations.

Third, the fatalities and disabilities among peacekeepers continue to remain high. We must get our acts together to improve safety and security situation on the ground.  We stand ready to support any constructive recommendation in this regard during the upcoming 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, and CASEVAC/MEDEVAC. We must also break through any culture of impunity for crimes committed against peacekeepers.

Fourth, we must put the peace process on a clear political track supported by united peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts.  We need to encourage whole of society approach and promote WPS and YPS agenda. It is crucial that an objective assessment of the political process guides the design and review of peacekeeping mandates.

Fifth, the questions of mindset and performance of peacekeepers have gained a lot of attention in recent times. Our peacekeepers remain open to receiving objective assessment and appraisal of their performance. Performance cannot, however, be seen in isolation from the fundamental questions of political and operational realities, needs-based, predictable resources and critical enablers specific to each peacekeeping mission.  The decisive factor of mission leadership and the enabling role of host States need not be over-emphasized. We take note of the rolling out of ‘Comprehensive Performance Assessment System (CPAS)’ in some peacekeeping missions. We stress that   a similar tool needs to also be instituted at UNHQ levels. We also reiterate our call to develop a zero-caveat culture in the United Nations peacekeeping operations.

Sixth, we have been a lead country for the adoption of the landmark security council resolution 1325 on WPS. As an expression of our political commitment to this agenda, we are going to host an international event in Dhaka commemorating the 20th anniversary of the resolution. 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.

Seventh, we must find out new and innovative ways of limiting environmental footprints by our peacekeepers on the ground. The solutions in this regard need not always necessarily be high-tech. We can contribute a lot by promoting environmentally conscious culture, attitudes and mindsets through pre-deployment and in-Mission trainings. Also, we can contribute to locally led mitigation and adaptation measures, such as   planting trees, encouraging usage of more biodegradable materials etc. 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.

Lastly, it is unfortunate that the last COE working group could not reach an agreement on the National Cost Data (NCD) segment.  This is, no doubt, going to adversely impact the overall performance of the peacekeeping operations. Doing more with less is not the right prescription, especially in dangerous and difficult situations. It is, therefore, imperative that the member states and Secretariat work together to rationalize COE reimbursement based on a realistic assessment of cost data.

Before I conclude Mr. Chairman,

7. I wish all members of the Committee fruitful and successful negotiations. Let us all focus on collective action and consensus building in the days ahead.

8. I thank you, Mr. Chairman.