I commend China for convening this important debate today. I also thank the briefers for their insightful briefing.
We align ourselves with the statement made on behalf of the Group of Friends for the Safety and Security of Peacekeepers.
For over seven decades, peacekeeping has remained the UN’s flagship contribution to international peace, security, and conflict resolution; and peacekeepers are invaluable assets for international peace and security.
Peacekeepers are also the most affected agents of peace, having been deployed in very fragile and dangerous environments, characterized by ever-evolving forms of threats. The alarming rate of increase in fatalities, injuries, kidnappings and other deliberate attacks against peacekeepers are of great concern. The COVID-19 has not only affected the implementation of peacekeeping mandates, but also posed serious challenges to the safety and security of the peacekeepers.
As the leading TPCC, with around 7000 of our men and women in blue helmets deployed in various complex conflict zones, ensuring the safety and security of our contingents is of paramount importance to us.
There has been progress made, particularly in raising awareness on the safety and security of peacekeepers, in the recent years. This is evident in the adoption of resolution 2518 by the Security Council in 2020, which Bangladesh had cosponsored. We welcome the Presidential Statement issued today and thank the Council members for their efforts in this regard.
We would like to share some of our priorities for the Council’s consideration:
First: Safety and security of peacekeepers is a shared responsibility of the international community, therefore, we cannot overemphasize the seminal importance of meaningful triangular cooperation and consultations among Security Council, TPCCs and Secretariat, while setting up the mandates. In this regard, we believe the recommendations of C-34 could serve as important guidance.
Second: It is also imperative that peacekeeping missions are adequately funded in order to achieve their objectives. Doing more with less is an unsustainable prescription in potentially dangerous operational situations. We call upon the Security Council to ensure that UN peacekeeping operations have clear and realistic mandates, and that sufficient resources are allocated that are consistent with the mandate and the situation on the ground.
Third: Given the complex political and security environments, it is important that the peacekeeping missions remain agile and effective in implementing their mandates. The UN needs to enhance improved training and capacity building including application of new technologies among member states, particularly TPCCs. We call for reviewing and ensuring uniformity of UN standards on training and performance including but not limited to countering Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
Fourth: The safety of peacekeepers is also closely linked to effective coordination and information-sharing among and between relevant stakeholders, as well as effective cooperation with the host authorities. Availability of reliable intelligence and timely logistical support are important to ensure maximum performance with minimum risk of casualty and those should be made available to the peacekeepers during operations.
Fifth: Implementation of Woman, Peace and Security (WPS), as a cross cutting issue, should remain a priority for the Council; and as such gender dimensions should be integrated in all stages of peacekeeping operations. The issue of safety and security of women peacekeepers including threats of sexual harassment against them must be tackled with urgency in order to ensure effective peacekeeping.
Sixth: The pandemic has posed new threats to the peacekeepers, with additional jobs and increased risks. We must ensure vaccination of all peacekeepers on a priority basis. In addition to that, we would request the Council to incorporate better preparedness in the peacekeeping mandates in future. Adequate medical facilities should be provided and qualified personnel should be deployed in the field. We need to develop a comprehensive strategy to address this growing phenomenon.
Finally, attacks against peacekeepers must be accounted for. We are happy to see this element being reflected in the SG’s Action for Peacekeeping Plus as one of the seven priorities. Cooperation with host authorities is critical in this regard.
I thank you.