I wish to begin by thanking USG Lacroix USG Khare and Mr. Miguel Mourato Gordo for their comprehensive and useful briefing to the Committee.
My delegation aligns itself with the statement delivered by Morocco on behalf of NAM.
Peacekeeping operations have been proven as an effective tool of our multilateral efforts to maintain peace and security around the world. However, peacekeeping operations have become more complex and hazardous in nature due to evolving challenges in the field. They are needed to be fit for purpose with clear mandate, adequate resources and capability to deal with the emerging challenges.
Guided by peace-centric foreign policy dictum of our Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman- ‘Friendship to all and malice towards none’, Bangladesh has been in the forefront of the UN’s peace endeavors including peacekeeping. Bangladesh has gradually increased its participation in the UN peacekeeping in numbers and capacities and has been the leading troop and police contributing country for decades. At present, more than 7000 Bangladeshi peacekeepers are deployed in 8 peacekeeping missions. In line of their duty, so far, 166 Bangladeshi peacekeepers have made ultimate sacrifice including the recent three brave peacekeepers who died in the Central African Republic. We condole with the families of the deceased and express our deep appreciation to the courageous and sacrificing contributions of all fallen peacekeepers for the noble cause of international peace and security.
We are encouraged to see the concerted and coordinated efforts in the recent years to make peacekeeping more focused and effective, particularly the progress made in strategic and operational integration. We recognize the importance of the implementation of the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) and the seven (7) priorities set in the A4P+. We have seen some encouraging progresses in improving the mandate delivery of peacekeeping operations in the last few years. Yet, we need to enhance our efforts in addressing some critical issues.
In this regard, Mr. Chair, allow me to highlight a few points:
First, despite many efforts and initiatives, the safety and security of peacekeepers has remained a major challenge. We are deeply concerned on the increase in IED attacks against peacekeepers. We urge to ensure necessary capacities and resources for the peacekeeping operations to fulfill their mandates and fight back any attack against the peacekeepers. We also emphasize timely and organized day and night time CASEVAC/MEDEVAC which is crucial to save the valuable lives of the peacekeepers. In the last Peacekeeping Ministerial held in Seoul, the Member States focused on medical capacity building in the pledges which needs to be enhanced. We put emphasis on the issue, and accordingly in the last one year, Bangladesh provided Aero Medical Evacuation Team (AMET) in MONUSCO and level-2 hospital in MINUSCA.
Second, we are concerned to learn from the USG DPO’s briefing that fatalities due to malicious acts are increasing and such fatalities have more than doubled from 13 in 2020 to 29 in 2022. Ensuring accountability to the crime against peacekeepers is critical to reduce the fatalities. In this regard, we urge quick and effective investigation into the crime against peacekeepers and bring the perpetrators to justice thereafter.
Third, comprehensive whole-of-mission approaches in coordination with the respective national authorities are needed to ensure the protection of civilians. The peacekeeping operations should be provided with adequate resources to implement the Protection of Civilians mandate. It is also critical to allocate adequate resources while tasking the forces on the ground.
Fourth, swift and timely rotation of the Contingent Owned Equipment (COE) is highly important to ensure operational readiness of the Mission. There are many issues related to the COE that need to be considered. In this regard, we look forward to the next triennial review of the COE manual in January 2023 where the concerns of the TPCCs can adequately be addressed.
Fifth, a comprehensive pre-deployment training is essential for capacity building as well as developing the understanding of accountability of the peacekeepers. We have always given special attention to the pre-deployment training to prepare our peacekeepers fully ready for serving in the Missions. Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training (BIPSOT) has been playing significant role in this regard. In addition to providing professional capacity building, the BIPSOT has also been imparting training on women, peace and security, sexual exploitation and abuse and other issues related to conduct of peacekeepers. We are also ready to provide training support to other TPCCs and turn BIPSOT into a Centre of Excellence.
Sixth, the peacekeeping operations have a critical role in peacebuilding and sustaining peace in addition to their regular military and police activities. We have been emphasizing on the positive interlinkages between peacekeeping and peacebuilding for ensuring a smooth transition and sustaining peace. In the field, within the limited mandate, Bangladesh peacekeepers were successfully involved in facilitating democratic process, holding of elections, Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration process (DDR), infrastructure development including road and school construction, and agriculture development. We also underscore the importance of the advice of the Peacebuilding Commission to the Security Council particularly during the mandate setting of the peacekeeping operations.
Seventh, being one of the most climate vulnerable countries, we have adopted climate change mitigation measures in our country. Building on that experience, we have put our efforts in changing the peacekeeping operations into more green entities by reducing its own environmental footprint. We promote use of renewable energy and natural fibers in the peacekeeping operations. We co-chair with Italy, the Group of Friends for Environmental Management in the Field and has been supporting the implementation of the DOS Environmental Strategy. As this strategy comes to an end in 2023, we urge to formulate a robust policy framework for environmental management building on the achievements and lessons learnt from the implementation of the environmental strategy.
Eighth, we express our deep concern over the misinformation, disinformation and hate speech against the peacekeepers and its negative influence on the peacekeeping missions. Community engagement both in the form of service delivery and recreational activities have important role in creating positive image of the peacekeeping missions among the host communities. In this regard, we welcome the steps taken to improve strategic communications, including through the adoption of a whole of mission approach. We also put emphasis on the Strategy for the Digital Transformation of UN Peacekeeping which can support effective communications. At the same time, we believe that tech-enabled and data driven peacekeeping will facilitate operational effectiveness and mandate delivery including enhancing the intelligence and surveillances capabilities.
Ninth, we reiterate our longstanding commitment for the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. Accordingly, we have been increasing the number of women peacekeepers. In addition to the troops and police, our female judges and correction officers have been serving in the peacekeeping operations and contributing to the security sector reforms. Bangladesh is now the Chair of the WPS Chief of Defence Network. We believe, focus is needed on both increasing the number of women peacekeepers and their representation in the commanding positions. Measures should also be taken to address the challenges faced by the women peacekeepers before and after deployment.
As I conclude, let me reiterate Bangladesh’s commitment to UN’s peacekeeping activities and assure of our continued support for successful mandate delivery of the peacekeeping operations.
I thank you, Mr. Chair.