Thank you for this opportunity to address this important issue, and thank you to Under Secretaries General LeRoy and Malcorra as well as General Agwai for their important briefings. The challenges for UN peacekeeping must continue to be a top priority on our agenda, and we appreciate the efforts by the Security Council to intensify dialogue with Member States on this.
Let me start by reiterating a point made by our French colleague in the Security Council debate on 29 June: Our ability to protect civilians is the standard by which UN peacekeeping will be judged.
Renewed fighting in Eastern Congo last week reminded us of how much this is needed. Thousands of civilians have been forced to flee their homes, and we know only too well the suffering that follows in the wake of such incidents.
Girls and women face the additional horrors of sexual violence, and we must get policies in place which can effectively deter such crimes. We look forward to discussing this further on Friday.
My second point concerns the need to meet the ever-increasing demand for peacekeepers and the need to secure the necessary resources. While we need to solicit more contributions from present contributors, we also need a greater commitment from countries not yet contributing to their full potential. Peacekeeping is a global responsibility, and calls for the widest possible engagement from the international community.
My third point concerns the need for mandates being accompanied by sufficient resources. Committing men and women in uniform to potentially life-threatening assignments in foreign countries is one of the most difficult decisions a government can take. But when such decisions are made, governments and their people must be certain that the mission has the resources to fulfil their mandate with the lowest possible risk for personnel in the field. This means proper training, proper equipment, and a total capacity in line with the demands made.
We need to move from a somewhat obsessive focus on troop numbers to a focus on quality and total capability. This means we have to develop standards and link these to training, equipping and delivery on the ground. We are pleased to see that this is another key point made in the New Horizon paper. In addition, let me emphasize the need to develop common standards with key partners, such as NATO, the AU and the EU. This will facilitate co-operation, whether it is a joint effort as in Kosovo, or a sequential arrangement as in Chad.
My fourth and final point relates to the relationship between peacemaking, peacekeeping, peace building and development. Peacekeeping is part of a wider UN and global peace, security and development effort. Mandates must be aligned with other complementing initiatives and supported politically and financially.
Norway supports the Secretariat’s recommendation to request missions to include information on progress in peace building in their assessment on mandated tasks. Missions should also report on related actions of UN agencies, funds and programmes and other partners, and all partners must be called on to draw attention to critical gaps.
In conclusion, let me underline the fact that the most important partner in the UN peacekeeping partnership is the host country. This needs to be foremost in our minds when we continue this discussion in the coming months. The international community can and should assist, but it is the host country that bears the responsibility for finding solutions that will last. We need an open and honest discussion on how we as an international community can work together to better keep the promises we make to those in need, and make peacekeeping deliver more at a time when so much more is called for. Norway looks forward to being an active participant in this process, and to continuing the dialogue.
Thank you, Mr President.