I would like to start by joining the others in paying tribute to those who gave their lives in the service of peace during the last year. We honour their memory.
I would like to thank USGs Le Roy and Malcorra for their extensive briefings on the status of UN peacekeeping. I commend them for their continued dedication.
In the following I will address six key peacekeeping challenges.
Firstly, we must continue to strengthen the UN’s capacity to deliver as one. A well-integrated and more coherent UN is a more effective UN. This requires an ability to prioritise and to think strategically across sectors and institutional divisions. Norway remains committed to supporting the ongoing efforts of the Secretariat to achieve this aim. It is crucially important that we support these efforts, also in our work on budgetary issues in the Fifth Committee and in the various agencies, funds and programmes of the UN.
Reform of UN human resources management is a key example. In order to promote coherence across the UN system, we should make it easier to move between postings within the Secretariat, funds, and programmes. There are currently also challenges related to the recruitment of qualified personnel to certain field postings.
While we support the intentions of the Secretariat to ensure harmonisation of allowances and work conditions, this must not end up solely as a downward harmonisation to the lowest common denominator. We see signs of unintended consequences resulting from the current process, and we encourage the Secretariat to maintain a close working relationship with the relevant agencies, funds and programmes in order to address this as an issue of common concern.
Secondly, peacekeeping mandates must be properly resourced. Discrepancies between stated objectives and the availability of resources can undermine the credibility of the UN. Norway appreciates the ongoing efforts to strengthen the dialogue between the Security Council, the Secretariat, the TCC/PCCs and the funds and programmes on mission planning and implementation. However, more should be done to strengthen the correlation between the tasks that are incorporated in the mandates and the resources that are provided to implement these tasks. Since mandates typically include tasks that lie beyond the scope of assessed contributions, the Council and the Secretariat should to the best of their capacity ensure that adequate funding will be available before mandates are finalised.
Again, as member states we must ensure that the implementation of mandated tasks is not undermined by our pursuit of national “pet” projects, individual reporting requirements or excessive earmarking of funds.
The UN also needs to improve its use of available resources. Norway supports the New Horizon process as a solid basis for improving the UN’s capacity to deliver on all parts of the missions’ mandates. The ongoing efforts of DPKO and DFS to substitute quantity with quality are highly commendable. We must use the upcoming session of the Working Group on Contingent-Owned Equipment to develop a structure of economic incentives that stimulates a performance-based approach.
Thirdly, it is vital that the UN continues to strengthen its efforts to protect civilians.
It should be absolutely clear that protection of civilians is the primary responsibility of the host country. The perception that the UN has a direct and primary responsibility to protect every individual in a mission area undermines not only UN credibility but also the sovereign responsibility of States. This said, UN troops should do their utmost to assist in the physical protection of civilians where and when they have the capacity to do so.
The role of the UN is first and foremost to assist host countries in strengthening their capacity to protect. Good governance, security and justice sector reform are key issues in this regard.
An important element of the protection of civilians is to seriously address any use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. Norway welcomes the publication of the Analytical Inventory of Peacekeeping Practice. Addressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence. We hope this tool will help peacekeepers in their day-to-day work.
Fourthly, if we are to protect civilians, more must also be done to engage and empower women. Women should be included in peace processes, as well as in the preparation and implementation of relevant programmes. Yesterday’s marking of the tenth anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325 was a forceful reminder of the necessity to follow up these issues. We welcome the establishment of UN Women and expect this new body to be involved in a holistic approach to implementing Security Council resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888 and 1889.
If we are to engage women locally, we, the UN member states, should seek to provide more women peacekeepers. Norway is constantly striving to widen the base of women available for international service from both the armed forces and the police.
As my fifth point I would like to emphasise the importance of continuing to enhance cooperation between the UN and regional organisations. Norway welcomes the opening of the UN Office to the AU in Addis Ababa. This is a major step in the strategic partnership between the two organisations. The key role of this partnership was clearly demonstrated in the Security Council debate on peace and security in Africa last week.
As my final point, I would like to underline the necessity of robust political processes if we are to succeed in our peacekeeping efforts. Spoilers must not be given any grounds to think that we – the world community – will eventually tire and pull out. Political processes must be genuine, inclusive and deal with the real underlying issues.
We must ensure that there is a will to provide the resources needed to maintain and build peace. At the same time we should discuss whether we are placing too much on the peacekeeping “plate”. We encourage a debate on the role of political missions and the extent to which such operations, when mandated by the Security Council, should also be given access to assessed contributions. Once again, let us make sure that we are ready to think outside the box and holistically about the role of the UN in peacekeeping and peacebuilding.