Let me join others in thanking Under-Secretary-Generals Ladsous and Haq for their informative briefings.
Like others, I would like to honour the memory of those peacekeepers who have paid the ultimate price in the service of peace. Some of them lost their lives as a result of deliberate targeting. This is completely unacceptable. It reflects the growing need for UN missions to be better prepared to protect themselves, to be able to improvise and to anticipate the aggressive acts of determined opponents.
Modern technology is part of the answer. Norway believes that most UN operations would benefit from the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). As noted in the Secretary-General’s report to this Committee, UAVs can improve the situational awareness, early warning capacity, and safety and security of peacekeeping missions and personnel. Improved situational awareness will also strengthen missions’ capacity to protect civilians – a key element in nine ongoing UN peacekeeping operations. UAVs would also compensate to some degree for UN missions’ perpetual lack of mobility. South Sudan is a particular case in point, with the rainy season making parts of the country almost inaccessible except by air.
Norway is looking forward to learning more about the Working Group mentioned in the Secretary General’s report, which will specify evolving requirements for equipment in new and more challenging peacekeeping contexts. This specification is closely related to the development of capability standards. Such standards will strengthen the UN’s capacity to deliver on increasingly complex and demanding mandates. Norway is an active supporter of the UN Military Units Manuals project, together with 54 other member states.
We must continue to enhance the UN’s ability to collect and share information, in order to strengthen its capacity to understand and manage complex peacekeeping contexts. Improved information management makes it easier to address underlying conflicts. Norway commends the DPKO for having set up Joint Mission Analysis Cells (JMAC) in most operations. The JMACs have proven their worth when it comes to strategic and operational awareness. Norway welcomes the pilot project on increased tactical awareness in Mali, in which we are participating. We are eager to see the pilot succeed, to enhance the UN’s general capacity to deal effectively with security threats.
Mali is just one example of the growing importance of the UN-AU partnership on peace operations in Africa. Norway commends the AU and regional African organisations for their willingness to deploy under extremely challenging conditions, with the provision of technical and expert advice by the UN. The Central African Republic is the latest example. We hope that the AU will manage to improve security conditions in that conflict-ridden country, together with France and the European Union, until the UN is ready to take over. A key challenge in that regard will be to ensure that all peacekeepers are trained to the same standards and operate accordingly.
Norway welcomes the finalisation of the DPKO and DFS policy on UN police in peacekeeping operations and special political missions. We are confident that the cohesive Strategic Guidance Framework (SGF) will enhance the effectiveness of UN police peacekeeping by introducing a more consistent, harmonised approach. The implementation process is equally important. To support this process, the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs together with the Challenges Forum will host a seminar in Oslo on 17 and 18 March on capacity building and development. Norway will also support follow-up within the framework of the AU, especially in the Police Strategic Support Group.
Integrated approaches for all phases of UN operations are essential. Norway provided voluntary funding to the recent UN Policy on Integrated Assessment and Planning and the Integrated Assessment and Planning Handbook. In the follow-up of this important work, we would like to stress the necessity of ensuring coordination with non-UN actors who are present in the host country, and – even more importantly – with the host country itself.
Norway welcomes the 2014–2018 gender strategy, which reaffirms the commitment of the DPKO/DFS to strive towards gender equality at all levels in peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Norway urges the DPKO/DFS and DPA to follow up the recommendations of the report Bridging the Civilian Gender Gap in Peace Operations, which was finalised in December.
Norway applauds the efforts by the Secretariat to further develop and encourage the use of specialised police teams, including by sharing the new concept paper with member states. Our experience of having a sexual and gender-based violence team in the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has shown that this is an effective way of closing capacity gaps in a mission.
Finally, I would like to underline Norway’s commitment to achieving a successful outcome of this session. We should all care about the future of UN peacekeeping, and make every effort to advance this important cause and agree on a report by 21 March. By doing so, we will reaffirm the relevance of this Special Committee of the UN General Assembly.
Thank you, Mr Chairman.