Before going straight to the subject, I wish to extend my deepest condolences to the families and the loved ones of the victims of the yesterday's terrorist attack in Mali, as well as to the governments and peoples of Mali, Togo and France.
This heinous act makes today's meeting even more pressing, so I wish to start by thanking you for convening this important debate, as well as to commend Senegal for its outstanding contribution to the UN peacekeeping endeavors, both in the field – as one of the major TCCs and PCCs, and here in this Council – as the current Chair of the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations.
Ukraine aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the EU. In my national capacity, I would like to add the following.
Ukraine attaches great importance to UN peacekeeping, considering it as one of the core tasks of the Organization and an important tool for ensuring peace and long-term stability.
Ukraine as one of the leading European troop-contributors to UN peacekeeping operations is proud to be a part of this important endeavor of the Organization. Despite the ongoing aggression launched against Ukraine, we will continue our active participation in the UN peacekeeping activity.
The UN peace operations have proved to be a highly adaptive instrument and contributed much to the resolution of conflicts. This year, the Council and the General Assembly have already considered various aspects of the UN activities on upholding and sustaining peace. We welcome several important decisions passed within the United Nations regarding the peacekeeping as well as peacebuilding activities.
Simultaneous resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council on the Peacebuilding Architecture review have become a significant step forward in implementation of a conflict prevention approach. Conclusions and ambitious recommendations of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations provided a new perspective to PKO’s nature and challenges. London and Paris conferences on the implementation of the 2015 Peacekeeping Summit’s outcome became logical continuation of this process. We see our today’s deliberations as yet another step towards taking forward the UN Peacekeeping Review Process outcome.
As it is rightly pointed out in the concept note before us, today UN missions face enormous and, often, asymmetrical challenges, including direct attacks from terrorist groups. We commend the efforts of the Secretariat and contributing states in enhancing UN PKO’s preparedness to face these threats.
However, a lot more has to be done. In this regard, I would like to highlight the following points.
First, as an active troop and police contributor, Ukraine attaches great importance to the issue of adequate force generation – this still remains a challenge for the UN peace operations. Ukraine has a strong intention to extend the geography of its blue helmets’ participation in UN missions. Following the 2015 High-Level Summit, Ukraine has submitted the respective pledge to the UN Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System.
Second, wesupport the need for a better integration of modern technology and intelligence capabilities into peace operations. We call on PKO’s host countries to give due consideration to this certainly positive practical step aimed at enhancing efficiency of peacekeeping activities.
At the same time, all mentioned UN peacekeeping and peacebuilding reviews’ outcomes have in their focus a people-centered approach. Therefore - and this is my third point - protection of civilians is often decisive for the success and legitimacy of UN peacekeeping operations.
My country is committed to the policy that protection of civilians is an overarching goal of the UN peacekeeping. In May, Ukraine joined the Kigali Principles – the document based on a premise that peacekeepers must protect civilians from the threat of physical violence, including terrorist threats.
It is also important that troop-contributing countries be provided with comprehensive, sufficient and timely information on the security situation on the ground. This is crucial for the PKO personnel to be well prepared, including for taking prompt decisions on the use of force in cases of imminent terrorist threats or threats to civilian population. As a matter of principle, every uniformed personnel, who witness violence against a civilian, should have no hesitation to do everything possible to stop it.
In this same context, let me note the importance of learning right lessons from the situation that occurred in connection with the violence in Juba in July 2016 and the Mission in South Sudan response to it. This is particularly necessary for preventing similar situations from occurring in the future, wherever UN peacekeepers are deployed, and for maintaining the credibility of and confidence towards the UN among local population.
Fourth, at the current stage UN PKOs are not properly suited for conducting full-fledged counterterrorist measures. Indeed, counter-terrorist activities are a direct responsibility of each and every government. Terrorist asymmetrical tactics threaten population and PKO’s personnel not only directly, but also by targeting critical infrastructure of host countries. In this regard, states suffering from terrorist activities should be provided with necessary advice and expertise to develop or improve their appropriate capabilities and strategies in this sphere. PKOs could play their part in this process.
Another important aspect is PKO’s mandates. We believe that missions should be provided with clear, coherent, achievable and, at the same time, resilient mandates, sufficient to ensure security and public order, including stopping illegal inflow of weapons and mercenaries. Taking into account that security situation on the ground could change swiftly and dramatically, such mandates should include necessary provisions enabling PKOs to use force in circumstances of direct threat to its personnel or civilians, including terrorist threats. In this regard, the role of the Security Council is indispensable. Clear mandates is a primary precondition for efficiency of peace operations.
Peace missions also need means and resources necessary for effective monitoring and verification of ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons and full disarmament under the UN DDR Standards. Sustainable de-escalation and implementation of other elements of peaceful settlement and peacebuilding, including holding elections, are not possible without a robust international security presence, able to ensure and monitor implementation of all security-related provisions until legitimate law-enforcement institutions are established.
We believe that while drafting missions’ mandates we should avoid sticking to the already outdated approach that most of modern conflicts are “internal” by their nature. The objective reality is that most of them are if not of interstate, then definitely of cross-border or hybrid nature.
Therefore, changes in conflicts’ nature demand a review of the UN’s ability to respond promptly and efficiently to new challenges and circumstances.
Ukraine has learned lessons from its own experience of asymmetrical threats: the terrorist component of the hybrid war waged against Ukraine is evident. According to the UN OHCHR reports on the situation in Ukraine, “civilians have paid the greatest price for this conflict”. Since 2014, the OHCHR recorded 9,640 people killed, including up to 2,000 civilians, and 22,431 injured. The situation in Ukraine effectively proves that terrorism can be used as an element of hybrid war against sovereign states.
And last but not least, We believe that the UN should build and enhance its strategic partnership with regional organizations and work alongside with them, sharing its unique experience in peacekeeping activities.
In this regard, we see potential in establishing a closer UN interaction with the OSCE aimed at contributing to the OSCE peace activities on the ground, especially when missions of the regional organization are deployed in an insecure environment.
Ukraine also welcomes the initiative to establish a UN Secretariat liaison on Peace and Security in Vienna, which could contribute to much closer UN-OSCE interaction on enhancing the latter’s ability to enforce and keep peace whenever such a need arises.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate Ukraine’s unwavering commitment to the flagship activity of the UN for the years to come.
I thank you,Mr. President.