United Nations Security Council Briefing on Peacekeeping Operations
At the outset, let me wish you and the French delegation the best of success during your Presidency of the Council for this month. I also congratulate Ambassador Jun Zhiang and the Chinese delegation for their excellent leadership of the Council last month. We have listened carefully to Under-Secretary General Jean-Pierre Lacroix and thank him for the briefing, which highlights various initiatives being undertaken to improve the effectiveness of United Nations peacekeeping operations. Ghana recognizes the important role of United Nations peacekeeping in maintaining international peace and providing stability in several parts of the world. We would continue to support all efforts to improve the performance of peacekeeping by enhancing its effectiveness for each historical epoch. Since 1960, when Ghana first contributed troops towards the United Nations Operations in the Congo, we have followed actively the evolving nature of peacekeeping and its adaptation to the changing dynamics of conflict settings within which peacekeepers are placed. Today, unlike in the past, peacekeepers are called upon to do more and usually in a
multidimensional context where the parties themselves may not be welcoming of their presence.
We therefore appreciate the discussions that have ensued since the 2015 report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (the HIPPO report) and the Secretary-General’s follow report and actions, including the initiative of the Action for Peacekeeping Plus, which has defined our shared commitments in addressing the challenges of peacekeeping such as protracted conflicts, the elusive nature of political solutions, and broad and complex mandates which are difficult to achieve.There are however several other challenges which must be tackled by the
peacekeeping stakeholder community to make peacekeeping fit-forpurpose and effective in achieving its objectives. Some of these challenges relate to the mandates, others are in the area of performance, and the safety and security of peacekeepers continues to require enhancement. Ghana looks forward to working within this context to support the priorities set out in the Secretary-General’s review of the peace and security architecture, and especially in giving urgency and importance to conflict prevention, sustaining peace and sustainable development.
Firstly, in respect of peacekeeping mandates, Ghana continues to be concerned by the inadequacy of emphasis on the primacy of politics in some peacekeeping missions, which continues to account for the protraction of several conflicts. Also, despite the inclusion of mandates for Rapid Intervention Brigades in some missions such as MONUC, the structure and focus of present peacekeeping arrangements are inappropriate instruments for counter-terrorism and the Council itself lacksan established mechanism for dealing with extremist groups. We believe that mandates in resolutions could also be more concise and focused. There is, therefore, the need for mandate formulation and implementation to refocus on the primacy of politics and for the Council to tap into the partnership opportunities provided by regional arrangements, such as the African Union, in addressing threats to international peace and security that United Nations peacekeeping missions are unable to respond to, especially as it relates to terrorists and extremist groups. This would of course require that we constructively embrace the report expected from the Secretary General on the question of adequate, predictable, and sustainable funding for Council mandated AU-led peace operations, especially through assessed contributions.
Secondly, concerning the performance of peacekeeping, while we welcome the implementation of the Integrated Peacekeeping Performance and Accountability Framework, we believe that its utilisation should be strengthened in a manner that ensures that the expectations in mandates are matched by the performance of individual TPCCs as well as individual staff members of the mission. In significant instances where such performance expectations are not met, it would be important for the Secretariat to bring such matters to the attention of the appropriate Working Group of the Council to enable such systemic concerns to be redressed. Systematising the involvement of Member States in the implementation of the Framework is necessary in our
view. We also reiterate the need to prioritize capacity-building for all categories of UN peacekeepers to enhance their operational effectiveness.
Thirdly, on the matter of the safety and security of peacekeepers, we continue to be worried by the deliberate targeting of peacekeepers which has resulted in a surge in the number of fatalities in the history of peacekeeping operations. My delegation avails of this briefing to pay tribute to all blue helmet personnel who have paid the ultimate price in theline of duty and commend the selfless contribution of peacekeepers. We believe it is necessary to enhance, as applicable, pre-deployment training in countering IEDs to address the increasing threat of IED use
against peacekeepers as we are witnessing especially in MINUSMA in Mali.
Also, we urge the reinforced use of strategic communications to counter the significant increase in disinformation and misinformation, which has become systematic, synchronized, andorchestrated on an industrial scale and is negatively impacting the efforts of peacekeepers, shaping the conflict environment, and influencing public opinion against most United
Nations peacekeeping operations, especially on the African continent. The perceptions created has led, in some instances, to a hostile reaction from the local population culminating in rioting, vandalizing of UN property as well as casualties to the UN personnel and the local population, as happened recently in the Eastern DRC.
I cannot conclude without mentioning the emerging challenge that United Nations peacekeeping is confronting with some host governments in the implementation of the Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA) and the restrictions in the freedom of movement of peacekeeping personnel, their rotation, and the re-supply to troops, which negatively impact the performance of peacekeeping personnel and the attainment of mandates. While acknowledging the fact that the demands for UN peacekeeping missions throughout the world are greater than ever before, overstretching available resources and existing capacities, we are mindful of the fact that the achievement of mandates for sustaining peace is critical and requires the commitment of all peacekeeping actors.
I reiterate Ghana’s unflinching support towards any initiative that will help address the myriad of contemporary challenges affecting United Nations Peacekeeping Operations. We also underscore the need for improved planning and adequate resources for transitions, as well as the need to consider post-mandate implications so as to ensure that hard-won gains of peace operations and mandates are safeguarded.
I thank you