|Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at the UN Security Council Briefing on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations|
I thank USG Jean-Perrie Lacroix and the Force Commanders of the three missions for their briefings. We conveyed our condolences on the demise earlier today of a UNIFIL Ghanaian Peacekeeper in the line of duty.
Protection of civilians or POC is one of the important mandates of UN peacekeeping operations. For decades, thousands of peacekeepers have built and shored up lines of defense to shield lives with their flesh and blood bodies in their area of operations, where the flames of war and conflict rage with punishing frequency and intensity. They have been watering the flowers of peace with a sweat of toil and brought calm and hope to the populations in conflict areas. In recent years, in the context of evolving international security landscape, hot-spot issues at the regional level have been emerging thick and fast and new circumstances, new tasks and new challenges are looming large for the PKO’s POC mandate. In this vein, I wish to make four points.
First, the POC function should be effectively implemented through a combination of measures. In PKO, it is necessary to strengthen conflict prevention and optimize early warning arrangements, so that security risks can be detected and dealt with as early as possible. It is necessary to develop systematic and holistic plans of action improve the capacity of situation awareness to enable swift response. The vulnerabilities of special groups, including women and children should be taken into full account and protection afforded to them should be more robust and tailored. We cannot rely on military approach alone to effectively implement the POC mandate. Peacekeeping Operations need to focus more on engagement and dialogue to create a secure environment. The establishment of the UNIFIL-led tripartite mechanism for communication with the Lebanese and Israeli armed forces is worthy of positive recognition.
Second, the POC mandate is part of the overall framework and should be considered as such. The POC mandate should be planned in conjunction with the mission’s other mandates and implemented in a balanced manner. All the mandates serve one purpose, that is to help bring about a political solution. In recent years, the unbridled proliferation of PKO mandates has further aggravated the pre-existing strengths and resources and capacity impinging on the mission’s ability to implement their POC mandate properly. The Secretariat will be submitting a report next month on PKO mandate assessments and recommendations. We look forward to the report providing helpful inputs to inform the Council's future decisions.
Third, it is necessary for stakeholders to work in synergy across various dimensions. Host countries have the primary responsibility for POC. PKO should actively support host countries in tackling security challenges and developing greater POC capacity. A number of UN missions within the remit of their mandates have supported security sector capacity building of the host countries through inter alia specialized training and joint patrols with positive results. This is commendable. The Security Council sanctions have seriously hampered the ability of certain African countries to fulfill their POC responsibility. These sanctions should be lifted as soon as possible. The international community should intensify its partnership with Africa and support African countries in improving the capacity for PKO owned and led by themselves.
Forth, more resources and efforts should be invested to keep peacekeepers safe and secure. The recent years has witnessed steadily rising security risks confronting peacekeepers. We urge comprehensive implementation of Council resolution 2518 to provide our peacekeepers with multi-dimensional and multi-tier safety and security assurances. All stakeholders including Secretariat, Missions, the Troop Contributing Countries and the host countries should put in solid efforts to this end. As Co-chair of the Group of Friends on the Safety and Security of UN peacekeepers, China facilitated the convening of a thematic briefing in February this year to explore and discuss in greater depth the news context and new issues related to peacekeepers’ safety and security. We wish to work with all partners to keep forging greater consensus, take proactive actions and make greater efforts to ensure the safety and security of the blue helmets and the people they’re protecting in conflict areas.
China is a builder and defender of world peace, and a participant in and contributor to UN peacekeeping operations. Over the past 20 plus years, China has deployed more than 50,000 peacekeepers to more than 20 countries in aggregate to participate in peacekeeping operations that faithfully fulfill their mandates and honor their mission of peace. China will continue to support, promote and participate in UN peacekeeping operations and make greater contributions to the maintenance of international peace and security.
I thank you, President.