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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Briefing: Police Commissioners

2023-11-14 18:00

Dear Colleagues,

At the outset, I would like to once again thank Under-Secretary-General Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Police Commissioner Christophe Bizimungu, Police Commissioner Christine Fossen, Advisor Faisal Shahkar, and Ms. Karin Landgren for their respective briefings. UN police is an important component of United Nations peace operations and has played an essential role over the years. I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to pay high tribute to all UN police officers serving in UN Missions across the world.

Today's annual dialogue represents an important opportunity not only for the Security Council and police commissioners of various Missions to discuss policing related topics, but also for a deliberation of the overarching and fundamental issues of UN peacekeeping operations. Currently, United Nations peace operations are confronted with unprecedented situations And challenges. Peace operations are in need of reform and transformation. In this context, UN policing should continue to play its role only better in support of UN's efforts to respond to the new situations. In his New Agenda for Peace, Secretary-General Guterres laid out important recommendations on strengthening peace operations. The SG report on the Comprehensive Assessment of the Overall Performance of UNPKOs (S/2023/646) issued in this past August offers valuable reference in this regard as well. In light of the situation we currently face as well as the recommendations from the Secretary-General, I would like to make the following six points.

First, making peacekeeping mandates more realistic. For many long standing UN peace operations, their mandates have becoming increasingly complex and unwieldy over the years with blurred priorities. The number of tasks is increasing, but the priorities are no longer that clear. In some cases, mandates have even become divorced from reality. The Secretary-General proposed in his New Agenda for Peace that UN peace operations need clear, prioritized, and achievable mandates that are subject to adjustment according to changing situation on the ground. We believe that as a critical link of peace operations, UNPOL must resolutely serve the core mandate of promoting political settlement, and constantly explore new ways to leverage its own advantage to facilitate the performance of UN Missions overall mandates.

Second, establishing stable partnerships with host countries. Host country relations are a major challenge facing many UN Missions today. UN Missions must maintain close communication with their respective host governments and take seriously feedback from local communities. UN police should give full play to their unique advantages in strategic communications and enhance local community's understanding of and trust in UN Missions through inter alia community-oriented policing activities.

Third, reinforcing capacity building of host countries. Past experience shows that supporting the capacity building of host countries is the sure way to maintain the flexibility and effectiveness of UN Missions and to ensure their ultimate success. To this end, support for host country capacity building, including sustainable development capabilities, should be integrated into UN Missions’ transition and exit planning and performance assessment. UN police are also duty-bound to support the building of law enforcement and judicial capacity of host countries. UNMISS and MINUSCA have both accumulated useful experience in this regard and it is important to take stock of their best practices with a view to replicating them in other contexts.

Fourth, ensuring the safety and security of peacekeepers. The recent spate of attacks reminds us that the security risks confronting our peacekeepers remain acute. It is crucial to fully implement Security Council Resolution 2518, so as to provide more targeted protection for peacekeepers. UN police, especially Individual Police Officers, have limited equipment and are subject to significant security risks. All parties concerned must maintain close communication and coordination to promote the timely and full deployment of police officers with adequate equipment to ensure the self protection and emergency response capabilities of UN police.

Fifth, giving full play to the unique role of female peacekeepers. As Ms. Fossen mentioned in her statement, indeed, more and more female peacekeepers are contributing to UN peace operations. China welcomes this development. UN Missions must provide equal opportunities for women in training, recruitment, and promotion, and make appropriate arrangements in terms of logistics and security to facilitate the performance of duty by female police officers. At the same time, the imbalance in geographical representation has been a persistent issue. We hope that the UN will recruit more talents from developing countries and assign them to mid- and senior-level positions in DPO as well as field Missions.

Six responding to the challenges posed by emerging technologies. The disruptive development of emerging technologies continues to have complex impact on UN peacekeeping operations. The Secretariat and field Missions must keep abreast of such development, maximize benefits while avoiding harm, and steadily promote digital transformation. In this process, it is vital to respect the sovereignty and ownership of host countries and ensure that the adopted technologies are safe and reliable. At the same time, there is a need to establish and improve an accountability mechanism to avoid the abuse, misuse, and malicious use of technologies. On this basis, UN police should effectively leverage the enabling role of emerging technologies to improve such capabilities as situational awareness and strategic communication.

We hope that during this meeting, members of the Council will have an in-depth exchange of views by highlighting the strengthening of UN policing, and explore ways to design mandates and manage peace operations in a more united and efficient manner, so as to make greater contributions to the maintenance of international peace and the realization of common security.


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