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Statement by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the Launching Event of Group of Friends on the Safety and Security of UN Peacekeepers

2021-04-27 09:37


Welcome to the launch of the Group of Friends on the Safety and Security of UN Peacekeepers. I would like to thank USG Lacroix, USG Michaud and ASG Buttenheim for attending this event. I wish to take this opportunity to pay high tribute to all peacekeepers who remain in their posts despite the raging pandemic.

UN peacekeeping operation is a major instrument for maintaining international peace and security. For more than seven decades, it has played an important role in promoting political process, monitoring implementation of ceasefire, protecting vulnerable groups and assisting in humanitarian relief, bringing hope to people in armed conflicts. Peacekeeping operation has become an important part of the international peace architecture, the blue helmet becomes a symbol of peace, and peacekeepers are the valuable asset for international peace.

Over the past 70 years, more than 3,000 peacekeepers from over 120 countries have lost their lives. Ensuring the safety and security of peacekeepers is crucial in peacekeeping operation. In recent years, Member States and the Secretariat have made active efforts under the framework of the Secretary-General's A4P initiative. For three years in a row, C34 has made the safety and security of peacekeepers its priority, highlighting the commitment of Member States to this issue. Last year, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2518, which provides a comprehensive and systematic solution to the protection of peacekeepers.

Meanwhile, threats of regional hot issues, ethnic conflicts, terrorism, and IEDs, compounded with the COVID-19 pandemic, are posing higher security risks to peacekeepers. This year, 49 peacekeepers have lost their lives to the cause of peace, which is deeply saddening. Peacekeeping operations are never “zero-risk”, but we should strive to minimize security risks, prevent avoidable casualties, and reduce unnecessary sacrifice. The international community must do more in this area.

In this context, China, together with Brazil, Indonesia, and Rwanda, jointly established this Group. So far, 49 members from five continents have joined the Group. They are major stakeholders such as TCCs, PCCs, FCCs and host states, fully demonstrating inclusiveness and representation. We intend to build a platform to strengthen information sharing, policy coordination, and capacity building so as to make substantive progress in enhancing the safety and security of peacekeepers.

We need to work together to build up common understandings. As the world situation changes, security risks facing peacekeeping operations also change, and there are more instruments to keep peacekeepers safe. The Group of Friends will study in depth the new issues and challenges in this field, raise awareness and promote common understanding on this issue among Member States through the Security Council, the General Assembly and other platforms.

We need to work together to push for action. Ensuring the safety and security of peacekeepers requires not only policy guidance, but also practical action. Only by translating the consensus of Member States into concrete actions on the ground can we achieve real results. As China assumes the Presidency of the Security Council in May, we will encourage the Council to attach great importance to the safety and security of peacekeepers and hold an open debate on this topic on May 24. Your participation is welcomed.

We need to work together to share good practice. At the end of the day, all security initiatives are to be implemented by Member States. The Group of Friends, which covers TCCs, PCCs, FCCs and host states, provides a flexible and informal platform for Member States to discuss the implementation of security initiatives for peacekeepers. The Group of Friends will promote exchange of experience and case studies among Member States to develop best practices and resolve difficult issues in the implementation process.


The Group of Friends is always open to Member States. If other Member States wish to join, you can always contact the co-chairs. Let’s work together to make our contribution to the protection of Blue Helmets.

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