|Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council VTC on Safety and Security of UN Peacekeepers|
I thank USG Lacroix, USG Khare, and USG Michaud for their briefings. I thank the relevant departments of the Secretariat for their efforts in protecting the safety and security of peacekeepers and welcome the presence of Brazil at today's meeting on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Safety and Security of UN Peacekeepers.
United Nations peacekeeping operations represent an important means for the maintenance of international peace and security. Peacekeepers are an important asset to international peace. For more than 70 years, over 4,000 peacekeepers have died in the line of duty. This year, 50 peacekeepers have laid down their precious lives. While peacekeeping operations cannot be absolutely zero risk, we should try our level best to minimize security risks. I would like to make four points.
First, we should step up implementation and continue to improve the integrated security capacity of peacekeepers. In recent years, the United Nations has continued to increase the importance on the safety and security of peacekeepers, with the Security Council adopting resolution 2518 last year, the GA Special Committee’s report devoting a special section to this issue, and the Secretariat formulating an action plan. It is necessary to increase input and ensure that the relevant considerations be reflected in the implementation. We should continue to scale up risk assessment in light of the actual situation of each mission, incorporate it into all aspects of decision making and take effective measures. It is necessary to improve the equipment of peacekeeping missions in a targeted manner, improve the quality of peacekeeping personnel, and strengthen the situational awareness, emergency response, and emergency rescue capabilities of PKOs, to increase PKO resilience to various security risks.
Second, we should concentrate optimal resources on resolving the key and difficult issues facing peacekeepers in safety and security. The COVID-19 pandemic is a new challenge to safety and security. China calls for early completion of vaccination for all peacekeepers. IEDs have again become a major cause of casualties among peacekeepers this year. China expects the Secretariat to submit an independent strategic assessment report on PKOs’ response to the threat of IEDs. The development and use of new technologies is changing rapidly, and peacekeeping operations should not be left behind. It is imperative to enhance communication and coordination among the United Nations, the T/PCCs and the countries concerned, and actively study how to use new technologies to ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers on the basis of full respect for the sovereignty of the countries concerned.
Third, we should strengthen partnerships and create favorable conditions for improving the safety and security of peacekeepers. This is a matter which requires the joint efforts of all stakeholders. The Security Council should formulate realistic, clear, and operable mandates for PKOs and avoid needless sacrifice due to inappropriate mandates. The Fifth Committee of the General Assembly should provide sufficient resources to ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers. China calls on all member states to pay their peacekeeping assessments on time and in full. Utmost efforts should be made to investigate attacks against peacekeepers and to bring the perpetrators to justice. The status of forces agreements should be complied with, and the Secretariat, PKOs and host countries should strengthen communication to properly resolve related issues.
Fourth, we should keep abreast of the times and continue to identify and address new challenges to the safety and security of peacekeepers. While the world is changing, so are the risks faced by peacekeepers. We should keep up with the developments and stay ahead of risks as much as possible, incorporate safety precautions into all aspects of decision making, training, equipment, and management, and reduce casualties among peacekeepers through preventive action.
For more than 30 years, while actively participating in PKOs, China has attached great importance to the safety and security of peacekeepers. We have promoted the adoption of the Security Council resolution 2518, the first resolution on the safety and security of peacekeepers, as well as followups. We have provided financial support to the Secretariat for formulating the action plan. We have also established with other member states, including Brazil, Indonesia and Rwanda, the Group of Friends on the Safety and Security of UN Peacekeepers, in a bid to enhance communication and information sharing, promote policy coordination, and improve capacity building. We have also actively provided other T/PCCs with security training, funded the Secretariat's workshop on safety and security issues, and decided to donate 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to peacekeepers. China stands ready to continue to work with other Council members and the international community in contributing to the protection of our blue helmets.