We are grateful to Ethiopia, President of the Security Council this month, for giving us this opportunity to reflect on the status of peacekeeping reform and areas where we can improve.
We support the UNSG's vision for peacekeeping reform and his call for Security Council unity. More strategic clarity and flexibility on the ground are necessary. And adequate resources and institutional support must be ensured. The broad consensus reached during recent UNSC peacekeeping debates on the primacy of political solutions and strategies is encouraging. We hope the consensus will lead to action.
We believe that Peacekeeping operations must be made more efficient, and there is great potential in this area. However, this cannot come at the expense of the ability of missions to fulfill their mandates.
Germany is committed to helping the UN meet the manifold challenges of peacekeeping today by contributing to political solutions, strengthening conflict prevention and offering innovative approaches to crisis management.
Germany has considerably strengthened its involvement in peacekeeping operations. The deployment of up to 1,000 peacekeepers – military and police – and the provision of high-value capabilities such as MEDEVAC helicopters to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, are the most prominent examples.
I would like to underline the following three points on peacekeeping reform:
First: We welcome the progress achieved over the past few years. The Peacekeeping Summits initiated in 2014 have played an important role in this regard, and Germany would like to thank in particular DPKO, the U.S., the UK, Canada, Rwanda, Bangladesh and Japan for organizing these Summits and their preparatory meetings.
With regard to capabilities, the launch of the Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System has the potential to be a true game changer.
In 2015, Germany registered the Federal Agency for Technical Relief in the Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System. The Relief Agency is currently supporting the UN Mission in Colombia by setting up the mission’s IT and radio communication infrastructure. The team was on the ground within 72 hours following the request. By the end of this month, their work will be completed. Furthermore, the Agency will have made significant contributions to the FARC disarmament process, including the destruction of more than 9,000 weapons.
Just a few days ago, Germany registered a package of military capabilities in the Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System. In total, Germany pledged 13 high-end capabilities, including headquarters staff, military observers, military police, maritime experts, mobile training teams, meteorological services, mine clearance experts, a Level III field hospital, helicopters and fixed-wing air transport.
While capabilities are essential to improve peacekeeping, further HIPPO recommendations must be put in action. In particular, Germany would like to see strengthened coordination between the Security Council and the major TCCs/ PCCs with regard to mandates and operational planning. The needs on the ground have to be taken seriously in particular for peacekeeping troops to be able to protect civilians. Deficiencies in missions, which are often rightly lamented by Council members, can also be traced back to a lack of TCC/PCC involvement in the first place.
Second: Peacekeeping is not an end in itself. As important as it is to focus on peacekeeping reform, we cannot view it in isolation.
There needs to be a coherent political strategy from the start. Instruments and financing mechanisms have to come together in a more flexible manner to tackle concrete crises - or prevent them from happening. In the past, peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts have often not been fully aligned. In some cases, conflicts reemerged after peacekeeping efforts had wound down. In others, peacekeeping missions have turned into seemingly never-ending engagements because political processes stall or peacebuilding efforts fail to gain traction. We need to get these transitions right. For this reason, all the UN’s various instruments must be aligned in a coherent manner. And this is exactly what the Secretary-General’s reform agenda tries to accomplish - and why we fully support it.
We believe that the Peacebuilding Commission’s advisory role for the Security Council should be strengthened as part of the general peace and security reform. To enhance coherence between missions, peacebuilding efforts and finances, it is important for the Security Council to take the Commission’s input into account when drafting mandates and at all stages of the conflict, in particular when peacekeeping missions are winding down.
Germany is the largest contributor to the Peacebuilding Fund and has initiated several financial facilities to support the stabilization of Iraq, Syria and Libya. This year, Germany will make another substantial contribution to the Peacebuilding Fund.
Third: One crucial element of UN peacekeeping reform is strengthening partnerships with regional organizations, in particular the European Union and the African Union (AU).
The Security Council should support the strengthening of partnerships between the UN and regional organizations in its work for sustainable political solutions, and in particular with regard to peace operations – because in many instances, UN peacekeeping is deployed alongside regional missions.
The majority of peacekeeping missions is deployed in Africa. We welcome the growing number of African-led peace operations authorized by the Security Council, which in most instances complement UN missions. In this context, it is imperative that positive synergies are used, partnerships strengthened and coordination is enhanced. One example is the “G5-Sahel Force Conjointe” which is set to evolve into an important partner for the international engagement in the Sahel. Yesterday, Germany and France co-hosted a technical workshop in Berlin to assess the needs of the Conjointe.
Germany is encouraged by the recent steps taken towards a closer UN-AU partnership. Closer UN-AU cooperation holds great potential in the area of early warning and analysis and in the development of strategies for conflict prevention and peacekeeping operations.
Germany has taken note of the Secretary-General’s proposals to improve the support and financing of AU-led or mandated peace operations authorized by the Security Council. These proposals can help lead to more predictable planning and greater self-reliance of AU-led or-mandated peace operations. We fully support these objectives. At the same time, the decision by AU Member States to cover 25% of operational costs for such missions needs to be put into practice. And so does work to develop, implement and oversee shared standards for peace operations, including standards on human rights, accountability and transparency.
Germany will continue to support its African partners to participate in UN peacekeeping and conduct African-led operations, for instance by equipping and training troops and police, through capacity-building of the African Peace and Security Architecture and continuing to fund AU missions through the EU African Peace Facility.
To conclude, we are on a good track. Over the past two years, the HIPPO recommendations have led to important changes in peacekeeping, and today, the Secretary General is paving the way for the future of UN peace operations with his ambitious reform agenda. We should sustain the momentum and maintain the political will to put our trust in him and follow him on this path.
I thank you.