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Under-Secretary-General Lacroix, Assistant Secretary-General Zouev, Mr. Carrilho,
Excellencies, ministers, chiefs of police, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honor for me to welcome you all on the eve of the second UNCOPS Summit.
New York is where the world meets. Or at least we like to think so in New York. And now is the right time for the police of the world to meet here once again to support the Secretary-General in his push for much-needed reforms of the peace and security pillar. Our shared goal is clear: enable the UN to support people in need more effectively. This means the UN and the international community need to get better at preventing conflicts and “sustaining peace.”
UN Police play a crucial role throughout the conflict cycle: prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict stabilization. Without an effective police component, peacekeeping misses an indispensable element. Without police, peace cannot be sustained. Meanwhile, the needs and challenges for police continue to grow.
This is why Germany remains a steadfast advocate for strengthening UN Police, based inter alia on the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General’s report on UN policing and in the external review of the Police Division. My government has committed to this through our national framework document on “Preventing Crisis, Solving Conflicts and Building Peace.” And we have stepped up our engagement in international police work, bilaterally and through the UN. Here in New York, we are proud to work with many of you in the Group of Friends of UN Police and were honored to support UN Police in making this summit possible.
The themes of tomorrow’s summit “Challenges to UN peacekeeping and the role of UN Police,” “Preventing conflict and sustaining peace” and “Accountability and performance” are key to operationalizing these reforms and translating them into practice.
It is never easy to break concepts down into practical steps which make a difference on the ground. It requires expertise and discussion from those who know the challenges best. We are confident that you will be able to move our discussions on peacekeeping in New York forward to make peacekeeping more effective on the ground.
Good, people-oriented police work is a pillar of stable societies. But if the domestic police does not adhere to the rule of law and respect of human rights, the population will never develop trust in its public institutions. People will turn away from the state, further eroding government structures in fragile states.
International police expertise can help defuse conflicts early on. And political and diplomatic mediation efforts benefit from the early involvement of police expertise.
The police are an indispensable component of all modern multidimensional peace missions. OROLSI and its UN Police Division have a key responsibility to ensure their success.
But we must also focus on “the day before and the day after.” How can police better help prevent conflicts? How can police better accompany the transition from peace missions to other forms of support? How can we better take advantage of police expertise and advice in cross-cutting issues like combating organized crime and human trafficking?
In peacekeeping, MINUJUSTH in particular shows how important the police are to consolidate successes. And in UNAMID, police work is playing a major role in restructuring the mission. We are heading in the right direction, but we must also ask how the police can work more effectively after a peace mission winds down? And what role can UNPOL play in this regard? How do we further strengthen the Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections? How can the police work more effectively with country teams? How can national police forces be assisted to better guarantee security, respect human rights and thus earn and enjoy the trust of the people? What has to be done to increase the legitimacy of the police and state?
As you can see, the demands on you are growing. Maybe not quite “first in, last out,” but always indispensable. The police can help resolve conflicts and ensure successful transitions. But to do so, international police must live up to the highest ethical and professional standards, including on SEA. We need to increase the participation of female officers. And together, we need to continue to improve training for peacekeeping operations.
The police must retain its legacy as a reliable partner for society which generations of police officers have helped create. This ethos of police must be reflected in UNPOL and throughout the efforts of the United Nations at sustaining peace.
Ladies and gentlemen, your job tomorrow is to give us answers to some of these questions and challenges and to help the United Nations get better at preventing conflicts and keeping and sustaining the peace.
I look forward to this exchange and raise my glass to a successful Second UN Chiefs of Police Summit!