Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at the UN Security Council Debate on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations

Above all, let me express heartfelt condolences regarding the tragic events in the North of Burkina Faso – attacks that took lives of 29 people.

We thank USG Jean-Pierre Lacroix for his insightful briefing.

Peacekeeping has been flagship activity of the United Nations in the area of maintaining peace and security for many decades; this action has a direct impact on lives of millions of people. UN peacekeeping operations are charged with hope as they aim to both solve the most urgent problems and promote long-term settlement.

Challenging environment in which missions have to operate, as well as the changing nature of conflict undoubtedly create a need for peacekeeping mechanisms to adapt. Issues of improving efficiency of peacekeeping are also very relevant today.

We appreciate personal efforts of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that he takes at this track. We share the main point of his initiative “Action for Peacekeeping” about the importance of true partnership and joint efforts of the global community in order to ensure effective functioning of peacekeeping operations. We believe it implies that all parties should strictly and scrupulously abide by agreements and obligations that have been achieved on an inter-State scale.

In this regard, and taking into account the remaining divergences in interpreting the “Declaration of Shared Commitments”, we believe that GA Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34) issued an important decision: at the upcoming session in 2020 the Special Committee will bring (on an experimental basis) the structure of its report into sync with major thematic elements of the document.  We expect this to help synchronize all the processes the Secretariat has initiated at the peacekeeping track with consensus decisions and recommendations of UN Member-States.

No matter how the peacekeeping reform proceeds in the future, what should stand at the core of this process is the respect for sovereignty of host countries, compliance with the UN Charter and adherence to the basic principles of peacekeeping: consent of the parties, impartiality, non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.

Peacekeepers should remain neutral under any circumstances; otherwise they risk being involved in conflict. This would lead to further security threats for the Blue Helmets. Same goes for peacekeepers holding robust and proactive operations. We proceed from the assumption that the presence of mandate of such kind does not create any precedent.

Such functions of contingents as the so called “intelligence in peacekeeping/data collection and analysis” can be employed only within the limits negotiated by the countries. Collection of information should proceed in full compliance with the UN Charter, given respect for sovereignty of the host; by legitimate methods only; with the sole purpose of protecting peaceful population and ensuring safety of peacekeepers. What is of particular importance here is resilient storage and safe processing of sensitive data.

There is an important task of strengthening triangular cooperation between the Security Council, TCCs, and the Secretariat in order to develop the environment of partnership, cooperation and mutual trust. In this regard, we welcome participation of major troop-contributors in this debate.

We also believe it necessary to establish confidential cooperation with host countries that bear the main responsibility for protection of civilians, elimination of crises root causes, and post-conflict recovery. Cooperation of missions and the Secretariat with the host government should be the centerpiece of the process; no civil society and no NGO is able to substitute for the government.

Effective interaction between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations based on Chapter VII of the UN Charter also possesses added value in improving the UN peacekeeping. This assertion is proven by the fruitful cooperation between the UN and the African Union. There is also a good potential of developing UN partner relations with the CSTO and SCO that now enhance their political authority and contribute to strengthening of regional and international security.

The Security Council should articulate clear, precise and realistic mandates. This can hardly be doubted. Thereby it remains the central task of the Blue Helmets to create conditions for establishing political dialogue and achieving national reconciliation. In light of this we believe it reasonable to reduce the subsidiary and secondary tasks of the Blue Helmets: those of human rights, humanitarian, and social nature, because they distract peacekeepers from implementing their central functions and require significant financing. This becomes even more pressing in light of the policy of economic optimization of peacekeeping that is being implemented at the moment.

Efficiency of peacekeeping is highly dependent on the principle of “labor division” that should be implemented inside the organization given due coordination and mutual complementarity of the efforts. The key role in defining shared approaches to peacekeeping and in articulating relevant recommendations to the Secretariat stays with the GA Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. Logistic, budgetary and human resource issues should be discussed at the Fifth Committee. The Security Council should account for the results of these discussions in order to make informed decisions when elaborating individual mandates of peacekeeping missions.