Statement by Mr. Sergiy Kyslytsya, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, at the open debate of the Security Council on UN peacekeeping operations

Statement by Mr. Sergiy Kyslytsya, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, at the open debate of the Security Council on UN peacekeeping operations

Mr. President,

I would like to join the participants of today’s discussion in expressing our sincere gratitude for organizing this important debate. It is only fair that this session falls within the Presidency of Indonesia — a nation with an outstanding peacekeeping record.

As I am about to deliver a statement in my national capacity, I would also like to flag that Ukraine aligns itself with the statement of the European Union.

Mr. President,

I would like to express our gratitude to the Secretary-General and distinguished briefers for their valuable input to the discussion. It is of particular pleasure for me to welcome the Force Commander of the Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lieutenant General Elias Rodrigues Martins Filho. This Mission continues to be a decisive stabilization factor on the ground with the substantive support of the Ukrainian attack and military-transport helicopter unit.

From the briefers’ presentations it appears unquestionable that to be up to speed with an unpredictable world UN peacekeeping endeavour urgently requires further reforming. It is exactly the high time to assess the current state of play and prospects of UN peacekeeping. I sincerely hope that this debate will contribute to this vital exercise.

We fully support the efforts of the Secretary-General to implement a robust, comprehensive UN reform agenda within A4 P concept. There are certainly palpable results achieved in the implementation of the September 2018 Declaration of Shared Commitments on UN PKOs, which Ukraine also joined. But we still have a long road before us to make contemporary and fully effective peacekeeping a reality.

For Ukraine as an active troop contributor and an initiator of the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel the theme of our discussion has very much practical meaning.

Ukrainian blue helmets have been participating in UN operations throughout the world. In many cases, they indeed were instrumental in reaching peace — from the Balkans to Liberia. Ukraine’s involvement in UN peacekeeping did not halt even at the height of the ongoing armed aggression against my country. Even when Ukraine itself still awaits the action from the Council on peacekeeping operation deployment to the occupied territory in the Ukrainian Donbas.

Mr. President,

Unfortunately, the casualty level in the UN peacekeeping remains a grim reminder of still unsatisfactory level of personnel’s safety and security. On another hand, the action for protection of civilians as an integral part of the peacekeeping endeavour also still lacks efficiency and determination.

Both issues have often similar or closely interlinked causes as was rightly outlined by the briefers. I see a number of essential issues to be addressed for success here.

— Ukraine proceeds from the understanding that the UN has to use all its potential to prevent the outbreak, resurgence and prolongation of armed conflicts. Gross human rights violations are often a precursor to the outbreak of a military conflict. Yet some member states try very hard to prevent the UN and this Council from addressing human rights violations as the issue of international peace and security. The consequences of such irresponsibility one can see in many places around the globe.

— Decisions on the PKO deployment should be based on a political solution or guided by peace agreement which have to include protection of civilians. If operation’s mandate has nothing to do with the implementation of peace accords, such PKO will not serve its main objective of establishing lasting peace and can result in freezing or even escalating the conflict.

— Any peacekeeping operation relies on an appropriate force generation to be able to deliver on its mandate. One should not be deceived by a false belief in PKOs’ abilities to function efficiently and effectively without proper funding and sufficient capabilities, including aviation assets, advanced intelligence and modern technologies.

— The Council should continue the dialogue with TCCs and PCCs in formal and informal consultations during establishment or renewal of PKOs’ mandates in order to ensure proper and on time personnel training and equipment supply to the missions.

— Proper conduct by, and discipline over, all personnel deployed in UN peacekeeping operations are vital to their effectiveness. The Council has to continue supporting the Secretary-General’s initiative on the eradication of sexual violence in the UN peacekeeping. It is essential also to ensure gender balance integration in PKOs, that would certainly improve further their capabilities to address gender-based violence thus contributing much to conflict resolution.

— Ukraine committed itself to the policy of protection of civilians including by recognizing the Kigali Principles and views the issue of protection of civilians as one of the most important tasks of peacekeeping operations. One of the practical ways to improve here is to take away the practice of caveats, which often becomes an obstacle for a swift reaction by the UN.

— We support also the importance of environment protection in PKOs, which could make them more effective instrument of curbing with challenges on the ground. We welcome the ongoing implementation of the Environmental Performance and Risk Management Framework in the PKOs. It is important now to translate data collected in the PKOs within the Framework into action.

In general, Mr. President, our Organization has to move from traditional to cost-effective and smart peacekeeping using all necessary technologies and capacities.

As we are approaching the 75th anniversary of the UN next year, we have to be prepared to give an honest assessment of the peacekeeping activities of our Organization: to estimate all its achievements and gaps in the face of contemporary challenges in order to make our peace efforts stronger as never before.

I thank you.