Peacekeeping remains the “flagship agenda” of the United Nations enterprise.
Peacekeeping operations and missions come with high expectations. They have long been the signature and most popular image of the UN. The Missions’ ability to protect not only civilians but also UN peacekeepers and personnel is the standard by which UN peacekeeping is measured, affecting its legitimacy and credibility. Even as the greatest credit to the UN has come from peacekeeping, its biggest and deepest stains have come from failing in the same.
Peacekeeping should not decide political outcomes; but it does commit to establish humane conditions where they have ceased to exist. While this minimalist mission may produce a political outcome—the containment or even defeat of the murdering elements, that is acceptable because it stops the carnage and rapine. Life and human dignity are UN peacekeeping’s absolutes.
Today’s Security Open Debate under the Presidency of Indonesia is therefore a timely follow-up event after the successful 2019 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Meeting a month ago.
Continued dialogue and debates on the subject are key to ensuring that the Action for Peacekeeping initiative will succeed after achieving near consensus on 24 mutual commitments last September.
The Philippines welcomes the efforts of the UN Department of Peace Operations to establish clear performance standards and assessments based on regular evaluations of military units, including on command and control, protection of civilians, conduct, discipline and training. They enable objective assessment of whole-of-mission performance (civilian and uniformed components, staff and leadership) through data collection and analysis.
The Philippines reaffirms that peacekeeping operations must be measured by the mandate to protect civilians as the “core criterion of success,” with child protection and combating sexual exploitation and abuse as key elements. Pre-deployment training should be tailored to respond to particular country-specific or context-specific challenges of protecting civilians with clear definitions of the responsibilities, opportunities and constraints that will be faced by peacekeepers in the field. But again the safety of civilians is an absolute; and in no case shall it be sacrificed for any other consideration.
Our Department of National Defense takes a strict approach to misconduct cases. The Armed Forces of the Philippines makes sure that all its peacekeeping contingents are deeply instilled with guidelines for proper behavior and conduct in the UN Mission Area. As part of its pre-deployment and in-Mission training of personnel, the AFP imposes the most stringent measures in the selection of candidates, and implements a system of rewards and penalties for well-performing and misbehaving personnel.
The Philippines wishes to submit the following inputs and recommendations:
First the Philippines encourages Member States to host “Centers of Excellence” per region to support the trainers in delivering training packages to troop- and police-contributing countries consistent with UN standards and approaches.
Second, the Philippines believes that “threat analyses and data” should be shared with other Missions to improve the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel; and, foremost, that of civilians.
Third, on the ability and authority of the Force Commander to appropriately respond to emergency situations on ground without the need to consult with Missions’ “legal advisers,” the Philippines supports the call to limit “national caveats” from host states addressed to Force Commanders overseeing peacekeeping missions.
Fourth, the Philippines supports the increased deployment of women UN peacekeepers including in the highest posts. There is no debate about their preeminent qualification for any aspect of peacekeeping operations.
The Philippines has never failed in its peacekeeping commitments and commits to a larger presence in UN peacekeeping operations. Thank you. END