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General Debate on the 2017 C-34 Substantive Session

Tuesday, 21 February 2017
Conference Room 1


Mr. Chair,


I join the other delegations in conveying our congratulations to you and the members of the Bureau on your election. You have the Philippine support as you guide our work in the days ahead.


Likewise, our sincere condolences to the family of Ambassador Vitaly Churkin and to his colleagues at the Russian Mission on his sudden passing.


The Philippines aligns itself with the Statements delivered by Morocco and Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and ASEAN, respectively.


Mr. Chair,


Today, we are all here in solidarity not only to meet head on the challenges to peace, but also to answer the clarion call for sustaining and investing in peace. There is no doubt that peacekeeping remains the flagship agenda of the United Nations enterprise.


The Philippines, therefore, commends the President of the General Assembly, H.E. Peter Thomson, for convening a two-day General Debate on the strategic context and operational developments in peacekeeping. We also thank the Chef de Cabinet and the Under-Secretaries-General for DPKO and DFS for their presence today. We look forward to the discussion and exchange with them on Thursday.


Mr. Chair, 


We share Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ view that “prevention is not merely a priority, but the priority” and support his call to commit to a “surge in diplomacy for peace…and to make greater use of the options laid out in Chapter VI of the UN Charter[1].”


At least 49 peacebuilding organizations said that the policy focus on prevention represents “a fresh and universal normative framework… and a reinvigorated UN mandate for peace as a core principle across the UN system.”[2]


Mr. Chair,


The Philippines is currently exploring avenues to improve Philippine participation in peacekeeping missions.


Since 1963, the Philippines has consistently played an important role in UN peacekeeping operations. Filipino peacekeepers have served or are currently serving in 15 countries and territories: Abyei (Sudan), Burundi, Cambodia, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Darfur, Georgia, Golan Heights, Haiti, Kashmir, Kosovo, Liberia, South Sudan, Syria and Timor-Leste.


Philippine participation in UN peacekeeping operations and peacebuilding missions demonstrates the country’s enduring commitment to work with the key actors and stakeholders to ensure peace and stability in the international community.


In the regional context, peacekeeping is one of the main elements of ASEAN political and security cooperation, to which it attaches great importance. Around 4,800 police, military advisers, and troops from ASEAN countries are currently deployed to 12 UN peacekeeping missions.[3]


At this juncture, please allow me to provide the Philippines’ recommendations and inputs on some of the key elements in this year’s C-34 Report:


  • On the overall policy framework of UN peacekeeping operations, the Philippines strongly supports the Secretary-General’s recommendation as contained in A/71/587 which states that “peacekeeping operations will need to be politically adept in identifying options to support coherent international strategies for negotiated settlements, while building collaborative partnerships with key stakeholders in each conflict context.” The Philippines also believes that more effort must be invested in local political solutions to conflicts, which peacekeeping operations must endeavor to support.


  • On conduct and discipline and viewed in the context of the Protection of Civilians or POC mandate, we believe that the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) must be addressed aggressively through the following:


  1. Robust pre-deployment and in-mission training programs that underscore leadership responsibility and accountability throughout the chain of command;


  1. Appropriate information-exchange on context-specific responses to SEA cases; and


  1. Innovative capacity-building initiatives based on best practices in overcoming a culture of impunity.


The Philippines also welcomes and strongly supports the recent announcement of a new DPKO-DFS-DPA policy on the protection of children affected by armed conflict in UN peacekeeping operations and in special political missions.


  • On safety and security, the Philippine recommends the inclusion of a paragraph on Unarmed Civilian Protection which recognizes UCP’s contributions to protecting civilians and building a protective environment, while also recommending that peacekeeping missions should work more closely with local communities and national/international NGOs.


  • On strengthening operational capacity, the Philippines supports calls by Member States for the Secretariat to be more transparent in selecting contingents from troop- and police-contributing countries. The Philippines also commends the efforts of the Member States at the recently concluded 2017 Working Group on Contingent-Owned Equipment (COE) to incentivize the Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (PCRS) through reimbursement for equipment of units in the rapid deployment level or RDL.


Mr. Chair,


Let me conclude by saluting our brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of peace and to share with you a statement delivered 71 years ago by the late Philippine statesman, General Carlos P. Romulo, who addressed the 41st Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly in October 1946:


“We are not here to make the peace, but to build for peace. We are not here to avenge the injuries of the past, but to fulfill humanity’s hopes for the future. We are not here to reap and divide the harvest of victory, but to make ready the hearts and minds of men for the seeds of peace.”


Thank you, Mr. Chair.


[1] Pacific Settlement of Disputes (Chapter VI)

[2] “Embracing the New Global Framework for Peace” (a shared statement by peacebuilding organizations); International Day of Peace, 21 September 2016

[3] ASEAN Statement delivered by the Permanent Mission of Indonesia at the Plenary Meeting of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee); 20 October 2016.