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Substantive Session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations

Wednesday, 17 February 2016
Ambassador Lourdes Yparraguirre
New York

Madam/Mr. Chair,

The Philippines aligns itself with the statement made by Morocco on behalf of the members of the Non-Aligned Movement and the statement made by Thailand on behalf of the members of ASEAN.

      We thank the Secretary-General for his reports on peacekeeping and peace operations. We also thank the Secretariat for the intersessional briefings.

            This year, the Substantive Session of this Committee is indeed significant in view of the concrete steps that have to be taken to strengthen the UN system, in relation to the three inter-related reviews on: (1) peace operations, (2) peacebuilding, and (3) Women, Peace and Security.       

Madam/Mr. Chair,

            We wish to make the following points for the current session of the Special Committee:

            First, on safety and security, we are very concerned on the  alarming rate of increases in fatalities, injuries, kidnappings and other deliberate hostile acts against peacekeepers.  In 2015, at least 51 UN Personnel were killed in deliberate attacks against peacekeeping operations, 27 of whom were peacekeepers. The latest incident in Mali last Friday has resulted in 7 peacekeeper fatalities.   We note that the Secretary-General’s process of consolidating all its security resources under the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations, Field Support, Political Affairs, and Safety and Security, is expected to be completed by December 2016.  We also note that the UN Staff Union is calling for the creation of a High-level review panel on evolving and emerging threats.  Based on the changing nature of operational environments and consequent challenges, we have an urgent need for an effective enhancement of safety and security measures for both peacekeepers and UN peacekeeping personnel.   

Secondly, on protection of civilians, we are of the view that the principle of non-use of force except in self-defense or defense of mandate, should accommodate the evolving realities and obligations of the United Nations.  The successful conduct of tasks by Missions with protection of civilian mandates requires a holistic approach that encompasses adequate and timely provision of resources, adequate training, logistical support at all levels, as well as clearly defined and achievable mandates. We also believe that unarmed strategies to protect must be at the forefront of UN efforts to protect civilians.

Third, on conduct and discipline, we appreciate the continued efforts of the Secretary-General to enhance the UN strategy on prevention, enforcement and remedial action towards an Integrated Conduct and Discipline Framework.   We strongly support the Secretary General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse and exploitation.  One case is one too many and tarnishes the organization’s integrity and is a disservice to our brave and honorable peacekeepers.  The Philippines is strongly committed to ending sexual violence whenever and wherever it occurs and we hold our troops accountable to the highest standards of conduct.  

            Fourth, we believe in full participation in policy formulation and decision-making by all troop contributing countries, and in the need to strengthen performance through a shared understanding of mandates and tasks required. We support the HIPPO’s emphasis on the need for a new sequenced approach for the formulation of peacekeeping mandates.

            Fifth, on gender and peacekeeping, we support continued efforts to mainstream gender in all aspects of peacekeeping operations, particularly in pre-deployment training, deployment of female peacekeepers, and increased representation in all levels of peacekeeping work.  As of December 2015, female representation in UN military troops is only at 3.3%.  The Philippine Government has achieved 10 percent female representation in MINUSTAH (16 out of 165).  We have also integrated gender training in our pre-deployment training.  In line with the WPS agenda, we are mainstreaming female representation in peace and security.  The Philippines has not been timid about assigning Filipino women leadership roles on, around, and beyond the peace tables.  The Presidential adviser on the Peace Process, is a woman, Cabinet Secretary Teresita Deles. She oversees several peace tables: communist insurgency movement, the Muslim insurgency movements in Southern Philippines and their splinter groups. After 40 years of bloody conflict and 16 years of protracted peace negotiations, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or the MILF signed on 27 March 2014, is historic not only because it signalled the end of a long-standing war in Southern Philippines but also because it is the first agreement of its kind in the world to bear the signature of a woman as Chief Negotiator – Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer.  Following the signing of this peace agreement, a woman was tasked to co-chair the Joint Normalization Committee and 3 of 4 transition commissions are chaired by women. These bodies oversee the multiple security, transitional justice, and socio-economic interventions, which seek to ensure that peace will endure not only in the law but also on the ground.

Sixth, we are encouraged by the positive responses to the HIPPO recommendations on essential shifts necessary for peace operations, and we welcome the Secretary-General’s agenda for action in the near term on strengthening the range of UN responses and capacities for conflict prevention and mediations, and on a reinforced global-regional partnerships. 

Finally Madam/Mr. Chair,

We fully support the ongoing processes and look forward to more in depth consultations.  We are confident that under your leadership, we will conclude the current session in a successful manner.