I congratulate you on election as the Chair on the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and the other members of the Bureau on their election. Also, I would like to thank SGs Chef De Cabinet for her briefing yesterday. I express my appreciation to Under-Secretaries-General Ladsous and Khare for their whole-hearted engagement in strengthening the United Nations peacekeeping operations in an increasingly challenging environment.
Before continuing, I want to join others and express my sincere condolences to the family, our colleagues at the Permanent Mission of Russian Federation and the United Nations on the passing of Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.
Serbia aligned itself with the statement made by the European Union; nonetheless, I shall address some of the issues which, in the view of my country, belong among the peacekeeping priorities.
Peacekeeping operations are among the most important mechanisms for the maintenance of international peace and security and the core functions of the United Nations. They are a unique vehicle to help the countries in transition out of conflict and lead them towards lasting and sustainable peace. In view of an increasingly difficult operational environment and the scale and complexity of demands and challenges, it is of utmost importance to provide the United Nations peacekeepers systematic and comprehensive strategic guidance in line with the mandates authorized by the Security Council and reflective of the realities and developments in the field.
Faced with the changing nature of conflicts, increasing danger of asymmetric threats, transnational organized crime and terrorist attacks, as well as with a large number of non-State actors, peacekeeping missions should be properly equipped and structured to deal with all their complex challenges and tasks. The importance of strengthening their operational capabilities and organizational structure, as well as the efforts made by the Secretariat in order to make them more efficient and effective can never be emphasized enough. In that context, it is essential to provide predictable and adequate capabilities and resources, define achievable mandates and ensure their effective implementation in a measureable way.
My country fully supports the HIPPO and SGs reports and their recommendations, which highlight all key issues in the area of reviewing the peacekeeping performance. In particular, we attach special importance to the four essential shifts called for in the HIPPO report that would allow the United Nations to position its peacekeeping operations to better respond to current and future challenges: ensuring the primacy of politics, a flexible use of the full spectrum of peace operations, stronger partnerships, as well as a field-focused UN Secretariat and people-centered peace operations.
My delegation shares the deep concern that attacks on UN personnel are becoming even more frequent. Emphasizing the need to address the safety and security of the personnel as a matter of priority, my country supports all efforts in creating the measures for better protecting peacekeepers in the field.
Serbia also welcomes the collective efforts invested in further developing the models of implementation of modern technologies in peacekeeping operations, aimed at enhancing the missions’ capacity and making them better equipped to fulfill their mandates and improve the safety and security of their personnel.
Protection of civilians is one of the most important tasks in almost to all peacekeeping operations. Effective leadership, improved training efforts, enhanced capabilities, technologies and innovations have already been identified as areas in which the effectiveness of the protection of civilians should be increased.
The integration of the gender perspective into all elements of the peacekeeping policy agenda and continued efforts at promoting participation of women in peacekeeping operations and decision-making processes will also help improve the performance of peacekeeping missions. Serbia is firmly committed to the implementation of Resolutions 1325 (2000) and 2242 (2015) Women, Peace and Security. The results achieved in the previous period of the implementation of the National Action Plan for the implementation of the Resolution 1325 are visible in almost every aspect of the work and life of the members of the security sector, particularly in the increase in the participation of women in the activities related to international cooperation and multinational operations. Women account for over 11 per cent of the overall number of civilian and military personnel serving in 12 multinational operations, 8 of them United Nations peacekeeping operations.
Successful peacekeeping is a shared responsibility, based on collective efforts, and depends on effective partnership and cooperation among diverse stakeholders. As a reliable member of the international community, my country is an active contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations, demonstrating in this way its commitment to the fundamental goals of our Organization of establishing and safeguarding international peace and security. Over 300 members of its armed forces have joined the ranks of over a hundred twenty thousand United Nations peacekeepers; and its interest in making a greater contribution to maintaining peace, stability, and development by enhancing and diversifying its force participation in peacekeeping operations continues to be evident indeed.
We are in favour of proactive multilateralism, while regional cooperation and integration continue to be important pillars of our foreign policy. My country belongs to a region that went through very challenging times. This is why we approach the process of maintaining and building peace with special responsibility.
As a host country of one of the United Nations peacekeeping operations, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the strong support the Republic of Serbia attaches to the role of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo and Metohija (UNMIK) and its active engagement in creating conditions for peaceful life together of the residents of the Province, security of all local communities and the respect of their human rights. The status-neutral engagement of UNMIK remains the only acceptable framework within which all of us can work together in order to improve the lives of ordinary people in Kosovo and Metohija. The presence of the United Nations Mission is of paramount importance for stability in the Province and for the creation of conditions that should lead to a lasting and sustainable solution of the question of Kosovo and Metohija. I would like to point out also on this occasion that UNMIK’s strengthened presence and role are of particular importance for the Republic of Serbia and, especially, for the Serbs and other non-Albanians living in Kosovo and Metohija, all the more so in view of the confidence and trust that they have in the Mission. Serbia expects that UNMIK will continue to carry out its mandate under UNSCR 1244 (1999) also in the forthcoming period.
Before I conclude my statement, let me point out that the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations remains the most significant, relevant and important body to address these tasks and challenges. Considering its comprehensive role in devising the way forward for UN peacekeeping policy, I express my sincere hope that the Committee will continue to render strategic guidance on peacekeeping operations, based on consensus and within timelines set for its yearly activities.
In conclusion, I salute all United Nations peacekeepers who risk their lives for the noble goals of peace. Serbia remains a partner to each and every United Nations Member State in the efforts to maintaining international peace and prosperity through active engagement and cooperation.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.