At the beginning, I would like to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on the election to lead this C34 Session. Also, I thank the Deputy Secretary-General and the Acting President of the General Assembly for their statements in the Committee yesterday. I express my appreciation to Under-Secretaries-General Ladsous and Khare for their whole-hearted engagement in strengthening United Nations peacekeeping operations in an increasingly challenging environment.
Before continuing, I want to join others and express my sincere condolences to the family, the people of Egypt and the United Nations on the death of former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
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 of our Organization.
Peacekeeping operations are the core functions of the United Nations and belong among the most important mechanisms for the maintenance of international peace and security. They are unique vehicles, helping countries in transition out of conflict and leading 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 United Nations peacekeepers systematic and comprehensive strategic guidance in line with the mandate 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 their complex challenges and tasks. The importance of strengthening their operational capabilities and organizational structure 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 measurable way. Improving personnel training, capability and performance standards, management practices, mobilizing and sustaining enabling assets, including the optimization of the allocation of available resources, are fundamental prerequisites for achieving missions` objectives.
Serbia concurs with the recommendations from the Report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations and the Report of the Secretary-General on the future of peace operations and considers that they provide a solid basis for our future activities. It is also necessary to include the entire United Nations system in the process of implementation of the recommendations of the Reports and upgrade the training of peacekeeping participants. For its part, Serbia will make every effort to support the reforms and assist in the implementation process.
Serbia 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 fulfil their mandates and improve the safety and security of their personnel.
Protection of civilians is one of the most important tasks in almost all peacekeeping operations. Serbia welcomes the adoption of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations/Department of Field Support Policy on the Protection of Civilians in United Nations Peacekeeping, as well as the Implementing Guidelines for Military Components of United Nations Peacekeeping Missions. Effective leadership, improved training, enhanced capabilities and technologies and innovations have already been identified as areas in which the effectiveness of the protection of civilians should be increased. We believe, Mr. Chairman, that this year’s negotiations will provide valuable recommendations in that regard.
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. Continuation of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse are not acceptable. All of us should support the Secretary-General’s implementation of the zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, in particular the highlighted seven actions in his special measures aimed at their prevention. The zero tolerance policy must be the rule in this particular area. Pre-deployment and human rights training must be enhanced. Troop and police contributors must be capable and trained to know what constitutes sexual exploitation and abuse and aware of the importance of the upholding of the zero tolerance policy.
The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations remains the most 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.
Successful peacekeeping is a shared responsibility; it is based on collective efforts and depends on effective partnership and cooperation among diverse stakeholders. My country is an active contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations, demonstrating in that way its commitment to the fundamental goals of our Organization of establishing and safeguarding international peace and security.
At the Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping Operations, held on the margins of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, my country made a pledge to increase its participation in future United Nations peacekeeping operations. We did so in the firm belief that international peacekeeping operations are irreplaceable in building and maintaining international peace and security. The leaders at the Summit confirmed their political will which now should be matched with concrete actions at the operational level in order to improve force generation and performance, increase efficiency and make peacekeeping operations more successful. In this regard, Serbia welcomes the creation of the Strategic Force Generation and Capability Planning Cell and the establishment the United Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System to help strengthen inter-action between the Secretariat and the Member States, improve efficiency in the management of new contributions and achieve a greater degree of readiness and predictability through a more sustained and collaborative approach.
Serbia tops the region in the participation in Peacekeeping Operations and is among the first eight countries in Europe that take part in peacekeeping missions all over the world. And, as an EU candidate country, Serbia participates in EU missions as well. Almost 350 Serbs, men and women, 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 remains undiminished.
In discharging the OSCE Chairmanship to the best of its capacities in 2015, my country focused its attention, among others, on the role of regional organizations in peacekeeping missions and the increasing partnership between global and regional organizations. To that effect, we organized a side event on OSCE peace operations last October in the margins of the current session of the General Assembly.
We are committed to maintaining and strengthening the quality and sustainability of peacekeeping operations. In order to achieve it, we should increase cooperation among all actors at all levels and coordinate and concert priorities and efforts. There is no doubt in my mind that the C34 session will present us an opportunity to improve all peacekeeping aspects and modalities.
In conclusion, I would like to salute all United Nations peacekeepers who risk their lives for the noble goals of peace. Serbia remains their partner in the efforts to maintain international peace and prosperity through active engagement and cooperation.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.