PM Hailemariam highlights Ethiopia’s contribution to UN Peacekeeping
Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn chaired the United Nations Security Council high-level open debate on the “Reform of UN peacekeeping: implementation and follow-up” in New York on 20th September.
The Security Council heard briefings from Secretary-General António Guterres, Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, and José Ramos-Hortaa, Chair of the High Level Panel on the Review of Peace Operations (HIPPO).
Following the briefings, the Security Council unanimously adopted the resolution on peacekeeping reforms, which was tabled by Ethiopia. The document was backed by all 15 countries.
The Prime Minister, in his remarks after the vote, emphasized the role of the Council in strengthening United Nations peacekeeping operations. He also stressed on the need to have the necessary capabilities for peacekeepers to carry out their mandate and protect civilians.
PM Hailemariam’s full remarks follows. Check against delivery.
I shall now speak in my capacity as Prime Minister of Ethiopia…
Let me start by expressing our appreciation to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for his remarks and for his efforts to strengthen UN peacekeeping. We thank Chairperson Moussa Faki for being here with us today and for his commitment to enhancing the UN-AU partnership. We are also grateful to President Jose Ramos Horta for joining us and for his insightful briefing on where we are in terms of the reform of UN peacekeeping operations two years after the HIPPO which he chaired presented its report.
Ethiopia welcomes the unanimous adoption of resolution 2378 (2017) and we thank all members of the Council for their inputs and contribution during the negotiation. We also thank all those members that have co-sponsored the resolution in a demonstration of their commitment to strengthening United Nations peacekeeping as one of the important tools in the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security.
The adoption of this important resolution has particular significance for Ethiopia as one of the leading Troop Contributing Countries to United Nations Peacekeeping Operations. Our peacekeepers were one of those who were deployed in the early days of United Nations peacekeeping. They were also among those peacekeepers deployed in the Congo to stabilize the country in the early days of its independence. Ethiopian peacekeepers played an important role in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide and the civil war in Liberia.
Today, more than eight thousand Ethiopian peacekeepers are serving under the blue helmet in Darfur, Abyei and South Sudan. Ethiopia takes pride in its important role in UN peacekeeping and today we are pleased to have made a modest contribution to advancing the reform of UN peacekeeping by proposing the draft resolution we just adopted.
We are meeting here today two years after major reviews focusing on the UN peace and security architecture were conducted and also two years after the leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping. Therefore, it is hoped that the debate will afford us the opportunity to reflect how far we have come in undertaking reform of UN peacekeeping and chart the way forward. I would like to highlight four points in this regard.
- We believe this Council has a key role in strengthening United Nations peacekeeping as it mandates and authorizes their deployment. Therefore, adequate implementation and follow up of United Nations peacekeeping reform by this Council in accordance with existing mandates and procedures is absolutely important and we welcome the decision by the Council today to entrust its Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations to review reform initiatives in close cooperation with other Member States, including Troop-and Police-Contributing Countries and host countries.
- As much as UN peacekeeping reform is important, this Council does not have a dedicated debate to discuss this issue comprehensively and assess the progress made. That is why we welcome the decision to have this annual debate on the basis of a comprehensive annual briefing by the Secretary-General. It is also essential this discussion takes place at this time of the year when world leaders gather in New York for the annual General Assembly session to keep peacekeeping reform high on the agenda.
- We all know that the environment under which many peacekeepers operate has dramatically changed but peacekeepers are not equipped with the necessary capabilities to carry out their mandates and protect civilians while also ensuring their own safety and security. That is why a number of commitments and pledges were made two years ago to address this issue and we welcome the Secretary-General providing updates to the Security Council, as part of his comprehensive briefing, on the continuous efforts made in filling the existing gaps in terms of force generation and capabilities as well as other relevant aspects necessary for peacekeeping to effectively and appropriately respond to peace and security challenges.
- We appreciate the Secretary-General’s initiatives to reform the UN peace and security architecture both in the Secretariat as well as in the field. It is important that this Council sent a political message to the Secretary-General welcoming his reform efforts and we believe his continuous engagement with this Council and the various intergovernmental committees of the General Assembly will be very important in moving the reform process forward.
- Last but not least, enhancing global-regional partnership is indeed one of the most important pillars of reforming UN peacekeeping. Given the current global security dynamics, UN cannot handle new and emerging peace and security challenges alone and forging effective partnerships with regional and sub-regional organizations is the most sensible and logical thing to do. This has already been well recognized now but what matters at this stage is taking practical steps in this direction in the spirit of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter including through the sharing of burdens. Let us be frank here. There is a great deficit here and it is high time that the contribution and the sacrifices of UN peacekeepers and of those deployed after having been authorized by the Security Council, is acknowledged in earnest, and in a meaningful way.
It is indeed encouraging to note that this Council has expressed its intention to give further consideration to practical steps that can be taken, and the conditions necessary, to establish the mechanism through which African Union led peace support operations authorized by the Security Council and under the Security Council’s authority under Chapter VIII of the Charter could be partly financed through United Nations assessed contributions, on a case by case basis.
Of course, our hope and expectation was that Council would go further than this and what chairperson Moussa Faki just told us today captures the sentiments in Africa on this important issue. Nevertheless, we understand the dynamics in the Council and we will continue to engage with members to make progress on this issue building on what has been agreed today. We believe this is not only fair and appropriate, it is also in the best interest of our collective security.
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