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Joint Statement—Declaration of United Nations Leaders' Summit on Peacekeeping

September 28, 2015

The Governments of Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, Fiji, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Republic of Korea, Romania, Rwanda, Turkey, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Ukraine, United States, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Vietnam jointly declare their support for the following:

As the United Nations marks its seventieth anniversary, we recognize that, for sixty-seven years, its Member States have called and depended upon United Nations peacekeeping operations to help maintain international peace and security around the world. Since 1948, UN peacekeeping has evolved through tragedy and triumph to meet new security threats and challenges as the world itself, and environments in which peacekeepers are deployed, has changed dramatically. We salute the sacrifices of the brave peacekeepers, who deploy to volatile and dangerous locations throughout the world to serve humanity and the cause of peace. Today, we celebrate the essential role that UN peacekeeping plays in bringing security, hope and peace to millions of people, redouble our efforts to ensure that peacekeeping operations succeed in meeting this challenge and underscore our commitment to the highest standards of professionalism and conduct.

We believe that the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping operations is the responsibility of all Member States and relies particularly on partnerships among the Security Council, Troop and Police Contributing Countries, financial contributors, host countries, the UN Secretariat and regional organizations. We, therefore, welcome the convening of the regional meetings on peacekeeping held in Ethiopia, Indonesia, Rwanda, the Netherlands and Uruguay, with the aim of strengthening cooperation among relevant actors, as well as contributing to improving the UN peacekeeping architecture overall. We underscore the need to enhance consultations between the members of the Security Council and relevant Member States contributing personnel to UN peacekeeping operations to seek a shared understanding of the mandates and a common commitment to their implementation.

Today, we recommit ourselves to modernizing UN peacekeeping operations to ensure their success. We are committed to doing our part to further strengthen peacekeeping, underscored by the additional significant commitments to UN peacekeeping announced today, which will help meet persistent capacity gaps, improve the performance and capabilities of uniformed personnel, support rapid deployment and reinforce and enhance the foundation for future peacekeeping efforts. To achieve this goal, we also call on Member States to join us in making additional commitments to UN peacekeeping.

These contributions must be accompanied by reforms in how UN peacekeeping is organized and supported. We welcome the efforts to advance the cause of reform through the report of the Secretary-General, entitled "The Future of Peace Operations: Implementation of the Recommendations of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations," and the report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (hereinafter, "the Panel") and look forward to discussing the Secretary-General's recommendations, where applicable, in an appropriate intergovernmental forum. We underscore the need for a truly integrated mission planning and assessment process that fuses operations and logistics with political goals; strengthened evaluation of operational readiness and performance; improved human resources management and procurement practices that enable missions to deploy more quickly, effectively and flexibly; intelligence capabilities, which identify threats to UN personnel and facilitate the effective implementation of mandates; capable and accountable leadership in peacekeeping operations and merit-based leadership selection, with due consideration for geographical representation; and a more effective peace and security bureaucracy at the UN Headquarters. We stress the need to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in UN peacekeeping.

We affirm that proper conduct by, and discipline over, all personnel deployed in UN peacekeeping operations are vital to their effectiveness. In particular, sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers, including all civilian staff deployed to UN peacekeeping operations, against anyone is unacceptable. We reaffirm our support for the UN "zero tolerance" policy on all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse. We call on the Secretary-General to continue to strengthen the Organization's prevention, enforcement and remediation efforts. We are committed to taking serious and concerted action to combat sexual exploitation and abuse, including rigorous vetting and training of uniformed personnel to be deployed to UN peacekeeping operations, as well as swift and thorough investigations, appropriate accountability measures and timely reporting to the United Nations on all incidents.

We underline that the protection of civilians is a solemn responsibility we all share. Failure to protect civilians not only risks lives, but also undermines the credibility and legitimacy of UN peacekeeping. We are committed to ensuring that our uniformed personnel deployed in peacekeeping operations are properly trained on UN policies and guidance on the protection of civilians, including on the use of force consistent with the operation's mandate and rules of engagement. We underline our commitment to investigate and, as appropriate, discipline uniformed personnel if they fail to fulfill their mandate to protect civilians. In this regard, we take note of the initiative by Member States to develop, as relevant, the best practices set out in the Kigali Principles.

We express our firm commitment to the safety and security of UN peacekeepers. We note with concern the evolving threats they face working in dangerous environments. We underscore the critical importance of strengthening casualty response. We call on all Member States and the UN to prioritize the generation of capabilities in these areas, to work to ensure the availability and appropriate control over aviation assets to improve medical evacuation and to strengthen UN standards of emergency care. We underscore the importance of respect for the freedom of movement of UN peacekeepers. We call on host countries to cooperate fully with, and provide unhindered access to, UN peacekeepers to enable them to carry out their duties, in accordance with their mandates.

We acknowledge the critical role played by subregional and regional organizations in confronting some of the world's most difficult stabilization challenges, and underscore our commitment to supporting deeper partnerships and cooperation between the UN and such regional organizations to address threats to international peace and security. We underscore that UN peacekeeping operations are a means to support sustainable political solutions to armed conflicts and to contribute to the conditions for durable peace. We highlight that UN peacekeeping operations are most effective when they support an end to violent conflicts, shore up the confidence of all parties to pursue the peaceful resolution of disputes and aid in advancing the cause of peace. We affirm the primary importance of efforts to mitigate and prevent conflict, including through the use of UN mediation, good offices and special political missions.

NOTE: The joint statement referred to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations. An original was not available for verification of the content of this joint statement.

Barack Obama, Joint Statement—Declaration of United Nations Leaders' Summit on Peacekeeping Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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