Statement by Turkey at the Opening of 2021 Substantive Session Of The Special Committee On Peacekeeping Operations

Bilge Koçyiğit Grba 15.02.2021
Mr. Chairman,
At the outset, I would like to thank H.E. Volkan Bozkır, President of the 75th Session of the General Assembly and USG Jean-Pierre LaCroix for their presentations. I also join other delegations in congratulating you for your election and wishing you as well as the members of the Bureau success during the upcoming deliberations.
Peacekeeping has been an indispensable tool for the UN. Across the globe, UN peacekeeping has kept peace, saved lives, enabled humanitarian assistance and public services, among other essential activities.
At the same time, UN peacekeeping has unfortunately suffered high numbers of fatalities in the last decade. We condemn all attacks on peacekeeping missions. We recognize the courageous work the blue helmets carry out in conflict zones around the world. Their service and sacrifice help countries navigate the path from conflict to peace.
The evolution of peacekeeping operations is evident as we have moved beyond traditional peacekeeping with more proactive and versatile operations with a mixture of civilian, political and military components.
We welcome the progress achieved so far to implement the commitments endorsed by over 150 Member States across 8 thematic areas of Action for Peacekeeping (A4P). Improvements in peacekeeping are urgently needed as they are crucial for people on the ground.
In this regard, we support the alignment of the C34 reporting format with the A4P thematic areas. Building upon the innovative approach of last year, we hope that the C34 report will once again bring the membership together in supporting the Secretariat to ensure enhanced mission performances, better training and capacity building for peacekeepers, strengthened mandate for protection of civilians, advancement of Women, Peace and Security agenda as well as increased accountability and transparency in peacekeeping operations.
We stress the importance of enhanced cooperation and partnership between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. We support strengthened partnerships both at the strategic and operational levels in coordination with host countries.
Engaging with local communities is an important confidence-building measure. Understanding local culture will enhance performance and contribute to the protection of civilians. We welcome the enhancement of peacekeeping missions’ toolbox in this regard.
Let me also underline that the consent of the parties as well as impartiality have been the bedrock principles of peacekeeping, enshrined in relevant resolutions and reports, most notably in the UNSC Resolution 2436 (2018) and the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, also known as the Brahimi Report. Needless to say that the mandates of peacekeeping operations need to be consistent with these basic principles.
Mr. Chairman,
We recognize the complexities faced by UN peacekeeping operations. Indeed, many UN missions around the world encounter serious human, material, logistical and financial constraints. Most recently, under the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, UN peacekeepers are fighting shoulder to shoulder with local people against the pandemic. We welcome the measures taken by the Secretariat and peacekeeping missions, such as formulating epidemic response schemes and adjusting rotation policies. Peacekeeping operations and special political missions continue to bring hope and stability to all corners of the world, supporting national authorities and vulnerable communities during the pandemic as well.
Turkey greatly appreciates the sacrifice of all UN peacekeeping personnel who continue to maintain peace and security amidst COVID-19, and we commend the force commanders for their leadership during this crisis.
Peacekeepers must be supported effectively with required resources, operationally, financially and politically. They must also be equipped with proper training, which will lead to stronger performance and discharge of the mandate.
Therefore, we emphasize the importance of clear, focused, sequenced, prioritized and achievable mandates devised by the Security Council, in close consultation with troop and police contributing countries, host countries, and the Secretariat.
We also welcome the increased focus on peacebuilding efforts including conflict prevention, development and sustaining peace. This is particularly relevant as peace and sustainable development are mutually reinforcing.
Let me also highlight the role of women in peacekeeping and its particular importance. Women improve peacekeeping performance and effectiveness, and we have long supported increasing the number and meaningful participation of women in UN peacekeeping. We are pleased to have co-sponsored UNSC Resolution 2538, the first standalone resolution on women in peacekeeping. We also welcome the Secretary General's emphasis on increased accountability to address sexual exploitation and abuse decisively and support the effective implementation of zero-tolerance policy.
Mr. Chairman,
Turkey is strongly committed to peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Turkish peacekeepers continue to serve in various UN, NATO and EU missions across the globe. We stand ready to further contribute to promoting a more effective and efficient peacekeeping.
Before concluding, I would like pay a special tribute to all the peacekeepers throughout the world and particularly those who have sacrificed their lives in the pursuit of a more peaceful world.
Thank you.