Statement by Turkey at the UN Security Council Open Debate on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: New Trends

Halit Çevik 17.06.2014

Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to thank the Presidency of the Russian Federation for organizing this open debate. I would like to also express my appreciation to the Secretary-General for his briefing and the work he is conducting through the Secretariat to strengthen the peacekeeping capabilities of the United Nations.

Peacekeeping operations play a critical role in supporting a country in providing a better future for its inhabitants. Peacekeeping is the flagship activity of the UN, and for the populations in need, peacekeepers are the face of the United Nations.

The conditions under which today’s peacekeepers operate have changed dramatically. The number of conflicts is unfortunately on the rise, and they are increasingly of an intra-state nature. Asymmetric threats, involving armed non-state actors, terrorists, with linkages to global organized crime are emerging.

Mr. President,

These changing conditions undoubtedly require the evolution of the concept of UN peacekeeping.

Firstly, it is clear that the challenging circumstances and expectations to protect civilians requires a change in posture of the peacekeeping operations, including through robust mandates. However, when “robust peacekeeping” is in question, we must do our utmost, not to compromise a key asset of the United Nations, which is impartiality. All efforts must be made to prevent any collateral damage and to win the hearts and minds of the people, in order to mitigate the risks of local resentment, reaction and opposition to peacekeeping missions, which would jeopardize success in fulfilling mandates.

Secondly, the safety and security of the personnel must be prioritized, taking into account the increasing number of attacks on UN personnel.

We would like to seize this opportunity to pay homage to the women and men serving as Blue Helmets, and express our condolences for the peacekeepers who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.

In this context, assets that modern technology offers, such as Unarmed Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UUAVs) must be utilized as appropriate, to provide safety and security to the personnel, and to fulfill their mandates. The use of UUAVs for reconnaissance and surveillance increases situational awareness and thus saves lives. However, their use must be done in strict conformity with international law, the Charter of the United Nations and transparency.

On the other hand, proper personnel, training and equipment must be provided, keeping in mind the increasing professionalization of peacekeeping. But such military measures alone are not the answer to better protect our peacekeepers. Addressing the security and political situation in the country and winning the hearts and minds of the people will be also vital.

Thirdly, sharing of assets between missions can provide increased efficiency and cost-effectiveness. However, the latest discussions on the issue demonstrate that there are a number of challenges that need to be addressed, in order to better utilize this practice.

Fourthly, today’s peacekeeping missions have increasingly comprehensive mandates.

Security is a precondition for development, and development generates more security. Therefore, supporting national peacebuilding and peacemaking efforts should lie at the heart of peacekeeping operations. We thus welcome the development of the concept of multidimensional peacekeeping, and the increased discussions on this subject, as highlighted in Resolution 2086, adopted during Pakistan’s Presidency.

For such multidimensional mandates to be successful, they must be realistic, flexible and the missions must be provided with the necessary skills and capabilities from within the UN system, or outside when necessary.

Mr. President,

The changing nature of threats and actors outlines the need to intensify efforts against terrorism and organized crime at the UN, both at mission and Headquarters levels. Additionally, there is a clear need to strengthen cooperation and partnership with international, regional and subregional organizations.

On the other hand, we have to redouble our efforts towards the peaceful resolution and prevention of conflicts, which saves lives, costs a fraction of peacekeeping efforts and eliminates the need to deploy new operation. In this context, we see mediation as an important tool, as it is consent-based and pertains to all stages of the conflict cycle – from prevention to resolution to implementation.

We believe that reinforcing the capacities of the United Nations, regional and subregional organizations, as well as of their Member States, in conflict resolution and prevention will help us better manage the conflicts at hand, and focus our efforts for a better world.

Thank you.