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Statement by Ambassador Geng Shuang at the General Debate of UN General Assembly Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations

2021/02/15

Mr. Chairman,

China congratulates you for being elected as Chairman of this special committee. I believe that under your leadership, this committee will achieve full success.

Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic and existing threats such as regional hotspot issues, ethnic conflicts, and terrorism affect and exacerbate each other, bringing new impacts to international peace and security. In this context, the role and significance of UN peacekeeping operations have become more prominent. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the over 90,000 peacekeepers serving 12 missions around the world who have remained at their posts while facing the challenges of COVID-19.

China advocates that the current session of the special committee focus on the A4P initiative of Secretary-General Guterres to inject new momentum into its implementation and forge new consensus on strengthening peacekeeping operations, while taking into account the new situation and challenges posed by COVID-19. China would like to emphasize the following points.

First, combating the COVID-19 pandemic is the most urgent task of the international community. The UN peacekeeping operations should prioritize the fight against COVID-19, while providing safety and logistical guarantees in this regard to the host countries within their mandates. The COVID vaccines have been used in many countries for some time now. The host countries of PKOs are often the weak link in achieving universal vaccine distribution. Therefore, the UN peacekeeping operations should provide support to these countries and regions in the supply, transportation, and use of vaccines. UN peacekeepers should be prioritized in vaccination. China supports the Secretariat in strengthening communication with the host countries and TCCs, mobilizing more resources for this purpose, and developing practical and feasible solutions.

Second, the aim of peacekeeping operations is to achieve peace and consolidate peace. We should always promote political settlement as the top priority of PKOs. The host country bears the primary responsibility of protecting civilians, promoting human rights and empowering women. Peacekeeping operations could provide constructive assistance at the request of the host country in the above mentioned areas, but it cannot replace the host country's efforts, nor erode the mandates of other UN agencies. Past practice has repeatedly shown that only when relevant political processes are on track and progress is being made, can the UN peacekeeping operations gain a favorable political environment to achieve effective mandates and cease endless missions.

Third, the environment faced by peacekeeping operations has become more complex and dangerous. We must strengthen the safety and security of peacekeepers with a greater sense of urgency. Since the beginning of this year, more than a dozen peacekeepers from TCCs such as Morocco, Togo and Rwanda have died in mission areas such as Central Africa and Mali, which is deeply saddening. Even though peacekeeping operations involve casualties, we should try our best to try to minimize the security risks. We call for a comprehensive and in depth analysis of the recent security incidents of peacekeepers to find out the causes and to take necessary remedial measures. We must actively promote the implementation of Security Council resolution 2518, improve the equipment of peacekeepers, enhance situational awareness and early warning capacities, and take serious accountability measures towards perpetrators. We should continue to improve the integrated performance policy framework of PKOs and take the safety and security of peacekeepers as an important consideration. China suggests that the Secretariat appoint a full time coordinator to coordinate and promote the safety of peacekeepers and supervise relevant work, so as to play a pivotal role in the implementation of the security agenda for peacekeepers.

Fourth, a successful PKO depends on the joint efforts of all shareholders, and we should actively build a strong partnership. The UN General Assembly, the Security Council, the Secretariat, the host countries, the donor countries, and TCCs should all perform their respective duties, coordinate their actions and share the responsibility for improving peacekeeping performance. The reimbursements for contingent's own equipment serves the vital interests of TCCs. Long delays in reimbursement not only affects the enthusiasm of all parties to participate, but also the sustainability of existing peacekeeping operations. We urge the Secretariat to take effective measures to shorten the reimbursement cycle. The African Union and the relevant African sub regional mechanisms are important forces for peacekeeping operations. The UN should actively explore and expand ideas to help the AU-led peace operations obtain sustainable and predictable sources of funding.

Mr. Chairman,

China is an active participant and an important contributor to the UN peacekeeping operations. It is the second largest contributor to UN peacekeeping budgets and the largest TCC among the permanent members of the Security Council. China has dispatched more than 40,000 peacekeepers who uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, strictly abide by the mandates, diligently fulfill their peacekeeping missions and have made important contributions to maintaining world peace and promoting common development. China will continue to work closely with the international community to promote the effectiveness and efficiency of the UN peacekeeping operations and play a bigger role in maintaining international peace and security.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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