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UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial: London Communiqué

The Governments of Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Finland, Indonesia , Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uruguay, Vietnam and Zambia jointly declare their support for the following:

United Nations peacekeeping is an indispensable part of the international community’s response to threats to international peace and security. Effective prevention of, and response to, many of today’s threats to international peace and security require partnerships with other countries. UN peacekeeping is one of the most tangible examples of effective partnership and is unique in its ability to leverage the strengths of many states. UN peacekeeping can contribute to the resolution of conflicts, prevent their recurrence and create the stability necessary for peace to flourish. Peacekeeping is in the national security interest of all nations. We salute the contribution of the brave men and women that serve in peacekeeping missions, and remember with sadness those who have sacrificed their lives in support of this cause.

Modern conflicts demand modern responses. Peacekeeping must be deployed as part of a broader strategy and must be more field-oriented and people-centred. Today’s peacekeepers must be able to successfully implement their mandates, including protecting civilians, themselves and their assets. We reaffirm the basic principles of peacekeeping, including consent of the parties, impartiality, and the non-use of force except in self-defence and in defence of the mandate, noting that these are consistent with mandates authorised by the Security Council that seek to tackle new challenges faced by peacekeeping operations, such as force protection and safety and security, protection of civilians, and asymmetric threats. We welcome this opportunity for Defence Ministers and their representatives to come together to ensure sustained follow-up to the Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping and to discuss practical improvements to the ways in which peacekeeping missions are conducted.

We recall the report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations and the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Panel’s recommendations. We also recall the high-level review of the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), the report of the Advisory Group of Experts on the Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture. We underline the importance of improving UN policing and note the findings of the External Review of the UN Police Division.

We must always strive to ensure that peacekeeping is as effective as possible, and evolves to meet today’s challenges, and the challenges of tomorrow. That calls for improvements in three areas, the “three Ps” of peacekeeping: planning, pledges and performance. Modern peacekeeping demands improved political and military planning throughout the mission lifecycle, with clear and sequenced mandates. It needs Members States to pledge well trained and equipped personnel that give missions the capability to deliver those mandates. And it needs high levels of performance from civilian and uniformed peacekeepers, underpinned by effective and accountable leadership. Achieving progress across these three areas is of critical importance to all Member States, and is dependent on cooperation and partnership built on mutual trust among Members of the Security Council, troop- and police-contributing countries and the UN Secretariat so that decisions taken on peacekeeping benefit from the views of those serving in the field.

Pledges

We welcome the outstanding contribution made by the Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping in New York in September 2015. We also recall the Chiefs of Defence Conference in March 2015 and the United Nations Chiefs of Police Summit (UN COPS) in New York in June 2016. We reaffirm our support for the Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping declaration, which recommits us to working together to improve peacekeeping.

We welcome the pledges made by 52 Member States and international organisations at the Leaders’ Summit, and the 30 new pledges that have been made since then, including those by Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bhutan, Burundi, Canada, Chad, Egypt, France, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia, and those made at UN COPS in June 2016. Collectively these pledges provide an exceptional step forward in the capabilities available to the UN. We call on Member States and the Secretariat to work together to ensure these commitments are ready for deployment and encourage all Member States to ensure that their pledges are ready and available for use by registering them through the new Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System. We call on all Member States to offer further pledges that meet identified capability gaps.

We welcome the establishment and work of the Strategic Force Generation and Capability Planning Cell and call on the Secretary-General to ensure it is able to perform fully its functions, and appreciate the work of the Office of Military Affairs and the Police Division and ask the Secretary-General to continue to proactively identify and address capability gaps for the delivery of current peacekeeping mission mandates, as well as future anticipated capability needs.

We need peacekeepers that are capable and willing of rapidly responding to emerging crises. We welcome the commitments of Member States at the London Ministerial to make their military and police units available for rapid deployment, and encourage others to come forward with similar units that are deployable within 30, 60 or 90 days. We urge the Secretariat to consider a range of methods to adequately encourage troop- and police-contributing countries to maintain rapidly deployable stand-by units. We urge all troop- and police-contributing countries to streamline their deployment processes and call on the Secretariat to facilitate the process of pledges moving to higher states of readiness. We call on the Secretariat and the troop- and police-contributing countries to ensure that at least 12,000 troops and police are at Level 3 of the PCRS by the end of 2016 and that 4,000 of those are pledged at the Rapid Deployment Level. We further call on the Secretary-General to ensure that the UN, in particular the Departments of Management, Field Support and Peacekeeping Operations, has the systems in place to deploy, absorb and sustain these newly pledged assets rapidly and in accordance with the specific needs of individual missions, including in such areas as airlift, rapid engineering support, force headquarters and police and civilian recruitment.

We recognise the indispensable role of women in UN peacekeeping, and in conflict resolution as a whole, and underscore that their participation at all levels is key to the operational effectiveness of missions as well as to the success and sustainability of peace processes. We remain committed to increasing the participation of women in uniformed roles, and we want to see the integration of women’s needs and gender perspectives into all aspects of peacekeeping. We urge the Secretary General to prioritise the appointment of more women in senior UN leadership positions and to double the numbers of women in military and police contingents of UN peacekeeping operations by 2020. We call on all Member States to increase the number of women as individual police officers as part of specialised teams and formed police units, as well as in leadership positions and professional posts to reach the target of 20 percent launched through the Global Effort initiative in 2009. Member States should also prioritise the nomination of more female correction officers. We further call on all Member States to develop and implement National Action Plans on Women, Peace, and Security, and to increase the number of women officers serving in missions as Staff Officers and Military Observers, and attending UN Staff Office and Military Observer Training Courses. We aim for 15% of such roles being filled by women by December 2017. We also ask Member States to ensure all their training is gender-sensitive and where necessary includes training to advance specific skills of women officers in relation to the role of Military Observer. Every UN peacekeeping mission should have the ability to engage with women as well as men in UN mission areas. We urge the Secretary-General to work with Member States to increase the number of UN women mediators. We support Military Observer Team sites including Mixed Engagement Teams with multiple women officers and mixed Formed Police Units of at least one platoon of women officers. We call for Military and Police Gender Advisers in both Field Mission Headquarters and within each self-sustaining formed unit.

We encourage the Secretary-General to continue to take steps to strengthen the accountability of senior leaders for mainstreaming gender and improving gender balance in their respective missions and departments and welcome the introduction of gender targets as performance indicators in all compacts with senior managers at United Nations headquarters and in the field. We call on all Member States to take substantive measures to increase gender balance in peacekeeping; there are a variety of ways to support this action, including appointing Gender Champions in their national systems, taking steps to increase the number of women in their national militaries, and providing the UN with information on what military roles are open to servicewomen alongside a breakdown of the proportion of male and female officers by rank. These measures should act as a stepping stone to fulfilling the Security Council’s request in resolution 2242 to, as a minimum, double the number of women peacekeepers by 2020.

Planning

We call upon the Secretary-General to ensure that mission planning and assessment fully integrates the military, police and civilian parts of the mission, and takes into account other partners including the host government and regional actors, to accomplish the mandated tasks, and that mission planning and assessment considers from the outset how missions will complement the work of existing UN staff in-country. Improved assessments are essential for the planning process to better programme capacity building, develop realistic mandate implementation options, establish objective accountability requirements and define expectations. We urge that the needs and participation of women be integrated at all stages of the planning process. We further stress the importance of ensuring that assessment and planning processes enable missions to prevent and respond to risks of violence against civilians, including in their most extreme form of mass atrocities. We welcome the establishment of the Strategic Analysis and Planning capacity in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, which aims to strengthen the analysis of, and responses to, emerging conflict, and encourage greater engagement with Member States regarding its work. Recognising that the experience and expertise of troop- and police-contributing countries can greatly assist the planning of peacekeeping operations, we underscore the importance of effective consultations among the Security Council, troop- and police-contributing countries and the Secretariat during planning processes. We also highlight the need for strategic communication in the countries where missions are deployed to clearly communicate the role and objectives of the mission to the local population.

We call on the UN to ensure that Force Commanders are empowered to have more control over the use of mission assets in-extremis situations, including medical and casualty evacuations. As Member States we will strive to ensure that missions and contingents have access to appropriate expertise, technological capabilities and resources to improve safety and security in dangerous environments, including night-flying capacity and appropriate means of communication.

We encourage the Secretary-General to enhance missions’ intelligence capacities and to develop a more cohesive and integrated UN system that stretches from the field to headquarters. These intelligence capacities can increase situational awareness, enhance the safety and security of UN personnel and assets, and improve the delivery of mission mandates, including the protection of civilians.

Performance

Better assessment and planning, and a broader and stronger set of capabilities generated by pledges, are the foundation of better performance. That requires peacekeepers to be properly equipped, trained and led. While the majority of UN personnel perform well, the few who do not are all too visible and there are inadequate measures in place to enhance performance. The performance of military and police personnel is a collective responsibility of Member States and the Secretariat. Notwithstanding that troop- and police-contributing countries remain responsible for the delivery of training we recognise that there is a further necessity to set out in a single place a comprehensive list of the minimum requirements and standards for all pre-deployment training, including key protection tasks such as preventing conflict-related sexual violence. We support the establishment of the UN Training of Trainers Centre.

We reaffirm the importance of peacekeepers delivering fully on their mandated responsibilities to protect civilians; in this context we note the initiative by Member States to develop, as relevant, the best practices set out in the Kigali Principles. Instances of misconduct or the failure to carry out mandated tasks effectively, especially when they are not addressed transparently and robustly, undermine confidence in the will and capability of the UN. We call on the Secretary-General to carry out his commitment to report all such instances to the Security Council and to take clear actions to ensure accountability for them, including through developing further the steps taken to assess performance of units and staff, mechanisms to train-up poor performers where possible, and for replacement where needed. We call upon the Secretary-General to develop the means for capturing and sharing instances of best practice, including lessons learned from addressing poor performance and misconduct, in the field so that the UN and peacekeeping nations can learn from those experiences.

Successful missions require capable, courageous and accountable leadership. We call on the Secretary-General to improve and strengthen the competitive assessment methodology developed to select candidates for senior leadership positions, to ensure a transparent selection process based on merit, competence, and the needs of individual missions. We commit to nominating experienced and capable personnel for senior positions. We encourage the Secretary-General to expand his pilot mentoring programme, which provides support and additional training for Heads and deputy Heads of Mission. We encourage Member States to support this initiative by making available former senior leaders to participate as mentors. We call upon Member States to use senior leadership courses and to commit to assign their most capable officers to lead and participate in peacekeeping. Within this we affirm the urgent need for more women in leadership positions. We call on the Secretary-General to develop a cadre of experienced future candidates for senior leadership positions.

All UN personnel deployed in UN peacekeeping operations must be committed to the highest standards of conduct. We underscore our commitment and support to the Secretary-General’s zero tolerance policy on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) and commend and support the comprehensive initiatives in his enhanced programme of action to protect against sexual exploitation and abuse as set out in the report to the General Assembly A/69/779 and A/70/729 of February 2015 and 2016 and we are committed to taking serious and concerted action to combat SEA. We also support the important work being undertaken by the Secretary-General’s Special Coordinator on Improving United Nations’ Response to Allegations of SEA. We reiterate the need for Member States to fully vet and train their troops before deployment, and to ensure that National Investigation Officers are included in all military units deployed to a field mission. We commend the enhanced collaboration between the United Nations and Member States and the steps taken through this important partnership to prevent, investigate and hold accountable personnel for acts of SEA. Victims must be placed at the centre of efforts to protect and assist and appeal to Member States to support the initiative of the Secretary-General.

We highlight the continued need to strengthen measures against all forms of abuse and exploitation by any member of a United Nations peacekeeping mission. We underscore the importance of the implementation of Security Council resolution 2272 (2016) for tackling SEA cases in peacekeeping missions. We note the Secretary-General’s operational guidance on Security Council resolution 2272. We recognise the commitment and important role of troop- and police contributing countries and UN peacekeeping operations in preventing conflict-related sexual violence consistent with Security Council resolutions 1960 and 2106, and underline the need for continued focussed engagement of these actors to combat this scourge, including through contributing to stronger monitoring, analysis and information on incidents and perpetrators of sexual violence, and facilitating engagement with parties to conflict for protection commitments.

We support the Secretary-General’s call for a renewed focus on the primacy of politics and recognise that peacekeeping is intended to support, not substitute for, the implementation of political strategies and agreements that ensure sustainable peace. Achieving lasting agreements that resolve conflict remains in the hands of the parties to that conflict. By committing today to strengthen planning, consider increasing our pledges, and ensure the performance of peacekeeping operations, we work collectively to better enable the United Nations to achieve lasting, sustainable peace. Building effective institutions and democratic practices to help countries emerge from conflict and instability are primarily the responsibilities of state governments and societies that host UN peacekeeping operations. We also remind all countries hosting a peacekeeping mission and all parties to conflicts of their obligations related to the safety of peacekeeping personnel and assets and call on these countries to respect the mission’s freedom of movement and action in support of its mandate.

We reaffirm the critical role that peacekeeping missions play to address today’s international peace and security challenges and their potential to continue to meet the challenge of the dynamic threat environment that we face as individual nations and as an international community. We remain committed to ensuring that our national militaries, police services, and civilian staff are able to meet the new and growing demands of peacekeeping and that the UN Secretariat is able to utilise our contributions to their greatest effect.