Thank you Mr President.
May I start by welcoming your choice of debate today. I think, from the conversation we’ve had around the table and the contributions made, this is one which has provoked considerable interest and I think it’s a really good choice. And I’d like to thank in that spirit our briefers as well for coming to us today and for setting out your views.
Mr President, the United Kingdom greatly values triangular cooperation that is of course between this Council, between the Secretariat – represented by Jean Pierre but of course Atul also is a key player – and the troop and the police contributing countries which are so vital for all of us in terms of achieving any mandate. And as the Ambassador of Kuwait kindly reminded us, we set out these issues in a joint non-paper with our friends and colleagues from Pakistan last year which we think is still highly relevant to these conversations. At that time, there was broad agreement that the purpose of triangular cooperation was to enable those troop and police contributing countries to provide reliable and relevant information on the realities of implementing and delivering peacekeeping missions’ mandates to decision-makers here in New York.
Now, the United Kingdom, like many counterparts here on the Security Council, is of course a troop contributing country ourselves. So as a troop continuing country we recognise very much the importance and value of views from the ground which we happily pass on from our own troops. And as a Security Council member, without personnel presence in every mission, we know that we need to seek the perspectives of other troop and police contributing countries as we consider issues on this Council’s agenda. And so we do. And an example: in advance of the AMISOM mandate renewal this year, we met each of the Permanent Representatives of the troop contributing countries. We met them throughout the process and at every level in the mission. We hosted a meeting with other UN Security Council members and that helped directly to inform our approach towards that resolution and to inform, I think, the Council’s decision making, particularly on how to deliver the commitment that we’ve made repeatedly on the transition from AMISOM to Somali-led security.
Now that’s just one example, Mr President. And in that example, it wasn’t necessary for us to create any new process; we could do that within the existing parameters. And I think we should consider that as well.
Now we must also recognise, of course, as troop contributing countries, we may draw a particular view or perspective from our own contingents’ activities. But no single contributor has a monopoly of truth of what is happening on the ground. And as a Council, we need to make sure that we consider the views of our SRSGs and Special Envoys of the Secretary-General, of course Force Commanders and all other relevant analysis to make sure we have a complete and integrated picture.
Now I think there’s been a really interesting conversation, as I’ve said before, about the best way of holding these discussions. As I said Mr President, we’ve carried out these sort of informal consultations one-on-one and then involving other members of the Council. I also, during the Presidency of the UK last August, chaired a TCC meeting. I would say it wasn’t the most dynamic discussion I’ve ever participated in so I think it’s really important that we do consider how we can make those meetings more informative and interactive. And I’m very up for this, we’re very up for this conversation. And I notice the proposals made by Alexandra Novosseloff. But we don’t want it just to add to our already very busy agenda. I think we if we were to come up with a new idea for how to do something, we would need to take something else away or amend the existing method otherwise we’re simply creating more and more meetings. I also agree with all those who have talked about the value of missions and visits.
Mr President, the Secretary-General urged Member States to make a greater commitment to peacekeeping through A4P - Actions for Peacekeeping and 151 Member States endorsed that declaration. And that declaration specifically called upon us to implement existing inter-governmental commitments on triangular cooperation – namely to strengthen consultations between peacekeeping stakeholders on mandate supplementation, to strengthen UN and EU cooperation, and to expand the triangular partnership project which builds long-term capacity for TCCs and supports capacity building.
Now Mr President, when Alexandra Novosseloff talked to us about triangular cooperation, she also talked about doing so to avoid tension. And let me, in that spirit, note that other shared commitments under A4P include improvements to performance and conduct through the use of performance data to inform deployment decisions and an agreement to hold personnel and leadership to account for proper conduct, including in particular on sexual exploitation and abuse. And for the United Kingdom, it’s therefore disappointing that some troop contributing countries have decided to obstruct improvements which would have helped to deliver better performance. The Fifth Committee’s cross-cutting peacekeeping resolution would have asked the Secretary-General to take further steps to improve peacekeeping performance and tackle sexual exploitation and abuse. And it was also deeply concerning that the same Member States frustrated the usual consensus on the independent Board of Auditors report which addresses actions within the Secretary-General’s own remit by forcing a vote and resoundingly rejecting recommendations on improving performance. Such recommendations would have not only helped to protect civilians in conflict, they would have gone hand in hand in improving the safety and security of our peacekeepers.
Mr President, let me conclude by saying that in seeking to improve UN peacekeeping, the Secretary-General has sought commitment and consensus. It’s now down to us to demonstrate our commitment to implementing reforms that we so often talk about and on which he found consensus just last year.