A Chinese envoy on Monday called for measures to ensure the safety and security of UN peacekeepers.
UN peacekeeping operations represent an important means for the maintenance of international peace and security and peacekeepers are an important asset to international peace. While peacekeeping cannot be risk-free, there is a need to minimize security risks, said Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations.
In recent years, the United Nations has continued to attach increasing importance to the safety and security of peacekeepers. It is necessary to increase input and ensure that the relevant considerations be reflected in the implementation of action plans, he told the Security Council in an open debate.
"We should continue to scale up risk assessment in light of the actual situation of each mission, incorporate it into all aspects of decision-making and take effective measures. It is necessary to improve the equipment of peacekeeping missions in a targeted manner, improve the quality of peacekeeping personnel, and strengthen the situational awareness, emergency response, and emergency rescue capabilities of peacekeeping operations (PKOs), so as to increase PKO resilience to various security risks," he said.
Zhang asked for efforts to concentrate optimal resources on resolving the key and difficult issues facing peacekeepers in safety and security.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a new challenge to safety and security. China calls for the early completion of vaccination for all peacekeepers. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have again become a major cause of casualties among peacekeepers this year. China expects the UN Secretariat to submit an independent strategic assessment report on PKOs' response to the threat of IEDs. The development and use of new technologies are changing rapidly, and peacekeeping operations should not be left behind. It is imperative to enhance communication and coordination among the United Nations, the troop- and police-contributing countries and the host countries, and actively study how to use new technologies to ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers on the basis of full respect for the sovereignty of the host countries, he said.
Zhang said partnerships should be strengthened to create favorable conditions for improving the safety and security of peacekeepers.
The Security Council should formulate realistic, clear, and operable mandates for PKOs and avoid needless sacrifice due to inappropriate mandates. The Fifth Committee of the General Assembly should provide sufficient resources to ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers. All member states should pay their peacekeeping budget dues on time and in full. Utmost efforts should be made to investigate attacks against peacekeepers and to bring the perpetrators to justice, said Zhang.
"We should keep abreast of the times and continue to identify and address new challenges to the safety and security of peacekeepers. While the world is changing, so are the risks faced by peacekeepers. We should keep up with the developments and stay ahead of risks as much as possible, incorporate safety precautions into all aspects of decision-making, training, equipment, and management, and reduce casualties among peacekeepers through preventive action," he said.
For more than 30 years, while actively participating in PKOs, China has attached great importance to the safety and security of peacekeepers, he said.
China has promoted the adoption of Security Council Resolution 2518, the first resolution on the safety and security of peacekeepers, as well as its followups. China has provided financial support to the UN Secretariat for formulating action plans. China, together with other member states, has also established the Group of Friends on the Safety and Security of UN Peacekeepers, in a bid to enhance communication and information sharing, promote policy coordination, and improve capacity building. China has also actively provided other troop- and police-contributing countries with security training, funded the UN Secretariat's workshop on safety and security issues, and decided to donate 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to peacekeepers, he said.
China stands ready to continue to work with other Security Council members and the international community in contributing to the protection of the blue helmets, said Zhang.