The United States government is deeply committed to United Nations peacekeeping as a critical tool for promoting international peace and stability and the protection of civilians. We salute the courageous work of UN troops and police who deploy to dangerous missions far from their families, far afield. To ensure this tool effectively serves its purpose, we seek strong leadership, performance, and accountability across UN missions. And we aim to ensure missions have the capabilities needed to address the increasingly complex challenges of modern peacekeeping.
Reflective of our commitment, as my friend and colleague, the U.S. Permanent Representative, Ambassador Craft noted, the United States remains the largest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping – as well as the largest capacity-building contributor, reinforcing the ability of troop and police contributing countries to effectively train, deploy, and sustain peacekeeping forces in UN operations. Since 2005, the United States invested nearly $1.5 billion through our military and police peacekeeping capacity-building initiatives alone. In fact, the annual budget for our U.S. Global Peace Operations Initiative increased over the last three years to over $70 million. These investments have yielded demonstrative, positive outcomes. Yet, sustained efforts – in partnership with troop and police contributing countries and other capacity-building donors – are required to further strengthen the effectiveness of UN operations.
The United States is currently engaged in 54 bilateral peacekeeping partnerships, in addition to supporting a range of regional training courses and multilateral exercises. From piloting readiness exercises in Rwanda to training a helicopter unit in El Salvador or equipping an engineering company in Mongolia, the United States is investing in troop and police contributing country capabilities. Partnerships through our peacekeeping programs are long-term capacity-building relationships. We are invested. And we expect our partners to demonstrate the national commitment to invest in the preparation and sustainment of their peacekeeping forces – to include ensuring their troops and police are properly trained and equipped to operate in the difficult environments to which they are deploying.
But even robust training and equipment is insufficient in the absence of political will to enable readiness and enhance perform. Troop and police contributing countries must ensure their peacekeepers meet UN performance standards – and hold them to account if they do not. Equally, the United Nations and member states must be unwavering in demanding results in support of the UN mandate.
In line with the unanimously adopted Security Council Resolution 2436, the UN must develop a transparent accountability framework – encompassing troops, police, and as France noted, should include civilian components – with clear measures commensurate with the identified performance issue. All uniformed personnel and, as France noted, should include civilian personnel must know to what standards they are being held, and the consequences for not meeting these standard. High performers must also be publicly recognized for their accomplishments and best practices shared. Earlier today, Secretary General Guterres noted that responsibility is of all Member States, and that performance is a collective responsibility. We agree.
Under-performers must take responsibility for addressing shortfalls. This must hold true for failures to protect civilian populations or, worse, for sexually exploiting or abusing the very populations peacekeepers are deployed to protect. As called for by many member states today already, the UN and peacekeeping contributors must reinforce their commitment to uphold a zero-tolerance policy for SEA. And the Secretariat must be willing to take politically mature measures to ensure enforcement – including identifying remediation efforts or, if necessary, removing units from troop or police contributing countries that are unwilling to take these issues seriously.
The expanded availability of peacekeeping units reinforces accountability efforts. Establishment of the UN’s Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System, which has been reference many times this morning, to register and validate the readiness of peacekeeping units represents a significant achievement, with more than 200 capabilities now registered in the PCRS. And through U.S. capacity-building programs, we are actively working to ensure units from partner countries are well-trained, adequately equipped, and bring the right mindset to execute mission tasks and uphold performance standards.
Further, the United States is directly investing in the UN Secretariat’s capacity to develop and implement performance evaluation frameworks for uniformed forces. These frameworks facilitate the compilation and analysis of objective data across a spectrum of performance factors. With this increased availability of both information and forces, the UN must be willing to enforce accountability through data-driven decisions about force generation and sustainment of forces in mission.
The United States remains committed to investing in partnerships to enhance performance and accountability. Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, we call on the Secretariat and Member States to deliberately and robustly implement UNSCR 2436 to improve UN peacekeeping and collectively advance global peace and security. Thank you.