Statement by Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, delivered at the General Debate and Opening Plenary Meeting of C-34
(New York, 15 February 2021)

Please allow me to extend my warm felicitations to you, dear brother Tijjani, on your election as Chair of this Special Committee. Your skill and wisdom are well proven. I would also like to thank the President of General Assembly, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations for their statements and would like to align my delegation with the statement made by Morocco on behalf of the non-aligned movement.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation commends the United Nations, for maintaining the continuity of UN peacekeeping and preserving the safety of UN peacekeepers, during the devastating COVID 19 crisis. All our peacekeepers are “essential workers” and we trust that the United Nations will ensure that all of them will receive the Covid vaccine quickly and equitably.

Mr. Chairman,

The report of the Committee’s last session confirms that UN peacekeeping has emerged as a vital instrument to give life to the Charter’s vision of collective security and to build a bridge from conflict to durable political solutions.

UN peacekeeping is a success story. Pakistan takes pride in its contributions – having deployed 200,000 peacekeepers in 46 UN Missions.

The discussions at this meeting are most timely. Today, the international community is confronting security challenges in several regions – especially in parts of Africa – which are very different from those we addressed in the early days of peacekeeping. Along with the changed nature of threats, we also have new capabilities – which can enable the United Nations to enhance the performance of its peacekeepers. Pakistan is therefore most interested in exploring what Under- Secretary-General Lacroix has referred to as the A4P Plus Concept.

Mr. Chairman,

Obviously, politics governs everything. The new threats we confront have political causes and ultimately, political solutions. Obviously, United Nations peacekeeping is not equipped to assume the responsibility to resolve such conflicts, insurgencies and cross-border attacks. The Security Council must utilize the several mechanisms available to it under the Charter to promote such solutions. UN peacekeeping has so far not been used to impose peace; but rather to help preserve peace and foster conditions for the political resolution of the underlying conflicts and disputes.

It is of course another matter that the international community, including the Security Council, has been unable to find political solutions to several long-standing disputes – such as the one over Jammu and Kashmir, where one of the oldest UN Missions is stationed – and to conflicts – such as inter- State and intra-State eruptions – that have proliferated and escalated in recent years, causing massive suffering and human rights violations, and posing threats to international peace and security.

Mr. Chairman,

We in this Committee in the Security Council and in the General Assembly must formulate mandates together which are realistic. This Committee could establish working groups composed of the members of the Security Council and the TCCs and PCCs to discuss the mandate for specific Peacekeeping Missions before these are adopted by the Security Council.

The performance of Peacekeeping Missions will depend also hugely on the provision of resources. In the allocation of resources, a relevant question that ought to be posed is: what would be the cost of the alternatives?: Such evaluations could engender greater willingness to adequately fund UN peacekeeping.

Beside adequate resources, the quality of the contingents deployed is equally critical– in terms of discipline, morale, training and, increasingly operational experience. Quality should never be sacrificed for political expediency.

Likewise, UN peacekeepers, should be equipped with the best available capabilities – rapid reaction units, aviation, intelligence, hospitals, UAVs and satellite communications.

The safety and security of peacekeepers in several Missions depends on such capabilities. This is evident from recent incidents where we mourned the loss of those who have fallen. In particular, I would like to deplore on behalf of my government, the recent incident where UN observers were fired upon by the forces of a country which is co- hosting the UN Mission with the aim of frustrating the fulfillment of its mandate.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan looks forward to hosting, with the Netherlands, the meeting on safety and security of the UN peacekeepers and protection next October in preparation for the Seoul Ministerial meeting.

It is obvious that the success of peacekeeping operations relies on partnerships – with the host countries, with neighbors, as well as with regional organizations such as the African Union. There is of course greater need for clarity regarding the role of all actors involved in each situation.

There is also a need to review where the capabilities of partners require to be reinforced. The model of hybrid Missions, where equipment and other capabilities are complementary, could be improved and enlarged.

Mr. Chairman,

Where needed, the peacekeepers must afford protection to the civilian populations especially women and children. The role of Women peacekeepers is essential in all phases of peacekeeping but specially in the protection of civilian populations. It is vital for the UN peacekeepers to facilitate the transition of conflict countries and regions to the stage of peacebuilding. This is the endeavor of Pakistani peacekeepers wherever possible.

Mr. Chairman,

The Pakistan delegation looks forward to our deliberations and to advancing the role and effectiveness of UN peacekeeping and the cause of international peace and security.

I thank you.