2021 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Preparatory Conference "Safety and Security & Protection" Organized by Pakistan and the Netherlands (25-26 October 2021)

Statement by the Foreign Minister of Pakistan


Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to this peacekeeping preparatory conference on ‘Safety and Security and Protection.’ I would like to extend my special thanks to the Netherlands, our co-hosts, for their cooperative effort in making this a collective endeavour. Let me also commend the UN Secretariat for its valuable support.

Distinguished delegates,

Pakistan takes immense pride in its abiding association with UN peacekeeping. Our standing as a major troop and police contributing country is underpinned by our commitment to the goals of international peace, security and stability. We take peacekeeping as a sacred duty and a powerful tool to serve the humanity.

Over the last six decades, Pakistani peacekeepers have delivered diligently on the principles and purposes of the UN Charter by serving in 46 peacekeeping missions in almost all the continents of the world. Their professionalism and dedication are time-tested – and recognized by both the host states and the United Nations.

Moving forward, we seek to strengthen and diversify our peacekeeping contributions to make them even more substantive and robust. Besides pledging infantry units, Pakistan will enhance its commitments in the fields of aviation, signals technology, mine action, medical support and innovative capacity building.

We also wish to promote community engagement by maintaining our longstanding tradition of holding free medical camps, providing trauma and psychological support, restoring essential infrastructure, and extending vocational and skill trainings.

Our women peacekeepers will play a pivotal role in all these endeavours. I feel pleased to share with you that we have achieved 50 percent female representation in our community engagement platoons in various UN peacekeeping missions around the world.

Pakistan has also been at the forefront of norm-setting in peacekeeping. We engage constructively in the premier policy making body of the UN in the field of peacekeeping – the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34). Resolution 2086 on Multidimensional Peacekeeping, adopted under Pakistan’s Presidency of the UN Security Council in January 2013, is considered a landmark.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over the years, the mandates of UN peace operations have become increasingly complex. Today, peacekeepers are required not only to monitor ceasefires and oversee peace agreements, but also to facilitate peace talks, provide support for elections and assist in rule-of-law initiatives. They work to stabilize conflict zones and restore harmony in the lives of local populations.

As a major stakeholder in UN peace operations, Pakistan is most interested in the success of all the peacekeeping mandates, including the vital mandate for Protection of Civilians, PoC. Pakistan has witnessed first-hand the normative development of POC mandates – from the peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone to the ongoing peace operation in Central African Republic. Throughout these two decades, Pakistani troops have efficiently implemented the POC mandates in some of the most challenging environments. Based on our extensive experience, we urge the Member States to support the peacekeepers with a stronger commitment to their safety and security.

Distinguished delegates,

As the threats to peacekeepers surge, not the least due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing need to address the gaps between mandates and resources. Adequate resources enhance peacekeeping performance, and help the Missions achieve the protection goals. UN peacekeepers should be equipped with the best available force protection means. Adequate medical facilities, including casualty evacuation and telemedicine, are crucial to improving peacekeeping capabilities.

Equally vital is to improve the quality of contingents deployed in peacekeeping missions. Troop discipline, morale, training and operational experience determine the degree of success in the field. As quality has a direct impact on the safety of personnel, it should never be compromised by political expediency.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The success of peacekeeping is closely linked to the success of multilateralism. A participatory approach built on the spirit of cooperation and burden-sharing is key. Partnerships for resources, force generation, co-deployments, logistics and technology could enhance preparedness and effectiveness of UN peace operations.

Pakistan is strongly committed to forging partnerships. We seek to demonstrate this in field operations; in capacity building initiatives; and in policy formulation. To foster new partnerships with member states and regional organizations, especially with the African Union, we look forward to fully leveraging UN-backed mechanisms of cooperation. Our national peacekeeping training institute, the Centre for International Peace and Stability (CIPS), will advance this cooperation and partnership agenda. The Centre will seek new partnerships with its counterparts in other countries with the aim of learning and refining curricula and offering new capacity building initiatives, including on protection of women and children.

Distinguished delegates,

Peacekeeping is most effective when it is part of the overall ‘political strategy’ devised to resolve conflicts and settle disputes. This strategy should embrace the entire peace continuum: from conflict prevention to conflict resolution, using mediation, peacekeeping, peace-building and long-term development as tools to build and sustain peace. I appreciate that the A4P+ initiative of the UN Secretary General identifies ‘political dialogue’ as a priority to prevent conflicts. We look forward to its effective implementation and urge Member States to support it for the success of peacekeeping architecture.

As we chart a pathway for future, we must remember the sacrifices rendered by the blue helmets in the past. Committing one’s life for the cause of peace is the highest expression of sacrifice and devotion to duty. I wish to pay tribute to all the peacekeepers who perished while serving under UN flag, including the 161 gallant Pakistanis who laid their lives and upheld a longstanding tradition of honour, courage and selfless commitment.

Today’s meeting is a precursor to the Seoul Ministerial in December and serves as a timely opportunity to assess needs and develop pledges for UN peace operations. I am sure you will engage in substantive discussions over the course of these two days. I wish you all a highly productive preparatory meeting. Our conversations of today will shape the UN peacekeeping of tomorrow.

I thank you.