The idea of United Nations Peacekeeping was born when this Council was constrained by the Cold War. Such operations have since succeeded in saving the lives of millions of civilians over the last decades. I would therefore like to begin by thanking the peacekeepers who do a remarkable job every day, often in difficult conditions, and sometimes at great personal cost.
Since the concept of peacekeeping operations was established 75 years ago, the nature of conflicts and the mandates of missions have changed considerably. This is why, in his "New Agenda for Peace", the Secretary-General stipulates, and I quote: "the gap between United Nations peacekeeping mandates and what such missions can actually deliver in practice has become apparent".
Mr President, dear colleagues,
We therefore need to adapt the instruments to close this gap. This is a task for the Council, the UN itself as well as all the Member States. I would therefore like to thank the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, for his presentation, especially for reminding us of all the success stories, and welcome the third progress report on the implementation of the "Action for Peacekeeping Plus" initiative. This must continue unabated and we fully support it. The recommendations emanating from the Secretariat show that an in-depth reflection on the reform of peacekeeping is necessary.
Let me set out three points that we consider essential:
Firstly, it is up to this Council to ensure that the primacy of politics guides peace operations and that such operation support a clearly defined political process, which includes, of course, women. It is also a question of rethinking partnerships with regional organisations in general, and the African Union in particular, in order to develop modular and flexible mission models. In this respect, Switzerland recognises that predictable, sustainable and flexible funding for African Union-led peace support operations could be an important instrument for our Council. And we naturally support all the efforts that our colleague from Ghana has just announced. This is also why - during our Presidency - we organized a debate on this subject, chaired by our Vice-President.
Secondly, the protection of civilians in the broadest sense must remain at the centre of our attention. All missions authorised by the Council have an obligation to respect the Charter, international humanitarian law, human rights and refugee law. This compliance must be a precondition for the granting of funds or support by the United Nations and requires adequate structures, processes and resources. The UN human rights due diligence policy is particularly relevant now, for example in the context of MONUSCO, where the question of support to non-UN forces has arisen.
Thirdly, it is legitimate expectation today for the effectiveness of missions to be demonstrated. Effectiveness is not only a first line of defence against disinformation, but also a moral responsibility towards the populations affected and towards those contributing to peacekeeping. Switzerland's provision of an expert in this field to the Department of Peace Operations underlines our support for the implementation and development of the Comprehensive Planning and Performance Assessment System (CPAS). The aim is to strengthen the link between performance assessment, planning and budgeting.
We also welcome the developments in terms of environmental performance in line with the strategy of the Department of Operational Support. Reducing the environmental footprint of peacekeeping operations and better managing natural resources are key elements of this strategy. "Greening the missions" has today become a vital principle.
Switzerland is committed to advancing an in-depth discussion on peacekeeping reform. This is why - during our Presidency - we organised a workshop on the subject with the International Peace Institute (IPI). This discussion highlighted the need to develop the capabilities of regional forces, strengthen current structures and rationalise mandates.
As Karin Landgren, Executive Director of Security Council Report and former head of several peace missions, said at the debate on peace operations in last November: "Peace operations adapted to the contemporary era must develop new approaches that take into account the underlying causes and drivers of conflict. The "New Agenda for Peace" offers us a unique opportunity to advance these approaches and Switzerland will continue contributing to this in a constructive and active fashion.
Or, as was said at the 75th anniversary of Peacekeeping: "Peace be-gins with me, with you, and with all of us.