I thank India for this debate and the speakers for their contributions.
“One peacekeeper lost continues to be one too many”. Under-Secretary-General Lacroix reminded us of this during the debate at the end of May. Peacekeepers carry out invaluable work, while being exposed to the risks inherent in peace missions. The number of casualties remains unacceptably high. All our efforts to protect those who protect others are necessary.
Switzerland welcomes the launch of the Strategy for the Digital Transformation of UN Peacekeeping. We are confident that it will contribute to a more efficient and effective use of technology and a better implementation of peace mission mandates. It is therefore important that the Security Council recognizes the contribution of technology to enhance peacekeeping and considers the following:
- The use of technology can improve the safety and security of peacekeepers. It can help predict and detect threats, improve intelligence coordination and analysis, help deal with misinformation and make operations more efficient. However, new technologies can also be used for harmful purposes and pose a risk to peace missions. For example, if a mini-drone can be a vector for improvised explosive devices against UN forces, it can also be used for rescue. In this regard, a Swiss company developed the world’s first collision-tolerant search-and-rescue drone able to look for victims in places difficult to access. The Council should fully consider the benefits of new technologies while mitigating their risks.
- “Do no harm” is crucial: Technologies must be developed and used in full compliance with international law. New technologies often rely on extensive collection of data to function properly. However, this same data can be misused. In this regard, Switzerland, the ICRC and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs are working through the Humanitarian Data and Trust Initiative to ensure the responsible use of technologies and particularly data in the humanitarian field. The development of clear principles for the responsible use of technologies, as envisaged in the new Strategy, is therefore essential and should take into account experiences made in other areas.
- Capacity-building of peacekeepers can greatly benefit from the adequate use of modern technologies. It is important to raise awareness of troops regarding the utility and the use of new technologies in order to allow their quick and efficient uptake in the field. To this end, Switzerland contributes to the Secretariat's work on the digitization of the Core Pre-deployment Training Modules. The Council should recognize the role of training that meets the requirements of the digital age as well as the expertise of member states in this area.
The use of new technologies is essential for the safety and security of peacekeepers. However, these technologies can only have the desired effect when the framework conditions for peace missions, such as the normative framework, infrastructure, logistics and training are ensured. Modern technologies can make a real difference when used properly. As a candidate for the Security Council, Switzerland will continue to be committed to the responsible use of new technologies and to further promote peace through innovation.
I thank you.