Three years since the UN Secretary-General launched his Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative to strengthening peacekeeping operations worldwide, “significant progress” has been made “but our work is far from done”, the peacekeeping chief said on Monday.
At an event that took stock of the progress made, identified gaps and pinpointed the way forward for A4P, Jean-Pierre Lacroix acknowledged the bravery and dedication of the UN ‘blue helmets’ serving “in some of the most challenging places in the world” and detailed various accomplishments, including electoral assistance in the Central African Republic (CAR) and reducing violence across South Sudan.
Action for Peacekeeping, endorsed by 154 Member States & 4 organizations, has made our operations more effective. Today, we mark its 3rd anniv. in joint event with @NLatUN to take stock of achievements & challenges and move to the next phase. #A4P— Jean-Pierre Lacroix (@Lacroix_UN) March 29, 2021
However, despite “saving lives, protecting people and helping to build peace”, he pointed out that “significant challenges to peacekeeping remain, even as new ones confront us”.
Mr. Lacroix introduced “A4P plus”, the next phase of the initiative to drive progress across the Declaration of Shared Commitments, by highlighting seven new “highest priority” areas, beginning with encouraging collective coherence:
“UN peacekeeping missions must adhere internally to a common strategy and…use our unique convening power to bring together all partners to bring our collective resources to bear”, he said.
The next two priorities call for enhanced integrated planning to achieve greater impact, and to ensure that peacekeeping missions have the right “capabilities and mindsets”.
Spotlight on blue helmets
Underscoring the fourth priority of “delivering accountability” for peacekeepers, the UN official highlighted the need for greater troop protection, by citing recent attacks against blue helmets in CAR and Mali.
“Holding perpetrators of crimes against peacekeepers accountable must be a key priority for all of us”, he said.
Attention must also be paid to behaviour in terms of improving accountability for conduct and discipline while also recognizing good performance, he said.
“We will further enhance accountability with a focus on prevention, enforcement and remedial action. We must strengthen our response to victims of sexual exploitation and abuse”, he said.
The peacekeeping chief underlined that strategic communications must be a shared responsibility within missions and leadership.
Holding perpetrators of crimes against peacekeepers accountable must be a key priority -- UN peacekeeping chief
“We will need to better integrate data and insights generated from strategic communications into our planning cycles, and our reputational risk management efforts”, he elaborated.
And as his final point, the peacekeeping chief upheld that “constructive engagement and cooperation” with host countries will remain “at the core of our efforts” to increase peacekeepers safety and security, bolster performance and support successful transitions.
Moreover, the Secretary-General’s call to action for “accelerated implementation of the women, peace and security agenda in peacekeeping to help de-escalate disputes, prevent conflicts and promote sustainable and inclusive peace”, will also be integrated into these priorities, said Mr. Lacroix.
And to boost situational awareness, including towards early warning and prevention efforts, “we will also move towards data-driven and technology-enabled peacekeeping”, he added.
Progress on these priorities requires strengthened partnership and cooperation with Member States and other peacekeeping partners, he said, stressing that only “collective dedication” to strengthen peacekeeping will make UN missions “stronger, safer, and relevant”.
“The millions who we serve and who depend on us expect no less”, concluded the UN peacekeeping chief.