Statement by Minister Soini at the Ministerial Dinner on Peacekeeping

Statement by H.E. Mr. Timo Soini, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Ministerial Dinner on Peacekeeping, 29 September 2015, UN General Assembly 70, New York.

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I would like to welcome you to this third Ministerial Dinner on UN Peacekeeping. It is the first time I have the honor to host this event together with my colleagues from Uruguay, Indonesia and Rwanda.

Finland welcomes the excellent report of The High Level Panel and Secretary-General's report on its implementation. The peace operations review offers us an excellent opportunity to unite our strengths to enable the UN to fulfill its core mandate: to maintain international peace and security. 

The report rightly highlights the primacy of politics as well as the importance of conflict prevention and mediation alongside peacekeeping. We are very pleased with this approach. UN has several tools for peacekeeping. Now we need to take action to resource these tools so that they are in fact accessible when needed.  
I would like to raise some of the key issues on how we could go about implementing the recommendations:

In my view, protection of civilians is clearly a core task of peacekeeping.

UN peacekeepers must be ready and able to robust action and also use of force if needed to protect civilians. To do this, we need better tools, better training and clear command structures. Use of innovations and modern technologies can save money and lives on the ground.

Secondly, it is vital - and high time - to have more women in peace operations. This is not just a question of gender equality. There is clear evidence that women's participation and incorporated gender perspective contribute to the operational effectiveness and sustainability of peace efforts.

After 15 years of the adoption of the Security Council resolution 1325 we can and should accelerate its implementation.

Thirdly, we need to find effective and innovative ways of preventing conflicts and keeping peace. Future peacekeeping operations should be more agile and flexible. We need better analysis and planning capacity; regional stand-by-reserves to allow rapid deployment; and better inter-mission cooperation.

Strengthening the commitment of member states to offer more troop contributions is crucial. In this regard I would like to commend the Peacekeeping summit hosted yesterday by President Obama.

Finally, we should no more shy away from taking action against cases of sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping operations. It is unacceptable that peacekeepers, civilian or military, abuse the people they are sent to protect. We can and should turn zero-tolerance into zero-case reality.

The Peace operations review and recommendations are on the table.

I hope that during this evening we can start to consider steps to be taken to advance the needed reforms. Only by working together we can improve this very important work of the UN and make it better fit for purpose.