Remarks by Mr. Soini, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland at the Peacekeeping Dinner

Remarks by H.E. Mr. Timo Soini, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland at the Peacekeeping Dinner. New York 21 September 2017.

I am very pleased to welcome you to this dinner. This discussion highlights the crucial work our peacekeepers do in the field every day. I thank our co-hosts Indonesia, Rwanda, Uruguay and the International Peace Institute for hosting this dinner with us.

Let me start by pledging our support to the Secretary-General's efforts to reform the peace and security architecture. His vision for shifting the UN's focus towards prevention is welcome. Bearing in mind the importance of sustaining peace we need renewed attention for political processes, mediation, and peacebuilding. The Secretary General’s intention to increase mediation and facilitation expertise to peace operations, particularly in peacekeeping settings, is a good step.

The good news is - that the conversation on the reform of peacekeeping has intensified. Yes, there is also the bad news. Implementation of the much needed reforms is lagging behind. We need to focus on it. Secretary-General Guterres' initiatives on reforming the peace and security architecture of the United Nations are good. They build on the recommendations from the HIPPO-panel. "Hippo" as we know is a very  strong animal, so we have a very sturdy vehicle at our disposal. Let's use it.

Yesterday's open debate in the Security Council was another important step. We should keep in mind the key role of the Security Council in drafting mandates for peace operations.  Finland - as others  - stress the importance of sufficient consultations with troop contributing countries and the Secretariat. This is not a question of vanity, it is about ensuring operative flexibility and capacity.

We no longer need to discuss what it is needed. We are aware of the need for robust, flexible and credible peacekeeping operations with strong mandates to protect civilians – a core task of UN peacekeeping. 

A mandatory part of credible peacekeeping is also the fight against sexual exploitation and abuse. We need to take rigorous action against any such abuse. We strongly support the Secretary General's efforts to root this out of the entire UN system once and for all.  

Training of peacekeepers continues to be one of Finland's focus areas. We are giving increasing attention to the training of women peacekeepers. We also develop partnerships through training.  Finland has offered training opportunities for peacekeepers in Africa by supporting the Eastern Africa Stand-by Force and UNITAR, among others. The international UN Military Experts on Mission –course (UNMEM) organized in Finland twice a year is very high quality and much appreciated.  

To conclude I would like to highlight two concrete issues that are eem important when taking the peace and security reform forward.

Firstly, the role of women in all aspects of peace and security. We know it is important to have more female peacekeepers on the ground.  As far as operational effectiveness is concerned, it is crucial to integrate the role of women in all mission planning and implementation.

Secondly, the role of UN police peacekeeping. As the focus of our operations is shifting towards prevention, transitions, peacebuilding and sustaining peace, the role of UN police is steadily growing. Their tasks include protection of civilians, capacity building and strengthening of national security institutions. The important role of UN police must also be reflected in the new structures at the UN headquarters. 

We need to use this momentum. We know what needs to be done and the UN has the necessary tools. It is a shared responsibility to implement the reforms and take steps towards more effective UN peacekeeping. Finland continues to offer its full support. Thank you.