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This timely open debate follows the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) in 2015, high-level multilateral meetings by Member States, and discussions in the Council including resolution 2378. As the Director-General in charge of comprehensive coordination of peacekeeping policy within the Government of Japan and the promotion of Japan’s peacekeeping operations in the international arena, I would like to state Japan’s view.
I support the Secretary-General’s actions to make sure that today’s peacekeeping missions can implement their mandates more effectively and efficiently, and continue to support UN’s various actions such as improving safety and security of peacekeepers, protection of civilians, and increasing the number of female peacekeepers. In this regard, Japan associates itself with the activities and statements of Group of Friends to which we belong. Japan also stresses that political efforts are of utmost importance for resolving conflicts, as exemplified by the Security Council resolution 2406, which renewed the mandate of UNMISS, clearly emphasizing the importance of supporting the peace process as the mission’s mandate.
The Secretary-General has called on all stakeholders to assist in peacekeeping. Each has a role. It is high time for us to discuss what concrete actions we can take.
Fatalities of peacekeepers on duty have been on the increase, as stated in the report on “Improving Security of United Nations Peacekeepers (Cruz report)”. In order for UN peacekeeping operations to implement its mandates while ensuring the safety and security of its staff, we need collective action by the Security Council, the Secretariat, TCCs and PCCs, host states, other Member States, and regional organizations.
In today’s complex operational environments, peacekeepers must be sufficiently equipped and trained. African countries provide nearly half of UN peacekeepers, and Japan has been supporting peacekeeping centers in 13 African countries to help improve their capacities. Furthermore, Japan, with the participation of Brazil and Switzerland, has been supporting capacity building of UN peacekeepers under the Triangular Partnership Project. Based on the experience of its previous dispatches of engineering units in Cambodia, Timor-Leste, Haiti, and South Sudan, Japan has been providing training for the operation and maintenance of heavy engineering equipment in Kenya since 2015. 130 future engineering peacekeepers from 5 African countries have already participated. Engineering is an enabler critically important for the safety and security of personnel and the “Project for African Rapid Deployment of Engineering Capabilities” will improve the physical security and mobility of PKO missions.
The Triangular Partnership Project will be enhanced and expanded to other regions and capabilities. As H.E Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, stated in this chamber during the Security Council Open Debate on Reform of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations last September, the training will be provided to the countries in the Indo-Pacific region, given that over 30% of peacekeepers are from this region. Moreover, medical capabilities are essential for safety and security, and I echo the Cruz Report in this regard. Japan has supported the UN in standardization and training of “buddy first aid” so far, and will enhance its support in the medical area under the Triangular Partnership Project. Japan will support training to medical personnel in Africa, in cooperation with the UN and other Member States. In this way, Japan will contribute to improving the safety and security of peacekeepers.
Security Council resolution 2378 and the Secretary-General’s letter dated 15 December last year both emphasized the importance of effective and efficient training and capacity building. The Triangular Partnership enables role-sharing among Member States to foster capable peacekeepers. Japan strongly encourages Member States to participate in this partnership. With your involvement, these training efforts will not be just a one-off, but rather a sustainable way to share our skills and experience.
Collective action by the Secretariat and TCCs and PCCs is essential to address the gaps between the needs on the ground and the capabilities of peacekeepers. In this regard, I would like to emphasize the importance of the linkage between force generation and training and capacity building. The Secretariat needs to grasp mission-specific needs for effective training and capacity building. Strategic reviews and assessment of the mission’s performance can be useful tools to this end. I encourage the Secretariat to further utilize them.
I expressed the necessity of collective and concrete actions by all stakeholders to tackle challenges in peacekeeping. Japan, under the banner of “Proactive Contribution to Peace”, will continue to make its concrete contributions not only through deploying personnel, but also making other efforts such as support to capacity building which make peacekeeping more effective, efficient, and responding to its today’s challenges.
I thank you, Mr. President.