Welcome to the United Nations

Opening remarks by Alexandre Zouev, Assistant Secretary General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions, at seminar on UN-EU cooperation in the field of peacekeeping operations and crisis management

23 May 2019

Minister Meleșcanu, Ambassadors, distinguished colleagues,

I thank Romania for organizing this timely event, taking place in the wake of the biannual UN-EU Steering Committee meeting on Crisis Management and coinciding with the annual visit of the EU’s Political and Security Committee to New York. Evidently, the UN-EU partnership on peace and security is vibrant and wide-ranging.

Together, the UN and EU have set out eight strategic priorities for the UN-EU partnership for the coming three years (2019-21), ranging from cooperation on women, peace and security; to security sector reform; transition planning; and logistical support.

In line with the Action for Peacekeeping agenda – or A4P – endorsed by the EU and all its 28 member states, EU contributions to UN peacekeeping are high on our list of shared priorities.

Minister, Ambassadors, dear colleagues,

Our task this afternoon is to explore concrete ways to enhance our partnership towards increased effectiveness and performance in the field.

Allow me to highlight five areas where we could look at deepening our collaboration:

  • Security sector reform: Our partnership with the EU in this area has grown in scale and complexity. The UN and the EU continue to share analysis and undertake joint assessments. We also continue to pool our resources. For example in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA provides critical logistical support and assistance to the redeployment of EUTM-trained military units. We should draw lessons from this cooperation for other settings, for example for Mali. USG Lacroix and the EEAS Deputy Secretary-General will jointly travel to Bamako in June. This is an excellent opportunity to jointly encourage the Malian authorities to develop a plan for the redeployment of the Defence and Security Forces to northern Mali and offer well-coordinated UN and EU support.
  • Niche capabilities and smart pledges: European member states are often well-positioned to contribute the specialized expertise and capacities we increasingly require in peace operations. Romania stands out as an excellent example of the type of critical and niche support that an EU member state can provide to UN peace operations: Since 2015 l’ecole de Gendarmerie in Bucharest has provided gendarmerie training and French language training, including for UN deployments. Furthermore, Romania is preparing to deploy much needed transport helicopters, pilots and support staff to MINUSMA, and many of our best close protection officers have received their training in Bucharest. Minister Meleșcanu, on behalf of the Department of Peace Operations, I thank you for these important contributions.

We understand that providing specialized capacities always leaves a gap in your institutions, especially if you send high-quality material and your best and brightest experts. We are therefore currently exploring how we can facilitate burden sharing through shorter deployments and multi-national rotations.

  • Prevention and early response: OROLSI recently organized a joint workshop with the EEAS Directorate for an Integrated Approach for Security and Peace (ISP) in Brussels. Our common objective is to develop risk indicators in the rule of law and security sectors that signpost the possible eruption of violent conflict. These would build he basis for joint support to governments in addressing weaknesses in their rule of law and security institutions. It would also allow us to jointly explore how best to get the political attention of key actors and convince them to use their leverage before conflict erupts. In line with the guidance of our Secretary-General to ensure that prevention permeates everything our Organization does, we look forward to deepening our cooperation with the EU in this area, including to multiply entry points and maximize leverage.
  • Women, peace and security is another area where we can do more together. As agreed at the recent UN-EU steering committee, there are several initiatives in the pipeline that warrant our support. First, together with our EU colleagues, we are in the process of analyzing how to best support the gender dimension of the recent peace agreement for the Central African Republic. Second, the UN and EU will co-convene a workshop in Brussels to push for increased numbers of female European uniformed peacekeepers, both military and police. Third, the UN and EU are currently mapping our cooperation on women, peace and security matters in the field with a view to increasing that collaboration.
  • Finally, a word on transition from peacekeeping operations. UN-EU collaboration is crucial, both at the strategic and operational levels. In Darfur and Haiti, the EU is a trusted partner and significant donor and has an important role to play in ensuring that transition processes are successful. We need to build on these positive examples and start our joint strategic planning even earlier, recognizing that peacekeeping is a transitional measure in itself.  We also need to bring other partners in, for example the World Bank.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the ensuing discussions, I would like to encourage you to focus on practical and field-focused deliverables within our grasp, keeping in mind the comparative advantages and limitations of both organizations.

I thank you for your attention.