Welcome to the United Nations

Remarks at the closing session of the 13th Force Commanders/Heads of Military Components Conference 2015

18 Jun 2015
Ban Ki-Moon

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you.

You represent collective security and international solidarity in action.

I thank you for your dedication and leadership.

I commend the thousands of peacekeeping troops who serve with honour under your command.

Together, you have helped to separate forces, disarm fighters, monitor human rights, provide care and so much more.

Our deployments are greater than ever before.

Every day, United Nations peacekeepers protect civilians from violence, provide security and support the peace processes that foster sustainable peace.

There is a heavy price for this dedication.

2014 was the seventh year in a row that more than 100 peacekeepers lost their lives.

We mourn these courageous blue helmets – and we pledge to carry on their work.

The Security Council has given you increasingly complex and challenging mandates – often in more and more prohibitive and remote environments.

In many cases, peacekeepers are sent where there is no peace to keep.

You – and the women and men under your command – are confronted with situations you have never faced before.

For many desperate and suffering people, you provide hope in the face of hopeless situations.

Peacekeeping is a flagship activity of the United Nations. And your military component is central to peacekeeping.

The responsibility is great – but the rewards are even greater.

The global security environment is changing. We are coping with asymmetrical and unconventional threats.

I am focused on adapting our operations to rise to these challenges.

Earlier this week, I received the report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations. I am deeply grateful to its Chair, Nobel Peace Laureate Jose Ramos-Horta, and all of the members who worked hard for months to prepare their expert recommendations.

We are now moving quickly to study the recommendations so that we can improve the operations that you lead – and do more for the people we serve.

The report calls for achievable mandates based on clear analysis. It points out that countries with greater capability should be more involved – including Security Council members. And the recommendations cover many other critical issues, including field support, human rights and accountability.

I welcome the report’s attention to the very disturbing problem of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers.

I am always outraged to hear reports of sexual abuse involving peacekeepers.

I stress my commitment to making our firm zero-tolerance policy into an effective zero-crime reality.

I welcome the momentum for stronger action.

Everybody must commit to ending this shameful problem – at Headquarters, in the field and among the member states.

As Force Commanders, I ask you to lead in creating a culture where such abhorrent behaviour should never happen – and if it does, the perpetrators are identified and punished.

I also count on your leadership in ensuring that all peacekeepers uphold the highest standards of integrity in the performance of their official duties – and at all times throughout their deployment

I take my responsibilities extremely seriously. And I expect you to take responsibility for ensuring that all peacekeepers under your command uphold the highest standards of integrity at all times. Anything less is unacceptable.

This Conference has been an important occasion to share experiences.

I urge you to carry fresh ideas back to your missions.

Let us work together to pursue excellence in the cause of peace.

I wish you and all of our blue helmets great success in fulfilling this noble mission.

Thank you.