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Remarks to General Assembly thematic debate: "UN Peacekeeping - Looking into the Future"

22 Jun 2010
Ban Ki-moon

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank the President of the General Assembly for organizing and scheduling this debate to mark the 10th anniversary of the Brahimi Report, a milestone in the evolution of United Nations peacekeeping operations.

I would like to start by recognizing a number of participants in today's meeting: Mr. Marti Ahtisaari and Mr. John Kufuor, both former Presidents of their respective countries -- and both very good friends of the United Nations and of UN peacekeeping. Mr. Brahimi himself is also joining us by video conference today. I thank all of you for being here and for your outstanding work over the years.

I also appreciate the participation of many distinguished panelists here and welcome you all to the United Nations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The high-level panel headed by Mr. Brahimi came after a period of unprecedented challenges for UN peacekeeping – a period of new heights in the number of deployed personnel... new degrees of ambition and complexity in the mandates and tasks with which we were entrusted... and new depths, too – frightful episodes that no one would ever wish to see repeated.

Thanks to the reforms proposed by the panel, UN peacekeeping has been able to grow, incorporate the lessons learned from those experiences, and continue to serve as a cost-effective and flexible tool – a flagship UN activity, a mission of hope for people caught in armed conflict.

We continue to support peace processes and national authorities in the aftermath of conflict.

We monitor ceasefire arrangements, and provide security and protection.

Our presence gives critical space for negotiators – and a crucial boost of confidence for people.

Numerous studies have shown that while long-term peace is difficult to achieve, it is more likely when a peacekeeping mission is part of the picture.

But of course, we need to continue to strengthen the peacekeeping machinery.

That is why the Secretariat launched the New Horizon process last year. I am encouraged that different committees of the General Assembly have expressed general support for the proposals that are part of this agenda.

The process has helped to reinvigorate the peacekeeping partnership through dialogue between troop and police contributing countries, the Security Council and the Secretariat. Today we have reached a better understanding of what UN peacekeeping should and can do.

Successful peacekeeping is a shared responsibility.

We must engage those who mandate peacekeeping operations, those who contribute, and those who manage activities on the ground.

Our regional and subregional partners have important comparative advantages.

The international financial institutions and other development actors have major contributions to make.

Host governments must set the tone.

Member States must formulate clear and achievable mandates – and match them with adequate resources and logistical support.

And the entire UN family must work in concert.

Peacekeeping will continue to raise difficult issues, such as exit strategies and host-country consent.

We must also consider the broader picture -- how to strengthen mediation, conflict prevention and post-conflict peacebuilding; how to promote international criminal justice; and how to address the economic drivers of conflict.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Peacekeeping has been a unique and uniquely successful experiment. But there is a perpetual need to sharpen our tools.

We can do this, but only with continued engagement from Member States, not only in terms of contributions of personnel and financing, but with strong and consistent political support.

The General Assembly has an important role to play bringing all Member States together around this common enterprise.

Only together can we make sure that the blue helmets continue to bring hope to people around the world.

Thank you for marking this anniversary. Ten years since Brahimi, we have much to proud of... and much still to do. I look forward to working with you to register more peacekeeping successes and realize peacekeeping's great potential.

Thank you very much for your commitment.

Thank you.