Welcome to the United Nations


18 Dec 2019

New York, 6 December 2019


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank the United States as well as India, Portugal, Senegal, Uruguay and Vietnam for convening today’s important meeting. 

Improving the concrete, measurable impact we have on the ground is our highest priority.

It is at the core of everything we are trying to achieve through Action for Peacekeeping.

I would like start by expressing my sincerest gratitude to all troop and police contributing countries. They make sacrifices everyday where our beneficiaries need them most.

As the Secretary-General conveyed earlier, in the past two years, the United Nations has accomplished and learned a lot in regard to strengthening performance. Security Council resolution 2436 (2018) has been an essential guide.

I also want to thank Member States for their support as well as colleagues at Headquarters and in the field for their dedication and commitment to these efforts.

In line with Action for Peacekeeping and 2436, we have strengthened our preparedness. This includes through pre-deployment evaluations that validate military skills.

The assessment tools the Secretary-General spoke to are enabling us to more comprehensively and holistically evaluate the military and police components of peacekeeping operations.

They are also informing more tailored action, allowing us to engage troop and police contributing countries and capacity building partners even more effectively.

They are facilitating more informed decision-making, including through regular performance meetings that I chair.

When faced with underperformance, we have and will not hesitate to take remedial action, including full or partial repatriation where necessary.

Strengthening performance and the safety and security of UN peacekeepers is one and the same.

Through the Action Plan on Improving the Security of Peacekeepers, we made progress on changing mindset, increasing mobility, reactivity, and reducing the number of peacekeepers lost. We are rolling out UN peacekeeping intelligence, but still have further to go to make sure that the decision-making of all is informed by the best information available.  

This is all critical to our efforts to strengthen the protection of civilians.

Yet improving responsiveness also requires that we have the requisite capabilities, including air assets, quick reaction forces and specialized enabling capacities.

Our accomplishments are notable, but today, I would like to speak more to what we will do going forward.

To see and read more about what we have achieved through strengthening our performance, I encourage you to look at this two pager on the A4P page of the UN peacekeeping website.


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we implement Action for Peacekeeping, we are also seeing how much more needs to be done.  

Engaging communities is essential to mandate delivery. To truly know how best to manage and resolve conflict, we must speak to and listen carefully to the people suffering through it. It is equally critical for the situational awareness of our missions. In some places such as in Beni, DR Congo, where I just returned from, the trust of the population has deteriorated, and we need to reinvigorate our efforts.

Globally, disinformation has become a threat – one that can lead to significant instability and even loss of human life. This is a challenge we must collectively tackle, including with the private sector. I look forward to collaborating with you on this.

Equally, on strengthening performance and accountability – across military, police and civilian components – we have more to do.

As already mentioned by the Secretary-General, in cooperation with Troop and Police Contributing Countries, we plan to build a framework to better systematize performance evaluation and accountability.

We will enhance every link in the chain of standards, selection, evaluations, recognition of outstanding performance, remedial action and accountability.

We are laying the foundations. In 2019, we put in place 700 standards for military components. We will finalize the standards and benchmarks for all units in 2020.

We will also further refine and tailor our in-mission evaluations and ensure that every Force Commander, Police Commissioner and evaluated unit has a performance improvement plan.

We will put in place a new system to evaluate Force and Sector Headquarters.

Together, this will enable close tracking and monitoring of pre-deployment preparations through to in-mission performance. It will also better enable us to provide improvement recommendations through standardized processes. 

In 2020, we will complete the roll-out of the Comprehensive Performance Evaluation System. This will give us a much better picture of mandate delivery across mission components.


Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

All peacekeepers must adhere to our standards of performance.  If our peacekeepers – leadership, civilian, police or military – fall short of these standards, then they must be held accountable.

This includes for upholding the highest standards of conduct and discipline. For sexual exploitation and abuse specifically, one case is one too many. We will continue to do our utmost to uphold the Secretary-General’s Zero Tolerance policy, and for that we need strong support from our Member States.

In closing, I would like to underscore that we will continue to count on your support.

Improving the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations is a collective undertaking.

It starts with well-tailored and prioritized mandates. We appreciate the Security Council’s support in this regard. To effectively implement our mandates, all have a role – the military, police and civilians at all levels, particularly leadership. Ensuring that peacekeepers have the requisite training and capacity, in many cases, entails Member States providing the requisite support, including through bilateral or trilateral partnership initiatives. Ultimately, we also require the requisite financing to effectively carry out our mandates.

Each aspect of strengthening peacekeeping will continue to rely on all of us working together, towards common objectives.  

Thank you.