Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing with UN Police Commissioners
Statement10 November 2021
Thank you very much, Madam President. It is good to see you in the Chair, and thank you to Mexico for convening today’s briefing. I want to also thank Mexico for the really important emphasis you are putting on Women, Peace and Security. Ireland is really proud to work together with Kenya and Mexico in forming a trio of Presidencies committed to, not just to highlight, but to amplifying and mainstreaming WPS in the work of this Council. Highlighting and giving priority to the importance of women’s participation, particularly in peacekeeping and peacebuilding, is key to that initiative. UN Policing is no different, we know the essential contribution women make as UN police and the important role UNPOL plays in enhancing the protection of women on the ground, importantly enabling women’s participation in peace-making and peacebuilding. I would like to say a sincere thank you to USG Lacroix, as well as to the Police Commissioners, for their insightful and informative briefings and I’m delighted to see Madam Boughani again, with whom we met during our recent visit to Mali.
Commissioners, we receive regular reports of the important work that each of you and your teams carry out on the ground. Your work is critical. From working with communities in Abyei to prevent gender-based violence, and working with national police forces in Mali. We know you work in challenging environments. Your work is sincerely appreciated, and we thank you for your continued commitment. Your contributions to the advancement of the overall WPS agenda are fully recognized. Indeed you act as real role models for women in policing everywhere.
Ireland has been a proud peacekeeping nation for over 60 years. This includes over 30 years contributing to UNPOL, including through our current deployment to the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. We put a premium on our policing contributions.
Madam President, we acknowledge that UNPOL has made significant strides in relation to gender, with women making up over 14 percent of deployed officers. But the truth is, we can and must do better. This means looking beyond numbers, addressing the structural barriers we heard about in the briefings this morning, and creating enabling environments for women’s participation.
We know that continued efforts to combat gender stereotypes will help advance us further along the road towards better gender balance in policing. The mainstreaming approach to WPS set out in Action for Peacekeeping plus, offers UNPOL the opportunity to both enhance its role in peacekeeping, and help to advance gender equality more broadly.
I want to take this opportunity to commend UNPOL for its work in conflict prevention and post-conflict peacebuilding. The work of UNPOL in deterring violence, defusing tensions, while addressing deficits in training, and mentoring, as well as advising host state police, allows for the development of effective, legitimate and credible mechanisms and structures that can help societies on the ground and communities rebuild.
UNPOL can play a critical role in transitions contexts. As we have said before, when the time comes for peacekeepers to leave, or for a Peacekeeping Operation to be reconfigured, the wider UN system needs to be ready to step up and to step in.
We know from experience that the move from a peacekeeping to a peacebuilding presence, is most successful when the process is inclusive (that means including women), also nationally owned, financially supported and – crucially – when there is a strong focus on the protection of civilians.
UN Security Council resolution 2594 on UN transitions placed a particular focus on the need to enhance States’ capacity to protect their own civilians, emphasising the importance of quality security sector reform. This is an area where UNPOL has a pivotal role to play, through training and support, with a focus on ensuring, of course, compliance with international law.
While states bear primary responsibility for the protection of their populations, the Council here also has a responsibility to encourage and support governments in developing and implementing national strategies to do that job. For this to happen, we need the full participation of local communities and stakeholders, especially women, youth and civil society. We need a continued focus on human rights.
It is vital that we view the reconfiguration of the UN’s presence in the field as a strategic process that enables and supports long-term peacebuilding efforts. This means considering and integrating the roles and responsibilities of UNPOL in early transition planning. In particular, we believe that this should focus on the bridge building role UNPOL can play between the UN and local communities on the ground, focusing also on training and coordination.
Madam President, as I conclude, we believe that we must highlight the critical role UNPOL can play in the protection of the most vulnerable - children. This requires specialised pre-deployment and in-mission training, as well as appropriate comprehensive child-sensitive prevention and protection responses. We see the enhanced coordination between Police Components and child protection advisers, as well as gender and women protection advisers in their missions as of particular importance in delivering on this.
Before concluding, I just wanted to add a question, if I may, to Under Secretary General Lacroix; to ask him if he would say a little more about which areas of the recently launched A4P+ you would like to see UNPOL to prioritise, and how we here on the Council can assist you in that work?