National Statement delivered at the United Nations Peacekeeping Ministerial on behalf of Canada by the Honourable, Harjit Sajjan
As you will recall, Canada was proud to hold the last UN Peacekeeping Ministerial in my hometown of Vancouver.
In Vancouver, we acknowledged the unique demands of the 21st century security environment.
Together, we agreed to rethink how we approach the traditional elements of peacekeeping – the training, the capabilities, the equipment.
And together, we agreed to take a more comprehensive approach to peace operations – to work together as an integrated military, police, and civilian team.
For our part, Canada announced the Elsie Initiative, and took responsibility for ensuring that women play a greater role in peace operations.
We promised to support world-class training capabilities to support pressing UN performance needs.
We pledged a series of critical, high-end military capabilities, through a smart pledge approach.
And we launched the Vancouver Principles, to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers in the context of UN peace operations.
These efforts still speak to the heart of the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping Initiative.
And they stand as tangible examples of Canada’s renewed and innovative approach to UN peacekeeping.
I am proud to be here to explain how Canada is moving forward on all of these initiatives.
Just yesterday, my colleague, Minister Freeland, announced that Canada will be partnering with the UN on the Elsie Initiative Fund for Uniformed Women in Peace Operations.
This $15 million dollar investment will help to increase women in peacekeeping and fund critical training and capacity building efforts.
Ladies and gentlemen, if we want to substantially increase the number of women on peacekeeping operations, we need to increase the number of women in our respective militaries, and Canada is committed to this.
We are also supporting the development of a comprehensive methodology to identify and assess the barriers to women’s participation in UN peace operations.
And we are partnering with troop and police contributing countries to support targeted training to address those barriers.
In response to the UN’s expressed need for critical, high-end military capabilities, Canada quickly responded to the UN’s request for aviation capabilities, with our deployment to the UN mission in Mali.
Our Air Task Force is now there facilitating life-saving aero-medical evacuations.
To address another high-end capability requirement, Canada is working with the UN to finalize the concept for cross-mission tactical airlift support based in Entebbe.
We look forward to working with other Member States to turn this capability into another smart pledge rotation.
Moving forward, we need to build a more systematic and coordinated approach to the deployment of key capabilities.
Smart pledges should help us ensure that the right equipment is provided to the right place at the right time.
And they should provide a path forward for transition when one contribution ends and another begins.
Canada will continue to explore ways that we can turn the smart pledge concept into an operational reality.
In the area of training, Canada is contributing new funding to support the training and capacity-building needs of the Department of Peace Operations.
This investment directly supports the implementation of the Action for Peacekeeping Agenda.
It responds to identified training and capacity-building needs, including in the areas of child protection, conflict-related sexual violence, and improvised explosive devices.
It will assist the Department of Peace Operations to apply effective methodologies like simulation training, enhanced pre-deployment visits, and performance evaluations.
And Canada looks forward to identifying other opportunities to support systemic training needs.
To truly improve peacekeeping performance, we cannot solely contribute capabilities - we must also build capacity.
Finally, regarding the Vancouver Principles, almost 80 Member States have now endorsed these important commitments to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
Over the past year, Canada has been working closely with Member States, the UN, and civil society to develop practical guidance to support the practical implementation of the Vancouver Principles.
This guidance will support the development of doctrine, mandates, and plans to reduce the use and recruitment of child soldiers.
And it will make practical recommendations on training, and mental health support, for peacekeepers.
In total, Canada is providing $45 million dollars in new funding to the UN’s peace and security architecture.
Among other things, this funding speaks to the integrated and comprehensive approach that I mentioned at the outset.
Canada believes that peacekeeping and peacebuilding must go hand in hand in order to achieve sustainable peace.
That is why Canada is supporting the UN’s Peacebuilding Fund to provide critical support to countries in transition…
…the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, to support UN-led transitions, political processes, and mediation efforts….
…and the UN Trust Fund for MINUSMA, to support the peace process in Mali.
Ladies and gentlemen, in Vancouver, we committed to doing UN peacekeeping differently - and we committed to doing it better.
Canada was honoured to convene that conversation.
We listened, and we are taking action.
If Canada is elected as a member of the UN Security Council in 2021-2022, we look forward to working together with all of you to continue to advance these efforts.
Thank you, merci.
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