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Speech by Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas at the Peacekeeping-Ministerial Segment 2 Training and Capacity-Building

29.03.2019 - Speech

Mr President,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today when we talk about Uinted Nation peace operations, it’s all about capabilities, performance, troop numbers. It sounds pretty abstract. But in fact we know that peace doesn't happen on paper. Peace is a process. Not just for those who have negotiated it. But also for those who work in the most difficult of circumstances to secure it.

So when we talk today about peacekeeping, we need to focus above all on the women and men, who work in UN missions; who ensure that people living in conflict regions can enjoy increased security and peace.

I spent time in West Africa last month, also visiting MINUSMA in Mali.

Four points became clear to me there. Without these we cannot move forward on peacekeeping:

Firstly, in a way, it is stating the obvious but: peacekeeping doesn't work without financial resources and well-trained peacekeepers!

Germany is the fourth-largest contributor to the peacekeeping budget and is currently contributing soldiers or police officers to nine missions.

Furthermore, we are bolstering peacekeeping through stabilisation work, training and capacity-building. Strengthening ownership– this has to be the pivot of all missions. It is the only way to ensure responsibility can be transferred sustainably and to ensure that peacekeepers can exit one day.

“Action 4 Peacekeeping” – for us also means to invest. Therefore, we are pledging:

- To send mobile teams for pre-deployment training;

- To train staff officers in missions and

- To support international peacekeeping training centres, for example in Ghana and Mali.

2018 saw the Bundeswehr’s first military observer course for female peacekeepers. And we will continue this United Nations Police Commander Course will be held in Berlin in 2019. And the Center for International Peace Operations is providing ongoing training for civilian experts.

Secondly, we must protect those working to provide security. The 100,000 peacekeepers around the world are putting their lives on the line for peace. They deserve our gratitude and respect. But we also owe them support for their own security. That is why we, for example, are going to supply MINUSMA contingents facing particular risks with protective vests.

Thirdly, our motto in peacekeeping should be “Stronger United”! Peacekeeping missions need strong partners! In Mali, I saw how the contributions made by the United Nations, the European Union and the African Union are successfully complementing each other. That is living multilateralism!

Fourthly, peace can only be won politically. Responsibility lies with the conflicting parties here. Peacekeeping troops cannot replace political processes. But missions can create the space in which political processes can succeed. Particularly the civilian components and the political work of the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General on the ground are decisive building blocks.

Effective mandates therefore need to take account of all conflict phases. Germany supports this in the Security Council. It is simply not efficient if peacekeeping missions costing billions are followed by underfinanced peacebuilding plans. Therefore Germany will pay a further 15 million euros into the Peacebuilding Fund.

Distinguished colleagues,

Peace is not something that can simply be created overnight. Peace has to be won day in day out. That is why we need to invest: in peacekeeping, in crisis prevention, in the United Nations!

Germany is ready to do so. And we will demonstrate our engagement for the United Nations during our presidency of the Security Council which begins on April 1st.

Thank you very much.

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