UN Police (UNPOL) is a key component of peacekeeping, Under-Secretary-General Jean-Pierre Lacroix told the Security Council on Thursday, whose officers help guide the UN’s response to challenges facing the thousands of ‘blue helmets’ who serve, through the Action for Peacekeeping initiative (A4P).
“A4P aims to refocus peacekeeping on realistic expectations, make peacekeeping missions stronger and safer, and mobilize greater support for political solutions and for well-equipped, well-trained forces”, he told ambassadors.
Constructive engagement & cooperation with our host countries remains central to…
🔹Increasing peacekeepers’ safety & security
🔹Supporting successful transitions
— UN Peacekeeping (@UNPeacekeeping) November 10, 2021
“Through this, we are better placed to address today’s challenges to peace and security and, ultimately, to improve the lives of the people we serve”.
Partnering for peace
Working to advance the A4P+ implementation strategy, Mr. Lacroix highlighted the Inter-Agency Task Force on Policing, which is co-chaired by his department and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
“The Task Force will enable us to unite efforts throughout the UN system and maximize our collective impact by drawing on our comparative advantages, expertise, and know-how to foster representative, responsive and accountable policing services”, said Mr. Lacroix.
To this end, UNPOL will also continue reinforcing its partnerships with regional and sub-regional organizations, particularly in strategic guidance development and training, he added.
Bolstering capacities, accountability
A4P+ also aims to strengthen capabilities and mindsets, by better aligning pre-deployment training by Member States to suit the needs of UN peacekeeping missions.
And to ensure the highest levels of accountability from peacekeepers, which is the fourth priority of A4P+, improving the safety and security of UN personnel is critical.
“The Action Plan to Improve the Security of UN Peacekeepers…continues to structure our efforts towards this aim”, while UNPOL continues to create an enabling environment, he said, “including by promoting women’s networks within our missions, which advise mission leadership on living conditions for women peacekeepers and how to foster gender-responsive working environments.”
Mr. Lacroix said that to advance the accountability of peacekeepers, UN Police reinforces zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse.
“Conduct also relates to how we manage the environmental footprints of our missions, and the UN Police continues to refine its Environmental Management Framework.”
Strategically communicating, cooperating
UN Police has also sought to highlight its positive impact through strategic communications, including on social media platforms, community-oriented policing and awareness-raising activities, to combat misinformation and disinformation, surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
And the continued improvement of cooperation with host countries will enable smoother transitions, as witnessed in Darfur, where UNPOL, in concert with the Sudan Police Force, helped facilitate the drawdown of the UN mission, UNAMID.
The move to the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission (UNITAMS) – has provided much-needed interim policing, and police planning capacities, he added.
“The women, peace and security agenda is infused in all aspects of A4P+ and remains the foundation for improving our overall effectiveness”, Mr. Lacroix told the Ambassadors.
UNPOL’S Gender-responsive policing efforts ensure that the varying security needs of men, women, girls and boys, receive due consideration.
And UN Police has already achieved its gender parity targets for 2025, with five police components currently headed by women, he said.
Police Commissioner Violet Lusala briefed the Council via video teleconference, noting that although the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) is in its 10th year of operation, an improved relationship between its two host countries, Sudan and South Sudan, has yet to translate into progress towards a political solution.
“Challenges to the protection of civilians and mandate implementation in general remain”, she said, highlighting limited rule of law structures, human rights violations and impediments to humanitarian assistance.
The Police Commisioner of the UN Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), Patricia Boughani, said via teleconference, that while the notion of equality is old, its presence when it comes to gender issues, is more recent.
She acknowledged the Council’s role, for seizing on the need to put a gender parity strategy in place, one “applicable to uniformed personnel in peacekeeping operations”.
The “huge task” of promoting gender issues in UNPOL requires an increased presence of more women police officers, she told ambassadors.