Intervention by Ambassador Nicholas Emiliou
New York, 11 June, 2014
Cyprus aligns itself with the statement of the European Union.
Allow me first to thank the Secretary General for the insightful briefing he delivered earlier. I would also like to thank the Russian Federation for organizing such an important and timely debate. Cyprus would like to pay tribute to all men and women who served and continue to serve in peacekeeping missions around the world. Their contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security is invaluable. 2014, marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Cyprus, UNFICYP. I take this opportunity to extend our deep appreciation and gratitude to the United Nations and its Member States, in particular to all those that have contributed troops to UNFICYP throughout the years. Cyprus can attest, from its own experience, that maintenance international peace and security would be precarious without UN Peacekeeping in many parts of the world.
Peacekeeping remains one of the primary tools through which the UN fulfils its principal mandate – the maintenance of international peace and security. Peacekeeping has gone through various phases and is now more multidimensional than ever before. This is largely due to the ever changing nature of conflicts that have become more internalized and thus more challenging and complex and with more far-reaching effects to regional and international peace and security. The emergence of new challenges requires the collective and organized response of the international community. These underline the need for this debate as well as for our quest for efficiency and modernization to be ongoing. Increased challenges also underline the need for cost-effective use of resources and most efficient resource allocation. These, however should be in line and not to the detriment of the ability of peacekeeping missions to adequately and effectively fulfil their mandate.
It is necessary that modern peacekeeping adapts to new needs and challenges, for example by adequately equipping peacekeepers and civilian personnel. Up-to-date technology is a sine qua non for the execution of the mandate of all UN peacekeeping operations. Cyprus commends efforts made so far in that direction and would like to encourage DPKO to keep looking into possibilities for expanded use of modern technology. In line with that, Cyprus would like to stress the importance of the security of the “blue helmets” and the civilian personnel which is closely associated to the use of upgraded equipment and modern tools. Safeguarding the welfare of peacekeepers and providing an upgraded working and living environment should also from part of our priorities. In this regard, Cyprus is in favor of the idea of extending peacekeeping mandates, when necessary, so that the safety and security of peacekeepers is guaranteed. We also consider that the recommendations of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping operations provide a comprehensive context of specific ideas that correspond to evolving needs.
In discussing modern peacekeeping, the need for a broader introduction of a gender perspective in peacekeeping operations and the full implementation of Security Council Resolutions on women, peace and security come to the fore. Cyprus attaches great importance to the pivotal role of women in conflict management and resolution with the aim of achieving sustainable peace and we would very much welcome increased participation of women in peace processes and peacekeeping operations, including at senior roles.
In this regard we feel privileged to have two women at the top of the UN presence in Cyprus. In addition to current SRSG and Head of UNFICYP, Ms Lisa Buttenheim, we will soon have the pleasure of welcoming to Cyprus Major General Kristin Lund, the next UNFICYP Force Commander, and the first ever woman to lead a UN peacekeeping force. We are certain that their insight will prove decisive in our effort.
In this volatile international environment it is of utmost importance to adhere to the principles of the UN Charter when deploying peacekeeping operations, specifically to the principle of respect of state sovereignty. It is essential that our efforts to address the root causes of international conflicts and that we undertake solid and tangible steps that will enhance the United Nations collectiveness and reaffirm our joint commitment in upholding and strengthening the principles and values of this esteemed organization.
Thank you Mr. President.