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China and over 40 Countries Jointly Establish the Group of Friends on the Safety and Security of UN Peacekeepers

(From Chinese Mission to the United Nations)

2021/04/27

Under the joint initiative of China, Brazil, Indonesia and Rwanda, the Group of Friends on the Safety and Security of UN Peacekeepers was launched on April 27. Ambassador Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative of China to the UN, chaired the virtual event. More than 150 guests attended the meeting, including Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Mr. Gilles Michaud, Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security, Ms. Lisa Buttenheim, Assistant Secretary-General for Support Operations, and permanent representatives, deputy permanent representatives, military advisers and officials from members of the Group of Friends and other relevant delegations. The Group of Friends includes 49 countries and regional organizations including Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Morocco, South Africa, Pakistan, India, Egypt, Ethiopia and the League of Arab States. They are major stakeholders such as TCCs, PCCs, FCCs and host states, fully demonstrating inclusiveness and representation.

Zhang Jun said that the Group of Friends provides a platform to strengthen information sharing, policy coordination, and capacity building so as to make substantive progress in enhancing the safety and security of peacekeepers. UN peacekeeping operation is a major instrument for maintaining international peace and security. Peacekeepers are the valuable asset for international peace. Over the past 70 years, more than 3,000 peacekeepers from over 120 countries have lost their lives. Threats of regional hot issues, ethnic conflicts, terrorism, and IEDs, compounded with the COVID-19 pandemic, are posing higher security risks to peacekeepers. This year, 49 peacekeepers have lost their lives to the cause of peace. Keeping peacekeepers safe is a systematic project. It depends on the participation of all parties to deliver.

Zhang Jun emphasized that the Group of Friends will study in depth the new issues and challenges in this field, raise awareness and promote common understanding on this issue among Member States through the Security Council, the General Assembly and other platforms. Ensuring the safety and security of peacekeepers requires not only policy guidance, but also practical action. Only by translating the consensus of Member States into concrete actions on the ground can we achieve real results. The Group of Friends will promote exchange of experience and case studies among Member States to develop best practices and resolve difficult issues in the implementation process.

The participants spoke highly of China's leadership in establishment of the Group of Friends. They said that it is urgent and timely to enhance the safety and security of peacekeepers. China's efforts to promote the safety and security of peacekeepers demonstrate its tangible support for multilateralism and the work of the United Nations. The participants reaffirmed their commitment to improving the safety and security of peacekeepers and stressed that they will actively participate in the activities of the Group of Friends to enhance the protection of peacekeepers, reduce security risks for them, and better play the important role of peacekeeping operations in promoting international peace and security.

China has been a builder of world peace and a contributor to peacekeeping operations. It is the second largest finance contributor to peacekeeping budget and the largest troop contributor among the permanent members of the Security Council. Currently, more than 2,500 Chinese peacekeepers are serving in eight missions, performing duties such as patrolling, guarding, demining, medical treatment, engineering and air transport. China attaches great importance to the safety and security of peacekeepers, and it is one of the Champions of safety and security under A4P initiative. It has provided security and safety training for peacekeepers from many countries and funded the Secretariat in carrying out relevant projects and studies. China has also decided to donate 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to peacekeepers. Under China's initiative, the Security Council adopted the first resolution on safety and security of peacekeepers.

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