Therefore, “strengthening accountability for the conduct of peacekeeping personnel… is central to Working for peace initiative”, known as A4P, Secretary-General António Guterres said in video message Delivered at the meeting on Monday.
Improvements are in progress
Although the “vast majority” of UN staff adhere to the highest standards of behaviour, any abuse not only has a “devastating impact on victims and survivors” but also “undermines our operational efficiency and global reputation,” Mr. Guterres explained.
He said that while the organization works to increase transparency, enhance internal accountability, and emphasize the needs and rights of victims and survivors, steady progress has been made in improving training and reporting of misconduct with member states “vital partners in all of these efforts”.
To prevent misconduct, enforce standards and address harm, the senior UN official stressed the importance of supporting victims and survivors, as well as children born of sexual exploitation or sexual abuse by UN staff.
“This includes ensuring that peacekeepers who have children take full responsibility for them, by helping women file paternity and child support claims,” he explained.
The UN Secretary-General said progress on this collective priority must continue by learning from and building on past lessons and ensuring accountability for UN staff accused of misconduct.
Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix reminded that conduct and discipline have been part of A4P since its inception.
He also stressed the importance of being proactive in understanding the vulnerabilities.
While sharing good practices in prevention and enforcement, the chief UN peacekeeper stressed the need to “build on what works and what shows potential”.
At the same time, he stressed the need to address challenges, such as timely investigations, ensuring that penalties are commensurate with the severity of misconduct, and supporting victims of sexual exploitation and abuse.
Execution of the agreement
Go to Agreeing to eliminate sexual exploitation and abuseThe head of peacekeeping operations of the United Nations that 89 out of 103 sites so far are troop- or police-contributing countries.
“The Secretary-General is clear that we must address our efforts to protect against sexual exploitation and abuse across the United Nations system. Misconduct is not limited to peacekeeping and requires an integrated ‘One United Nations’ response, calling on all member states to accede to the compact,” he said.
“We cannot afford to shy away from our work to promote the conduct of peacekeepers,” concluded the senior UN peacekeeping official.