Foreign Affairs | United Nations influence in war zones and conflict-heavy areas
To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the extent to which efforts are being made at international level to ensure the influence of the United Nations continues to prevail throughout the globe with particular reference to war zones and areas already beset by famine or the activities of warlords; the degree to which deployments of United Nations contingents can be used to protect the vulnerable and dissuade the perpetrators in such circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Ireland is a strong supporter of multilateralism and the UN system and we engage across the three pillars established in the UN Charter: peace and security, human rights, and development. Ireland has been a consistent supporter of reforms that aim to strengthen UN bodies and to enhance the UN’s influence throughout the globe. We support a more coordinated multilateral approach by actors working across the humanitarian, development and peace sectors to address poverty, inequality, climate change and other root causes of humanitarian need and conflict.
UN peacekeeping is a vital element of the UN’s work in conflict areas throughout the world. Ireland has a longstanding and proud history in UN peacekeeping. There are currently 12 UN peacekeeping operations worldwide, with over 95,000 uniformed personnel from over 120 countries. Ireland is currently present in four UN peacekeeping operations, with contributions from the Defence Forces and An Garda Síochána.
In 2018, UN Secretary-General António Guterres launched a peacekeeping reform initiative, known as Action for Peacekeeping. It aims to refocus peacekeeping with more targeted mandates, stronger operations, increased support for political solutions, and better-equipped and trained forces to strengthen protection of civilians. In 2021 a new phase of reform was launched, incorporating the use of technology and the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Ireland fully supports these initiatives. On the Security Council, Ireland is working to ensure that the mandates for peacekeeping missions align with the needs of the people they seek to protect, and that missions have the resources necessary to be effective and responsive in carrying out their tasks.
We also believe that we must plan for long term peace, following the work of peacekeeping missions. This is why Ireland worked to secure agreement on Security Council Resolution 2594, which provides a framework to ensure that the reconfiguration of a UN presence during a transition is properly planned for and resourced, most especially with respect to protecting civilians. Ireland has also been a strong and committed partner of the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) since its creation in 2005 and are proud to be among its top donors, committing €10 million over the 2020-24 period.
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