Speaking Notes for The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence – United Nations Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial - Official Closing


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Vancouver, British Columbia
November 15, 2017

Good evening everyone.

It’s been quite a day – a day of debate and discussion, a day of pledges and progress. And before we close these proceedings, I would like to offer you my thanks.

First of all, to Under-Secretary-General Atul Khare and Under-Secretary-General Pierre Lacroix. Thank you for your constant, unwavering leadership in the service of peace.

To our co-hosts: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Japan, Netherlands, Pakistan, Rwanda, Uruguay, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

Thank you for your steadfast support and your essential contributions to this event.

To my colleagues from around the world, thank you for your participation and your engagement. I know each of your pledges was made possible by hundreds, if not thousands of hours of work from you and your staff.

At the beginning of our time together, we challenged ourselves.

We challenged ourselves to build on our achievements at previous Ministerials.

To explore new and better ways of training, promoting economic development, and engaging and empowering women.

To make a greater difference for the people we hope to defend by defining and pursuing a modern and responsive form of peace building and peacekeeping.

Together, we rose to the challenge.

We explored what we can do better, and what we must do differently, to improve our effectiveness in areas of instability.

We committed to bring new gender perspectives to peacekeeping. Because we know that women bring a greater understanding of all aspects of a conflict – and a more comprehensive and lasting solution.

And we brought forward Smart Pledges; allowing us to work together to deliver key capabilities that address critical gaps for the United Nations.
Like engineering units. Quick reaction forces. Rapidly deployable battalions. Medical capabilities. Aviation assets. And key training initiatives. 

And I must say that I take great pride in having also hosted the launch of the Vancouver Principles… which build on the Paris Principles, and represent the commitment of all signatories to work together to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers around the world.

It has been an honour and a privilege to host these deliberations. Now, as we return home, we must turn the solemn promise of today into the concrete results of tomorrow.

We must continue to work together to ensure the UN is able to respond to the evolving challenges we face.

Because, as Lester B. Pearson put it so well:

“Of all our dreams today there is none more important – or so hard to realise – than that of peace in the world. May we never lose our faith in it, or our resolve to do everything that can be done to convert it one day into reality.”

To all those who played a role here – participants, staff and guests alike – thank you for making this a successful event.

May warm winds and fair skies carry you from here to home.

And with that, the 2017 UN Defence Ministerial on Peacekeeping is now closed.

Thank you.

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