UNITED NATIONS, April 7 (APP): Opening the United Nations Security
Council’s peacekeeping operations review, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that the world body’s peace operations are at a crossroads and our task is to keep them relevant with clear and achievable mandates, and the right strategies and support.
The review comes after pressure from the United States to cut costs in
UN missions that come at a price tag of over $7 billion annually with Washington contributing the largest share of around 28% or $2.2 billion of the cost.
The secretary-general said UN peacekeepers faced a raft of challenges
terrorism, hostile host governments, floods of illicit weapons, and sometimes being deployed to places where peace itself is at stake. He also underscored that all parts of the UN have a role to play in making sure ‘blue helmets’ can deliver on the mandates assigned to them.
Guterres underscored that UN peace operations are diverse, and their
operating environments are highly complex and we share a responsibility to adapt them to our changing world.
In his remarks, he called on the 193-member General Assembly for
political support and thanked the troop- and police-contributing countries for professional and committed personnel.
He also urged the countries that border conflict zones for their support
and underlined that having the backing of the host countries themselves is vital.
(Pakistan is among the worlds top three troop contributing countries
to UN peacekeeping.)
And above all, we look to the [Security] Council for unity, and for
clear, achievable mandates, UN chief added, noting the needing for a strategy that can support the diverse range of peace missions and takes into account the entire peace continuum: from prevention, conflict resolution and peacekeeping to peacebuilding and long-term development.
In terms of initiatives to enhance the Organization’s peace and security
architecture, Guterres highlighted that the number of troop- and police-contributing countries have been increased and modern technologies are being used to improve situational awareness and analysis.
Also, key functions have been decentralized and performance management
and accountability are being strengthened. Such efforts have reduced the cost per capita of uniformed peacekeepers by 18 per cent since 2008.
In the longer term, Guterres outlined specific areas of improvement,
including the need for clear, realistic and up-to-date mandates for peace operations from the Security Council; greater and more active role for women in peace operations; and stepping up troop contributions.
He said that 54 missions have completed their mandates and closed; two
more will do so in the months ahead.
That is our objective for every peacekeeping mission: to do the job
entrusted to it. To save lives. To prevent mass atrocities. To set the stage for stability and sustainable peace. And to close. And, from start to finish, to be cost-effective.
In particular, he emphasized the need for solid and predictable funding
so that missions that are backed by a Security Council resolution are supported either with assessed contributions, or by other predictable financing mechanisms.
Today’s peacekeeping budget is less than one half of one percent of
global military spending, the Secretary-General said.
Concluding his remarks, Guterres note that peace operations were
currently at a crossroads: and that they have to be kept relevant with clear and achievable mandates, and the right strategies and support.
Success depends on our collective efforts. You can count on my full
commitment, he said, But I also count on the unity and support of [the Security] Council, to fulfil its primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security in this changing world.