Pakistan urges ‘realistic’ mandates for success of UN peacekeeping operations

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 07 (APP):Pakistan has underscored the need for realistic mandates for U.N. peacekeeping operations, with adequate resources, to face the difficult challenges in the world’s troubled regions.

“With the operating environments becoming ever more complex, there are increasing calls to update our tools to face the contemporary challenges, respond to current threats and also to do our job better,” Pakistani delegate Rajeel Mohsin told in a meeting held to review action to improve peacekeeping, the UN’s flagship activity, in line with the 2018 Security Council resolution 2436 aimed at enhancing performance at all levels, both at Headquarters in New York and in the field.

Pakistan is one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping, with over five thousand troops serving in missions in hotspots around the world.

“We all agree that performance cannot be evaluated solely in terms of what peacekeepers on ground did or did not accomplish,” Mohsin, a First Secretary at Pakistan’s Mission to the UN, said, pointing out that it also depends on realistic mandates, adequate resources and many other factors that are not in control of troop contributing countries (TCCs).

“Rather than focusing just on cutting costs and troop numbers, operations must dictate logistics, and not the other way around,” he added.

On his part, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he welcomes opportunities to review effectiveness of world body’s peacekeeping.

The UN chief recalled that his Action for Peacekeeping initiative renews collective commitment to excellence amid an increasingly dangerous landscape for the blue helmets and their civilian colleagues.

“Across all missions, we have introduced new systems and tools to evaluate performance. These include regular military and police unit evaluations and a hospital evaluation system,” he said.

“As a result, we are engaging with Member States in a more focused way. In some cases, we have repatriated underperforming troops; in others, we have deployed mentors or training teams.”

There has also been progress in intelligence sharing, reducing gaps in vital equipment, improving safety and security of peacekeepers, and in increasing the numbers of women serving under the UN flag, among other areas.

The United States, which contributes $1.7 billion to the peacekeeping budget, co-organized the meeting.

While underlining Washington’s strong support for peacekeeping, US Ambassador Kelly Craft stressed the need for accountability.

Poor performance harms the reputation of both the UN and the countries which contribute to peacekeeping, Ms. Craft said. She listed some of the consequences such as troops being left vulnerable to armed group attacks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), or peacekeepers sexually abusing children in the Central African Republic.

“But a far greater concern is that it puts human lives at risk: those of the people the UN is mandated to protect, and the peacekeepers sent to protect them. For all their sakes, we must hold peacekeeping missions, leadership, and uniformed and civilian staff accountable”, she said.

Guterres, the UN chief, said the Organization was “doing everything possible” to improve accountability and end sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers. Strong prevention and response measures, as well as the appointment of a Victims’ Rights Advocate, were among the steps he mentioned.

The UN chief called for increased momentum and partnerships in building what he sees as “a culture of continual improvement and accountability”.