UNITED NATIONS, Oct 27 (APP):A two-day UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Preparatory Conference concluded Tuesday, with Pakistan’s Ambassador Munir Akram saying that it deemed multilateral approach as “critical” to building a safer world through peacekeeping, the world body’s flagship enterprise.
The conference, jointly organized by Pakistan and the Netherlands, discussed ‘Safety and Security’ and ‘Protection’ of peacekeepers serving in hot spots around the world, in preparation for the ministerial meeting in Seoul, South Korea, in the first week of December.
Summing up the deliberations, Ambassador Akram said the other main message that the conference conveyed was that safety and security and protection of peacekeepers were interlinked.
“Ensuring the safety and security of peacekeepers enhances their ability to deliver on protection of civilian (POC) mandates,” the Pakistani envoy told the concluding session.
In his remarks, he also reaffirmed Pakistan’s longstanding commitment to UN peacekeeping operations, and announced that Pakistani Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, who had earlier addressed the participants, will attend the Seoul ministerial conference, which will be held from December 7 to 8.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi delivered the opening address via video-link from Islamabad on Monday.
FM Qureshi told the meeting that over the last six decades, Pakistani peacekeepers had served in 46 peacekeeping missions in almost all continents of the world. And he paid tribute to all the peacekeepers who had laid down their lives while serving under UN flag, including the 161 gallant Pakistanis who had made the ultimate sacrifice.
Netherlands’ Foreign Affairs Ben Knapen, while underscoring the importance of UN peacekeeping, commended the Pakistani men and women for successfully conducting disarmament operations in the Central African Republic (DRC) that diminished the threat to peacekeepers.
He also said the Pakistani peacekeepers had also helped in successfully containing the West Africa Ebola Crisis by providing high-quality medical care.
Also participating in the conference, among others, were Jean-Pierre Lacroix, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, El-Ghassim Wane, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), who stressed the need for measures for the safety and security of peacekeepers.
In his concluding remarks, Ambassador Munir Akram also said Pakistan had all along actively supported UN Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping reform initiative.
Emphasizing the role of women peacekeepers, he said that Pakistan had made concerted efforts to increase the number of women in recent years, especially in the medical field, while lauding their performance.
The Pakistani envoy urged member states to promote equitable geographical representation of women from developing countries in leadership positions at the secretariat and in the field.
“This will encourage more women to join the peacekeeping missions and advance the agenda of gender equity”, he added.
Thanking every one for their participation, Ambassador Akram expressed the hope that this collective effort will help shape a better peacekeeping architecture for future.