United Nations: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday appealed to senior military officials for more troop contributions from nations around the world and political will to help peacekeepers carry out their “increasingly challenging” mandates.
Ban was addressing the first-ever ‘Chiefs of Defence’ Conference here that brought together army chiefs and senior military officials from more than 110 UN Member States to discuss issues central to UN peacekeeping.
India’s Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag is attending the day-long conference, while Pakistan is being represented by corps commander Lt Gen Ghayur Muhammd Awan.
India is the largest contributor of troops to UN peacekeeping operations, having contributed more than 180,000 peacekeepers in 44 UN peacekeeping missions so far.
It has lost 158 of its soldiers in these missions, the highest by any country, serving in the line of duty.
Ban said that UN peacekeepers, working in “some of the most dangerous places on earth”, need intelligence capabilities and other support to fulfil their mandates.
“Missions also need the capacity to move peacekeepers quickly and safely to where they are most needed,” he said.
The Secretary General, making an appeal to the military officials, said the UN needs more diverse contributions from member states to strengthen peacekeeping missions as the “needs are rising” but the resources are falling short.
“When the Security Council calls on us to deploy peacekeepers, the United Nations needs to be ready. This means more diverse and more quickly available contributions from Member States. It also includes additional ‘boots on the ground’ from developed countries with more technologically advanced militaries,” he said.
He further called for more political will, unity and backing.
“Effective performance demands broad consensus on why, where and how peacekeepers carry out their mandates,” he said.
The historic event aims to discuss issues central to UN Peacekeeping as part of a wider process of engagement by the UN with member states to expand the peacekeeping partnership and promote effective and efficient implementation of mandates.
The conference will also be addressed by nder-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Herve Ladsous, and Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare.
Ban told the gathered soldiers that threats to peacekeepers were on the rise, with more deaths year-on-year now than ever before.
Noting that the global security landscape is becoming dangerously complex, “marked by terrorism, organised crime, civil conflicts and even health crises,” Ban said the Security Council has given peacekeepers increasingly challenging mandates.
“Before 2000, there were four times when more than 100 peacekeepers lost their lives in a single year. Since then, we have suffered that tragic toll ten times. Consecutively, 10 times. It’s very sad and tragic that we are losing so many colleagues in the mission to keep peace and security for the peoples [of the world],” he said pointing to Mali and Central African Republic.
“Even in traditionally static missions, such as UNDOF, in the Golan Heights, there can be sudden changes in the operating environment.”
Currently, more than 130,000 military, police and civilian staff serve in 16 peacekeeping operations around the world, the largest deployment in history.
Ban said this must be matched by a stronger international partnership for peacekeeping.
“Peacekeeping is a shared global responsibility that advances the world’s common interests,” he said.
After a moment of silence was marked for fallen peacekeepers, Ban said the role of peacekeeping was first and foremost to protect civilians from violence, adding that they also helped with stabilisation, the extension of state authority, strengthening of the rule of law, addressing gender equality and protecting human rights.
“With such diverse responsibilities, peacekeepers can bring comprehensive stability ? when they have the right capabilities and political will to succeed,” Ban said.
The UN Chief voiced concern that the “terrorising campaign” by ISIS is spreading and “they are outpacing our capacity”.
“That is why I am urging all the countries [that] may have influence and capacity to render their full support. At the same time, I am asking political leaders around the world to look at the root causes of all this extremism and terrorism,” he said.
Ban called for “everyone’s hand in deck,” urging religious leaders, educators as well as political and military leaders around the world to spread awareness about human rights and inclusive governance.
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