NEW YORK - Pakistan warned on Saturday that arbitrary cuts in peacekeeping funding could diminish effectiveness of UN’s flagship operations and jeopardise safety of peacekeepers.

“Our focus should be on enhancing capabilities, not across the board cuts in the peacekeeping budget,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told the General Assembly’s Fourth Committee, which deals with special political and decolonisation matters.

“Even if the discussion is reduced to purely financial considerations, we should not lose sight of the fact that peace costs less than war,” the Pakistani envoy said in the course of the committee’s comprehensive review of UN peacekeeping operations, in which Pakistan is a leading participant.

“While we work collectively to strengthen peacekeeping, what runs contrary to these efforts is the ongoing intense focus on arbitrary reduction in budgets and financing for peacekeeping,” Ambassador Lodhi added.

In her remarks, she said peacekeeping missions required clearly prioritised and sequenced mandates with effective triangular cooperation and the involvement of troop-contributing countries.

Outlining Pakistan’s vision of United Nation’s “most successful enterprise”, Ambassador Lodhi said that peacekeepers efforts to maintain peace needed to be complemented by political solutions and mediation processes.

“Similarly, there can be no lasting peace without addressing the root causes of conflict,” she said.

The Pakistani envoy went on to emphasise that protection of civilian mandates did not absolve host states of their responsibility to protect civilians.

“All efforts must be made to make national governments fully acknowledged and live up to their responsibility and ensure that the line between peacekeeping and peace enforcement is not blurred.”

Pakistan, she said, supported Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ campaign to eliminate the scourge of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) from the UN system, including from peacekeeping missions, and has zero-tolerance policy towards it. Pakistan was among the first to sign the Secretary-General’s Compact for the Elimination of SEA, and Prime Minister Imran Khan joined the UN chief’s “Circle of Leadership” on it.

Ambassador Lodhi said that as one of the largest and most consistent troop-contributing countries for almost six decades, Pakistan has contributed more than 200,000 troops who have served in 46 missions with honour, professionalism and distinction, with 156 of its bravest making the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of peace.

Pakistan co-hosts one of the UN’s earliest missions -- the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) -- which continues to monitor the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. “We greatly value its vital role in maintaining peace and security in our region,” she said.