UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan has underscored the need for realistic mandates for UN peacekeeping operations, with adequate resources, to face challenges in the world’s troubled regions.

“With the operating environments becoming even 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 a meeting held here on Saturday to review action to improve peacekeeping operations, the UN’s flagship activity, in line with the Security Council resolution, 2436, aimed at enhancing performance at all levels, both at the 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 depended on realistic mandates, adequate resources and many other factors that were not in control of troops contributing countries (TCCs).

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

On his part, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he welcomed opportunities to review effectiveness of the world body’s peacekeeping operations. The UN chief recalled that his action for peacekeeping initiative renewed 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, and added, “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.”

He further said that there had also been progress in intelligence sharing, reducing gaps in vital equipment, improving safety and security of peacekeepers, and in increasing the number 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 Ms. 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 attacks by armed groups 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 stressed.

Guterres, the UN chief, said the Organisation was “doing everything possible” to improve accountability and end sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers. Strong preventive 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”.