UNITED NATIONS : Reaffirming its commitment to the United nations peacekeeping operations in conflict zones around the world, Pakistan has underscored the need for the UN to undertake political processes alongwith its peacekeeping efforts to attain durable peace and stability. Speaking in the UN Security Council’s open debate on training and capacity building for United Nations peacekeeping missions, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said that Pakistan’s participation in UN’s flagship activity was the most tangible demonstration of its commitment to the world body and a practical way of reaffirming its abiding faith in the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. Pakistan is one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping, with over 5000 troops serving in missions in hotspots around the world.

Pakistan, she said, is also host to one of the earliest peacekeeping missions, namely the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), which monitors the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Kashmir region.

“This mission continues to play an invaluable role in a volatile and fraught environment,” the Pakistani envoy told the 15-member Council.

Conflicts today, she said,  were  becoming more complex, prolonged and lethal, posing new challenges for peacekeepers.

“Protection of civilians, supporting peace processes, peace-building, national capacity building and institution building are all now interconnected facets of Peacekeeping Missions,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi noted.

In this regard, the Pakistani envoy said that pre-deployment training of peacekeepers was the key to success in the field.

Best practices and real experience must be incorporated into manuals and shared with key players, she added.

The drafting of peacekeeping mission mandates should be a phased process to allow for consultation with relevant troop-and police-contributing countries, she said.

As peacekeeping was a collective endeavour, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said that it was important to keep the expectations from peacekeeping realistic.

While the Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) were required to provide well-equipped and well-trained personnel, other peacekeeping stakeholders also have to give their best for real success, she added.

Pakistan, she said, has an elaborate system of training which has been institutionalised through the establishment of the Centre of International Peace and Stability (CIPS).

At the recently held Peacekeeping Ministerial meeting, in addition to personnel and assets, Pakistan also offered peacekeeping competencies of this Centre to other TCCs.

Opening the debate, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that better training for peacekeepers being deployed to increasingly hostile environments was a “necessary and strategic” investment which could also save lives.

He said that “notable progress” had been made in training ‘blue helmets’ and others who serve in some of the most dangerous places on earth, but “much still needs to be done”.

In a statement, the Security Council also underscored the importance of peacekeeping overall, “as one of the most effective tools available in the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security.”