NEW YORK, APRIL 6 – United Nations peacekeepers face a raft of challenges – terrorism, hostile host governments, floods of illicit weapons, and sometimes being deployed to places where peace itself is at stake – Secretary-General António Guterres said today, underscoring that all parts of the UN have a role to play in making sure ‘blue helmets’ can deliver on the mandates assigned to them.
“Peace operations are at a crossroads. Our task is to keep them relevant with clear and achievable mandates, and the right strategies and support,” the Secretary-General said, opening the Security Council’s peacekeeping operations review.
“As the Secretary General underlined, a more holistic approach to peace needs to be embraced. Peace operations should be declined in the broader context of “Prevention”, “Peace Building”, “Sustaining Peace” and post-conflict stabilization, in a sort of “peace continuum”, where the quest for political solutions must be our primary goal. The peace and security pillar should be more integrated with the development and human rights pillars”, the Italian Permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi said to the Council, stressing that “resources are limited and should be utilized in a cost-effective way, including by progressively closing the gap between the resources this Organization spends on peacekeeping (almost 8 billion USD) and the budget for mediation and Special Political Missions (600 million USD). Not only is prevention right, it is also an investment and a savings multiplier”.
As a global security provider, top troops contributor among Western countries and engaged in several non-UN missions, Italy agrees that peacekeeping missions should be regularly reviewed to assess their effectiveness, adherence to their mandate and the need for adjustments to address evolving situations on the ground. “This would make it possible to identify and thus fill in potential gaps. Moreover, when phasing out peacekeeping missions we should avoid early disengagement merely to reduce costs that could force a re-deployment of a new mission in a deteriorated environment, in which restoring peace would cost more in terms of budget and casualties. “Strategic patience” should be at the core of our evaluations”, Cardi said.
Guterres underscored that UN peace operations are diverse, and their operating environments are highly complex “[and] we share a responsibility to adapt them to our changing world.”
In his remarks, he called on the 193-member General Assembly for political support and in on the troop- and police-contributing countries for professional and committed personnel. He also urged the countries that border conflict zones for their support and underlined that having the backing of the host countries themselves is vital.
“And above all, we look to the [Security] Council for unity, and for clear, achievable mandates,” added the UN chief, noting the needing for a strategy that can support the diverse range of peace missions and takes into account the “entire peace continuum: from prevention, conflict resolution and peacekeeping to peacebuilding and long-term development.”.
To read Ambassador cardi speech in full, click here. (@alebal)