The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Mr Jean-Pierre Lacroix, has urged Member States to demonstrate political recommitment to UN Peacekeeping to help meet current and future challenges.
He said securing sustainable peace requires political will and active and united engagement of all United Nations member states.
Mr Lacroix said this during the 75th UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference in Accra on Wednesday.
He stated, “The challenges peacekeeping missions face are greater than ever. Increasing division among Member States has weakened the collective capacity to support political and peace processes. Conflict is more complex and multi-layered. Peacekeepers are facing terrorists, criminals, armed groups and their allies, who have access to powerful modern weapons and a vested interest in perpetuating the chaos in which they thrive.
“Missions are also facing growing threats from the weaponisation of digital tools, with hate speech, misinformation and disinformation rife, undermining our efforts and fueling violence against our personnel, partners, and communities.”
He noted that peacekeeping has evolved to adapt to changing needs on the ground and continues to do so.
According to Mr Lacroix, the Ministerial Meeting would enable Member States to collectively take stock of what the UN has achieved in the five years since it started implementing the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative.
“Despite the challenges we are facing, we continue to do our utmost to strengthen the impact and effectiveness of these operations. We continue to do what we can to advance political solutions and support sustainable peace, including facilitating political settlements and supporting locally-led conflict resolution.
“For example, the Central African Republic’s peace process continues to benefit from MINUSCA’s political engagement and robust security strategy to deter armed groups. In the DRC, MONUSCO is providing significant logistical support to the electoral process at the request of the Congolese authorities, including transporting 128 tons of materials in support of the Independent National Electoral Commission in North and South Kivu and Ituri provinces. The Mission has also provided dedicated training and workshops for Congolese women to enable their full participation in elections, as voters and candidates alike,” he noted.
He stated that ensuring the safety and security of peacekeepers to enable them to implement their mandates is a top priority. He said, “Since we started to implement the Action Plan to Improve the Security of UN Peacekeepers, peacekeeper deaths due to malicious acts have dropped from a high of 57 in 2017 to seven so far this year.”
The new and evolving threats we face, he added, including from Improvised Explosive Devices, have required us to continuously adapt to mitigate the risk. “We have improved the training and equipping of uniformed personnel, strengthened peacekeeping intelligence and deployed the requisite Explosive Ordinance and IED Disposal Units.”
He also stated that the missions are continuing to improve their performance evaluation systems and tools by assessing overall peacekeeping performance in accordance with A4P+.
“Communicating strategically and proactively is critical to building the trust and support needed for missions to carry out their mandates. Too often, expectations outweigh the reality of mission mandates and their capacities to deliver. The priority for us is, therefore, to engage inclusively and interactively with stakeholders to strengthen our understanding of mission roles and responsibilities and demonstrate the tangible impact of our work,” he added.
Patience Anaadem, ISD