UN chief Ban Ki-moon has appreciated commitments made by major troop contributing nations such as India at a peacekeeping defence ministerial in the UK, as he reaffirmed the world body’s pledge to work with the countries to improve the performance of UN peacekeepers.
“The Secretary-General welcomes the pledges and commitments made at the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial in London. The Secretary-General is particularly encouraged by the pledges related to rapid deployment, including commitments by Bangladesh, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to maintain units at a high level of readiness,” said a statement issued by the UN Secretary-General’s spokesperson on Thursday.
At the ministerial meeting in Lindon on Thursday, India underscored its commitment to UN peacekeeping operations and to providing troops for the missions as pledged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Speaking at the Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial summit, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Ramrao Bhamre underlined the challenges faced by UN peacekeeping, with armed groups and non-state actors playing “spoilers” to peace efforts.
The London conference was a follow-up to the Leaders’ Summit held at the UN Headquarters in New York. At the Leaders’ summit, Modi had announced to contribute an additional 850 troops to the UN Peacekeeping Missions. Ban reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to work with troop and police-contributing countries in continuing to improve the performance of UN peacekeepers, including through the full implementation of the Secretary-General’s zero tolerance policy regarding sexual exploitation and abuse.
Applauding the strong focus of the ministerial on women and peacekeeping, he congratulated Major Aichatou Ousmane Issaka of Niger, who received the first UN Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award. Addressing the closing session of the meeting, UN Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare said, “there is justified concern that changes in the types of conflicts we are seeing may be outpacing our ability respond to them.”
He said spread of violent extremism, enduring local or regional conflicts and the growing impatience of populations for change, fuelled by technological advances, places ever greater pressure on governments and the international system. According to the UN Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support, the UN leads or supports 36 peace operations on four continents in thirty countries, of which 17 are pure peacekeeping missions.
Of the UN Secretariat’s USD 12 billion budget, peace operations account for over 75 per cent, and of USD 3 billion in annual UN procurement spending, 85 per cent is for such operations. In the ministerial meeting, countries contributing to UN peacekeeping missions adopted a communique that focuses ways to improve the planning of operations, implement the pledges of support made by countries, and enhance the performance of troops on the ground.