Recommit to peacekeeping operations - UN urges member states
The United Nations (UN) Under- Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, has urged member countries to recommit themselves politically to peacekeeping operations.
He further called for the full support of member states to enable countries to reach lasting peace.
“UN peacekeepers are saving countless lives for a relatively small investment, but for its mission to enable countries to reach a durable peace, the organisation needs the full support of all member states,” the UN Under-Secretary-General stated.
Mr Lacroix made the call at the opening of the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Meeting in Accra yesterday.
“They will help meet current and future challenges and needs as well as new or expanded partnerships on capacity-building, training and equipping,” he stated.
The Ministerial Conference on Peacekeeping is a high-level UN gathering started about 10 years ago which had since become a regular feature on the calendar of the peacekeeping community.
Previous meetings were held in New York, United States of America (USA), Vancouver in Canada, London in the United Kingdom, and Seoul, South Korea.
This is the first time the meeting is being held in Africa and for that matter, Ghana.
The two-day event commenced last Tuesday with two side meetings on "Women in peacekeeping" and "Environmental aspects of peacekeeping" jointly organised by the USA and Sweden.
It was attended by more than 600 dignitaries and high-profile personalities from about 100 countries across the world.
They included foreign and defence ministers, heads of international organisations, academics, social partners, civil society organisations and journalists.
Mr Lacroix said peacekeeping was partnership and, therefore, the UN now needed the support of member states more than ever.
Particularly, he said, the organisation needed the strong and unified political support to encourage host countries and warring parties to reduce, if not end hostilities.
“We need your financial support to ensure that peacekeeping operations have the personnel and capacities to implement the mandates given to them by the Security Council.
“And we need your support as troops and police contributors to ensure that missions have the right capabilities in the right place and at the right time, with the right mindsets,” he emphasised.
The UN Under Secretary-General for Peace Operations said the UN did not have enough leverage to do so on its own and that “we are as strong as that political commitment and unity of our member states”.
On behalf of the Secretary-General of the UN, Mr Lacroix expressed appreciation to Ghana for hosting the 2023 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference, saying hosting such an event was a tremendous undertaking that required strong political commitment, months of planning and no small amount of patience.
Mr Lacroix said as the sixth largest contributor of UN troops and police as well as an elected member of the Security Council, peacekeepers from Ghana had an exemplary track record and it was one of the few troop-contributing countries that had met the uniform gender parity targets for troops, police and staff officers of the organisation.
“We applaud Ghana for playing such a significant role in maintaining international peace and security and we applaud the outstanding organisation of this meeting,” he added.
While commending Ghana and other member states for their roles in peacekeeping, the UN Under-Secretary-General said the success of peacekeeping over the 75-year history of the organisation should not be forgotten in the fog of war that continued to ravage the world’s most fragile nations and populations.
“We must recognise that peacekeeping is not a magic wand and could succeed alone,” Mr Lacroix said.
Therefore, he said, securing sustainable peace required the political will, active and united engagement of UN member states.
Mr Lacroix said the challenges peacekeeping missions faced were greater than ever and that increasing division among member states had weakened the collective capacity to support political and peace processes.
“Conflict was more complex and multi-layered while peacekeepers were facing terrorists, criminals, armed groups and their allies who had access to powerful modern weapons and a vested interest in perpetuating the