Pakistan calls for adequate funds for UN peacekeeping

Founder Editor Tazeen Akhtar..

New York - At the UN Pakistan said that cuts in the peacekeeping budget with an expectation 'to do more with less' were unsustainable and unacceptable.

Speaking in the UN's Fifth Committee, Pakistan's Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi called for adequate resources  for Peacekeeping Missions in order for them to effectively carry out their critical and diverse tasks.

She said when Pakistan makes this demand it does so on the basis of its rich experience as one of the world's top troop contributors to the UN. "We share our perspective," she stressed, "as a major stakeholder and leader on the subject."

Pakistan, Ambassador Lodhi said, is proud to be one of the largest and most consistent contributors to UN peacekeeping, having served in 41 Mission in 23 countries since 1960.  “We currently have over 7000 personnel deployed in 8 peacekeeping operations, including 7 in Africa.  144 of our peacekeepers have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty”, she added.

Recalling the 2015 Leaders' Summit on peacekeeping, the Pakistani envoy said that as co-host, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, made substantial pledges to strengthen peacekeeping operations around the world. These pledges, she recalled, included deployment of an infantry battalion and field hospitals. This was testimony that Pakistan’s “commitment to UN peacekeeping remains as strong as ever”, she emphasised.

Ambassador Lodhi called for putting in place fair, realistic and permanent mechanisms by the UN for review and updating of troop cost and reimbursements.

She also made a case for appropriate representation of Troop Contributing Countries at the leadership and  senior levels in the field and at UN headquarters, commensurate with their participation, as this would provide them with an avenue to offer inputs based on their ground experience.

Ambassador Lodhi also called for bolstering triangular cooperation between the troop contributing countries, Security Council and the UN Secretariat. Such cooperation, she said, must take place not only in the formation of mandates, but also in their implementation, review, renewal or change, especially in case of any rapid deterioration of the situation on ground.

Speaking about the protection of civilians, she said, “This is best ensured by preventing the outbreak of armed conflicts in the first place, addressing root causes of conflicts, and finding inclusive and lasting political solutions to the disputes”, she added.

Arguing that the UN remained an indispensable and powerful tool for the maintenance of international peace and security, Ambassador Lodhi said its role was even more important in “a world beset with challenges and complex threats to peace”. She described the continuing surge in demand for UN peacekeeping as “a vote of confidence, trust and faith in the UN”.

Ambassador Lodhi concluded by assuring the UN that Pakistan would continue to play a vital role in peacekeeping missions, as they were harbingers of hope and security for those battered by the ravages of conflict and turmoil.