PAKISTAN TO CONTINUE SERVING UNITED NATION ‘NOBLE CAUSE’
UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan, one of the top contributors to UN peacekeeping, told the first-ever United Nations Chiefs of Defence Conference on Friday that it will keep contributing to world body’s flagship activity aimed at helping to build a peaceful world.
“Pakistan is committed to the noble cause of peacekeeping,” Lt.
Ghayur Ahmed Awan, leader of the Pakistan delegation, said.
The historic conference brought together chiefs of defence and senior military officials from more than 100 Member States to discuss issues central to UN Peacekeeping as part of a wider process of engagement by the UN with member states to expand the peacekeeping partnership and promote effective and efficient implementation of mandates.
The Indian delegation was represented by Army Chief Gen.
Dabir Singh Suhag. Several participants said they were looking forward to meeting Pakistan’s Army Chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, and expressed disappointment that he could not come to the conference.
Held in the ECOSOC Chamber, the conference was opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Hervé Ladsous, and Atul Khare, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, also spoke.
In his intervention, Gen.
Awan said that 160,000 Pakistani personnel in 42 UN peacekeeping missions around the world had served the UN since 1960. “Pakistani men and women have served with distinction and professionalism in one of the most difficult and demanding environments,” he said.
Over the past five decades, 142 Pakistani peacekeepers have made supreme sacrifice while serving the United Nations peacekeeping missions, he told military delegates packing ECOSOC Chamber.
Awan said Pakistan was firm supporter of the basic principles of peacekeeping - impartiality, consent of all parties and non-use of force except in self-defence and in the defence of mandate.
”We believe that, there is no room for addition, deletion, alternation or amendment within their scope and interpretation of these principles.
Pakistan, he said, was of the view that UN peacekeeping requires genuine partnership between the Security Council, the troop contributing countries and the UN Secretariat during mandate formulation its renewal or closing of the missions.
Awan also supported the UN efforts for providing latest technology keeping in view the basic principles of peacekeeping to the UN troops to add to their performance on ground.
In his remarks, Ban, the UN chief, told the gathered soldiers that threats to peacekeepers were on the rise, with more deaths year-on-year now than ever before.
“Before 2000, there were four times when more than 100 peacekeepers lost their lives in a single year.
Since then, we have suffered that tragic toll ten times.
Consecutively, 10 times.
After a moment of silence was marked for fallen peacekeepers, the secretary-general went on to stress the dangers faced by UN peacekeepers as they protect innocent lives “on the front lines of human misery” in some of the world’s most dangerous places.
“Over the past two decades, the Security Council has given peacekeepers increasingly challenging mandates,” he said, pointing to Mali and Central African Republic.
“Even in traditionally static missions, such as UNDOF, in the Golan Heights, there can be sudden changes in the operating environment.
The role of peacekeeping was first and foremost to protect civilians from violence, he said, adding that they also helped with stabilisation, the extension of state authority, strengthening of the rule of law, addressing gender equality and protecting human rights.
“With such diverse responsibilities, peacekeepers can bring comprehensive stability – when they have the right capabilities and political will to succeed,” the secretary-general said.
“The needs are rising – but the resources fall short.
I have appointed a High-Level Independent Panel to address the serious difficulties we face.
More than 130,000 military, police and civilian staff from around the world serve in the UN’s 16 peacekeeping operations.
He said peacekeepers should be able to rapidly deploy into active conflicts that may escalate at any moment, with capacity to move peacekeepers quickly and safely to where they are most needed, and with intelligence capabilities and other support to enable them to fulfil their mandates
“This is our largest deployment in history.
It must be matched by a stronger international partnership for peacekeeping,” he said.
“Peacekeeping is a shared global responsibility that advances the world’s common interests.
Closing the Conference, the Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, said that peacekeeping operations remain one of the Security Council’s most substantive and dynamic tools to respond to conflict and post-conflict situations.
“When peacekeeping missions are deployed in post-conflict situations, countries are 50 per cent less likely to experience renewed conflict,” he said.
“This saves lives, protects infrastructure and fosters development.
He pointed to the UN’s efforts to adapt its approach to peacekeeping in the face of evolving demands through the Peace Operations Review, which Eliasson said was expected to provide appropriate options and concepts for the future but he added that peacekeeping had a “timeless purpose” at its heart.
The deputy secretary-general talked of the role played by peacekeeping missions in promoting successful transition to sustainable peace and inclusive governance, and to protecting civilians.
He also drew attention to the “new and diverse ways” in which peacekeepers were being deployed in different contexts.
“The Security Council’s high expectations and great demands testify to its faith in peacekeeping as a tool for maintaining international peace and security,” Eliasson said.
“We hope we will also be given the necessary resources to meet these demands.
He called on the gathered military officers to provide the capabilities needed to fulfil peacekeeping mandates, to unite politically behind peacekeeping missions and to continue working towards a common understanding of peacekeeping and to build support for it.
“We hope that your governments will continue to engage actively in this renewed international dialogue on peacekeeping,” he said.
“The risks in peacekeeping will always be high.
The stakes are life-and-death.
When we succeed, we prove to the world’s most vulnerable people that, fundamentally, the most powerful soldiers are those without enemies.
We show that true strength is built on universal values laid down in the UN Charter.