UN peacekeepers face serious threats of conflict

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – More than 66,000 United Nations peacekeepers are facing serious threats today because conflicts have become more complex and driven by a wide range of issues ranging from ethnic conflicts and the effects of organized crime to economic ruin and terrorism. , UN chief of staff said on Friday.

Jean-Pierre Lacroix stated in an interview with The Associated Press that even compared with the last two or three years, “many of our peacekeeping services have deteriorating political and security systems.”

In addition, “importantly,” he said, “conflicts are” of several kinds “and often locally and nationally, as well as regionally and internationally. He also mentioned the poor Sahel region in Africa, which sees a growing number of terrorists as an example.

The reason for this change in UN peacekeeping operations is due to a number of factors ranging from the escalation of political divisions among the 193 member states of the UN, he said.

The root causes of conflict are increasing, says Lacroix, and there are so-called “conflict-promoting issues,” including digital technologies, the involvement of false and false information in conflicts, and “military forces who use advanced tactics to undermine our actions.”

The UN currently has 12 remote peacekeeping missions – six in Africa, four in the Middle East, one in Europe and one in Asia – and more than 66,000 troops from 121 countries comprising more than 7,000 international police and civilians 14,000.

Lacroix said peacekeepers continued to “make a big difference” in countries that control firefighting such as Cyprus and southern Lebanon to avoid conflicts, and “also make great strides in terms of civilian security, even if we can do more.”

But the head of the peace commission said the root cause of the conflict was “deeply disturbing the ongoing conflict.”

“They are a real threat to the countries to which our missions are sent, as well as to the sincerity of the region in which we operate,” he said.

“Do we have the tools we need as a global team to deal with these threats?” Lacroix asked scornfully. ” “I am not sure.

He called for an upcoming UN cabinet meeting in Seoul, South Korea on Dec. 7-8 important opportunities to improve the work and outcomes of peacekeepers and “the operation of our weapons,” as well as to strengthen international support for these activities.

Lacroix said a “large number” of ministers and officials from all UN member states were expected in Seoul, stressing that greater participation was “essential” as a sign of support for UN peacekeeping, backed by the UN budget. $ 6.38 billion last year on June 30, 2022, as well as voluntary donations.

He also said that the Department of Peace has sent a list of UN member states on what is needed to protect the security of the peacekeepers by shelter, explosives and threats, and to protect their camps. The list also includes medical care and additional equipment to make peacekeepers easier, more mobile and more efficient, especially for many helicopters, he said.

Lacroix said there are two other important areas: enhancing the mission’s ability to gather and process information to avoid threats rather than action, and to increase the number of women in peacekeeping operations “because we know that maintaining peace means effectively maintaining peace.”

He said it would “be extremely important” for governments to support “the digital transformation department’s goal of maintaining peace because we strongly believe that if we make good use of these new technologies, it can make a difference in maintaining peace.”

To do this, he said, the UN needs to develop what it calls “digital reading on peacekeeping and peacekeeping,” which means more education.

If the Department of Peace and the Peacekeepers are well-equipped to use modern technology, men and women in the field can be better protected, Lacroix said.

“Perhaps we can better communicate and refute falsehoods,” and the UN agency can better gather and organize information “in a way that will help to take action,” he said.

But Lacroix said if peace was to be achieved – “that is, to create the conditions for which the peace missions would come” – “it is” very important “for governments to support politics in achieving this goal.

He also noted that increased peacekeeping operations are part of a growing effort and an alliance that can generate a range of forces, including security, or assist in providing humanitarian assistance to areas such as Congo, South Sudan or Mali.

“We need to make sure we’re doing something that can make a big difference, and some friends need to have the same approach, and we need to be supportive,” Lacroix said.

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