'Unrealistic expectations' are damaging UN peacekeeping: Guterres
UN peacekeepers often lack the equipment and training they need to be effective in increasingly “complex and high-risk environments”, said the UN chief on Wednesday.
Secretary-General António Guterres was speaking in the Security Council, as members debated how best to improve UN peacekeeping operations, in the light of rising casualties.
Last year, 59 “blue helmets” were lost, compared with 34 in 2016.
At its best, peacekeeping was still a “remarkable enterprise of multilateralism and solidarity”, said Mr. Guterres, but the intensifying threat from armed groups, criminals and terrorists, means that troops were increasingly being targeted.
“We are damaging the instrument of peacekeeping, and indeed multilateralism itself, in creating unrealistic expectations. Lives and credibility are being lost. These challenges require strong, collective action.”
The UN chief said that action should include a more realistic approach to peacekeeping, stronger and safer missions, and mobilizing greater support for political solutions to end violence.
He added that better equipped, trained and structured forces were also needed.
Evacuation of Syrian civilians must be safe and voluntary: UN
Civilians across Syria continue to be displaced by fighting, the UN said on Wednesday, with hundreds of thousands forced to flee their homes in recent weeks.
More than 80,000 were forced out of the besieged enclave of east Ghouta; 52,000 of whom are being housed in nine shelters nearby, where they are receiving emergency help.
Nearly 7,000 were bussed out of Al-Madiq Castle town in northern Hama, with another 52 buses leaving Arbin town near Damascus, carrying more than 3, 200 people.
The convoys included dozens in need of medical treatment.
Here’s UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq.
“The United Nations emphasizes that any evacuation of civilians must be safe, voluntary, and to a place of their choosing. It is imperative that all those who are displaced through local agreements have the right of return as soon as the situation allows. We also remain deeply concerned for tens of thousands of civilians affected by fighting in north-western Syria.”
Sahel is ‘a litmus test’ of UN reforms to avert crises: Amina Mohammed
It’s essential to address the root causes of “multidimensional” crises in areas such as Africa’s Sahel region, said the UN deputy chief on Wednesday.
Amina Mohammed was speaking in the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott, during the Strategic Consultative Meeting on the area, which stretches across the Sahara to the north, as far east as Sudan.
She said the issues of conflict, terrorism, climate change and poor economic growth provide the UN system was a “litmus test” of its reform programme for Africa.
The Deputy Secretary-General added that the lack of basic rights, services and opportunities required Sahel countries to allow aid through to those in need, deliver basic services for all, and “secure their territories and borders”.
Here’s Farhan Haq again.
“Ms. Mohammed stressed that one of the main challenges in the Sahel is the multiplicity of actors and initiatives in the region, often not pulling in the same direction. This cannot continue, and the UN system has developed a UN support plan that will trigger investment in the Sahel and contribute to mobilizing the necessary resources for the 10 countries of the region.”