New report urges States to provide greater support for UN peacekeeping

New report urges States to provide greater support for UN peacekeeping

United Nations Member States must provide greater support for the Organization's peacekeeping work in order to keep pace with current and future challenges, a top UN official told the press today, previewing a new report by Secretary-General-Kofi Annan.

"The overall peacekeeping capacities of the Secretariat have not developed at the pace they should have because sufficient time, energy and resources have not been dedicated to planning for the future," said the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, quoting from a forthcoming report by Mr. Annan on implementing the recommendations of an expert panel convened under the chairmanship of former Algerian Foreign Minister Lakhdar Brahimi.

Cautioning against a short-term view of peacekeeping, Mr Guéhenno cited the report's warning that "if we continue to define our required capacities strictly based on the bare minimum needed today and only today, then we will be no better off two to three years down the road."

"After more than 50 years of UN peacekeeping, the time has come for us to acknowledge that the instrument is not a temporary aberration," the Under-Secretary-General observed, adding that the report would urge Member States not to miss the present opportunity to reverse this trend and invest in the future.

He emphasized that the report did not minimize past accomplishments, but did warn that the UN could "no longer afford to continue with the 'gifted amateurism' that has characterized this Organization's approach to peacekeeping to date."

According to Mr. Guéhenno, the report stresses that the UN could do better in the peacekeeping arena "particularly if the Member States decide to give us the opportunity and means to do so."

Providing evidence of the UN's needs compared to the available staff, Mr. Guéhenno pointed out that there were only 17 people now managing the 8,000 UN police officers deployed in the field. "I don't think anybody who looks at the difficulties of police work, to take just that example, will believe that with just 17 people you can run a force of 8,000," he said.