UN peacekeeping capabilities stretched to capacity, Annan says

28 March 2005
UN Peacekeepers help with food, medical distribution

The demands for multi-faceted United Nations peacekeeping today have stretched the world body's resources "to the limit of our capacity," UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in a renewed call for strategic reserves and on-call regional resources at a conference on peacekeeping and nation-building.

Having now been designed to help build lasting peace in war-torn countries, "UN peacekeeping today involves more than policing ceasefires," he said in a message delivered by Special Adviser Lakhdar Brahimi to the conference organized by the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) of Singapore in Hiroshima, Japan.

Mr. Annan noted that in his recent report to the General Assembly, "In Larger Freedom," he urged Member States to create strategic peacekeeping reserves and to support regional standby capacity, as well as standby UN civilian police.

"I also called for the creation of a new inter-governmental organ within the United Nations – a Peacebuilding Commission, supported by a Peacebuilding Support office within the Secretariat to effectively address the challenge of helping countries with the transition from war to lasting peace," he said.

He said he looked to Member States, which are responsible for their peacekeeping troops, to enact policies allowing for "zero tolerance" of sexual exploitation of minors and other vulnerable people by their national contingents and expected those States and UN staff members to do everything to stamp out such abhorrent acts.

In the context of ensuring accountability and effectiveness, he thanked UNITAR and IPS for the conference initiative, which began more than a decade ago when he was head of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and which helped ensure that lessons were learned, applied and passed on.


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