Budget committee approves steps to boost UN peacekeeping capacity

Budget committee approves steps to boost UN peacekeeping capacity

The General Assembly’s budget committee has approved a set of proposals to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations to mount and sustain peacekeeping operations at a time when the number of blue helmets deployed around the world is the highest in the world body’s history.

The Administrative and Budgetary (Fifth) Committee today agreed on reforms proposed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier this year to restructure the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in the face of what he referred to as “explosive growth in demand for UN peacekeepers coupled with a “dramatically strained and overstretched system.”

Among the proposals approved today – which will now go to the Assembly for adoption – is the establishment of a Department of Field Support, as well as a post of Under-Secretary-General to head the new Department – essential for managing the nearly 100,000 field personnel deployed worldwide.

The resolution agreed on would also have the Assembly approve some $230.5 million for the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, including 819 continuing and 284 new temporary posts.

In addition, the Assembly would create two posts at the Assistant Secretary-General level – one to head the newly established Office of Military Affairs and the other to head the newly established Office of Rule of Law and Security, both in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, as well as the post of Chief of the Procurement Service in the Office of Central Support Services.

When he first presented the proposals, Mr. Ban said that “taken together, these measures would bolster and improve the assistance that Headquarters provides top field missions and to field personnel contributed by Member States.”

The Committee, which normally devotes its late spring session to the budgetary and administrative needs of peacekeeping for the coming financial year, which runs from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008, also approved some $5.25 billion for the 13 active peacekeeping operations today.