United Nations  : Leaders of more than 50 countries, including India, the US and China, vowed to modernise UN peacekeeping operations and underscored the need to enhance consultations between the Security Council and troop contributing countries.

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping and several other leaders joined UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the high-level Peacekeeping Summit here. In a declaration, the 50 leaders recommitted to modernising UN peacekeeping operations and also reaffirmed their support for the UN “zero tolerance” policy on all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse.

“We are committed to doing our part to further strengthen peacekeeping,” the leaders said, adding that the additional significant commitments to UN peacekeeping announced by governments will help meet persistent capacity gaps, improve the performance and capabilities of uniformed personnel, support rapid deployment and reinforce and enhance the foundation for future peacekeeping efforts. They also called on other Member States to join them in making additional commitments to UN peacekeeping. The leaders underscored the need to enhance consultations between the members of the Security Council and relevant Member States contributing personnel to UN peacekeeping operations to seek a shared understanding of the mandates and a common commitment to their implementation.

Modi, in his address to the gathering, had raised India’s concerns that troop contributing countries do not have a role in the decision-making process of peacekeeping mandates and also do not have adequate representation in senior management and as Force Commanders.

Underlining the difficult circumstances under which troops have to do their duty, Modi had said peacekeepers today are called upon not only to maintain peace and security, but also address a range of complex challenges. The declaration said effectiveness of UN peacekeeping operations is the responsibility of all Member States and relies particularly on partnerships among the UNSC, Troop and Police Contributing Countries, financial contributors, host countries, the UN Secretariat and regional organizations.  The leaders stressed that contributions to peacekeeping operations by member countries must be accompanied by reforms in how UN peacekeeping is organized and supported.

The leaders termed as “unacceptable” sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers, including all civilian staff deployed to UN peacekeeping operations.

Yoshita Singh and Lalit K Jha

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