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UN counts on field commanders in meeting peacekeeping challenges - Migiro

4 September 2007 With more peace operations, and more men and women in the field, than at any other time in the history of the United Nations, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro today called on field commanders to help the world body meet the “daunting challenges of contemporary peacekeeping.”

Today there are over 74,000 military personnel, from 117 troop-contributing countries, serving in 18 field missions on four continents. This unprecedented surge in UN peace missions has presented the Organization with a number of challenges.

“Member States are asking for enhanced accountability from all of us,” Ms. Migiro told the annual conference of heads of military components of UN peacekeeping operations. “We are being called upon to improve managerial practices, instil better discipline in the field, and reach time-bound mission accomplishments.”

The gathering brings together field commanders with senior managers and staff at UN Headquarters to discuss concerns facing field missions, troop-contributing countries and relevant departments such as the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the newly established Department of Field Support.

“Together, you should identify the strengths and weaknesses of our current peacekeeping system, and determine areas needing additional impetus,” Ms. Migiro told participants.

She pointed out that today’s multidimensional, integrated operations support a whole host of post-conflict needs, including institution building, disarmament and demobilization of combatants, human rights protection and reconstruction.

“We should all be proud of these achievements,” she stated. At that same time, she noted that it was also important to address “our failings,” referring to allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct levied against UN peacekeepers in recent years.

In that connection, she stressed the need to ensure that all peacekeepers exercise the highest standards of integrity and ethical behaviour. “The upstanding behaviour of the vast majority of United Nations staff and uniformed personnel should not be undermined by the small number of individuals who engage in acts of sexual exploitation and abuse.”

“We need your help in ensuring that your forces are fully aware of all relevant codes, rules and regulations of the United Nations,” she added.



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