UN chief concerned about under-equipped and unprepared troops

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he is concerned that there are unrealistic demands on UN peacekeeping missions and its costing lives and credibility.

Guterres was addressing the UN Security Council earlier this week, on ways the organization can improve its peacekeeping operations.

The UN chief spoke on the point that peacekeepers are often under-equipped, under-prepared and unready for the dangerous environments in which they operate.

“I urge Security Council members to sharpen and streamline mandates. Please put an end to mandates that look like Christmas trees. Christmas is over, and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan cannot possibly implement 209 mandates that will not dilute their peacekeepers efforts and weaken our impact,” he said.

Peacekeeper deaths continue to be reported in various missions around the world.

In 2017, a total of 59 peacekeepers died – a sharp increase from 2016, when the figure stood at just 34.

Council members have now been tasked with placing realistic expectations on peacekeeper missions, making operations stronger and safer, and having structured, equipped and well trained forces.

“We must establish clear and focused mandates, and put pressure on parties to conflicts to find a political solution. It applies to the host countries, which must cooperate fully with missions. It applies to the Secretariat, which must support missions efficiently and effectively. And last but not least, it applies to all member states, because we are the UN. And we must make sure that sufficient funding, political support and well-trained, disciplined, and well-equipped troops are always available,” Guterres added.