India told a high-level event on peacekeeping that working in partnerships is key to successful peacekeeping, underlining that professional competence of those engaged in all aspects of this global enterprise cannot be substituted or compromised.
India along with Portugal, Senegal, Uruguay and Vietnam co-hosted the high-level event Improving peacekeeping performance: A year since UNSCR 2436' initiated by the US here Friday.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres thanked the US and the event's co-hosts, India, Portugal, Senegal, Uruguay and Vietnam, for convening the event and for their support to United Nations peacekeeping operations.
India believes that even while broad participation in peacekeeping is important to enhance global solidarity, there can be no substitute for professional competence of those engaged in all aspects of this global enterprise, India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said in his address at the event. Working in partnerships is key to successful peacekeeping.
He stressed that guidelines require that the Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (PCRS) should be the sole mechanism for the selection of a military or police unit for deployment.
A diversity in terms of deployment needs is understandable, and some variations are inevitable. However, choices and selections need to be made from within the same spectrum of options, he said, adding that those not part of the PCRS are best avoided.
Akbaruddin also highlighted that in selection, units without caveats should have precedence over units pledged with caveats, as these will not tie down the hands of Force Commander in operational decisions.
In short, we need to have a selection policy' that is a natural extension of the PCRS to ensure that the most ready, capable, well-equipped and willing contingents are selected for deployment, he said.
He also stressed on the need for instances of under-performance to be assessed, saying such assessment needs to examine whether there were units available at higher levels in PCRS that were overlooked during selection; whether caveats have impacted performance; whether poor performance is due to lack of resources, including equipment; or whether the mandate, including guidelines, were not clear, resulting in unsatisfactory implementation.
Honest assessment and feedback is essential to have an effective accountability system. Assessing performance without determining accountability will leave us open to repeating errors, he said.
In partnership with the US, India also co-hosts the UN Peacekeeping Course for African Partners (UNPCAP), with special focus on capacity building in peacekeeping. India and the US have also deployed a joint Mobile Training Team (MTT) to Zambia for conducting training in peacekeeping.
Addressing the event, Guterres said performance is a collective responsibility of all those involved in peacekeeping. This responsibility starts with the Security Council, and the adequate defining of mandates.
Performance is also the responsibility of Member States as troop and police contributors, host governments, members of the General Assembly, as financial contributors and providers of capacity-building support.
The UN chief also called on Member States to address the serious cash crisis that is affecting the United Nations, including in peacekeeping. United Nations Peace operations are more cost-effective than ever, but we cannot implement mandates without consistent, predictable and adequate financing. We need budgets to follow mandates, not mandates to follow budgets, he said adding that UN peace operations around the world depend on successful partnerships, particularly with Member States.
US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft said there is a serious lack of progress in accountability for poor performance, which begins with setting expectations. Civilian and uniformed personnel need to know the standards they will be held to, and the consequences for not meeting those standards. Accountability measures should not be administered ad hoc, but rather based on clearly defined policies visible to everyone.
She called on the UN Secretariat to develop an accountability mechanism identifying which such measures should be triggered. This mechanism, which should include troop, police, and civilian components, is necessary for both setting and enforcement of clear standards for UN personnel.