UN peace operations to strengthen protection for blue helmets

United Nations State members' flags United Nations State members' flags © Photo by mseidelch on iStock

 

In Focus by Sergio Gomez; Editor Xavier Atkins

The Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, has updated his official report on casualties of the UN’s blue helmet personnel. The number of deaths has increased in the past year and since January 1 2021, a total of 15 blue helmet’s have been killed by armed groups or IED explosives.

As a result of the ongoing violence, Lacroix has vowed to improve and innovate security measures for safeguarding the lives of these peacekeepers. He stated that the new peacekeeping budget would focus on specific issues that, if improved, would not only guarantee personnel safety, but also increase the success of peacekeeping operations in unstable regions. 

Some of these points include fortifying peacekeeping-intelligence, magnifying force protection, improving crisis management training for the mission leadership, and hosting new casualty evacuation stress tests. These changes hope to ensure that UN peacekeepers are constantly revising the efficacy of their guidance, processes and tools; as well as their safety policy and procedures. 

This will lead to a more improved use of technologies, which according to Lacroix, will better prepare peacekeepers to deal with adverse situations moving forward. Despite the new budget spending, Lacroix stated that these efforts had to be complemented with coordinated action support by the U.N member states as well the Security Council. By doing so, the new safety protocol would become more robust and consistent with an ever changing environment. 

Lacroix ended his report by emphasizing the U.N had to avoid any new budget cuts to Headquarters and ongoing missions in Central African Republic (MINUSCA), Mali (MINUSMA), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO). He stated that despite the rise in violence, these are key missions that have shown signs of improvement. With the new security strategy for peacekeepers, alongside  continuous support for the missions, Lacroix believes that long-term stability in these regions will increase in the coming years.

 

To learn more, please read: 

https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/05/1092632 

https://www.economist.com/international/2021/03/21/un-peacekeeping-is-hamstrung-by-national-rules-for-its-troops 

 

Author: Sergio Gomez; Editor Xavier Atkins

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