At least 12,000 troops and police officers should be ready for rapid peacekeeping missions around the world by the end of 2016, a key international meeting on global peacekeeping missions resolved yesterday.
The London Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference also endorsed the 2015 Kigali Principles that seeks to enhance the world’s capabilities with respect to protection of civilians.
The meeting was attended by defence ministers from around the world, including James Kabarebe of Rwanda.
The Kigali Principles was drawn during last year’s meeting in the Rwandan capital which attracted delegates from 30 major peacekeepers contributing countries.
The document provides guidelines to improve the protection of civilians in peacekeeping missions.
The two-day London forum also resolved to harness the planning of peacekeeping missions and ensuring effectiveness of such missions, according to a statement.
It reaffirmed that peacekeepers must be able to successfully implement their mandates, including protecting civilians, themselves and their assets.
There is a need for peacekeepers that are capable and willing to take part in rapid response to emerging crises by the end of 2016, with 4,000 of those pledged at the Rapid Deployment Level, the statement added.
The meeting also noted that the number of women in military and police contingents of UN peacekeeping operations should have been doubled by 2020.
Participants called on the UN Secretary General to work towards increasing the number of women in regular police contingents in peace missions, specialised teams, leadership positions, and professional posts – with a target of 20 per cent representation.
Participants also noted that the performance of military and police personnel in peacekeeping missions is a collective responsibility of member states and the Secretariat.
Step in the right direction
“We reaffirm the importance of peacekeepers delivering fully on their mandated responsibilities to protect civilians; in this context we note the initiative by Member States to develop, as relevant, the best practices set out in the Kigali Principles,” the communiqué added.
Talking to Saturday Times, yesterday, Rwanda’s acting defence and military spokesperson, Lt. Col. René Ngendahimana, said the endorsement of Kigali Principles at the London meeting was a great step in the right direction.
“We think that this is a milestone in the effort to harness the efficiency of peacekeeping missions,” he said.
The meeting also observed that instances of misconduct or the failure to carry out mandated tasks effectively, especially when cases of misconduct on the part of peacekeepers are not addressed transparently and robustly, undermine confidence in the will and capability of the UN to restore sanity in conflict-torn areas.
“All UN personnel deployed in UN peacekeeping operations must be committed to the highest standards of conduct. We underscore our commitment and support to the Secretary-General’s zero tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse,” the statement added.
Ahead of the ministerial conference, , the UK Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Baroness Anelay, said the meeting was expected to come up with tangible proposals on how to make peacekeeping missions more efficient and spoke of her country’s approval of the Kigali Principles.
“Improving peacekeepers’ ability to protect civilians is a vital part of that and the Kigali Principles are designed to help them with this. I am pleased to announce UK support for the Principles as a further demonstration of UK’s wider commitment to the protection of civilians,” she said.