Secretary-General highlights three major challenges facing peacekeeping

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre) visits a military peacekeeping training centre in Huairou District of Beijing. [UN Photo/ Evan Schneider]

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has highlighted three major challenges facing UN peacekeeping.

In remarks at China's Peacekeeping Training Centre in Beijing on Wednesday, the Secretary-General said the first challenge we face is to support complex political processes and protect civilians in high-risk environments characterized by asymmetric threats. He said while these asymmetric threats are not new to the UN, they are more intense.

He explained that while our UN mission does not have a counter-terrorism mandate, the use of suicide bombs, improvised explosive devices and other tactics of irregular warfare threaten the security.

The second major challenge, the Secretary-General highlighted, concerns ensuring that peacekeepers are trained and equipped to address new threats and operate in increasingly difficult environments.

"We need specialized skills and enablers, such as engineering units and field hospitals. I am deeply grateful for China's support in these important areas – particularly China's most recent pledge to our operation in Mali. We must also improve our peacekeepers' capacity to react rapidly. They should be able to gather and analyze accurate information." (28")

For the first time, he said, "we are deploying an unarmed, unmanned aerial system in the Democratic Republic of the Congo so peacekeepers will have real-time, first-hand information on conditions in remote areas where combatants may threaten civilians.”

And, the third challenge to peacekeeping is to maintain the commitment and unity of its constituencies. He said "Successful peacekeeping demands sustained political and material support from the Security Council… from countries that contribute troops and police personnel… and from those who contribute funds to our operations."

China provides more peacekeepers to the United Nations than all of the four other permanent members combined. The Secretary-General said he was deeply grateful for China's support in these important areas, particularly Beijing's most recent pledge to our operation in Mali.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’47″

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