UNITED NATIONS, November 1 2014: A retired Indian Army Lieutenant General is part of a 14-member high-level panel appointed by UN chief Ban Ki-moon to assess the current and future needs of the world body’s peacekeeping architecture.
Lieutenant General Abhijit Guha is currently a member of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations/ Department of Field Support Panel of Experts on Technology.
Prior to this, Guha served as the first interim director of the Office for Peacekeeping Strategic Partnerships and before that as the deputy military adviser on the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
UN secretary general Ban said the new blue ribbon high-level independent panel on peace operations would “draw together individuals with a wide range of experience and expertise,” and be chaired by Nobel laureate and journalist Jose Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste.
“The world is changing and United Nations peace operations must change with it if they are to remain an indispensable and effective tool in promoting international peace and security,” Ban said.
The panel would make a comprehensive assessment of the current state of UN peace operations and the emerging needs of the future.
In addition, this will be the first such panel to examine both peacekeeping operations and special political missions, the secretary general said.
The participants will consider a broad range of issues facing peace operations, including the changing nature of conflict, evolving mandates, good offices and peace-building challenges, managerial and administrative arrangements, planning, partnerships, human rights and protection of civilians, uniformed capabilities for peacekeeping operations and performance.
Among the members of the panel are Ameerah Haq of Bangladesh who is currently UN under secretary-general for field support, Jean Arnault of France who has previously served as UN special adviser to the group of Friends of Democratic Pakistan, B Lynn Pascoe of the US who was appointed by Ban to serve as Under secretary general for political affairs and Wang Xuexian of China who serves on the executive board of the United Nations Association of China.
The last major external review of peace operations was undertaken in 2000 and led by former UN and Arab league special envoy to Syria Lahkdar Brahimi, Ban said referring to the landmark outcome of an assessment carried out by a similar panel set up to examine the shortcomings of the then existing system and to make specific and realistic recommendations for change.
The result of that exercise, what has become informally known as the Brahimi report, called for renewed political commitment on the part of UN member states, significant institutional change and increased financial support.
Ban said that as the 15-year anniversary of the Brahimi report approaches, “we must acknowledge that peace operations today are increasingly called on to confront politically complex and challenging conflicts, often in volatile security environments where operations are directly targeted.”
“We must take stock of evolving expectations and consider how the organization can most effectively advance peace, assist countries caught in conflict and ensure that our peacekeeping operations and special political missions remain strong and effective in a changing global context,” Ban said.
The panel will work closely with the main UN departments concerned, as well as with member states and the UN system as a whole.
The panel’s recommendations will be available for consideration by the general assembly at its 2015 general debate, the UN chief said.
Source: Times of India