Maleeha tells UN that peacekeeping has to be underpinned by efforts to find political solutions

New York, 18 February 2016

Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said at the United Nations that Peacekeeping has to be underpinned by efforts to find political solutions as that ensures it's eventual success. She urged increasing the UN's conflict prevention role to aid peacekeeping.

Participating in a debate in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative said that change was necessary in UN peacekeeping operations because of the prevailing conflicts and urgent security challenges and their complicated political and humanitarian dimensions.

But she said this did not mean transforming peacekeepers into a party to political conflict as this was not the their role.

“The lines that maintain the crucial distinction between a blue helmet and a combatant are critical, and must be assiduously guarded”, she said.

UN peacekeeping, she said, was fundamentally different from peace enforcement and that this distinction must be maintained. “Venturing into gray zones would confuse the mission, erode the neutrality of peacekeeping and undermine its reputation and success, besides imperiling the safety and security of peacekeepers”, she warned.

Ambassador Lodhi said that as a leading troop contributor, Pakistan has a significant stake in the success of peacekeeping. Pakistan, she said, has also played and will continue to play an active role in its norm-setting.

Highlighting the importance of norm setting which would be underway in the weeks to come, the Pakistani envoy said that this will have an impact not only on peacekeepers on the ground, but also on the UN’s ability to play its role effectively.

She told the Special Committee that as a firm reiteration of Pakistan's abiding commitment, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif co-hosted the Leaders Summit on Peacekeeping last September, and announced additional pledges to support future endeavours.

“Our peacekeepers have maintained the highest standards of performance wherever they have been deployed”, she proudly said.

Speaking about the protection of civilians, she said that this goal would be best served by preventing the outbreak of armed conflicts in the first place, addressing the root causes of conflicts, and finding inclusive political solutions to disputes.

Thus she argued that strengthening conflict prevention was the strategy that would lead us to sustainable and enduring peace and security.

Pakistan, as one of world’s top troop contributing countries, Ambassador Lodhi said, has proudly and conscientiously undertaken the task of proactively protecting civilians by a robust deterrence posture and without resort to the use of force.

Pakistan's envoy also emphasised the need to formally consult TCCs and PCCs on decisions about mandate formation and change. She said, “They are the principal stakeholders and their continued absence from the table is inexplicable and unacceptable. Their input can only empower us to fully achieve the agreed mandates”.

She concluded by assuring the UN of Pakistan’s unflinching commitment to peacekeeping. She said, “Despite security challenges at home, we continue to provide peacekeepers, as we consider this our international responsibility and duty”.