Pakistan increases female participation in UN Peacekeeping, meets UN target

New York, 12 February, 2019

Pakistan said at the UN that it had enhanced the participation of women in UN Peacekeeping Operations.

Speaking in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, said that Pakistan is proud to have achieved the goal of deployment of 15 percent female staff officers in UN Missions.

She was referring to the fact that in less than 18 months Pakistan has gone from zero participation of female military staff officers in Peacekeeping to the UN prescribed benchmark of 15 percent.

Based on the Security Council’s call in 2015 to double the women in uniform component, the UN’s Office of Military Affairs set the target of deploying 15% female military and staff officers in Peacekeeping Missions by December 2018.

The Pakistani envoy further informed the UN Committee that Pakistan was deploying an engagement team consisting of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo in May 2019.

Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said that as a leading troop contributor as well as a host state, Pakistan would continue to support efforts to strengthen peacekeeping. “Our faith in this indispensable tool for the maintenance of international peace and security is firm and abiding”, she added.

Ambassador Lodhi referred to United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) and said that Pakistan had always supported the Mission in the implementation of its mandate.

She said that UNMOGIP had an important role to play in maintenance of peace and security in a volatile neighborhood and called for its strengthening and expansion to make it more effective.

The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, also known as C-34, is an annual forum where key stakeholders deliberate on issues of peacekeeping, and evolve policies to address emerging challenges.

“This Committee”, Ambassador Lodhi said, “must play its role in norm building and policy formation, and enable peacekeepers to meet the high expectations that we all have of them”.

The Pakistani envoy stressed that the safety and security of peacekeepers remained urgent as threats faced by them have increased due to complex and evolving conflicts.

“Deployment decisions”, she said, “have to be based on consultations, preparation and knowledge of the ground situation”.

Ambassador Lodhi said that troop contributing countries possessed practical on-ground and in mission experience which made their suggestions critical during mandate formulation, renewal and review stages.

Calling for increased representation of major troop contributing countries at leadership levels in the field and at headquarters, Ambassador Lodhi said that such a step would bring more field-based perspective in decisions related to peacekeeping operations.

Ambassador Lodhi also touched upon the issue of financing peacekeeping operations and criticized calls for cutting costs. Peacekeeping, she maintained, is already a cost-effective undertaking which draws strength from the collective political will of the international community. “We must therefore pool our best human resources, and ensure adequate financial and material resources for the success of this enterprise”, she added.

“Achieving more with less”, Ambassador Lodhi remarked, “is not sustainable”. “It is time we start enabling our peacekeepers to live up to the ideals that we claim to be committed to”, she added.

Stressing the need to preserve the fundamentals of peacekeeping, Ambassador Lodhi said that the legitimacy and credibility enjoyed by UN peacekeeping operations was based on the commitment to uphold these principles.

Blurring the lines, she underscored, was fraught with risk as it would impact the UN’s neutrality and credibility.