UNITED NATIONS   -   Pakistan has told the UN Security Council (SC) that it remains committed to backing initiatives aimed at improving peacekeeping that make it fit for purpose and adapt better to changing environments and needs.

“Successful peacekeeping is our success; the credibility of the UN depends on it, and so does international peace and security,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told the 15-member Council.

Speaking in a debate on Peace and Security in Africa, she recalled that Pakistan was the first to accede to the Declaration of Shared Commitments, which reaffirmed the need to provide predictable, sustainable and flexible funding for African-led peace operations, especially those authorized by the Security Council.

“The situation in Africa needs a comprehensive approach to effectively address many challenges it faces; one that relies on strengthening cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations,” the Pakistani envoy said.

Pointing out that Chapter VIII of the UN Charter emphasises the importance of cooperative, inter-dependent and mutually-reinforcing relationship between the UN and regional organisation, Ambassador Lodhi said countries of a region were better equipped to understand their challenges and to respond to them.

“We acknowledge and appreciate AU’s commitment in stabilising conflict situations and resolving disputes in Africa,” the Pakistani envoy said.

“The growing dialogue between the Security Council and the African Union (AU) for a better and effective response to peace and security issues in Africa is also a welcome development.”

As one of the top troop contributors to the UN, Ambassador Lodhi said Pakistan’s brave peacekeepers continue to be deployed in African states, contributing to many of the continent’s success stories from Liberia to Ivory Coast to Sierra Leone.

Pakistani well-trained troops have protected civilians, provided medical care and rebuilt communities, she said adding, “Successful peacekeeping is a two-way street,” which depended not only on the professionalism of peacekeepers, but also on adequate resources and realistic mandates.

Opening the debate, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Our partnership with the African Union and African Member States is vital to our collective efforts for peace, and we must continue working to strengthen it.”

The secretary-general noted the close collaboration between the United Nations and the Union across the continent, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Mali, Central African Republic and Darfur, to supporting political processes, national dialogue and regional mediation efforts, easing tensions and paving the way for peace agreements and elections. Such cooperation becomes increasingly important as peacekeeping encompasses complex operations with multidimensional mandates in extremely dangerous environments, he said.

He went on to emphasise the need to build the capacity to enable Africa to play its full role in that context, and to improve funding methods. “It is essential that African-led peace operations acting under the Security Council’s authority are provided with strong mandates and predictable, sustainable and flexible finance, including through UN assessed contributions where appropriate,” he stated.

Smail Chergui, the African Union’s Commissioner for Peace and Security, speaking via video-teleconference from Addis Ababa, said the African Union had spared no effort in expediting priorities that help to strengthen its partnership with United Nations peacekeeping, including the launch of the revitalised Peace Fund on 17 November 2018, noting that African Union member states have contributed $ 60 million.

Significant progress has also been made in enhancing the human rights compliance framework for African Union peace support operations, as well as in joint analysis, planning and cooperation with the United Nations, he added.