No agreement on UN peacekeeping budget, risk of mission freezing: diplomats
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United Nations (United States) (AFP)
The 193 member states of the United Nations have so far failed to agree on a peacekeeping budget for the year beginning July 1, which could lead to “a freeze of all missions “if a deal does not materialize quickly, diplomats said Monday.
The roadblock comes from China and African countries making multiple last-minute requests, the sources said.
The budget for the UN’s global peacekeeping operations – around 20 missions around the world, with nearly 100,000 peacekeepers mobilized – amounts to around $ 6.5 billion and covers a 12-month period starting every year on July 1, ie Thursday.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix told a video press conference that already last year budget negotiations between member states were complicated.
But those talks ended with a deal on June 23, 2020 – a week before the deadline.
This year, “the risk is that for a while until a decision on budgets is taken by the General Assembly, our missions find themselves under strict constraints, to spend only on protective measures. our staff, ”said Lacroix.
“This is a worrying possibility, especially in an environment in which most of our missions operate under very difficult, problematic and dangerous circumstances,” he added.
Asked by AFP about the lack of agreement at the UN General Assembly, UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said peacekeeping missions had been informed of the situation and were invited to develop contingency plans should missions be interrupted.
“We are awaiting the decision of the member states and hope that they will take a decision quickly,” he said, stressing that without an agreement the missions could no longer incur expenses from Thursday.
“In the absence of a decision by the General Assembly, the Secretary-General can only make financial commitments to ensure the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel and personnel”, and to protect the assets of the UN, explained Dujarric.
“The reduction in operations would limit the ability of missions to implement their mandate, including, for example, supporting host countries in the response to Covid, protecting civilians, among others,” he said.
The annual peacekeeping budget is separate from the main UN operations budget of over $ 3 billion. This budgetary mandate runs from January to December and also often ends up being the subject of complex negotiations.
© 2021 AFP