KATHMANDU, June 29: As dozens of countries have been lining up to pledge troops, equipment and technology for its peacekeeping missions, the United Nation has widened the guidelines for selecting the most professional and competent troops to serve in global hot spots.
As per its upgraded policy--Operational Readiness Assurance and Performance Improvement of Peacekeeping Missions, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support at UN Headquarters have intensified inspections in different troop contributing countries prior to mission deployment.
According to Nepal Army (NA) Spokesperson Brigadier General Tara Bahadur Karki, the team is scheduled to visit the Birendra Peace Operations Training Center, Panchkhal, to evaluate NA’s standby unit comprising a battalion and company (approximately 1,000 personnel), from June 30 to July 2.
“The UN’s assessment and advisory team will first visit the training center, observe troop demonstrations, screen their performance, and inspect weaponry, equipment and vehicles among other things before deployment,” he said.
On the basis of the assessment of NA’s preparations to check if these are as per the pledge made by the national army and UN’s revised guidelines, the team will report to UN Headquarters.
The UN guidelines on cross-cutting issues are related to protection of civilians, gender, human rights, child protection, sexual exploitation and abuse, among other things.
Such inspections and advisory visits help NA take up tangible actions required to shape, prepare, deliver and gain from lessons learned when deploying troops in countries having different natures of war or crisis, Brigadier Karki said.
Such policies will also support in the generation of intact troops, implementation of the mandates given, and improvement in operational readiness for future reference, he said.
It is also an opportunity to bring clarity among the decision makers, planners and trainers about the expectations of UN Headquarters on the subject of operational readiness, he added.
Under this changed modality of inspection, at least 30 percent of pledged logistics and equipment should be available at the training site. “If the available logistics are not as per the pledges made beforehand, the mission might have to sustain a greater loss,” said an officer from Birendra Peacekeeping Training Center.
The official also informed that this was the first ever such inspection from UN Headquarters and comes at a time of huge competition among small and big nations to participate in UN missions.
Smaller nations such as Armenia and Fiji as well as big ones like Brazil, Turkey, Germany and Australia have reportedly made fresh troop pledges, resulting in pressure on countries like Nepal despite their ‘delightful’ performance.
As of June 27, 2016, NA has been deployed in 15 different missions across the globe. More than 4,366 NA personnel are currently serving in UN missions.
Nepal has pledged to provide up to 10,000 peacekeepers in the years to come. More than 125,000 peacekeepers from 124 countries currently serve in UN peace missions.