UN tarnished by sexual exploitation – Report

UNMs Karin Landgren, former United Nations Under-Secretary General said the reports of extensive sexual exploitation and abuse by some UN Peacekeeping officers have tarnished the image of world body.

Ms Landgren who is also a Special Representative of the UN Secretary General said trust is an important ingredient, which could make peacekeeping more effective and efficient.

She said disciplined performance and strong accountability would enhance trust; declaring that; “centres such as the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) can contribute greatly to that culture”.

Ms Landgren made this known in Accra, during the fourth Kofi Annan/Dag Hammarskjold Annual Public Lecture.

The aim of the event was to recognise achievements and challenges of sustaining peace – at national, regional and international level.

It also serves as a platform to influence policy makers on issues of peace and security as well as honour the legacy of the two great Secretary Generals.

Ms Landgren said both men wanted the UN to be a dynamic instrument for change, and initiated a number of reforms, as well as presiding over significant changes in UN peacekeeping.

She said Dag Hammarskjöld and Kofi Annan share many distinctions, during their periods as UN Secretaries-General.

Speaking on the topic: “The future of Peace and Security in Africa: Implementation and Impact of recent reviews of the UN Peace Operations,” Ms Landgren recounted that when Ebola spread, …Ghana not only maintained its soldiers in UNMIL, but also kept its borders open and allowed the UN to resume our flights from Monrovia to Accra.

“This was a lifeline.  These acts of tremendous support and solidarity reinforced the world’s appreciation of Ghana’s valour in international peace and security,” she said.

On the selection of a New UN Secretary-General, Ms Landgren said the new UN Boss must command tremendous political savvy, vision and integrity, and a powerful communicator.

“Clearly, we as UN member states, as partners, as civil society, and even as UN personnel can be heard on matters of vital importance to how the UN functions in the coming decades.

“Now, with a change in UN leadership imminent, we must maintain the momentum of last year’s peace and security reviews.  Gatherings such as this will help to do so,” she said.

On conflict, Ms Landgren noted the UN has not sufficiently invested in addressing root causes of conflict, nor does it engage early enough in emerging crises.

She therefore called for a joined-up, collective UN agenda to prevent conflict before it begins, to keep the focus on political solutions even at the height of crisis.

“All partner support should be geared towards helping nurture societies that are past the point of deteriorating readily into conflict.

“As the Secretary-General has said, Prevention is not something to be turned on and off…rather, it should be an integral part of UN action in all contexts,” she said.

She said the UN should follow a fragility assessment with a conflict-sensitive programme of practical and political engagement, and this joined-up ideal is my third point.

The UN family as a whole, operating on the ground in fragile situations, needs fresh energy in uniting around support to stronger national institutions, and to greater social cohesion.

“This will require persuasion, engagement and understanding – and, critically, the support of donor and partner governments – who may themselves operate in silos,” she said.

Major General Obed Boamah Akwa, the Commandant of the KAIPTC, said the collaboration between the Kofi Annan Foundation and Dag Hammarskjold Foundation to jointly organise the annual lecture and seminar had yielded very fruitful engagements among key actors in just four years since its initiation.

He said the topic for the lecture had become necessary given the dynamic security trends that continue to emerge within and outside of the continent, and their impact on current doctrines at the UN and the African Union.

Mr Henrik Hammargren, the Executive Director, The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, said “We are indeed proud of our partnership with the Centre – the work of our two institutions reflects our shared values and principles”.

“Like the two Secretaries General – our institutions share a mutual aim of strengthening multilateral approaches and capacitates to peacebuilding and the United Nations as a whole,” he added.

Source: GNA

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