UN peacekeeping missions prepare for possible shutdown

NEW YORK – United Nations peacekeeping missions globally are preparing for a possible shutdown on Thursday (July 1) if the 193-member UN General Assembly is unable to agree a new US$6 billion (S$8 billion) budget for the year to June 30 next year, officials and said on Monday.

Some blamed changes to negotiating procedures, issues with logistics and tough talks pitting China against Western countries for the delay in reaching an agreement.

The UN head of management strategy, policy and compliance Catherine Pollard said the world body’s 12 peacekeeping missions – most of which are in Africa and the Middle East – had been advised to start putting contingency plans in place in case a new budget is not adopted in time.

“At the same time, we remain hopeful and confident that member states will conclude their negotiations,” Ms Pollard told reporters.

She said that if the Wednesday (June 30) is missed then Secretary-General Antonio Guterres can only spend money to safeguard UN assets and ensure the protection of the staff and the peacekeepers.

UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix said missions would be severely limited and unable to carry out such measures as protecting civilians, helping tackle Covid-19 and supporting political efforts and mediation.

The United States is largest assessed contributor to the peacekeeping budget, responsible for about 28 per cent, followed by China with 15.2 per cent and Japan with 8.5 per cent.

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