Twin challenges to peacekeeping must be addressed says senior UN official

Assistant Secretary-General Jane Holl Lute, acting head of the new Department of Field Support (DFS), told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York that “there is a premium placed on planning” and that the need for flexibility must be balanced with politically dynamic and unstable circumstances.Given the complexity of missions, it is essential to prepare in great detail, yet “we don’t want our plans to set us on a course of action which might restrict in any way the political flexibility of decision-making that needs to be taken,” she observed.Another issue facing peacekeeping is the need to consider both the need to move rapidly in the field and to ensure that there is proper deliberation, Ms. Holl Lute noted.“Rapid start-up while continuing to subject ourselves to the appropriate level of controls” is crucial, she said.The Assistant Secretary-General – who recently visited existing or nascent UN missions in Sudan, Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the key troop-contributing country India – pointed out that in recent years peacekeeping has grown tremendously in size, complexity and budget.The mission in Chad and Central African Republic, known as MINURCAT, is the 15th mission in the last four years, while five new missions have been created in the last 18 months alone.In a related development, the UN-African Union (AU) Joint Special Representative for Darfur, Rodolphe Adada, met yesterday with the Minister of Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, Bert Koenders.Mr. Adada, who was joined by General Martin Luther Agwai, Force Commander of the hybrid UN-AU Darfur peacekeeping mission (UNAMID), expressed his gratitude to the Government of the Netherlands for its political, financial and material support.Tomorrow, Jan Eliasson, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Darfur, will brief the Security Council on the peace process in the war-torn Sudanese region, where at least 200,000 people have been killed since 2003. 7 February 2008A senior United Nations official today emphasized the importance of tackling the “twin challenges” peacekeeping faces regarding planning and speed.