Global Policy Forum

81 States Ready To Join UN Peacekeeping System


By Jerome Hule

Panafrican News Agency
April 2, 1999

New York, UN - Some 81 countries, 22 of them African countries, have indicated willingness to participate in the United Nations standby arragements for peacekeeping which has been introduced to enhance rapid deployment of peacekeeping missions.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said in a report on the arrangement issued Thursday that this number indicated an increase of 14 nations on the 67 that had indicated their willingness as at the end of 1997. The number of willing countries could provide a total of 104,000 personnel for peacekeeping. Out of the number of willing countries, Annan said, 21 have so have signed with the UN a formal memorandum of understanding expressing their commitment.

Ghana was among the first African countries to sign the memorandum, while Nigeria signed in February 1998 committing a battallion of troops and police personnel. Annan reported that of the 22 African countries that have joined the standby system, 10 of them did so in the last one year. With most of the personnel pledged being in the area of infantry, the secretary general said, the arrangement would need more personnel in the areas of strategic airlift/sealift, communications, multi-role logistics, transport, health services, engineering, mine clearing and transport utility aircraft. He also said the arrangement was in need of more civilian police personnel. In terms of the response time needed for national mobilisation before mission deployment, Annan said, 43 percent of the confirmed standby resources have a response time of 30 days or less while 16 percent have a 30-60 day response time. Another 5 percent have between 60 and 90 days response time while the remaining 36 percent have a response time of more than 90 days.

''Because response time is a key element in the achievement of rapid deployment, special efforts have been made to urge member states to reconsider the response time for their pledged responses,'' he said, pointing out that the goal is to have a response time in the range of 0-60 days. The standby arrangement was introduced by the general assembly in 1995 to shorten the time needed for deployment of peacekeeping missions. Since it was introduced, it has been used in the missions for Haiti, Angola, Eastern Slavonia, Guatemala, the Central African Republic, Western Sahara, Macedonia and Sierra Leone. ''The data (on the standby arrangement) has been used intensively by departmental planning officers and has contributed to better planning and reduced the deployment times,'' Annan noted.

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