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UN peacebuilding efforts held back by lack of funding: India

Funds available for UN peacebuilding efforts are not even 1% of the annual budget for UN peacekeeping, says A Gitesh Sarma, Additional Secretary, MEA, during a high-level meeting on peacebuilding and sustaining peace at UN

IANS | United Nations |

The UN’s peacebuilding efforts are struggling due to a lack of political will to back them up with sufficient funds, India has told a high-level meeting here.

“The funds available for UN peacebuilding efforts are not even one per cent of the annual budget for UN peacekeeping,” A. Gitesh Sarma, Additional Secretary in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, told the high-level meeting on peacebuilding and sustaining peace here on Tuesday.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak also bemoaned the lack of funding for the peacebuilding efforts.

Lajcak pointed out that the Peacebuilding Fund was struggling to meet its $500 million target because the international community was not investing enough in efforts to prevent conflicts.

Guterres spoke of the high cost — $233 billion — for dealing with conflicts and their aftermath through humanitarian interventions, peacekeeping and hosting refugees.

He suggested that it made more sense to invest in preventing conflicts through peacebuilding because it saved lives and averted conflicts spiralling dangerously requiring greater outlays to deal with the consequences.

He, therefore, appealed to UN members to come up with $500 million every year for the UN Peacebuilding Fund.

Backing Guterres’s appeal, Sarma welcomed the financing options he presented in his report in January and said these need to be considered seriously to deal with inadequate funding.

India has so far given $5 million to the Peacebuilding Fund — the latest contribution was $500,000 made in July 2017.

While the UN has been largely successful in containing conflicts between nations, it is struggling with dealing with chronic armed conflicts within countries despite large-scale deploying troops as peacekeepers and other resources, Sarma said.

“The concept of Peacebuilding, that expanded the focus to post-conflict situations and led to the establishment of UN’s Peacebuilding architecture around a decade ago, is struggling due to lack of adequate funding that betrays a lack of genuine political will,” he said.

Two Presidents, a King, a Prime Minister and more than 25 Ministers are attending the two-day high-level meeting, which is a signature event of Lajcak’s presidency.

While peacekeeping operations now overwhelmingly deal with civil conflicts, peacebuilding activities work to prevent such internal conflicts from flaring up or recurring.

Sarma said that India was helping other developing countries with sustainable development programmes through the India-UN Development Partnership Fund for which it has pledged over $150 million.

The International Solar Alliance with the participation of 60 countries is another New Delhi effort to assist developing nations promote development and simultaneously fight climate change.