PM PRODS UN TO PUT BANGLADESH IN PEACEKEEPING LEADERSHIP
Sumon Mahbub, Senior Correspondent, on the prime minister’s entourage
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced Bangladesh is ready to take senior leadership role in peacekeeping both at the UN Headquarters and on the ground.
She suggested more advanced responsibilities for Bangladeshis in her address to the High-Level Summit on UN Peacekeeping at New York on Friday.
It was a renewal of the call she made this past July in Dhaka when she had advocated the inclusion of Bangladesh in the decision-making process of the UN Peacekeeping Mission.
Back then, she had argued that senior Bangladeshi officers would make it easier for those making decisions to understand requirements of the field missions and help increase the coordination.
A co-host of the event, Hasina said her nation had “become a brand name in peace support operations” for dedication and professionalism of Bangladeshis, “for our high respect for religious, cultural and social values of the people we serve.”
The Bangladesh leader told her audience that peacekeeping was becoming “more complex, demanding and dangerous”.
And yet, keeping peace in the world had “evolved as a central pillar” of her nation’s foreign policy.
“With our longstanding experience in delivering Mission mandates, Bangladesh has constantly updated its deployment capabilities with evolving nature of peace support operations,” Hasina said.
“Our capacity to quickly respond and adapt fast enough to high-risk, complex missions, has placed us in the league of most dependable contributors.”
She informed top peacekeeping officials gathered from around the world that last December, Bangladesh got ready to deploy an infantry unit to South Sudan within 48 hours of the UN Secretary-General’s emergency call to her.
“We deployed medical and engineer units within 2 to 3 weeks. Our Air Force helicopters and Police units were deployed from Congo to South Sudan at a very short notice.
“In Sierra Leone and DR Congo, when no other country was willing to, our peacekeepers negotiated, entered into rebel held territory and maintained peace.”
“And in all these,” Prime Minister Hasina continued, “we remained fully self-sustained including in accommodation, taking the pressure off from UN logistics system.”
She promised to maintain similar rapid deployment and self-sustaining capabilities in the future.
Hasina asserted that calls for improving rapid deployment and force generation for start-up missions, support to enabling capabilities “must be met through joint and individual contributions and new partnerships”.
In her address, she offered “to contribute well-trained and self-sustained infantry units and formed police units, including all-female police units at shortest possible time”.
“We pledge to offer critical enablers including air power, helicopters and aircrafts at shortest notice. We pledge engineers, signals, medical teams, riverine and sea-based units on shortest notice.”
The prime minister said her country was looking forward to entering into logistics and services supply partnerships for field support to peace missions.
She told the meeting that they planned to develop the Institute for Peace Support Operations and Training, BIPSOT, “into a global centre of excellence for training peacekeepers, specially women peacekeepers from all countries”.
Hasina also pledged to invest in further enhancing language skills of the peacekeepers.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2014