New technologies are changing the nature and nature of conflict, with an “indelible impact” on civilians, Secretary-General António Guterres In the open debate at the ministerial level on technology and peacekeeping – highlighting India’s role as Chair of the Council this month.
The Art of Possible
Throughout its 75-year history, the United Nations has adapted and innovated, and the idea of peacekeeping is itself the result of “the art of the possible,” he said while reminding, however, that peacekeeping has been envisioned in an analogue world.
“It is now imperative that it fully embrace the digital world in which we live, to improve the speed, anticipation and response of the United Nations to conflict and to be able to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow,” Mr. Guterres emphasized.
“Change in the culture of peacekeeping – as well as systemic change – are required for this to happen.”
Outlining the goals of the digital transformation strategy, the top UN official said it aims to drive technological innovation at headquarters and in the field.
It also seeks to maximize the potential of existing and new technologies to help peacekeeping missions carry out their mandates – including by improving the ability to detect threats to civilian lives.
“Peace operations must be better able to detect, analyze and address threats against civilians and peacekeepersand political and humanitarian missions in a timely and integrated manner.
The United Nations must ensure the responsible use of digital technologies by peace operations by developing clear principles and undertaking human rights due diligence wherever there is potential for harm.
“Digital transformation is already permeating our peace operations,” he said, noting the use of long-range cameras, unmanned aerial vehicles, ground surveillance radar and the UNITE AWARE condition awareness platform that is now deployed across four missions that provide blue helmets with terrain-related information.
Protecting UN staff
Minutes ago, the Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling on member states that host or host UN peacekeeping operations to take all appropriate measures, in accordance with national and international law, to bring to justice those who kill or attack UN personnel.
via Resolution 2589 (2021)The 15 Ambassadors also requested the Secretary-General to create a comprehensive online database of attacks against United Nations personnel and peacekeeping forces, accessible to host countries, troop- and police-contributing countries, and countries with citizenship of civilian personnel.
Honoring the fallen
Previously, the Secretary-General addressed an official ceremony that paid tribute to the more than 4,000 peacekeepers who gave their lives while serving under the Blue Flag.
Among them are 174 Indian peacekeepers, which is the largest number among all troop-contributing countries. We are forever grateful for their service.” She said Mr. Guterres. “Their remarkable work and ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
After a moment of silence, he supported it pToday’s peacekeepers proudly carry the legacy of those we’ve lost.
UN Photo/Mark Garten