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Boutros Boutros Gahli,
An Agenda for Peace,
 17 June 1992


46. Peace-keeping can rightly be called the invention of the United Nations. It has brought a degree of stability to numerous
areas of tension around the world.

                                        Increasing demands

47. Thirteen peace-keeping operations were established between the years 1945 and 1987; 13 others since then. An estimated
528,000 military, police and civilian personnel had served under the flag of the United Nations until January 1992. Over 800 of
them from 43 countries have died in the service of the Organization. The costs of these operations have aggregated some $8.3
billion till 1992. The unpaid arrears towards them stand at over $800 million, which represents a debt owed by the
Organization to the troop-contributing countries. Peace-keeping operations approved at present are estimated to cost close to
$3 billion in the current 12-month period, while patterns of payment are unacceptably slow. Against this, global defence
expenditures at the end of the last decade had approached $1 trillion a year, or $2 million per minute.

48. The contrast between the costs of United Nations peace-keeping and the costs of the alternative, war - between the
demands of the Organization and the means provided to meet them - would be farcical were the consequences not so
damaging to global stability and to the credibility of the Organization. At a time when nations and peoples increasingly are
looking to the United Nations for assistance in keeping the peace - and holding it responsible when this cannot be so -
fundamental decisions must be taken to enhance the capacity of the Organization in this innovative and productive exercise of its
function. I am conscious that the present volume and unpredictability of peace-keeping assessments poses real problems for
some Member States. For this reason, I strongly support proposals in some Member States for their peace-keeping
contributions to be financed from defence, rather than foreign affairs, budgets and I recommend such action to others. I urge the
General Assembly to encourage this approach.

49. The demands on the United Nations for peace-keeping, and peace-building, operations will in the coming years continue to
challenge the capacity, the political and financial will and the creativity of the Secretariat and Member States. Like the Security
Council, I welcome the increase and broadening of the tasks of peace-keeping operations.

                                  New departures in peace-keeping

50. The nature of peace-keeping operations has evolved rapidly in recent years. The established principles and practices of
peace-keeping have responded flexibly to new demands of recent years, and the basic conditions for success remain
unchanged: a clear and practicable mandate; the cooperation of the parties in implementing that mandate; the continuing support
of the Security Council; the readiness of Member States to contribute the military, police and civilian personnel, including
specialists, required; effective United Nations command at Headquarters and in the field; and adequate financial and logistic
support. As the international climate has changed and peace-keeping operations are increasingly fielded to help implement
settlements that have been negotiated by peacemakers, a new array of demands and problems has emerged regarding logistics,
equipment, personnel and finance, all of which could be corrected if Member States so wished and were ready to make the
necessary resources available.


51. Member States are keen to participate in peace-keeping operations. Military observers and infantry are invariably available
in the required numbers, but logistic units present a greater problem, as few armies can afford to spare such units for an
extended period. Member States were requested in 1990 to state what military personnel they were in principle prepared to
make available; few replied. I reiterate the request to all Member States to reply frankly and promptly. Stand-by arrangements
should be confirmed, as appropriate, through exchanges of letters between the Secretariat and Member States concerning the
kind and number of skilled personnel they will be prepared to offer the United Nations as the needs of new operations arise.

52. Increasingly, peace-keeping requires that civilian political officers, human rights monitors, electoral officials, refugee and
humanitarian aid specialists and police play as central a role as the military. Police personnel have proved increasingly difficult to
obtain in the numbers required. I recommend that arrangements be reviewed and improved for training peace-keeping
personnel - civilian, police, or military - using the varied capabilities of Member State Governments, of non-governmental
organizations and the facilities of the Secretariat. As efforts go forward to include additional States as contributors, some States
with considerable potential should focus on language training for police contingents which may serve with the Organization. As
for the United Nations itself, special personnel procedures, including incentives, should be instituted to permit the rapid transfer
of Secretariat staff members to service with peace-keeping operations. The strength and capability of military staff serving in the
Secretariat should be augmented to meet new and heavier requirements.


53. Not all Governments can provide their battalions with the equipment they need for service abroad. While some equipment
is provided by troop-contributing countries, a great deal has to come from the United Nations, including equipment to fill gaps
in under-equipped national units. The United Nations has no standing stock of such equipment. Orders must be placed with
manufacturers, which creates a number of difficulties. A pre-positioned stock of basic peace-keeping equipment should be
established, so that at least some vehicles, communications equipment, generators, etc., would be immediately available at the
start of an operation. Alternatively, Governments should commit themselves to keeping certain equipment, specified by the
Secretary-General, on stand-by for immediate sale, loan or donation to the United Nations when required.

54. Member States in a position to do so should make air- and sea-lift capacity available to the United Nations free of cost or
at lower than commercial rates, as was the practice until recently.