By Gbenga Gbelee
Nigeria has been re-elected, for the 45th time, to chair the United Nations’ Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations which is regarded as the most strategic committee of the UN.
Reports have it that Nigeria was re-elected in spite of some hesitations by some countries to let Nigeria continue to lead the most critical committee.
Nigeria has chaired the special committee on peacekeeping operations from 1972 till date.
Over the years, some Member States have covertly expressed their reservations over the rare honour accorded to Nigeria, especially in view of its declining participation in UN peacekeeping operations.
The election was conducted by the Under-Secretary- General for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Mr Herve Ladsous and the Chef de Cabinet of the UN Secretary-General, Ms Maria Viotti.
Nigeria was elected by acclamation.
Others elected are: Argentina as First Vice Chair; Canada as Second Vice Chair; Japan as Third Vice Chair; Poland emerged as Fourth Vice Chair; and Egypt as Rapporteur.
The last data published by the UN Peacekeeping Department shows Nigeria as the 14th largest troops contributing nation to UN Peacekeeping operations and eighth in Africa.
The data showed that Nigeria contributed 2,170 peacekeeping personnel in 2016, made up of 403 policemen, 46 military experts and 1, 721 troops, out of which 232 were females.
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, after the election, congratulated Nigeria on its re-election as well as other members of the committee. He offered his best wishes to all the members of the Committee as charging them to identify a way forward at this critical time for international peace and security.
Antonio Guterres who was represented by Ms Maria Viotti described Peacekeeping as a partnership in which member States must deploy their political will, financial resources, military and police capabilities and above all, put the lives of their citizens on the line to transform conflict into sustainable peace.
The UN Secretary General said as the nature of conflict changes and we face new challenges such as asymmetric threats, transnational crime and the expanding reach of terrorists and extremists, the structures and practices designed even 10 years ago are not always keeping pace hence the United Nations has to be more nimble, pragmatic and flexible in its ability to plan, launch and manage a more diverse range of operations.
He urged the committee to consider carefully the recommendations of the 2015 peace and security review, echoed in Security Council resolution 2242, to surpass the current three percent participation of women peacekeepers.
After the re-election, Nigeria introduced two new paragraphs for adoption into the 2017 report.
The first was on the impact of illicit financial flows on resource mobilization and sustainable development, with a call for a return of proceeds of such flows to their countries of origin while the second took note of the Donald Kaberuka report on potions for funding AU peace support operations authorized by the Security Council. The two texts were adopted alongside other major recommendations. The Special Committee was established by General Assembly resolution 2006 (XIX) of Feb. 18, 1965, to conduct a comprehensive review of all issues relating to peacekeeping. It is comprises 147 Member States, mostly past or current contributors to peacekeeping operations, while 14 other Member States, intergovernmental organizations and entities, including AU and Interpol are observers.