Thursday, June 29, 2017 | ePaper
UN peacekeeping chief defends cost of missions
United Nations peacekeeping missions, under threat from budget cuts if Washington's promise to slash its UN spending goes ahead, are already costing as little as possible, a UN official said Friday.
The comments come after US President Donald Trump this month proposed to cut Washington's contribution to UN peacekeeping operations-the largest share of funding for the organization's missions-to 25 percent of their total budget, compared to just under 30 percent today.
"We are doing our utmost to spend as little as possible" and "modernize," Herve Ladsous, the outgoing head of peacekeeping operations, said during his final news conference after six years in his post.
"We diminished the cost per peacekeeper by 16 percent without a diminution of their quality," he added, noting that the US-based Rand Corporation think-tank recently calculated that UN-managed operations cost four times less than it would cost a large Western country.
"Sixteen missions and 120,000 men deployed around the world for 0.4 percent of the world's military expenditure, it's still very little," Ladsous said.
"We have always tried to reformat missions, whenever possible, to be as economical as possible," he added.