UNITED NATIONS — Of the 46 countries that pledged to provide resources to maintain United Nations peace operations, 14 have failed completely or only partially kept their promises. In a United States-led initiative organized at a summit in September, dozens of countries vowed to contribute more than 40,000 soldiers and resources, including helicopters and field hospitals, to strengthen the U.N.’s 16 global missions. According to a count obtained by AFP, Azerbaijan, Brazil, China, Colombia, Georgia, Norway, Spain, Uganda and Vietnam are among those who have yet to uphold their commitments. “There is significant progress, but we want all the countries to follow through as soon as possible,” a U.S. diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity, stressing that only two thirds of the contributions are in progress or registered. The U.S. finances about 30 percent of the U.N.’s US$8 billion annual peacekeeping budget. The U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford and the British Vice Chief of the Defense Staff Gordon Messenger attended a closed meeting at U.N. headquarters to assess progress. A follow-up ministerial meeting is scheduled for early September in London. Some countries have already deployed additional troops to Mali, like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, as well as Darfur, where China has sent peacekeeping forces. Beijing promised the U.N. no less than 8,000 soldiers, a quota not yet met. “But no one doubts that this commitment will be upheld,” said one diplomat. Spain had promised soldiers, helicopters and reconnaissance equipment to the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), but withdrew that pledge because the U.N. has yet to grant the Spanish control of that mission. “We made it very clear that our offer was contingent” on commanding the force, said Spanish Ambassador Roman Oyarzun Marchesi.
The U.N. plans to use the contributions to create a permanent force of some 15,000 peacekeepers capable of rapid deployment, ideally by the end of the year. A thorough selection process is underway to choose which countries and units could participate. The U.N. aims to maintain sufficient resources to quickly handle conflict outbreaks, particularly in places like the Central African Republic and Mali. It also hopes to forego deploying contingents suspected of abuse, a recent issue in the Central African Republic for soldiers from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The U.N. has promised to repatriate troops following the slightest allegation, but it still must find ways to replace those forces with short notice.