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Bangladesh's diplomatic role in UN Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 27 - 03 - 2016

The UN Peacekeeping is a unique global partnership. It draws together the legal and political authority of the Security Council, the deliberative and financial authority of the General Assembly, personnel and financial contributions of member states, the support of host countries and the accumulated experience of the secretariat in managing operations in the field. It is this partnership that gives UN Peacekeeping its legitimacy, sustainability and global reach.
Bangladesh in the Peacekeeping: Bangladesh first participated in the peacekeeping operations in 1988. Now it is a major contributor, with 7,502 personnel deployed in 10 peacekeeping missions at present. Overall, Bangladesh has provided more than a hundred thousand peacekeepers to UN peacekeeping, and thereby established itself as a staunch supporter and promoter of global peace in keeping with its Constitutional obligations. Currently, Bangladesh holds the lead position among all troops and police contributing countries (TCCs/ PCCs).
Bangladesh's value-driven contributions to UN peace operations have thus become an integral part of her foreign policy pursuits. Bangladesh takes legitimate pride in the fact that 126 of its valiant sons have made the supreme sacrifice in course of duty on UN peacekeeping operations.
The UNSG Ban Ki-moon visited Bangladesh in November 2011. As part of his program, he went to see the Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training (BIPSOT) in Gazipur. Commending Bangladesh's role in UN peacekeeping operations, he said, "No nation contributes more to our efforts than you. In fact, one out of 10 United Nations peacekeepers come from Bangladesh."
The UN Assistant Secretary General (ASG) and Special Adviser on Civilian Capacities Ms. Sarah Cliffe visited Bangladesh in November 2012, and conducted a workshop on developing a roster of civilian capacities for contributing to UN peacebuilding efforts. The then UN Under Secretary General for Field Support Ms. Ameerah Haq visited Bangladesh in January 2013, and observed, "Bangladesh has not only been a leading peacekeeper contributing country for the United Nations but also a country that brings in well-trained and highly professional quality peacekeepers who are logistically self-contained with a rapid deployment capacity within short notice by the UN."
The Under Secretary General and Head of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), Hervè Ladsous visited Bangladesh in July 2014. He commended the Bangladeshi peacekeepers for their professionalism, sincerity and commitment in discharging their mandated responsibilities on peacekeeping missions. He also appreciated Bangladesh's ongoing capacity building initiatives to better respond to robust peacekeeping mandates, including for protection of civilians.
In February 2016, a two-member team from DFS visited Bangladesh, and conducted a number of outreach seminars on civilian employment opportunity in the UN Peace Operations.
Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding Nexus
Bangladesh has always underscored the need to plan and conduct peacekeeping operations in a way to facilitate post-conflict peace building, prevent the relapse into armed conflict, and promote sustainable peace and development.
As the Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission in 2012, Bangladesh organized the first ever summit level meeting of the commission in New York on the sidelines of 67th UNGA session.
The meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina mobilized support of global political leadership towards incorporation of a peacebuilding perspective in the mandates of the peacekeeping operations to ensure longer-term peacebuilding and sustainable development. In line with Bangladesh's commitment to this effect, our peacekeepers are now also serving as peace builders in fragile post-conflict situations.
Of late, Bangladesh has established a Peace Building Center, second of its kind in Asia, to develop specialized capacity for a range of peace building activities including electoral management, administrative, judicial and security sector reform, human rights promotion and protection, disaster management, women's empowerment and socio-economic development, among others.
Bangladesh's Current and Future Engagements including possible cooperation with KSA.
On Sept. 28, 2015, the UN Peacekeeping Summit was held at the UN Headquarters in New York on the sidelines of the 70th UNGA at the initiative of the US government. Our Prime Minister co-chaired the meeting with the US President, Presidents of Rwanda and Indonesia, Prime Ministers of Japan, Netherlands, Ethiopia, Uruguay and Pakistan and the UN Secretary General. The Prime Minister made a number pledges in the summit in terms of enhancing Bangladesh's continued contributions to UN peace support operations.
Bangladesh is also currently developing a National Strategy on Peace Support Operations to provide general guidance for coordination and capacity building to add further value to Bangladesh's participation in UN-led peace-support operations.
Bangladesh has recently joined Saudi-led initiatives to countering terrorism and extremism. Bangladesh Foreign Minister had a fruitful discussion with Saudi Foreign Minister in Riyadh in January 2016. Bangladesh is ready to work with KSA on peacekeeping operations for future deployment in the region under the UN mandate to maintain peace and stability in conflict areas in the Middle-East.
Conclusion
In the context of the fast evolving and challenging scenario of UN peace support operations, major TCCs/ PCCs like Bangladesh must remain committed to performing their peacekeeping responsibilities following the UN guidelines, improving capacity and training of their peacekeepers and investing in necessary logistics and administrative practices to further excel in their work. Bangladesh's diplomatic endeavors in relation to peace support operations would be geared at ensuring that our Blue Helmets continue to deliver as ‘A Force for Peace, a Force for Change, and a Force for the Future'.


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