On her first visit to a peacekeeping mission since taking up her post, the UN official charged with providing support to such field operations today highlighted that, in an era of financial austerity and amidst growing expectations, the world body and its peace operations must find ways to do more with less.
In this regard, the so-called Global Field Support Strategy will play a key role, the Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support, Ameerah Haq, said while in the Sudanese region of Darfur, where she was visiting the joint African Union-UN peacekeeping mission there, known by the acronym UNAMID.
The Global Field Support Strategy was designed to consolidate support for UN peace operations in global and regional service centres, with the first such regional centre being in the city of Entebbe in Uganda. Ms. Haq said the Strategy would help missions such as UNAMID operate more efficiently and in a more cost-effective manner.
"My immediate focus is to ensure that Regional Service Centre Entebbe realizes the vision of a truly integrated hub of transactional support for the missions under its jurisdiction," she said. "This approach is more cost-effective and beneficial, and it will liberate mission leadership from the burden of mission support matters, helping them to focus on fulfilling their mandate."
The UN Department of Field Support (DFS), which Ms. Haq heads, provides support to political and peacekeeping missions around the world, with a focus in the areas of finance, logistics, communication and technology and human resources, amongst others.
Established in July 2007, UNAMID has the protection of civilians as its core mandate. In addition, the Mission is tasked, in addition to other responsibilities, with facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid and assisting with an inclusive peace process in Darfur, where fighting broke out nine years ago, pitting Government forces and allied militiamen against rebel groups.
With the aim of assessing UNAMID's support to ensure it can meet the expectations of its mandate, the Under-Secretary-General spent the past three days in Sudan, including its capital Khartoum, as well as the western region of Darfur.
She met with Sudanese officials, and representatives of the UN Country Team and UNAMID. She also visited a UNAMID hospital in Kabkabiya, in North Darfur, which has provided healthcare services to more than 10,000 Darfuri patients.
"The purpose of this visit to Sudan is to hear from all stakeholders and the Mission leadership on their pressing issues and to work together to make sure those issues are resolved," Ms. Haq said.
"Although there is some progress in the peace process, there are some limitations, such as access restrictions," she added. "I have raised these issues with the Government to ensure smooth operation of the Mission, and in this regard I have received assurances of the Government's cooperation."
Ms. Haq took up her post as the head of DFS on 11 June this year.