U.N. peacekeepers pressed to do more with less as further cuts loom

Head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo,Maman Sidikou has revealed plan by the New York headquarters to make cut the world’s largest peacekeeping mission in the country.

According to the cable seen by Reuters and facing an 8 percent, or $93 million, budget cut for 2017/18, Sidikou was told to revise staffing, slash fuel costs by 10 percent and streamline aircraft use – all without compromising the mission’s mandate.

The mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo, known as MONUSCO, must work out how to juggle those demands with the need to respond to a growing political and humanitarian crisis in the central African giant.

On Wednesday the 15-member U.N. Security Council will discuss peacekeeping reform during the annual gathering of world leaders.

Ethiopia, council president for September, said it expected about 10 heads of state or government to attend. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is due to represent Washington.

Diplomats said the council was due to adopt a resolution pushing for improved accountability, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness in peacekeeping performance and to make peacekeepers more agile and flexible.

“My intention is to do everything to preserve the integrity of the peacekeeping missions, but, of course, to do also everything possible to make it in the most effective and cost-effective way,” U.N. Secretary-general Antonio Guterres told reporters last week.

But critics worry that harsh cuts could harm peacekeeping operations in some volatile African states.