Peacekeeping: Using Cash To Make Things Disappear


February24, 2007: Arab countries, often the most in need of peacekeepers, are also the most enthusiastic about pledging money to pay for these operations. However, turning those pledges into actual cash money is proving difficult. The Arab League pledged $150 million, last year, to pay for peacekeeping in Darfur. So far, only about $15 million has been delivered. Same thing with Arab League pledges, last year, with the $660 million promised to the Palestinian Authority. Only about 55 percent of that has turned up so far. The Arabs are not the only ones to not make good on pledges, but they are among the worst offenders. The UN has hundreds of people who do little more than follow up on pledges by member nations. And money promised for peacekeeping tends to be the most difficult to extract. This is because peacekeeping isn't something simple, good and straightforward, like famine relief or reconstruction. Peacekeepers are being sent to deal with often volatile political situations. These events tend to change over time. So while the cause may have seemed just when the pledge was made, six months later, the political climate may have changed in unfortunate ways. Thus it's not just difficult finding peacekeeping troops, but it's often even more troublesome finding the cash to pay (and sustain) them.


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