UN calls for wider use of surveillance drones

UN peacekeeping missions should deploy more drones and state-of the art technology to become more effective, limit boots on the ground and keep aid workers safer, their chief said on Thursday.

United Nations: UN peacekeeping missions should deploy more drones and state-of the art technology to become more effective, limit boots on the ground and keep aid workers safer, their chief said on Thursday.

On International Day of UN Peacekeepers, staff paid tribute to more than 3,000 peacekeepers who have died since 1948, including 106 last year, and to those still serving on the frontline.
The head of UN peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous, said, on average, a peacekeeper dies every 30 days, and technology needs to be upgraded to assist a record number of UN boots on the ground.

The Security Council last month approved a new mission in Central African Republic and in December voted to send an extra 5,500 soldiers to war-torn South Sudan.

"Clearly we cannot continue to afford to work with 20th century tools in the 21st century," he told reporters in New York.

Ladsous said drones had already helped in DR Congo and could be vital in improving humanitarian access.
"They (convoys) can use the images of the machines to make sure they are not going to be attacked or hijacked on the way. That I think is a very significant development," Ladsous said.

"We do need them (drones) in countries like Mali, like Central African Republic and clearly in South Sudan it would be my desire that we might deploy them," he said.

Surveillance drones could replace some military observers and make a big difference.

"In some cases using technology can make it necessary not to have so many boots on the ground and also, lets never forget, to improve on the delivery," Ladsous said.

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