UN raises salaries of peacekeepers
The United Nations has decided to increase the salary of the peacekeeping troops from July 1 this year.
The UN peacekeepers currently get $1,210 per month and it will be increased to as much as $1,400 in next four years, diplomatic sources told The Daily Star yesterday.
On Thursday, the UN General Assembly's Fifth Committee, which deals with the UN budget, approved a new troop-reimbursement rate for countries contributing nearly 1,00,000 peacekeepers to 16 missions.
From July 1, the reimbursement level will rise to $1,332 a month per soldier -- the largest increase in 35 years at 17 percent. It will increase to $1,365 in the third year and $1,410 in the fourth year.
Bangladesh along with the Group of 77, which represents developing countries, had long been lobbying a pay hike, but the wealthy and developed nations wanted a smaller increase.
The new rate was approved after contentious negotiations pitting wealthy countries against developing nations, according to a UN report.
The dispute left missions in legal limbo for three days since June 30.
It was over the amount of money that countries supplying troops to UN missions should receive per soldier for extra expenses needed for their deployment, including training, vaccinations, overseas allowances, uniforms and additional equipment.
The overall budget for the fiscal year July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015 is estimated at $8.6 billion, an increase from the $7.83 billion budget that expired on June 30.
Susana Malcorra, the chief of staff to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, told the budget committee it was crucial that it maintained its principle of adopting the budget by consensus rather than resorting to a vote for the first time.
But she expressed concern that the three-day delay “may send an unprecedented signal of uncertainty” about the financing of peacekeeping missions.
"I think there are no winners and losers here today [Thursday]," said US Minister-Counselor Stephen Lieberman, echoing the importance of consensus. "We walked to the edge of the precipice but we didn't fall over the abyss."
The committee passed an annual budget for 16 peacekeeping operations and one special political mission in Afghanistan, supported by the Department of Peacekeeping, of some $7 billion.
UN peacekeeping is paid for by assessed contributions, with the United States the top provider -- paying 28 percent of the budget -- followed by Japan, France, Germany and Britain.
Bangladesh emerged first for contributing the highest number of troops to the UN peacekeeping missions across the globe.
The other top contributors of troops to peacekeeping missions are Pakistan, India, Ethiopia and Rwanda.