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Global conflicts at highest level since the cold war, says UN official

ARMED conflicts around the world are at their highest level since the end of the cold war, a United Nations official said on Tuesday.

UN assistant secretary-general for peace operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix warned that the number, intensity and length of wars “undermines the whole purpose of the global body.”

Experts say there are 32 ongoing conflicts worldwide, including in Gaza, Ukraine, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen, Syria and Sudan.

According to a study published in June by the Institute for Economics and Peace, almost a quarter of a million people died in armed conflicts around the world last year.

This marked a 96 per cent increase in deaths related to conflicts. 

Speaking to the UN security council, Mr Lacroix said there had been a decline in respect for the rule of international law, attacks on human rights and a rise in transnational organised crime. 

He insisted that each demands “a unique and specific response.”

Mr Lacroix said: “UN peacekeeping operations can only achieve what I call the intermediate objectives, which include preserving the ceasefire, protecting hundreds of thousands of civilians, mediating local conflicts and strengthening institutions.”

The assistant secretary-general highlighted the role of UN forces that work “tirelessly to serve communities in increasingly challenging contexts.”

He said the UN would continue to strengthen its effectiveness in its peacekeeping role by improving political strategies and fostering greater operational integration on a regional level.

But, Mr Lacroix insisted, the ultimate goal of peace of the United Nations, focused on lasting solutions to conflicts.

He added that there was an urgent need for a unified political approach by member states and, in particular, the security council to strengthen diplomatic and political channels.

Otherwise, he warned, “we can only serve to mitigate conflicts, instead of resolving them.”

Mr Lacroix also highlighted the challenges to the maintenance of peace posed by floods, drought, the climate emergency and food insecurity.

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