Assessing the future technological needs of peacekeeping missions, an expert panel on technology and innovation in the U.N has recommended expanding the use of unmanned surveillance drones in U.N. military operations.
It was one of 119 recommendations the expert panel made.
Other measures recommended were heightened Cyber Security measures at peacekeeping missions, as well as the increased use of Green technology.
If successful U.N peacekeepers will have access to the imagery that they provide.
Some nations have raised questions about the information gathering capabilities of the drones and its storage and distribution.
The recommendations allow the U.N to own the imagery received from the Drones, subject to strict Laws and regulations.
The panel’s spokesperson denied that the U.N. would become an intelligence gathering body.
Reuters report: “The U.N. needs information to operate safely and securely and with integrity and with effect,” she said. “You want basic information when you go out for a drive. Does that make you an intelligence gathering entity? No. You just want to know the environment you’re walking into.”The United Nations began using surveillance drones in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in December 2013. U.N. officials and diplomats have said drones have helped peacekeepers track armed groups in the dense landscape of eastern Congo.
It is also planning on using drones for its peacekeeping mission in Mali.Some countries, including Russia, China and Rwanda, have previously expressed reservations about the use of drones by the United Nations.
Western diplomats say that U.N. contracts with Russian firms providing helicopters and airplanes for peacekeeping missions could eventually be in jeopardy if the world body switches to drones for most of its aerial reconnaissance capabilities.
Russia’s U.N. mission did not have an immediate response to a query about the panel’s recommendation regarding drones.
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