World disasters require UN response

Why does the United Nations not have its own standing rapid reaction force?

Editor, The Times:

Re: Members of DART head to Philippines

While Canada’s small disaster assistance response team (DART) will no doubt make a unique contribution in the Philippines, the question naturally arises: Why does the United Nations not have its own standing rapid reaction force when large-scale catastrophes strike?

Proposals for this service have been well developed by Canadian academics and NGOs.

In addition to providing humanitarian and disaster assistance and an array of civilian teams specializing in environmental services, human rights and conflict resolution, such a service could also include military and police units sufficient to restore law and order should that be necessary.

Canada could lead internationally and help regain its reputation by championing the creation of a United Nations Emergency Peace Service (UNEPS). Tens of thousands of lives could by saved by this increased UN capacity, able to move quickly and robustly when crises erupt.

Larry Kazdan


Vancouver, B.C.



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