UN peacekeeping missions should deploy more surveillance drones to become more effective and keep aid workers safer, their chief has said.

Speaking on Thursday, Herve Ladsous, the head of the UN peacekeeping, said the UN needed to upgrade its technology to assist the record number of soldiers deployed on UN missions.

"We do need them in countries like Mali, like Central African Republic and clearly in South Sudan. It would be my desire that we might deploy them," Ladsous said.

Clearly we cannot continue to afford to work with 20th century tools in the 21st century

Herve Ladsous, Head of UN peacekeeping

"Clearly we cannot continue to afford to work with 20th century tools in the 21st century," 

"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. 

Ladsous said drones had already helped in the Democratic Republic of Congo and could be vital in improving humanitarian access.

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, let's never forget, to improve on the delivery," Ladsous said.

Thursday was designated "International Day of UN Peacekeepers" by the world body.

Staff remembered more than 3,000 soldiers and UN workers who have died on UN missions since 1948, including 106 last year.

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

Source: Agencies