Synthesis Report: Reviewing UN Peace Operations, the UN Peacebuilding Architecture and the Implementation of UNSCR 1325

In 2015, three reviews in the field of Peace and Security were undertaken: the UN Peace Operations Review, the Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture and the Review of the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325. These reviews reflect the acknowledgement that the changing dynamics of conflict in the world necessitates a revision of the UN’s tools in order for the organisation to maintain its relevance and ability to meet these challenges. This report presents the key recommendations as well as common themes across the reviews. The common themes are: the changing nature of conflict; the importance of the women, peace and security agenda for the UN’s work; the primacy of prevention and the need for a long-term focus; the necessity to shift towards people-centred, inclusive processes; the primacy of politics; the need for field focus and context awareness; the privileging of the military response to violent conflict is counterproductive; partnership with other actors is important; leadership and professionalisation of the UN is needed; and a call for stronger UN system coherence. We end by offering some recommendations to the current and next UN Secretary-General: What can the current Secretary-General do: • Ensure that the three reviews are viewed together to ensure synergy and coherence. • Implement the lower-hanging fruits and short-term suggestions to ensure quick wins. • Keep up the momentum of the processes. Keep them on the agenda for the new Secretary-General without making too much of his own mark on processes that cannot be concluded. • Push for a merit-based approach regarding the selection of a new Secretary-General. An agenda for a new Secretary-General: • Reorganising...

Country Profile: Ukraine

Ukraine first participated in UN peacekeeping operations several months after its 24 August 1991 independence when it deployed a battalion to UNPROFOR. Since then it has remained an active contributor to UN-led and UN-authorized operations, although its profile changed from a significant troop contributor to a provider of specialist equipment and associated expertise, such as helicopters and crews, in the mid-2000s. Until then, Ukraine was an important contributor of uniformed personnel (see Figure 1). In January 2001, for example, it was the 7th largest provider of military and police for UN operations. But these contributions declined during the presidency of Viktor Yushchenko (2005 – 2010) and increased only marginally under the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych (2010-2014). Read more in our new profile on Ukraine by Dr Kseniya...

NO CAVEATS, PLEASE?: BREAKING A MYTH IN UN PEACE OPERATIONS

For years, the UN Secretariat said caveats were not allowed in peacekeeping operations. Mentioning them was a kind of “taboo”. They existed on the ground but were rarely acknowledged at the political level in New York. But when operations faced a crisis and troops needed to take more risks than usual, the hitherto hidden restrictions quickly appeared, creating obvious command and control issues. Unfortunately, with peacekeeping operations now facing increasingly challenging environments, contingents refusing to follow orders, or waiting for their national authorities to confirm or countermand orders received from the UN mission’s authorities, has become the norm rather than the exception. Should we condemn this or understand the reasons why UN missions are facing such situations? It is time to stop lamenting that caveats exist and try to better learn how to manage them. CAVEATS ARE CAUSING INCREASING CONCERN In June 2015, the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) report recognized that “the ability of field commanders to ensure performance is severely hampered by caveats and national controls”. The report’s language was strong and it said that after deployment “any further caveats beyond those national constraints accepted at the outset, cannot be condoned”. Undeclared national restrictions, it stated “should be treated as disobedience of lawful command”. The September 2015 Secretary-General’s report on The future of United Nations peace operations called on every contributor to communicate during negotiations over possible deployment those national caveats that would apply to their military or police contingents. The UN Secretariat would take these caveats into account, including whether to proceed with deployment. “Additional caveats beyond those explicitly agreed by the Secretariat cannot...

Country Profile: United Kingdom

In 1995, Britain was briefly the UN’s top troop-contributing country through its commitment to the UN Protection Force in Bosnia, UNPROFOR. Since then the number of British uniformed personnel in UN-led peacekeeping operations has gradually declined. During this time, most UK personnel were deployed in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and Kosovo (UNMIK) with token contributions in several missions in Africa. In UNFICYP, Britain leads Sector 2 and the Mobile Reserve Force. The UK contingent comprises approximately 50 reservists alongside regular troops, who have returned to UNFICYP for the first time since the Iraq and Afghanistan operations began in earnest. In stark contrast, between 2003 and 2013, Britain deployed well over 9,000 troops on various UN-authorized peace operations, principally in Afghanistan and Iraq. Since the beginning of the drawdown of forces in Afghanistan (the British Government has withdrawn all but 450 troops from Afghanistan), UK numbers have grown slightly in UN peacekeeping operations. The UK is currently building on its 2015 pledge to more than double UK military contributions to UN operations, with up to 70 personnel heading to the UN Support Office to Somalia (UNSOS) and between 250 and 300 to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). The UK has deployed smaller contingents in UN-authorized and non-UN peace operations in Sierra Leone, the Balkans, Somalia, and Mali. It also deploys specialists as part of bilateral capacity-building initiatives such as British Military Advisory Training Teams (Sierra Leone, Czech Republic, Jordan, Ghana, Nigeria), British Peace Support Teams (South Africa, Kenya), and British Army Training Unit (Kenya). Read more in our newly updated profile on the United Kingdom by David Curran, Coventry University...

Re-thinking police work

A new NUPI working paper is out, examining the Norway-led specialized police team (SPT) that has been deployed to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) since late 2010. The objective of SPT is to build the capacity of the Haitian National Police (HNP) to conduct investigations into sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). According to the authors, Dr Marina L. Caparini and Dr Kari M. Osland, the SPT represents an innovative approach to deploying police personnel in UN peacekeeping operations and to building the capacity of host state police. By providing a closely coordinated team of police experts who work closely with local police in defining, developing and implementing a specific project that is independently funded yet embedded within the UNPOL component, this new deployment mechanism offers several advantages for supporting police and rule of law development compared to the traditional peacekeeping approach that relies primarily on using individual police officers (IPOs) to build police capacity. Download the working paper...
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