Enhanced AU-UN collaboration is a non-negotiable.

As the African Union (AU) has become a stronger actor in peace operations, coordination with the United Nations Security Council has risen in importance. Beyond just working together on a case-by-case basis, such as the Somalia hybrid mission, the two organizations are seeking a broader and more complimentary relationship. In the last year, we have witnessed an increasing convergence with the development of the AU Common Position on the Peace Operations Review and Joint UN-AU Framework for an Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security. These were followed by the recommendations stressing the important of partnership with regional organizations from High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) and the Secretary-General’s response to this seminal report. But it is not an easy task for the two organizations to converge. As preparations for a recent high-level meeting showed, there remain some institutional and political challenges that make working together inherently difficult for both organizations. Competing agendas The 10th annual Joint Consultative Meeting between the UN Security Council (UNSC) and the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) was held in New York on 23-25 May 2016. The meeting’s final agenda was set to discuss the crisis in Burundi and the mandate of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which expires at the end of May. It was dictated by the UNSC, with little compromise over the issues raised by the AU. The initial agenda proposed by the AU PSC members in mid-April included discussions on Western Sahara, South Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, and countering terrorism and violent extremism – all key challenges on the continent with global implications. On 25...

Doing What Can Be Done and Providing For It

This article was part of the Briefing Book prepared for the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations by IPI and CIC.   One of the current main shortcomings of UN peace operations is the authorization of mandates that are not fully implemented. While sometimes this happens because of the emergence of unpredictable external factors, it is common to see mandates whose implementation is hindered by insufficient planning or operationally unrealistic recommendations in the first place. Examples of this disconnect include the limited success of the inter-mission cooperation arrangements to provide the UN Mission in South Sudan with additional troops after the crisis in December 2013; the sluggish pace in which the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali has been deployed (a year and a half since its establishment, MINUSMA has yet to reach its full operational capacity); and the difficulties in ensuring that the re-hatted contingents in Central African Republic or Mali meet UN standards in terms of equipment and capacity. While the Security Council is ultimately responsible for issuing these decisions, the mandates are usually adopted following specific recommendations provided by the Secretary-General. These operational inadequacies do not only hinder the implementation of specific Council mandates but more broadly, risk delegitimizing the UN’s involvement in such critical moments. In this context, it might be useful for the Panel to examine the potential of the Military Staff Committee (MSC) for providing advice on the military requirements of UN peace operations. The current pool of military advisors to the Council’s permanent representatives is a hugely underutilized resource. While largely dormant since its inception in the UN Charter, over the...

Without consensus on where to send UN peacekeepers, pledges are meaningless

The News & Observer Without consensus on where to send UN peacekeepers, pledges are meaningless By Emma Campbell-Mohn and Kyle Beardsley 8th October 2015 “…while world leaders pledge to send their armed forces to peacekeeping missions, the Security Council often struggles to find common ground on where to deploy the peacekeepers. The permanent five members of the Security Council – the U.S., U.K., France, Russia and China – all have veto power over Security Council resolutions. A failure of these five countries to agree on common objectives and to cede some of their unilateral influence to an international mission helps explain why there’s no robust peacekeeping missions in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.” Read the full article...

Making Peace in a Divided World: New Roles for the United Nations?

Centre for International Policy Studies Making Peace in a Divided World: New Roles for the United Nations? By Richard Gowan 1st October 2015 The recent attempts of the Secretary-General and President Obama to improve the situation UN peace operations find itself in are important, but insufficient to carve out the necessary new role the organizations needs to take on. The new Secretary-General will have to prepare a strategy for how to deal with the increased great power competition, the proliferation of transnational violent extremism, and the chronic instability of fragile states. Read more...

Can Attack Helicopters Save UN Peacekeeping?

Global Peace Operations Review Can Attach Helicopters Save UN Peacekeeping? By James Traub 28th September 2015 The author analyzes the importance of the World Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping, and whether or not force and increased capabilities can enough be alone to save United Nations Peace Operations from experiencing a crisis that is worse than usual. He also comments on the recommendations of the HIPPO-report that UN peacekeeping missions should not undertake military counter-terrorism operations, and argues that while this is a valid idea – it does little to help missions deal with the realities they currently face. Read more here. The article was also published in Foreign...
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