Secretary-General establishes eminent panel to review UN peace operations

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) and Jose Ramos-Horta, newly-appointed chair of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe (file photo)

31 October 2014 – The world is changing and United Nations peace operations must change with it if they are to remain an indispensable and effective tool in promoting international peace and security, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, announcing a new blue ribbon panel to assess the current and future needs of the Organization’s peacekeeping architecture.

In a statement issued at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Ban In a statement issued at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Ban announced the establishment of a High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, which will “draw together individuals with a wide range of experience and expertise,” and be chaired by Jose Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste.

The Panel will make a comprehensive assessment of the state of UN peace operations today, and the emerging needs of the future. In addition, this will be the first such panel to examine both peacekeeping operations and special political missions, added the Secretary-General.

The participants will consider a broad range of issues facing peace operations, including the changing nature of conflict, evolving mandates, good offices and peacebuilding challenges, managerial and administrative arrangements, planning, partnerships, human rights and protection of civilians, uniformed capabilities for peacekeeping operations and performance.

“The last major external review of peace operations was undertaken in 2000 and led by Mr. Lahkdar Brahimi,” said the UN chief, referring to the landmark outcome of an assessment carried out by a similar panel set up to examine the shortcomings of the then existing system and to make specific and realistic recommendations for change.

The result of that exercise, what has become informally known as the Brahimi report, called for, among others: renewed political commitment on the part of UN Member States; significant institutional change; and increased financial support.

With today’s announcement of a new panel, Mr. Ban explained that as the 15-year anniversary of the Brahimi report approaches, “we must acknowledge that peace operations today are increasingly called on to confront politically complex and challenging conflicts, often in volatile security environments where operations are directly targeted.”

“We must take stock of evolving expectations and consider how the Organization can most effectively advance peace, assist countries caught in conflict and ensure that our peacekeeping operations and special political missions remain strong and effective in a changing global context.”

The 14-member Panel will work closely with the main UN Departments concerned, as well as with Member States and the UN system as a whole. The Panel’s recommendations will be available for consideration by the General Assembly at its 2015 General Debate, the UN chief added.

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