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The "New Horizon” process

The New Horizon process is designed to:

  • Assess the major policy and strategy dilemmas facing UN Peacekeeping today and over the coming years; and
  • Reinvigorate the ongoing dialogue with stakeholders on possible solutions to better calibrate UN Peacekeeping to meet current and future requirements.

A New Partnership Agenda: Charting a New Horizon for UN Peacekeeping PDF Document is an internal document prepared as part of the “New Horizon” process of developing a forward agenda for UN Peacekeeping. It reflects both the perspectives of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the Department of Field Support (DFS).

The paper, which was released to Member States and peacekeeping partners in July 2009, supported a reinvigorated dialogue with the aim of forging a peacekeeping policy agenda that reflects the perspectives of all stakeholders in the global peacekeeping partnership.  Building on previous peacekeeping reform efforts, the paper highlighted achievements in improving the peacekeeping tool and identified outstanding, as well as new, dilemmas that require the attention of the peacekeeping partnership. 

Key elements of the paper were taken up by the Secretary-General in his Report to the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations [A/64/573]. These have informed formal and informal deliberations among members of the peacekeeping partnership to help crystallize a common vision of the requirements to bolster peacekeeping to more effectively fulfil its role in support of international peace and security. 

New Horizon Initiative: Progress Reports

Since the issuance of the New Horizon document, DPKO and DFS have issued periodic progress reports summarizing the principal outcomes of the peacekeeping dialogue and implementation efforts in the context of the New Horizon process.

The most recent progress report, The New Horizon Initiative: Progress Report No. 2 PDF Document was issued in December 2011. It outlines progress on implementation of reform priorities since the issuance of The New Horizon Initiative: Progress Report No. 1 PDF Document in October 2010 and highlights ongoing efforts to improve the effectiveness of UN Peacekeeping.

Background

In the more than sixty years of its existence, UN Peacekeeping has evolved significantly as a tool of international crisis response.  UN peacekeepers have served across the globe to prevent the outbreak of conflict, to manage and contain violence and to support national actors in protecting and building peace after conflict. 

The New Horizon initiative was launched by DPKO and DFS against a backdrop of considerable strain on United Nations peacekeeping.  Peacekeeping found itself stretched like never before and increasingly called upon to deploy to remote, uncertain operating environments and into volatile political contexts. It faced a varied set of challenges, including challenges to deliver on its largest, most expensive and increasingly complex missions, challenges to design and execute viable transition strategies for missions where a degree of stability has been attained, and challenges to prepare for an uncertain future and set of requirements. 

These challenges remain pertinent as UN Peacekeeping has begun to move from a period of unprecedented surge to a period of consolidation, in which the global peacekeeping partnership is called upon to realize the ambitious goals it has identified to strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of UN Peacekeeping.

As part of the New Horizon initiative, in early 2009, DPKO and DFS commissioned an external think-piece by the Center of International Cooperation (CIC), "Building on Brahimi: a Coalition for Peacekeeping in an era of Strategic Uncertainty" PDF Document to help stimulate discussion on the challenges and opportunities for UN Peacekeeping.  The CIC piece is an independent, external contribution to the process.  It does not reflect or prejudice the views of DPKO and DFS.

For comments, questions or further information on the New Horizon initiative, please contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is there another Peacekeeping Review?

Periodic review and continuous improvement are the hallmarks of a strong, professional institution, particularly when operating at the scale and tempo of modern UN Peacekeeping.  UN Peacekeeping must adjust and adapt to meet new and emerging challenges. It can only do so if the peacekeeping partnership – comprised of the Security Council, the troop- and police-contributing countries, the General Assembly, the UN Secretariat, and the Secretariat’s many partners – are able to collectively determine its future direction. 

The New Horizon process does not replace previous reform initiatives, including the 2000 Brahimi Review, Peace Operations 2010 and restructuring of DPKO and DFS.  It builds on past reforms to realize outstanding recommendations and develop fresh thinking on how to manage the new complexities and growing scale of UN Peacekeeping.

What are the main elements of the July 2009 New Horizon non-paper?

The non-paper calls for a renewed global partnership for UN peacekeeping that encompasses the Secretariat, members of the Security Council, the General Assembly, contributors of personnel and financial resources, and our many partners from within and outside the UN system.  This global partnership has three dimensions:

  • A partnership in purpose: a shared vision of the purpose of UN Peacekeeping and a more inclusive approach to designing, planning and managing UN Peacekeeping missions.
  • A partnership in action: agreed approaches and capacities required to implement this vision on the ground and to deliver critical tasks, as well as manage crises.
  • A partnership for the future:  a collective dedication to building and sustaining the right capabilities for UN peacekeeping into the future, by examining new ways of drawing on global resources and flexible, innovative measures to deploy, support and sustain peacekeepers in the field.

It exhorts the partners to reinvigorate their relationship with UN peacekeeping and lay out a common set of goals in all of these areas.

What reform priorities has the New Horizon process identified?

In-depth discussions among Member States, the Secretariat, and partners within and beyond the United Nations system have revealed a series of high-priority requirements to bolster the effectiveness and efficiency of peacekeeping in the medium term.  These elements were reflected in the Secretary-General’s Report to the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations [A/64/573] PDF Document and include the following broad dimensions:

  • Policy Development: Clarifying the critical roles and responsibilities of peacekeepers and developing practical guidance in specific areas, including the protection of civilians, peacebuilding roles of peacekeepers, and effective and robust response to threats.
  • Capability Development: Filling critical capability gaps in peacekeeping missions in a forward-looking and sustainable manner and ensuring peacekeepers are prepared, equipped, and enabled to deliver against reasonable performance expectations.
  • Global Field Support Strategy:  Transforming, within the framework of the Global Field Support Strategy [A/64/633] PDF Document, service delivery in the field through efficient and effective support arrangements and improved accountability and resource stewardship.
  • Planning and oversight: Bolstering consultations among peacekeeping stakeholders and ensuring more effective and inclusive arrangements for planning, management, and oversight of missions.

How will this process impact the future of peacekeeping operations?

The goal of the New Horizon initiative is to help forge a greater consensus on the future direction of UN Peacekeeping.  It seeks to bring the different members of the peacekeeping partnership together around a set of shared immediate, medium and long-term objectives to strengthen the peacekeeping enterprise.  The achievement of these objectives will bring greater clarity, predictability and capacity to the way in which UN Peacekeeping missions operate. 

Without a common direction and strategy for strengthening UN Peacekeeping for the future, the day-to-day challenges of running complex peacekeeping missions may lead to a strategic drift within the peacekeeping partnership that prevents it from preparing for tomorrow.