Reform of peacekeeping
In 2000, the UN started a major exercise to analyze its peacekeeping experience, and introduce a series of reforms to strengthen its capacity to manage and sustain field operations.
UN Photo/Marie Frechon
This was brought about by the surge in demand for UN peacekeepers, with the ‘blue helmets’ being increasingly asked to deploy to remote and often volatile environments. Peacekeeping also faced a varied set of challenges which included:
- deploying its largest, most expensive and increasingly complex operations;
- designing and executing transition strategies for operations where stability has been achieved;
- equipping communities as far as possible with capacity to ensure long-term peace and stability.
In March 2000, the Secretary-General appointed the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations to assess the shortcomings of the then existing system and to make specific and realistic recommendations for change. The panel was composed of individuals experienced in conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
The result, known as the “Brahimi Report” , after Lakhdar Brahimi, the Chair of the Panel, called for:
- renewed political commitment on the part of Member States;
- significant institutional change;
- increased financial support.
The Panel noted that in order to be effective, UN peacekeeping operations must be properly resourced and equipped, and operate under clear, credible and achievable mandates.
Peacekeeping policy and strategy reform
Following the Brahimi report, UN Member States and the UN Secretariat continued major reform efforts, including through:
- “Capstone Doctrine” (2008), outlining the most important principles and guidelines for UN peacekeepers in the field;
- Peace operations 2010 (2006), containing the reform strategy of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO);
- 2005 World Summit [A/RES/60/1] , establishing the Peacebuilding Commission;
- High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change [A/59/565] , setting out a broad framework for collective security for the new century.
The most recent reform documents – The New Partnership Agenda: Charting a New Horizon for UN Peacekeeping (2009) and its Progress Reports No.1 (2010) and No.2 (2011) – assess the major policy and strategy dilemmas facing UN peacekeeping today and in the coming years.
They attempt to reinvigorate the ongoing dialogue with Member States and other partners on how to better adjust UN peacekeeping to meet current and future requirements. Read more about New Horizon.
Restructuring the peacekeeping department
The major structural change as part of peacekeeping reform took place in 2007. To strengthen the UN’s capacity to manage and sustain new peace operations, the Secretary-General restructured [A/61/858] the peacekeeping architecture by:
- Splitting DPKO into two, creating a new, separate Department of Field Support (DFS);
- Bolstering the support for new activities in DPKO;
- Augmenting resources in both Departments and in other parts of the Secretariat dealing with peacekeeping.
DFS developed the Global Field Support Strategy [A/64/633] in 2010 aimed at transforming “service delivery” to the field and adapting it to the requirements of today’s peacekeeping operations. Once implemented , support to the field will become more predictable, professional and flexible, while ensuring cost efficiencies and transparency.
Rates of reimbursement to troop contributing countries
Historically, the countries who provide troops for peacekeeping missions are reimbursed for their contribution by the UN. The question of the rates is therefore extremely important for a large number of countries - whether it's through the direct provision of military personnel or through the financial obligations that make deployment of a peacekeeping presence possible.
In 2011, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to establish a Senior Advisory Group (SAG) to examine the "rates of reimbursement to troop-contributing countries and related issues" (ref. GA Resolution 65/289 of 30 June 2011). The SAG issued their report in November 2012, and the Secretary-General followed this with a report on how to implement these recommendations.
The SAG recommendations included:
- a new approach to gathering data on the common and essential additional costs incurred by contributing countries in deploying their forces to UN Peacekeeping missions;
- an award of a premium to individual units that are operating without restrictions under exceptional levels of risk;
- a further premium for the provision of enabling capacities in high-demand and short supply.
On 10 May 2013, the General Assembly adopted resolution 67/261 which approved the conclusions and recommendations of the SAG, subject to a number of provisions.
Conduct and discipline reform
Other reforms have been introduced in the field of conduct and discipline.
At the request of the Secretary-General, the then Permanent Representative of Jordan to the UN, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, produced a sweeping strategy, known as the Zeid Report [A/59/710] . It recommended engaging troop and police contributors, other Member States and the wider UN system in a new conduct and disciplining architecture for peacekeeping.
In 2008, an UN-wide strategy for assistance to the victims of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel was adopted by the General Assembly in resolution A/RES/62/214 .