The Security Council today adopted a resolution aimed at enhancing the performance of peacekeeping personnel at all levels, both at Headquarters and in the field, stressing the need to improve posture, behaviour, leadership, initiative and accountability while effectively promoting international peace and security.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2436 (2018), the Council called upon the Secretary-General to ensure that United Nations peacekeeping missions have capable and accountable leadership. It requested that he include — in his reports to the Council on individual peacekeeping operations — a summary of actions taken to improve mission performance and address performance challenges, including lapses in leadership, national caveats that negatively impact the effective implementation of mandates and demanding operational environments.
The Council expressed concern about allegations of sexual harassment in peacekeeping operations and affirmed its support for the Secretary-General’s zero‑tolerance policy on all forms of sexual harassment. It urged all troop- and police-contributing countries to meet United Nations performance standards for personnel, training and equipping, and to support the effective implementation of mandated tasks while maintaining the highest standards of conduct. It further urged all civilian mission components and Secretariat staff supporting peacekeeping operations to meet performance standards and comply with staff regulations.
Following the adoption, Council members shared their views, with Wu Haitao (China) stressing that improving performance requires cooperation and due regard for troop-contributing countries. The Council must play its part in ensuring that a mission was adequately resourced.
Lise Gregoire Van Haaren (Netherlands), citing the escalating challenges facing peacekeeping operations around the world, welcomed the resolution’s particular focus on innovative force generation and fostering a “culture change” in order to combat sexual exploitation and abuse. “We must continue to learn from lessons, both positive and negative,” she said, welcoming the Council’s unity on that important issue.
However, Dmitry A. Polyanskiy (Russian Federation) recalled that, at a certain point during the negotiations, the Council was almost ready to abandon its unity on the text, yet the willingness of delegations to listen – and hear – the opinions of a broad range of stakeholders won out, leading to its successful adoption by consensus. “Where there is will, the Council is able to find consensus on the most seemingly difficult issues,” he noted, calling for the same approach to other critical matters on its agenda. Concerning the protection of “blue helmets” and making their work more effective, he emphasized that simplified solutions — including constant strengthening of mandate robustness — will not lead to sustainable solutions. Member States should continue to seek broad-based consensus, and host States must be included in the discussions.
Taye Atske Selassie Amde (Ethiopia) said negotiations were not easy, but flexibility on the part of all delegations ultimately led to success. The resolution will help to guide United Nations peacekeeping going forward. Welcoming the text’s focus on transparency and accountability, he stressed that “performance failure by a few should not tarnish the accomplishments of many”.
Nikki R. Haley (United States), which holds the Council presidency for September, spoke in her national capacity, underlining that the resolution creates real accountability measures and applies objective criteria to match the right team with the right mission. It will foster more trust in the civilian‑protection role of the United Nations, she added.
The meeting began at 3:08 p.m. and ended at 3:24 p.m.
The full text of resolution 2436 (2018) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and bearing in mind its primary responsibility under the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security,
“Recalling its previous relevant resolutions and presidential statements addressing issues of peacekeeping,
“Underscoring the importance of peacekeeping as one of the most effective tools available to the United Nations in the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security,
“Reaffirming the basic principles of peacekeeping, such as consent of the parties, impartiality, and non-use of force, except in self-defence and defence of the mandate, and recognizing that the mandate of each peacekeeping operation is specific to the needs of the situation concerned and underlining that the mandates that it authorizes are consistent with the basic principles, and reiterating that the Security Council expects full delivery of the mandates it authorizes,
“Commending the commitment of troop- and police-contributing countries and the sacrifices of uniformed and civilian personnel in implementing United Nations peacekeeping mandates in challenging environments, and reaffirming that the sustained commitment to operating in challenging environments is crucial for a peacekeeping mission’s success and full implementation of all peacekeeping mandates,
“Expressing grave concern about the security threats and targeted attacks against United Nations peacekeepers in many peacekeeping missions that constitute a major challenge to United Nations peacekeeping operations, and condemns in the strongest terms killing of and all acts of violence against United Nations personnel, which may constitute war crimes,
“Honouring the heroic work of tens of thousands of United Nations uniformed and civilian peacekeeping personnel, underscoring that the United Nations should not let the performance failures of a few tarnish the achievements of the whole,
“Welcoming efforts undertaken by the Secretary-General to mobilize all partners and stakeholders in support of more effective United Nations peacekeeping through his initiative ‘Action for Peacekeeping’, to include advancing political solutions, strengthening protection of civilians, improving the safety and security of peacekeepers, supporting effective performance and accountability, strengthening the impact of peacekeeping on sustaining peace, improving peacekeeping partnerships, and strengthening the conduct of peacekeeping operations and personnel,
“Recalling the report on ‘Improving Security of United Nations Peacekeepers’, which highlights the link between the safety and security of peacekeepers and performance, and its plan of action, and recognizing that deficiencies in training, equipment and performance can increase risks to the safety and security of peacekeepers, including leading to increased risk of fatalities,
“Underscoring the need to enhance the overall effectiveness and efficiency of United Nations peacekeeping through improved integrated mission planning, including threat assessments of violence against civilians and United Nations personnel, increasing the numbers and fulfilment of pledges of capabilities and enablers, and increasing overall mission performance,
“Recognizing that realistic mandates and adequately resourced missions, deployed uniformed and civilian peacekeeping personnel that are willing, capable and equipped to effectively and safely implement their mandate, and strong leadership at all levels, including mission leadership, are essential to peacekeeping performance,
“Stressing the importance of identifying gaps that have an impact on mandate delivery, improving provision of support services to field personnel, addressing systemic issues, and making recommendations on incorporation of lessons learned and best practices, in close cooperation with troop- and police-contributing countries and senior leadership, both in the field and at Headquarters,
“Underscoring the link between performance and safety and security of uniformed and civilian peacekeeping personnel and recognizing that institutionalizing a culture of performance in United Nations peacekeeping will contribute to better delivery of peacekeeping mandates, as well as lead to improvements in the safety and security of peacekeepers,
“Acknowledging the importance of data to inform objective decision-making to improve the performance of United Nations peacekeeping, taking into account the unique conditions of individual missions, and recalling resolutions 2378 (2017) and 2382 (2017) and their request of the Secretary-General to ensure that data related to the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations, including peacekeeping performance data, is used to improve analytics and the evaluation of mission operations, based on clear and well identified benchmarks for mandate implementation and emphasizing the need to regularly review all peacekeeping operations, and welcoming the work already initiated by the Secretariat in the setting up of a comprehensive and integrated performance policy framework measuring performance based on data collection and analysis,
“Recalling the importance of the role of United Nations peacekeeping operations in protecting civilians, where mandated, and expressing strong concern regarding continued instances of underperformance, including, inter alia, inaction in the face of, in particular, imminent threats of physical violence against civilians, insufficient contingency planning to react to violence, conduct and discipline issues, risk averse leadership, lax force protection standards, inadequate operational readiness and preparedness, and inadequate integrated planning, and also noting with concern instances in which national caveats may have a detrimental effect on mandate implementation and performance,
“Encouraging further coordination between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations on strengthening peacekeeping performance,
“Welcoming the contribution of peacekeeping operations to a comprehensive strategy for sustaining peace, and noting with appreciation the contributions that peacekeepers and peacekeeping missions make to peacebuilding,
“Expressing deep concern about the serious and continuous allegations and underreporting of sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations peacekeepers and non-United Nations forces authorized under a Security Council mandate, including military, civilian and police personnel, and underscoring that sexual exploitation and abuse, among other crimes and forms of serious misconduct, by any such personnel is unacceptable, and commending the troop- and police-contributing countries that have taken steps to prevent, investigate and hold accountable their personnel for acts of sexual exploitation and abuse;
“Recalling its resolution 2242 (2015), recognizing the indispensable role of women in United Nations peacekeeping and welcoming efforts to incentivise greater numbers of women in military, police and civilians deployed in United Nations peacekeeping operations, and noting the importance of increasing the number of women in leadership, and of ensuring that the needs and participation of women are integrated in all stages of mission planning and implementation through the inclusion of appropriate gender technical expertise,
“Taking into account its critical role in strengthening United Nations peacekeeping and stressing the importance of effectively promoting international peace and security, and that posture, behaviour, leadership, initiative and accountability need to improve at all levels both at Headquarters and in the field,
“1. Reaffirms its support for the development of a comprehensive and integrated performance policy framework that identifies clear standards of performance for evaluating all United Nations civilian and uniformed personnel working in and supporting peacekeeping operations that facilitates effective and full implementation of mandates, and includes comprehensive and objective methodologies based on clear and well defined benchmarks to ensure accountability for underperformance and incentives and recognition for outstanding performance, including, inter alia, innovative and effective training, exceeding operational standards, delivery of key enabling capacities, excellence in the provision of mission support functions, demonstrated progress in mandate delivery, and committed and proactive leadership, and that specifies measures for performance accountability that include a range of responses proportionate to the identified performance failures, including, as appropriate, transparent public reporting, withholding reimbursement, and repatriating or replacing units, including the possibility of replacement by units from another troop- or police-contributing country from the Peacekeeping Capabilities Readiness System, as well as revocation of delegated authorities, performance improvement plans, training, change of duties, or dismissal or non-renewal of contracts for civilian personnel;
“2. Recognizes that the effective implementation of peacekeeping mandates is the responsibility of all stakeholders and is contingent upon several critical factors, including well-defined, realistic and achievable mandates, political will, leadership, performance and accountability at all levels, adequate resources, policy, planning, and operational guidelines, and training and equipment;
“3. Urges all troop- and police-contributing countries to meet United Nations performance standards for personnel, training, and equipping, and to support the effective implementation of mandated tasks while maintaining the highest standards of conduct, further urges all civilian mission components and Secretariat staff supporting peacekeeping operations to meet performance standards and comply with staff regulations, notes the efforts of the Secretary-General to develop a comprehensive performance assessment system to help troop- and police-contributing countries meet United Nations performance standards, and calls upon all stakeholders to support these efforts;
“4. Reaffirms the importance of adhering to the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy in providing United Nations peacekeeping-related support to non-United Nations security forces in line with the Charter of the United Nations;
“5. Recognizes the need for enablers to bolster peacekeeping performance and calls on the Secretary-General to continue efforts to ensure that United Nations peacekeeping missions have effective operational command and control architectures, necessary, capable and efficient enablers including airlift, medical and casualty evacuation, and adequate medical support facilities and qualified personnel;
“6. Emphasizes the primary responsibility of host countries for the protection of civilians, and affirms the need for peacekeeping missions with a mandate that includes the protection of civilians to ensure full mandate implementation, and underlines that where mandated, peacekeepers are authorized to use all necessary means, which includes the use of force when required, in order to protect civilians under threat of physical violence, in accordance with mission mandates, the United Nations Charter and other applicable international law, and stresses the importance of continued and further engagement by senior mission leadership, with a view to ensuring that all mission components and all levels of the chain of command are properly informed of, trained for, and involved in the mission’s protection of civilians mandate and their relevant responsibilities;
“7. Recognizes the role of United Nations peacekeeping operations in the protection of women and children, and the crucial role of protection-related personnel such as women protection advisers and child protection advisers in mainstreaming of protection and leading monitoring, prevention, and reporting efforts in missions;
“8. Calls on the Secretary-General to ensure United Nations peacekeeping missions have capable and accountable leadership, including through improving transparent selection processes that are based on merit, competence, and the needs of the mission, improving training and mentoring programs for selected and prospective leadership, and developing a cadre of experienced future candidates for senior leadership positions, and recalls that the paramount consideration in this regard shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity, and that due regard shall be paid to the importance of recruiting on as wide a geographical basis as possible;
“9. Welcomes the commitment of Member States to support improved training and capacity building activities to strengthen peacekeeping, including, inter alia, predeployment training and assessments, triangular partnerships, co-deployments, and smart pledging, and encourages further activities in this regard, and welcomes the Secretary-General’s commitment to implement a light coordination mechanism, within existing resources, to facilitate improved training and capacity building activities between Member States, to include troop- and police-contributing countries, providers of training and capacity‑building, and the United Nations, and encourages this mechanism to be made operational as soon as possible, and further encourages Member States to engage with this mechanism;
“10. Welcomes initiatives of the Secretary-General to conduct Special Investigations into issues related to the performance of troop, police and civilian personnel, including with regard to protection of civilians, and requests the Secretary-General to act with urgency to initiate these Special Investigations into alleged instances of significant performance failures and underlines the importance of improving the methodology of the investigations and transparency of the findings of such investigations, as well as the potential of these Special Investigations to facilitate further engagement and dialogue between the United Nations, troop- and police-contributing countries, and other relevant stakeholders to improve performance and inform decisions regarding mandate design;
“11. Requests the Secretary-General to provide detailed reporting on the findings and implementation plans of Special Investigations to the Security Council and relevant Member States, as appropriate, to include recommendations to address all factors contributing to any identified failures, as well as accountability measures, as appropriate, for uniformed and civilian components, including mission leadership and mission support personnel, including, as appropriate, remedial training and repatriation or dismissal of personnel;
“12. Requests the Secretary-General to ensure that decisions to recognize and incentivize outstanding performance and decisions regarding deployment, remediation, training, withholding of financial reimbursement, and repatriation of uniformed or dismissal of civilian personnel, are predicated on objective performance data, and calls for greater utilization of the Peacekeeping Capabilities Readiness System to ensure the recruitment and retention of qualified uniformed personnel, and further calls on the Secretary-General to continue his efforts to improve analytics and evaluation of mission operations through implementation of the Operational Readiness Assurance and Performance Improvement Policy and commensurate policies for police in peacekeeping missions;
“13. Welcomes the Secretary-General’s initiative to undertake regular strategic reviews of peacekeeping missions, including those at the request of the Security Council, and requests the Secretary-General to ensure relevant findings of future Secretary-General commissioned reviews are shared with the Security Council and, as appropriate, relevant Member States, alongside the Secretary-General’s integrated analysis, strategic assessment and frank advice;
“14. Requests the Secretary-General to include in reports to the Security Council on individual peacekeeping operations, a summary of actions taken to improve mission performance and address performance challenges including lapses in leadership, national caveats that negatively affect mandate implementation effectiveness, and demanding operational environments, as well as any actions taken in line with paragraph 12 above;
“15. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on instances of outstanding performance in order to highlight best practices and promote their widespread adoption, and encourages the Secretary-General to apply risk and enabling premiums to eligible troop- and police-contributing countries, and to advance public recognition of outstanding performance, including to raise awareness of the importance of peacekeeping in the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security, as well as of the significance and sacrifice of peacekeepers and troop- and police-contributing countries;
“16. Underscores that any form of sexual exploitation and abuse is unacceptable and reaffirms its support for the United Nations zero-tolerance policy on all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse, and welcomes the Secretary-General’s victim-centred approach and the Secretary-General’s measures to strengthen the prevention, enforcement and remediation efforts against all forms of sexual misconduct, and reiterates its request to the Secretary-General to include a section on adherence to his zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse in all his reporting to the Security Council, both thematic and country-specific, and urges all troop- and police-contributing countries to redouble their efforts to take the steps necessary to vet and train their personnel and conduct investigations of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by their personnel and take appropriate steps to hold accountable those responsible, and recognizes the need to make further visible and measurable improvement on addressing sexual exploitation and abuse;
“17. Expresses concern regarding allegations of sexual harassment in peacekeeping operations, and affirms its support for the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on all forms of sexual harassment;
“18. Encourages Member States, as appropriate, to provide training to peacekeeping personnel to be deployed in United Nations peacekeeping operations on issues related to sexual violence in conflict, trafficking in persons in the context of armed conflict, and gender expertise, and to ensure that these considerations are fully integrated, as appropriate, into performance and operational readiness standards, and further encourages Member States to nominate individual military and police personnel to act as focal points on these areas;
“19. Recalls its resolution 2242 (2015) and its request that the Secretary‑General initiate, in collaboration with Member States, a revised strategy to double the numbers of women in military and police contingents of United Nations peacekeeping operations by 2020 and further requests that this strategy ensures the full, effective and meaningful participation of women in all aspects of peacekeeping, and that this revised strategy is presented to the Security Council by March 2019;
“20. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”