Emphasizing the importance of enhancing the safety and security of United Nations peacekeepers, the Security Council requested on 30 March 2020 that Member States which host peacekeeping missions fulfil their obligations to facilitate access and freedom of movement for the “Blue Helmets”, including casualty and medical evacuation.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2518 (2020), the Council also called on those same States to promptly investigate and effectively prosecute those responsible for attacks on United Nations personnel and to keep relevant troop- and police-contributing countries informed about the progress of such efforts.
In addition, it requested that the Secretariat instruct all peacekeeping missions to systematically document violations of status-of-forces agreements, with the leaders of those missions using such information to monitor and resolve risks to the safety and security of peacekeepers as necessary.
The 15-member Council adopted the text through a written procedure under temporary, extraordinary and provisional measures implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The result was announced during a videoconference meeting* of Council members by the representative of China, its President for March.
The United Nations currently has approximately 110,000 peacekeepers deployed in 13 missions around the world.
[In 2019, at least 27 United Nations personnel — 23 peacekeepers and 4 civilians — were killed in deliberate attacks, the United Nations Staff Union Standing Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service has reported, bringing to at least 423 the number of fatalities resulting from deliberate attacks in the last 10 years. For the sixth year in a row, in 2019, most of the attacks took place in Mali.]
Noting that peacekeepers are deployed in deteriorating and complex political and security environments, and face asymmetrical threats, the Council underscored the importance of peacekeeping missions enhancing the safety and security of peacekeepers, including through the provision of adequate medical facilities.
It requested the Secretary-General to take steps to enhance the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel, including by improving — within the limits of their respective mandates — the surveillance and monitoring capacities of each mission in order to strengthen situational awareness.
It called upon Member States and the Organization to ensure safe, enabling and gender-sensitive working environments for female peacekeepers and to address threats and violence against them. It also encouraged more partnership with the African Union and other regional and subregional organizations on the safety and security of peacekeepers.
The Council went on to call for steps to enhance operational health support, including through the establishment of well-defined practical medical standards for peacekeeping operations. It also called for improved evacuation systems for injured peacekeepers and the deployment of adequate medical facilities and qualified personnel to provide the essential “10-1-2 response” at all times.
[The “10-1-2” principle involves the provision of enhanced first aid on a casualty within 10 minutes of wounding, followed by damage-control resuscitation within one hour — but not later than two hours — after wounding.]
In addition, the Council requested the Secretary-General to review and ensure uniformity of United Nations standards on training and performance, thereby improving the safety and security of peacekeepers, and called upon Member States to help enhance training for peacekeepers, including in such areas as countering improvised explosive devices and basic first aid.
* Based on information received from the Security Council Affairs Division.