November 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 October 2010
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PEACEMAKING, PEACEKEEPING AND PEACEBUILDING

Peacekeeping

Expected Council Action
In late November members of the Council are expected to hold consultations on peacekeeping, including briefings from the DPKO and DFS. Following the August 2009 presidential statement on peacekeeping, which encouraged regular discussions on peacekeeping with the field support and peacekeeping departments, the Council has held quarterly meetings on peacekeeping. The November discussion is likely to focus on overlap between peacebuilding and peacekeeping.

The Working Group on Peacekeeping may also take up this issue. A report from NYU’s Center on International Cooperation analysing peacebuilding tasks that have been undertaken by peacekeeping missions over the years is expected to help inform its discussions.

Also likely in November is a closed meeting with troop-contributing countries (TCCs) to discuss UNMIS. It will be an important working methods development and could involve a briefing from DPKO and the UNMIS Force and Police Commanders by video-link. This is expected to be an interactive session conducted in a question and answer format, giving TCCs a chance to meet independently from mandate renewal schedule and bring up issues related to the current situation as well as the upcoming referenda.

Neither meeting is expected to result in a formal outcome from the Council.

Key Recent Developments
On 23 September the Council held a summit meeting on the maintenance of international peace and security initiated by Turkey. The meeting was attended by nine heads of state and government and six cabinet members. At the end of the meeting, a presidential statement reaffirmed the need for a more comprehensive and coherent approach toward international peace and security. Members also pledged to adapt preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding to changing circumstances, acknowledging that the relationship between these tools was not always sequential and that it was necessary to use them in a comprehensive, integrated and flexible manner. Other areas that were stressed included the importance of addressing the root causes of conflict and strengthening strategic partnerships with regional and subregional organisations and other relevant players.

On 6 August, under the Russian presidency, the Council met with Alain Le Roy, the Under-Secretary-General for peackeeping and the force commanders from the UN Mission in Liberia, the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti and the head of mission and chief of staff of the UN Truce Supervision Organisation. This was part of the quarterly series of peacekeeping discussions initiated following the August 2009 presidential statement. Bangladesh, Canada, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, and the Republic of Korea also participated in the debate. Le Roy spoke about how peacekeeping had reached a plateau and said that the focus was now on consolidation and accelerating reform. The force commanders provided information on developments in their missions, details about deployment, the challenges faced and the resources needed to carry out their mandates. Force commanders from other missions were available to answer questions.

The first progress report by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) on the New Horizon initiative was published in October. It covered the consultation process and activities undertaken by DPKO and the Department of Field Support (DFS) over the last year, as well as progress on the peacekeeping reform agenda set out by the Secretary-General in his report to the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34). The report noted that following a surge in peacekeeping, which peaked with a historically high level of deployments in 2010, UN peacekeeping may be headed toward a period of consolidation. Areas of focus now include transition towards exit, the peacekeeping-peacebuilding nexus and capability challenges.

Also in October, DPKO and DFS circulated an informal paper entitled “Peacekeeping and Peacebuilidng: Clarifying the Nexus”. The aim of the paper was to clarify the priorities and sequencing of early peacebuilding tasks in the post-conflict peacekeeping context. The paper identified three primary roles of peacekeepers as early peacebuilders: articulating peacebuilding priorities; enabling the implementation of peacebuilding; and implementing early peacebuilding tasks.

The Working Group on Peacekeeping was briefed by Ameerah Haq, the Secretary-General’s Representative in Timor-Leste on 22 October. Among the areas discussed were capability gaps and transition strategies related to the UN Mission in Timor-Leste.

Key Issues
An issue for the Council is how to carry forward the September high-level consensus into mutual lessons for formulating early peacebuilding tasks during the peacekeeping phase.

A related issue is how to go beyond the discussion of the overlapping roles of peacekeeping and peacebuilding to understanding how this translates into reality on the ground.

Also an issue is to tackle the connected issue of Council working methods relating to peacebuilding. The recent report on the review of the peacebuilding architecture recommended various changes in Council working methods relevant to the PBC when peacekeeping mandates are being established, reviewed or approaching a drawdown.

An issue for discussions with the TCCs will be whether the November TCC format promotes substantive interactive discussions.

Options
The most likely option for both peacekeeping meetings is holding an interactive discussion without any formal action.

Other options which could be considered by Council members in informal consultations are:

  • whether the Working Group on Peacekeeping should take up the issue of inter-linked areas of conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding;
  • the Council’s response to the peacebuilding commission architecture review including the proposal to allow for consultations with bodies such as the PBC ahead of mandate renewal and establishment of new mandates.
  • regular informal interactive meetings with TCCs ahead of major events that could affect a mission’s mandate; and
  • addressing the difficulty of getting more information about actual needs on the ground well ahead of mandate renewals, including through the use of video links.

Council Dynamics
Overall, members have shown increased interest in 2009 and 2010 in discussing peacekeeping issues. There have been four peacekeeping debates, three on peacebuilding and one summit covering these areas. All the permanent members have initiated discussions on peacekeeping in some form, as have a number of elected members.

Most members have found the regular peacekeeping consultations useful and are open to having a discussion with the Secretariat in November. There is also some agreement that providing the Secretariat with questions on areas of interest has led to more productive discussions.

However, there are differences among Council members over specific issues like the financing of peacekeeping, filling the capacity gaps and the use of benchmarking. Some members, feeling the strain of the global financial crisis, are reluctant to take on greater financial commitments while others, such as the African countries, would like to see greater financial commitments from the UN toward regional and subregional actors.

Elected members—including Japan, Turkey and Uganda, which all leave the Council at the end of 2010—have played an active role in shaping the Council’s peacekeeping agenda over the last two years. Others, such as Austria, have brought the issue of protection of civilians within peacekeeping to the forefront of peacekeeping issues. The combination of important TCCs such as India, Brazil, South Africa and Nigeria on the Council in 2011 may result in a greater focus on TCC issues.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1645 (20 December 2005) created the PBC and the Peacebuilding Fund.
  • S/RES/1327 (13 November 2000) adopted the decisions and recommendations of the report of the Panel on UN Peace Operations.
  • S/RES/1318 (7 September 2000) contained the Millennium Summit Declaration on maintaining peace and security, especially in Africa.
  • S/RES/1353 (13 June 2001) contained a statement of cooperation and categories of consultation with TCCs.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2010/18 (23 September 2010) reaffirmed the Council’s primary responsibility to the maintenance of international peace and security and the need for a more comprehensive and concerted approach.
  • S/PRST/2010/2 (12 February 2010) focused on peacekeeping exit and transition strategies.
  • S/PRST/2009/24 (5 August 2009) set out future areas for improvement in peacekeeping.
  • S/PRST/2009/23 (22 July 2009) emphasised the vital role of the UN in post-conflict peacebuilding.
  • S/PRST/2001/5 (20 February 2001) reiterated the value of including peacebuilding elements in mandates of peacekeeping operations.

Selected Meeting Records

Other

  • A/64/573 (22 December 2009) was the Secretary-General’s report on implementation of the recommendations of the C34.


Additional Useful Sources

 

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