May 2011 Monthly Forecast


Peacebuilding: Civilian Capacity Review

Expected Council Action
Jean-Marie Guéhenno, former head of UN peacekeeping, is expected to brief the Council on the independent review of UN civilian capacity for deployment in the immediate aftermath of conflict. He chaired an independent senior advisory group which undertook the review.

Guéhenno is also scheduled to brief the General Assembly.

No formal outcome is expected from the Council at this stage.

Key Recent Developments
In May 2008, under the UK presidency, the Council considered for the first time in detail how the UN system can better deploy civilian capacity to address the stabilisation needs of countries in the immediate aftermath of conflict. In a presidential statement, the Council stressed the essential role of rapidly deployable civilian expertise, particularly working in close cooperation with national authorities in helping to meet the urgent needs of countries in the two years following the end of conflict, including: re-establishing government institutions, rule of law and respect for human rights; disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of armed forces; transitional justice; reconciliation; and economic revitalisation.

The Council requested a report from the Secretary-General on how to support national efforts in affected countries to secure a sustainable peace more rapidly and effectively, including in the areas of coordination, civilian deployment capabilities and financing.

The Secretary-General produced this report in June 2009. He recommended a review be undertaken to analyse how the UN and the international community can broaden and deepen the pool of civilian experts to support the immediate capacity- development needs of countries emerging from conflict. In a presidential statement following a subsequent Council debate in July 2009, the Council welcomed this recommendation. The Council has since referred to the review—looking forward to its release—in three further presidential statements, most recently following its debate on post-conflict institution-building in January 2011.

In March 2010, the Secretary-General appointed an independent senior advisory group to undertake the review. The group, chaired by Jean-Marie Guéhenno, published its report in February 2011, both as a Council and as a General Assembly document. The Secretary-General subsequently formed a steering committee, led by the head of the Department of Field Support, Susana Malcorra, to provide senior-level strategic oversight, views and advice to the Secretary-General on follow-up and implementation of the review.

The focus of the review is to determine how the UN can better support and enable national capacities in a post-conflict period when communities face critical capacity shortages. The review makes recommendations within a framework it calls “OPEN”— ownership, partnership, expertise and nimbleness—seeking to:

Key Issues
The key issue for the Council will be how to draw upon the review’s relevant recommendations as it considers the planning and design of mandates for peace operations. However, many recommendations of the review call for structural change to UN management and funding structures that are the responsibility of the General Assembly.

While this review is independent and member states are awaiting specific implementation proposals from the Secretary-General, the Council could reflect some elements of the review in its planning for a new UN mission in South Sudan—or when renewing or reconsidering existing mandates.

The Council could also establish a coordinator for this issue with a mandate to maintain regular contact with the President of the General Assembly, or any future facilitators appointed by him to consider the report in the General Assembly, so as to coordinate responses.

Council Dynamics
Most Council members seem to consider the briefing in May as the start of the process of considering the review and look forward to the formal views of the Secretary-General. Most see the review as fitting into several longer-term reform measures in the General Assembly, such as the ongoing work to reform the UN human-resources system, as well as indicating new areas of possible reform. Although the Council initiated the review, many Council members will want to encourage constructive reactions in the General Assembly.

At this early stage, few Council members seem to have analysed the implications of the review in depth. The first impression of many members is positive with many identifying strengthening civilian capacity as a priority. Many members note that the review contains principles that they support.

UN Documents

Seected Letter

  • A/65/747-S/2011/85 (18 February 2011) was from the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the independent review on civilian capacity in the aftermath of conflict.

Security Council Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2011/2 (21 January 2011) was on post-conflict recovery: institution building.
  • S/PRST/2010/20 (13 October 2010) was on post-conflict peacebuilding.
  • S/PRST/2010/18 (23 September 2010) was on maintenance of international peace and security.
  • S/PRST/2010/7 (16 April 2010) was on post-conflict peacebuilding.
  • S/PRST/2009/23 (22 July 2009) was on post-conflict peacebuilding.
  • S/PRST/2008/16 (20 May 2008) was on post-conflict peacebuilding.

Selected Reports of the Secretary-General

  • S/2010/386 (16 July 2010) was on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict.
  • S/2009/304 (11 June 2009) was on peacebuilding in the immediate aftermath of conflict, in which a review of civilian capacities was recommended.

Other Relevant Facts

Senior Advisory Group

  • Jean-Marie Guéhenno (France), former Under Secretary-General of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (Chair)
  • Rubem Cesar Fernandes (Brazil), Executive Director, Viva Rio
  • Ameerah Haq (Bangladesh), Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste
  • Bruce Jones (US), Director of the New York University Center on International Cooperation
  • Marjon Kamara (Liberia), Permanent Representative of Liberia to the UN
  • Carlos Lopes (Guinea-Bissau), Executive Director of the UN Institute for Training and Research
  • Catherine Pollard (Guyana), UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management
  • Michael von der Schulenburg (Germany), Executive Representative of the Secretary-General for Sierra Leone
  • Mitra Vasisht (India), former Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs

Full forecast