November 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 October 2011
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Expected Council Action 
In November, the Council is expected to hold consultations on peacekeeping that will include briefings from Hervé Ladsous, Head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), and a high-level official from the Department of Field Support (DFS). The role of peacekeepers in early peacebuilding will likely be the focus of the meeting. No formal outcome is anticipated. 

Key Recent Developments
Earlier this year, DPKO/DFS prepared a strategy for peacekeepers entitled “The Contribution of United Nations Peacekeeping to Early Peacebuilding: A DPKO/DFS Strategy for Peackeepers”. The strategy has been circulated to the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34) and the Peacebuilding Commission Organisational Committee. It is designed to offer guidance to UN peacekeepers with respect to prioritising, sequencing and planning early peacebuilding activities. The strategy underscores the importance of prioritising activities that foster security, promote the political goals of the mission and nurture the peace process. It also notes the importance of developing key national capacities and emphasises that the appropriate sequencing of activities depends on the context.  

On 26 August, during the Indian presidency, the Council held a debate on UN peacekeeping operations. At the meeting, it adopted a presidential statement in which it committed to enhanced consideration of early peacebuilding activities in the mandates and structure of peacekeeping operations. Additionally, the statement noted the importance of incorporating the expertise and experience of mission personnel into peacebuilding strategies. 

 On 27 July, during the German presidency, the Council received a briefing from force commanders from the AU-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur, the UN Organisation Stablisation Mission in the DRC, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon and the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). During the meeting, Maj. Gen. Muhammad Khalid, the force commander of UNMIL, underscored the role of military personnel in peacekeeping operations as early peacebuilders. In particular, he enumerated the various ways in which the military elements of a mission can contribute to early peacebuilding, including inter alia:

  • providing security to enable political processes, including elections and referenda, to unfold in a safe environment;
  • helping to build local police and military capacity;
  • fighting organised crime;
  • helping to restore infrastructure; and
  • providing logistical support to other partners conducting peacebuilding activities.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council is taking the discussions during November’s consultations—as well as during these periodic consultations more broadly—beyond what has already been covered and possibly initiating a dialogue on the concrete impact they could have on specific cases. 

An important and related issue is whether the DPKO/DFS strategy will be discussed in the consultations and how elements of it can be incorporated into the way the Council crafts mandates for peace operations.  

A key issue is ensuring that adequate funds for peacekeeping exist so that peacekeepers have the resources to effectively conduct peacebuilding tasks. The high cost of UN peacekeeping is of particular concern to some Council members in the context of the difficult global financial environment. (While the UN peacekeeping budget declined this year, it has moved upward significantly over the past several years. Additionally, the complexity of tasks required of peacekeepers remains a significant operational challenge, as shown in UN peace operations in the DRC, Sudan, South Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire and elsewhere.)  

Another important issue is how peacebuilding activities conducted in the context of peacekeeping missions spark recovery without undermining the development of national capacities. 

A related issue is how to promote coordination and coherence among the host government and local non-governmental actors, UN peacekeepers and other international actors engaged in peacebuilding activities. 

One option is for the Council to engage with the Secretariat in consultations without any outcome at this time. 

Other possible options include:

  • requesting in a statement more detailed information from the Secretariat on the challenges of implementing mandated peacebuilding tasks in the context of peacekeeping operations and strategies for addressing those challenges;
  • asking the Working Group on Peacekeeping to produce case studies that explore best practices and lessons learned regarding the role of peackeepers as early peacebuilders; and   
  • using the discussion as a springboard for how to engage meaningfully with the g7+ group of nations on integrating peacebuilding activities into peacekeeping missions. (It should be noted that most of the members of this group—which was formed to prevent conflict and improve conditions in fragile and post-conflict states through more productive north-south and south-south collaborations—consists of many countries on the Council’s agenda, including Afghanistan, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Southern Sudan and Timor-Leste.)

Council Dynamics
There is broad agreement in the Council about the linkages between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, a theme highlighted by most Council members during the peacekeeping debate in August.  Many Council members believe that peacekeeping operations need to form a solid foundation for longer-term economic and social development.  However, there appear to be differences in the Council regarding how extensively engaged peacekeepers should be in peacebuilding activities. For example, Russia has said that peacekeepers should only perform early recovery and initial peacebuilding tasks, while others, such as Lebanon, seem to have a more expansive view of the role of peacekeepers as early peacebuilders.   

Some members, notably India, believe that peacekeeping operations are often not equipped with adequate resources to implement increasingly complex mandates, including, for example, early peacebuilding tasks.  

UN Documents

Security Council Resolution

  • S/RES/1327 (13 November 2000) adopted the decisions and recommendations of the report of the Panel on UN Peace Operations.

Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2011/17 (26 August 2011) expressed the Council’s commitment to enhanced consideration of early peacebuilding activities in the mandates and structure of peacekeeping operations. 
  • S/PRST/2011/4 (11 February 2011) noted the importance of considering peacebuilding activities from the early planning and implementation stages of peacekeeping operations.  
  • S/PRST/2010/2 (12 February 2010) focused on peacekeeping exit and transition strategies. 

Meeting Records

  • S/PV.6603 and Resumption 1 (26 August 2011) was the council’s most recent debate on peacekeeping. 
  • S/PV.6592 (27 July 2011) was a Council debate that included briefings by several force commanders. 
  • S/PV.6479 and resumption 1 (11 February 2011) was the Council debate on the interdependence between security and development.
  • S/PV.6389 (23 September 2010) was the Council summit meeting on peace and security.


Full forecast