Peacekeeping and Inter-Mission Cooperation
Expected Council Action
At the initiative of Morocco, the Council is expected to hold a meeting in December on inter-mission cooperation among UN peacekeeping operations. The Under-Secretaries-General for Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support, Hervé Ladsous and Ameerah Haq, are scheduled to brief. It is possible that the Council will adopt a presidential statement.
In preparation the Council’s Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations, which is chaired by Morocco, is expected to hold a meeting on inter-mission cooperation in early December. Morocco will also circulate a concept note on key issues for consideration.
Background and Key Recent Developments
The Council has long encouraged greater inter-mission cooperation between UN peacekeeping operations. A more formalised approach was first developed in West Africa. In a 25 March 2004 presidential statement (S/PRST/2004/7), the Council encouraged greater coordination between the peacekeeping operations in the region and welcomed further recommendations from the Secretary-General in this regard.
In a 2 March 2005 report (S/2005/135), the Secretary-General presented detailed recommendations on how to facilitate inter-mission cooperation among the UN Missions in Sierra Leone and Liberia and the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNAMSIL, UNMIL and UNOCI, respectively), including such measures as establishing a subregional reserve force, sharing air assets, establishing integrated joint mission analysis cells and harmonising disarmament programmes. The report also emphasised the Council’s role in adjusting mission mandates to allow cross-border operations. Subsequently, in resolution 1609 adopted on 24 June 2005, the Council authorised the temporary redeployment of personnel among UNMIL, UNAMSIL and UNOCI “to deal with challenges which cannot be handled within the authorised personnel ceiling of a given mission” and authorised the Secretary-General to implement the recommendations presented in his report.
Following these first discussions, the Council has continued to mandate or encourage inter-mission cooperation in West Africa, including a temporary redeployment from UNMIL to UNOCI authorised by resolution 1951 on 24 November 2010 to strengthen UN peacekeeping capacity in Côte d’Ivoire in response to security concerns following the 31 October first round of presidential elections. Inter-mission cooperation was also part of the focus of a Council visit to Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone from 19 to 23 May 2012. One of its objectives was to assess and encourage the use of inter-mission cooperation between UNOCI and UNMIL. Subsequently, in resolution 2061 renewing UNOCI on 26 July, the Council requested the Secretary-General to present options on how to reinforce inter-mission cooperation.
Examples of similar Council action in other regions in Africa include resolution 1650 adopted on 21 December 2005 authorising a temporary deployment between the UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB) and the then UN Organisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC). The Council has also encouraged greater cooperation between the various missions in Sudan and, more recently, South Sudan, as well as the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
In addition, the Council has called for inter-mission cooperation specifically to address the threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Most recently, on 27 June, resolution 2053 encouraged MONUSCO to coordinate closely with UN missions across the LRA-affected region to help advance the UN regional strategy to address the LRA.
Despite the apparent greater emphasis on inter-mission cooperation at the country-specific level, there has been little focus on this issue in the Council’s thematic discussions on peacekeeping. The most recent debates and presidential statements on peacekeeping have focused on transition and exit strategies and integrating peacebuilding activities into mandates.
Discussions about inter-mission cooperation have taken place, however, in the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations and in the General Assembly. The most recent report from the latter’s Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations notes recent advances in inter-mission cooperation and encourages the Secretariat, in consultation with troop-contributing countries (TCCs) “to explore all opportunities and challenges for inter-mission cooperation for consideration by the Security Council.” Also, briefing the General Assembly’s Fourth Committee on 1 November, Ladsous said the UN had expanded inter-mission cooperation and noted that this had allowed a more optimal use of scarce assets and had helped provide additional short-term capacity in times of crisis or the build-up of a new mission.
A key issue for the Council is what kind of inter-mission cooperation can best contribute to more effective UN peacekeeping and better utilisation of resources.
Another key issue is what additional measures could be taken to facilitate such cooperation, in particular regarding legal and financial implications, and whether a more standardised approach might be helpful.
A related issue is what lessons can be learned from past experiences.
Another key issue is what the Council’s role should be in promoting inter-mission cooperation.
A further issue is whether existing coordinating mechanisms such as the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) and the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) should play a greater role in promoting inter-mission cooperation.
The main option for the Council is to adopt a presidential statement that encourages further efforts to strengthen inter-mission cooperation and streamline procedures. It could call for the implementation of specific measures in areas such as sharing of assets and personnel, border control and implementation of regional strategies, while recognising the important role played by TCCs and the need for them to be consulted. In addition, it could request the Secretary-General to produce further recommendations and more detailed proposals on ways to improve cooperation.
Council and Broader Dynamics
In addition to chairing of the Working Group on Peacekeeping, Morocco plays an active role in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations as a significant troop contributor. Its initiative on inter-mission cooperation seems to be motivated at least partially by a realisation that such cooperation is becoming increasingly important as a tool to ensure better utilisation of limited resources in an environment characterised by fiscal constraint.
While there seems to be general agreement on the value of greater inter-mission cooperation and that more can be done, some, most notably certain major TCCs, are more cautious than others. Views also sometimes differ over specific areas of cooperation. Among TCCs, there seems to be support for the sharing of military assets, whereas redeployment of troops between missions is seen as more problematic because of past experience in specific cases, such as in West Africa, where there seems to have been problems with inadequate logistical support for the redeployment. TCCs also seem concerned about any potential additional burden on their troops if the redeployment involves two missions where there are significant differences between the mandates.
UN Documents on Inter-mission Cooperation
|Security Council Resolutions|
|26 July 2012 S/RES/2062||was the latest mandate renewal for UNOCI.|
|27 June 2012 S/RES/2053||was the latest mandate renewal for MONUSCO.|
|24 November 2010 S/RES/1951||authorised the Secretary-General a temporarily redeployment from UNMIL to UNOCI.|
|21 December 2005 S/RES/1650||authorised a temporary deployment between ONUB and MONUC.|
|24 June 2005 S/RES/1609||authorised the temporary redeployment of personnel among UNMIL, UNAMSIL and UNOCI.|
|Security Council Presidential Statement|
|25 March 2004 S/PRST/2004/7||considered cross-border and subregional problems in West Africa.|
|2 March 2005 S/2005/135||presented detailed recommendations on how to facilitate inter-mission cooperation in West Africa.|
|11 September 2012 A/66/19||was the report from the 2012 session of the General Assembly’s Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.|
|18 May 2012 S/2012/344||contained the terms of reference for the Security Council mission to West Africa, from 18 to 24 May 2012.|