June 2013 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 May 2013
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Expected Council Action

The Council expects a briefing on UN peacekeeping from Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous, and force commanders Lieutenant General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz (Brazil) of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), Major General Leonard Muriuki Ngondi (Kenya) of the UN Mission in Liberia and Major General Muhammad Iqbal Asi (Pakistan) of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI). No outcome is expected following the briefing.


A similar session was held last year when the Council was briefed by Ladsous and four force commanders who shared lessons learned, laid out the challenges ahead and responded to questions raised by members (S/PV.6789).

Following a presidential statement on peacekeeping adopted in August 2009, which encouraged regular discussions on peacekeeping with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support, the Council began holding a series of quarterly consultations on peacekeeping. These covered important issues such as the nexus between peacekeeping and peacebuilding; how to write better mandates; and the need for balance between resources and mandates. The statement also called for better information-sharing on military operational challenges and more meaningful engagement with police and troop-contributing countries (TCCs). Although no formal decision was made, the frequency of these quarterly peacekeeping briefings was discontinued in November 2011.

Key Recent Developments

On 12 December 2012, Ladsous and Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Ameerah Haq briefed the Council on inter-mission cooperation between UN peacekeeping operations (S/PV.6886). Following the briefing, Council members discussed different examples of successful inter-mission cooperation arrangements as well as the critical gaps these fill.

Resolution 2086, adopted on 21 January and the first since resolution 1353 (2001) on the topic of peacekeeping, highlighted the various ways in which peacekeeping and peacebuilding overlap in multidimensional peacekeeping operations and noted the need for peacebuilding challenges to be recognised during mission assessment and planning processes.

The Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations, chaired by Pakistan, held a meeting in late February to consider the AU Mission to Somalia as the Council started preparing for the renewal of its authorisation. Although it has not adopted a programme of work, in the second half of the year, the Working Group may focus on issues that were raised by the TCCs during the UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34) discussions, such as safety and security, partnerships or more specific police and military issues.

The substantive session of the C34 ran from 19 February to 15 March. However, at press time, the C34 had not been able to agree on a final report due to differences over its format. (Neither of the previous two reports was agreed to during the substantive session, as the 2012 final report was adopted in September 2012, and the 2011 report in May 2011.)

The challenges of peacekeeping were also a key topic of the 22-23 April annual retreat of the Council with the Secretary-General which included a reflection on the traditional boundaries of peacekeeping as well as a debate on how to make mission mandates more realistic.

Key Issues

Ensuring that the peacekeeping mandates set clear tasks for the missions and their leadership is a key issue.

A related issue is enhancing the Council’s own understanding of operational challenges in peacekeeping missions.

Another issue for the Council is how best to maximise the Working Group in a way that is useful to the Council, particularly ahead of mandate renewals or setting up new missions.


Options for the Council include:

  • taking advantage of the interactivity of the format to tackle some of the challenges that the Council identified in resolution 2086;
  • agreeing to more regular briefings by relevant force commanders to the Council and the Working Group as mission mandates come up for renewal; and
  • reviving the practice of quarterly peacekeeping consultations with key Secretariat officials.
Council and Wider Dynamics

Following the adoption of resolutions 2098 extending the mandate of MONUSCO and 2100 establishing the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), peacekeeping has been the subject of important debate. Both the establishment of an intervention brigade mandated to “carry out offensive operations” to neutralise armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the robust stabilisation mandate of MINUSMA raised concerns among Council members (mainly Russia and TCCs) regarding the changes that these developments implied for the traditional doctrine of peacekeeping. In response to this, resolution 2098 indicated that the establishment of such a brigade was being done on an “exceptional basis” and resolution 2100 reaffirmed in the preamble “the basic principles of peacekeeping, including consent of the parties, impartiality, and non-use of force, except in self-defence and defence of the mandate”.

Another issue that has been raised lately among Council members has been the use of unmanned aerial systems, or drones. Beginning in July, two surveillance drones will be operational under the auspices of MONUSCO. In the last Council meeting on Côte d’Ivoire on 16 April, Côte d’Ivoire advocated for the use of drones by UNOCI to monitor the border with Liberia (S/PV.6947). Some countries, such as Russia, have shown reluctance for the use of drones by the UN, raising questions about sovereignty issues in cross-border monitoring, as well as about the ownership and access to the intelligence gathered by such aircraft.

Although most Council members see structural integration in UN missions as enhancing coordination and increasing efficiency, humanitarian actors (both UN and non-governmental) have raised concerns, as it could have a negative impact on the work of humanitarian actors and their perception as neutral, impartial and independent.


Security Council Resolutions
21 January 2013 S/RES/2086 Emphasised the relationship between peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
Security Council Presidential Statements
5 August 2009 S/PRST/2009/24 This was a presidential statement regarding integration of peacebuilding in peacekeeping missions. It highlighted the Council’s efforts to improve its dialogue with the Secretariat and TCCs/PCCs as well as requested the Secretary-General to provide in his reports on specific missions an indication of progress towards achieving a coordinated UN approach in-country, and in particular on critical gaps to achieving peacebuilding objectives alongside the mission.
Security Council Meeting Records
16 April 2013 S/PV.6947 The Council was briefed by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Edmond Mulet on the Secretary-General’s special UNOCI report.
12 December 2012 S/PV.6886 This was a briefing by the Under-Secretaries-General for Peacekeeping and Field Support on inter-mission cooperation.
20 June 2012 S/PV.6789 This was a meeting with Force Commanders from UN peacekeeping missions.


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