Expected Council Action
In May, the Council will hold an open debate on “Investing in Peace: Delivering Quality Training and Capacity Building to Improve Safety and Security and Performance of UN Peacekeepers”. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi will chair the meeting. Secretary-General António Guterres; the force commander of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), Lieutenant General Elias Rodrigues Martins Filho; and the director of the secretariat of the International Forum for the Challenges of Peace Operations, Björn Holmberg, are expected to brief.
The open debate is expected to focus on the ways in which quality training and capacity-building are crucial in the effort to improve safety, security and the performance of peacekeepers.
In late 2017, Lieutenant General (Retired) Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz led an independent review of peacekeeper fatalities resulting from hostile acts. Following this review, the Secretariat developed an action plan to improve the security of peacekeepers that identified four priority areas: changing mindsets, improving capacity, adopting a threat-oriented and risk management-focused footprint, and enhancing accountability.
The September 2018 Declaration of Shared Commitments on UN Peacekeeping Operations, endorsed by 151 member states and four regional organisations, recognised the importance of training for performance and for safety and security. The Declaration included a commitment by member states to provide well-trained and well-equipped uniformed personnel and to support the effective development and delivery of peacekeeping training, including pre-deployment preparation of personnel and capabilities, and the existing human rights screening policy. Member states expressed support for “a light coordination mechanism related to training and capacity building” and emphasised the need for increased funding to better support training. Furthermore, the Secretariat committed to provide member states with training materials and standards that match operational requirements.
In his November 2018 report to the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34), the Secretary-General updated member states on the implementation of a new peacekeeping training plan focusing on three areas:
- developing and disseminating training standards;
- building the capacity of troop- and police-contributing countries for training delivery; and
- the verification of that training to confirm that it accords with standards and that only trained personnel have been deployed.
The UN Secretariat is also developing a framework that integrates existing performance-related policies and standards. One of the new tools under the framework, the comprehensive performance assessment system (CPAS), has been applied to three pilot missions to assess whole-of-mission performance—civilian and uniformed components, staff and leadership—through data collection and analysis. In resolution 2436 of 21 September 2018, the Council reaffirmed its support for the development of a comprehensive and integrated performance policy framework that identifies clear standards of performance for evaluating all UN civilian and uniformed personnel working in and supporting peacekeeping operations.
Issues and Options
Council members and the larger UN membership have differing views on several issues related to peacekeeping. Member states were unable to agree on the annual report in the last session of the C-34 in February-March as a result of substantive differences, particularly regarding funding modalities of AU peace support operations. The open debate will be an opportunity for member states to present their views and renew political commitment to the role that training and capacity-building play in support of the implementation of Council mandates.
The Council could highlight how important it is for capacities and training to match operational requirements and encourage member states and the Secretariat to consider innovative ways of bridging this gap.
Indonesia could prepare a summary of the main points made at the open debate and circulate it as an official document of the Council.
Council and Wider Dynamics
Generally, there is a high degree of unity within the Council concerning the need to improve the safety and security of peacekeepers and the key role of training and capacity-building prior to and during their deployment. Indonesia’s interest in this issue is also due to its position as the eighth largest troop- and police- contributing country (T/PCC) and the largest one currently in the Council.
As demonstrated during the negotiations on resolution 2436 in September 2018, views differ in the Council and among the wider membership over how to improve peacekeeping performance. Some Council members have prioritised increased accountability for under-performance while others, including some T/PCCs, have argued for broadening the focus of these discussions, underlining that performance cannot be delinked from other factors related to mandate implementation, including the roles of the Council, the Secretariat and mission leadership.
A long-standing position raised by China and Russia in peacekeeping thematic discussions in the Council is that of the centrality of the C-34 in the policy-making process.
UN DOCUMENTS ON PEACEKEEPING
|Security Council Resolutions|
|13 December 2018 S/RES/2447||This was a resolution drafted by the Netherlands and Côte d’Ivoire on “strengthening support to police, justice and corrections areas in peacekeeping operations and special political missions”.|
|21 September 2018 S/RES/2436||This was a resolution on peacekeeping performance.|
|5 November 2018 A/73/480||This was the annual report to the C-34.|
|Security Council Meeting Record|
|21 September 2018 S/PV.8360||The Council voted for the adoption of resolution 2436 on peacekeeping performance.|