Expected Council Action
In June, the Council will hold its annual briefing with the heads of military components of UN peace operations. The anticipated briefers are: Lieutenant General Leonard Muriuki Ngondi, the Force Commander of AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), and Major General Cheryl Pearce, the Force Commander of UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). The briefings are expected to focus on cooperation with host states. Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix may also brief. No formal outcome is anticipated from the meeting.
The force commander briefings, which have been held annually since 2010, focus on the operational challenges of implementing mission mandates. Last year, the meeting focused on two issues: the need to adapt to changing security and operational environments and the implementation of Council mandates. The briefers were: Major General Jean-Paul Deconinck, Force Commander of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA); Lieutenant General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi, Force Commander of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS); and UNAMID’s commander Lieutenant General Ngondi. Lacroix also addressed the Council.
Ngondi is briefing the Council again this year, albeit under different circumstances, as the political situation in Sudan has changed, after the Sudanese military ousted President Omar al-Bashir in early April, following ongoing protests in many parts of the country calling for him to step down after nearly three decades in power. Council members will likely be interested in how Sudan’s Transitional Military Council has interacted with the mission and what these interactions have meant for UNAMID’s operations. Ngondi will be describing the mission’s relations with the host state in a context in which the mission continues its reconfiguration and drawdown, as set out in resolution 2429, which referred to the exit of the mission in June 2020 “provided that there is no significant change in the security situation in Darfur”.
Pearce may describe UNFICYP’s efforts to facilitate inter-communal contacts and develop confidence-building measures between the parties. She may further describe the mission’s interactions with the parties in maintaining the buffer zone on the island.
Key Recent Developments
On 7 May, the Council held 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 chaired 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, briefed the Council. During the debate, Guterres updated the Security Council on efforts to enhance the training of UN peacekeepers, improve the conduct and discipline of peacekeepers, and increase the number of women in UN peace operations. Martins Filho described efforts to enhance the capacity of MONUSCO troops through pre-deployment and in-mission training and said that the mission’s “command and control arrangements have been strengthened through regular field visits by the force leadership, brigade commanders and force headquarters staff”. Holmberg emphasised the importance of “in-mission, scenario-based training for senior- and middle-management teams” in peace operations, as well as the need for expanded mentorship for mission leadership.
A presidential statement was adopted at the meeting. It recognised the added value of the Declaration of Shared Commitments on Peacekeeping Operations—which has been signed by 151 member states and four organisations—with regard to training and capacity building. The statement further recognised that “the mandate of each peacekeeping mission is specific to the need and situation of the country concerned, and that the Security Council expects full delivery of the mandates it authorizes”.
Issues and Options
As the Secretariat engages in efforts to reform peacekeeping, Council members could draw lessons on how they agree on strategic objectives for peace operations, design mandates, and monitor the capacity to achieve them. This could also include a more concerted effort to receive military advice and operational information from force commanders, for example by having them brief the Council alongside heads of missions.
In past years, Council members have found the force commander briefings useful because of the substance of the discussions and the interactive format, which encourages them to ask questions. The success of these sessions prompted then-Council member Australia to organise a briefing with the heads of police components of peacekeeping operations during its November 2014 presidency. Since then, a meeting with the heads of police components has also been held annually.
UN Documents on Peacekeeping
|Security Council Presidential Statements|
|7 May 2019S/PRST/2019/4||This Presidential Statement was on peacekeeping training and capacity-building.|
|31 May 2019|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|7 May 2019S/PV.8521||This is a meeting record from the open debate on “Investing in peace: improving safety and performance of United Nations peacekeepers”.|
|9 May 2018S/PV.8251||This was a briefing by the heads of three military components (MINUSMA, UNAMID and UNMISS).|