Expected Council Action
In July, the Council is expected to hold a debate on improving triangular cooperation between the Council, the Secretariat, and troop- and police-contributing countries (TCCs/PCCs). The Council will be briefed by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix; the Force Commander of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, Lieutenant General Dennis Gyllensporre; and Dr. Alexandra Novosseloff, a non-resident Senior Fellow at the International Peace Institute.
Furthermore, Council members are expected to hold an informal interactive dialogue on challenges and opportunities related to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in peace operations.
Before most mandate renewals, Council members hold a private meeting of TCCs/ PCCs and the Secretariat. Since this practice began in the 1990s, triangular cooperation has been consolidated both institutionally with the establishment of the Security Council Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations in 2001 and normatively with several decisions. Chiefly, resolution 1353, adopted on 13 June 2001, contained the recommendations of the working group on this issue and stipulated the formats in which consultations with TCCs would take place.
These meetings are supposed to encapsulate the collective nature of peacekeeping but have been criticised as lacking interactivity and for not resulting in advice from TCCs/PCCs being incorporated in mandates. Some Council members have also criticised the unreadiness of TCCs/PCCs to discuss substantive issues during these meetings.
The 2015 report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) noted how the lack of effective triangular consultations had generated frustration on all sides and affected mandate implementation. It advocated forging “a common and realistic understanding of the mandate and what is needed to implement it” through enhanced engagement.
That same year, to address some of the limitations of the established formats, New Zealand and then France started convening informal meetings of the main TCCs/PCCs, Council members and the Secretariat on some peacekeeping operations, with the objective of enhancing the frankness of the discussions with TCCs/PCCs. Although this practice has continued on some files, it is far from systematic and relies on the willingness of the penholder or another particularly engaged elected member to host these meetings.
On 31 December 2015, at the initiative of Chad, the Council adopted a presidential statement recognising that, despite the existence of a broad array of mechanisms, current consultations among these three stakeholders “do not meet their expectations and have yet to reach their full potential”. The statement recognised that the experience and expertise of TCCs/PCCs can greatly assist the planning of operations; stressed the importance of substantive, representative and meaningful exchanges; and underscored the importance of full participation by the three stakeholders so that meetings are useful and productive.
In the 2018 session of the General Assembly’s Special Committee for Peacekeeping Operations (C34), Pakistan and the UK presented a non-paper on triangular cooperation that highlighted the importance of keeping a mix of formal and informal meetings and improving existing mechanisms instead of creating new ones. These conclusions were incorporated into the 2018 report of the C34. The Declaration of Shared Commitments on UN peacekeeping operations, which was endorsed by 151 member states and four organisations in late 2018, included the commitment to strengthen consultation between peacekeeping stakeholders on mandates and their implementation as well as to implement existing intergovernmental commitments on triangular cooperation.
Most Council members’ discussions on this issue have taken place in the context of the working group, including meetings on 11 December 2015 and 10 November 2017 solely dedicated to this issue. In the Council, the need to improve triangular cooperation is regularly raised in discussions on working methods. The latest iteration of Note 507, which compiles the Council’s working methods, for the first time includes a section on consultations with troop- and police-contributing countries, rather than deferring to resolution 1353.
The Council discussed the use of UAVs in June 2014 in an open debate on new trends in peacekeeping held at the initiative of Russia. Since the first deployment of UN UAVs to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2013, other operations, including in Mali and the Central African Republic, have used these unarmed assets to identify armed movements, monitor camps for internally displaced persons, and provide timely reconnaissance over vast and sensitive areas.
Council and Wider Dynamics
Although there is agreement on the limitations of the current system of triangular cooperation, member states have so far failed to devise a common approach to improving it. The debate will be an opportunity for key stakeholders to present their ideas on how to do so.
When the Council debated the use of UAVs, the topic proved to be divisive among the UN membership. Some member states highlighted the UAVs’ effectiveness in providing accurate information about otherwise hard-to-reach areas, deterring threats, and contributing to the safety and security of peacekeepers. However, other member states, including some host states, opposed their use, raising questions about access to the information gathered by these systems and concerns about sovereignty whenever they fly over border zones.
UN DOCUMENTS ON PEACE OPERATIONS
|Security Council Resolutions|
|13 June 2001S/RES/1353||This resolution adopted a statement of principles on cooperation with TCCs.|
|Security Council Presidential Statements|
|31 December 2015S/PRST/2015/26||This underscored the importance of sustained cooperation among the Council, the Secretariat, and troop- and police-contributing countries on peacekeeping.|
|Notes by the President of the Security Council|
|30 August 2017S/2017/507||This was the Note of the Security Council containing the compendium of its working methods.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|11 June 2014S/PV.7196||This was an open debate on new trends in peacekeeping operations.|
|Reports of the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations|
|21 December 2017S/2017/1087||This was the annual report of the working group.|
|29 December 2015S/2015/1050||This was the annual report of the working group.|
|General Assembly Documents|
|15 March 2018A/72/19||This was the final report of the C34.|