Expected Council Action
In November, the Security Council will hold its annual briefing with the heads of police components of UN peace operations. Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix; the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) police commissioner, Christine Fossen; the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) police commissioner, Mody Berethe; and Emma Birikorang, director at the Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, are the anticipated briefers.
Key Recent Developments
Annual briefings with the heads of police components of UN peace operations were initiated in 2014. Last year, the meeting was held with a particular focus on the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, with Lacroix, the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) police commissioner Violet Lusala, and the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) police commissioner Bettina Patricia Boughani briefing the Council on 10 November 2021.
At last year’s briefing, Lacroix explained the role of UN Police in advancing Action for Peacekeeping Plus (A4P+)—a set of priorities being implemented in 2021-2023 to accelerate peacekeeping reform—and in strengthening the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations. He underscored the need to continue enhancing partnerships with regional and subregional organisations, particularly in the areas of strategic guidance, development and training. He also highlighted the UN Police’s efforts to enhance gender-responsive policing, including through the promotion of women’s networks. Regarding the accountability of peacekeepers, he referred to pre-deployment and in-mission training by UN Police to promote zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse. Lacroix also explained UN Police’s role in improving strategic communications for better community-oriented policing and its efforts to improve cooperation with host countries to facilitate smooth transitions.
Lusala briefed on the meaningful participation of women and the protection of civilians in UNISFA. She reported that “the proportion of women in police components in UNISFA has reached 60 percent deployed in professional positions, including the sexual and gender-based violence adviser, and 34.7 percent of individual police officers”. She described the ground and aerial patrols conducted by the mission’s police component to protect civilians from threats such as attacks by armed groups, intercommunal violence and cattle rustling. She also mentioned the mission’s engagement with local communities.
Boughani briefed on gender mainstreaming and the provision of operational support in MINUSMA. She indicated that women constitute 20.58 percent of individual police officers at the mission and are deployed in Bamako and other regions. But she emphasised the need to do more to increase women’s representation in formed police units and command positions. Boughani also explained the work of the mission’s police component in supporting community policing, monitoring infrastructure through joint patrols, and implementing quick-impact projects to support women.
The third UN Chiefs of Police Summit (UNCOPS) took place in New York from 31 August to 1 September to discuss the role of UN Police in the maintenance of international peace and security. The annual meeting included the participation of ministers, chiefs of police and other high-level officials from 121 member states and representatives from several partner organisations. In remarks delivered at the summit, the Secretary-General emphasised the important role of UN Police in the realisation of Our Common Agenda, which embodies his vision of global cooperation to respond to current and future challenges. In this regard, he stressed the need for “specialized expertise to keep the peace, maintain public order, fight increased organized crime and natural resource trafficking, and advance environmentally responsive policing practices”.
One subject discussed at UNCOPS was key challenges facing UN peacekeeping in general and the implementation of the A4P+ priorities in particular. Also addressed was the nexus between security and development, including the contribution of UN Police to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals and Our Common Agenda. Furthermore, attendees considered the performance and effectiveness of UN Police. The outcome of the summit was a chair’s note that summarised the understanding reached at the meeting, including the need to accelerate the implementation of A4P+ priorities, foster sustainable peace and development through the global policing goal (developed in line with Agenda 2030 for sustainable development to mobilise national and international effort on policing), and bridge identified gaps in the performance of UN Police.
Key Issues and Options
The key issue for Council members will be how to strengthen the contribution of UN Police to realising the A4P+ priorities. In this regard, they will focus on the performance and effectiveness of UN Police and its role in enhancing the protection of civilians.
Council and Wider Dynamics
There is general agreement among Council members about the importance of UN Police in helping to maintain public order, protect civilians, and assist host states in building their law enforcement capacities. Council members also recognise the critical role UN Police plays in countries in transition.
At this year’s UNCOPS, the United Arab Emirates offered to provide financial support to organise the next UNCOPS meeting in New York in 2024. Ghana will host the 2023 peacekeeping ministerial, which will provide an opportunity for member states to make pledges to support UN Police, including through the deployment of formed police units and individual police officers and by providing training and technology.
UN DOCUMENTS ON POLICING
|Security Council Resolutions|
|9 September 2021S/RES/2594||This was on peace operations transitions.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|10 November 2021S/PV.8901||This was the annual briefing of the heads of UN police components.|