Update No. 4: Peacekeeping: Relationship with TCCs/PCCs
Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to hold a public debate on UN peacekeeping on 29 June. Turkey, as the Council’s president in June, wants to focus the debate on the Council’s relationship with troop contributing countries (TCCs), police contributing countries (PCCs) and major financial contributors. The debate is expected to feature up to twenty TCCs/PCCs including the ten largest troop contributors as well as major financial contributors. The Council will also be briefed by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy and Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Field Support Susana Malcorra who will no doubt provide background to the Council on the Secretariat’s recently completed “New Horizons” review of peacekeeping.
No formal outcome in the sense of a resolution or presidential statement is expected. It seems likely that the debate and conclusions drawn from it will feed into a further public meeting of the Council on peacekeeping, expected in August, following the UK-France peacekeeping review initiated in January. There is a possibility of a presidential statement in August during the UK presidency.
On 15 June Turkey circulated a concept note for the debate. In the note, the question of Council relationships with TCCs/PCCs is highlighted as a cross-cutting element which touches on all aspects of peacekeeping. The concept note raises the following questions.
How can the Security Council better communicate with TCCs and PCCs on tasks and capabilities required to meet today’s demanding and challenging peacekeeping mandates?
The paper acknowledges that the Council has in the past recognised the importance of its relationship with TCC/PCCs and agreed on a mechanism for engagement. The paper implies that the Council’s present mechanisms and forums are not sufficient and identifies a need to build on past commitments in order to establish a satisfactory dialogue on planning and implementation of peacekeeping operations.
1. Secretariat’s “New Horizon” Project
The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the Department of Field Support launched an internal review of peacekeeping at the beginning of the year. The outcome, their “New Horizons” non-paper is expected to be available, at least in summary, to UN members by Friday, 26 June (a briefing to the UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, the C34, is scheduled for that day). This non-paper is the result of an internal review of challenges confronting UN peacekeeping over the next two to five years. A decade after the publication of the Brahimi Report it was felt that it was time to revisit some of the fundamental policy issues related to UN peacekeeping. The purpose of the non-paper is to provide a framework for discussions with all stakeholders on a strategic agenda for the future of UN peacekeeping.
The report is expected to focus on three key areas:
design and management of missions;
delivery in the field including enhanced deployment, defining and delivering on critical roles and improving mission impact; and
building for the future.
Among the areas likely to be covered are political strategy and design, generating and maintaining political support, planning and managing missions, contingency reserves, support to peacebuilding, protection of civilians, developing capabilities for the future, more effective UN partnerships with regional organisations and other organisations and an efficient global support system.
Of particular reference to the upcoming discussion in the Security Council is likely to be its emphasis on the need for greater inclusiveness in reaching decisions on all these issues.
2. UK-France Initiative
A review process was launched by France and the UK in January during France’s presidency. There are already signs that some members are beginning to approach individual peacekeeping mission mandate renewals in a different way. There is a more systematic use of benchmarks in mandates and requirements for reporting against these benchmarks. In January the Council, in its resolution renewing the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), established benchmarks towards an exit strategy for MINURCAT and asked for the development of a strategic work plan containing indicative timelines to track progress towards the fulfillment of the benchmarks to be included in regular reports. (This differs from the past in that there was no monitoring of benchmarks against performance.) Resolution 1868 of 23 March, which renewed the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), asked the Secretary-General to include benchmarks in his June report. Reviews of benchmarks are also expected in the reports for the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) in July and the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in August. The 29 May resolution renewing the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) emphasised contingency planning in relation to a possible settlement of the Cyprus conflict, including further adjustments to UNFICYP depending on the situation on the ground and asked that this be included in the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of this resolution in December.
3. Canadian Initiative
In May a separate strand of activity relating to renewed peacekeeping commenced under the leadership of Canada. A series of panel discussions is being convened with the purpose of exploring critical issues for the future of UN peace operations. The first seminar in this series on 26 May discussed the symptoms and causes of peacekeeping overstretch. Other seminars this year are expected to cover mandate design and modalities for implementation, political dimensions of peace operations, resourcing UN-mandated peace operations and a final panel in February 2010 will look at how to build on the Report of the Panel on UN Peace Operations, better known as the Brahimi Report, over the next ten years.
4. Developments in the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations
A further component of the UN system currently looking at peacekeeping is the Security Council Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations under Japan’s chairmanship. (Japan, which held the chairmanship of this group from 2005- 2006, took over as chair from Indonesia when it returned to the Council in January 2009.) On 25 February the Working Group met to discuss the best way of revitalising itself. The Working Group decided that the best approach would be to take generic issues facing TCCs and to discuss them in the context of specific missions. The key issue being discussed is the gap between mission mandates and implementation. TCCs were invited to attend the Working Group’s 29 April and 9 June meetings. During the April meeting the Working Group discussed the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and in June the missions in Burundi, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste were on the agenda. UN peacekeeping in Sudan and West Africa were discussed on 19 June. Working Group members agreed at their initial meeting in February that they would give the floor to the TCCs and therefore these meetings have consisted of a briefing by the Secretariat or the Secretary-General’s representative for the relevant mission and remarks from the TCCs. A final meeting of only Working Group members is scheduled for July. The chair of the Working Group is hoping to circulate a midterm paper at this time on issues raised during these discussions.
5. DPKO/OCHA Report on Protection of Civilians in Peacekeeping
Finally, in late June an independent study on implementation of protection mandates in peacekeeping operations, commissioned by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and DPKO is expected. This may lead to new initiatives later in the year related to protection of civilians in peacekeeping.
“invite that Member, if the Member so desires, to participate in the decisions of the Security Council concerning the employment of contingents of that Member’s armed forces.”
TCCs have argued for almost two decades that the spirit of article 44 should be applied by the Council in reaching decisions on peacekeeping operations. This has proved difficult in practice.
Since the early 1990s, the Council has grappled with the issue of consultations with and communications to TCCs. Following the problems faced by the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in the Balkans and the UN Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) in the early 1990s various initiatives were made to address this issue. Informal meetings of troop contributors have been organised by the Secretariat since at least May 1993, initially in connection with UNPROFOR. There were no formal structures in place at the time for such meetings.
In 1994, New Zealand and Argentina, Council elected members at the time, launched a joint initiative to address the need for improved cooperation and coordination between TCCs and the Council. Initial decisions were reflected in a presidential statement in May which included Council recognition of the need for the members of the Council to exchange views with TCCs before deciding to change or extend a mandate (S/PRST/1994/22). However, further discussions in informal consultations on the practical implementation of this commitment became deadlocked, in particular regarding consultations with TCCs on changes to the mandates of peacekeeping operations. Changes continued to be made without consulting TCCs, leading to a push for formal institutionalisation of consultation mechanisms.
New Zealand and Argentina requested an open meeting of the Council and set out their position in an open letter of 15 September 1994 (S/1994/1063). Letters of support came from non-Council members such as Egypt, Turkey, Ireland, Uruguay, Austria, Portugal, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. On 4 November, the Council agreed on a presidential statement which approved new procedures for future consultations and exchange of information with TCCs and the Secretariat (S/PRST/1994/62). The presidential statement also stated that such meetings should be held in “good time before the Council takes decisions on the extension or termination of, or significant changes in the mandate of a particular peacekeeping operation.” Other areas that were addressed included the way the meetings are announced, their complimentary role to other meetings and the Council president’s responsibility to summarise the views expressed by TCCs at the meetings.
Later that year, in December, the Council agreed on another presidential statement which stated that there should be an increased recourse to open meetings, in particular at an early stage of consideration of a subject (S/PRST/1994/81). It however also agreed that it would decide when to schedule these meetings on a case-by-case basis.
Practical implementation of the procedures became problematic leading to pressure in March 1996 for the Council to take it up again. The Council agreed on a presidential statement (S/PRST/1996/13). The statement revised the procedures for consultations with TCCs set out in the November 1994 presidential statement. Among the changes agreed were:
meetings would be chaired by the president of the Council and supported by a representative of the Secretariat (formerly they had been jointly chaired); and
meetings would be held with any prospective troop contributors when the Council considers establishing a new mission (formerly this happened only before changes to the mandate or when a mission was terminated).
In the context of the negotiation of the May 1994 presidential statement, there had been a proposal to try to establish a more efficient framework that would enable Council members to be briefed on military and operational developments in a regular and structured way but at a level lower than the informal consultations. The proposal involved two possible alternatives. The first was a suggested resolution establishing a Security Council committee for monitoring the major peacekeeping operations to be comprised of all members. It would have a specific mandate to meet regularly with the Secretariat, and the force commanders and Special Representatives of the Secretary-General whenever possible. It would also be authorised to include TCCs in its meetings to discuss significant developments relating to specific operations. The second was a less formal approach involving a presidential statement and the establishment of a Working Group, with similar responsibilities. However, at the time both approaches met resistance within the Council, although in the May statement the Council said it would keep the question of possible additional machinery “under review”.
The Council again turned its attention to the relationship between TCCs and peacekeeping in the early 2000s. The Panel on UN Peace Operations, whose outcome is known as the Brahimi Report, led to a series of discussions and decisions on issues raised in the report. One of the key points addressed was the link between commitment gaps in the provision of troops for the peacekeeping operations and the need for better coordination and consultation among TCCs, the Council and the Secretariat.
On 13 November 2000 the Council adopted resolution 1327 which endorsed some of the recommendations of the Brahimi Report. There had been a specific proposal on strengthening consultations with TCCs but this recommendation was not included in the final recommendations. The resolution did, however, include a decision to strengthen the existing system of consultations through the holding of private meetings with TCCs, including at their request. During the debate ahead of resolution 1327, consultations with TCCs on the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) on 4 October 2000, ahead of a Council visit to Sierra Leone, was cited as an example of cooperation and a possible format for private meetings with TCCs. It also encouraged the Secretary-General to begin consultations with potential troop contributors well in advance of the establishment of a peacekeeping mission. It also requested him to report on his consultations during the consideration of new mandates.
Pressure for better cooperation with TCCs continued, leading to further decisions in January 2001, under the Singapore presidency. The Council held a debate on 16 January on strengthening cooperation with troop-contributing countries. A presidential statement was issued on 31 January 2001 highlighting the recommendations arising from this debate, including the setting up of a Security Council Working Group on Peacekeeping. On 13 June the January decisions were overtaken by resolution 1353 which stipulated that consultations with TCCs would take place in the following formats:
public or private meetings with the participation of TCCs to ensure a full and high-level consideration of issues of critical importance to specific peacekeeping operations;
consultation meetings with TCCs chaired by the president of the Council would continue as the principal means of consultation; and
meetings between the Secretariat and troop-contributing countries.
The first meeting with TCCs in accordance with resolution 1353 was held on 10 September 2001 with the troop contributors to the UN Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) but TCC discontent continued.
In May 2004 the Council took up the issue again. It adopted a presidential statement following an open debate under the presidency of Pakistan (S/PRST/2004/16). The presidential statement stressed the need for UN peacekeepers to have sufficiently robust rules of engagement and the necessary military resources. It also emphasised the need of improved integrated mission planning and an enhanced capacity of the rapid deployment of personnel and material to start-up peacekeeping operations.
Recent Initiatives Regarding TCCs
Although between the mid 1990s and the mid 2000s, many decisions were taken to address the relationship between TCCs and the Council, it had become clear by 2005 that much of the spirit of what the TCCs were seeking was not being implemented. The question of a better relationship and earlier consultations with non-members became an issue yet again in the Council’s Informal Working Group on Documentation and other Procedural Questions which was chaired by Japan. The outcome of this work was presidential note 507 of 19 July 2006. However, no agreement could be reached on TCC issues. The note as finally agreed by the Council simply reaffirmed its commitment “to increase recourse to open meetings, particularly at an early stage in its consideration of a matter”.
The concerns of the TCCs have remained. In particular, they point to the fact that in the last several years no such early debates were held and overall, most open debates held currently have been thematic. Troop contributors have been given very little or no opportunity for early meetings to give input of their views ahead of a new mission or changes to a mandate.
It seems that a private meeting with TCCs, Secretariat and the Council was convened on 27 May following up on resolution 1867 which asked for the Secretary-General to report to the Council and TCC/PCCs within ninety days on updating of the concept of operations and rules of engagement of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT). This was more in line with the interests of TCCs/PCCs and may set a new precedent.
Security Council’s Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations
The Security Council’s Working Group on Peacekeeping appears to have been first formally suggested by the UK during the Council debate “No Exit Without Strategy” in November 2000. The decision to establish a Working Group was taken two months later on 31 January 2001 through a presidential statement (S/PRST/2001/3). That statement acknowledged the need for a “transparent three-way communication between the Council, the Secretariat and the TCCs”. The Council also reiterated its agreement to hold consultations with TCCs in a timely manner at different stages of a peacekeeping operation. It also stressed that the Working Group would not replace the private meetings with TCCs and would address both generic peacekeeping issues and technical aspects of individual peacekeeping operations.
Since 2001 there have been five Working Group reports, three of them in 2001, one in 2004 and one in 2006. (A summary can be found in the annex to this Update Report.)
It seems, however, despite the initial promise, the Working Group has not been used by the Council as an effective vehicle for inclusiveness with TCCs or other stakeholders.
A second issue is whether existing structures can be used to improve the relationship between it and the TCCs and generate dialogue that could contribute to the planning and implementation of peacekeeping operations.
A related question is how to develop a more interactive format.
Also an issue is the nature of the current closed meetings pursuant to resolution 1327. Generally they tend to be sterile political briefings conducted the last day before a resolution is adopted which generate no decision or interaction between TCCs and Council members. TCCs/PCCs have indicated that earlier briefings focused on issues of interest to them would be more relevant.
Also connected is how to fully implement the decisions in presidential statements and resolutions over the last two decades. Some TCCs consider that although structures were put in place, interaction has become pro forma and no longer serves its intended purpose.
Another connected issue is the growing disillusionment among TCCs/PCCs who feel that there is little value in participating in the existing forums as they are not being listened to. By contrast, some Council members feel that TCCs are not really taking advantage of these meetings by asking questions or offering suggestions.
A significant issue is an emerging general distrust between some TCCs/PCCs and some Council members. The TCCs/PCCs worry that those making the decisions in the Council are not from troop contributing countries. They therefore suspect a lack of genuine understanding of the problems faced by TCCs/PCCs. Some Council members on the other hand feel the interest by a number of the TCCs/PCCs in peacekeeping is essentially economic and that this not only limits their interest in substantive issues but also affects their thinking on issues such as mission downsizing.
A connected issue is how to move to a more inclusive relationship getting beyond ritualistic meetings and sterile briefings to genuine participation during the different stages of a peacekeeping mission, especially early in the planning stages of a new mission or whenever there is change in mandate.
Another issue is whether the different initiatives on peacekeeping pursued by different countries and organisations this year should result in a single outcome. There is a sense that the overlapping areas of many of these initiatives could lead to fatigue and stalemate. On the other hand there is also a sense that because some of the initiatives (including the one relating to the TCCs) are distinct it makes sense to progress them separately.
A related issue is the balance between the role of the UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, or C34, and the Council because many of the issues raised included elements within the jurisdiction of the General Assembly as well as the Council.
A formal outcome on 29 June in the sense of a resolution or presidential statement on TCC/PCC issues is an option. But it seems unlikely at this stage as there is not enough preparatory work on the table to be able to contemplate a draft being ready by 29 June.
A possible option is a press statement signalling the Council’s commitment to strengthening its relationship with TCCs and describing the main points to be resolved.
One option is for Council members to listen to the views of the TCCs and then respond in their statements. (Some Council members in the past have usually resisted the idea that TCCs should speak before they do.)
Other options include:
requesting the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations to undertake an in-depth consideration of the proposals made during the debate and report to the Council by the end of August;
encouraging the Working Group to continue to meet regularly and make a particular effort to meet ahead of mandate renewals;
considering the possibility of requesting the Secretary-General to create a TCC support capacity within DPKO that could help provide early warning, support and advice to TCCs well ahead of mandate renewals;
requesting that briefings from the Secretariat to the TCCs take place well ahead of mandate renewals and new mission mandates;
reinforcing the request from resolution 1353 that the Secretary-General should always include information on his consultations with TCCs in his reports on individual peacekeeping operations;
considering the possibility of establishing a practice of consultations among the Military Staff Committee, elected members of the Council, troop contributors and the Secretariat in order to improve communication on military matters in peacekeeping (Russia circulated a paper in January 2009 ahead of the peacekeeping debate);
requesting the Working Group to consider a thorough assessment of the efficiency and effectiveness of Council meetings with TCCs and provide recommendations to the Council by the end of the year; and
suggesting regular meetings of members of the Working Group with the members of the C34.
Council and Wider Dynamics
Overall, Council members acknowledge that there is a need for more effective peacekeeping and that given the role TCCs have to play some better solutions need to be found. There is also a sense that there is no need to create new structures for this. Many members are aware that the current structures have become largely pro forma and are not performing a useful function but do not have any new suggestions for how to improve things. The UK and France acknowledge that it is useful to have this debate but are focused on separate issues in their bigger review.
Among the P5 there is a shared understanding that while there is a problem with peacekeeping overstretch, when it comes to relations with non Council members the Council cannot be perceived as abandoning its primary responsibility for international peace and security. However, there are differences over whether or not improving the situation for TCCs would really impact P5 interests in a negative way. Russia believes that the weak point is military expertise and continues to advocate a revitalisation of the Military Staff Committee as a priority. The UK and France see the weakness as related to strategic oversight and processes for addressing resource constraints. They have pushed in the last few months to have benchmarks became a regular feature of Secretary-General’s reports on peacekeeping missions. The US position appears to be still evolving. There are also differences between P5 members who are involved or have been in peacekeeping missions and those that are not.
Regional interests are a focus for some African members who have emphasised the importance of giving the African Union and peacekeeping TCCs greater support.
Keeping budgets lean has become a larger concern in the face of the ongoing global recession. Japan, traditionally very vigilant about budget increases for peacekeeping, has been joined by the UK and France who are keen to see better value for the money that is being spent on peacekeeping.
Some major TCCs are sceptical whether any review of peacekeeping by the Council will result in useful change in terms of how the Council relates to TCCs.
There is some fatigue over the number of initiatives this year and questions about whether there is already unnecessary duplication. There is a sense of déjà vu among some of them who have seen some of the same issues come up without resolution over time.
Selected Security Council Resolutions
Selected Presidential Statements
Selected Meeting Records
Selected Secretary-General’s Report
Selected General Assembly Resolutions
|Reports of the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations|
Selected Special Reports
- Building on Brahimi, Peacekeeping in an era of strategic uncertainty, Center on International Cooperation, New York University, Dr. Bruce Jones, Richard Gowan and Jake Sherman, April 2009.
- Annual Review of Global Peace Operations 2009, Center on International Cooperation, New York University, 2009
- UN Peacekeeping Operations: Principles and Guidelines, UN Peacekeeping Operations, Department of Field Support, 2008
- DPKO peacekeeping statistics http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko/contributors/
Annex: Summary of the Activities of the Working Group on Peacekeeping Operations
First Report of 31 May 2001 (S/2001/546)
The first report was based on meetings and consultations with the DPKO, Secretariat, TCCs as well as the General Assembly’s Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, the C34). The Working Group presented its recommendations in the form of a draft resolution which constituted the basis for resolution 1353 adopted on 13 June 2001.
Second Report of 24 September 2001 (S/2001/900)
In its second report the Working Group examined the report of the Secretary-General entitled “No exit without strategy: Security Council decision-making and the closure or transition of United Nations peacekeeping operations” (S/2001/394) with a view to developing an appropriate response by the Security Council.
The Working Group drafted a note by the president of the Council setting out certain guidelines for the Security Council in its decision-making in creating a peacekeeping mandate, changing the mandate of a current mission and closing a peacekeeping mission. In particular, the note highlights the need for including milestones and exit strategies when establishing a peacekeeping mission.
Third Report of 31 December 2001 (S/2001/1335)
In its third report the Working Group assessed the implementation of resolution 1353 as it was mandated to do in paragraph 3 of that resolution. According to the report, there were divergences of views on whether the Council, the troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat had in fact implemented fully the spirit and letter of resolution 1353 with respect to the level of consultations and the expectations outlined. It was, however, the general view that the intent of the Council for these meetings to be more interactive with the troop-contributing countries was not being realised.
The report suggested a new mechanism for consultations between the Council and TCCs, however, it emphasised that such a mechanism should follow a dual track approach and would complement resolution 1353 and not replace it. The report offered a number of concrete recommendations for establishing a new mechanism. The Working Group also included in its consideration the specific proposals made by TCCs for new mechanisms for strengthening cooperation (S/2001/535 and S/2001/626).
Fourth Report of 30 December 2004 (S/2004/1040)
The fourth report summarised four meetings that the Working Group had conducted in 2004.
The first was a meeting about the peacekeeping mission in Burundi.
The second meeting addressed three general issues in peacekeeping:
- the role of the Security Council in light of the increase in the number of peacekeeping operations (issues discussed under this item were the UN’s rapid deployment capacity, exit strategies, the role of Working Group and its relation to DPKO and the Military Staff Committee);
- ideas about the Council’s planning capacity and the format and content of a periodic review of peacekeeping operations; and
- format of meetings of the Working Group and potential invitees.
The third meeting addressed the increased complexity in and demand for peacekeeping operations, mandates for peacekeeping missions and their benchmarks.
The main topic of the fourth meeting was the UN’s peacekeeping capacity, including DPKO’s planning capacity, and the limited resources in terms of troops and equipment.
Fifth Report of 13 December 2006 (S/2006/972)
The fifth report summarised the meetings conducted by the Working Group in 2005 and 2006.
The Working Group met at the creation of a new mission and significant modifications to mission mandates such as UNMIS and UNMEE. It also discussed operational procedures and issues that needed special attention such as sexual exploitation and inter-mission cooperation.
In addition to the meeting summaries, the report made some concrete recommendations on the potential agenda items and working methods of the Working Group. These included:
- conveying the views of stakeholders in peacekeeping missions to the Council;
- holding meetings within the Working Group before the establishment of new missions;
- flexibility in taking up issues that affect the operation of a mission;
- flexible modalities for the Working Group;
- appropriate levels of interaction between Council and General Assembly;
- discussions of security problems in specific peacekeeping missions; and
- transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding in specific missions.
The report concluded with a list of the 19 meetings held in 2005 and 2006.