What's In Blue

Posted Wed 19 Nov 2014

Resolution on UN Policing, Inaugural Briefing by Police Commissioners and Interactive Dialogue on Review of Peace Operations

Tomorrow morning (20 November), at the initiative of Australia, the Security Council will receive a briefing by the heads of police components of three UN peace missions and vote on the first standalone resolution on UN policing. In the afternoon, Council members will hold an informal interactive dialogue with the chair of the recently appointed High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, José Ramos-Horta.

Briefings and resolution on UN Policing
The morning meeting will be chaired by the Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop. Following an overview of challenges facing police components from Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous, three police commissioners will talk about some cross-cutting challenges faced by police components when implementing Council mandates on the ground. Greg Hinds (UN Mission in Liberia) will discuss challenges related to building the institutional capacity of the host state, Fred Yiga (UN Mission in South Sudan) will tackle the importance of having the appropriate guidance, training, skills and equipment to effectively implement Council mandates; and Luis Miguel Carrilho (UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic) will address the role of police components in the protection of civilians and aspects of the women, peace and security agenda in the policing context.

Following the briefings, Council members are expected to make statements and ask questions of the briefers. (The format of the meeting mirrors the annual briefing by heads of military components to the Council held since 2010. The idea of holding a similar session with heads of police components came up during the 2013 Finnish workshop for newly elected members.)

After one read through, two rounds of negotiations, and intense bilateral discussions, a draft resolution on UN policing was put in blue earlier today. It stresses the invaluable contribution of UN policing-related work to “peacekeeping, post-conflict peacebuilding, security, the rule of law” and resolves to give “clear, credible and achievable” mandates for policing activities as well as appropriate resources. Highlighting the importance of building the capacity of the host state, the resolution requests the Secretary-General to consider security sector reform, including reform of policing and other law enforcement institutions, in the overall strategic planning of UN peace operations. Even though this initially met with resistance by at least one permanent member, the resolution expresses the Council’s intention to consider holding an annual meeting on policing issues with the heads of police components and requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on the role of policing as an integral part of peacekeeping and peacebuilding by the end of 2016.

References to some protection issues were difficult to agree upon. It seems China and Russia were opposed to mentioning in the resolution the importance of providing police components with focal points on women and children’s issues as they viewed this as mission micromanagement by the Council. As a result these references were dropped. There were also differences in how to refer to the deployment of specialised police teams—which work on areas such as sexual and gender-based violence, child protection or forensic services—as well as the deployment of civilian policing experts. Given the differences among Council members over protection issues, some members may be particularly interested in hearing about Carrilho’s experience in the Central African Republic in order to get a better understanding of what sort of language might be useful in the mandate of a mission with a strong protection focus.

Additionally, previously agreed language on accountability and civilian oversight by a democratic government of the security sector that was included in a presidential statement on the rule of law adopted last February was dropped following concerns expressed by one non-permanent member.

There were also disagreements over how to refer to the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations of the General Assembly (C34). On 14 November, during the negotiation of the resolution, Council members received a letter from Iran as Chair of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement stating that the Council should not act in a way which encroaches upon the mandate of the C34 (S/2014/818). Whereas some Council members proposed requesting the Secretary-General to further promote professionalism, effectiveness and system-wide coherence in the policing-related work of the UN “with full respect for the mandate of” the C34, following resistance from a permanent member, the language changed to “in full respect [of the C34’s] vital role”.

Informal Interactive Dialogue with the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations.
In the afternoon, Council members will be briefed by Ramos-Horta, as the high-level panel convenes for the first time in New York. (Informal interactive dialogues are off-the-record meetings chaired by the Council President and held in a meeting room other than the Council Chamber or Consultations Room.)

Nearly fifteen years after the release of the report of the Panel on UN Peace Operations, known as the Brahimi report, the panel is tasked with making a comprehensive assessment of both peacekeeping operations and special political missions. While a substantive discussion is unlikely, Council members might be interested in the initial reflections of the Panel, which just held a retreat in Greentree, New York. There may also be an exchange of views on the scope and objectives of the review.

Looking ahead, it is possible that differences may emerge among some permanent Council members over the Council’s relationship to the Panel. It seems that a reference to the review of peace operations in the draft resolution on UN policing was difficult for Council members to agree upon. In the end, the draft resolution welcomes the announcement of the review, but only takes note of the establishment of the Panel.

Sign up for What's In Blue emails