What's In Blue

Posted Mon 6 Nov 2017

UN Policing Briefing and Resolution

Today (6 November), the Council will receive a briefing from the heads of police components of three UN peace operations. Such briefings with police commissioners have been held in the Council annually since 2014. This year’s meeting will feature a briefing from Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix and the police commissioners from the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), and the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). At the meeting, a draft resolution on UN policing tabled by Italy is expected to be adopted. Members have engaged in five rounds of negotiations on the draft since mid-October. After two silence procedures were broken by Russia, the draft was put in blue on Saturday morning (4 November).


The briefing will focus on the role of UN policing in peacekeeping operations, as well as more broadly in post conflict and other crisis situations. It is expected to provide an opportunity for the Council to consider the challenges and opportunities faced by heads of police components. Under-Secretary-General Lacroix is expected to focus on the strategic priorities of UN police components.

Following Lacroix’s briefing, the three police commissioners will present key dimensions of the work conducted by police components when implementing Council mandates. Issoufou Yacouba, the MINUSMA Police Commissioner, will discuss the challenges of preventing and addressing serious and organised crime. In recent years, terrorist groups in Mali have exploited inter-communal tensions, filling the vacuum left by the limited presence of the state and taking advantage of the availability of weapons and resources generated by organised crime.

MINUJUSTH Police Commissioner Georges-Pierre Monchotte will highlight the importance of strengthening the rule of law through police reform. MINUJUSTH, which was launched in mid-October, is the successor mission to the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Its mandate is to assist the government of Haiti in strengthening rule of law institutions, reinforcing national police capacities, and engaging in human rights monitoring, reporting and analysis.

Priscilla Makotose, UNAMID’s Police Commissioner, will address how gender-responsive policing can strengthen operational effectiveness. As part of its mandate, UNAMID is required to provide protection from gender-based violence, which remains a significant problem in Darfur, with the most recent UNAMID resolution referring to the “worrying levels of conflict-related sexual and gender based violence” in the region (S/RES/2363).

Following the briefings, Council members are expected to make statements and ask questions of the briefers. The interactive format of the briefing by the heads of police components mirrors the annual briefing by heads of military components to the Council, held since 2010. Members may refer to the recent efforts underway in the Secretariat. According to the concept note circulated by Italy in preparation for the briefing, these range “from the development of a global police peacekeeping doctrine, the Strategic Guidance Framework, to facilitating more integrated approaches to system-wide rule of law initiatives, and attaining more qualified female and male officers for United Nations deployments”. These initiatives are consistent with the reform plan put forth by then-Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his 10 November 2016 report on UN policing (S/2016/952), which responded to an external review of the functions, structure and capacity of the UN Police Division earlier in the year. Council members are likely to discuss how these reform efforts fit within the context of the broader review of the UN peace and security architecture.

Draft Resolution

The draft resolution builds upon resolution 2185 of 20 November 2014, an Australian initiative which was the first standalone resolution on UN policing. The draft stresses the important contribution that UN policing can provide in peacekeeping and special political missions throughout the conflict cycle across the entire peace continuum, including through the protection of civilians, capacity building, and the development efforts of host-State police services.

Although Italy proposed to welcome the Secretary-General’s report, the draft in blue merely takes note of it, following opposition from several Council members which maintained that this was the language used in the report of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34) and that the Council should not go beyond it.
The key role of policing in transitions from peacekeeping to post-peacekeeping environments is an important aspect of the draft. In the context of transitions of the UN presences in Haiti and Liberia (although without mentioning them), the draft welcomes the role that UN police components can play in facilitating the transitions from peacekeeping to development and peacebuilding. It further recognises that the improved performance of UN policing can contribute to the success of peacekeeping mission exit strategies, and that continued transparent and accountable efforts to strengthen and implement UN police doctrine can contribute to this objective.

One source of divergence among Council members was whether the role of policing in prevention was considered as limited to preventing the relapse of conflict or to preventing conflict more broadly. Silence was broken in part over this issue. It was resolved by deleting a reference to “crisis situations across the entire peace continuum” and stressing instead the contribution of UN policing “throughout the conflict cycle”.

The draft in blue focuses a significant amount of attention on the role of police components in the protection of civilians, including women and children. With regard to sexual exploitation and abuse, it references the importance of gender analysis in all police activities and mission phases and the role of Police Gender Advisors. Mirroring similar discussions in the Council and the C-34, Council members expressed varying degrees of support for protection language. In the final stage of the negotiation, Russia broke silence a second time expressing its opposition to language referring to “conflict-related sexual violence”, and stating its preference for “sexual violence in conflict” that it considers more narrowly linked to the Council’s mandate. However, the language on “conflict-related sexual violence” was retained by the penholder and the draft was put in blue.

During the negotiations on the draft, several Council members proposed the inclusion of qualifiers such as “as appropriate”, “on a case by case basis”, or “when required” in an effort to ensure that the Council continues to exercise its discretion in the design of mandates. In a dynamic that is familiar to peacekeeping-related discussions among member states, it seems that during the negotiations some Council members stressed the importance of upholding national sovereignty and references to host state responsibility.

The draft reflects some of the content of the concept note in that it highlights reforms being initiated in the Secretariat. It resolves to continue to promote and support the finalisation and operationalisation of the Strategic Guidance Framework for International Police Peacekeeping, which is currently being developed by the UN Secretariat. It also urges police contributing countries to contribute further male and female police personnel (emphasising the need to raise the numbers of the latter) with the appropriate expertise, qualification and language skills, and with the proper training and equipment.

The draft requests the Secretary-General to submit a report by the end of 2018, including on the implications for the delivery of policing mandates of changes to the Secretariat’s peace and security architecture, as well as efforts to strengthen and improve UN policing coherence, capability, accountability and police generation.

Sign up for What's In Blue emails