What's In Blue

Posted Thu 23 May 2019

Arria-formula Meeting on the Impact of Peacekeeping on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace

Tomorrow afternoon (24 May), Security Council members will hold an Arria-formula meeting on “Peacekeeping Impact on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace”, organised by Côte d’Ivoire and Indonesia. Briefers will be Assistant Secretary-General for Africa Bintou Keita, Assistant Secretary-General for the Rule of Law and Security Institutions Alexander Zouev, and Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support Oscar Fernandez-Taranco. All member states, permanent observers, non-governmental organisations, and the press are invited to attend.

The concept note for the meeting highlights the commitment in last year’s Declaration of Shared Commitments on UN Peacekeeping Operations (prepared by the Secretariat and endorsed by 151 member states and four organisations by the end of 2018) to bolster the impact of peacekeeping on sustaining peace by strengthening national ownership and capacity; ensuring integrated analysis and planning, particularly for transitions; and seeking greater coherence among UN system actors, including through joint platforms such as the Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections. The concept note elaborates on these elements, suggesting that a goal of peacekeeping should be to enable host governments to keep the peace through their national ownership of peacebuilding processes. It notes that peacekeeping operations support and create space for other peacebuilding actors, and help provide political focus on peacebuilding goals.

The concept note emphasises, among other points, the importance of close cooperation with host governments in preparing for eventual mission withdrawal and transitions; engagement with other actors, including troop and police contributing countries; and strong coordination, coherence and cooperation between the Security Council and the General Assembly with the Peacebuildng Commission (PBC). It recalls that in resolution 2282 (on the ten-year review of the UN peacebuilding architecture), the Council expressed its intention regularly to request, deliberate, and draw upon the specific, strategic and targeted advice of the PBC, including to assist with the longer-term perspective required for sustaining peace in the formation, review and drawdown of peacekeeping operations and special political missions.

Guiding questions for the panelists and Security Council members include:

  • How can Member States, the Security Council, the PBC and the Secretariat work together to help ensure successful transitions by establishing the critical foundations for sustainable peace?
  • How can the advisory role of the PBC to the Security Council be enhanced to support transitions?
  • How can cooperation with host governments be strengthened in the areas of peacebuilding and sustaining peace?
  • How can missions and host governments work closely to ensure that national priorities and strategies lie at the heart of transition plans, and that these priorities and strategies feed into benchmarks for UN transitions?

Briefers and members may review progress in implementing peacebuilding elements from the Secretary-General’s Action for Peace Initiative and the Declaration of Shared Commitments. Both of the co-organisers served among the ten member states that led consultations on the declaration’s five priority areas: Côte d’Ivoire, with the UK, led the consultations on “politics”, and Indonesia, with Brazil, on “peacebuilding”. Speakers may recall the declared commitment to strong coordination, coherence and cooperation between the Security Council and the PBC during the formation of peacekeeping mandates, as appropriate, and to support UN Country Teams during transitions to continue assisting host countries.

Good practices may be cited,  such as when Morocco, the chair of the Central African Republic country configuration of the PBC, wrote to the Council this past October after a consultative process, presenting observations for the Council’s consideration before MINUSCA’s mandate renewal. It was the first time that the PBC shared such “observations” in a letter to the Council, and members could encourage it to do so in other situations. The development of Liberia’s peacebuilding plan by the Secretariat, upon the Council’s request ahead of the withdrawal of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), set out a division of labour among the UN Country Team, UNOWAS, ECOWAS, and the World Bank to support the government after UNMIL’s departure, and helped identify potential capacity and financial gaps, guiding PBC support. In developing such plans, speakers may stress the importance of consulting with and supporting host governments’ peacebuilding priorities. They may further emphasise inclusion and engagement of civil society and all segments of the population in peacekeeping mandate implementation—a point made in the Declaration of Shared Commitments.

During the session, members may refer to lessons highlighted during the Council’s roundtable discussion this past February in Abidjan on the transitions in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia. Discussion could touch on issues such as early peacebuilding in peacekeeping operations through programmatic activities such as disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR), security sector reform (SSR), or quick impact projects. Côte d’Ivoire highlighted the importance of its DDR programme for restoring stability during a Council debate last December on peacebuilding in post-conflict states, and then during the Council visiting mission to Abidjan.

Members may further highlight the Council’s 21 December 2017 presidential statement on peacebuilding and sustaining peace in peacekeeping. The statement, among various points, stressed the importance of grasping the challenges of peacebuilding and sustaining peace from the inception of a peacekeeping mission, and recognised the need to strengthen the cooperation and consultations with TCCs/PCCs, including in areas where military and police contingents undertake early peacebuilding tasks, as well as the importance of adequately resourcing the peacebuilding components of UN peacekeeping and special political missions. The presidential statement included a list of seven elements related to peacebuilding and sustaining that the Council may consider when reviewing the mandates and configurations of peacekeeping missions. These include assessing mandate implementation, including in cooperation with the host state, and supporting a consultative process within missions that supports and reinforces national ownership.

Tomorrow’s discussion may feed into the upcoming 2020 review of the UN peacebuilding architecture.

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