Can We Make UN Peacekeeping Great Again

Alexandra Novosseloff
Content Type
Working Paper
Global Peace Operations Review
If UN peacekeeping operations are “at a crossroads” as the Secretary-General told the Security Council on 6 April, then it is a policy and linguistic roundabout. This is the same phrase that a senior official used to describe the Brahimi report in 2000 and others used to characterize the work of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) in 2015. Does this mean that the policy debate that surrounds UN peacekeeping has just been going around in circles for the past twenty years? The recent declarations made by the US administration on possible cuts of its share of the peacekeeping budget and its push to cut individual missions at the time of mandate renewal (as observed in the case of MONUSCO already) has created uneasiness and has given new life to the old debate about the relevance of UN peacekeeping. But this in itself is not a new position. The HIPPO report has also argued for such a review of existing operations. Whether peacekeeping missions are “fit for purpose”, and what this actually means in practice, are questions numerous governments, delegations in New York, departments of the UN Secretariat, experts on the matter, non-governmental organizations and at times, international public opinion, have kept asking for years and even decades. The question was put on the table of the Security Council again by the new US administration during its presidency in April 2017. The goal, as outlined in its concept paper, was to review every single peacekeeping operation to “identify areas where mandates no longer match political realities.” The objective was to “propose alternatives or paths towards restructuring to bring missions more in line with achievable outcomes.”
Diplomacy, International Cooperation, United Nations, Peacekeeping
Political Geography
North America, Global Focus, United States of America