Global Policy Forum

Articles on UN Peacekeeping Reform



Violence in Eastern DRC - UN to the Rescue? (August 13, 2013)

On March 28, 2013, the UN Security Council passed a resolution extending the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, abbreviated Monusco. However, apart from a simple extension, the resolution also contained a novelty: Peacekeepers will now be allowed to use offensive force in order to protect the local population. This article, written by GPF’s Tim Pfefferle, ties in the new mandate with recent developments in the eastern areas of the DRC, which have been subject to a resurgence of violent rebel activity. (Tim Pfefferle/GPF)


Women UN Peacekeepers: More Needed (May 20, 2010)

Women are vital personnel in peacekeeping missions, especially in conflict zones where sexual violence is rampant. Women peacekeepers are well-suited to create safe zones from sexual violence because they are uniquely able to encourage victims of rape to seek refuge and rehabilitation. The Security Council has passed resolutions that outline methods for increasing the proportion of women peacekeepers but the Secretary General's campaign to lift the percentage of women peacekeepers has stalled. Experts suggest that the Secretariat should better inform troop-contributing countries of the benefits and possibilities of including women in peacekeeping missions. (IRIN)


Pressing Issues for UN Peacekeeping Operations (September 29, 2009)

Mariano Aquierre, Director of the Norwegian Peacekeeping Centre, presents some of the various problems in UN Peacekeeping. Today, missions are multidimensional and more complex, including more than "just keeping peace and monitoring ceasefires." As a result, peacekeeping mandates have broadened, making it more difficult to measure success and define an end for the missions. Aquierre calls for mandates with a clearer line between state building and peacebuilding. (Transnational Institute)


The Evolution of UN Peacekeeping (2): Reforming DPKO (November 2007)

This Friedrich Ebert Foundation factsheet outlines the development of UN peacekeeping management from 1948 to 2007. As of July 2007, the UN peacekeeping branch consists of a department of peacekeeping operations (DPKO) and a department of field support (DFS) that deals with management and logistics. The authors discuss possible future challenges to the UN peacekeeping sections, like bureaucracy within DPKO and DFS and a lack of coordination between the two departments.

France Wants to Retain Ranks within United Nations (July 5, 2007)

When the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) splits into two parts, it will coordinate via a "subordination link". This unique set-up will involve the Deputy Secretary General of the Peacekeeping department reporting to that of the Management department. The split also provides for the addition of 285 staff overall. French Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere says that as long as the departments observe their hierarchy on a day-to-day basis, the split will improve DPKO efficiency. In accordance with traditional French control of the department, Jean-Marie Guehenno will maintain his position as its head. (Le Figaro)

UN Peacekeeping Split to 2 Departments (June 29, 2007)

Amid criticism of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon for circumventing normal procedures and instituting an ambiguous chain of command, the UN General Assembly approved the division of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). The DPKO will split into the Department of Field Support, for management and logistics, and the Peacekeeping Department which will concentrate on operations. (Associated Press)

Ban's UN Peacekeeping Reforms Rejected (February 6, 2007)

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's plans to restructure the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) have been supported by the US and Russia but have not received similar welcome from developing countries, who fear that the restructure could endanger peacekeeping troops. In addition, Ban's efforts to carry out the reform quickly without following established consultation procedures have worried the developing countries, some of whom are among the largest troop contributors, and are thus affected the most if the reform of DPKO takes place. (Los Angeles Times)


UN Congo Force Modeling Shift in Peacekeeping (September 16, 2005)

This article highlights a shift toward more robust and comprehensive UN peacekeeping. In addition to maintaining peace and security, peacekeepers "are increasingly charged with assisting in political processes, reforming justice systems, training law-enforcement and security forces, and disarming former combatants." The changes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) confirm this shift: since the UN broadened the mandate of the peacekeeping troops, a semblance of order prevails in the country. (Forward)

Report on Integrated Missions (May 2005)

As UN peacekeeping becomes more robust, debate grows over the desirability of creating integrated missions - a system-wide UN response, subsuming security, political, and humanitarian aspects of crisis-management. This report notes the lack of "specific agreement" about what this concept comprises in practice and highlights the "humanitarian dilemma" of integrated missions: how can "the partiality involved in supporting a political transition process" ever successfully co-exist with "the impartiality needed to protect humanitarian space?" (Independent Study for the Expanded UN ECHA Core Group)

UN Decries Peacekeeper Sex Abuse (May 31, 2005)

Two months after a UN report detailed sexual exploitation by peacekeeping personnel, the Security Council has stated it will support the development of strategies to combat the problem. The head of UN peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guehenno indicated that the UN remains most concerned about sexual misconduct in Haiti and Liberia, and noted that risks are higher with larger missions. Further, he warned the Council that "the number of allegations of…abuse will probably increase, not decrease" as the UN starts "to take greater action" on the situation. (CNN)

UN Reforms Aim to End Sexual Abuse by Peacekeepers (May 10, 2005)

Roxanna Carrillo, head of the "code of conduct" unit of the UN peacekeeping mission in Burundi, talks about tackling the issue of sexual exploitation by peacekeepers. The March 2005 Zeid report on sexual abuse outlined a number of recommendations and drew high level attention to the issue, stressing the UN will not tolerate a "culture of impunity." But in the field, Carrillo stresses the need for a preventive approach and hopes more missions will do work in this area. (Integrated Regional Information Networks)


UN Panel on Reforming UN Peacekeeping Recommends a New Peacebuilding Commission (December 2, 2004)

The High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change points to widely recognized problems with UN peacekeeping, but offers "few practical steps" to remedy them. The Panel does, however, recommend that the UN create a Peacebuilding Commission, which would oversee long-term peacebuilding processes. Citizens for Global Solutions stresses the importance of peacebuilding versus peacekeeping operations, saying peacebuilding measures "may be as or more important than investments in traditional peacekeeping," and are essential in ensuring that countries do not "relapse" into conflict.

NGOs Need to Be in on Peacekeeping Discussions (May 21, 2004)

Rather than organizing integrated peacekeeping missions according to a "common blueprint," the Department of Peacekeeping Operations should tailor its operations to meet particular conflicts. The author argues that humanitarian organizations must be heavily involved in discussions about the shape that individual peacekeeping missions should take. (AlertNet)


More Women Needed to Join, Sensitize UN Missions, Security Council Told (October 29, 2003)

Resolution 1325 grants a substantial role for women in peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction. Yet women comprise a tiny percentage of UN Department of Peacekeeeping Operations (DPKO) civilian police. The DPKO chief offers recommendations for outreach and anti-discrimination measures. (UN News Centre)

The Need for UN Police (June 5, 2003)

The US military has neither the training nor the motivation to act as a police force in post-conflict Iraq. The UN has the expansive infrastructure to dispatch humanitarian aid, and therefore has the potential to effectively maintain law and order in post-conflict areas. (Foreign Policy In Focus)


Working Out How to Show Force Without Using It (April 22, 2002)

In an interview, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, UN Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations, stresses the importance of not mixing up peacekeeping with peace-enforcement.(Irish Times)

Peacekeeping No Longer Domain of Military Brass (March 12, 2002)

The "rigid barrier" that existed between UN peacekeepers and NGOs is dissolving as more realize that increased NGO-PKO cooperation leads to a "win-win situation" in peacekeeping and peace-building. (Inter Press Service)

Private Military Companies: Options for Regulation (February 12,2002)

The Green Paper by the UK's Foreign Office analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of private military companies (PMC). A strong and reputable PMC might enhance the UN's capability to respond rapidly and effectively in a crisis. Yet are we really ready to "privatize peace"? (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

Peacekeeping 'Role' for Mercenaries (February 13, 2002)

The UK's Foreign Office raised the possibility of licensing private military companies (PMC) as they may do a better and more cost-effective job than the UN peacekeeping force. Yet some officials argue that using PMCs is "an abdication of the responsibilities of government and…the high ideals of the UN." (BBC)


Getting Beyond New York: Reforming Peacekeeping in the Field (Fall 2001)

In addition to not matching high rhetoric with adequate resources, the lack of UN engagement with the local civil society is one of the fundamental maladies that undermine UN peacekeeping missions. (World Policy Journal)

Women, Peacekeepers and Stereotyping (November 2, 2001)

Women should be allowed to play a larger role in all operations whether political, military, or policy-making not because they are "women" but simply by excluding women you "exclude half the best brains and experience available". (EuropaWorld)

Interview on the Role of Women in Conflict and Peace and Security (October 31, 2001)

"Women have traditionally been looked at as victims but the new thinking is the role that women can play as peacekeepers," says Angela King, the UN Secretary-General's Special Advisor on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women.(IRIN)

Headquarters Press Conference on Women in Peacekeeping (October 30, 2001)

If gender justice is not addressed, post-conflict peace-building efforts would suffer, argued women leaders converging for the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace, and security. (UN Department of Public Information)

Combining Combat Readiness and Compassion (Summer 2001)

As NATO forces increasingly engage in "multi-faced" operations that combine both military and humanitarian objectives, integrating NGOs into the process is crucial in establishing an armed force with "combat readiness [and] compassion."(NATO Review)


Annan Appeals for Emergency Funding to Revamp Peacekeeping Operations (November 27, 2000)

The Secretary General asks the General Assembly to approve $22 million in emergency peacekeeping funds so that the Brahimi recommendations can be implemented as soon as possible. (Associated Press)

UN Plan for a New Crisis Unit Opposed by Wary Poor Nations (November 26, 2000)

Many developing countries are concerned that implementation of the Brahimi report will shift resources to peacekeeping at the expense of development. This might lead poor countries to block some of the implementation proposals in the General Assembly. (New York Times)

UN's Big Five Block Move to Have Them Pledge More UN Peacekeepers (November 13, 2000)

The Security Council adopts a reform-minded resolution welcoming and following up on the Brahimi report, but rejects a proposal by Bangladesh that each of the permanent five Security Council members provide five percent of each peacekeeping operation's troops. (Agence France Presse)

Put Women at the Peace Table (November 13, 2000)

The prime minister of Bangladesh argues the case for bringing more women into peace talks and peacekeeping operations. (Christian Science Monitor)

UN Resolution Backs Women in Peace Roles (November 1, 2000)

The Security Council votes unanimously for a resolution urging the protection of women from rape and sexual abuse in war, as well as the increased involvement of women in peacemaking at all levels. (Boston Globe)

Security Council to Hold Historic Debate on Women and Peace (October 17, 2000)

Following an Arria Formula briefing with NGO Working Group on Women and International and Peace and Security, and members of the Security Council, the Council held a debate for the first time on women in conflicts.


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