Today, United Nations (UN) peacekeeping stands at another crossroads. With consistently high demands for peacekeepers and an expanding range of mandated tasks, the UN faces the challenge of finding more, and better, peacekeepers. This comes at a time when financial austerity measures are being imposed across much of the world and in a political context where the UN must compete with other international organizations to recruit peacekeepers from what is a relatively limited global pool of relevant capabilities. To meet the challenge, the UN’s New Horizon initiative and the General Assembly’s Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34) have called for an “expanding of the pool of available capabilities.” The Human Protection Hub is a part of the Providing for Peacekeeping Project, whichwas established by the International Peace Institute in New York to inform and assist this endeavor.
The project’s recently released first thematic report, written by Alex Bellamy (Human Protection Hub) and Paul D. Williams (George Washington University, Washington, DC) reflects on what broadening the base of UN troop- and police-contributing countries will entail in practice, and provides a framework for thinking about why UN member states do, or do not, provide peacekeepers to UN-led missions. The report identifies recent trends in troop contributions to UN and non-UN missions, summarizes states’ rationales for providing peacekeepers to UN operations, examines the factors that inhibit such contributions, identifies potential major contributors of uniformed personnel for the future, and notes some of the most significant challenges facing the UN. These challenges include the global financial crisis, political controversy over the future direction and nature of peacekeeping mandates, issues of discipline and ill health, and the unique problems associated with finding police personnel for UN missions.
The paper concludes by suggesting ways in which the UN might begin to improve its ability to expand the pool of peacekeeping capabilities. It recommends providing incentives to encourage larger and better contributions of uniformed personnel, enhancing public diplomacy related to peacekeeping, improving the way in which the UN Secretariat makes its requests to member states for peacekeepers and relevant specialist capabilities, and strengthening analysis of contributing countries as a precursor to developing a strategic plan on force generation.
The full report can be downloaded here
The Providing for Peacekeeping Project website is here
Alex Bellamy, Human Protection Hub.