Providing for Peacekeeping’s thematic studies series examines key issues related to
increasing and improving military and police contributions to UN peacekeeping.
No. 11: Europe's Return to UN Peacekeeping in Africa? Lessons from Mali
(John Karlsrud and Adam C. Smith)
In a break from recent tradition, European member states are currently contributing significant military capabilities to a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operation in Africa. Europeans are providing more than 1,000 troops to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) by staffing a wide range of operations including an intelligence fusion cell, transport and attack aircraft, and special forces.
Yet for European troop-contributing countries (TCCs) that have spent several years working in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) operations in Afghanistan, participating in a UN mission has been a process of learning and adaptation. For the UN, the contributions of key capabilities by European countries have pushed the UN system to adjust to the higher expectations of the new European TCCs, which has proved difficult in Mali’s complicated operating environment and political situation.
The report examines this complex relationship and shows the challenges and opportunities for both the UN and its European member states participating in MINUSMA. In terms of challenges, the report identifies obstacles facing European TCCs as they adapt to the UN peacekeeping system, the domestic political concerns of European TCCs, and the need for increased partnership among TCCs within the mission. In terms of opportunities, the report finds the potential of European military contributions to strengthen UN peacekeeping operations facing capability constraints and the UN’s ability to learn and adjust to increasingly asymmetric threat environments, as it responds to the needs of European TCCs.
No. 10: Safety and Security Challenges in UN Peace Operations
Since the tragic bombing of the UN headquarters in Iraq in 2003, a concerted effort has been made to improve and strengthen security arrangements across the UN system. However, too often, security issues are perceived as primarily technical matters that are not prioritized as strategically and politically important.
This report takes stock of the strategic impact of safety and security for effective peace operations by outlining the evolving, increasingly hostile security context into which operations are being deployed and its implications for personnel.
No. 9: Healing or Harming? United Nations Peacekeeping and Health
Whether it’s the Ebola outbreak in West Africa or cholera in Haiti, health emergencies present particular challenges for United Nations peace operations. UN peacekeepers can contribute to a host population’s health by facilitating access for humanitarian aid agencies or delivering health assistance directly. But they can also present a health threat to the host population, and face health risks in challenging environments themselves.
The new IPI report “Healing or Harming?” explores the complex relationship between UN peacekeeping and health. In terms of challenges, it finds a need for greater attention to medical checks and health care provision for peacekeepers both before and during deployment. In terms of opportunities, the authors show that peacekeepers can play a vital role in delivering health care in emergency settings, as well as facilitating and assisting humanitarian access.
No. 8: Improving United Nations Capacity for Rapid Deployment
Too many conflicts over the past twenty years—from Rwanda to the Central African Republic—have demonstrated that the costs of intervening in a crisis increase dramatically when deployments of peace operations are delayed.
With slow responses, violent conflicts tend to escalate and spread, increasing destruction and suffering, as well as the need for later, larger, and longer operations at higher costs.
This report assesses the UN’s capacity to rapidly deploy large peace operations by evaluating eight initiatives designed to reach this goal. It proposes the establishment of a UN “early mission headquarters” tool to expedite mission start-up and explores potentially promising partnerships for rapid deployment underway in Africa, Europe, and Latin America.
The author finds that attempts to develop better arrangements for rapid deployment have been repeatedly frustrated by financial austerity and an approach that encourages incremental, fragmented reforms, which have proven insufficient. Despite previously recommended response times of thirty to ninety days, UN deployments now tend to require six to twelve months.
No. 7: The Political Economy of UN Peacekeeping: Incentivizing Effective Participation
A surge in South Sudan and a new operation in the Central African Republic will bring UN peacekeeping deployments—and the UN peacekeeping budget—to unprecedented levels. How does the UN finance its peacekeeping missions? And how can it use that financing system in a better way to get the personnel and equipment it needs for all of its missions?
This report explores how UN financing mechanisms could incentivize timely state contributions of highly effective peacekeeping units willing to make full use of their capabilities. After reviewing the budget system and the disbursements made from it, the study identifies weaknesses in the financial incentive structure for troop- and police-contributing countries—from the way personnel and equipment costs are reimbursed to the structural obstacles preventing the UN from fully leveraging its resources to incentivize timely and effective contributions from states.
No. 6: Police in UN Peacekeeping: Improving Selection, Recruitment, and Deployment
This paper explores the challenges of selection, recruitment, and deployment of UN police. It looks at how the UN could broaden the available base of police-contributing countries and reviews different national models for making police-related expertise rapidly available internationally. The authors conclude with a number of recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness of selection and recruitment of future police peacekeepers, in order to achieve larger reserve cadres, better knowledge transfer in-mission, a consistent gender perspective in strategy and planning, and locally built alternatives to most formed-police units.
No. 5: Deploying the Best: Enhancing Training for UN Peacekeepers
This paper presents the main elements of the UN training strategy and evaluates the extent of recent progress in improving the training of UN peacekeepers. The study also examines the role of UN member states in the training architecture through a case study of one international training center, the Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units (CoESPU) in Italy. The study identifies areas for further improvement in the cooperative effort to make training for UN peacekeeping more strategic and effective.
No. 4: Not Just a Numbers Game: Increasing Women's Participation in UN Peacekeeping
This paper argues that the focus on increasing the numbers of female uniformed personnel has obscured the equally important goal of integrating a gender perspective into the work of peace operations. Both goals have gone unmet due to three core issues: the lack of understanding about SCR 1325 and the UN policy on gender equality in peace operations; a gap in data and analysis about women’s participation in national security institutions globally and in UN peacekeeping in particular; and the prevalence of social norms and biases which promote gender inequality within the security sector.
No. 3: Trends in Uniformed Contributions to UN Peacekeeping: A New Dataset, 1991-2012
This brief paper describes the IPI Peacekeeping Database, relates a number of key findings from the data regarding overall trends in uniformed contributions to UN peacekeeping, and offers suggestions for future research using the data. Among the key findings, the authors show that despite an increase in the number of countries contributing uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping since 1990, contributions have become much less equally distributed. That is, there was a strong shift toward relatively fewer countries providing a relatively higher share of the total number of UN peacekeepers.
No. 2: Rethinking Force Generation: Filling the Capability Gaps in UN Peacekeeping
This paper examines the UN force generation system, from planning through deployment. The authors identify key constraints to the current system in five areas: planning, communication, TCC/PCC selection, knowledge management, and performance/incentives. The paper recommends a set of technical proposals to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of UN force generation, as well as more fundamental reforms related to strategic planning and outreach, incentives, and mechanisms for greater accountability.
No. 1: Broadening the Base of United Nations
Troop- and Police-Contributing Countries
This paper analyzes the practical steps needed to broaden the base of UN troop- and police-contributing countries. It identifies current trends, summarizes the main reasons why states contribute to UN missions, examines factors that might inhibit contributions, identifies potential future major contributors, and addresses some of the major challenges facing the UN as it seeks to find more high-quality peacekeepers.