UN Peace Operations Reform

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is seen here with Secretary-General-designate, Mr. Antonio Guterres just before the the GA meeting which will appoint him by consensus.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is seen here with Secretary-General-designate, Mr. Antonio Guterres just before the the GA meeting which will appoint him by consensus.

2017: A Year of UN Reform

Reform is a perennial issue at the United Nations and “reform is necessary for the protection of the UN,” said Secretary-General António Guterres when presenting his reform agenda to member states and the UN Secretariat in late July 2017.  Since taking, Secretary-General Guterres has presented the broad strokes of his reform plan along four main streams: (1) renewed focus on prevention and sustaining peace; (2) reform of the UN development system; (3) restructuring of the peace and security architecture; and (4) management reform.

The challenge for the secretary-general in 2018 will be to translate his vision into a concrete and coherent set of reforms that will have a real impact in headquarters and in the field, including by building broad member states support (based on a detailed cost breakdown presented to the General Assembly committees, particularly the Fifth Committee) in order to effectively implement his reform proposals and have the “new system” in place in early 2019.

IPI is supporting this process through a combination of convening – both high-level (PRs) and working level – and publications to foster constructive debates on how and under what conditions the reform proposals will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization. This involved tracking the reforms, unpacking how these are working together and whether, and how, they address the core challenges facing the UN today.

2015: The year of HIPPO, AGE and 1325

IPI has a long history of working on reform issues having followed the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) process. The HIPPO review was imitated by former UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon who, on the eve of the 15th anniversary of the Brahimi report, the last consolidated effort to reform United Nations peace operations, announced a new effort to review the structures of peace and security of the organization. “The world is changing and UN peace operations must change with it if they are to remain an indispensable and effective tool in promoting international peace and security,” he said.

In order too facilitate a comprehensive assessment of the current state and future needs, the Secretary-General established the HIPPO- a 16 member body chaired by Mr. Jose Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste and vice-chaired by Ms. Ameerah Haq of Bangladesh. Simultaneously, the Secretary-General commissioned a global study on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325, in light of the High-Level review on its 15th anniversary. He also nominated an Advisory Group of Experts to review the UN peacebuilding architecture.

During 2015, the three panels engaged in consultations with a various range of stakeholders: UN member states, the UN Secretariat, UN funds and programmes, as well as civil society. They then proceeded to present 3 separate reports to the Secretary-General, which all bore important recommendations for the UN architecture on peace and security - the future of UN peace operations.

In June 2015, the UN Advisory Group of Experts released their assessment of the UN’s peacebuilding architecture in the report, “The Challenges of Sustaining Peace.” The High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations presented their report on July 16, 2015. This was followed by the Secretary General’s report on his views on implemenation of the HIPPO.

And on October 14, 2015, following the High-Level Review of Women, Peace and Security at the 15th anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 held at the UN Security Council the day before, the independent Global Study launched. In “[taking] stock of evolving expectations and [considering] how the Organization can most effectively advance peace, assist countries caught in conflict and ensure that our peacekeeping operations and special political missions remain strong and effective in a changing global context” (UN Secretary General, press release 31 Oct 2014), maintaining the momentum of reform and finding synergies across the three reform - will remain essential.