WORLDVIEWS

Why Syria Will Need a UN Peacekeeping Force (Called Unshams)

After seven years of horrific fighting, it appears that the Syrian civil war is inching toward a conclusion. In the wake of recent alleged chemical attacks unleashed in Eastern Ghouta, Bashar al-Assad’s regime is squeezing remaining rebel forces, largely herding them — and thousands of civilians — into the northwest in Idlib Province, where an … Read more

Setting an Example: Kenyans’ Innovations in UN Peacekeeping

NAIROBI — With the budget cuts to peace operations implemented last year and the prospect of even more reduction in resources, debates about United Nations peacekeeping effectiveness have intensified. One of the areas sorely in need of innovation is peacekeeping training and, more generally, the preparation of troops, police officers and civilians for peace operations. … Read more

As the UN Strives to Modernize Peacekeeping, the US Still Vows to Cut Funding

As peacekeepers sweat and toil and risk their lives in some of the world’s most lethal settings — South Sudan, Mali, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo — it is incumbent on the United Nations and its 193 members to alleviate the suffering and deaths of troops as fatalities keep rising. In 2017, … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

With UN Security Council Reform, Bigger Is Not Better

Much ado — during 25 years of fruitless negotiations — has been made about the need for the United Nations General Assembly to achieve more equitable geographical representation in the UN Security Council. Article 23(1) of the UN Charter, however, also requires the Assembly, in electing the nonpermanent members of the Council, to pay due … Read more

The UN Secretary-General Pushes Ahead on Peacekeeping Reform

Responding to a December request from the General Assembly for details on how he proposes to staff and pay for sweeping changes in political affairs and peacekeeping at the United Nations, Secretary-General António Guterres has drafted a 50-page explanation for member states to consider. The General Assembly had agreed in principle to his original 16-page … Read more

Stopping Sex Abuse in UN Peacekeeping: An Interview With Marie Deschamps of Canada

Marie Deschamps is a former justice on the Supreme Court of Canada who led the groundbreaking 2015 United Nations report of an independent review on sexual exploitation and abuse by international peacekeeping forces in the Central African Republic. Deschamps agreed to talk in late December about how the report has been followed up — or … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Unprepared and Unprotected: UN Peacekeepers’ Lives Must Be Saved

The 15 deaths and 43 injuries to United Nations troop personnel in the North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in December would not, sadly, have surprised those of us who have served in peace enforcement missions with the UN. These are difficult and dangerous places, where rebels have many advantages of … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Words Ring Hollow From the UN After Attacks on Peacekeepers

The horrific attack on United Nations peacekeepers from Tanzania in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in early December and the ensuing hours-long battle was a severe blow to one of the UN’s more prized forces, leaving 15 soldiers dead. But the UN was already so concerned with a rise in peacekeeper fatalities — almost … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

The Art of Infinite Patience: Searching for Peace in South Sudan

The South Sudan Council of Churches is an umbrella organization for seven Christian denominations — African Inland Church, Catholic, Episcopal, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Evangelical Presbyterian and Sudan Interior Church — working on peace and reconciliation in South Sudan and based in Juba, the capital. The country has been fighting a civil war for exactly four years. … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The Problem of Peacekeeping Sex Abuse Is Not Going Away

There is no denying that sexual exploitation and abuse has acquired greater urgency within the context of United Nations peace operations. Although the UN launched its zero tolerance policy in 2003, a recent report tallied some two thousand accusations between 2005 and 2017 in peacekeeping settings, which underscores how harmful ineffective policies and specific guidelines … Read more

The Vancouver Principles, New Steps to Help UN Peacekeepers Stop Child-Soldier Use

The one sure announcement to emerge from the annual United Nations peacekeeping defense ministerial conference this week will be the adoption of the Vancouver Principles, a set of rules aimed primarily at preventing the recruitment and use of child soldiers. The conference, being held Nov. 14-15 in Vancouver, British Columbia, will feature more than 500 … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Judging the UN in Haiti: ‘We Let the Haitians Down’

The population it serves can misunderstand a United Nations peacekeeping mandate. In the host country, with people’s lives, infrastructure and administrative systems often rendered dysfunctional by conflict, the population expects peacekeepers to restore order, build roads and other essentials, provide work, render justice and make life like it was before if not better. They don’t … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The UN Base in Timbuktu: A Demanding Deployment in the Sahara

TIMBUKTU — Who wants peace in Mali? If everyone says they want it, why is carrying out the 2015 peace agreement and its cease-fire so difficult? Part of the challenge for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali is not only helping to implement the agreement in the major cities, such as Timbuktu, but also … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Keeping a Close Eye on the UN’s Use of Unarmed Drones

In 2007, for the first time in history, United Nations forces operated an unmanned aerial vehicle — a small prototype for a short period by the UN mission in Haiti. In 2013, the UN officially launched drones (formally known as unmanned aerial systems, or UAS) for surveillance in a peacekeeping mission. Despite the controversies around … Read more

Political Will: The Missing Link to Ending Sex Abuse in UN Peacekeeping

It is not surprising that António Guterres, the first United Nations secretary-general to be rooted in a life of politics and the first to have been a head of government, would look for a political strategy to address one of the UN’s most self-inflicted wounds: persistent sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping missions. When he … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

New Wine in Old Bottles: Germany and Conflict Prevention at the UN

BERLIN — Just as Germany’s run for a nonpermanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2019-20 term is gathering steam, its government has published a new white paper, titled “Preventing Crises, Managing Conflicts, Building Peace.” In this release, Germany promises to become more active in the mostly civilian aspects of conflict prevention … Read more

UNGA72

Stopping Sex Abuse in UN Peacekeeping: Guterres’s Direct Call for Political Support

The United Nations’ top coordinator of a drive to end sexual exploitation and abuse in and around peacekeeping missions says the organization cannot succeed without more political support from member nations and cooperation from independent, civilian humanitarian and development agencies working with the UN. Jane Holl Lute, the special coordinator with the rank of under … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

UN Chief Asks All Nations to Sign New Pact Protecting Women

Haunted by accumulating reports of sexual exploitation and abuse of women and girls by United Nations peacekeepers and others attached to UN missions around the world, Secretary-General António Guterres is taking the bold, unprecedented step of asking all governments to sign a compact pledging to prevent and stop these violations. The compact is voluntary and … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

UN Peacekeeping: Big Budget Cuts but at What Cost?

LONDON — With little fanfare at the end of June, the United Nations General Assembly agreed to a peacekeeping budget for the financial year from July 2017 to July 2018. The budget contained significant cuts as well as a shift in focus toward the UN’s more complicated missions in Francophone Africa and away from missions … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

The UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali Escapes Trump’s Hatchet

After a month of contentious debate between the United Nations Security Council and UN budget committees, agreement has been reached for the UN to stay focused on Mali and the Sahel region, where terrorism is threatening to destabilize the area. The region extends across Africa from east to west in an arc right below the … Read more

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