COVID-19

A UN Diplomat From the Philippines Has the Coronavirus as It Hits New York

As the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus keeps rising in New York City this week, the United Nations remains open for business for diplomats and for staff members who are not telecommuting, while tourists were banned as of March 10. Yet as of early evening on March 12, it was revealed by the … Read more

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

China Is in the Hot Seat as Covid-19 Shadows Its Diplomacy

Over the past year China’s presence at the United Nations got suddenly noticed. It may be its more outgoing ambassador, Zhang Jun, its lobbying against human rights, its accession to high-level roles or the disengagement of the United States — perhaps all of the above that has drawn attention. But just as the country assumes … Read more

Reading the US Presidential Tea Leaves: Do the Candidates Even Care About the UN?

President Trump was at the United Nations last fall telling world leaders that “the future does not belong to globalists” when Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the United States House of Representatives would launch an inquiry into his possible impeachment. It was the same General Assembly whose derisive laughter at Trump’s boast a year before of … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

My Year in Africa: Why This Brazilian Woman Peacekeeper Wants to Return

In one of the world’s most fragile and violent settings, Lieut. Comdr. Marcia Braga, a 45-year-old Brazilian naval officer, arrived in April 2018 as the third military gender adviser for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic. She ended her yearlong stint there bestowed with the UN’s annual Military Gender Advocate award … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Dear UN Security Council: Remember to Protect the Children

Every time the budget committee of the United Nations meets, as it did in June, child-protection advocates enter a familiar existential crisis: will the United States and China cut UN budgets specifically allocated to specialists on child protection in peacekeeping missions? I am often asked by people in the UN why a child-rights advocate like … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The Future of UN Peacekeeping Will Resemble What It Is Now

The United Nations was not even three years old when it launched its first peacekeeping mission in 1948. For the last 70 years, it has been continuously involved in such operations, often with mixed results. Over that time, peacekeeping and the wars to which it has been applied have changed. The challenges peacekeepers face have … Read more

A Survey on Mali for Malians: What They Want for Their Country

Since 2012, a German political think tank has surveyed Malians regularly on their country’s current affairs across a legion of crises. These include the 2013 jihadist incursion in the nation, the French-led militarization to oust the jihadists, the post-conflict stabilization work done by the United Nations and a new cycle of intercommunal violence erupting in … Read more

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENCY

The UN Security Council’s New President: An Indonesian Economist and ‘Peace Broker’

Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous country, just held what its top United Nations ambassador, Dian Triansyah Djani, calls the “world’s largest election ever held” for a presidency in such a short period of time. While ballots are still being counted and the next government prepares to take shape in May, Indonesia’s work at the UN … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Why Developing Nations Send So Many Troops to UN Peace Ops

Africa, Asia and Latin America provide more than 90 percent of military and police personnel to United Nations peace operations and contribute about 15 percent of the budget. China, hardly a legitimate representative of the Global South as the world’s second-largest economy and a permanent member of the Security Council, inflates the budget number because its financial … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The G5 Sahel Force, Failing the Region and Failing Itself

BAMAKO, Mali — The G5 Sahel Force was conceived to enable greater coordination among five countries in the Sahel region of West Africa in fighting jihadist groups and to strengthen regional administration and development while relieving the United Nations mission in Mali of those burdens. Yet ever since the group — Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

When Is an Attack on UN Peacekeepers a War Crime and When Is It Not?

The recent attack by a militia on the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in which seven peacekeepers were killed, highlighted a question that the Security Council has hesitated to confront for years. What are the consequences when UN peacekeeping missions become parties to the conflict? The Security Council responded to the latest attacks on Monusco, as the … Read more

UN Peacekeepers Murdered on Duty Die in Obscurity

In the early morning of Tuesday, April 3, 2018, a temporary United Nations peacekeeping base in the village of Tagbara, in the Central African Republic, was attacked by rebel militia groups. One peacekeeper was killed and 11 others were injured in the fighting. Soon after, the UN also discovered the bodies of 21 civilians, including … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Striking a Better Balance in the Newest UN Peacekeeping Reforms

Just days before the United Nations held a meeting with heads of state and foreign ministers on Secretary-General António Guterres’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2436 on peace operations, on Sept. 21. Drafted by the United States, the resolution is the result of collaboration between Council members and other … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Women’s Roles as UN Peacekeepers: A Status Report

Women have historically been underrepresented across the United Nations system, but notably in peacekeeping, one of the most highly visible activities of the world body. And while the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations publishes monthly data on troop- and police-contributing countries, by missions and by gender, the numbers are not easily comprehensible. There are some … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The UN’s Cruz Report on Improving Peacekeepers’ Security Goes Too Far

Since 1999, the United Nations Security Council has consistently entrusted its peacekeeping operations with clear authority to use force beyond self-defense — primarily for the protection of civilians. To fulfill the mandate, the Council expects UN peacekeeping forces to take preventive as well as responsive actions; to proactively patrol the local communities; to project a strong … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

John Bolton Cracks the Whip on the UN Mission in Western Sahara

The message was blunt and judgmental as the United States delivered its ultimatum on the future of the United Nations mission in Western Sahara: “MINURSO is a peacekeeping mission that should have finished its job a long time ago. This is a mission that began 27 years ago almost to the day. This was a … Read more

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

Who Says the UN Is Boring? Intrigue Always Abounds in Its Inner Core

Bureaucracies do not have a great reputation, and the United Nations bureaucracy is no exception. They are seen as inefficient, cumbersome and rigid, adjectives that are also routinely associated with the UN Secretariat. At best considered a “necessary evil,” bureaucracies tend to attract scorn rather than analysis. The UN Secretariat, however, is different. Although it … Read more

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