Peacekeeping where “there is no peace to keep”

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The incumbent president of the Security Council, Russia, held an open debate on the new trends in UN peacekeeping operations. The Secretary-General opened the debate by recognizing the increasingly dangerous circumstances confronting peacekeeping, stating that very often “there is no peace to keep” where missions are dispatched. At a time when both the demand for peacekeeping and its cost increase, he urged the Security Council to renew their commitment to this core mission of the UN.

Jordan pointed out the challenge to peacekeeping rests on declining contribution of troops and policies from member states. Quoting the words of former peacekeeping chief Brian Urquhart, the Ambassador said that peacekeeping missions may be better served by a standing army if the low contribution from members persists. However, many in the council echoed the Secretary-General in recognizing the changing landscape for peacekeeping. In response, Luxembourg and Nigeria called for cooperation among peacekeeping missions and regional organizations as possible solutions to the problem. Britain pointed out that in the face of the changing demands of peacekeeping, attempts should be made on tailor-making mandate and apparatus for individual missions instead of codifying a universal standard.

The council was divided on the future of the mandate and capacities of peacekeeping. For instance, China stated that use of force must be limited to the self-defense of the mission in contrary to the Australian and American view that use of force is justified and needed to protect civilians. Further, while Chad and Rwanda were wary of technological advancement such as unmanned aerial vehicle, Nigeria, Russia and Lithuania pointed out the need to equip the Blue Helmets with appropriate equipment to facilitate their mission and alleviate budgetary concern. Concluding the initial round of discussion, the President stated her wish to produce an outcome document in light of the debate.

Meeting Title: Contributions of Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Speakers: Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Members of the UN Security Council and other Member States
Location: Security Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters
Date: 11 June, 2014
Written By WIT representative: Harrison Chung

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