UN peacekeeping chief names challenges for future operations

UN Undersecretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix on Monday named eight challenges for future operations.

He asked for efforts to ensure that all peace operations are coherent with, and contribute to overarching political strategies that further a positive peace, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Aiming for short-term stability is not enough. Our missions should be vectors for inclusive, responsive and transformative futures for the people we serve. This means linking particular mandate areas … back to politics,” he told the Security Council in an annual briefing on peacekeeping reform.

He said the pandemic has shown, painfully, how widespread inequality is, and how social justice, development and peace go hand in hand. “We need more substantive, strategic integration with development and peacebuilding actors, on an ongoing basis, not only during drawdown and transitions.”

Lacroix called for efforts to deepen integration within UN peacekeeping operations, among civilian and uniformed components, as well as with the UN country team. He also called for cooperation with regional organisations and actors that have a tangible influence in conflict-affected countries.

He stressed the need to improve performance of peace operations and to improve the safety and security of peacekeepers.

He called for the strengthening of strategic guidance and planning capacities, including by developing clear objectives, and for efforts to achieve a more robust and agile posture, including by drawing upon new technologies and effective strategic communications.

Finally, he asked for the application of a gender perspective across all areas of work. “Gender is not only about numbers, it is about the meaningful consideration of the gender-differentiated impacts of our work and what we hope to achieve.”

“Looking forward, we want UN peacekeeping to continue to be an indispensable multilateral tool in the peace and security toolbox in the years to come,” said Lacroix. “We will need to continue to respond to the immediate challenges, including fragmented armed groups, weak commitment to peace by conflict actors, and the regionalization of conflict. Over the next five to 10 years, these challenges will be compounded by other ones. We are likely to see a world transformed by potentially lethal and disruptive technologies, climate-related disruptions, a more urbanized population.”

To have missions fit for purpose for the coming decades, the United Nations is examining responses to systemic issues, and has begun an internal reflection on the types of adaptations that will be required for UN peace operations to continue to make a difference in the future, he said.

As we mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the need to ‘save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’ remains imperative as ever. It is only through strengthened joint and collective international action and solidarity that we can ensure that progress continues to be made in the right direction,” he said.