UN peacekeeping chief stresses need for flexible support in complex mandates


The head of the United Nations peacekeeping department stressed the need for flexible, agile and responsive mechanisms in support of changing situations, saying that the increasingly complex peacekeeping mandates have to be matched with specialized skills and well-trained personnel.

“Delivering on our mandates will increasingly depend on our ability to reliably deploy police and other civilian capacities such as rule of law and security sector reform experts, and ensure that Formed Police Units [FPUs] have adequate training and equipment,” said Hervé Ladsous, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, in a presentation to the General Assembly’s fourth committee, which focuses on special political and decolonization issues.

Mr. Ladsous noted that the single greatest comparative advantage of UN peacekeeping is that it offers a unique, common platform to blend political, rule of law, human rights and other expertise with military, police, and logistics operational capabilities, UN News Service reports.
“It also brings to this platform a universal legitimacy that no other organization does. But in order fully to realize this potential on the ground requires that we further improve our efforts to plan and manage missions in an integrated manner so that they, in turn, may better respond to the complex demands of countries and populations emerging from conflict.”

Peacekeeping reforms must also be seen within the broader context of peace, security and development, he said.
“We will be working in the coming year to ensure that peacekeeping reforms are in sync with wider UN reforms that the Secretary-General has launched or may launch, such as the civilian capacity review.”

He pointed out that there is a growing demand for more specialized capacities to fulfil mandates related to the protection of civilians, as well as in creating or strengthening national capacity to address challenges, particularly those related to community-oriented policing, trans-national organized crime and border management.

Support for national police development is often central to UN peacekeeping’s ability to hand over security tasks to national authorities, he added.

Mr. Ladsous identified the areas of growing demand in peacekeeping expertise as security sector management, law reform that acknowledges the appropriate role of traditional or customary justice, Islamic legal systems, military justice, prosecution services, witness protection, prevention, investigation and prosecution of sexual and gender-based violence in conflict, corrections, community violence reduction, ammunition and stockpile management and collection and destruction of small arms and light weapons.

He emphasized that he was also personally committed to upholding the highest standards of conduct for all our UN peacekeeping personnel, noting that an incident of misconduct can overshadow the otherwise exemplary behaviour of all peacekeepers.