The United Nations Security Council today endorsed an approach to peacekeeping that focuses more sharply on laying the groundwork for lasting stability in conflict-plagued countries, in the midst of a day-long meeting opened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Though the unanimous adoption of resolution 2086 (2013), the 15-member body emphasized that "United Nations peacekeeping activities should be conducted in a manner so as to facilitate post-conflict peacebuilding, prevention of relapse of armed conflict and progress toward sustainable peace and development."
Endorsing an approach that goes well beyond the basic tasks of monitoring ceasefires and peace processes, the resolution states that multidimensional peacekeeping missions may be mandated to support a range of activities that aimed at future stability.
Such efforts included the strengthening of national security sectors, the implementation of programmes to reintegrate ex-combatants into civilian life, the strengthening of rule of law, reconciliation and inclusive political processes, protection of civilians and their rights, building of governance institutions and delivery of humanitarian aid.
With the aim of supporting national governments in those efforts, the Council stressed the need for personnel with suitable skills and the importance of wide partnerships among international, regional, non-governmental and other organizations, with clear roles for all actors.
In his opening remarks, the Secretary-General called on UN Member States to support this approach in an integrated, coherent manner.
"I call on you to contribute military and police personnel with the professional skills, training and integrity required to fully implement their mandates," he said in a statement that was followed by that of Jalil Abbas Jilani, Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, which holds the rotating presidency of the 15-member body for the month of January.
"I also call on Member States to provide the key military assets and enabling capabilities we need to operate in ever more challenging environments," Mr. Ban said, adding that greater participation of women in both uniformed and civilian roles and timely provision of resources also add to effectiveness of missions in meeting more complex goals.
He said that the UN is now in the process of improving how it integrates efforts of the entire organization to maximize the collective impact of missions and country teams and he noted that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) has joined with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) as the Joint Global Focal Point for police, justice and corrections.
"We aim to deploy, work hard, fulfil the mandates you entrust to us, and leave behind strong structures to maintain lasting peace," he said, stressing however, that better coordination has to extend to regional organizations, the World Bank, bilateral donors and countries in the region, aligned with national priorities developed in consultation with a broad cross-section of civil society.
"I encourage the Council to work harder for greater coherence across the international community, including with advice from the Peacebuilding Commission," he said, citing the UN organ created to keep countries from falling back into conflict.
Mr. Ban urged that lessons be drawn from the successful 2012 completion of the UN mission in Timor-Leste, where "political commitment from the Government and close collaboration between UN and national police was critical for success," he said.
"In too many other cases, however, a lack of political will and sustained commitment to reform by national leaders have undermined progress," he said. "Too often, international donors focus on training individuals while neglecting to build institutions."
To avoid such pitfalls, he urged the Council to engage more closely with host governments and other actors.
In his remarks, Pakistani Foreign Secretary Abbas Jilani affirmed the importance of UN peacekeeping which he said "has saved tens of millions of lives around the globe," paying tribute to the more than 3,000 blue helmets that have laid down their lives for the cause.
Noting that his country was a leading military and police contributor to UN missions, with 145,000 troops deployed in 41 missions over five decades, he said that "keeping peace is as important as bringing it about," for which purpose it was critical to create a space for a range of peacebuilding activities.
Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste had demonstrated the success of a multidimensional approach, he said, urging lessons be culled from all those missions.
He said that today's resolution represents the first comprehensive resolution on peacekeeping in over a decade, underlining the importance of early response and sound planning to prevent, end and stop relapses into conflict, as well as respect for all principles enshrined in the UN Charter.