Summary

The Secretary-General has put forward his initial ideas for UN peace and security architecture reform, based on the reviews of peace operations, peacebuilding and women, peace and security. The proposals include two key dimensions: (i) restructuring peace and security departments and offices at headquarters to avoid competition, duplication or lack of functional linkages; and (ii) management reform measures to increase delegation to leadership in the field and speed up processes.

The purpose of this note is to input experiences and views from the host nations of peace operations, in particular but not only members of the g7+ group of countries. The points raised fall in two main areas:

  • Support for the proposals put forward by the Secretary-General, and examples of country experiences that illustrate why these changes are important both from a host nation perspective and in support of national ownership;
  • Additional ideas on changes to the way the UN operates that could increase the impact and effectiveness of peace operations. Experiences that illustrate the need for the proposals put forward by the Secretary-General:
    1. Merging the regional desks of DPA and DPKO, with PBSO moving to the new D(P)PA.
    Practical problems encountered which this reform could help resolve centered around mission transitions. Examples included: (i) the problematic transition from UNAMET to UNTAET in Timor-Leste; (ii) despite good forward planning by the missions, lack of continuity in peacebuilding initiatives started by the peacekeeping contingents in Sierra Leone; (iii) lack of articulation with external economic shocks (Ebola/commodity prices and aid patterns) in Liberia; and (iv) lack of adequateengagement and support from the UN’s counterterrorism entities, in particular in field coordination in Afghanistan.
  • 2. Delegating authority to the field and speed of response.
    Practical examples included the inability: (i) of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) in Timor-Leste to provide for the basic needs of Timorese resistance fighters in cantonment areas, and to retain high-performing staff who were assisting the local authorities; (ii) of the SRSG in Liberia to assist government in transporting payments to civil servants in
    outlying areas; (iii) of the mission in Guinea Bissau to use locally warehoused street lighting poles for the benefit of safety in the capital city; and (iv) to provide for the transport of delegations from Sierra Leone and Liberia to assist in mediation processes. Issues raised that are not in the Secretary-General’s current proposal included the need for:

     

    • More robust and more neutral processes of recruitment of SRSGs. On that note, Guatemala noted that the selection process for SRSGs needs to be revisited as should also be the provision of guidance from HQ departments, as well as ensuring that Chapter VI missions stay within their mandate of assisting governments rather than imposing solutions.
    • Two-step mandating processes, where an initial mission mandate in a crisis situation is understood by the Security Council and the Fifth Committee to be truly initial, and to be not only refined but possibly significantly adjusted in subsequent mandating processes where the views of national authorities can be taken into account. An exit strategy should be
      considered from the beginning of this second mandate stage.
    • More attention to collaboration across the pillars of development, peace and,security and human rights; as well as focus on thematic issues like gender and reconciliation.

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