Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Latest Trends and Challenges-The Annual Review of Global Peace Operations 2007

Event: The Latest Trends and Challenges-The Annual Review of Global Peace Operations 2007
Sponsor: Henry L. Stimson Center and the Center for International Cooperation
Location: Stimson Center
Date: April 11, 2007
Time: 4:00-5:30pm
Approximate Number of Attendees: 40
Intern Attending: Elysa Severinghaus

Featured Speakers: Bruce Jones, Chris Lynch, Bill Durch

Bruce Jones, Co-Director of the Center for International Cooperation at NYU, released his center’s second edition of The Annual Review of Global Peace Operations. The compilation enumerates the progress that the past year has brought to peacekeeping efforts throughout the world. Peacekeeping has become a strategic tool for use in many developing countries and has grown to include greater diversity of contributors every year. It is an incredibly resilient method, though more so for certain organizations such as NATO than others, such as the UN. Beyond these two predominant peacekeeping actors, the remaining multinational forces are largely niche actors maintaining their regional presence.

Jones first expressed his doubt in the capacity of the UN to manage the peacekeeping load that exists globally with only 57 management planners for 19 projects. He commented that this proportion is a cause for concern. Recently, one of the most important changes in ability has been the return of U.S. forces to multilateral peacekeeping. In addition to U.S. assistance and at least an image of neutrality, the UN itself is a very flexible actor, but yet has no intrinsic capacity and a very weak management system. NATO, however, has great intrinsic capacity and is very well-managed, but finds itself in a much less flexible position because political color becomes an important factor in its operations.

The UN faces four key challenges when it comes to peacekeeping as it makes systemic changes to increase overall efficacy. The first of these is the complexity of peacekeeping efforts involving collaboration of all organizations involved, on either side. The second is an issue of consent from a few different sources including non-state actors, troop providers, and governments abroad. One prominent example of governmental non-consent is the Sudanese government around peacekeeping initiatives in Darfur. The third involves, once again, the capacity of the U.N. system to handle the body of peacekeeping that is necessary throughout the world today. Finally, Jones brought up the task of peace consolidation, concerning what objectives peacekeeping forces should pursue before leaving a region declared to be in a peaceful state. To maintain this, each area needs a transitional government that is in line with goals of peace and justice.

In regard to peace consolidation, one of the current problems with this effort is the merging of peacekeeping and counter-terrorism. While the two are ultimately in pursuit of similar end-states, this merges peacekeeping with war which ultimately defeats the point of the former. The most important thing that needs to evolve within global peacekeeping operations is a way to put in motion policies for self-sustaining peace. This alone will substantially strengthen the process and be more conducive to a necessarily integrated approach that has yet to be formed.

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