[Dateline: New York | Author: DPKO]
Weeks of planning and preparation by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ (DPKO) Office of Military Affairs will come to fruition later this week as top military advisors, ambassadors and renowned peacekeeping experts from around the globe gather outside of London for a key United Nations conference on robust peacekeeping.
The three-day UN Conference on Robust Peacekeeping: Exploring the Challenges in Doctrine, Commitments and Conduct of Operations will open on Thursday, 14 May.
It will bring together senior officials serving in key advisory roles on UN operational matters from more than 30 countries that contribute troops and other forms of support to UN peacekeeping. Representatives of regional organizations and senior UN peacekeeping officials will also attend.
The conference falls within the growing recognition of the need to identify the key challenges and achievable goals for strengthening the efficiency and effectiveness of UN peacekeeping. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Department of Field Support have already begun exploring this as part of their “New Horizon” initiative – a comprehensive study which will explore the new realities in peacekeeping; and one of the key topics in this review is robust peacekeeping.
“This discussion is urgently needed as today, more and more, it seems the Security Council – and the wider public – are expecting us to adopt a robust posture towards the implementation of our mandates,” said the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Alain Le Roy. “In light of the Security Council’s inclination towards robust roles in mandates, a critical question for all of us is, how do we configure missions to deliver the mandate?”
The event is organized in cooperation with the West Sussex-based Wilton Park, an academically independent agency of the UK Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office; and funded by the governments of Canada and the United Kingdom.
Speakers at the event will include a range of force commanders, both past and present, from UN peacekeeping operations as well as Under-Secretary-General Le Roy, the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet, and the UN Military Advisor, Lieutenant-General Chikadibia Obiakor.
“The challenges we face are not just an issue of mandates and doctrine, but are often directly related to very practical problems of equipment and capabilities, logistics and infrastructure,” said Assistant Secretary-General Mulet. “We need to ask ourselves if robustness is only a feature of the military, or if it requires action from the civilian side of the mission as well.”
The conference aims to share information with troop-contributing countries, regional organizations and other partners on the demand for robust peacekeeping, explore impediments and limits to it, and to assist DPKO in identifying priorities in planning future peacekeeping missions.