UN reform: Two new departments for the peace and security pillar

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Worldwide | DPA I DPKO I PBSO 

The General Assembly recently adopted resolution A/RES/72/262 C endorsing the restructuring of the peace and security pillar of the United Nations.

From 1 January 2019, the Department of Political Affairs and the Peacebuilding Support Office will form the new Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, while the Department of Peacekeeping Operations will become the Department of Peace Operations.

The overarching goals of the reform are to:

  • prioritize prevention and sustaining peace;
  • enhance the effectiveness and coherence of peacekeeping operations and special political missions;
  • address fragmentation to move towards a single, integrated peace and security pillar;
  • and align it more closely with the development and human rights pillars to create greater coherence and cross-pillar coordination.

The two departments will share a single regional political-operational structure, which will be responsible for the management of all political and operational peace and security activities, under the leadership of Assistant Secretaries-General with regional responsibilities, who will report to the Under-Secretaries-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and for Peace Operations.

The Department of Peace Operations (DPO) would serve as an integrated “centre of excellence” for United Nations Peace operations, responsible for preventing, responding to and managing conflict and sustaining peace in the context of mandates in countries where peace operations under its purview are deployed. This includes facilitating and implementing political agreements, providing integrated strategic, political, operational and management advice, direction and support to peace operations; developing political, security and integrated strategies, leading integrated analysis and planning of peace operations and backstopping those operations.

The Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) would combine the strategic, political and operational responsibilities of the current Department of Political Affairs (DPA) and the peacebuilding responsibilities of the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO). DPPA would have global responsibility for political and peacebuilding issues, and would manage a spectrum of tools and engagements across the conflict continuum to ensure a more holistic approach to conflict prevention and resolution, electoral assistance, peacebuilding and sustaining peace. It will provide strategic, political, operational and management advice, direction and backstopping to all special political missions.

A strengthened Peacebuilding Support Office within DPPA will connect the pillar with system-wide efforts and tools across the conflict spectrum, ensuring more system-wide coherence in support of national priorities.

The Under-Secretaries-General of the two departments will work as a team to ensure coherence, consulting closely with each other to provide advice to the Secretary-General and give guidance and direction to the Assistant Secretaries-General leading the political-operational structure, particularly in relation to countries and regions where their respective responsibilities are closely interrelated. 

Seven shared services, led by a Director for Coordination, will ensure coherence and consistency with Headquarters level management, administration, strategic communications and similar processes across the pillar. Other parts of the pillar that are not shared - such as the Policy and Mediation Division, the Peacebuilding Support Office in DPPA, or the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions, the Office of the Military Adviser, and the Division of Policy, Evaluation and Training in DPO and the gender units - will work more closely both with the single regional political-operational structure and with one another.