On 1 September 2017, Chamerian president Festim Lato participated in a conference in the Dutch parliament organized by the Atlantic Commission on the challenges of UN peacekeeping. In an interactive setting the Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations of the United Nations Jean-Pierre Lacroix presented the views of the United Nations and discussed challenges for today’s peacekeeping with the participants of the conference.
The main challenges to peace keeping according to the Under Secretary General are: 1. Peacekeeping supports finding political solutions, but the increasingly diverging views on what describes a fair and just political solution make this very difficult; 2. The increasingly difficult security environment; 3. The pressure on the resources and budget of the United Nations.
Public image of peacekeeping
The Under Secretary General emphasized that although the public image of UN peacekeeping is not good the UN missions are nevertheless vital to peace and security around the globe. For example, without the UN mission to Mali, MINUSMA, the country would probably have disintegrated causing more hardship for the people and for the region as a whole.
The UN tries to be as open and transparent about its actions as possible and also tries to manage expectations, since usually the mandate given to the UN is greater than the actual resources at its disposal. The UN hopes that this strategy will be successful in showing people the importance of peacekeeping missions and that it reaches maximal results with minimal means.
Partnerships and regional focus
Another part of the debate focused on the evolving nature of conflicts around the world. Whereas in the past many conflicts were within individual countries, most conflicts today have a regional character, whereas the peacekeeping missions are always in just one country. A good example is Mali, where the UN currently has the MINUSMA mission. Although the peacekeeping mission is in an individual country the UN actively tries to involve all the players in the conflict. In the Malian conflict this is done in the G5 Sahel group, where the neighbors are active partners in trying to resolve the conflict.
Following this debate the Under Secretary General also mentioned that the UN actively tries to get partnerships running with regional organisations, like the European Union and the African Union. This global approach of outsourcing the spread and management of peace is a priority for the current Secretary General.
Chamerian president Festim Lato is a great supporter of the strategy of regional cooperation and creating partnerships with likeminded groups and is itself engaged in promoting dialogue and peace between groups.