A New Day at the UN: Peacekeeping Reform

Continuing a message of reform at the UN General Assembly's high-level week, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence lauded the UN Security Council's unanimous adoption of Resolution 2378 calling for improvements to UN peacekeeping operations.

“President Trump and I firmly believe that the U.N. must act to make its peacekeeping operations more efficient, more effective, more accountable, and more credible.”

The new resolution notes that conflict prevention remains primarily the responsibility of sovereign states and that the United Nations should support and complement the roles of national Governments in settling disputes by peaceful means. Peacekeeping missions should not replace the pursuit of political resolution to conflicts. Mediation, ceasefire monitoring and assistance in implementation of peace accords will continue to be central to the UN approach to keeping the peace.

The resolution also calls for structural reforms to improve efficiency and mission planning. Vice President Pence noted that peacekeeping missions must have the consent of the host country and have realistic and achievable mandates. “Every mission must have an exit strategy; and the United Nations peacekeeping missions must adjust to progress and failure,” he said:

“In short, when a mission succeeds, we should not prolong it. When a mission underperforms, we should restructure it. And when a mission consistently fails to fulfill the mandates of this council, we should end it.”

The resolution underscores the need to increase the number of relevant pledges of capabilities, reinforces the importance of peacekeeper performance, and calls for specific steps to address issues regarding misconduct among peacekeeping troops. It also calls for improved partnerships with regional entities.

“We urge the United Nations to analyze all peacekeeping operations in light of these principles, so that these missions most effectively advance peace across the wider world,” said Vice President Pence.

Noting the first words of the UN charter: “to maintain international peace.” He called on all member nations to rededicate themselves to this mission.

“Keeping the peace requires more than peacekeeping,” he said, “It requires action and the unwavering resolve of every country gathered here today.”