How Can Peacekeeping and Special Political Missions Work for Prevention and Sustaining Peace?

As part of an ongoing effort to unpack the conceptual and practical contours of prevention for sustaining peace, IPI organized the second in a series of closed door high-level conversations among member states and other key stakeholders on February 24, 2017. These conversations seek to broaden the understanding of prevention as, not merely a tool for managing short-term crises, but rather an approach to sustaining peace in the long term.

The second conversation, which was co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations, examined how peace operations can better implement their mandates from the perspective of sustaining peace, focusing in particular on the key provision relating to supporting the restoration and extension of state authority. This conversation follows the one held last October that examined how the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals can be leveraged to promote prevention for sustaining peace.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ commitment to a prevention-based agenda provides a unique opportunity to integrate all three pillars of the organization’s work—peace and security, human rights, and development. Recognizing the problem of fragmentation, with different entities of the UN system each defining “prevention” and “sustaining peace” based on their respective mandates, or funding needs, participants agreed on the need for the development of a unified approach based on a system-wide strategy. A prevention based approach to peace should uphold the primacy of politics and focus on building trust between citizens and governments. This is key for enhancing the legitimacy of state institutions beyond that arising from elections.

Participants identified a number of specific areas for further study and action, including the design of peace operation mandates with realistic timelines and commensurate resources, drawing lessons from those operations coming to an end – such as those in Haiti and Cote d’Ivoire – and exploring the proactive role the Peacebuilding Commission can play within the context of the revitalized mandate given to it by the sustaining peace resolutions jointly adopted last April by the General Assembly and the Security Council.

Michael Grant, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN, delivered Opening Remarks.

Youssef Mahmoud, IPI Senior Adviser, moderated the discussion.

Read the meeting brief