How Peacekeeping Policy Gets Made: Navigating Intergovernmental Processes at the UN

The UN General Assembly approves budgets for thirteen UN peacekeeping operations, New York, July 1, 2011. (UN Photo/Rick Bajornas)

Partnerships are critical to effective UN peacekeeping, particularly in New York, where the Security Council, the Secretariat, and member states examine proposed reforms and seek consensus on the direction of peacekeeping. Yet throughout the nearly seventy-year history of UN peacekeeping, relations among key stakeholders have frequently fractured due to their often diverging interests. These differences have been compounded by member states’ limited access to information on the roles and responsibilities of different UN bodies in taking forward peacekeeping reforms.

This paper examines the intergovernmental processes and partnerships that support and guide the development of UN peacekeeping policy to identify what needs to be considered to build consensus on its future direction. The paper offers several recommendations for the Secretariat, member states, and other stakeholders to strengthen the value and outcomes of intergovernmental processes, as well as the partnerships that guide the formulation of UN peacekeeping policy:

  1. Foster understanding of UN peacekeeping challenges and the policymaking process.
  2. Strengthen consultation mechanisms.
  3. Demonstrate leadership and identify a shared vision.
  4. Improve information sharing, reporting, and accountability.
  5. Encourage awareness of challenges in the field among stakeholders in New York.