Senior Leadership Training in UN Peace Operations

Senior Mission Leaders course in Beijing, 2016. Peacekeeping Affairs Center of China’s Ministry of National Defense.

Due to their unique and complex nature, UN peacekeeping missions depend on effective leadership. Because few, if any, mission leaders have the requisite skills, knowledge, political judgment, and physical and mental stamina upon being selected, they require continuous, institutionalized, and sustained training and learning support. While the Secretariat has undertaken a number of training and learning initiatives, critical gaps remain.

This paper identifies these gaps and analyzes obstacles that impede progress in addressing them. It looks at gaps in three broad areas: knowledge of peacekeeping doctrine, policy, and practice specific to UN peacekeeping; knowledge of UN policies and procedures on financial and human resources management; and leadership and team-building skills. To address these gaps, it recommends that the Secretariat prioritize action in several areas:

  • Centralize responsibility for mission leadership training in a single unit;
  • Integrate training into planning and recruitment processes;
  • Provide more sustained support to training; and
  • Employ new tools such as scenario-based exercises for in-mission training.