18 September 2015
UNA-UK has released a major report on The UK and UN peace operations: Identifying a way forward, written by Dr David Curran, a Research Fellow at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University.
The report outlines the main themes of discussions at a high-level policy roundtable organised by UNA-UK in association with the Royal United Services Institute in May 2015.
It maps the terrain for the UK and UN peacekeeping operations and argues that there is inertia in current UK decision-making with regards to how to approach UN peace operations. It discusses the reputational damage and security risks posed by the current approach and makes suggestions for change, including niche contributions, co-deployments with European partners and additional political and technical contributions.
Ultimately the report finds that decisions over contributions and partnerships will depend on answering the overarching question: what does the UK – at a political level – want from UN peacekeeping? The final section sets out what is required for the UK to act if it were to choose to do more, focussing on the need for political ‘buy in’ from ministers, longer-term approaches to security, and better use of existing policy tools.
The report ends with recommendations to the UK Government at strategic and departmental levels. It states that the UK Government's forthcoming Strategic Defence and Security Review should set out a coherent strategic approach to UN peace operations. It also recommends that Government departments should cultivate a cultural change in the way the UN is viewed internally, making the UN part of the "bloodstream" of UK policy-making and implementing.