States that fail to fulfill their commitments to discipline their troops should be barred from providing troops for peace operations or receive substantially reduced peacekeeper reimbursements—not the negligible withholding of the monthly compensation of the peacekeepers who are directly accused. Likewise, if compensation is deemed appropriate for criminal acts committed by peacekeepers or damages resulting from negligence by the troop-contributing government, extracting penalties from peacekeeping payments to the troop-contributing country should be the first option.
However, the failure of the U. A key reason for this is likely that a government in a country where the U. As a result, the government will be reluctant to anger the U. To avoid this complication, a standing claims commission should automatically be established when a mission stands up, although it would be prudent to tightly define the claims eligible for consideration to avoid frivolous petitions. If the damages do not occur in the performance of legitimate peacekeeping activities or are the result of negligence, and compensation is deemed appropriate, the person or the troop-contributing country should be responsible for that compensation.
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Seek to review and adjust the U. To address the even greater disparity in the peacekeeping assessment, the U. In addition, considering that the peacekeeping assessment is based on the regular budget, where many countries already receive significant discounts, the extent of additional peacekeeping discounts should be trimmed, as should the number of eligible countries, which currently include wealthy or developed nations, such as Brunei, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
Finally, the U. Establish a dedicated unit for international organizations in the Office of Inspector General for the Department of State. The value of having a separate U. Development Programme projects in Afghanistan. In the end, however, the PTF did its job too well.
United Nations Peacekeeping Flaws and Abuses: The U.S. Must Demand Reform | The Heritage Foundation
As punishment for its pursuit of cases against Singaporean and Russian nationals, those countries led a successful effort to eliminate the PTF in December Demand that the U. Weak U. Whistle-blowers serve a particularly valuable function in the U. In essence, whistle-blowers should serve as a safety valve by alerting the organization to wrongdoing. Unfortunately, whistle-blowers are themselves too often punished for coming forward. This whistle-blower language was also included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of Despite ample evidence of sub-standard observance of whistle-blower protections and evidence of retaliation in several U.
Moreover, pressures to address various troubling situations have led the Security Council to establish peacekeeping operations where there is no peace to keep, that by default support governments that do not respect human rights and are themselves contributing to instability or suffering, or have objectives that exceed what peacekeepers and troop-contributing countries are willing to provide.
The unprecedented scope of U. The United States should not hesitate to encourage and demand reforms to address these flaws. The cost of failing to reform the U. An Administration focused on advancing its policy priorities in the United Nations can block many counterproductive initiatives put forth at the U. Rallying support for positive change is much more difficult. Such efforts require the assistance of other member states or the use of leverage to impose reforms on an unwilling organization.
Congress has played an active role in U. The Administration and Congress should work closely to advance and expand on these reforms. This effort should include financial carrots and sticks that have been effective in the past in spurring reform, including the establishment of the OIOS in and the adoption of a maximum assessment for the regular budget. Financial data includes approved resources through June 30, , for active peacekeeping operations.
Peacekeeping: Status of Long-standing Operations and U.
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Board of Auditors. For a detailed discussion see Brett D. At times, the U. Scale of Assessments Is Closing. Holbrooke, U. Senate, January 9, If the U. Heritage Foundation Back to Top. Open Navigation Open Search. Domestic Policy Agriculture. Government Regulation. American Founders. Public Opinion.
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Health Care Reform. Public Health. Hunger and Food Programs. Poverty and Inequality. International Economies. Markets and Finance. Must Demand Reform. August 3, 41 min read Download Report. Brett Schaefer. Brett D. As summarized in a RAND report: UN achievements in the Congo came at considerable cost in men lost, money spent, and controversy raised.
For the next 25 years the United Nations restricted its military interventions to interpositional peacekeeping, policing ceasefires, and patrolling disengagement zones in circumstances where all parties invited its presence and armed force was to be used by UN troops only in self-defense.
UN reform is long overdue
A decade ago, many peace operations were deployed following the end of hostilities and the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement. Today, a growing number of missions operate in remote and austere environments where no political agreement exists, or where efforts to establish or re-establish one have faltered. They face ongoing hostilities and parties who are unwilling to negotiate or otherwise undermine the presence of a mission by condoning or inflicting restrictions on its ability to operate…. Expectations have only grown, particularly with respect to the capacity of United Nations missions to protect civilians across vast areas of operations.
Although United Nations peace operations have at times responded with conviction to prevent such threats from materializing or worsening, and to provide safety to civilians, at other times they have failed to show sufficient resolve and action in the face of threats to civilians. In addition to the political, operational and security challenges confronting its missions, the cases of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by some United Nations personnel, despite new conduct and discipline systems and a zero-tolerance policy, continue to cause great harm to victims as well as to the enterprise of United Nations peace operations and the United Nations itself.
High Costs for the U. These differences are even starker in dollar terms: Under the current peacekeeping scale of assessment adopted this past December and applicable for three calendar years from to , the 18 countries paying the minimum peacekeeping assessment of 0. By contrast, the U. Serious Flaws, Concerns, and Problems As noted above, the more recent operations have often involved mandates that go beyond traditional peacekeeping in scope, purpose, and responsibilities.
The UN is manifestly unable to police itself, because it is clear that the independence that OIOS once had has been compromised.
OIOS has repeatedly been found to be factional, it is riddled with corruption and self interest and is effectively controlled by the same senior management that it is supposed to investigate for wrongdoing. Beholden to senior management for political patronage and other favours, OIOS management has been able to select which reports should be investigated and which should be referred to another department and conveniently lost or buried. Many countries including India are bidding for permanent membership in this organisation. This allows them to carry out their national interests, boost their political power in the global arena and create a balance of power in the multipolar world.
However, there has been little progress in this regard due to the rigid stance taken by the 5 permanent members who are unwilling to reduce their power status and also power rivalry amongst nations. Don't Miss Out Any Post! Email Address. Vote count:. Get Notified Email Address Subscribe.
How useful was this post? The problem is quite simple: for every state that feels it deserves a place on the Security Council, and especially the handful of countries that believe their status in the world ought to be recognized as being in no way inferior to at least three if not four of the existing permanent members, there are several who know they will not benefit from any reform.
The small countries, which make up more than half the UN's membership, accept this reality and are content to compete occasionally for the five nonpermanent Council seats that come up for a vote every year. These five seats are voted on by all members of the General Assembly, and the candidates are generally regarded as representing their various regions—thus, often creating vigorous lobbying and campaigning among the nations within a given region. At the same time, the medium-sized and large countries that are the rivals of the prospective beneficiaries that is, the G-4 deeply resent the prospect of a select few breaking free of their current second-rank status in the world body.
Some of the objectors, such as Canada and Spain, are genuinely motivated by principle: they consider the very existence of permanent membership to be wrong, and they have no desire to compound the original sin by adding more members to a category they dislike. Many others, however, are openly animated by a spirit of competition, historical grievance, or simple envy. Together, they have banded into an effective coalition—first called the "coffee club" and now, more cynically, "Uniting for Consensus"—to thwart reform of the permanent membership of the Council.
They say they would accept some other formula that does not give a few countries privileges that they do not currently enjoy. Let us remember that the bar to amending the UN Charter has been set rather high. Any amendment requires a two-thirds majority of the overall UN membership—in other words, of the states in the General Assembly. An amendment would further have to be ratified by two-thirds of the member states and ratification is usually a parliamentary procedure, so in most countries this means it is not enough for the government of the day to be in favor of a reform; its Parliament or Congress must also agree to the change.
Thus, the only "prescription" that has any chance of passing is one that will both 1 persuade two-thirds of the UN member states to support it and 2 not attract the opposition of any of the existing "Perm Five" or even that of a powerful U. That has proved to be a tall order, indeed.
After all, what countries would the world want to see on an expanded Security Council? Obviously, states that displace some weight in the world and have a record of making major contributions to the UN system. But when Japan and Germany began pressing their claims to permanent seats, the then foreign minister of Italy, Susanna Agnelli, wisecracked, "What's all this talk about Japan and Germany? We lost the war, too! Even assuming such objections notably from Italy, Spain, Canada, and Korea, and among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries could be overcome, adding these two security council reform to the Council would, of course, further skew the existing North-South imbalance.
So they would have to be balanced by new permanent members from the developing world. But which would these be? In Asia, India, as the world's largest democracy, its fifth-largest economy, and a long-standing contributor to UN peacekeeping operations, seems an obvious contender.
But Pakistan, which fancies itself India's strategic rival on the subcontinent, is unalterably opposed, and to some extent Indonesia seems to feel threatened by the prospect of an Indian seat. Similarly, in Latin America, Brazil occupies a place analogous to India's, but Argentina and Mexico have other ideas, pointing to Portuguese-speaking Brazil's inferior credentials in representing largely Hispanic Latin America. And in Africa, how is one to adjudicate the rival credentials of the continent's largest democracy, Nigeria, its largest economy, South Africa, and its oldest civilization, Egypt?
No wonder the search for a reform prescription—a formula that is simultaneously acceptable to a two-thirds majority and not unacceptable to the Perm Five—has proved so elusive. And while composition is the central challenge, it is not the only one. Questions of the eventual size of a reformed Council are also raised and further complicate the discussion.
This is because it is generally agreed that once additional permanent members have been added to the Council, they must also be joined by additional nonpermanent ones in order to give more representation to such regions as Latin America and Eastern Europe, which would otherwise risk being marginalized in the new body. Might the Council, then, become too large to function effectively?
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Reform of the United Nations
Permanent membership currently comes with the privilege of a veto, but there appears to be less support across the full UN membership for new veto wielders than there is for the abolition of the veto altogether. The G-4, sensing the mood, announced they would voluntarily forgo the privilege of a veto for ten years, but this did not noticeably add momentum to their cause. For all of these impediments, I do still believe the Security Council has to change sooner or later. The best argument for reform is that the absence of reform could discredit the United Nations itself.
Britain and France have become converts to this point of view. I remember the late British foreign secretary Robin Cook saying in on his first UN visit in that capacity that if the Council was not reformed without delay, his own voters would not understand why. Cook, a fine statesman and a man of principle, did not realize that he was not destined to see any Council reform in his lifetime, let alone during his term of office.
And yet he understood that reform was essential, because what merely looks anomalous today will seem absurd tomorrow. Imagine in a British or French veto of a resolution affecting South Asia with India absent from the table, or of one affecting southern Africa with South Africa not voting: who would take the Council seriously then? There is perhaps another reason why the British and the French are genuinely keen on seeing the Council reformed right now. Currently, everyone is speaking only of expanding the permanent membership of the Council, not replacing the existing permanent members.
If reform is delayed by another decade, there is a real risk that the position of London and Paris will no longer be so secure, and the clamor for replacing them with one permanent European Union seat could prove irresistible. To date, the other three permanent members have been somewhat more lukewarm about reform. Russia has officially pledged to support it, and has explicitly backed the claims of Germany, Japan, and India to new permanent seats, but it is a matter for debate as to how enthusiastic Moscow really is.
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