The study is predicated on functionalist theoretical frame work to examine the origin and objectives of the United Nations and the contemporary challenges of war, conflicts, genocide etc. in the world. Ensuring the safety and security of personnel in United Nations (UN) peace operations is vital for fulfilling the organization’s duty of care. It also has a strategic impact, including on the efficacy of mandate execution, force generation, the evolution of peace operations, and sustaining the relevance of the UN in the maintenance of international peace and security. Since the tragic bombing of the UN headquarters in Iraq in 2003, a concerted effort has been made across the UN system to improve and strengthen security arrangements. However, too often, security issues are perceived as primarily technical matters, and they are not prioritized as strategically and politically important. The increasingly volatile environments into which UN peace operations are deployed and the demanding tasks being mandated require immediate and serious consideration of security issues. The study employs the methodology of documentary analysis to argue that despite some of its achievements, the UN failed to provide the necessary peace and security that will ensure leveled playing field in world politics and sustainable development among nations. The study among other recommendations suggests the strong need for total reform of the UN in order to gain the trust of its member nations.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
In the contemporary epoch, the subject global peace, security and development is an interesting one for social scientists and researchers in strategic studies. This is because there is near consensus among social scientists and development experts that peace and security are critical ingredients for development.
Toure (2004) has described this new millennium as “a paradoxical epoch that is full of hope for peaceful coexistence between peoples” but is also dangerous with possibilities of explosive conflicts based on the mobilization of different identity and ideological divides. The mobilization of these ingredients of divides between people and amongst societies has led to the escalation of ethnic conflicts, civil wars, religious and other conflicts of various dimensions in political, economic and socio-cultural spheres that are now threatening humanity. Having experienced the agonies and destructions of the two world wars, and other regional and international wars, fifty world leaders gathered in San Francesco U.S.A on 26th June 1945 and approved the charter for the United Nations Organization (UNO). This Charter was later ratified on 24th October 1945, marking the formal take-off of the U.N., as an international organization whose main aim is the maintenance of international peace and security.
The significance of safety and security for UN peace operations is often underestimated or misunderstood.1 While always an issue of interest, it has been narrowly conceived, for example, as minimizing casualties and expanding legal protections. But safety and security has a strategic impact, including on the efficacy of mandate execution, force generation, the evolution of peace operations, and the role of the UN in the maintenance of international peace and security. While many of the relevant safety and security issues have been identified, they have not been understood in a holistic manner and addressed with sufficient priority.
Since its inception, UN peacekeeping has undergone significant evolution, moving from unarmed interpositional ceasefire monitoring forces to integrated multidimensional missions, which now carry out a spectrum of activities and are mandated to use force. Peacekeepers often operate in volatile environments and with a mandate to protect civilians.2 Likewise, alongside peacekeeping operations, special political missions have increasingly complex mandates and are being deployed into ever more dangerous situations.3 Fragile government structures and intractable political disputes have created instability and environments where threats proliferate. The nature of the threats continues to evolve, with targeted and asymmetric hostile acts against UN personnel becoming a more regular feature of many missions.4
The safety and security framework within the UN is complex and disaggregated. Separate frameworks are in place for civilians and individually deployed military and police personnel on the one hand, and military and police contingents on the other.5 Security management for peacekeeping operations is funded separately from that covering the rest of the UN’s operations, which results in awkward organizational and management struc tures.6 The operational models in place for the provision of security in peacekeeping and special political missions are multifarious, and the crisis response arrangements lack predictability and robustness. There are numerous contentious issues, including the use of information-gathering capabilities such as unmanned aerial vehicles, the engagement of private security companies, and the reimbursement rates of troops, particularly those operating in high-threat environments. The responsibilities accruing from international legal protections are often unclear, despite the conclusion of status of forces agreements (SOFAs) or status of mission agreements (SOMAs).
The essential imperatives are to ensure that the organization’s duty of care is met and that operations can be effective. There is, however, a broader confluence of interests surrounding the improvement of safety and security in UN peace operations. Troop-contributing countries (TCCs) and police-contributing countries (PCCs) have an interest in ensuring that their personnel return from UN peacekeeping deployments safely and well. Security Council members have an interest in ensuring the effective implementation of mission mandates, including a continued willingness of countries to deploy. Host states, which carry the primary responsibility for safety and security of UN personnel, have an interest in ensuring that the UN takes on part of that responsibility.7 Furthermore, the broader international community has an interest in the continued effectiveness and evolution of UN peace operations as a critical tool for the maintenance of international peace and security.
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