Enhancing contributions from Asia Pacific countries to UN PKO

Co-Chairs

CSCAP Korea, CSCAP Malaysia and CSCAP Cambodia

Introduction and significance of the study

United Nations peacekeeping operations (UN PKO) have made significant contributions to stability and post-conflict peace-building. Member states of the United Nations have contributed significantly to the preservation of global peace and security. About 120,000 peacekeepers from 122 countries are currently engaged in peacekeeping operations in 16 conflict-affected countries, ensuring that stability will enable the peace process to bring about better self-governance. Although UN PKO has been proven to be the most effective means of the peace process, many new challenges must be overcome to improve its capacity to be relevant in the multi-dimensional peacekeeping operations today. The UN is currently engaged in peacekeeping reforms and it is timely that new or enhanced contributions are discussed to provide the UN with the necessary contributions to meet these challenges. The Asia-Pacific region has the potential to play a leading role in addressing these challenges through cooperative efforts in the following aspects.

Countries in the Asia-Pacific can strengthen the UN’s capacity by providing greater resources, equipment, and coordination efforts. As of 2015, military personnel from Asia-Pacific countries make up around 37 percent of the UN peacekeeping troops, although it has about 60 percent of the world population. If the Asia–Pacific is going to play a larger peacekeeping role, countries in the region should contribute more troops, police and other enablers to UN peacekeeping missions. Further, improved policy coordination, joint doctrine, and information sharing among Asia-Pacific countries will ensure greater coherence and effectiveness of PKOs in increasingly complex operations, being part of the discussion on peacekeeping reforms.

Countries in the Asia-Pacific, as members of the United Nations, are part of the reforms that will help improve UN’s capacity to meet new security threats. Post-conflict countries are witnessing a growing fragmentation and proliferation of violent actors. There are myriad insurgent organizations operating in countries where peacekeeping missions are deployed, such as Mali, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan, and South Sudan. There are also a growing number of political militias who are notorious for committing atrocities in times of political transition. Moreover, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continues to grow as it attempts to expand its terror network. Reliance on existing peacekeeping system and mandate cannot effectively deal with these non-traditional threats. Having extensive experiences and knowledge of peace operations, we are qualified to help the UN be better prepared to cope with these new challenges. 

In sum, the proposed CSCAP study group, “Enhancing contributions from Asia Pacific countries to UNPKO,” is aimed at strengthening the UN resolve to better contribute to global peace and security. 

Objectives of the study

The objectives of this study are in three-folds. First, the study group will propose a series of reforms to strengthen the UN’s capacity in peacekeeping to be in line with the reforms in peacekeeping. In so doing, there is a need to identify problems within the existing peacekeeping system – especially its deployment, operations and conduct. Case studies of riverine and maritime operations in peacekeeping operating in Lebanon, East Timor, South Sudan, Congo and other African cases will be conducted.

Second, this study will make detailed suggestions about the types of contributions Asia-Pacific countries can make to build up the UN peacekeeping force. We will define a list of military capabilities that Asia-Pacific countries can potentially put at the UN’s disposal, and create a concept on Asia-Pacific rapid deployment unit in support of UN missions. 

Third, this study will coordinate with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in the UN to explore ways to promote regional cooperation and policy coordination in peacekeeping operations.

Anticipated output

By the end of the CSCAP PKO study group’s mandate, we anticipate that Asia-Pacific countries will have made significant progress in the participation and collaboration in peacekeeping operations. Specifically, we anticipate:

Making a critical evaluation of existing peacekeeping mandates and activities, identify problems, and make recommendations, in line with peacekeeping reforms being undertaken by the UN. 

  • Suggesting ways of expanding Asia-Pacific countries’ participation in UN missions. 
  • Preparing a guideline on peacekeeping contributions for military and police for Asia Pacific countries.
  •  Identifying possible areas of collaboration in on-going peacekeeping operations, such as UNMISS (South Sudan), UNIFIL (Lebanon), UNMIK (Kosovo), and MONUSCO (DR-Congo).
  •  Reaching out to other regional organizations such as the ASEAN Regional Forum and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), ensuring that relevant policy initiatives are undertaken to implement policies recommended by the CSCAP PKO study group.  

How does this proposed study group differ from previous studies undertaken by CSCAP in the past?

Previous CSCAP study groups have done substantial works on regional peacekeeping, peace-building, territorial disputes, search and rescue operations, energy security, and nuclear non-proliferation. The past initiative, co-chaired by Canada and Indonesia in 2005-2006, examined the operation of regional peacekeeping in areas of demobilization, post-conflict reconstruction, and support to civil society.The proposed PKO study group builds upon these previous study groups, with the aim of further elaborating on the challenges of peacekeeping in an increasingly complex security environment, and ways to expand Asia-Pacific countries’ participation and cooperation in various UN missions beyond our region.

How does this study group relate to the on-going concerns of ARF ISMs? (for extension of completed mandate only)

The proposed PKO study group will foster constructive dialogue and consultation on political and security issues of common interest and concern, and will make significant contributions to efforts towards confidence-building and preventive diplomacy.

 Timeframe

Start: Summer 2016   End: Fall 2018

Download the study group proposal.

Meetings

1st Meeting: 11-12 November 2016, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Download the Co-Chairs report