As the UN faces the drawdown of several peace operations, it is imperative that we draw on lessons learned on how to execute coherent transition processes and to secure the gains made from years of UN engagement. Transitioning from UN peacekeeping is important and necessary. If not done properly, however, these transitions could result in fragile political, humanitarian, and security situations. Clear, tailored and realistic transition strategies should be designed to set solid basis to sustain peace and build back resilient, stable and inclusive societies. Transition strategies should prioritize the protection of civilians, reinforce the capacity of host countries, and guarantee the active participation of women and youth.
Successful transition strategies begin with the Security Council. Mission mandates need to outline clear objectives for peace operations. They need to be realistic and achievable, and must set the foundations for an exit strategy from their inception. The best exit strategy is a good mission strategy.
The UAE would like to suggest the following recommendations for more coherent transition processes:
First, the Security Council should be inclusive when planning for transition strategies of peace operations. It should extensively engage with host states to better address their needs and make sure that the process is demand-driven, and not supply-driven. To that end, the Council should consider carrying out more systematically missions to the field to interact directly with relevant stakeholders. Where in-person visits cannot be arranged, the Security Council should consider organizing virtual visits.
Second, peace operations should work together with UN country teams to make sure there is continuity on critical streams of work. The UAE would like to emphasize the importance of the UN delivering as one and incentivizing coordination and information-sharing during transitions. A key area of potential development is improving the Security Council’s relationship with field-based actors beyond the leadership of peace operations, notably including Resident Coordinators and representatives of UN agencies, funds and programmes.
Third, missions should explicitly develop strategies to leave reliable infrastructure behind for host communities whenever that is feasible. Renewable energy is a strong example, since the UN’s large demand profile can anchor local projects and enable initial financing. The UAE is working with Norway, the International Renewable Energy Agency, and other partners, to increase the uptake of renewable energy by peace operations given its benefits to local communities, including sustainability, reliability and cost-effectiveness, this infrastructure can be part of the legacy of peace operations following drawdown.
Finally, successful transitions require an integrated approach for peace operations, which engages local communities, especially women and youth. UN Security Council resolution 2538 (2020) recognized that women peacekeepers contribute to more effective community engagement. This means that women’s roles in peacekeeping have to be normalized and their participation increased. In collaboration with UN Women, the UAE’s Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Women, Peace and Security Initiative has been supporting this aim through providing training to hundreds of women cadets from Africa, Asia and the MENA region since 2019. The third cohort of training is planned to commence early 2022.
To conclude, the UAE firmly believes that a successful transition is the ultimate sign of success of a peace operation. This holistic approach will be one of the UAE’s priorities in the Council next year and we look forward to working with Member States and the UN system in ensuring sustainable transitions that are inclusive and prevent the recurrence of conflict.