United Nations Peace Operations in a changed and changing landscape
In 1948, the first peacekeeping mission and the first high - profile mediator were deployed as innovative solutions by a young United Nations. Nearly 70 years later, United Nations peace operations, which span peacekeeping operations to special political missions, good offices and mediation initiatives, are a central part of the Organization ’ s efforts to improve the lives of people around the wor ld. More than 128,000 women and men serve under the blue flag in almost 40 missions across four continents working to prevent conflicts, help mediate peace processes, protect civilians and sustain fragile peace processes.
United Nations peace operations have proven highly adaptable and have contributed significantly to the successful resolution of conflicts and to a declining number of conflicts over two decades. Today, however, there is evidence of a worrisome reversal of some of that trend and a widely shared concern that changes in conflict may be outpacing the ability of United Nations peace operations to respond. The spread of violent extremism, overlaid onto long - simmering local or regional conflicts and the growing as pirations of populations for change, is placing pressure on Governments and the international system to respond. As United Nations peace operations struggle to achieve their objectives, change is required to adapt them to new circumstances and to ensure their increased effectiveness and appropriate use in future.
A number of peace operations today are deployed in an environment where there is little or no peace to keep. In many settings today, the strain on their operational capabilities and support sy stems is showing, and political support is often stretched thin. There is a clear sense of a widening gap between what is being asked of United Nations peace operations today and what they are able to deliver. That gap can be, must be, narrowed to ensure t hat the Organization ’ s peace operations are able to respond effectively and appropriately to the challenges to come. With a current generation of conflicts proving difficult to resolve and with new ones emerging, it is essential that United Nations peace o perations, along with regional and other partners, combine their respective comparative advantages and unite their strengths in the service of peace and security