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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.




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


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.

For these reasons, it is time to take stock of the safety and security of personnel in UN peace operations. A focus on these issues will help ensure that the Security Council selects tools that are appropriate for the job it is trying to accomplish, that the General Assembly’s Administrative and Budgetary Committee (Fifth Committee) approves adequate resources, that the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34) considers and makes recommendations on issues of concern, that TCCs and PCCs are enabled and incentivized, that the Secretariat is empowered to proactively plan and manage security issues, that mission leadership is supported, and that all personnel serving in UN peace operations can do so with the confidence that the UN values their service and will effectively execute its duty of care.

To contribute to this important debate, this study begins by explaining why safety and security is important for effective UN peace operations. Second, it considers the evolving security context into which peace operations are being deployed, and the implications this has for the safety and security of personnel. Third, it examines existing UN management structures, policies, and processes to identify potential areas of reform. Fourth, it considers the diverse range of challenges and considerations for improving security of UN peace operations. Finally, it provides recommendations for UN member states and the Secretariat for reforms to improve safety and security in UN peace operations.

This study attempt to study the origin, and mandate of the united nation on one hand and the contemporary challenges and crisis across the globe, as well as peace, security and development in the world.

1.2     Aims and Objectives

The principal purpose or aims of founding the United Nations as espoused in its charter, chapter one according to UN (2004) opens with this affirmation “that the United Nations was created to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom”. Other 14 aims include saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war and ensuring that the horrors of the world war never repeated through the following clauses in the charter”.

•          Maintaining international peace and security 

•          Developing friendly relations among all nations and 

•          Initiating , promoting and coordinating international efforts to solve economic socio-cultural and humanitarian problems around the globe 

•          Promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedom and providing a platform for harmonizing the efforts of nations in the attainment of common goals. 

The UN charter also provided the principles that will guide the operations of the organization. These include:

•          The sovereign equality of  all nations, whether large or small, developed, developing or underdeveloped in all debates and decision that affect the globe

•          That all nations respecting their responsibilities in agreement must honour their obligations under the UN charter in good faith.

•          That it is in the interest of all nations of the world that the member nations of the UN should settle international disputes through peaceful means.

•          That all member nations of the UN must support the organization in any action it takes and must not assist any nation against whom the UN is taking any enforcement actions on. 

•          That member nations of  UN must refrain from threats or use of force against other nations in exercise of international relations

•          That UN has the right to ensure that non-member nations comply with the principles of international law for the maintenance of international peace and security.

•          That the UN has no right or must not intervene in the domestic or internal affairs of any country. The membership of the UN is open to all nations that accept to abide by the charter of the organization and in the opinion of the existing members are able and willing to carry out those obligations.    Admission of new members is by the General Assembly based on the recommendation of  the security council and membership of the organization has risen from 51 in1945  to191 in 2005 (UN2004:10).     On the other hand, a member nation can be expelled or suspended by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council.      This can be in extreme or serious situations such as when Security Council is enforcing an action against such nation or if a nation consistently continues to violate the principles of the charter, only the Security Council can readmit an expelled or suspended member nation according to UN charter.

The United Nations is truly an international organization with offices across the world .With their headquarters in New York USA in an international territory of 18 Hectares, the UN has its own security, postal and fire services.      The UN due to the nature of its global responsibilities has a very complex structure made up of inter-related working units referred to as the organ, (Olaniyi, 1975). It also has commissions and programmes as well as specialized agencies through which the organization carries out its mandate.

The six organs are the largest autonomous working groups in the organization and include the following  the general assembly, the security council and, the international court of justice (ICJ)  the Trusteeship council, the economic and social council and the secretariat.

1.3     Statement of Problem 

The UN has been argued from the foregoing to have been established to enhance global peace, security and development .This study aims to investigate the factors that are responsible for the organizations inability to achieve global peace and security which would have ushered in global development after sixty –six years of its existence.

1.4     Significance of the Study

Following the end of the Cold War, there were renewed calls for the UN to become the agency for achieving world peace, as several dozen military conflicts continue to rage around the globe. With this, there has been an increased need for peacekeeping in Africa due to increased conflict situations in the continent.8

With the seemingly lax attitude of some major players in the UN towards African security,9 the continent’s security issues needs to be addressed adequately by Africans in conjunction with the UN.  

This study therefore, is expected to benefit researchers, analysts, and policy makers in formulating a framework to overcome the challenges of UN PKO in Africa for successful future peacekeeping. The study would also contribute to existing body of knowledge in the field of peacekeeping.

1.5     Limitations of study  

A major limitation of this research work is the dearth of relevant and contemporary literature on the specific research subject. These limitations are not likely to affect the objective of the research work in any significant way.

Other major limitations during the execution of this study is the time constraint and financial constraint.

Notes and References

1.     Charter of the United Nations and Statue of the International Court of Justice. (United Nations Department of Public Information), P. 5.

2.     Jimi Adisa, ‘The Future of Peacekeeping’, in MA Vogt and       EE     Ekoko (eds),           Nigeria in International Peacekeeping 1960-1992, (Lagos: Malthouse          Press Limited,1993) p.282.

3.     Ogaba D Oche, AFRICA AND THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM: The First Fifty Years. (Lagos: Nigeria Institute of International Affairs Printing Press Division, 1998) p. 102.

4.     The Blue Helmets, A Review of United Nations

5.     Peacekeeping Third Edition (New York: United Nations Department of Public Information, 1996), P. 4.

6.     Paul F Deihl, International Peacekeeping (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994), P. 29.

7.     Id.

8. (UN Peace Building Commission)    accessed 3 March 2007.

9.     Id.

10. accessed 14 August 2007.

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