Roundtable: UN Peace Operations in a Changing Global Order

Over the past 70 years, more than one million soldiers and police officers from more than 110 nations have participated in 70 UN peacekeeping missions around the globe. It is a remarkable achievement, but at a time when multilateral institutions are increasingly asked to justify their relevance, the future of peace operations is less certain. The global order is changing, with new actors and issues rising to prominence which hold profound implications for the world’s biggest international organisation and its flagship activity. This roundtable brought together experts to discuss the current challenges and opportunities facing the UN as it seeks to adapt its approach to peacekeeping in a rapidly changing international environment. The participants grappled with the following dilemmas: How is the rebalancing of relations between states of the global North and the global South impacting UN decision making? How is the rise of regional organisations as providers of peace impacting the primacy of UN peace operations? How have violent extremism and fundamentalist non-state actors changed the nature of international responses and what does this mean for existing longer-term approaches to conflict resolution? How are demands from non-state actors for greater emphasis on human security impacting the UN’s credibility, and is the UN even able to prioritise people-centred approaches over state-centred ones?