By: Alison Giffen

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres rightly prioritizes performance by including it as one of the five pillars of his Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) reform initiative. Peacekeeping operations are a principal tool, and one of the most expensive and visible ways, that the UN intervenes to prevent and mitigate conflict. Improving peacekeeping performance is thus essential, but it will not be easy.

Peacekeeping operations are highly complex, with numerous UN bodies and member states holding different responsibilities, many of whom have resisted previous reform efforts aiming to ensure that peacekeeping operations can safely and effectively implement their mandates. Improving performance will require significant, high-level political engagement by numerous stakeholders across many areas of peacekeeping—which is exactly what the A4P initiative seeks to engender.

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