UNIFIL peacekeepers patrolling in South Lebanon. (UN Photo/Pasqual Gorriz)

The security of peacekeeping personnel must be improved through enhanced deterrence and better informed decisions on the ground. The Cruz report identifies challenges related to the security of peacekeeping personnel and puts forward solutions on how to address them in the mid/long term. The report efficiently sets a “no-nonsense” and “practical” tone. Backed by alarming numbers, the report calls for changing mindsets, improving capacity, achieving a threat-sensitive mission footprint, and enhancing accountability. While the report effectively emphasizes that the security of peacekeeping personnel should remain a top priority for the organization, the force-based solutions put forward seem to mix the symptoms with the cause and send mixed signals about the aim of peace interventions. Intelligent strength combined with a more comprehensive understanding of security is necessary to sustainably improve how the United Nations is doing business.

Sound Priority Amidst Moot Numbers

One death is always one too many. The raison d’être of the report and its timing are justified by the alarming increase of fatalities among UN peacekeepers. As the report states in its executive summary: “Over the past three years, hostile acts against peacekeepers have doubled each year…during the past 4 years (2013-2017) a consistent increase in peacekeeper fatalities due to violent acts resulted in 195 deaths…more than during any other 5-year period in history…in 2017, there had been 56 fatalities at the time of publication the highest number since 1994.” Read more