Essay details:

  • Subject area(s): Engineering
  • Price: Free download
  • Published on: 7th September 2019
  • File format: Text
  • Number of pages: 2

Text preview of this essay:

This page is a preview - download the full version of this essay above.


After the Second World War primarily, the United Nations was formed after the Second World War primarily as it is well known among other reasons to maintain international peace and security. The founders of the UN had not expected the likelihood of engaging in Peace-Keeping Operation (PKOs). Thus, PKO was not mentioned in the original UN Charter.  However, a former UNSG, Dag Hammarskjold referred to it as “Chapter VI and half”. Table below shows the list of past and present UN PKOs in Africa.



Serial Mission Duration

(a) (b) (c)

1. ONUC Jul 60 - Jun 64

2. UNEF I Nov 56 - Jan 67

3. UNEF II Oct 73 - Jul 79

4. UNAVEM 1 Jan 89 - May 91

5. UNOSOM 1 Apr 92 - Sep 93

6. UNASOG May 94 –Jun 94

7. UNOMUR Jun 93 - Sep 94

8. UNOMIL Sep 93 – Sep 94

9. ONUMOZ Dec 92 - Dec 94

10. UNAVEM II May 91 – Feb 95

11. UNOSOM II Mar 93 - Mar 95

12. UNAMIR Oct 93 - Mar 96

13. UNAVEM III Feb 95 – Jul 97

14. MONUA Jun 97- Feb 99

15. UNOMSIL Jul 88 – Oct 99

16. MINURCA Apr 98- Feb 00

17. MONUC Nov 99 – Till date

18. MINURSO Apr 91 – Till date

19. UNAMSIL Oct 99- Dec 05

20. ONUB Jun 04- Dec 06

21. UNMEE Jul 00- Till date

22. MINUCI May 03-Apr 04

22. UNMIL Sep 03- Till date

23. UNOCI Aug 04- Till date

24. UNMIS Mar 05- Till date


AHQ   Army Headquarters

AU   African Union

AMISOM African Union Mission in Somalia

CAR   Central African Republic

CNN   Cable News Network

BBC   British Broadcasting Corporation

BINUB United Nations Integrated Office in


Brig Gen Brigadier General

CoG   Centre of Gravity

Col   Colonel

DP   Decisive Point

DPKO   Department of Peacekeeping Operations

DRC   Democratic Republic of Congo

ECOMOG Economic Community of West African

States Monitoring Group

ECOWAS Economic Community of West African


ED   Editor

EU European Union

FC   Force Commander

GA   General Assembly

ICG   International Crisis Group

IDPs   Internally Displaced Persons

IGAD Intergovernmental Authority on


ISS   Institute of Security Studies

Lt Col   Lieutenant Colonel

Maj Gen Major General

MILOBs Military Observers

MINURCA United Nations Mission in the

Central Africa Republic.

MINURSO United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara.

MINUSTAH  United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti.

MONUC United Nations Mission in Democratic

Republic of Congo

NA   Nigerian Army

NGOs Non-Governmental Organisations

NIIA Nigeria Institute of International Affairs

OAU   Organization of African Unity

OIOS Office of Internal Oversight Services

ONUB United Nations Mission in Burundi

ONUC United Nations Operation in Congo


United Nations Operation in


PKO Peace-Keeping Operation

PM Prime Minister

PSO Peace Support Operations

RTD Retired

SADC Southern African Development


SAIIA South Africa Institute of International


SALW Small Arms and Light Weapons

SC Security Council

SG Secretary General

SLOC Sea Lanes Of Communication


Status Of Forces Agreement

SRSG Special Representative of the Secretary General

TCC   Troop Contributing Countries

TFG   Transitional Federal Government

UK   United Kingdom

UN   United Nations

UNAMA United Nations Mission in Afganistan

UNAMIR United Nations Mission in Rwanda

UNAMIS United Nations Mission in Sudan

UNASOG   United Nations Aouzou Strip Observer


UNAMSIL United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone

UNAVEM United Nations Angolan Verification


UNDOF     United Nations Disengagement Observer


UNEF United Nations Emergency Force

UNIFIL United Nations Interim Force in


UNITARPOCI United Nations Institute for Training and Research Programme of Correspondence Instructions.

UNMEE       United Nations Mission in


UNFICYP United Nations Peacekeeping Force in


UNMIK United Nations Mission in Iraq-Kuwait

UNMIL United Nations Mission in Liberia

UNMIS United Nations Mission in the Sudan

UNMIT    United Nations Intergrated Mission in Timor- Leste.

UNMOGIP United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan.

UNOCI United Nations Mission in Corte D' Ivoire

UNOMIG   United Nations Observer Mission in  Georgia

UNOMIL    United Nations Observer Mission in


UNOMSIL United Nations Observer Mission in

Sierra Leone

UNOSOM United Nations Operation in Somalia.

UNSC United Nations Security Council

UNSCR     United Nations Security Council


UNTAG     United Nations Transition Assistance


UNTSO     United Nations Truce Supervision


USA   United States of America

USC   United Somalia Council

USIP   United States Institute for Peace


Union of Soviet Socialist Republics


The United Nations has became the platform to address issues that goes beyond national boundaries and cannot be settled by any one of the countries acting alone as the world’s only truly universal global organization. The UN has played a vital role in mediating peace agreements and assisting in their implementation, helping to reduce the level of conflict in several regions especially in Africa. To its initial goals of safeguarding peace, protecting human rights, establishing the framework for international justice and promoting economic and social progress, in the six and a half decades since its creation the United Nations (UN) has added on new challenges , such as climate change , international terrorism and AIDS . While conflict resolution and peacekeeping continue to be among its most visible efforts, the UN along with its specialized agencies, it is also engaged in a wide array of activities to improve people’s lives around the world. Thus, the UN Secretary-General as a top international public servant plays a vital role on facing these kind of challenges. Equal parts diplomat and advocate, civil servant and CEO, the Secretary-General is a symbol of United Nations ideals and a spokesperson for the interests of the world's peoples, in particular the poor and vulnerable among them . The current Secretary-General, and the eighth occupant of the post, is Mr. Ban Ki-moon of the Republic of Korea, who took office on 1 January 2007.

1.0 The Multiple and Pressing Challenges the United Nations Faces Today

1.1 Complex Political Processes and Civilians in High-Risk Environments

On 19th Jun in 2013, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has highlighted three major challenges facing UN peacekeeping. The Secretary-General said that the first challenge we face is to support complex political processes and protect civilians in high-risk environments characterized by asymmetric threats while these asymmetric threats are not new to the UN but they are stronger. He explained that while our UN mission does not have a counter-terrorism demand, improvised explosive devices, other tactics of irregular warfare threaten the security and the use of suicide bombs.

1.2 Peacekeepers are Trained  

The second major challenge, the Secretary-General highlighted, concerns ensuring that peacekeepers are trained and equipped to be flexible to this dynamic environment. Some of the skills have to be specialized such as engineering units and field hospitals. He is deeply grateful for China's support in these important areas particularly China's most recent promise to our operation in Mali. The accurate information should be analysed and gather by them. For the first time, he said, "we are deploying an unarmed, unmanned aerial system in the Democratic Republic of the Congo so peacekeepers will have real-time, first-hand information on conditions in remote areas where combatants may threaten civilians.”

1.3 Maintain the Commitment and Unity of Its Constituencies

Besides that, the third challenge to peacekeeping is to maintain the commitment and unity of its constituencies. He said "Successful peacekeeping demands sustained political and material support from the Security Council which are came from countries that contribute troops and police personnel and from those who contribute funds to our operations. "

China provides more peacekeepers to the United Nations than all of the four other permanent members combined. The Secretary-General said he was deeply grateful for China's support in these important areas, particularly Beijing's most recent pledge to our operation in Mali.

1.4 Aged structure

The same five countries in the victors of World War II have been the power players since 1945 was the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France. They are the only permanent members of the powerful, 15-seat Security Council. Each has veto power, which has led to near-paralysis at the council on some major crises like Syria and Ukraine.

Critics say the council simply doesn’t represent the world today. At its inception, the U.N. had 51 member states. It now has 193, many of them quarrelling for more clout. All countries are represented in the General Assembly, but that body can only pass nonbinding resolutions. Often mentioned as countries deserving of permanent Security Council seats are Germany, Japan, India, South Africa, Nigeria and Brazil. But there are no signs the big five intend to give up any power or share it with more countries.

1.5 Bulky organization

The U.N. has become a sprawling system with 15 autonomous agencies, 11 semi-autonomous funds and programs, and numerous other bodies. There is no central entity to oversee them all. The secretary-general, currently Ban Ki-moon, try to assort their actions but he does not have any authority to many of them. The bulky structure was recently blamed for the World Health Organization’s delay in recognizing the Ebola epidemic.

1.6 Increasing demands

The U.N. is almost constantly asking its member states to contribute troops for its far-flung peacekeeping missions, currently numbering 16. The number of peacekeepers has risen to a record 130,000 if compared to 11,000 at the end of the Cold War but the system is under severe strain. The fact shows that there are more than 100 peacekeepers have died this year and dozens have been taken captive.

The world’s refugee population has soared amid a growing list of humanitarian crises. The U.N. refugee agency is trying to help over 51 million people forced from their homes and displaced inside or outside their country. The highest figure since the U.N. began collecting those data in the early 1950s. The U.N. humanitarian office is tackling a record of four top-level emergencies in Africa and the Mideast as well as Ebola.

1.7 Insecure Funding

Raising money is a serious problem with many scrambling crisis which catch the attention from the world. Many U.N. agencies and humanitarian operations are funded through contributing voluntary by the public and appeals but still cannot get enough donation. One day, the World Food Program stopped a food voucher program serving more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees after many donors failed to meet their commitments.

1.8 Political bargaining

There i behind-the-curtain fight for top jobs in the U.N. Secretariat and U.N. agencies, not to mention seats on key bodies like the Human Rights Council and the Security Council. Every country belongs to a regional group that lobbies to ensure it is well represented. There is often criticism that those who get the seats are not the best qualified, such as dictatorships elected to the rights council.

2.0 The Proper Role of the Secretary-General

2.1 Administrative

The secretary-general coordinates the UN Secretariat, which handles UN operations, including translation, media relations and research. The Secretariat--the UN's executive office has a staff of close to nine thousand people from about 170 different countries. Each secretary-general has took care of his administrative responsibilities differently and established a system of offices in charge of budgetary aspects of the secretariat, legal, political, and personnel. Boutros Boutros-Ghali simplified the system by adding under-secretaries-general to oversee operations and report back. During Annan's administration, the deputy secretary-general position was created to handle day-to-day operations. This book, published by the International Peace Institute, chronicles the evolution of the secretariat.

2.2 Human Resources

The hiring of under-secretaries for approximately fifty UN posts, including the heads of fund which is under the scope of the secretary-general. An important aspect of the hiring process involves lobbying from members to fill posts with their nationals, General Assembly to ensure broad regional representation and highlighting the secretary-general's role of negotiating with the Security Council.

2.3 Peacekeeping

The secretary-general's office shoulders responsibility for overseeing peacekeeping missions and appoints the under-secretary in charge of that department, involving some sixteen operations worldwide as of September 2008. Although the General Assembly or Security Council may initiate a peacekeeping mission, operational control rests with the Secretariat.

2.4 Mediation

 One of the most vital roles played by the Secretary-General is the use of his "good offices" and the steps were taken publicly and in private, drawing upon his independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading. This function involves the secretary-general's role as a mediator between parties in conflict. As part of his "good offices" role the secretary-general makes use of his independence and impartiality as the head of a global organization to prevent and stop the spread of conflict.

3.0 The required qualities and discipline of a Secretary-General

A generic answer to this question gives the essence which can then be greatly expanded upon, but should also be useful as a starting point, or at least as an inspiration:

1. He, or she, must be someone with great international influence and authority, and those could come from very diverse backgrounds. Whatever the case, deep understanding and knowledge in the fields of international politics, economy, history, security, diplomacy, and law are required (which are the subjects of the interdisciplinary studies of International Relations).

2. Achieving that is very time and effort consuming, which is why there aren't many individuals who posses additional prized attributes, such as accomplishments in literature, music, acting, or in any other kind of artistry. It is often that these last details end up being the subconsciously determining factors that capture preferences, and win votes and elections.

3. He, or she, should be fluent in as many languages as possible of those that are essential to the processes of safeguarding international peace, and propelling political agreements and economical and social developments. If one speaks the languages of the major world powers, their representatives will treat him, or her, with more respect, which favors a good outcome in any process they could be involved with. If you speak in Russian with Putin or in Chinese with Xi Jinping, you can be sure they'll both like you more.

4. He, or she, must be a charismatic person able to inspire confort and trustworthiness in everyone, from a little schoolgirl on the other side of the world to the world leaders who often shake his, or her, hand, and who dictate the directions and advancements in all the fields of international affairs.

If he, or she, is qualified and experienced in the aforementioned dynamics, then that person would be prone to successfully perform the role of SG (Supreme-Gatherer); serve as a mediator between Presidents, Premiers, Kings, Sheikhs, Dictators and even Revolutionaries, in the struggle towards peace, justice and prosperity on all levels.

Aiming to be a Secretary-General of the United Nations is therefore no easy task. And that's good. And just aiming towards it is worth the effort, as it will make you a great and capable person, a patient leader that will keep incessantly improving him, or herself, in order to be able to one day lead the world and it's affairs. And such people can do a lot of good even if they don't become Secretary-Generals, or Presidents or whatever. Some, perhaps, can end up doing even more (think of MLK Jr. or Gandhi).


Personally, I would lastly add that he, or she, must be someone compassionate, morally responsible and ready to make personal sacrifices for the greater good (for the Game of Thrones fans, I believe Ned Stark could serve as an inspirational example).

That would make for a great leader, a needed leader, and very few of those we have today can reasonably be proud of being that.

If the Secretary-General of the United Nations complies with all of the above, then he, or she, might deserve to legitimately become a true world leader, and actually acquire the authority to compel states, cultures, societies and peoples to overcome their divisions and differences, and instead work together in harmony, rather than separately in competition, to universalize the principles we all share and achieve the goals we all seek. And this is not just fancy talks.

Even though I am not even sure if such people can exist outside the novels and the overly-romanticized history books, I certainly hope they do.

Otherwise, the pack of leaders we are forced to end up choosing from is condemned to include individuals like Donald Drumpf, who doesn't seem to possess any of the above-mentioned qualities and defies all logic behind them.

Comment — Qualities of an Effective Secretary-General

Gareth Evans

The chapters in this volume have highlighted the difficulty of defining the job description of Secretary-General and the disjunction between the responsibilities of the office and the process for selecting the officer. With its combination of external pressures from member states, internal house pressures, and relentless intellectual, physical and emotional demands, this is manifestly one of the most hair-raisingly stressful jobs in the world. So what is it that a Secretary-General most needs — in terms of both personal qualities and environmental resources — to carry it off effectively?

      If one really wants a paragon of all the virtues one would no doubt have to list many more factors than those I mention here, including those that Brian Urquhart and Shashi Tharoor have mentioned earlier in this volume. About the only item missing from their combined checklist is dress sense. But let me offer, from my own perhaps idiosyncratic perspective — drawn substantially from my own long ministerial experience — a list of what I at least think are the seven most important.

Practical intelligence

Practical intelligence is not the same, I think we would all acknowledge, as academic intelligence. Being able to engage, for example, in intelligent and sophisticated debate about the differences between functionalism and constructivism — which is something that I for one have never been able to manage — is not what the practical conduct of international relations is all about.

      But it also means a lot more than being able to read in meetings from the right prompt cards. And it means, in Isaiah Berlin’s terms, being more a fox than a hedgehog: it might have been good enough for an evidently much beloved US President of recent decades to know one big thing rather than many things, but it is not enough for this job, which requires an ability to absorb, retain, and mentally organise a huge amount of information across a very broad front.

      It also means an ability to see patterns and shapes in that data flow, and to be able to see opportunities as they arise. The Secretary-General doesn’t necessarily have to generate good ideas, but it is critical that he or she be able to recognize them. And one has to know enough about people and their foibles to have a chance of making the right personnel choices.


It’s no use being able to process information if you don’t have it. The Secretary-General, like anyone else in high office, is bombarded daily with a barrage of what passes for information: press reports, advisers’ reports and briefs, panel reports, governments’ blandishments, lobbyists’ appeals. But it is not always the information he or she most needs, and for all the quality of the people in the Departments of Political Affairs (DPA) and Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and elsewhere within the present Secretariat, the Secretary-General is notoriously under-resourced in-house for the kind of really detailed analysis of situations and possible strategies that is a crucial element in effective conflict prevention and resolution. Although there has been some catch-up, and there may be some more with the creation of the Peacebuilding Support Unit, we are all familiar with the sad history of the Brahimi Panel’s recommendation for the creation of an Information and Strategic Analysis Secretariat (EISAS).

      An effective Secretary-General has to escape from time to time from the comfortable insulation of the United Nations and reach out for the kind of information he or she really needs. To combine my point with some shameless self-advertisement: a Secretary-General who shall remain nameless told me once that one of the things he liked about International Crisis Group reports is that he knew he was hearing in them, among other things, the real voices of his own people on the ground, giving the unvarnished reality about troubled situations, and the performance of the United Nations and others in responding to them — not the very often bowdlerized, gutted, and filleted version of that reality that makes its way up the system after everything that might cause offence to host governments, member states, and officials higher up the organizational food chain have been edited out.

Thinking Time

Having information, and the practical intelligence to process it, are not much help if a Secretary-General never has time to properly think the issues through. This is an occupational problem for everyone in high office, but it is particularly acute for someone who has 191 heads of state and foreign ministers, just for a start, who feel they have an absolute right to waste his or her time whenever they feel like it.

      One solution, much easier to say than apply — given the number of people who want to kiss the secular-papal ring for extended periods at any given time — is to limit appointments to a few hours a day and relentlessly apply the 15 minute rule to all of them. In my own long experience of these meetings there is never much more than one or two substantive things that need to be said on either side, and the rest is padding and politesse. No doubt a good deal of time could also be saved in not spending hours listening to set piece speeches, in the Security Council and elsewhere, that could much more quickly be read if they are worth absorbing at all.

      But of course to follow any of these prescriptions too enthusiastically would be to quickly acquire a Boutros-Ghali-like reputation for aloofness or arrogance, or for machine-like inhumanity. Gossip and schmoozing, and time-wasting in formal public sessions and events, is what makes the political world go round: the Secretary-General is part of that world whether he or she like it or not, and ignores the conventions at his or her peril. So the problem of thinking time will continue. More time at home in the bath may be the only answer.


Teresa Whitfield’s chapter systematically explains the role of groups of ‘friends’ in cutting through some of the institutional constraints that stand in the way of effective conflict prevention and management, and post-conflict peacebuilding. Notwithstanding all the limitations and qualifications she mentions, there is no doubt that this can be a real force-multiplier for the Secretary-General in exercising his or her problem-solving influence.

      The point about friends has a more immediate and personal application. Harry S. Truman, US President at the time of the establishment of the United Nations, famously said that “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” The Secretary-General is in the politics business whether he likes it or not. And in international politics, perhaps even more than in the domestic variety, friendship with the key political players is a pretty transient issue-by-issue business — at least if you’re doing your job properly and calling every issue on its merits.

      But anyone in high office does need people around, in his or her private office and wider professional and personal environment, who can give not only efficient technical and professional support, but a significant degree of emotional support: the essential loneliness of these offices is not just a cliché. Non-oleaginous expressions of encouragement when you have performed well or done the right thing are important to even the most apparently nerveless characters; and even more so are the words of quiet consolation when, as tends to happen more often, you have screwed something up.

      The trick is to have people around you in your immediate personal sphere, and your private office in particular, who can play that supportive role without at the same time insulating you from reality: blind loyalty can be a terrible liability. The most useful staffer I ever had as a Minister — and she stayed until just about the end of my term to tell the tale — was the assistant who took it upon herself to whisper in my ear on those numerous occasions when I was about to do something, let us say, over-adventurous: “Remember Caesar that thou art mortal”. Every Secretary-General should have one.

Moral Courage

Where personal support becomes most important is when one goes right out on a limb, saying or doing what is absolutely the right thing, because it’s the right thing, but knowing that you will generate a firestorm in the process. The really first-rate Secretaries-General are those who have been prepared to put themselves and their reputations absolutely on the line in this respect: moral authority doesn’t come from preaching bland nostrums that will offend no one, but from taking real risks.

      The most recent Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, gave some outstanding examples of just this kind of moral courage. I’m thinking in particular of his General Assembly speech in 1999 challenging not only the whole international community to confront the challenge of genocide, atrocity crimes, and humanitarian intervention, but the developing countries in particular to recognize that their sovereignty was not absolute in this respect; and then later-on, to spread the outrage even-handedly, his clear-eyed statement (albeit first uttered somewhat accidentally) that the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 was illegal as a matter of international law, and his determination to open up the issue of Security Council permanent membership, knowing the chances of change were slight, and that this was absolutely no way to win the affection of any member of the permanent members.

      That’s moral courage on the high-ground issues, but there is plenty of scope for courage on more common peace and security issues. Despite Thomas Franck’s encouragement in his chapter, there may not be all that much hope for a Secretary-General saying an outright “no” when member states seem determined to follow some unpalatable or undeliverable course, but there is certainly scope for push-back, rather than timid reflex acquiescence; the best Secretaries-General have always been willing and able to do that.


In any high office of the kind we are talking about things are bound to often go wrong. We’re all familiar with Murphy’s Law, but I’ve always been most moved by what is known in the Antipodes as O’Toole’s Corollary: “If you’re feeling good, don’t worry: you’ll get over it.” Of all the characteristics that enable one to survive, and continue to perform effectively in high office for years on end, I think the critical one is resilience: the ability to bounce back from these situations — not mindlessly and empty-headedly, learning nothing from the experience and having every prospect of repeating it, but in a way that enables you to move on constructively.

      Another way of putting this is to say that you have to have a thick skin, but that’s a little crude. Another is to say that you should have a sense of humour, including a real capacity to laugh at yourself. But a sense of humour can actually be quite dangerous in any political context: my conclusion after witnessing government and politics in Australia for 21 years was that the secret of ministerial success was to be a dead bore, and I suspect that is something that crosses cultures.

      The real point I’m making is that if you want a Secretary-General to be effective in all the high-risk activity that is part and parcel of the discharge of his or her peace and security role in particular, it is best to choose someone who really has been tempered in the rough and tumble of public life, and knows how to take the falls without going to pieces or retreating totally into an impotent shell thereafter. And if your choice doesn’t have that kind of background — and it is worth remembering that very good, and courageous, Secretaries-General like Dag Hammarskjöld and Annan came from fairly sheltered bureaucratic careers — at least try and make the judgment they will be capable of that kind of resilience.

A Single Seven-Year Term

The final ingredient in my wish-list echoes a theme already raised by others: what a Secretary-General needs to be effective in peace and security issues, as elsewhere, is a single seven-year term. Although some would argue that this is exaggerated, in my view the stresses and tensions and pressures that are associated with a reappointment process — particularly after Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s experience showed that there is nothing automatic about it — are just not conducive to the kind of consistent, clear-sighted, courageous leadership that a Secretary-General needs to be able to show. The pressures on the office, and the office-holder, from multiple directions are likely to be enough to ensure that a Secretary-General freed from the anxiety of reappointment will not be a loose cannon. Those pressures of course are what have worked to constrain past Secretaries-General in second and final terms from going completely off the rails. (And the reality of that second term discipline now is the answer to those who say a single term limit means no discipline at all.)

      In a world where a rule-based international order is constantly at risk, the virtues of cooperative internationalism have to be constantly asserted and the effectiveness of multilateralism needs to be constantly demonstrated, the real worry is not that a Secretary-General will be too loose a cannon, but that he or she will too uptight a one to play the strong leadership role that is needed from this great office.

...(download the rest of the essay above)

About this essay:

This essay was submitted to us by a student in order to help you with your studies.

If you use part of this page in your own work, you need to provide a citation, as follows:

Essay Sauce, . Available from:< > [Accessed 25.05.20].