The Secretary-General has asked the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, composed of individuals experienced in various aspectsof conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peace-building, to assess the shortcomings of the existing system and to make frank, specific and realistic recommendations for change. Our recommendations focus not only on politics and strategy but also and perhaps even more so on operational and organizational areas of need.
For preventive initiatives to succeed in reducing tension and avertingconflict, the Secretary-General needs clear, strong and sustained political support from Member States. Furthermore, as the United Nations has bitterly and repeatedly discovered over the last decade, no amount of good intentions can substitute for the fundamental ability to project credible force if complex peacekeeping, in particular, is to succeed. But force alone cannot create peace; it can onlycreate the space in which peace may be built. Moreover, the changes that the Panel recommends will have no lasting impact unless Member States summon the political will to support the United Nations politically, financially and operationally to enable the United Nations to be truly credible as a force for peace.
Each of the recommendations contained in the present report is designed to remedy aserious problem in strategic direction, decision-making, rapid deployment, operational planning and support, and the use of modern information technology. Key assessments and recommendations are highlighted below, largely in the order in which they appear in the body of the text (the numbers of the relevant paragraphs in the main text are provided in parentheses). In addition, a summary ofrecommendations is contained in the annex.
Experience of the past
It should have come as no surprise to anyone that some of the missions of the past decade would be particularly hard to accomplish: they tended to deploy where conflict had not resulted in victory for any side, where a military stalemate or international pressure or both had brought fighting to a halt but at least some of the parties tothe conflict were not seriously committed to ending the confrontation. United Nations operations thus did not deploy into post-conflict situations but tried to create them. In such complex operations, peacekeepers work to maintain a secure local environment while peacebuilders work to make that environment self-sustaining. Only such an environment offers a ready exit to peacekeeping forces, makingpeacekeepers and peacebuilders inseparable partners.
Implications for preventive action and peace-building: the need for strategy and support
The United Nations and its members face a pressing need to establish more effective strategies for conflict prevention, in both the long and short terms. In this context, the Panel endorses the recommendations of the Secretary-General with respect to...