Welcome to the United Nations

Future Of Peacekeeping

Over the next five to ten years societies could be transformed by potentially lethal and disruptive technologies; by climate-related crises and population dislocation; by increasing urbanization and extreme poverty; by political discord and polarization; and by the continued evolution of non-state armed groups. New civil strife could emerge in states that are regarded as stable today, decades-old conflicts could be resolved, and tomorrow’s wars may be fought in virtual space without the firing of a single bullet.

The Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative, which was launched in 2018 by Secretary-General António Guterres, is focused on strengthening the peacekeeping operations of today and remains the central framework for peacekeeping policy and reform. The Secretariat is currently developing its priorities for a next phase of A4P implementation in 2021 and beyond.

At the same time, longer-term trends in peace and conflict need to be addressed. In this regard, the Future of Peacekeeping project attempts to imagine what the peacekeeping operations of the future might look like.  Begun in September 2020, it is a reflection exercise that draws on broad and inclusive consultations with UN and non-UN stakeholders, including discussions within and outside of the UN Secretariat as well as dozens of interviews with peacekeeping stakeholders such as representatives of Member States, academia, civil society, regional organizations and current and former peacekeeping practitioners.

Beyond these detailed and diverse consultations and interviews, a series of think piece papers setting out considerations for the future have also been commissioned, which will be reviewed and discussed in a series of roundtable discussions. Peacekeepers, experts studying UN operations, civil society representatives and Member State officials are among those who have been invited to contribute.

The overall objective is to then produce a paper reflecting thinking on the future of peacekeeping with proposals for possible policy reorientations. In reflecting on the future of peacekeeping and the factors that may shape it, consideration is being given to peacekeeping’s strengths and challenges, as well as current and emerging global trends. The project examines several interlinking factors that have been clustered into four “baskets”:

  • The geostrategic environment and political processes 
  • The changing conflict environment
  • The international responses to conflict
  • Peacekeeping policy approaches 

Please find below links to think piece papers setting out considerations for the future.