International Order & Conflict
Report

Prioritization and Sequencing by Peacekeepers: Leading from the Field

This report examines how prioritization and sequencing can be advanced in the field by peacekeeping missions themselves.

  • November 16, 2020

Prioritization and sequencing lie at the heart of discussions on peacekeeping effectiveness. This report builds on the companion report Prioritisation and Sequencing of Council Mandates: Walking the Walk?, published by Security Council Report in January 2020. The Security Council Report analysis focuses on how the Security Council (together with the Secretariat) has tried to op¬erationalize the idea of prioritization and sequencing through mandates. Our report complements this analysis by examining how the concepts have been operationalized in the field. Together, the two reports aim to support the implementation of the Action for Peacekeeping commitment “to pursue clear, focused, sequenced, prioritized and achievable mandates,” as well as the Secretariat’s commitment to develop parameters for prioritization and sequencing.

Executive Summary

In 2018, the United Nations produced a Declaration of Shared Commitments on U.N. Peacekeeping, which has now been endorsed by 154 U.N. member states. The declaration included a commitment by member states to pursue prioritized and sequenced mandates for peacekeeping missions. For his part, the U.N. Secretary-General committed to proposing parameters for the prioritization and sequencing of mandates. This report contributes to a project by the U.N. Department of Peace Operations to develop those parameters.

The goal of prioritizing and sequencing mandates is to ensure that peacekeeping missions’ man­dates are tailored, achievable, and effective. Prioritization and sequencing aim to ensure that peacekeeping missions are focusing their efforts strategically on the activities that will help them to achieve their most important objectives at any given time, rather than spreading their efforts thinly across many disjointed activities. In this way, prioritization and sequencing are intended to maximize peacekeeping missions’ overall impact.

A companion report by Security Council Report, Prioritisation and Sequencing of Council Mandates: Walking the Walk?, explored how prioritization and sequencing can be advanced through better mandates. Our report, however, asks how prioritization and sequencing can be advanced in the field by peacekeeping missions themselves. The two reports are complementary and should be read in conjunction. This report draws on analysis of five peacekeeping missions (UNAMID in Darfur, MONUSCO in the Democratic Republic of Congo, UNMISS in South Sudan, MINUSMA in Mali, and MINUSCA in the Central African Republic).

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