In preparation for the first meeting in three years of the United Nations Contingent-Owned Equipment System (COE) Working Group, which takes place in January 2014, this brief analyzes the key issues under discussion and explains the procedural challenges ahead.
With UN peacekeeping operating in more complex environments and taking on new tasks, peacekeepers need appropriate equipment to carry out their mandates. A central aspect to equipping peacekeepers is ensuring that member states are appropriately reimbursed for their contributions under a equipment reimbursement system, called the Contingent-Owned Equipment System (COE). Every three years the United Nations conducts a meeting to negotiate the terms and conditions of the financial reimbursements paid to member states for the equipment they provide to UN peacekeeping operations. Preparations and briefings to member states are already underway in New York for the next COE Working Group meeting, to be held January 20–31, 2014. With 98,311 military and police deployed with their related equipment in seventeen missions around the world, the financial implications of these tri-annual discussions can be significant.1 In MONUSCO alone, the
mission’s annual budget for reimbursements to troop-contributing and police-contributing countries for major equipment and self-sustainment in the fiscal years 2008/09, 2009/10, and 2010/11 were $144 million, $160 million, and $180 million, respectively.2