Ensuring the safety and security of personnel in United Nations (UN) peace operations is vital for
fulfilling the organization’s duty of care. It also has a strategic impact, including on the efficacy of
mandate execution, force generation, the evolution of peace operations, and sustaining the relevance of the UN in the maintenance of international peace and security.
Since the tragic bombing of the UN headquarters in Iraq in 2003, a concerted effort has been made across the UN system to improve and strengthen security arrangements. However, too often, security issues are perceived as primarily technical matters, and they are not prioritized as strategically and politically important. The increasingly volatile environments into which UN peace operations are deployed and the demanding tasks being mandated require immediate and serious consideration of security issues.
Effective security is about protecting UN personnel while enabling, not limiting, operational activity. Those involved need to take up this challenge—to save lives, restore the peace, and better achieve the goals of the UN. To that end, the organization (including member states, the UN Secretariat, and other UN entities) should take the following steps.