Delivering the UN ‘sustaining peace’ agenda

Armed conflict and violence are increasingly complex, dynamic and protracted. Conflict is fuelled by an array of overlapping factors, including violent extremism, weak governance, the dominance of some groups and the suppression or exclusion of others, socio-economic inequalities, environmental degradation and competition over resources and the proliferation of arms. The impacts on civilians are devastating, with millions killed and injured. Over 65 million people were forcibly displaced in 2016 alone.

This briefing note sets out proposals for UN Member States to consider to ensure that the UN system is fit for the purpose of sustaining peace. It draws on recent ODI research commissioned by the UN system on the capacities of UN agencies, funds and programmes (AFPs) to sustain peace and on UN system-wide capacities for preventing armed conflict and crises (both forthcoming).

The briefing note proposes four areas for action by Member States:

  • Ensure stronger mutual accountability for the implementation of the sustaining peace agenda.
  • Enable appropriate operational autonomy for the UN system to deliver its activities and programmes aimed at sustaining peace.
  • Ensure that UN capacities and resources are adequate to the task of sustaining peace.
  • Afford the UN system the political support and ‘space’ that it needs in order to act effectively.