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Peacekeeping Law Reform


United Nations Flag

United Nations Flag

The immense growth of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping in quantitative, qualitative and normative terms is one of the major developments of the post Cold-War era.  Peacekeeping has become a key activity of the UN despite the fact that it was not envisaged in the UN Charter. 

The Secretary-General currently has command of around 120,000 UN peacekeeping personnel, at a cost of near to US$8 billion per year.  The demand for UN peacekeeping continues to grow, and the Security Council is mandating ever more robust and complex tasks for UN peacekeepers.  With these greater demands, however, there have been significant and increasing challenges for the management of UN peacekeeping.

While UN peacekeeping reform has been a focus of intense discussion since 1990, there has been limited consideration of how work on legal issues may contribute to the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping.  The United Nations Peacekeeping Law Reform Project (the Project) was set up to identify concrete ways to improve UN peacekeeping by combining practical and academic expertise.  

The Project is led by Scott Sheeran, assisted by Sufyan El Droubi, Stephanie A Case, Catherine Bevilacqua and Abigail K Sloan.

The University of Essex has a wealth of expertise to draw upon which is relevant to this work. The Project is currently engaged in a number of consultations, including in
United Nations in New York, with stakeholders with experience in UN
peacekeeping. The Project receives funding from the University of Essex and support from the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Focus of the project

The current focus of the Project is working on two major studies and consultations for the UN peacekeeping community that concern:

  • The 1990 UN Model Status of Forces Agreement; and
  • The Human Rights standards relevant for UN peace operations.