2018 will be a crucial year for the United Nations in its efforts to address fundamental peace and security challenges of a rapidly changing world. Central to the 2016 peacebuilding resolutions of the U.N. General Assembly and Security Council (A/RES/70/262 and S/RES/2282) are the preparation of a U.N. Secretary-General Report on Sustaining Peace and the convening, from April 24-25, 2018 in New York, of a U.N. General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace. These are critical milestones in the United Nations’ path toward a strategy that sets peacebuilding and conflict prevention at the heart of U.N. programming.

Non-violence sculpture

In seeking to strengthen ties between the New York and Washington policy communities, and to feed expert perspectives from the Washington D.C. foreign policy, practitioner, and advocacy communities into preparations for the UNGA High-Level Meeting, the Stimson Center, the Alliance for Peacebuilding, and the United Nations Association National Capital Area convened an expert discussion, on December 14, 2017, at the Alliance for Peacebuilding. The consultation sought to uncover fresh ideas and distill lessons from concrete experiences dealing with the UN’s broad range of activities and instruments—each employed in collaboration with local, national, regional, and global partners—to prevent the outbreak, escalation, continuation, and recurrence of violent conflict. It also included the related areas of innovative financing, governance, and the Sustainable Development Goals. Please click here for the dialogue’s Synthesis Report.

The dialogue was co-facilitated by Melanie Greenberg (President and CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding) and Richard Ponzio (Director of the Stimson Center’s Just Security 2020 Program and co-chair of the UNA-National Capital Area Peace & Security Committee). It began with an overview presentation and exchange on the “Expectations and Broad Parameters for the forthcoming UN Secretary-General Sustaining Peace Report and UNGA High-Level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace” by Henk-Jan Brinkman, Chief of Policy, Planning and Application at the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office.  He was followed by Professor Joris Larik, Assistant Professor of Comparative, EU, and International Law at Leiden University and Senior Researcher at The Hague Institute for Global Justice, who provided a brief overview presentation on “Related Recommendations from the Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance, the Independent Commission on Multilateralism, and 2015 UN Peace & Security Reform Panels/Studies.

In concluding the dialogue, Ambassador Lynn Pascoe, former UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs and a UNA-NCA Board Member, shared final reflections drawing on his years on the frontlines of the U.N.’s peacemaking and peacebuilding efforts. Participants were also invited to take part in follow-on activities with an emerging community of scholars and practitioners interested in further advancing UN peace and security reforms and innovations in the lead-up to the UN’s 2020 Summit (September 2020 in New York) marking the 75thanniversary of the world body.


In addition, Stimson Distinguished Fellows William Durch (Just Security 2020 Program) and Victoria Holt were featured, on December 6, 2017, in a forum on U.N. peacekeeping reform with the new United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, co-sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace, the United Nations Foundation, and the U.N. Association for the National Capital Area.

United Nations peacekeeping operations are vital to global stability, with over 100,000 troops and police deployed to 15 missions, serving 125 million people across the world. But these missions lack sufficient numbers of well-trained troops and a sustainable political plan to resolve complex mandates. Additionally, several missions have been rocked by accusations of sexual exploitation and abuse. The UN leadership is pursuing reforms, which have been sought by successive U.S. administrations and members of Congress. The panel discussion with Under-Secretary-General Lacroix examined how the U.S. can better use its influence to ensure progress on reforms to make U.N. peacekeeping more effective, cost-efficient, and professional. For further details, including a video of the event in its entirety, please click here.

And please stay tuned for details early in the new year on the launch of the companion volume to the Albright-Gambari Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance, entitled Just Security in an Undergoverned World, published by Oxford University Press in 2018.