4. All states shall develop a UN Emergency Peace Service to protect civilians and respond to crises

Rapporteur: Dr. H. Peter Langille (hpl@globalcommonsecurity.org )

The objective of the proposed United Nations Emergency Peace Service (UNEPS) is to develop a standing UN capacity that can respond rapidly and reliably to address four of the UN’s long-standing challenges. A UNEPS is designed to help prevent armed conflict and genocide/atrocity crimes; to protect civilians at risk; to ensure prompt start-up of demanding peace operations; and to address human needs in areas where others either cannot or will not.

In addition to the four primary roles identified, a UNEPS has emancipatory potential to help in the following areas: facilitating disarmament; freeing up enormous resources wasted on war; saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war; and as a step toward a more legitimate, effective, universal peace system.

A key lesson of previous experience is that favorable conditions for such a development tend to arise in the aftermath of tragic wars and genocides. Then, when the urgent need was evident, the prior preparation of a viable plan and a core constituency of support was not. This effort endeavors to ensure both are ready and sufficiently compelling to encourage development of a UNEPS before emergencies overwhelm.

A UNEPS will be a new UN formation. Thus, the UNEPS initiative is both a proposal and an advocacy campaign, coupled to an ongoing research project. Each aspect is a work in progress. To succeed, each aspect needs wider support.

Ten Core Principles of the proposed UNEPS:

  1. a permanent standing, integrated UN formation;
  2. highly trained and well-equipped;
  3. ready for immediate deployment upon authorization of the UN Security Council;
  4. multidimensional (civilians, police and military);
  5. multifunctional (capable of diverse assignments with specialized skills for security, humanitarian, health and environmental crises);
  6. composed of 13,500 dedicated personnel (recruited professionals who volunteer for service and are then screened, selected, trained and employed by the UN);
  7. developed to ensure regional and gender equitable representation;
  8. co-located at a designated UN base under an operational headquarters and two mobile mission headquarters;
  9. at sufficient strength to operate in high-threat environments; and,
  10. a service to complement existing UN and regional arrangements, with a first responder to cover the initial six months until Member States can deploy.1)
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1) World Federalist Movement – Canada, UNEPS Backgrounder, revised January 2017. Available: https://www.wfmcanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/0217-re-print-0516-uneps-backgrounder8-fnl.pdf

2) Cited in Dominic Dudley, “Where And Why The World Is Getting More Dangerous”, Forbes, June 6, 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdudley/2018/06/06/why-the-world-is-getting-more-dangerous/#212535a6dc67

3) Sebastian von Einsiedel, with Louise Bosetti, James Cockayne, Cale Salih and Wilfred Wan, “Civil War Trends and the Changing Nature of Armed Conflict”, United Nations University Centre for Policy Research, Occasional Paper, United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan, 10 March 2017. https://collections.unu.edu/eserv/UNU:6156/Civil_war_trends_UPDATED.pdf. These authors also confirm that, “from 2011 to today, there has been a six-fold increase in battle deaths, with 2014 and 2015 being the deadliest years on the battlefield since the end of the Cold War.”

4) Richard Norton-Taylor, “Global armed conflicts becoming more deadly, major study finds”, The Guardian, May 20, 2015 Available: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/20/armed-conflict-deaths-increase-syria-iraq-afghanistan-yemen

5) Cited in Linda McQuaig, “Prospect of nuclear war highest in decades, yet media ignores”, Toronto Star, April 10, 2019. Available: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2019/04/10/prospect-of-nuclear-war-highest-in-decades-yet-media-ignores.html

6) Global Peace Index 2018, Institute for Economics and Peace. http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uploads/2018/06/Global-Peace-Index-2018-2.pdf. As reported, “The economic impact of violence on the global economy in 2017 was $14.76 trillion in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. This figure is equivalent to 12.4 per cent of the world’s economic activity (gross world product) or $1,988 for every person.”

7) As early as 1961, officials in the US State Department identified a UN Peace Force as the key to disarmament. In their words,”There is an inseparable relationship between the scaling down of national armaments on the one hand and the building up of international peacekeeping machinery and institutions on the other. Nations are unlikely to shed their means of self-protection in the absence of alternative ways to safeguard their legitimate interests. This can only be achieved through the progressive strengthening of international institutions under the United Nations and by creating a United Nations Peace Force to enforce the peace as the disarmament process proceeds.” See Freedom from War: The United States program for general and complete disarmament in a peaceful world, (United States. Dept. of State. Publication, 1961 Available: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.a0014375794;view=1up;seq=3

8) The UN Department of Field Support recently conducted a five-year study into a Global Field Support Strategy that demonstrates how logistics, supply and sustainment in operations might be improved to facilitate rapid development of a new UN formation.

9) Among the various contributors to similar ideas were: Trygvie Lie; William R. Frye, the World Veterans Association; Lester B. Pearson; John Diefenbaker; Grenville Clark and Louis B. Sohn; D.W. Bowett; Lincoln Bloomfield; Boutros Boutros-Ghali; Sir Brian Urquhart; Robert Johansen; Alan Henrikson; the United Nations Association of the United States; Louis D. Huddleston; Captain Edward J. Dennehy, et al; David Cox; Stephen Kinloch-Pichet, and the Governments of the Netherlands and of Canada.

10) See, Robert C Johansen and Saul Mendlovitz, “The Role of the Enforcement of Law in the Establishment of a New International Order: A Proposal for a Transnational Police Force”, Alternatives: A Journal of World Policy, 6, 1980, pp. 307-338.

11) Government of Canada, Towards A Rapid Reaction Capability for the United Nations, (Ottawa, 1995). Available: https://s3.amazonaws.com/piquant/Langille/Towards+a+Rapid+Reaction+Capability+for+the+United+Nations.pdf

12) Maxime Faille and Peter Langille were the individuals on the core working group tasked to this section. Major James Hammond provided the critical insight into the organization, planning and structure of a new UN formation. Carleton Hughes assisted with guidance on logistics, support and transport.

13) See Peter Langille, Maxime Faille, Carlton Hughes, and Major James Hammond, “A Preliminary Blueprint of Long-Term Options for Enhancing a UN Rapid Reaction Capability” in David Cox and Albert Legault, (eds.) UN Rapid Reaction Capabilities, (Cornwallis: Pearson Peacekeeping Press, 1995 Available: https://s3.amazonaws.com/piquant/Langille/A+Preliminary+Blueprint+of+Long-Term+Options+for+Enhancing+a+UN+Rapid+Reaction+Capability.pdf

14) See Langille, “In Pursuit of Common Security: Initiatives to Enhance Training, Role Specialization and Rapid Deployment for United Nations Peace Operations”, PhD dissertation, University of Bradford, Department of Peace Studies, 1999

15) See Brian Urquhart, “For a UN Volunteer Military Force”, New York Review of Books, 40, June 10, 1993. https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1993/06/10/for-a-un-volunteer-military-force/

16) Langille, Bridging the Commitment: Capacity Gap: A Review of Existing Arrangements and Options for Enhancing UN Rapid Deployment (Wayne, N.J.: Center for UN Reform Education, August 2002) Available: http://globalcommonsecurity.info/drpeterlangille/wp-content/uploads/2034/12/HPL-Bridging-the-Commitment…-1.pdf

17) The WFM-C working group includes Robin Collins, Fergus Watt, Cameron Laing, Peter Langille and the frequent support of Larry Kazdan.

18) For an overview of the founding conference of the UNEPS initiative see, Justine Wang, “A Symposium on Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity: The Challenge of Prevention and Enforcement”, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Santa Barbara, December 5-6, 2003. http://www.wagingpeace.org/author/justine-wang/

19) For a report of this event see, Robert C. Johansen, “Expert Discussion Of The United Nations Emergency Peace Service: The Cuenca Report”, in Johansen (ed.), A United Nations Emergency Peace Service: To Prevent Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, (with the support of Global Action to Prevent War, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and the World Federalist Movement), 2006. Available: http://www.responsibilitytoprotect.org/files/UNEPS_PUBLICATION.pdf

20) See, Johansen (ed.), A United Nations Emergency Peace Service.

21) U.S. Congress, H.Res.213: 110th Congress, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, March, 2007. Available: https://www.congress.gov/bill/110th-congress/house-resolution/213

22) The Brisbane conference was organized by Global Action to Prevent War and co-hosted by Steve Kilelea and the Simons Foundation.

23) See, Howard Salter, “Global Cooperation: The Candidates Speak”, Foreign Policy in Focus, March 26, 2008. http://fpif.org/global_cooperation_the_candidates_speak/

24) American support diminished further when a number of conference participants stressed that a UNEPS should come from anywhere except America.

25) See Robert Zuber and David Curran, “Peacekeeping and Rapid Reaction: Towards the establishment of cosmopolitan capacities for rapid deployment”, Workshop Report, Division of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, July 8, 2013. Available: https://www.bradford.ac.uk/social-sciences/media/socialsciences/peacestudies/Bradford-Write-Up-Sept.pdf. For a thoughtful response to the Bradford Report see, Robin Collins, “Shouldn’t UNEPS Advocacy be Front and Centre?”, Global Policy Responses, November 13, 2013. https://www.globalpolicyjournal.com/blog/13/11/2013/gp-responses-shouldn%E2%80%99t-uneps-advocacy-be-front-and-centre

26) See, Langille, “Preventing Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity: One innovation and new global initiative”, Amanda Gryzb, (ed.) Darfur and the World, (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2009). Available: https://www.wfmcanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Langille-Preventing-Genocide.pdf Also see, Annie Herro, Wendy Lambourne and David Penklis, “Peacekeeping and peace enforcement in Africa: The potential contribution of a UN Emergency Peace Service”, African Security Review, Volume 18, Issue 1, (Taylor & Francis) 2009. Available: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10246029.2009.9627514

27) See Annie Herro, UN Emergency Peace Service and the Responsibility to Protect, (Oxford: Routledge Books, 2014). Also see Saul Mendlovitz, Edward Westfall and Stephen Bishop, Draft Statute for the Formation and Operation of the United Nations Emergency Peace Service for the Prevention of Genocide and Crimes against Humanity, (Newark, Rutgers University, 2013) Available: http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~govdocs/UNEPS_Statute.pdf. For further elaboration of the concerns raised by eac,h see Langille, Developing a United Nations Emergency Peace Service: Meeting Our Responsibilities to Prevent and Protect, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015

28) Langille, “Improving United Nations Capacity for Rapid Deployment”, International Peace Institute, Providing for Peacekeeping Project #8, International Peace Institute, New York, October 2014. Available: http://www.ipinst.org/publication/policy-papers/detail/440-improving-united-nations-capacity-for-rapid-deployment.html

29) See Langille, “Peacekeeping challenges require standing, not just standby, capacities: Time for a United Nations Emergency Peace Service”, A submission of the World Federalist Movement-Canada to the UN High-level Independent Panel reviewing peace operations, March 26, 2015. Available: http://www.worldfederalistscanada.org/HPL%20UNEPS%20for%20H-L-Panel%20March%2018%202015%20fnl.pdf. A similar report was also submitted to The Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance in May 2015.

30) Langille, “Developing a United Nations Emergency Peace Service”

31) Langille, “UK Labour supports a United Nations Emergency Peace Service”, Open Democracy, August 15, 2018. https://www.opendemocracy.net/howard-peter-langille/uk-labour-supports-united-nations-emergency-peace-service

32) British Labour Party Manifesto, For the Many, Not the Few: (London, June 2017), p. 120
Available: http://www.labour.org.uk/page/-/Images/manifesto-2017/Labour%20Manifesto%202017.pdf

33) See “How We Can Keep The Peace”, (editorial, The Star’s View) Toronto Star, August 10, 2016. http://globalcommonsecurity.info/drpeterlangille/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Toronto-Star-on-UNEPS-August-10-2016.pdf

34) The Group of 78 and Rideau Institute, “A Shift to Sustainable Peace and Common Security”, DEFENCE and FOREIGN POLICY PRIORITIES: Recommendations by Leading Canadian Civil Society Organizations, Ottawa, (Updated 1 April 2018). https://group78.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-Update-A-Shift-to-Sustainable-Peace-and-Common-Security.pdf

35) See Science for Peace, “How to Save the World in a Hurry”, University College, Toronto, May 30 -31, 2018. https://scienceforpeace.ca/how-to-save-the-world-in-a-hurry/

36) This wiki is part of the ongoing work that has followed the conference, which has since evolved into “Project Save the World.”

37) Richard Reeve, “UN Peacekeeping and the 2017 Election”, Oxford Research Group, May 17, 2017. Available: https://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/un-peacekeeping-and-the-2017-election

38) See Richard Gowan, “In the U.K. Elections, a Post-Brexit Internationalist Vision Comes Into Focus”, World Politics Review, June 5, 2017. In Gowan’s words, “Labour offers to back a ‘U.N. Emergency Peace Service,’ which sounds very much like a standing international army. This is the sort of concept that you only promise to back if you write a manifesto believing you have no chance of victory.” https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/22350/in-the-u-k-elections-a-post-brexit-internationalist-vision-comes-into-focus

39) Annie Herro, “The Quest for a United Nations Standing Army”, Oxford Research Group, March 22, 2018. As Dr. Herro writes, “I have studied the role that a transnational advocacy network has played in contributing to the demise of the most recent proposal for a UN standing force – the UN Emergency Peace Service proposal – yet similar findings could be applied to previous proposals. “https://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/Blog/the-quest-for-a-united-nations-standing-army

40) Paul Rogers, “Sustainable Security: Global Ideas for a Greater Britain”, Oxford Research Group, June 29, 2018. https://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/sustainable-security-global-ideas-for-a-greater-britain

41) Stephen P. Kinloch, “Utopian or Pragmatic? A UN Permanent Military Volunteer Force”, International Peacekeeping, vol. 3, no. 4, Winter 1996, p. 185. Available: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13533319608413645

42) For example see “In Rebuke to Trumpian Division and Authoritarianism, Bernie Sanders Champions ‘Unity’ and ‘Common Humanity'” in Visionary Speech: Common Dreams October 10, 2018. https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/10/10/rebuke-trumpian-division-and-authoritarianism-bernie-sanders-champions-unity-and Dan Plesch, “Progressives Need a New Internationalist Policy”, Foreign Policy in Focus, October 22, 2018. https://fpif.org/progressives-need-a-new-internationalist-policy/. “It Is Time for Progressives of the World to Unite: Sanders-Varoufakis Issue Open Call for New Global Movement”, Common Dreams, November 30, 2018. https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/11/30/it-time-progressives-world-unite-sanders-varoufakis-issue-open-call-new-global “The Sanders Institute’s Gathering Was About Saving the World, But It Was Not About Bernie Sanders”, Common Dreams, December 10, 2018. https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/12/10/sanders-institutes-gathering-was-about-saving-world-it-was-not-about-bernie-sanders

43) See, Langille, “Sustainable Common Security”, Mondial, World Federalist Movement – Canada, December 2016. Available: https://www.wfmcanada.org/2016/12/sustainable-common-security/
Also see, Langille, “Pulling Together for Sustainable Common Security”, The Rideau Institute, June 11, 2018.
Available: https://www.rideauinstitute.ca/2018/06/11/pulling-together-for-sustainable-common-security

44) Langille, “Preparing for a UN Emergency Peace Service”, FES Perspective Paper, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, New York, August 2012. http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/iez/09282.pdf

45) ibid.

46) William R. Frye, A United Nations Peace Force, (New York: Oceana Publications, 1957).

Author: H. Peter Langille

1 thought on “4. All states shall develop a UN Emergency Peace Service to protect civilians and respond to crises

  1. A U.N. Emergency Peace Service would probably include armed peacekeepers for the worst situations, as well as maybe “white helmet” peacekeepers (who are almost unarmed) and humanitarian workers, conflict resolution experts, and socio-legal experts.

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