SEMINAR, JANUARY 2014, NEW YORK
Force Intervention Brigade: A Sea Change for UN Peace Operations?

The seminar was held in New York on 17 January 2014 and co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nation. The high level panel discussion aimed to address:

  • What are the conditions for success?
  • What are the doctrinal implications from the deployment of the intervention brigade?
  • What impact will it have on the principles of  ‘the use of force’  in future UN peace operations?
  • Is the Intervention Brigade sui generis or are we witnessing a shift in the type of peace operations mandated?
  • And what are the potential implications for future UN missions in non-permissive environments, such as South Sudan and the Central African Republic?
VenuePanel

Photografer: Pontus Hook

The Challenges Forum has a long-standing focus on and commitment to concepts and doctrine development for peace operations. In April 2013, the Challenges Forum held a workshop entitled The Art of the Possible––Peace Operations Under New Conditions: A Dialogue with the Field Community at the UN Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda. One of the key observations of the workshop was that there was a need to explore broader peace operations typologies and what the new 2013 mission types might require, including an examination of what concepts, tools, rules and institutional changes might be needed to deliver on new mandates and how these might differ to existing UN peacekeeping paradigms.

Resolution S/RES/2098

At the time of the Entebbe workshop, the UN Security Council had recently authorized mandates for UN missions in the DRC, Somalia and Mali to operate in increasingly volatile and complex environments. Of particular interest and concern was the authorization and deployment of the Intervention Brigade (FIB) in eastern DRC. The brigade is deployed under the command of the Force Commander of MONUSCO and within the authorized strength of the mission.

Resolution S/RES/2098 states that the responsibility of the intervention brigade is to ‘neutralize armed groups’ and ‘reducing the threat posed by armed groups to state authority and civilian security’ through ‘targeted offensive operations’ in a ‘robust, highly mobile and versatile manner’. The resolution states that the intervention brigade should not ‘create a precedent or any prejudice to the agreed principles of peacekeeping’.

The humanitarian community raises concerns that the deployment of the intervention brigade makes the UN a party to the conflict, thereby hampering the humanitarian community’s access to vulnerable communities. Equally, several troop-contributing countries have also been wary of the scope of the operation. The FIB’s success in defeating the M23 militarily in November 2013 is met with cautious optimism by observers. There are risks that the FIB model would be seen as an exportable model for other peacekeeping situations.

The developments in 2013 are driving new requirements quite distinct from the premises of earlier peacekeeping missions. What are the implications for UN peacekeeping’s core principles relating to the use of force, consent of the host country, and impartiality? These new mandates signify a substantial shift that is already underway in the Security Council’s approach to UN mission mandates.

Should the conceptual, operational and bureaucratic modus operandi developed for UN peace operations of the last two decades be re-visited for the new types of missions undertaken in Mali and the DRC?

Or should separate thinking and doctrine emerge from these rather than straining existing doctrine to cover all mission variations?

  • The results of the high-level panel discussion will directly feed into the ongoing global policy debate on the required concepts and doctrines for peacekeeping operations.
  • An immediate outcome and output is a policy brief that will be widely disseminated.
  • The discussions will also feed into a forthcoming Challenges Forum report on Designing Mandates and Capabilities for Future Peace Operations that will be launched at the UN in the second mid-2014.

H.E. Dr Peter Wittig, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations

Ms Annika Hilding Norberg, Director, Challenges Forum, Folke Bernadotte Academy, Sweden

Read official opening speech.

Photografer: Pontus Hook

Photografer: Pontus Hook

The panel

Panelists:

Moderator Mr Colum Lynch, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Magazine

Moderator: Mr Colum Lynch, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Magazine

 

Mr Jack Christofides, Director of Africa II Division, DPKO, UN

Mr Jack Christofides, Director of Africa II Division, DPKO, UN

 

H.E. Mr Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the Secretary General, MONUSCO, UN

H.E. Mr Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the Secretary General, MONUSCO, UN

 

Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Patrick Cammaert, former Military Advisor, DPKO and former Commander for Eastern Division, MONUC, UN

Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Patrick Cammaert, former Military Advisor, DPKO and former Commander for Eastern Division, MONUC, UN

 

Mr David Hutchinson, Principal Legal Officer, Office of Legal Affairs, UN

Mr David Hutchinson, Principal Legal Officer, Office of Legal Affairs, UN

Photografer: Pontus Hook