Why We Need a UN Rapid Response

The UN needs a rapidly deployable UN Emergency Peace Service (UNEPS). Such a force, if it currently existed, would already be on the ground in Lebanon, creating a secure environment for a replacement team of more permanent peacekeepers. In Sudan, UNEPS could have been deployed with 48 hours of the May peace agreement to stabilize a chaotic situation. Currently the UN does not have the capacity to respond rapidly to emergencies around the world.

Working within a single command structure, UNEPS would employ 12-18,000 military personnel, civilian police, legal experts, and relief professionals from various countries. This force would be carefully selected, expertly trained, and coherently organized, so it would not fail due to a lack of skills, equipment, experience in resolving conflicts, or gender, national, or religious imbalance. The new body would operate out of mobile field headquarters that would enable deployment within 48 hours of a UN authorization. UNEPS would complement existing peace operations capacities and operate according to a “first in – first out” deployment philosophy.

Progress on moving forward with UNEPS requires:

  • Supporting the Wynn-Leach legislation currently pending in the U.S. Congress
  • Development of a global network of NGOs modeled on the successful campaigns to ban landmines and create the International Criminal Court
  • Introduction of a UNEPS proposal at the UN, ideally by a country from the global South

For the full article, go to Lebanon, Sudan: Who You Gonna Call?.