Conflict and Fragility

Beyond Transitions
10 Sep 2013 12:00
Bron: UN Photo

The departure or significant reconfiguration of a UN peace mission signals a critical phase in a country’s transition toward lasting peace and development. How these reconfigurations are planned for and managed can be a determining factor in the consolidation of stability gains after a UN mission (either peacekeeping or special political missions) has exited. Recognizing this, UNDP has recently devoted attention to looking more meticulously at what mission transitions mean for its country offices, activities and staff. UN missions are, in several countries, planning and executing their respective drawdown and withdrawal. In order to support UNDP engagement in this process, the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery of UNDP is facilitating developing guidance for headquarters and country offices.

As a contribution to the process of developing this guidance, the Clingendael Conflict Research Unit has undertaken an exploration, focusing on field staff reflections of recent mission transitions in Nepal, Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste and Chad. The research seeks to identify, from the perspective of field actors, facets of planning for and managing a transition that appear critical for sustaining progress made.  The findings of this study are grouped into four areas, which emerged as recurrent patterns in interviews and documents reviewed from the four case studies. 

UN integration and it’s implications for planning, the first area of findings, looks at how to reduce the ‘transaction costs’ of integrated work between a mission and its UNDP partners, and the benefits of integration for facilitating a smooth transition process. Strong integration early on can help in preparing the residual presence, the second area of findings, which discusses the need for continued analytical capacity in the UN field presence after a mission has withdrawn. A third area of focus, building national capacity, links strongly with both UN integration – to connect a mission’s technical assistance with longer-term institutional support – and strong analytical capacity, to attend to the political implications of capacity building. Finally, donor engagement and resource mobilisation puts forward ideas for promoting donor participation in transition planning and more flexibility in UN funding allocation.

Selected findings from the report are being presented Tuesday, 10 September, in an event hosted by the Netherlands Permanent Mission to the United Nations, in New York. The presentation will prompt discussion with UN Member States as well as provide substance for a technical workshop with UN staff from UNDP, DPKO and DPA, among others. The workshop will give an opportunity for participants, at the technical level, to translate the substance of the report into the future UNDP guidance.