Photo: Photo: NorwayUN/Marte Fløan Beisvåg.Photo: Photo: NorwayUN/Marte Fløan Beisvåg

How to tackle corruption in UN Peacekeeping?

Last updated: 10/11/2013 // "In order to create a better UN and better Peacekeeping we have to ensure that the right systems are in place to curb corruption. We must start a discussion now among member states, troop contributing countries and the UN system and the Department of peacekeeping on what we can do and how," said Norway’s ambassador Geir O. Pedersen at the launch of Transparency International’s report on corruption in UN Peacekeeping on 9 October.

UN Peacekeeping is an enormous undertaking in terms of money, personnel and the challenging environments in which it operates. Yet, there is no overall policy, guidelines nor framework to ensure that Missions do not involve in corruption.

The launch of the report «Corruption and Peacekeeping – Strengthening Peacekeeping and the UN» was presented by Transparency International UK at an event hosted by the Permanent Mission of Norway to the UN and the NYU Center on International Cooperation.

“There is sense among peacekeeping and foreign policy professionals that – because corruption is difficult – it is better to adapt and to cope with it than to recognize it more formally and address it”, the report states.

Chair of the Board of Transparency International Huguette Labelle opened the launch event together with the Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN, Ambassador Geir O. Pedersen. Pedersen started with congratulating Transparency International, both with the report, but also on their 20 year anniversary. “You have done a tremendous job in creating awareness about the devastating effects of corruption on society. You have been in the frontline in fighting corruption worldwide and achieved inspiring results”, he said.

The report examines the way that corruption issues undermine the implementation of peacekeeping mandates and identifies 28 types of corruption that threaten peacekeeping. It also spells out ways in which the UN can give an important lead in combatting corruption risk in peacekeeping operations. The report was presented by Mark Pyman, Director of the Transparency International Defence and Security Programme, and comments were made by a panel of experts: Dr. William J. Durch, Senior Associate at the Stimson Center, Dr. Kwesi Aning, Head of Research at the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Center and Richard Gowan, Research Director at the NYU Center on International Cooperation.

Pedersen said he was surprised when he read in the report that there is no specific policy or guidance in peacekeeping, “I just assumed it was, given the size, the amounts and the challenging environments peacekeepers operate within. I guess we can all agree that this is something we need to take a closer look at”. He then encouraged the Member States, troop contributors and leaders of the UN to come together and look at what policies are needed and how such policies should be followed by concrete guidelines, training of personnel, channels for raising concerns and robust mechanisms for investigation.

“We have a responsibility to all 120 000 UN personnel in 16 different missions on four continents to provide them with concrete guidelines on how they should deal with corruption”, Pedersen said.

You can read the report here.

Pictures from the launch are found here (Flickr).


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