Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Research Report

Beyond Transitions:: UNDP’s role before, during and after UN mission withdrawal

Megan Price
Lina Titulaer
Copyright Date: Sep. 1, 2013
Published by: Clingendael Institute
Pages: 79

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. (pp. None)
  2. (pp. None)
  3. (pp. i-ii)

    On 4 February 2013, the UN Integration Steering Group, chaired by the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, put forward the Policy on UN transitions in the context of mission drawdown and withdrawal. In response to increasing demand from Member States, as well as UN Headquarters and field staff, the document seeks to provide strategic guidance for improved planning and management of mission withdrawals. Referring to the transition of both peacekeeping as well as special political missions, the policy presents key principles and clarifies roles of various UN actors, based on lessons and effective practices collected from across the UN system. While the...

  4. (pp. iii-iv)
  5. (pp. v-x)
  6. 1 Case Study Synopses

    • (pp. 2-9)

      What: In some respects, preparation for the drawdown and exit of UNMIT could be considered a model of a robustly organised and, on the mission side, appropriately resourced exercise. The value of early and dedicated planning efforts appears to be a clear lesson learned from previous UN exits from Timor-Leste. Attention to national participation as well as alignment to National Development strategies was evident throughout the process. Explicit focus was put to the areas of UNMIT’s work requiring further support after the mission’s departure, anticipating the activities and resource needs for this. Not surprisingly, the UNCT was thoroughly incorporated into...

    • (pp. 10-16)

      What: The abrupt exit of the UN Mission for the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) peacekeeping mission at the end of December 2010 led to major challenges for the remaining UNCT actors and the RC’s office. On 15 January 2010, the Government of Chad requested the withdrawal of MINURCAT within three months. UN resolution 1923, adopted on 25 May 2010, extended MINURCAT’s mandate to December 2010, effectively leaving eight months to prepare for the complexities of the transition.⁴ This included preparing the Resident Coordinator’s Office to take over responsibility in support of the UNCT. With only this brief period...

    • (pp. 17-24)

      What: In the case of Sierra Leone, the UN planned the drawdown and withdrawal of the various missions carefully, elaborating mission objectives into benchmarks for transition. The exit strategy that the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) developed was closely linked to the core reasons for its initial deployment: the cessation of conflict, the extension of State authority throughout the country, and national control over revenue sources such as diamond and gold mining.⁷ Likewise, the mandate goals set by the Security Council included building the capacity of the army and police, reintegration of ex-combatants, restoration of government control over diamond...

    • (pp. 25-32)

      What: UNMIN’s initial drawdown in 2008 meant the loss of a strong field presence formerly maintained through UNMIN Civil Affairs Section’s Regional Offices. This was foreseen by the mission and UNCT leadership as a critical gap, and measures to address it were commenced before UNMIN’s January 2011 exit. As part of the Transitions Support Strategy, funded by a handful of donors, as well as BCPR, four Field Coordination Offices (FCOs) were opened in four districts of the country (July–December 2010), supported by the expanded RCHCO. The offices were initially staffed with an international head (P4 level, in some cases...

  7. 2 Findings & Analysis

    • (pp. 34-38)

      In planning for mission transitions, the findings concerning UN integration ring familiar. Integrated planning can enable actors to identify and capitalise on comparative advantages, prepare residual capacities in step with a transition’s headway, and perhaps most usefully, establish mutually-recognised objectives and indicators of a country’s progress. Like envisioning exit strategies themselves, integration is best actualised from the very inception of a mission, and developed in tandem with the evolution of a mission’s mandate and UNCT activities. In essence, both transitions and integration are processes that are all too often treated as discrete events. Both must be pursued as persistent activities....

    • (pp. 39-44)

      UN Missions inevitably reconfigure as the dynamics of a country evolve, impacting the added value of their presence. A main assumption underlying this research is that mission withdrawals can lead to increased responsibilities and new roles for enduring actors, both remaining UN programme staff and national authorities alike. In a postmission country, the reduction of resources, both human and financial, can constrain enduring actors’ ability to meet domestic expectations and standards of practice previously set by the mission. If not sufficiently prepared for, such a situation risks backsliding on peacebuilding gains. This section dedicates attention to three aspects that appeared...

    • (pp. 45-48)

      Inevitably, as a mission withdraws, the emerging stability of a country will be tested. National authorities’ ability to respond appropriately and effectively to the typical and the unexpected trials of governing determines the endurance of that stability. Thus capacity building before, during and after a mission transition is a key contributor to the sustainability of gains made during the mission. Interviewees pointed to capacity building as a strength that UNDP could assert more compellingly. One aspect of this is focused on a niche area of identifying and managing the political aspects of capacity building.

      Capacity building is, according to some...

    • (pp. 49-52)

      Various causes may contribute to donor decline after a mission is closed. This belies single approaches or silver bullet solutions. Nevertheless, discussions with interviewees and examples from their experiences did point to a few concrete practices for forestalling, or at least foreseeing donor drift. A mix of both innovative funding arrangements, as well as more traditional donor engagement were presented. These comprise a rough sketch of the facilities and good practices available to field staff as they work to drum up resources in preparation for a mission reconfiguration.

      The most commonly cited reason for the deceleration of support is donors’...

  8. (pp. 53-55)

    The findings and analysis of the previous chapter are not the end of the story. In fact, they are meant to illuminate some pathways forward. By exposing a few underlying assumptions and begging some important questions, this chapter thus aims to invite further discussion and revelation about the complexities of managing mission transitions.

    Throughout the study, the need to strengthen UNDP capacity appears somewhat as a leitmotif. The presumed benefits range from enhancing UNDP’s role in preparing transitions, to a more strategic approach to strengthening national capacities, to undergirding programmes with stronger context analysis and conflict sensitivity. But the decision...

  9. (pp. 56-61)

    Since 1999 the United Nations has deployed five different missions in Timor-Leste. The first mission, established in the wake of Timor-Leste’s secession from Indonesia, was the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) and lasted from June to October 1999. UNAMET was followed by the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), deployed from October 1999 to May 2002 to help build the new nation’s selfgoverning capacity. UNTAET held executive and administrational authority in the territory during the country’s transition to independence. This was followed by the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET), from May 2002...

  10. (pp. 62-62)