Written by Brigadier General Mohammad Selim, ndc, psc (Retd)
Background and Rationale of the Research
Bangladesh Armed Forces has stepped into the family of “Blue Helmets” in August 1988 with a United Nations Observer Mission in Iran-Iraq under UNIIMOG. Ever since, it has... ...
regularly participated in varieties of UN assignments ranging from peacekeeping operations to peace enforcement operations. Out of total 67 peace mission since 1948 (54 since 1988), Bangladesh has successfully completed 47 Peace Keeping Operations around the globe with a participation of approximately 1,20,000 troops. For around a decade Bangladesh had been the largest troop contributing countries (TCC). The first ever female Formed Police Unit from Bangladesh is also doing a splendid job in United Nation Stabilization Mission in Haiti. This not only helps us in discharging our duty but also build a lasting relation with the people. Bangla being declared an official language in Sierra Leone bears testimony of love and respect towards peacekeepers.
and trade links around the globe where effective states are seen as crucial to sustaining global trade. Nonetheless, interstate or intrastate conflicts often destabilize this global economic harmony. Apparently localized conflicts within states often depend upon resource flows that extend well beyond national borders and certainly, in every conflict, there are always actors who profit economically or politically. United Nations peacekeeping under such circumstances is an effective tool to handle conflicts multilaterally in more internationally acceptable terms. However, involvement in United Nations peacekeeping by major actors is, at least to a certain extent, based on economic interests.
Wearing a blue helmet by any developing nation projects a good image in the eyes of both the developing and developed worlds. Commendable projection of Bangladeshi peacekeepers across the globe has already gained significant dividends for our foreign policy. Such support for the UN can yield valuable benefits to our economy particularly in the field of international trade and commerce. Despite, being one of the top troop contributors in global peacekeeping initiative our gain in economic and diplomatic field is insignificant. Absence of concerted efforts by all stakeholders in the process is depriving Bangladesh from realising enormous potentials in the field of economic diplomacy associated with peace support operations.
Evolution of Peacekeeping
United Nations peacekeeping has evolved into one of the main tools used by the international community to manage complex crises that pose a threat to international peace and security. Since the beginning of the new millennium, the number of military, police and civilian personnel deployed in United Nations peacekeeping operations around the world has reached unprecedented levels. Not only has United Nations peacekeeping grown in size but it has become increasingly complex. Traditionally, peacekeeping was limited to military and security functions such as monitoring ceasefire agreements or setting buffer zones between the belligerents and mostly intervened in the context of interstate wars. In the last two decades, however, peacekeeping saw a dramatic expansion to ’non-military’ functions such more peacekeeping operations were now tasked with revitalizing the economy, rebuilding infrastructures, fostering democracy, promoting human rights, among other things. In practice, these broader, non-military activities are undistinguishable from traditional development activities. Peacekeeping operations that have both the military and civilian components are generally referred to as ’integrated’ or ’multi-dimensional’ peacekeeping operations and typically take place in the context of civil war.
The spectrum of contemporary peace operations has become increasingly broad and includes both United Nations-led peace operations as well as those conducted by other actors, normally with the authorization of the Security Council. Linking United Nations peacekeeping with a particular Chapter of the Charter can be misleading for the purposes of operational planning, training and mandate implementation. In assessing the nature of each peacekeeping operation and the capabilities needed to support it, TCCs should be guided by the tasks assigned by the Security Council mandate, the concept of operations and accompanying mission Rules of Engagement (ROE) for the military component, and the Directives on the Use of Force (DUF) for the police component. Thus, it is very important to understand how it relates to different forms of conflict prevention, peacemaking, peace enforcement and peacebuilding.
The creation of a new United Nations peace building architecture reflects a growing recognition within the international community of the linkages between the United Nations peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace building roles. When a country comes before it, the Peace building Commission helps marshal the resources at the disposal of the international community and advise on and propose integrated strategies for peace building and recovery.
displaced. Society may be divided along ethnic, religious and regional lines and grave human rights abuses may have been committed during the conflict, further complicating efforts to achieve national reconciliation. Multi-dimensional United Nations peacekeeping operations are frequently mandated to provide operational support to national law enforcement agencies; provide security at key government installations, ports and other vital infrastructure; establish the necessary security conditions for the free flow of people, goods and humanitarian assistance; and provide humanitarian mine action assistance. By helping to fill the security and public order vacuum that often exists in post-conflict settings, multi-dimensional United Nations peacekeeping operations play a critical role in securing the peace process, and ensuring that humanitarian and development partners are able to work in a safe environment. Multi-dimensional United Nations peacekeeping operations also play a critical role in ensuring that the activities of the United Nations system and other international actors are guided by a common strategic vision. The United Nations has the unique ability to mount a truly comprehensive response to complex crises and has developed the concept of “integrated missions” to maximize the overall impact of its support to countries emerging from conflict.
UN Budget Allocation for Global Peacekeeping Efforts
Global approved peacekeeping resources have grown from USD 2.8 billion to USD 7.8 billion from 2001/02 to 2011/12, which means the total budget has grown by over 2.5 times in the past 10 years. Growth in the budgets results mainly from the increase in the military and police strength from 38,100 in 2001/02 to approx. 123,100 in 2011/12, which represents an increase of 223%. During the same period, the number of civilian staff in missions increased from approx. 16,800 to 30,300, which represents an increase of 80%. Two of the missions (MONUSCO and UNAMID) consume approx US$ 3.2 billion. Total approved resources for military and police personnel amount to USD 3.1 billion (40% of the total budget), USD 1.7 billion for civilian personnel (22%) and operational requirements of USD 3.0 billion (38%). The initial budget of peacekeeping operations for the 2013/2014 biennium amounted to USD 7537 million. During the main segment of the UN general Assembly 68th session, the 5th Committee adopted two budget amendments. Thus, the revised budget for the PKO for 2013/14 amounts now to USD 7,825 million.
The breakdown of expenditures is also changing, with a trend decline in military spending and, conversely, the relative stability of civil expenditure and an increase in operating expenses. Trend of change of PKO budget expenditure is shown at the table below:
Contribution of Bangladesh in Peacekeeping
Bangladesh stepped into the family of “Blue Helmets” in August 1988 with the United Nations Observer Mission in Iran-Iraq under UNIIMOG. Ever since, Bangladesh has regularly participated in different UN assignments ranging from peacekeeping operations to peace enforcement operations. Till date Bangladesh Armed Forces has successfully completed 48 Peace Keeping Operations around the globe and is currently deployed in ten on-going peace missions in ten different countries.
In Sierra Leone, Bangladesh Army constructed a 54-km long and 30 feet wide road that connects the eastern and western part of the country and which is considered as the life line of business and diamond miners of Sierra Leon. The then president of UN General Assembly Man Sang Soo also visited the construction work of the road. It was expected that the road would help boost the economy of the African country. While inaugurating the road, the Sierra Leon president thanked the Bangladesh Army and expressed his firm determination for expediting bilateral relations between the two countries. As recognition of Bangladeshi Peacekeepers contribution and testimony of love and respect, Sierra Leon has recognised Bangla as an official language of the country on December 12, 2002. President of Sierra Leon Alhaj Ahmed Tejan Kabah gave the recognition while inaugurating the "Mile 91-Magburaka", some 54 km long road constructed by Bangladesh Army involved in UNAMSIL (United Nations Assistance Mission in Sierra Leon). Special Representative of UN Secretary General Oluyemi Adenji, Force Commander of UNAMSIL Lieutenant General Daniel Ishmael Opande, Bangladesh Sector Commander Brigadier Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan and representatives of different countries attended the inaugural function.
Bangladeshi peacekeepers always undertake self-stimulated outreach programme for the development of local population that draws public sympathy, respect including local and national government attention. Often these outreach programmes are beyond UN financed Civil Military Cooperation Activities (CIMIC) and are duly supported by Bangladesh Army Headquarters. Bangladeshi peacekeepers in all PKO generally establish Bangladeshi Friendship Centre through which numerous human resource development programmes are conducted. Usually the PKOs last for five to ten years and these Bangladesh Centres establish deep rooted relations with the local population and host government. Besides, all Bangladesh contingents maintain/operate canteens to support their members with essential commodities especially consumer and manufacturing items not provide by organization. These consumer and manufacturing items naturally get familiarized with the local population and markets. Thus a potential export market emerges as a by-product of our mission participation offering wonderful opportunity for business and exports. These attainments gradually wither away as the Bangladeshi peacekeepers are repatriated. Effective continuation of such activities is likely to fetch rewarding outcomes for various economic activities with respective countries.
Armed Forces Division, the Army Headquarters and the Bangladesh Police periodically send different high level delegations, goodwill visit teams and Mission Assessment Teams (MAT) to visit Bangladeshi peacekeepers and to interact with both mission hierarchy and host government. Bangladesh Army at its own initiative include members from different organizations such as Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Commerce Ministry etc and different media including cultural personalities to assist fostering bilateral relationships with the host county. The endeavours of Bangladesh peacekeepers at different UN peacekeeping missions in winning the hearts and minds of the local population and the host government may be easily extended further by concerned government machineries of Bangladesh to develop working economic relationship with those countries. Appropriate steps by different ministries in due course of time may garner economic dividends. Ignoring the opportunities created by Bangladeshi peacekeepers in suitable time may allow other countries to derive benefit through timely participating in the development activities of the war ravaged countries.
International Trade, Conflict and Diplomacy
The importance of international trade as a proven engine of growth for national economies cannot be over-emphasized. Trade (either in form of importing or exporting of goods or/and services) provides income, guarantees food security and growth for all countries and their inhabitants.
BRIC and Africa
Emerging economies have penetrated African economies and are investing in various industries, more in particular in the natural resource industries (arable land, water, minerals). In 2008, investments from Brazil, Russia, India and China totalled $7.85 billion (China alone accounted for $5.5 billion of this figure), which is more than double that of the US (at $3.3 billion for the same year) and almost 30% in comparison to the total $27.3 billion from the European Union. In addition, in 2007, over $64 billion of goods were exported from Brazil, Russia, India and China to Africa. These investments were in primary sectors, such as agriculture, infrastructure and natural resources. In 2010, the trade flow between Africa and the BRIC countries totalled approximately $150 billion, with $60 billion in foreign direct investment stocks in the continent, the majority of which was concentrated in the natural resources sector. These figures are projected to increase threefold during the next five years.
of post-conflict literature tends to indicate that conflict more often than not:
The UN Peace Building Fund (UNPF)
UNPF is a multi-donor trust fund. It provides funding for peace building activities that directly contribute to post-conflict stabilisation in the early stages of recovery, especially before donor conferences or other multi-donor trust funds have been organised and set up. UNPF was established in October 2006. It tries to address critical peace building gaps. The fund includes two funding windows: An Immediate Response Facility (IRF) that provides short-term project funding for immediate peace building and recovery needs and the Peace building and Recovery Facility (PRF) that provides longer-term program funding within a Priority Plan. The Priority Plan has to be submitted with government and UN system-wide consultations and consensus on prioritisation.
NGO and Peace Building
NGO activities proved to be very effective in post conflict reconstruction and peace building. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) is a unique international forum of many of the largest funders of aid, including 29 DAC Members. The World Bank, IMF and UNDP participate as observers. More than 200 multilateral agencies – including the United Nations, regional development banks and global funds – are the recipients of close to one-third of all aid. Even BRAC from Bangladesh remarkably contributed in Sudan, South Sudan and Afghanistan. Besides, IUCN NL has been financially supporting environmental projects by local NGOs in developing countries since 1994. The small grants programmes of IUCN NL have played a key role in helping environmental NGOs to bridge the difficult times during and after prolonged civil conflict in Africa. Where most funding agencies tend to withdraw from escalating conflict zones, IUCN NL has been one of the few funding partners that kept supporting environmental and development NGOs throughout conflict periods. Their institutional survival throughout the conflict is crucial to enable them to play a meaningful role in policy influencing in the post-war setting. Small grants made by IUCN NL in conflict and post-conflict settings in Africa have been most effective in sustaining a basic civil society fabric throughout conflict periods that is able to start working on conservation and natural resource management issues right after the end of the conflict. One of the frequently mentioned advantages of small grants funding by IUCN NL is that it actually serves as seed or bridging capital before other donors step in with more substantial financing. This is especially relevant in conflict settings, because it is typical for large conservation groups with in-country presence to withdraw from a country as soon as violent conflict erupts.
Post Conflict Recovery - Case Studies
A Brief Background.
Sierra Leone has a total area of about 71,740 square kilometres (sq km), of which 71,620 sq km is land and 120 sq km is water. About 7.95% of the land area is arable, while 1.05% is used to cultivate permanent crops. Only 300 sq km of the land area is irrigated. The country possesses substantial mineral resources including diamonds, rutile, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, and chromite. Out of the above resources, only diamonds and rutile are visible on the Sierra Leone’s foreign trade list. In the past, Sierra Leone used to be active in the world commodity market offering a number of agricultural commodities, including cocoa, coffee, palm kernel, rubber and ginger to the market. However, only cocoa is merely significant on the Sierra Leone’s foreign trade list at the moment.
Trade and Growth Prospects in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is a country with high potential to participate more actively in global trade. International trade has been on the increase since the end the arm conflict. The country’s exports grew from US$ 139.7 million in 2004 to US$ 152.6 million in 2005, an increase of about 9.3%. On the imports side, evidences show that merchandise imports also increased by about 18.7%, from US$286.4 million in 2004 to US$340. The increasing political stability in Sierra Leone is expected to impact positively on export trade, thus greater growth in the very near future. Agricultural exports offer most important potential for major increase in income and growth. Given that Sierra Leone used to be a major exporter of cocoa, the prevailing atmosphere of peace will create enabling environment for the return of the produce in the next one decade or less. Other products of export prospect are palm produce, cashew and gari.
Public-Private partnership in Bosnia & Herzegovina: The ‘Bulldozer Initiative.’ In post-conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina, grassroots business participation was encouraged to push forward the reform agenda. The initiative mobilized the local business community to “bulldoze” regulatory barriers to doing business by identifying concrete legislative changes and advocating for their adoption and implementation. By emphasizing fast results, the initiative won the confidence of entrepreneurs who then established permanent grassroots reform committees. Reforms proposed by these committees spanned all sectors of the economy, including enterprise law, banking and finance, tax, exports, trade, labour, and the environment. Each proposal was evaluated by a group of lawyers and economists and subjected to a cost/benefit analysis, with industry experts were invited to comment on ideas before they were taken to the next stage.
Reform in Rwanda: The Benefits of Prioritizing Private Sector Development. Post-conflict policies in Rwanda helped to bring about macroeconomic stability within 3 years. However, economic growth performance in the post-conflict period was mixed: the informal sector (including the agricultural sector and services) recovered relatively rapidly, but growth in formal sector activity (agribusiness, domestic trade and manufacturing) was relatively weak. As a result, real growth rates in the 1994–2000 period were modest, averaging around 3–4 percent per year. Rwanda’s second generation of post-conflict reforms was Private Sector Development oriented and supported by development partners. The new policy framework, instituted progressively since 2001, is friendlier towards both domestic and foreign investors. Reforms have included revising the entire legal framework to make it more investment-oriented. The tax code was revised and rationalized, eliminating discretion and fundamental land reform was undertaken, including the creation of a titling system.
Economic Diplomacy - Conceptual Overview
Political factors are very relevant for the volume and direction of trade flows. There exists very clearer and unambiguous link between trade and trade-related political activities i.e. economic diplomacy. It is the use of international political tools to obtain economic objectives. Economic diplomacy is an integral and essential part of modern diplomacy. Together with businesspeople it aspires to seek new opportunities in foreign markets, protect interests of the domestic economy abroad, and attract as many foreign direct investments as possible. Embassies and consulates help to generate knowledge about opportunities for trade and investment about foreign markets which if shared with potential entrepreneurs may enhance business potential. Diplomatic representations may provide a superior level and quantity of trade-and investment-related knowledge. Good and stable political relations built on mutual trust provide the best instrument to reduce the risk of future distortions and trade disruptions. The main purpose of the negotiations in this regard is to ensure mutual understanding of partner-countries’ economy/peculiarities and therefore evolve, a two-sided, beneficial access to each other’s markets.
An exporting firm needs a lot of information about foreign markets before it can successfully attempt to trade with a firm in another country. Sometimes this information is acquired experimentally by trying to enter the country, but often consultants and business trips as well as information from export promotion agencies or colleagues are tapped. The relevant topics about which firms typically need information include: local consumer preferences and their ability to adapt to new products vis-à-vis the need to adapt products and their marketing to local needs, the reliability of local trading partners, opportunities to establish long-term relationships which may include customs as well as laws and legal procedures, distribution networks that exist or can be developed, quality standards including institutional requirements, prospects for markets and products where profit opportunities exist; etc.
A number of factors suggest that the role of economic and commercial diplomacy is probably more important for the international economic relations of developing countries due to asymmetric distribution of knowledge. Trade-related institutions are also less well developed in these countries respective governments to play a larger role in trade relations. However, only those countries whose domestic condition and policies encourage increase in participation in the expanded market access opportunities will reap the potential benefits. This suggests that only those countries with the willingness, ability and capacity to respond to the market access opportunities, if it is mainly based on the competitive strength of the economies involved, will benefit from the arrangement.
Economic Diplomacy-Case Study of Slovenia
In the past decade, the two-tier system of Slovenian economic diplomacy caused considerable difficulties, as diplomats had been accountable to different government agencies. For example, the economic counsellors had been accountable to the Ministry of the Economy, while the heads of diplomatic and consular missions had been accountable to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Furthermore, the Public Agency for Entrepreneurship and Foreign Investments (JAPTI) headed and administered a separate network of representative offices abroad. Realizing the inefficiencies of this system, in particular for such a small country as Slovenia, the Slovenian Government transferred the economic and commercial diplomacy from the Ministry of the Economy to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including the JAPTI offices abroad. This has been done according to the Danish model of economic diplomacy. Following this transfer, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has established the Directorate for Economic Diplomacy with its primary tasks being: First, more effective guidance and coordination of Slovenian economic diplomacy through the network of diplomatic and consular missions and economic advisers and second, providing stronger and better organised support to the Slovenian companies doing business abroad and foreign companies considering investing in Slovenia.
In opening these new representations the country strictly follows interests of the business community. The Directorate for Economic Diplomacy of Slovenia focuses primarily on three areas: First, Providing support to Slovenian exporters and help them seek new opportunities in foreign markets – traditional and new ones; second, Protecting and promoting Slovenian economic and business by close cooperation with foreign governments and third, Developing Slovenia’s multilateral economic cooperation within the EU and the OECD.
work in the field of foreign economic relations. The main activities of the Directorate for Economic Diplomacy of Slovenia are:
Activities of Slovenian economic diplomacy have resulted in a number of newly established contacts between Slovenian and foreign businessmen, a number of business contracts and agreements have been signed, several problems of Slovenian companies abroad have been solved, we have achieved level playing field for several Slovenian companies in foreign markets and attracted many potential foreign investors to Slovenia.
National Interest and Peacekeeping Contributions
UN peacekeeping missions have become prominent features on the landscape of international security. Willingness of states to contribute to peacekeeping missions is an issue of practical importance. Though the idealist perspective suggests that states contribute for peacekeeping as benevolent approach to world peace, however, in reality, peacekeeping by many is viewed as self-interest motivating contributions to establish, preserve, or increase a state’s own position and power base in the world. The liberal perspective emphasizes a broader interpretation of self-interest rooted in security as a public good where states may benefit from prestige and status enhancement. Besides, study reveals that when countries have economic links to the state in conflict, there may be direct economic benefits to a state from successful peacekeeping operations.
Some countries are able to deploy peacekeepers for less than the stipend offered by the United Nations, which creates the possibility of deploying peacekeepers as a way to make money allowing immediate financial benefits to countries that provide peacekeepers. Thus, contributions seem to be related to the utility states derived from contributing.
Peacekeeping as an Instrument of Foreign Policy
Scholars identify two contrasting perspectives to explain why states participate in UN peacekeeping. On the one hand, the “idealist” perspective assumes that “states will participate in UN peacekeeping out of an obligation to protect international peace and preserve international norms and values” . The attainment of those norms and values will thus prompt states to participate in peacekeeping even when it is against their own interests. On the other hand, the “realist explanation of state participation in UN peacekeeping is that states do whatever they can, given their power resources, to protect and preserve their national interests”. According to this explanation, participation in peacekeeping is thus understood primarily as an instrument to foster states’ national interests. It is worth mentioning that within the realist perspective, national interests are not only defined in terms of “hard” military-security issues, but also in terms of economic interests and even states’ prestige. Hence, realists simply “expect government defined national interest to take precedence over altruistic humanitarianism”.
From a military perspective, such goals are often associated with, among others, guaranteeing states’ own security, testing operational aspects of military doctrines and strategies, forming and instructing national contingents, and/or guaranteeing their state of preparedness at comparatively low cost.
Politically, the involvement in peace operations is usually attached to the goals of increasing states’ international profile, acquiring prestige, guaranteeing interests in their respective areas of influence or interest, creating or strengthening a status of leadership, fostering opportunities for integration into the ‘international community’, and/or creating opportunities for regional/international cooperation – including military aspects.
Brazilian Approach to UN Peacekeeping
Whether explicit or not, a number of analyses of Brazilian foreign policy also adopt the realist perspective to explain the country’s participation in UN peacekeeping. Some argue that the post-1985 governments in Brazil adopted participation in peace operations as part of their strategy of integration into the international system. Brazil falls in a group of Western middle-level powers that engage in peacekeeping with the purpose of finding a place within the establishment from where non-status quo interests can be pursued. Accordingly, all the situations in which the Brazilian military participated in UN peacekeeping were said to have occurred in a “context that confirms the effectiveness of the use of military expression as an instrument of Brazilian foreign policy”. Another recent discussion within the same realistic assumption concerning the instrumental use of peacekeeping reckons that participating effectively in peace operations would intensify the international bargaining power of Brazil, contributing to the increase of its soft power and could be used as rationale for increasing the resources dedicated to the defence sector. What most of those analyses have in common is their agreement with the realist assumption that Brazilian participation in UN peacekeeping may be (and/or should be) used to advance specific goals and in accordance with the country’s national interest – which thus takes precedence over concerns of an ‘idealist’ nature.
Key Factors Shaping China’s Evolving Approach to Peacekeeping.
The PLA has been involved in peacekeeping operations around the world, with notable assignments to sub-Saharan Africa, where its presence in Sudan and Liberia reinforced its increase in investment and political involvement in the region. Typically described as “soft power,” these engagements are more appropriately understood as a renewed appreciation in Beijing for the political uses of non-traditional military missions. An indication of China’s changing attitude was the establishment of a peacekeeping institute near Beijing in 2004.
Chinese peacekeepers have also been active in recent years (since 2004) in Haiti, where Ministry of Public Security forces were deployed to try to suppress domestic unrest and to aid the establishment of a stable civilian government. Chinese security forces—military and police units—were also assigned to Bosnia following the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords, East Timor following its separation from Indonesia (2000), as well as Congo (2003) and Kosovo (2004).
The absence of Chinese involvement in Iraq signalled Beijing’s disapproval of and apprehension about the U.S.-led military action in that country since 2003. The expansion in Chinese peacekeeping contributions reflects the country’s overall efforts, especially since the late 1990s, to raise its profile in the international community as a constructive and responsible power. Chinese leadership has gradually come to realize that participation in peacekeeping operations can help to reduce tensions and conflicts in global hotspots, ‘which works in China’s national interest as the country begins to build a sound external environment for its long-term economic growth and social development.
Opportunities for Business and Entrepreneurship in Post-Conflict Zones
Integration to Implementation of Peace Building Activities
Successful peace building activities create an environment supportive of self-sustaining, durable peace; reconcile opponents; prevent conflict from restarting; integrate civil society; create rule of law mechanisms; and address underlying structural and societal issues. To accomplish these goals, peace building must address functional structures, emotional conditions and social psychology, social stability, rule of law and ethics and cultural sensitivities. In practice most peace building interventions are post-conflict. There are many different approaches to categorization of forms of peace building. Scholars define post-conflict peace building into three dimensions: stabilizing the post-conflict zone, restoring state institutions and dealing with social and economic issues. Activities within the first dimension reinforce state stability in post-conflict situation and discourage former combatants from returning to war (disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, or DDR). Second dimension activities build state capacity to provide basic public goods and increase state legitimacy. Programs in the third dimension build a post-conflict society's ability to manage conflicts peacefully and promote socioeconomic development. Post-conflict reconstruction significantly contributes in effective peace building.
Post-conflict reconstruction typically involves the repair and reconstruction of physical and economic infrastructure; it also entails a number of external interventions aimed at rebuilding weakened institutions. Those critical interventions include reviving the economy, reconstructing the framework for democratic governance, rebuilding and maintaining key social infrastructure, and planning for financial normalization. So far Bangladeshi peacekeepers are mostly associated to peacekeeping and first dimension of peacekeeping. Bangladesh may pursue integration with other global partners to engage in second and third dimension of peace building. In doing that Bangladesh needs to engage effectively with global powers.
Integration to UN DFS Budget Implementation Activities
It has been already indicated in preceding chapter that global approved peacekeeping resources have grown from USD 2.8 billion to USD 7.8 billion from 2001/02 to 2011/12, which means the total budget has grown by over 2.5 times in the past 10 years. This huge amount of budget is spent for the maintenance of global peacekeeping initiative. Bangladesh as a leading troop and police contributor in peacekeeping may pursue to integrate with the DFS budget implementation activities.
Integration to the Implementation of NGO/Donor Funded Reconstruction Activities
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems and to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change. The OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) is a unique international forum of many of the largest funders of aid, including 29 DAC Members. The World Bank, IMF and UNDP participate as observers. More than 200 multilateral agencies – including the United Nations, regional development banks and global funds – are the recipients of close to one-third of all aid. When including earmarked funding provided to multilaterals for implementation, this goes up to two fifths.
Donor countries provide aid either bilaterally or multilaterally in the form of Official Development Assistance (ODA). The total global ODA flow (2010: US$131.8 billion) include ODA provided by OECD/DAC governments (2010: US$124.5 billion) aid flows that are reported to OECD/DAC by countries that are not members of OECD/DAC. The table below shows the total global ODA in 2010:
The United Nations development system remains the single largest channel for direct multilateral funding by OECD/DAC countries. This share is estimated at some 32 per cent of total ODA.
These development systems are funded by a combination of so-called core and non-core resources. Core resources are those that are commingled without restrictions and whose use and application are directly linked to the entities’ multilateral mandates and strategic plans that are approved by the respective governing bodies as part of an intergovernmental process. In contrast, and as determined by the contributors, non-core resources are mostly earmarked and thus restricted with regard to their use and application. The degree to which the use and application of non-core resources are subject to and aligned with the strategic plans approved by governing bodies is not direct. 70 per cent of development-related contributions and 83 per cent of humanitarian assistance-related contributions were non-core and thus earmarked.
Significant amount of this aid flow is to the developing countries and the fragile states of war torn Africa. Aid flow to Africa from all the donor countries of OECD DAC between time periods 2008 to 2012 is show in the table below:
The table below shows the Official Development Assistance (ODA) by different countries.
The picture below shows the country and sector wise distribution of ODA by different DAC countries in the year 2011 and 2012:
Africa Business Opportunities
Many post-conflict and fragile countries remain at the early stages of development. They fall much short of structural transformation and their people, and the economy, rely mainly on agriculture. This means that agriculture has to be handled with particular caution. Two fundamental issues have to be addressed: at the micro level, the role of agriculture in sustaining rural livelihoods and, at the macro level, the role of agriculture in the overarching development strategy. Agriculture remains the most important economic sector in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Fostering agricultural development is a crucial challenge for most countries; it is an even greater challenge for post-conflict countries where agriculture may be the refuge activity for most of the population.
Based on the current strategy of Africa Union Commission, which is in line with the continent private sector drive, the following are the sectors perceived of interest to both parties’ business community:
Private Sector Collaboration and Joint Venture
Foreign relations are still largely in the domain of governments, but economic relations are formed by the interactions of the (largely) private sectors. Bangladeshi private sector entrepreneurs may be encouraged to engage with the private sector of the post conflict countries. Public sympathy and host government attention already earned through the peace support activities of Bangladeshi peacekeepers may be capitalized while collaborating with host nation entrepreneurs and participating in the implementation of huge post-conflict reconstruction project. Conflict torn Africa provides ample opportunities for economic activities. The sectors that Bangladeshi entrepreneurs may be interested are:
Critical Issues and Challenges
Bangladesh is one of the key exponents of United Nations. Its commitment towards global peace has been instrumental in the overall perspective of peace support operations and is widely acclaimed in the international forum. Bangladesh stand firmly committed to assist United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security, which emanates from the principles preserved in her Constitution. The Preamble to our Constitution says".... embodiment of the will of the people of Bangladesh so that we may prosper in freedom and may make our full contribution towards international peace and co-operation in keeping with the progressive aspirations of mankind."
Diplomatic Challenges and Obligations
To be relevant with economic diplomacy State need to focus and overcome many challenges and to abide by a number of obligations. Some are:
Participation in Decision Cycle
Bangladesh is engaged in global peacekeeping under the blue helmet for more than a quarter century. However, its participation is still limited to the implementation of peacekeeping process, i.e. troops and police contribution only. Though the country is the top troop and police contributing one for more than a decade, yet its participation is negligible in the decision making cycle of PKO. Thus, the country is deprived from securing benefits in economic of diplomacy and persueing own national interests. It may be noticed that lack of representative at decision making levels in DPKO and various field missions despite being the largest troops contributing nation has adversely affected us. Sudden withdrawal of all Bangladeshi peacekeepers from South Sudan and a contingent form UNMIL is a glaring example.
Ways Ahead for Bangladesh
Sustained and Effective Peacekeeping Strategy
Since inception Bangladesh has successfully participated in 48 missions out of total 68 peace missions undertaken by UN from 1948 and more than 1,20,000 peacekeepers from Bangladesh Army have participated in UN missions. However, except receiving re-imbursement against our men and equipment, Bangladesh could not gain any economic benefits from these missions. Sincere efforts were taken from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Armed Forces and Police to increase our participation under Blue Helmets, but were disjointed in nature lacking long term goals. Although, Article 25 of our Constitution clearly defines the role of Bangladesh towards international peace and cooperation, there is no defined national strategy to justify the statement of the constitution. As such, lack of National Strategy on Peacekeeping is a serious hindrance in fulfilling our aspirations for playing a greater role in UN affairs. Necessity of a National Peacekeeping Strategy is, therefore, the demand of time.
More so, UN peacekeeping operations are now in a transition form, prioritizing more on peace building (post conflict reconstruction) functions integrating civilian components with military peacekeeping functions. Integration of civil efforts with military is of paramount importance at present scenario of peacekeeping operations as experienced in Sudan (UNMIS), Liberia (UNMIL) and Ivory Coast (UNOCI). Many developed/developing nations including our neighbour are engaging themselves diplomatically with war ravaged countries like Sudan, Liberia, Ivory Coast etc. in order to benefit economically. Bangladesh, being the largest troops contributing nations in the peacekeeping missions in these countries could not benefit much despite having our foot on ground. A joint effort to formulate a sustained, effective and comprehensive Peacekeeping Strategy involving all stakeholders might bring better economic dividend for the country. The strategy may include:
Full Spectrum Engagement – Peace Making, Peacekeeping, Peace Building and Stabilization Operations
United Nations operational activities for development (UN-OAD) in 2010 accounted for about 63 per cent (US$22.9 billion) of all United Nations system-wide activities (US$36.1 billion). Peacekeeping operations accounted for 22 per cent (US$7.8 billion) and the global norm and standard-setting, policy and advocacy functions of the United Nations system accounted for the remaining 15 per cent (US$5.3 billion).
Out of some total US$22.9 billion contributions to operational activities for development (OAD) of the United Nations system in 2010, 68 per cent (US$15.5 billion) were directed towards development-related activities and 32 per cent (US$7.4 billion) to humanitarian assistance-related activities. Further, 76 per cent of total contributions in 2010 were made by Governments directly, both OECD/DAC and non-OECD/DAC. This includes the contributions made to the so-called United Nations multi-donor trust funds (MDTF) that are covered by the fund administration services of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Multi-Partner trust Fund Office (MPTF Office) on behalf of the United Nations development system.
Some 72 per cent of the UN-OAD expenditures (US$24.0 billion) in 2010 (including local resources) are directed to concerned programme activities at the country level of which 46 per cent or US$7.9 billion were in Africa.
The data in the preceding paragraphs clearly indicates that the budget for operational activities for development in the overall UN development system is around three times more than the global peacekeeping budget out of which nearly 50% is directed to Africa. This explicitly becomes wider opportunities for Bangladesh to derive benefit through full spectrum engagement in the global peace initiative i.e. participation in the whole process of Peace Making, Peacekeeping, Peace building and Stabilization Operations.
Lobby Mechanism and Pursuance
United Nations peacekeeping is a unique global partnership. It draws together the legal and political authority of the Security Council, the personnel and financial contributions of Member States, the support of host countries and the accumulated experience of the Secretariat in managing operations in the field. Today, UN peacekeeping stands at a crossroads. With consistently high demands for peacekeepers and an expanding range of mandated tasks, the UN faces the challenge of finding more, and better, peacekeepers. This comes at a time when financial austerity measures are being imposed across much of the world and in a political context where the UN must compete with other international organizations to recruit peacekeepers from what is a relatively limited global pool of relevant capabilities. To meet the challenge, the UN’s New Horizon Initiative and the General Assembly’s Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34) have called for an “expanding of the pool of available capabilities.”
The UN recognizes regional organizations as key stakeholders in international relations. Chapter VIII of the UN Charter relating to regional agreements makes provision for the existence of regional entities whose role in the peaceful settlement of conflicts is recognized by the UN. Involvement of regional organizations in peacekeeping continued to expand during the first decade of this century. Action by NATO and the EU, as well as the OSCE and the AU, served to make this phenomenon all the more visible. Some of these regional organizations have been granted observer status at the UN General Assembly and have a permanent representation in New York. Creative partnerships with international and regional organizations are becoming a regular feature in UN Peacekeeping.
As such, DPKO/DFS non-paper calls for a renewed UN peacekeeping partnership to set a new horizon – a set of achievable immediate, medium and long term goals – to help configure UN peacekeeping to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. This partnership rests on a shared understanding among all stakeholders of the objectives of UN peacekeeping and the role that each plays in their realization: those that authorize peacekeeping, those that implement, those that contribute, those that receive and those that partner with UN peacekeepers.
There is also a new evolving role of the AU. They wish now, given the experience in Somalia, to exercise a significant role in civilian responsibilities; the full spectrum from political affairs, civil affairs, human rights, gender, all the way to civil military interactions.
The Security Council has, in this context, developed cooperation with the regional organizations, while seeking to strengthen and improve the framework of this cooperation. A variety of arrangements have therefore been implemented, sometimes in the form of support lent by a regional organization to the UN (the European Union’s Operation Artemis in the Democratic Republic of Congo), but most often in the form of UN support for regional organizations: co-deployment, successive rotations and deployments, operational or budgetary support (AMISOM), exclusive management by the regional organization within the framework of a UN mandate (NATO International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan). However, the role of regional organizations in peacekeeping and international security is destined to continue growing with a view toward promoting subsidiarity as well as the accountability of regional actors. France contributes to this through the organizations to which it belongs, as well as through its support for implementing regional security architectures, as for example in Africa in support of the African Union’s efforts.
At this complex and multilateral global environment, Bangladesh needs to adapt to the changing situation. To remain relevant and competitive, Bangladesh needs to strengthen diplomatic efforts and constantly pursue her national interest and secure own share under the comprehensive umbrella strategy to contribute in global peacekeeping. Important issues that need immediate attention are the following:
Domestic Partnerships and Expertise - Integration of All Stakeholders
Effective Civil-Military Cooperation and Coordination.
Civilian component in the peacekeeping is gradually gaining prominence while Bangladeshi participation in global peacekeeping is still limited to contributing unformed personal for peacekeeping at tactical and operational level only. Thus, Bangladesh needs to focus in enhancing civilian participation in the whole range of multidimensional peacekeeping. Collaboration among all national stakeholder and close cooperation between civil affairs including governance specialists on civil administration and economics are therefore essential. Bangladesh also needs to focus and contribute in the form of providing legal experts on justice and rule of law.
Involvement of Younger Generation Including Women Participation : Bangladesh has unique opportunities to increase women participation in the UN system. Besides, Bangladesh should also focus to boost civilian participation in the UN system. Encouraging younger generation and developing human resource for contributing in UN system may allow Bangladesh to strengthen own right thus widening opportunities for economic diplomacy.
Language Skill Development: Mr. Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations on 19 February 2013, shared his concern to the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations regarding the linguistic skills of the peacekeepers. He further mentioned that UN has long faced shortages of both French and Arabic speakers, among both uniformed and civilian staff and with possible future deployments in French and Arabic speaking countries, this need are likely only to increase. Meanwhile, UN in collaboration with the “Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie” has made targeted efforts to approach French and Arabic- speaking countries to ask for contributions. The preceding paragraph clearly indicate that success and effectiveness in future peacekeeping including any associated diplomatic and commercial activity would largely depend on the appropriate linguistic skill. Bangladesh must therefore, focus on developing skill on language especially on French and Arabic to derive optimum benefit from peacekeeping.