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II. Efforts to improve pre-mission planning
III. Mission planning in practice
The continuing rise in the demand for peace operations and the growing diversity in their political, humanitarian and military nature and complexity require a more nuanced approach to operation planning. Planning demands greater internal coordination among different departments and agencies and enhanced cooperation among the multiplicity of external actors. In 2007 the United Nations, as part of its wider and long-term ‘Peacekeeping 2010’ reform strategy, sought to fully implement its Integrated Missions Planning Process (IMPP). The IMPP aims to provide a sequential, coherent and unified framework for pre-mission and transition planning of UN operations.
Although it is a complex process, pre-deployment planning is necessary for the success of any peace operation. Coupled with a coherent strategy, this planning can ensure that an operation has clearly defined objectives and mandates and is equipped with the necessary human, material and financial resources. Lessons gleaned from previous peace operations in Kosovo, Liberia and Timor-Leste indicate that planning needs to extend beyond a headquarters-based process and involve a wider set of stakeholders, particularly the host government and affected population.
One of the most frequently cited problems of operation planning occurs during the implementation phase, when an operation’s responsibility is transferred from headquarters to the field. This is usually because the team involved in the planning process is rarely the same team that will manage the operation. Nevertheless, the African Union/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur, Sudan (UNAMID)—distinguished by its long lead-in time and intensive planning period—also demonstrated that even a well-planned mission may suffer from implementation challenges.
The examples of UNAMID, the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) and the EU Military Operation in Chad and the Central African Republic (EUFOR Tchad/RCA) illustrate that there are limits to participation by domestic stakeholders during pre-deployment planning. Indeed, an inclusive and transparent planning process that embraces the principle of local ownership can undermine the actual deployment of a peace operation. Inclusive operation planning carries with it an understanding that there are trade-offs to be made. Revisions to both the UN and EU planning processes have been made in deference to the need to seek consent from the host government. However, these revisions neither match the needs of the situation nor take into account the demands of the civilian population.
Sharon Wiharta (Indonesia) is a Researcher with the SIPRI Armed Conflicts and Conflict Management Project.