Independent reviews

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The Secretariat initiated a series of independent reviews of peacekeeping operations beginning in 2017. The broad vision for these reviews was presented as follows by the Secretary-General during a March 2018 Security Council thematic debate:

we are conducting independent reviews of peacekeeping missions aimed at refining their priorities and configuration, while assessing the viability of their mandates and political processes. The reviews are aimed at ensuring that we have well-trained and -equipped peacekeepers who are mobile and agile and can be proactive in dealing with challenges and threats. Too often in the past our troops have been reduced to waiting in a defensive position, giving hostile forces the time and space to plan attacks.[1]

Similar independent reviews have also been undertaken of a number of special political missions.

Independent reviews have largely supplanted the strategic assessments required under the 2013 integrated planning and assessment policy, despite the fact that the two have different purposes and compositions.


Independent reviews can either be initiated by the Secretary-General or requested by the Security Council. Each review is led by an independent team leader with prior experience with United Nations peace operations, with support from the relevant departments at Headquarters. To improve the rigour and credibility of the reviews, data analytics have been used to inform the conclusions, which are further tested through the use of a "red team" process.

The reports of the independent review are submitted to the Secretary-General, who then submits his own report to the Security Council conveying findings of the review and the his associated observations and proposals.

Red team

A red team consists of up to six individuals with diverse skills and expertise relevant to the subject under review, and its role is to challenge the review’s assumptions, conclusions, and recommendations to ensure that they are comprehensive, practical, and evidence-based. Its members, which are usually identified by the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, serve in their personal capacities and can be drawn from both inside and outside the United Nations.

The introduction of red teams as part of the independent reviews reflected a growing discussion within the Secretariat on the utility of the concept to the United Nations in 2017.[2]

List of independent reviews

Mission Initiated by Team leader Notes
BINUH Security Council resolution 2600 (2021) Mourad Wahba Findings summarized in S/2022/369
UNSMIL Security Council resolution 2542 (2020) Abdoulaye Bathily Report transmitted as annex to S/2021/716
Somalia/AMISOM Security Council resolution 2520 (2020) Lt. Gen. Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz Report submitted on 8 January 2021[3] but not released publicly (link).
The report of the AU-commissioned independent assessment was issued as S/2021/922
UNMISS Security Council resolution 2514 (2020) El-Ghassim Wane Report transmitted as annex to S/2020/1224
UNOAU Security Council resolution 2320 (2016) Said Djinnit Findings summarized in S/2020/1020
UNOWAS Secretary-General Abdoulaye Bathily Findings summarized in S/2019/890
MONUSCO Security Council resolution 2463 (2019) Youssef Mahmoud Report transmitted as annex to S/2019/842
UNOCA Security Council presidential statement 2018/17 Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah Findings summarized in S/2019/625
UNSOS Secretary-General Stephen Cutts Review referenced in S/2018/1149 and A/73/762, but findings not made public
UNDOF Secretary-General Lt. Gen. Paolo Serra Findings summarized in S/2018/1088
UNIOGBIS Security Council resolution 2404 (2018) João Honwana Findings summarized in S/2018/1086
MINUSCA Secretary-General Juan Gabriel Valdés Findings summarized in S/2018/922
MINURSO Secretary-General Diane Corner Findings summarized in S/2018/889
UNISFA Secretary-General Gen. Martin Luther Agwai Review referenced in S/2018/778, but findings not made public
MINUSMA Secretary-General Ellen Løj Findings summarized in S/2018/541
UNMISS Secretary-General Kevin Kennedy Findings summarized in S/2018/143
UNFICYP Security Council resolution 2369 (2017) Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber Findings summarized in S/2017/1008
UNAMI Security Council resolution 2367 (2017) Anthony Banbury and Phillip Rawkins Executive summary and recommendations transmitted as annex to S/2017/966
UNSMIL Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guéhenno Findings summarized in S/2017/726
UNAMA Security Council resolution 2344 (2017) Ján Kubiś Findings summarized in S/2017/696

Related thematic reviews

In addition to reviews of individual peace operations (and related entities such as UNOAU), several thematic reviews that have also included similar elements, such as independent team leaders and red teams, have also been launched in recent years.

Subject Initiated by Team leader Notes
Peacekeeping operations' response to improvised explosive devices Security Council presidential statement 2021/11 Maj Gen (ret) Hugh van Roosen Report transmitted as annex to S/2021/1042
Integration in the United Nations Secretary-General Jordan Ryan Report submitted to the Executive Committee in January 2021
Improving the safety and security of peacekeepers Secretary-General General (ret) Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz Report (link) issued in December 2017, but not as official document
Assessment of United Nations-African Union cooperation Security Council resolution 2320 (2016) Said Djinnit Findings summarized in S/2020/1020

See also


  1. S/PV.8218 Security Council 8218th meeting, Wednesday, 28 March 2018, 10 a.m.: United Nations peacekeeping operations: Collective action to improve United Nations peacekeeping operations
  2. Trenkov-Wermuth, Calin. "The UN Needs a 'Red Team': Breaking the Bureaucratic Mindset to Jumpstart Reform". Foreign Affairs, 3 July 2017.
  3. What's In Blue: AU Mission in Somalia Reauthorisation (12 March 2021)