The Secretariat initiated a series of independent strategic 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.
Similar reviews have also been requested by the Security Council of a number of special political missions.
Independent strategic 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 strategic 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.
- 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