BKHS Perspectives #07_2024

Struggling for relevance in an era of changes: The Ukraine war and the UN’s future role in peace and security crises

 Photo of paper aeroplane with United Nations logo

Photo of paper aeroplane with United Nations logo © UN Photo/Laura Jarriel

Author: Kirsten Hartmann 


While the multitude of threats to international peace and security that we are facing – from armed conflicts to the climate emergency – require strengthened multilateral cooperation, the multilateral system with the United Nations (UN) at its centre finds itself in crisis in a shifting world order.

In our latest issue of BKHS Perspectives, Kirsten Hartmann of the BKHS programme unit “European and International Politics” argues that the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has exacerbated existing tensions among UN members and further weakened the UN’s legitimacy and capacity to act. Expecting a complementary role of the UN in future global peace and security crises, she calls for adapting UN peace operations, enhancing UN support to (sub-)regional actors and strengthening UN peacebuilding tools.

An effective and relevant UN response to current and future crises depends on more predictable funding from Member States and more influence for countries of the Global South. With its legitimacy being challenged, the UN needs to regain lost trust and credibility and change its structures, mindset and behaviour. At this year’s UN Summit of the Future, Member States should pursue a bold approach to set the stage for a more effective and inclusive multilateral system.

This policy brief continues the conversation on the effects of the Ukraine war as well as broader geopolitical shifts on global conflict dynamics and international peacebuilding and conflict resolution practices and agendas that we started in the “Global Expert Group on Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding” project, which was set up in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. You can find more information on the project here and the report “From the Inside Out: Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution in a Changing World Order” here.

Photo of paper aeroplane with United Nations logo

Photo of paper aeroplane with United Nations logo

©UN Photo/Laura Jarriel

Author: Kirsten Hartmann, M.A.

Research Assistant European and International Politics

Kirsten Hartmann studied International Relations and Peace Research and International Relations in Erfurt, Cali, Tübingen and Haifa. Before joining the Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung, she completed several internships e.g. at the German Embassy in Panama City, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Ramat Gan and the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in New York and worked as a student trainee at the Berghof Foundation.