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The Role of the UK in International Peacekeeping

Updated: Sep 12, 2020

Written by Mia Edwards

On May 21st, the UNA-YP brought into fruition its second online talk; this time, with Colonel Oliver Nurton on the role of the UK in international peacekeeping. We learnt about the specifics of his role as a UK military advisor to the UN ambassador in New York, as well as his thoughts on a range of topics, most significantly what the UN’s role should be in the current COVID-19 Crisis. He informed us that the UN has engaged in a 90-day freeze on movement for all peacekeeping troops due to the crisis – while this was an emotionally heavy decision due to the fact that it extends the time that personnel are away from their loved ones it was certainly a necessarily one in order to slow down the spread of the virus.


The Colonel reiterated throughout the Q & A that it is important to understand each country’s independent view when trying to reach a consensus in the UN, even though this approach will often mean compromising on certain issues when finally agreeing upon a mandate. This notion of understanding different viewpoints is certainly beneficial to bear in mind no matter where you are in life, empathising with other people’s perspectives whether they come from a different culture to you or simply have different political views is a great lesson to apply to life.

Colonel Oliver Nurton also reiterated the importance of the UN’s peacekeeping mission, commenting that the UN was beginning to engage in a more progressive and dynamic approach in their deployment of troops in peacekeeping missions. He noted that in the past UN troops had often been stationary, completing day and night patrols around the area surrounding their base but not straying much further than that. Instead, peacekeeping troops are now being toured around the country through the use of helicopters and other military vehicles, following the issue as it shifts geographically and manifests in different locations. While this approach might be more costly due to the extra machinery needed and the specialist training that troops will need, it will hopefully prove to be more effective in the long run and allow the UN to truly engage with the citizens of each country they commit to peacekeeping missions in.


If you’d like to hear more about our discussion with Colonel Oliver Nurton then the Q&A is available to watch, learn about topics such as: the role of youth affiliated political groups in the UN, why he decided to join the army and the great skills and benefits time spent in the army can give to your life and future career.


If you’d like to learn more about our mission at the United Nations Youth Association Platform then please like our Facebook page, where you will be notified about future exciting discussions and events like this one.

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