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After COVID-19: The impact of the coronavirus on the future of peacekeeping

Monday 29 June 2020

This event has been recorded. A video of the panel can be found here.

On Monday 29th June, the Chair of UN Studies in Peace and Justice is hosting a panel discussion with experienced peacekeepers and experts in the field. Moderated by Dr. Alexandra Novosseloff, the panelists will reflect on the impact of COVID-19 on the future of peacekeeping and answer questions from the audience.

The Panel

  • Mr. Richard Gown – UN Director at International Crisis Group 
  • Mr. Adam Day – Head of Programmes at United Nations University – Centre for Policy Research 
  • Mr. Jeremy Drage – Coordinator of the MONUSCO COVID-19 task force / Chief of the Joint Operations Centre at MONUSCO
  • Sladjana Cemerikic – Policy Coordinator for Crisis Management and Peace Operations at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs


  • Dr. Alexandra Novosseloff – Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brian Urquhart Centre for Peace Operations at the International Peace Institute in New York and Research Associate at the Centre Thucydide of the University  of Paris-Panthéon Assas


Even before the COVID-19 pandemic started its rampage throughout the world, UN peacekeeping missions were already operating in a context of declining multilateralism and increasing financial constraints. However, the after-effects of the pandemic stand to further undermine the foundations of this conflict management tool and may have long-term implications for UN peacekeeping. Such effects may even persist after a vaccine is developed and the world finally returns to normal. Therefore, this event assesses what UN peacekeeping will look like once the pandemic is over through a series of questions:

  • What will the pandemic mean for current peacekeeping missions and the deployment of future missions?
  • Will peace operations shift their attention to be more involved in planning for non-traditional security threats?
  • How must the Department of Peace Operations adjust to better manage the fall-out of the virus?
  • What will conflict look like after the virus is over and how will this affect efforts to keep the peace?
  • How will the economic fall-out influence the availability of funds for UN peacekeeping and what does this mean for peacekeeping at large? Do the potentially more constrained budgets provide an incentive to pay more attention to resource-sharing with other international presences?
  • How will the pandemic affect the implementation of the Secretary-General’s Initiative on Action for Peacekeeping?

The event forms a core component of the UN75 activities organized as part of the Chair of UN Studies in Peace and Justice at Leiden University and The Hague University of Applied Sciences. This Special position, created to honor the work of former Mayor of The Hague Jozias van Aartsen, has at its core the mission of reinvigorating academic and public interest in the UN, particularly through an assessment of the lesser-known actors of the organization, especially women, the youth, and actors from the Global South. These lesser known actors are disproportionally affected by violent conflict and their agency has been shown to be imperative to the success of peacekeeping missions. The event is also linked with the research focus of the Institute for Security and Global Affairs at Leiden University and the Protection of Civilians project led by Professor Joachim Koops.

How to ask a question

You can ask questions before the start of the event by filling out the registration form or sending an email to unstudies@hum.leidenuniv.nl. Alternatively, you can ask a question via social media using the Chair’s Twitter handle @chair_un. The moderator will select a few questions to ask to the panellists.

During the event itself, you can ask questions in the comment box, which will then be picked up by the moderator.

Contact information

For questions about the upcoming event please email the Chair of UN Studies at unstudies@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Link to recorded panel on YouTube

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