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Counter-IED Technology in UN Peacekeeping: Expanding Capability and Mitigating Risks

By Lisa Sharland

This article was adapted from an earlier paper prepared for the International Peace Institute as part of a Providing for Peacekeeping Project on New Issues in Peacekeeping

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) pose a significant threat to UN peacekeepers.

This article argues that the UN needs to draw on the lessons from multinational engagements such as Afghanistan to identify, generate and deploy counter-IED technology to UN peacekeeping operations in a more systematic manner. It examines lessons emerging from the application of counter-IED technology in past multinational operations in order to identify areas to expand capabilities and mitigate risks in addressing the threat in the context of UN peacekeeping operations.

  • First, it examines the evolving nature of the IED threat.
  • Second, it surveys some of the lessons emerging from the use of technology in multinational engagements such as the NATO International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
  • Third, it explains some of the approaches already in place in UN peacekeeping operations.
  • Fourth, it identifies potential challenges and limitations to employing more technology solutions to counter IEDs in UN peacekeeping missions, offering some thoughts on areas requiring broader reform to address the growing IED threat in UN peacekeeping missions.

It concludes that technology can improve force protection, intelligence and the medical support available to peacekeeping missions to prevent and mitigate the effect of IEDs, thereby strengthening the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel, enhancing mission mobility, and improving the effectiveness of mandate implementation when it comes to the protection of civilians and early peacebuilding efforts.