When Drones become UN Peacekeeping Staple
The UN authorized the use of drones in peacekeeping for the first time in 2013 in the Eastern DRC to enhance capacities of peacekeepers in the field. This policy brief argues that beyond the narrow consideration of policing armed groups and protecting civilians in the peacekeeping field drones could also serve as deterrence to armed groups and providing panoramic observation of conflict context. It is suggested that these prospects would drive a greater integration of drones in future peacekeeping operations. However, for a smooth mainstreaming of drones in UN peacekeeping, it is recommended that the UN addresses key challenges the drone program has encountered thus far. Among these are the development of a policy that speaks to contentious issues such as handling management and storage of surveillance data and satisfactory handling of political fallouts resulting in opposition to deployment by national governments of peacekeeping terrains.