Madame Louise Fréchette
Distinguished Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation




Madame Louise Fréchette, Distinguished Fellow of the Centre for International Governance Innovation discusses the revolutionary experience of UN peacekeeping reform in the post-Cold War environment. Tasked with ever more complex mandates and increasingly fluid structures, Fréchette notes that peacekeeping missions ultimately experienced a series of corresponding evolutions in support, command and control arrangements. Fréchette deconstructs the emergence of a culture of improvisation, tracing the institutionalization of reform from slightly ‘amateurish’ beginnings. As a disputed concept rooted in variable manifestations and frequent misunderstandings, how are we to consider the very composition of peacekeeping reform? Fréchette provides her thoughts on the sustained character of approaches to reform, in light of emerging challenges and identifiable obstacles in the contemporary period.

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Louise Fréchette, Background

Madame Fréchette’s knowledge of international decision-making institutions and mechanisms is rooted in an early ambition to understand the world. She joined the Canadian Foreign Service in 1970, and held diplomatic posts in Athens and Madrid. In 1985, Madame Fréchette became Canada’s ambassador to Argentina and Uruguay, later serving as the Department of External Affairs and International Trade’s assistant deputy minister for Latin-America and the Caribbean. Canada’s entry into the Organization of American States was the culmination of her efforts in this role.After serving as Canada’s ambassador and permanent representative to the UN from 1992 to 1994, Madame Fréchette became the associate deputy minister of Canada’s Department of Finance. She was the deputy minister of Canada’s Department of National Defence from 1995 to 1998. From 1998 to 2006, Madame Fréchette served as the first UN Deputy Secretary-General, where she assisted the Secretary-General in the full range of his responsibilities and oversaw UN reform.Madame Fréchette started a new phase in her career when she joined CIGI in 2006 as a distinguished fellow. Her first major contribution was chairing the Nuclear Energy Futures project, which considered nuclear safety, security and nonproliferation and made recommendations for strengthening global governance in these areas. Madame Fréchette is currently leading a research project that examines institutional reforms at the UN since the end of the Cold War, and considers how these reforms have affected the organization’s influence and performance.Madame Fréchette is an active commentator on international affairs and Canadian foreign policy, the chair of the board of directors of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre and vice-chair on the board of CARE Canada. She is a member of the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations board of directors, the Security Council Report international advisory group and the Global Leadership Foundation.In 1998, Madame Fréchette became an Officer of the Order of Canada. She holds honourary degrees from universities across Canada, as well as Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea, and the University of Turin in Italy. She has been named one of Canada’s top 100 most powerful women, has been honoured by the Public Policy Forum, and was the 2008 recipient of the UNIFEM Canada Award and the 2005 recipient of the Distinguished Canadian Leadership Award from the University of Ottawa.