Archive

Peacebuilding: Problems and Prospects

Abstract Efforts to build or rebuild institutions of the State from the outside have often run into three types of contradictions: the means available are inconsistent with the ends, the resources at hand are inadequate to the task, and the implicit model of a State may simply be inappropriate to the circumstances on the ground. Resolving these contradictions requires clarity in three areas: (i) the strategic aims of the action; (ii) the necessary institutional coordination to put all actors — especially security and development actors — on the same page; and (iii) a realistic basis for evaluating the success or failure of the action. Professor Simon Chesterman Vice Dean and Professor of Law, National University of Singapore; Global Professor and Director of the New York University School of Law Singapore Programme. Email: chesterman@nus.edu.sg. This work draws upon material discussed at greater length in Simon Chesterman, You, The People: The United Nations, Transitional Administration, and State-Building (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) and Simon Chesterman, Michael Ignatieff, and Ramesh Thakur (eds), Making States Work: State Failure and the Crisis of Governance (Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2005). Many of the examples cited draw upon confidential interviews conducted in Dili, Kabul, New York,…

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Understanding what we’re saying – Dilemmas of the UN’s peacebuilding paradigm

Abstract Since the end of the Cold War, the UN has steadily increased the ambition and scope of its peace and security activities in conflict-affected countries. Over that time, peacekeeping evolved in concept and practice from what was called traditional peacekeeping to what is now described as multi-dimensional peace operations. One could argue that the UN was engaged in non-traditional peacekeeping in the Congo back in 1960 (ONUC). However, ONUC was an aberration for the UN during the cold war period, and neither its aspirations nor operational requirements were comparable to, say, the UN’s current multi-dimensional operation in the DRC. During that same period, the concept of peacebuilding emerged and eventually came to provide a conceptual framework for this ambitious work. Peacekeeping, and particularly peacebuilding, however, still suffer from a lack of conceptual clarity among observers, scholars, and even practitioners. The common assumption that post-conflict interventions proceed sequentially from mediation to peacekeeping and then to peacebuilding are indicative of this confusion. Adam Smith Adam Smith is a Research Fellow heading the peace operations program the International Peace Institute (IPI). His work focuses on multidimensional peacekeeping, the management of UN field operations, peacekeeping partnerships, and the role of the Special Representative…

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Afghanistan – Reconstruction challenges and dilemmas

Abstract This paper outlines the general context of reconstruction endeavours, identifies some of the specific roles that international actors have come to play, and concludes by discussing some of the challenges and dilemmas that the Afghanistan case has highlighted. If there is a key lesson for civil-military interaction from this case, it is surely that there is a huge difference between abstract commitment to ‘coordination’ as a good, and the practical achievement of coordination in an environment populated by a range of actors with diverse histories, interests, and time horizons. Professor William Maley AM William Maley is Professor and Director of the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Australian National University. He is a Member of the Order of Australia (AM ), and a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (FASSA). He is author of Rescuing Afghanistan (London: Hurst & Co., 2006), and The Afghanistan Wars (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002, 2009); co-authored Regime Change in Afghanistan: Foreign Intervention and the Politics of Legitimacy (Boulder: Westview Press, 1991), and Political Order in Post-Communist Afghanistan (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1992); edited Fundamentalism Reborn? Afghanistan and the Taliban (New York: New York University Press, 1998, 2001); and co-edited The…

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“Transitions” from Peacekeeping to Peacebuilding: Recent experiences in Timor-Leste

Abstract In this paper, representing the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, I share recent experiences from Timor-Leste where I serve as Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s Special Representative.Today’s topic, transitions, is a timely one. In its history of over more than 60 years, peacekeeping has gone through a series of surges and periods of consolidation. Following the most recent surge of new peacekeeping missions in the early 2000s, we expect the next few years to represent a period of consolidation and drawdown. Our mission in Chad will close at the end of December; in Timor-Leste and Liberia, transition planning is already underway, in others like Cote d’Ivoire, it is a little further on the horizon. In all transitions, we have to manage the departure of peacekeeping missions in a way that helps consolidate and build peace. The topic is also timely as UN Member States are in the midst of important policy debates in the Security Council as well as the 4th and 5th Committees of the General Assembly, on the interface between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, the role of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Security Council, and on allocation of resources across multiple instruments like peacekeeping operations or special political missions,…

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Defining ASEAN’s role in peace operations: Helping to bring peacebuilding “upstream”?

Abstract Contemporary peace operations have evolved tremendously from the traditional peacekeeping operations of only a couple of decades ago, with peacekeeping objectives increasingly encompassed within a broader peacebuilding agenda. It is against this backdrop that this paper attempts to take stock of the current attitudes towards peace operations in Southeast Asia and to forge a way forward for ASEAN states’ more active engagement within the region and more specifically, with the broader emerging peacebuilding agenda. ASEAN States have often come under criticism for their limited engagement in peace operations. For example, it has been noted that although approximately 40% of armed conflicts have occurred in the wider Asian region, justover 10% of multilateral peace operations have been undertaken there. In the case of Southeast Asia, this is often put down to political and strategic factors – in particular, strong adherence to a traditional understanding of state sovereignty and non-interference. At the same time, however,it must be acknowledged that ASEAN countries have not been completely passive vis-à-vis involvement in regional and international peace operations. In particular, Indonesia, Malaysia andthe Philippines have substantial experience in the provision of uniformed peacekeeping personnel globally. Where ASEAN states have engaged militarily however, it is observed…

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