|Part of a series about|
Peacekeeping refers to activities that tend to create conditions that favor lasting peace.
Within the United Nations group of nation-state governments and organizations, there is a general understanding that at the international level, peacekeepers monitor and observe peace processes in post-conflict areas, and may assist ex-combatants in implementing peace agreement commitments that they have undertaken. Such assistance may come in many forms, including confidence-building measures, power-sharing arrangements, electoral support, strengthening the rule of law, and economic and social development. Accordingly, the UN peacekeepers (often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets) can include soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel.
The United Nations is not the only organization to implement peacekeeping missions. Non-UN peacekeeping forces include the NATO mission in Kosovo (with United Nations authorization) and the Multinational Force and Observers on the Sinai Peninsula or the ones organized by the EU like EUFOR RCA (with UN authorization). The Nonviolent Peaceforce is one NGO widely considered to have expertise in general peacemaking by non-governmental volunteers or activists.
There are a range of various types of operations encompassed in peacekeeping. In Virginia Fortna’s book Does Peacekeeping Work, she distinguishes four different types of peacekeeping operations. Importantly, these types of missions and how they are conducted are heavily influenced by the mandate in which they are authorized. Three of Fortna’s four types are consent-based missions, i.e. Chapter VI missions, with the fourth being a Chapter VII Mission. Chapter VI missions are consent based, therefore they require the consent of the belligerent factions involved in order to operate. Should they lose that consent, Peacekeepers would be compelled to withdrawal. Chapter VII missions, by contrast, do not require consent, though they may have it. If consent is lost at any point, Chapter VII missions would not be required to withdraw.
During the Cold War peacekeeping was primarily interpositional in nature—thus being referred to as traditional peacekeeping. UN Peacekeepers were deployed in the aftermath of interstate conflict in order to serve as a buffer between belligerent factions and ensure compliance with the terms of an established peace agreement. Missions were consent-based, and more often than not observers were unarmed—such was the case with UNTSO in the Middle East and UNCIP in India and Pakistan. Others were armed—such as UNEF-I, established during the Suez Crisis. They were largely successful in this role.
In the post-Cold War era, the United Nations has taken on a more nuanced, multidimensional approach to Peacekeeping. In 1992, in the aftermath of the Cold War, then Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali put together a report detailing his ambitious concepts for the United Nations and Peacekeeping at large. The report, titled An Agenda for Peace, described a multi-faceted and interconnected set of measures he hoped would lead to effective use of the UN in its role in post-Cold War international politics. This included the use of preventative diplomacy, peace-enforcement, peace-making, peace-keeping and post-conflict reconstruction.
In The UN Record on Peacekeeping Operations, Doyle and Sambanis summarize Boutros Boutros’ report as preventative diplomacy, confidence-building measures such as fact-finding missions, observer mandates, and the potential deployment of UN mandated forces as a preventative measure in order to diminish the potential for violence or the danger of violence occurring and thus increasing the prospect for lasting peace. Their definitions are as follows:
Not all international peacekeeping forces have been directly controlled by the United Nations. In 1981, an agreement between Israel and Egypt formed the Multinational Force and Observers which continues to monitor the Sinai Peninsula.
The African Union (AU) is working on building an African Peace and Security Architecture that fulfills the mandate to enforce peace and security on the continent. In cases of genocide or other serious human-rights violations, an AU-mission could be launched even against the wishes of the government of the country concerned, as long as it is approved by the AU General Assembly. The establishment of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) which includes the African Standby Force (ASF) is planned earliest for 2015.
Unarmed Civilian Peacekeeping (UCP) are civilian personnel that carry out non-violent, non-interventionist and impartial set of tactics in order to protect civilians in conflict zones from violence in addition to supporting additional efforts to build a lasting peace. While the term UCP is not entirely ubiquitous amongst non-governmental agencies (NGOs) in the field: many utilize similar techniques and desire shared outcomes for peace; such as accompaniment, presence, rumor control, community security meetings, the securing of safe passage, and monitoring.
United Nations Peacekeeping started in 1948 when the United Nations Security Council authorized the deployment of UN unarmed military observers to the Middle East in order to monitor the armistice agreement that was signed between Israel and its Arab neighbors in the wake of the Arab-Israeli War. This operation was called the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) and is still in operation today. With the passage of resolution 73 (1949) by the Security Council in August 1949, UNTSO was given the task of fulfilling four Armistice Agreements between the state of Israel and the Arab states which had participated in the war. Thus, UNTSO’s operations were spread through five states in the region—Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic.
In the wake of independence in India and Pakistan in August 1947 and the subsequent bloodshed that followed the Security Council adopted resolution 39 (1948) in January 1948 in order to create the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), with the purpose of mediating the dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and the fighting related to it. This operation was non-interventionist in nature and was additionally tasked with supervision of a ceasefire signed by Pakistan and India in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. With the passage of the Karachi agreement in July 1949, UNCIP would supervise a ceasefire line that would be mutually overseen by UN unarmed military observers and local commanders from each side in the dispute. UNCIP’s mission in the region continues to this day, now under the operational title of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).
Since then, sixty-nine peacekeeping operations have been authorized and have deployed to various countries all over the world. The great majority of these operations have begun in the post-Cold War world. Between 1988 and 1998 thirty-five UN operations had been established and deployed. This signified a substantial increase when compared with the periods between 1948 and 1978; which saw the creation and deployment of only thirteen UN Peacekeeping operations and zero between 1978 and 1988.
Armed intervention first came in the form of UN involvement in the wake of the Suez Crisis in 1956. United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF-1), which existed from November 1956 to June 1967 was essentially the first ever United Nations peacekeeping force. It was given the mandate of ensuring the cessation of hostilities between Egypt, the United Kingdom, France, and Israel in addition to overseeing the withdrawal of French, Israeli and British troops from Egyptian territory. Upon completion of said withdrawal, UNEF would serve as a buffer force between Egyptian and Israeli forces in order to supervise conditions of the ceasefire and contribute to a lasting peace.
Shortly thereafter, the United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC), was deployed in 1960. This operation involved upwards of 20,000 military personnel at its peak, and resulted in the death of 250 UN personnel, including then Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold. ONUC was meant to ensure the withdrawal of Belgian forces in the Congo, who had reinserted themselves after Congolese independence in the wake of a revolt carried out by the Force Publique (FP), in order to protect Belgian citizens and economic interests. ONUC was also tasked with establishing and maintaining law and order (helping to end the FP revolt and ethnic violence) as well as provide technical assistance and training to Congolese security forces. An additional function was added to ONUC’s mission, in which the force was tasked with maintaining the territorial integrity and political independence of the Congo—resulting from the secession of the mineral-rich provinces of Katanga and South Kasai. The UN forces there, somewhat controversially, more or less became an arm of the Congolese government at the time and helped to forcefully end the secession of both provinces.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s the UN created multiple short-term missions all over the world including the Mission of the Representative of the Secretary-General in the Dominican Republic (DOMREP), the UN Security Force in West New Guinea (UNSF), the UN Yemen Observation Mission (UNYOM), in conjunction with more long-term operations such as the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), the UN Emergency Force II (UNEF II), the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
Experiences of peacekeeping during the Yugoslav Wars, especially failures such as the Srebrenica Massacre, led, in part, to the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, which works to implement stable peace through some of the same civic functions that peacekeepers also work on, such as elections. The Commission currently works with six countries, all in Africa. In 2013 the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2122, which among other things calls for stronger measures regarding women’s participation in conflict and post-conflict processes such as peace talks, gender expertise in peacekeeping missions, improved information about the impact of armed conflict on women, and more direct briefing to the Council on progress in these areas. Also in 2013, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), a UN women’s rights committee, said in a general recommendation that states that have ratified the UN Women’s Rights Convention are obliged to uphold women’s rights before, during, and after conflict when they are directly involved in fighting, and/or are providing peacekeeping troops or donor assistance for conflict prevention, humanitarian aid or post-conflict reconstruction. The Committee also stated that ratifying states should exercise due diligence in ensuring that non-state actors, such as armed groups and private security contractors, be held accountable for crimes against women.
The United Nations Charter stipulates that to assist in maintaining peace and security around the world, all member states of the UN should make available to the Security Council necessary armed forces and facilities. Since 1948, about 130 nations have contributed military and civilian police personnel to peace operations. While detailed records of all personnel who have served in peacekeeping missions since 1948 are not available, it is estimated that up to one million soldiers, police officers and civilians have served under the UN flag in the last 56 years. As of March 2008, 113 countries were contributing a total 88,862 military observers, police, and troops.
Despite the large number of contributors, the greatest burden continues to be borne by a core group of developing countries. The ten largest troop-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping operations as of October, 2015 were Bangladesh (9432), Ethiopia (8309), India (7800), Pakistan (7533), Rwanda (5591), Nepal (5332), Senegal (3575), Ghana (3156), China (3084), Nigeria (2940).
As of March 2008, in addition to military and police personnel, 5,187 international civilian personnel, 2,031 UN Volunteers, and 12,036 local civilian personnel worked in UN peacekeeping missions.
As of 30 June 2014, 3,243 people from over 100 countries have been killed while serving on peacekeeping missions. Many of those came from India (157), Nigeria (142), Pakistan (136), Ghana (132), Canada (121), France (110) and the United Kingdom (103). Thirty percent of the fatalities in the first 55 years of UN peacekeeping occurred between 1993 and 1995.
Developing nations tend to participate in peacekeeping more than developed countries. This may be due in part because forces from smaller countries avoid evoking thoughts of imperialism. For example, in December 2005, Eritrea expelled all American, Russian, European, and Canadian personnel from the peacekeeping mission on their border with Ethiopia. Additionally, an economic motive appeals to the developing countries. The rate of reimbursement by the UN for troop contributing countries per peacekeeper per month include: $1,028 for pay and allowances; $303 supplementary pay for specialists; $68 for personal clothing, gear and equipment; and $5 for personal weaponry. This can be a significant source of revenue for a developing country. By providing important training and equipment for the soldiers as well as salaries, UN peacekeeping missions allow them to maintain larger armies than they otherwise could. About 4.5% of the troops and civilian police deployed in UN peacekeeping missions come from the European Union and less than one percent from the United States.
While much has been written about Peacekeeping and what Peacekeepers do, very little empirical research has taken place in order to identify the manner in which Peacekeepers can have an impact in a post-conflict environment. Columbia University Professor, Virginia Fortna attempts to lay out four causal reasons in which peacekeepers have an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a lasting peace. Fortna's four causal reasons:
Fortna argues that peacekeepers have a positive impact on the peace process, despite often being sent to places where peace is most difficult to achieve. Peacekeeping is often looked at by detractors as ineffective, or unnecessary. Peace prevails when belligerents already have a vested interest in sustaining peace and therefore it could be argued that Peacekeepers play only a minor role in creating a strong foundation for enduring peace. Yet these causal reasons illustrate the important roles that Peacekeepers play in ensuring that peace lasts, especially when contrasted against situations in which belligerents are left to their own devices. These causal reasons thus illustrate the need for Peacekeeping and lay a foundation for the manner in which Peacekeeping operations can have a substantive impact on the post-conflict environment.
In order to change the incentives for war and make peace more appealing the UN can provide a military force by way of an enforcement mandate which provides deterrence to would-be spoilers. They can monitor the situation making the potential for surprise attack by one of the belligerents less likely to occur or by making it more difficult to carry out such an attack. A lightly-armed observer mission can also serve as an early-warning force or “tripwire” for the aforementioned enforcement mission. Aid and recognition provided to the belligerents by the international community should be made conditional and based on compliance with objectives laid out in the negotiating process. And lastly, peace dividends should be provided in the forms of jobs, public works and other benefits.
To reduce uncertainty and fear the UN Peacekeeping force can monitor the aforementioned compliance, facilitate communication between belligerents in order to ease security dilemma concerns thus reassuring belligerents that the other side will not renege, and allow for belligerents to signal their legitimate intentions for peace to the other side. That is to say, provide a meaningful pathway for communication between both sides to make their intentions known and credible.
Prevention and control of potential accidents that may derail the peace process can be achieved by the peacekeeping force by deterring rogue groups. Belligerent forces are often undisciplined without a strong central source of command and control, therefore while a peace is being negotiated there is potential for a rogue group on one side to renege and spoil the peace process. UN forces can serve to prevent this. Additionally, the UN force can serve as a moderator and make communication easy between both parties and bring in political moderates from either side. By providing law and order UN peacekeeping forces can temporarily replace a state’s security forces and prevent a bias overreaction to an alleged violation by one side which could in turn result in escalation and a renewal in the violence.
Prevention of political abuse can be achieved through the reformation of institutions associated with the government. Training and monitoring the security forces (e.g. army or police) help to make them an unbiased protector of the people rather than a weapon of suppression for the ruling government. Hopefully this training can bring trust by the people for the security establishment. UN forces can also run and monitor elections in order to ensure a fair process. In other cases, the UN may provide a neutral interim government to administer the country during a transitional period wherein the associated government institutions are being retrained, reformed or better developed. Lastly, military groups such as armed rebels can be encouraged to put down their weapons and transformed into political organizations using appropriate non-violent means to mete out their grievances and compete in the election cycle. This is especially important as many of these groups serve as the chief opposition to a given government, but lack the means or know-how to operate effectively as political organizations.
Different peacekeeping missions take place as a result of different causal mechanisms. More military deterrence and enforcement are meant for those missions operating under the auspices of Chapter VII, while Chapter VI missions are meant to serve more as monitoring forces and interpositional operation meant to target and prevent potential political abuse—these are primarily multidimensional mission and are heavily involved in the post-conflict political situation.
Security Council Resolution 1325 was the first major step taken by the UN to include women as active and equal actors in “the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security”. A critique of this resolution is that UNSCR 1325 proposes the implementing gender mainstreaming, however the progress that has been accomplished in this area has focused on women, rather than on assessing the impacts of planned action on both men and women. In 2010, a comprehensive 10-year impact study was conducted to assess the success of this resolution and found that there was limited success with the implementation, particularly in the increasing women’s participation in peace negotiations and peace agreements, and sexual and gender-based violence has continued to be prevalent, despite efforts to reduce it.
In 2013 the U.N. Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2122, which among other things calls for stronger measures regarding women’s participation in conflict and post-conflict processes such as peace talks, gender expertise in peacekeeping missions, improved information about the impact of armed conflict on women, and more direct briefing to the Council on progress in these areas. Also in 2013, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), a UN women’s rights committee, said in a general recommendation that states that have ratified the UN Women’s Rights Convention are obliged to uphold women’s rights before, during, and after conflict when they are directly involved in fighting, and/or are providing peacekeeping troops or donor assistance for conflict prevention, humanitarian aid or post-conflict reconstruction  The Committee also stated that ratifying states should exercise due diligence in ensuring that non-state actors, such as armed groups and private security contractors, be held accountable for crimes against women.
Some commentators have highlighted the potential to leverage peacekeeping operations as a mechanism for advancing military normalization. Michael Edward Walsh and Jeremy Taylor have argued that Japan's peacekeeping operations in South Sudan provide those promoting Japan's military normalization with "a unique opportunity to further erode the country’s pacifist constitution." "Unable to accept the full weight of modern peacekeeping operations without fundamental political, legal, and social changes," they conclude that "Japan’s peacekeepers remain ill prepared to tackle many serious contingencies requiring use of deadly force." For this reason, they suggest that Japan's continued participation in U.N. peacekeeping operations might force policy changes that ultimately push the country toward "a tipping point from which the normalization of Japan’s military (will be) the only outcome."
Diana Muir Appelbaum, has expressed concern that the creation of a military in Fiji for the purpose of serving in international peacekeeping missions, has produced a military powerful enough to stage 4 coups d’état (1987, 1999–2000, 2006, and 2009) and to rule Fiji as a military dictatorship for over two decades.
Studies of peacekeeping soldiers show both positive and negative effects. A study of 951 US Army soldiers assigned to Bosnia revealed that 77% reported some positive consequences, 63% reported a negative consequence, and 47% reported both. The peacekeepers are exposed to danger caused by the warring parties and often in an unfamiliar climate. This gives rise to different mental health problems, suicide, and substance abuse as shown by the percentage of former peacekeepers with those problems. Having a parent in a mission abroad for an extended period is also stressful to the peacekeepers' families.
Another viewpoint raises the problem that the peacekeeping may soften the troops and erode their combat ability, as the mission profile of a peacekeeping contingent is totally different from the profile of a unit fighting an all-out war.
Since the 1990s, UN Peacekeepers have been the subject of numerous accusations of abuse ranging from rape and sexual assault, to pedophilia and human trafficking. Complaints have arisen from Cambodia, East Timor and West Africa. In Bosnia-Herzegovina prostitution associated with trafficked women skyrocketed and often operated just beyond the gates of U.N. compounds. David Lamb, a regional human rights officer in Bosnia from 2000 to 2001 claimed “The sex slave trade in Bosnia largely exists because of the U.N. peacekeeping operation. Without the peacekeeping presence, there would have been little or no forced prostitution in Bosnia.” In addition, hearing held by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 found that members of SFOR were frequenting Bosnian brothels and engaging in sex with trafficked women and underage girls.
Reporters witnessed a rapid increase in prostitution in Cambodia, Mozambique, Bosnia, and Kosovo after UN and, in the case of the latter two, NATO peacekeeping forces moved in. In the 1996 UN study called "The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children", former first lady of Mozambique Graça Machel documented: "In 6 out of 12 country studies on sexual exploitation of children in situations of armed conflict prepared for the present report, the arrival of peacekeeping troops has been associated with a rapid rise in child prostitution".
Gita Sahgal spoke out in 2004 with regard to the fact that prostitution and sex abuse crops up wherever humanitarian intervention efforts are set up. She observed that the "issue with the UN is that peacekeeping operations unfortunately seem to be doing the same thing that other militaries do. Even the guardians have to be guarded".
An investigation by Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, then Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations, in 2006 resulted in a comprehensive report which detailed some of this abuse in detail— particularly that which occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sexual exploitation frequently came in the form of prostitution, wherein some money (an average of $1-$3 per encounter) was exchanged for sex. In other instances food, or jobs were utilized to ply women for sex. Other young women reported of “rape disguised as prostitution”, whereabouts Peacekeepers would rape them and were then given some money or food in order to make the act seem consensual. Between May and September 2004, there were seventy-two allegations of sexual exploitation—68 against military and 4 against civilian personnel. By the end of 2004 there would be a total of 105 allegations. The majority of these allegations were in regards to sex with person under the age of 18 years (45 percent) and sex with adult prostitutes (31 percent). Rape and sexual assault made up approximately 13 and 5 percent respectively, with the remaining 6 percent of allegations relating to other forms of sexual exploitation. Most of the allegations were against peacekeepers from Pakistan, Uruguay, Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa, and Nepal.
Uruguayan President Jose Mujica apologized to Haitian President Michel Martelly over the alleged rape of an 18-year-old Haitian man by Uruguayan UN peacekeeping troops. Martelly said "a collective rape carried out against a young Haitian" would not go unpunished. Four soldiers suspected of being involved in the rape have been detained.
In July 2007 the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) confined an entire contingent of 734 Moroccans in the Ivory Coast in the wake of allegations that some had sexual abused underage girls. In the following years, there were 80 investigations carried out by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). In 2013, allegations were leveled on personnel from France, Gabon, and Burundi operating in the Central African Republic. These include accusations of sexual abuse and exploitation of at least 108 from Kemo Prefecture and that the vast majority of the cases involved minors. In 2016, more allegations of abuse were levelled on Peacekeepers operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern province of North Kivu. Tanzania and the UN opened a joint inquiry into the alleged abuse, which involved Tanzanian troops. There have been 18 reports of sexual abuse, eight of which involved minors. Sixteen Tanzanian soldiers, a Malawian and a South African are implicated in the accusations. The UN reported in March 2016 that there was a large increase in allegations; which involved troops from twenty one countries. Most of the allegations involved troops from African countries including: Cameroon, Congo, Tanzania, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ghana, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Togo.
Significant scientific evidence, first reported by the Associated Press, and later the New York Times, Al Jazeera, and ABC News has shown that Nepalese Peacekeeping troops stationed at a remote base in Mirebalais, Haiti, triggered a deadly cholera epidemic that has ravaged the country since October 2010. Cholera is a waterborne disease that causes diarrhea and vomiting, and it can kill in a matter of hours if patients do not receive rehydration intervention. As of July 2012, Haiti's cholera epidemic was the worst in the world: about 7,500 had died and about 585,000 Haitians (about 1 in every 20 Haitians) had become ill with the disease.
According to the UN-appointed Independent Panel of Experts on the Cholera Outbreak in Haiti, the conditions at the Peacekeeping base were unsafe, and allowed contamination of Haiti's river systems in at least two ways: "The construction of the water pipes in the main toilet/showering area [was] haphazard, with significant potential for cross-contamination...especially from pipes that run over an open drainage ditch that runs throughout the camp and flows directly into the Meye Tributary System". Additionally, the Independent Panel reported that on a regular basis black water waste from the Mirebalais base and two other bases was deposited in an open, unfenced septic pit that was susceptible to flooding and would overflow into the Meye Tributary during rainfall.
In November 2011, over 5,000 victims of the cholera epidemic filed a claim with the UN's internal claims mechanism seeking redress in the form of clean water and sanitation infrastructure necessary to control the epidemic, compensation for individual losses, and an apology. In July 2012, 104 Members of the United States Congress signed a letter affirming that the "actions of the UN" had brought cholera to Haiti and that the UN should "confront and ultimately eliminate cholera". In 2013 the UN rejected the claim and the victims' lawyers have pledged to sue the UN in court.
There is a notable intermingling of varied cultures when it comes to Peacekeeping. From the vast number of troops, police and personnel that are brought together from various contributing countries to the oftentimes challenging ethnic regions which Peacekeeping forces are often deployed. Because of these varied cultures, complicated cultural interactions take place which not only effect mission effectiveness, but can also lead to friction with the population the peacekeepers are meant to be assisting.
In most cases prior to 1988, specific countries often provided peacekeepers. At that point, only twenty six countries had sent personnel to participate in peacekeeping deployments. Today, that number has risen to more than eighty. This results in an extremely heterogeneous group. Thus, UN Peacekeeping deployments must not only contend with language complications, but also myriad cultural and social differences that can create operational difficulties that are hard to overcome. These difference can create problems with regard to interactions (whether personal or between institutions/units), misunderstandings, inadvertent offensive behavior and prejudices that may be associated with a particular contingent from a given country.
In terms of operations, effectiveness can be hindered by the varying tactics, techniques and procedures employed by the military or police personnel that are a part of a given deployment. Because UN forces are cobbled together from so many different sources, there is a discrepancy in capabilities, training, equipment, standards and procedures. Moreover, substantial differences exist in the form of command and control between contributing members personnel. In addition, some nations may not wish to be subordinated to another, complicating unity of command. This can lead to deep-seated divisions between contingents within the UN force that results in a lack of mutual support between units in the field. This can be demonstrated in the experiences of UN Peacekeeping forces deployed to East Timor, where the Australians engaged in a robust operation that maximizes force protection in contrast to a pro-active heart and minds approach utilized by Great Britain's Ghurka personnel.
Maintaining the consent of the peacekept is an important facet of modern peacekeeping. Notably in Bosnia, Somalia and Rwanda, fundamental principles of retaining that consent was ignored on the grounds of a humanitarian intervention—reflecting the nature of an Article VII intervention. Yet in order to stress and maintain the legitimacy of an intervention it is important that the UN's forces continue to enjoy the consent of the population and government of the country to which they were deployed. This means making the peacekept feel a part of the process in addition to important cultural knowledge of the area in which peacekeepers are operating, in order to reduce friction and provide for a successful operation.
Little study on the interaction of cultures that exist within the a peacekeeping force and the population within which they operate. However, in 1976 Galtun and Hveem studied Norwegian personnel who participated in UNEF-1 (in Gaza) and ONUC (Congo). They posited that knowledge of the culture and an understanding of the inhabitants in a given country were not only necessary, but crucial for the success of the mission. They found that personnel from the Norwegian contingent wanted greater insight into the conflict and the culture in which they operated. They also wanted more robust training with regard to working with people from other countries. Yet the study revealed the troops received very little from briefing and that the majority of the information regarding the conflict was gained through the news, reading books or speaking with other UN personnel—rather than any established UN training program.
Similarly, a study conducted on the relations between members of UNIFIL and local population in Lebanon, carried out by Heiberg and Holst, found all but confirmed the findings. In their example, they found that the countries that were able to integrate more fully with the population and show a depth of knowledge about the local culture were more successful, while those that were ambitious, but less integrated into the local scene found themselves far removed from the individuals with which they were supposed to be engaged, and their success, or lack thereof, illustrated this.
Only the Italian contingent of some 2,200 people operated as part of the local environment and became an active element in restoring normal living conditions. Its soldiers were provided with the training required to acquaint them with the cultural, political and social situation of the people among whom they worked. Operating in a sector that contained approximately 600,000 inhabitants, mostly Shi'ites, the Italians carefully nurtured contact with the ordinary citizens and the political leaders in their area... While the Americans thought they were becoming involved in Lebanese politics, they entered into Lebanese culture and history with little or no understanding of the way things worked-- or didn't work... Most Americans did not understand the subtleties of short-term alliances, the length of memories and blood feuds, the strength of aln [kin] in Arab culture nor the nuances of religious differences.
This illustrates the importance of understanding the significance that culture plays in the conduct of successful peacekeeping operation. However, despite the existence of a UN training manual that attempts to advise peacekeepers on necessary techniques, there is no unifying doctrine, or standardized procedure among peacekeeping contingents, which will ultimately hinder the potential for success.
In response to criticism, particularly of the cases of sexual abuse by peacekeepers, the UN has taken steps toward reforming its operations. The Brahimi Report was the first of many steps to recap former peacekeeping missions, isolate flaws, and take steps to patch these mistakes to ensure the efficiency of future peacekeeping missions. The UN has vowed to continue to put these practices into effect when performing peacekeeping operations in the future. The technocratic aspects of the reform process have been continued and revitalised by the DPKO in its "Peace Operations 2010" reform agenda. This included an increase in personnel, the harmonization of the conditions of service of field and headquarters staff, the development of guidelines and standard operating procedures, and improving the partnership arrangement between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), African Union, and European Union. A 2008 capstone doctrine entitled "United Nations Peacekeeping Operations: Principles and Guidelines" incorporates and builds on the Brahimi analysis.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to United Nations peacekeeping missions.|