State capacity is not the same as state legitimacy. Though it is essential to build and strengthen the institutions of governance in post-conflict societies to provide for its citizens, the people of a country must feel that the government is endeavoring to protect and provide for all constituents—all races, religions, and ethnicities. To demonstrate this, a government must decentralize to the level where the impact of the conflict was mostly felt. It must create policy informed by the needs of actual citizens its civil service has met. Until it does this, it has not earned legitimacy among its people.
More than 50 peace operations have deployed in Africa since 2000, including multiple African-led or hybrid African Union/United Nations initiatives. The frequency of these deployments underscores the ongoing importance of these operations in the playbook of regional and multilateral bodies to prevent conflict, protect civilians, and enforce ceasefires and peace agreements. Recent operations have featured increasingly ambitious goals and complex institutional partnerships. The achievements and shortcomings of these operations offer vital lessons for optimizing this increasingly central but still evolving tool for addressing conflict and instability.
Organized crime often surges in post-conflict contexts, becoming a major source of funds for competing factions within emerging governance structures. Moreover, once organized crime becomes deeply entrenched in a post-conflict political economy, it typically delays the recovery process, weakens the political transition, and complicates peacekeeping interventions. Peace operations need to confront these dangers early by embedding more investigative and intelligence expertise in missions to better assess and track illicit activities while deploying more robust policing capacity to disrupt organized criminal networks.
Peace operations have been a principal tool used to curb conflict in Africa over the past decade, with over 40 operations deployed since 2000. This article takes stock of lessons learned from these experiences and the implications they hold for improving the effectiveness of future peace operations in Africa. Other languages available here.
A detailed update on the growth of the continental (AU) and regional (RECs) institutions designed to execute strategy and operations for the five African peace brigades. Includes information on the logistical plans, command and control, equipment, and mandates of the ASF.
The small investigative teams appointed to monitor sanctions, analyze conflict trends, and identify governance gaps and institutional weaknesses in many conflict-affected countries present powerful complements to peacekeeping operations. Clarifying and coordinating roles, responsibilities, and strategies between these panels of experts and peacekeeping operations will produce mutual benefits and strengthen overall peace and post-conflict reconstruction processes.
Since 2004 the UN has sought to better align security, political, development, governance, and humanitarian activities within peace operations toward common strategic objectives. This “Integrated Approach” concept will require additional training for mission personnel regarding the peace and political process governing a particular post-conflict setting, the sequence of reconstruction strategies, and special coordination mechanisms with bilateral donors, the AU, and NGOs.
While security in Africa depends on African stakeholders assuming ownership over stabilization strategies, demands for “African solutions to African problems” oversimplify the resources and partnerships necessary to ensure peace. Using this mantra, autocrats can thwart democracy promotion and the priority the UN gives to African security efforts may be downgraded.
Fifty military, police, and civilian representatives from African states and organizations reviewed the AU’s peacekeeping mission in Darfur and proposed strategic- and operational-level recommendations regarding African-led peacekeeping mission structures, planning, operations, and resource allocations. Specific aims were also developed for African states, the AU, regional organizations and international partners.
Chapter on peacekeeping failures in Somalia, Rwanda, Angola, and Bosnia takes the less conventional view that the UN record actually includes a number of important, though understudied, success stories. Howard argues that UN peacekeeping succeeds when field missions establish significant autonomy from UN headquarters, allowing civilian and military staff to adjust to the post-civil war environment. Howard recommends future reforms be oriented toward devolving decision-making power to the field missions.
Security Topics: Peacekeeping