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Success and Failures of Peacekeeping Operation in Africa

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    Peacekeeping is a core function of the United Nations (UN). Its ability to conduct peacekeeping is a remarkable instrument developed by the UN as a way to assist countries in conflict to create a lasting peace. The UN has tried its best to meet the demands of the different conflicts and changing political landscape. Some of the most challenging conflicts in the world at the moment are in Africa.

    Many factors contribute to the need for peacekeeping missions in Africa, not least the continent’s history of colonialism and conflict. The end of the Cold War coincided with the collapse of state institutions in countries like Liberia, Somalia, Sierra Leone, and the Congo (DRC). Disputes over natural resources such as diamonds in Sierra Leone, gold and cobalt in the DRC which led to armed conflict that evolved into guerilla warfare involving mercenaries, warlords, militias, and child soldiers.

    A massive influx of weapons and small arms from Eastern Europe in the 1990s fed the conflict. The unrest and armed violence in many African countries with no central governing authority caused instability that often spilled over borders until the continent was now called with ‘The Dark Continent’. This was particularly true in West Africa, where longstanding cultural and trade ties cross national lines. The international community often responds to such chaos by sending in peacekeeping troops.

    The crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan and less-than-transparent governments and ongoing uncertainty in Sierra Leone, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are just some examples of how was UN peacekeeping operations in Africa have been through. Until now, the United Nations has established a total of 63 peacekeeping operations around the world, which 44 of it was deployed in Africa. The UN has been successful in some of these missions, others have continued to operate for many years and some have failed to achieve their mandate.

    Between 1997 and 2009 UN has seen an increase in peacekeeping missions in Africa more than any other continent. There have been 41 UN Peacekeeping Missions in Africa since 1948. At the start of 2005, peacekeepers in Africa made up nearly 50,000 of the 65,000 UN peacekeepers deployed worldwide, according to a report from the Henry L. Stimson Center, African Capacity-Building for Peace Operations, UN Collaboration with the African Union and ECOWAS. 2. 0 SUCCESFUL AND FAILURE OF UN PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS IN AFRICA

    Of the UN missions conducted in Africa, some were successful and closed down while others have been running for many years without any signs of accomplishing their missions. 2. 1 SUCCESSFUL OF MISSIONS African Union – United Nation Hybrid Operation In Darfur ( UNAMID ) * Several meetings have taken place recently between the Sudanese Government, various rebel groups, other countries, and international organizations to discuss issues related to the resolution of the Darfur conflict, including the political process, security, freedom of movement, development, and water access.

    In July 2011, for example, the UN, AU, and the Arab League hosted a peace conference in Doha, Qatar. * After six weeks of negotiations, the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), one of several rebel groups operating in Darfur, signed a peace agreement. U. S. and UN officials support the accord and acknowledge that steps for peace have been made in the past year, but remain susceptible to reversal if the international community does not continue to encourage engagement between the Sudanese Government and rebel forces. Successes include the recent establishment of the Darfur Joint Assessment Mission, as provided for in the Doha Agreement, which will identify and assess the region’s needs for economic recovery, development and poverty reduction. Nevertheless, significant obstacles remain, as other Darfur rebel groups, including the region’s largest rebel organization, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), rejected it. * In addition to the Doha Agreement, Chad and Sudan reached a peace agreement bolstering border security in Darfur, an area which was previously littered with armed militias and mercenaries supported by the regime of

    Muammar Qaddafi of Libya. United nations Mission in South Sudan ( UNIMISS ) * Two countries namely Sudan and South Sudan have begun the process of negotiations in June, but the process has moved slowly – slowly and was partly counter-productive. Until the two countries came to an agreement on the issues persist, South Sudan will continue to be a fragile country. * In June, the two countries begin the process of negotiations. This is because, in April the Security Council said they would impose sanctions if the two countries are not broker a comprehensive agreement by August 2.

    The process moved slowly over the summer, but in August of South Sudan recommend the payment for oil exports, the Sudan agreed, on condition of tighter border security. * The agreement is still to be finalized. An interim agreement was set in August based on this provision, the cause of the Security Council to extend the deadline for them to impose sanctions until September 22. * Negotiations began again September 5. Both countries and mediators hope that these talks will produce a basis for peaceful relations between the two countries and allow the oil to start flowing again.

    Progress has been made, on Aug. 31, the two countries agreed to reinitiate flights between the two capitals, which were discontinued in April. Talks will focus on finalizing the agreement on oil, in Abyei and the demilitarized tenants. 2. 2 FAILURES OF MISSIONS United Nations Mission in Liberia ( UNMIL ) * In October 2011, Liberia held elections and the presidency. UNMIL worked closely with the National Electoral Commission, as well as the Liberia National Police, to ensure fairness and security throughout the country. In the month of March 2012, the Security Council allow the mission to start reducing the number of 15,000 troops to 8,000, as the mission enters phase three disengagement plan. * In the lead up to September 2012, the focus of the mission priorities will increasingly focus on infrastructure development and governance as the need to maintain peace and reduce humanitarian aid. * On June 8th, as a result of post-election strife in Cote d’Ivoire, conflict broke out across the eastern border of Liberia. To handle ongoing unrest, UNOCI and UNMIL have coordinated meetings between Liberian and Ivoirian representatives.

    UNMIL reallocated peacekeepers to the border to better handle the situation, while continuing its plans to shift control over to Liberian authorities. United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara ( MINURSO ) * Initially, the dispute between Morocco and the Frente Polisario largely centered on a disagreement as to whether the Moroccan settlers in Western Sahara and exiled Sahrawis in Algeria should be extended the right to vote in a referendum. The operation attempted to broker an agreement through a voter identification process, but Morocco rejected the result of this project. With no success, the U. S. in conjunction with the U. N. , dispatched former U. S. Secretary of State James Baker III in 1997 as a Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara.

    The Baker Plans of 2000 and 2003 sought compromise. The first proposal, offering autonomy to Western Sahara within Morocco, was rejected by the Frente Polisario. The second plan, which granted Western Sahara an interim period of self-rule, was rejected by Morocco. Frustrated by the lack of progress, Baker resigned in 2004. Informal talks between the two parties took place in late April 2012 at the behest of Ambassador Ross. However, these informal negotiations failed to yield any progress toward reaching a compromise. Due to the ongoing tensions, Secretary General has asked for an extra 15 military observers to be added to the mission of 228 “to bolster its monitoring capacities. ” United Nations Interim Security Forces in Abyei ( UNISFA ) * In early May 2012, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2046, which called for Sudan and South Sudan to withdraw their forces from Abyei.

    Both parties complied, with South Sudan removing its troops from the area by May 15, and Sudan following suit on May 30. Nevertheless, 100 Sudanese policemen remain posted in the contested region in violation of the Security Council resolution. In early June 2012, the two nations returned to the negotiating table to hash out a number of outstanding issues from the 2005 CPA, including border demarcation, sharing oil revenues, and the citizenship status of South Sudanese living in Sudan.

    Unfortunately, little progress has been made in these talks, and until these issues are tackled, the specter of violence is likely to continue to haunt relations between Sudan and South Sudan 2. 0 PROBLEMS, ISSUE AND CHALLENGES OF UN PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS IN AFRICA. 1. The UN’s relationship with the government UN’s ability to strengthen the political process, in a situation where the government does not owe its legitimacy to a UN-sponsored peace process, or owes it only in part.

    The UN has a solid track record in several aspects of the early stages of peace-building, such as helping to put in place an all-inclusive political process and supporting the drafting of a constitution and the organization of elections. More often than not, the UN’s support has been effective because: a) It has been based on a peace agreement that it had helped negotiate. b) The UN has subsequently dealt with a transitional government that was pieced together as a result of that agreement and owed its legitimacy to it. ) The UN was able to reach out to key stakeholders and civil society organizations directly or indirectly involved in the implementation of that agreement. This, naturally, has enhanced the UN’s credibility and legitimacy and ensured, at least in the early stages, that it has the trust of the parties and the capacity to persuade them to comply with international standards. The situation may be some how different in Libya and South Sudan and may affect the dynamics between the two governments and the UN. The UN has the consent of the two governments, both of which requested its presence.

    It is also appreciated in Libya (for its role in supporting independence in 1951 and, more recently, for authorizing a no-fly zone) and in South Sudan (for its long involvement and recent role in organizing the referendum). At the same time, in both countries there is a homegrown transitional process and the two nascent governments do not suffer from an intrinsic legitimacy deficit, as has been the case in other contexts where the UN has been deployed. Both governments already have a high degree of legitimacy, which they gained mainly by defending a national cause.

    The NTC for having led the struggle against an oppressor, and the SPLM Government for having led a liberation movement. It remains to be seen how this reality will shape these governments’ relationships with the UN in the coming months and whether they will be ready to cooperate fully on all aspects of their respective mandates. In Libya, the NTC’s decision to hold elections in eight months goes against the lesson the UN has learned the hard way in the last twenty years, namely that elections have a greater chance of success if they are well prepared and not rushed.

    It is not clear if the United Nations was consulted on this matter, but this decision points to a Libyan determination to chart its own course, without seeking advice, on at least some critical issues in the transition. 2. Viability of the political process A second challenge is that the UN may find itself in a difficult position if the government, which it is meant to help, is not representative enough to rally popular support behind the transitional process. The risk in this case is the creation of fertile ground for spoilers, who could undermine the whole process.

    This is a challenge that the UN may face at one stage in Libya, but also in South Sudan, if it turns out that the transitional government, which may have enough autonomy to prevent UNSMIL implement certain aspects of its mandate, does not have enough legitimacy to rally popular support behind the process. 3. National Ownership A third challenge concerns the issue of national ownership. This principle has been part of the UN’s rhetoric for some time, and is a stated goal of all peace operations.

    In the case of Libya and South Sudan where, as discussed above, the issue of the government’s legitimacy is distinct from other contexts, and where the bulk of the UN’s efforts will be directed at sensitive tasks such as state-building and building democracy, it will be more critical than ever to ensure that mere lip service is not paid to this goal. Both nations will need to move their respective countries forward, at their own pace, without pressure and interference from the outside.

    International actors who see their interests as being at stake will have high expectations for speedy delivery, and will have their own views of priorities and how things should be done. UNMISS and UNSMIL will need to constantly underscore that it will take time for these processes to bring about sustainable. 4. Long-term state-building Another challenge relates to the ability of the UN to implement its peace-building mandate. UN peace operations have accumulated significant experience in establishing transitional governments, organizing elections and, in some cases, constitution-making.

    They are less well equipped, however, and have thus far had more of a more mixed record, when it comes to building effective institutions. Much of the UN’s thinking in terms of peace-building focuses on the “immediate aftermath of conflict” and less on long-term state-building, even if the UN has drawn some general lessons from its limited state-building experience. One lesson is that the prescriptive approach adopted in contexts such as the Balkans does not work and that national ownership is a fundamental aspect of state-building.

    Another lesson is that the UN has a comparative advantage when it comes to “preparing the ground” for state-building by relying on the support of partners and coordinating their efforts, rather than actually carrying out peace-building tasks. A third lesson is that it is important to start addressing long-term peace-building priorities immediately after the end of a conflict. But it is still not clear how effective the UN can be at “preparing the ground” for state-building. In South Sudan, the UN is being asked to play a greater peace-building role, notably by helping build a national army.

    Yet, the experience in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and elsewhere has shown how difficult a task this can be, even when bilateral donors are actively involved and when national ownership is given due importance. 5. Achieving multiple objectives Yet another challenge is how the multiplicity of tasks required in these countries can be achieved. One solution is to give the UN multiple mandates, as in the case of UNMISS: its focus is mainly on peace-building while, at the same time, the mission has a key military role and protection of civilians mandate.

    But how can the mission ensure that the capacity (not to mention the resources, at a time of financial restraint) is in place to carry out these multiple, complex responsibilities satisfactorily. UNSMIL, was initially tasked with providing urgent support in a number of different areas over a short period of time (security, transitional process, elections, governance, human rights, early recovery, and so on). It could end up having a much narrower, more achievable mandate, but the question will still remain as to how all the other needs that fall outside of UNSMIL’s mandated will be achieved. . Resources In the current environment of financial restraint, another challenge that must be raised is how to fulfill peace-building mandates at a time when funds for peace-building are limited. UNMISS, which is a peacekeeping mission, has the advantage of being funded through assessed contributions. Nevertheless, is concern over resources hampering its activities. UNSMIL, which is a special political mission, faces the additional challenge of securing funding. 7.

    Lack of economic and political resources to drive the process to its logical conclusion. The case of Darfur, and the politics that have dogged the peacekeeping operation since inception, is indicative of the crisis within. Darfur is entirely reliant on the goodwill of the international community for survival. Since the reconstitution of the peacekeeping force into an AU/UN hybrid force in January 2008 – supposedly for maximum efficiency ? it has been unable to raise the required manpower necessary for deployment in the troubled region.

    There was a tacit understanding by those involved that Africa and most Third World states would meet the manpower requirements, while the West would provide the necessary logistical support. On both counts, neither manpower nor logistics have been fully provided for the force. 4. 0 FUTURE OF UN PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS IN AFRICA It is clear that the UN ‘peacekeeping family’ will remain extremely reluctant to intervene in African crises for the unknown future. The alternative, of course, is for Africa to accept the necessity to form regional coalitions of the willing to take care of its peace support operations.

    But this requires a strong military alliance. Beyond token participation in ‘safe’ UN missions, Africans will only be able to convert peacekeeping capacity into meaningful outcomes when the prevalence of national interests is openly acknowledged, when a measure of partiality is accepted, and when countries are willing to employ force against armed resistance to a legitimate mandate. Very few countries are willing to acknowledge this fact, let alone to make the sacrifices required by a more robust concept for intervention.

    According to his speech, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in his opening address to the Second Meeting of the Chiefs of Defence Staff of Member States of the OAU Central Organ, Salim stressed that, “… OAU Member States can no longer afford to stand apart and expect the International Community to care more for our problems than we do, or indeed to find solutions to those problems which in many instances, have been of our own making.

    The simple truth that we must confront today, is that the world does not owe us a living and we must remain in the forefront of efforts to act and act speedily, to prevent conflicts from getting out of control. ” These sentiments been more loudly and clearly than in the debate on the future of peacekeeping in Africa – a debate which is increasingly focused on efforts to enhance African capabilities for the conduct of peace operations. Some of the causes that lead to be the failures of the deployment of UN peacekeeping troops has tended to be both tortuous and highly problematic because decisions to eploy peacekeeping forces cannot be made without the unanimity of the Security Council’s five permanent members (the United States, Great Britain, France Russia and China). This has made rapid deployment of UN forces very often impossible. The number of UN forces in Africa actually declined in the period between October 2006 and October 2007. While these could be some of the reasons why peacekeeping operation in Africa didn’t achieve their goals, other factors may also play a role in peacekeeping in Africa.

    Though conflict was, in some cases, prevented through intervention, often the solution imposed was a military solution without addressing the underlying issues of Africa’s conflicts. International players such as the UN, the European Union, and the African Union are paying too much attention to peacekeeping and peace building, while none seems to pay much attention in the origins of the conflict in different parts of Africa such as disputes over either grazing land or seasonal water for pastoral communities Rehabilitation and reconstruction of infrastructure is urgently needed after violent conflict.

    In recent decades the growth of urban populations has been tremendous in African countries. Water supply, power supply, transport systems, offices and houses are quickly made inoperable or destroyed, but are slow and costly to rebuild. In addition, disruption of roads, bridges, ports and airfields impede communication and distribution, and hinders integration and social unity. Beyond this, conflict destroys the networks for political and social cohesion. In order to re-establish and maintain peace these also need to be rebuilt.

    Finally, since post-conflict peace building is a new beginning, punishment and pardon must be used carefully, so as not to rekindle flames of hostility. Likewise, reintegration programmes need to promote education, employment and social equity, or they will not have the desired impact. Much of the failure to engage seriously the security problems of Africa or to come up with solutions stems from the failure to deal effectively with human security. However, some resolutions have been worked out when the delegations from the Department of Security Council had come and visit the place of engagement.

    On a visit to rule-of-law institutions, some support for the soon-to-be-established justice hubs was critical for extending State authority throughout the country and fighting the threat posed by international drug traffickers. Amidst the discussion on the world body’s progress in promoting peace and stability across the region, according to a news release from UNOWA, the UN officials gave particular attention to Cote d’Ivoire, which has recently experienced cross-border issues with neighbouring Liberia.

    Furthermore, they applauded the convening by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of a high-level meeting on the Sahel during the recent General Debate of the General Assembly. It contributed, they said, to raising awareness on the challenges affecting the region while prompting greater international concern over the Sahel’s pressing and longer term needs. Addressing the electoral situation in Sierra-Leone, the UN officials highlighted the importance of the upcoming presidential, parliamentary, and local elections, scheduled for 17 November, in advancing the country’s progress towards full representative democracy.

    They expressed their full support for UNIPSIL in assisting national and local efforts at promoting dialogue and ensuring the free, fair and violence-free holding of the elections. 5. 0 CONCLUSION United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa have changed significantly thus warranting larger and more robust UN Forces. This is as a result of the complex nature of conflicts in the current era. The Darfur conflict started in 2003, and the AU took some efforts by establishing a force to address the conflict.

    The various actors of the Darfur conflict are well armed and the region is so vast that these peacekeeping forces were outstretched logistically, and personnel wise that the force could not be effective. With the assistance of the international community, the force transitioned into a hybrid force in 2008. UNAMID is a more robust peacekeeping force which will be the largest UN mission ever. Regrettably, the force still lacks the required resources to effectively patrol and provide security to the civilians in Darfur.

    All in all, the Darfurians are highly optimistic that UNAMID has what it takes to set conditions for a long term peace in Darfur. All this showed that the world had their responsible on making peace and stop the conflicts on Africa. However, the conflict will not be ended if the nation themselves was not taking step to live in harmony and peaceful.


    1. Ananthan S. (2012) Management Of Peacekeeping Operation Module, UPNM, Kuala Lumpur. 2. David K. C. M. (2010) Journal article Effectiveness Of United Nation’s Missions In Africa: A Comparative Assessment Of Unamsil, Monuc, And Unamid, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

    USA. 3. Adebajo, Adekeye. (2000) Back to the future UN peacekeeping in Africa. International Peacekeeping, Boston, MA: Global Equality Initiative, Harvard University 4. “African Peacekeeping Operations” : Article in the Official Website of Council of Foreign Realations : http://www. cfr. org/africa/african-peacekeeping-operations/p9333 5. Official United Nation Website : Current peacekeeping operations. United Nations Peacekeeping : http:/ www. un. org /Home/ Peacekeeping operations/Africa

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