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UN peacekeeping operations

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The evolution of PKO.
  3. The new challenges for PKO's.
  4. Potential responses to the new challenges.
  5. Conclusion.
  6. Bibliography.

Peacekeeping operations (PKOs) illustrate both the successes and the difficulties of the United Nations in the fulfillment of their primary goal: "the maintenance of international peace and security." They symbolize the ambitions of the organization but also its adaptation: it is thus interesting to analyze their evolution and how they might face the new challenges. Peacekeeping operations are currently defined by the United Nations as "operations involving military personnel, but without enforcement powers, undertaken by the United Nations to help maintain or restore international peace and security in areas of conflict." There is however no clear definition (and even any use of the notion) of peacekeeping in the UN Charter. Peacekeeping emerged during the Cold War as a "tool of conflict management." Whereas "enforcement was not generally acceptable to the superpowers, [] less intrusive options were developed": peacekeeping had to be a non-aggressive UN military presence.

[...] As the aim of the article 43 was never achieved, more member states could organize special units trained for peacekeeping and make them available to the UN (under specific agreements). But the major innovation is the increasing role of regional organization in PKOs.[19] NATO played a role in Yugoslavia, the EU is trying to create a special unit (that could be based on the existing Euro corps), ECOWAS is involved in Côte d'Ivoire and the AU could play a greater role in Darfur. [...]


[...] The Brahimi Report called for institutional changes within the UN to better associate peacekeeping and post-conflict peace- building. It recommended a new ?gradual? strategy and doctrine: better preventive actions, ?clear, credible and achievable mandates? and recognition of the use of force in complex operations peacekeepers must be capable of accomplishing the mission's mandate and of defending themselves and, where mandated, other mission components?[17]). The UN needs to improve its internal structure and the way the organization of PKOs, the competences of various institutions in the peace-building process, etc.[18] Concerning the deployment of troops, the report recognizes the benefits in terms of efficiency and commanding structure of the creation of brigade-sized forces that could be deployed within a few days. [...]

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