Sustaining peace involves preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict. Peacebuilding efforts need to focus on building resilient national institutions.
This task poses both governance and developmental challenges. Moreover, an engaged civil society is as important as formal government institutions.
National and regional leaders alone cannot enforce peacebuilding reforms. But peacebuilding efforts will need to engage with them.
A mission must consider mission exit and transition from the outset of a peace operation. Efforts to sustain peace must focus on addressing marginalization and unaddressed grievances.
This requires a different approach to peace and conflict analysis. It should allow for inclusive ownership. It should also identify the drivers of peace and conflict for state and society to address.
The MLT should continually update its peace and conflict analyses to maintain awareness of threats and risks.
Peace operations are rarely in the lead in peacebuilding efforts. The mission should allow other actors to lead where they have a mandate or advantage.
The SRSG and DSRSG-RC/HC must exercise leadership and create broad political consensus. They should ensure coordination among UN entities, mobilizing and maintaining donor funding.
Peacebuilding and the Role of Peace Operations
Activities to sustain peace continue long after a UN peace operation has left a country. This means the host government must support the post-conflict needs of the country. It must also ensure effective investment in sustaining peace and development.
A mission should plan its transition and from the outset. Sustaining peace requires much broader engagement. This goes beyond the host government. It means fostering inclusivity and dialogue throughout society with different individuals and groups. Examples include women’s and youth groups, civil society and the media.
The MLT will need to consider simultaneous efforts to sustain peace. This means “preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict”.
A mission’s task is to address particular threats to peace and security in a country. But it may also face risks from other regional and global threats. Terrorism, transnational organized crime, drug trafficking and violent extremism know no borders.
Marginalization, exclusion and unaddressed grievances present long-term threats to international peace and security.
Often, countries emerging from conflict have experienced significant socio-economic ruptures. Post-conflict intervention aims to repair these and lay the foundations for sustainable peace. The goals is instilling or restoring citizens’ confidence in state leadership and institutions.
Emergency assistance and early recovery are the immediate priorities. This will pave the way for longer-term development. But longer-term development is fundamental. It ensures that local authorities and agencies take ownership of the process. This requires investment and engagement when a UN peace operation is first deployed.
It is worth repeating that peace operations are not in the lead in any of these efforts. The UNCT will lead many peacebuilding efforts.
Nonetheless, a peace operation’s presence should help create a permissive environment. Improved infrastructure and social and economic reforms can lead to better employment opportunities. They also help create the conditions for a range of peace consolidation activities.
A peace operation can also offer support to UN humanitarian and development agencies. One prime example is through the provision of security and logistical capabilities.
A multidimensional peacekeeping operation should also support the framework of the Capstone Doctrine. This assists all UN and other actors to work in a coherent and coordinated manner.
- A safe and secure environment in which the local population can exist.
- Humanitarian or development actors can operate without threats of physical violence or ERW.
- Freedom of movement for UN agencies, local populations and goods.
- Freedom of information and expression via a free press and an engaged civil society.
- The donor community remains engaged and willing and able to provide adequate resources.
- National authorities and institutions are ready to own recovery efforts.
- National authorities and the international community identify and agree development priorities.
- Emergency assistance delivered according to humanitarian principles, and supported by the host government.
- Basic services provided by government agencies address specific needs of women and youth.
- Return and reintegration of refugees and IDPs is voluntary, safe and dignified.
- The immediate impact of mines, ERW, and small arms and light weapons addressed.
- Peacebuilding efforts are sensitive to gender, ethnic and other issues.
- Women, youth and minorities play an active role in implementing policies and programmes.
- A strong legal framework based on the rule of law upholds human rights.
- International actors and local population have confidence in social, political and economic institutions.
- Independent media engaged, with press freedom and protections for journalists.
- Youth engaged and included in educational, employment, political and civic programmes.
- Disarmament and demobilization of combatants completed and reintegration initiated.