The Ralph Bunche Centennial: Peace Operations Then and Now
Global Governance, Vol. 11, pp. 331-350, 2005
20 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2008
Date Written: 2005
A century after the birth of a father of peacekeeping, Ralph Bunche, UN peace operations have changed dramatically. The narrowly-defined, lightly-armed, strictly neutral operations of Bunche's day have become complex, multidisciplinary state-building operations. Then, peacekeeping buttressed essentially self-enforcing cease-fires; now, it aims to build the foundations of a self-renewing peace. These changes reflect six deeper shifts: the end of the Cold War; engagement with "internal" conflicts; rising regional organizations; North-South politics; the U.S.-UN relationship; and changes in peace operation mandates. These shifts create three future challenges: state building; reconceiving sovereignty; and the need for realism. The December 2004 High Level Panel Report proposes modest steps toward meeting those challenges, but the burden of realizing the proposed framework rests squarely with UN member states.
Keywords: peacekeeping, peace operations, Ralph Bunche, High Level Panel, civil war
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