When Do UN Peacekeeping Operations Implement Their Mandates?

33 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2020 Last revised: 2 Aug 2021

See all articles by Robert Blair

Robert Blair

Brown University; Brown University - Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Jessica Di Salvatore

University of Warwick

Hannah Smidt

University of St. Gallen; University of Zurich

Date Written: September 27, 2020


Under what conditions do UN peacekeeping operations (PKOs) implement the tasks in their mandates? Contemporary PKOs are expected to fulfill increasingly fragmented mandates in active conflict zones. We argue that these two trends—increasingly fragmented mandates, increasingly implemented amidst violence—exacerbate delegation and coordination problems that hinder PKOs from pursuing mandated tasks, potentially undermining their legitimacy in the eyes of the Security Council, troop-contributing countries, and host governments. Combining new data sets on PKO activities and mandates in Africa (1998–2016) and using instrumental variables and two-way fixed effects models, we find that mandate fragmentation is negatively correlated with mandate implementation, especially for peacebuilding tasks. Ongoing violence is also negatively correlated with implementation of peacebuilding tasks, but not with security tasks. We show that this is likely due to the offsetting effects of violence perpetrated by governments and rebels, as PKOs are better equipped to respond to the latter.

Published Version available at the American Journal of Political Science

Full Citation:
Blair, Robert, Jessica Di Salvatore, and Hannah Smidt. 2021. "When Do UN Peacekeeping Operations Implement Their Mandates?." American Journal of Political Science, Early View: https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12650

Keywords: peacekeeping; international organizations; implementation

Suggested Citation

Blair, Robert and Di Salvatore, Jessica and Smidt, Hannah, When Do UN Peacekeeping Operations Implement Their Mandates? (September 27, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3529177 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3529177

Robert Blair

Brown University ( email )

Box 1860
Providence, RI 02912
United States

Brown University - Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

111 Thayer Street
Box 1970
Providence, RI 02912-1970
United States

Jessica Di Salvatore (Contact Author)

University of Warwick ( email )

University of Warwick
Social Science Building
Coventry, Warwickshire CV47AL
United Kingdom

Hannah Smidt

University of St. Gallen ( email )

Müller-Friedberg-Strasse 6/8
St. Gallen, 9000

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006

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