The roles of the United Nations in the process of peacebuilding in post
conflict nations; emphasis on the 14-year civil war of the republic of Liberia
A fundamental reason for the establishment of
the United nations in 1945 right after the Second World War as set forth by the
charter, is “to unite our strength to maintain international peace and
security” (“Basic Facts about the UN”). The United Nations can therefore be
described as the symbol for international peace and security that promotes
global cooperation, dialogue, and collective responses to security threats.
According to Michael W. Doyle
and Nicholas Sambanis, peacebuilding refers to a post conflict reconstruction,
organized to foster economic and social cooperation with the purpose of
building confidence among previously warring parties, developing the social,
political, and economic infrastructure to prevent future violence, and laying
the foundations for a durable peace.
In the early 1990s, there was a
significant increase in the use of UN authorized peace operations (Doyle and
Sambanis 2006). This reflected a new wave of interventionism and redefined a
new generation of strategies in peacebuilding. According to Kofi Annan, the
former Secretary-General of the United Nations, those peace operations were
intended to fill a ‘gaping hole’ in the Organization’s institutional and
structural capacity to support countries in transition from violent conflict to
sustainable peace. It is as part of this reason, that in September 2003, the
United Nations Mission in Liberia, was established by the Security Council of
the UN to help acieve sustainable peace in Liberia.
The United Nations is tasked to
attain and maintain international peace and security. In doing this, the United
Nations, leads the responsibility on peacebuilding in post conflict societies.
But a number of scholars have in recent times challenged the actual roles of
peacekeeping missions in peacebuilding processes. Thus, from the early 1990s,
activities of peacebuilding at the conceptual, theoretical and operational
levels have suffered imprecision, and have also been bedevilled with ideological
differences and competing organisational mandates ( Barnett et al 2007;
McCandless 2008). The lack of conceptual clarity, heightened by the inadequacy
of resources, poor policies and institutional arrangements, continues to
compromise the effectiveness of peacebuilding as a process (Call 2005;
McCandless 2008). The major arguments that recurrently come up in the academia
and at the UN levels is whether Peacebuilding only involves measures aimed at
lessening the risk of lapsing or relapsing into conflict, to strengthen
national capacities at all levels for conflict management, and to lay the
foundations for sustainable peace and development, whether peacebuilding
applies to all phases of a conflict or only to post-conflict ones; whether the
process is primarily political or developmental in nature; whether it should
focus primarily on addressing root causes or should engage in institution
building and/or changing attitudes and behaviours (McCandless & Doe
2007:5–6; McCandless 2008).
In what ways did the United
Nations help restore peace in Liberia after the 14-year Civil War? How committed was the United Nations towards
restoring peace in Liberia after the conflict?
collaborative were the warring factions in the post conflict peacebuilding
processes as carried out and supervised by the United Nations?
approaches were adopted by the United Nations in the post conflict
peacebuilding process in Liberia?
Barnett, M, Kim H, O’Donnell, M
and Sitea, L 2007. Peacebuilding: what is in a name? Global Governance, 13(1)
Call, C 2005.
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Affairs, 31 January.
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past: from conflict to development, In Interim poverty reduction strategy.
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Republic or Liberia and UNDP.
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Mccandless, E, 2008. Lessons
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ISS Paper 161.
Mccandless, E and Doe, S 2007.
Strengthening peacebuilding efforts in Liberia: a discussion document for UNMIL
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2006. Making War and Building Peace United Nations Peace Operations. Princeton
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Stedman, S. J et al. eds. 2002.
Ending Civil Wars: The Implementation of Peace Agreements. Boulder, CO: Lynne
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to ‘An agenda for peace.’ Position paper of the Secretary-General on the
occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations. UN Doc
A/50/60/-S/1995/1 (3 January). Available at