Is stabilization the new normal? Implications of stabilization mandates for the use of force in UN peace operations


Photo by Marco Domino, UN Photo

Book chapter in Use of force in UN Peacekeeping by Peter Nadin, Routledge, 2018, available at:


When United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that he will commission a review of UN peace operations during the June 2014 UN Security Council debate on ‘New trends in UN peacekeeping operations’, the main reasons he gave for why such a review was needed, was that UN peacekeeping is now routinely deployed in the midst of ongoing conflicts and, as a result has had to become more robust.[1] This trend has been exemplified by three recent UN peacekeeping mandates, namely the addition of the Forced Intervention Brigade (FIB) to the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), and the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).


These three  missions have been deployed amidst ongoing conflict and they have robust mandates that allow them to use force in order to achieve the missions’ mandate. What sets them apart from other UN peacekeeping missions, however, is that they have all been specifically designated as ‘stabilisation’ missions. Only one other UN peacekeeping mission has had ‘stabilisation’ in its name before, and that is the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). This use of the word ‘stabilisation’ in the mandates and names of  these UN peacekeeping mandates seems to signal a clear departure from previous practice. What does ‘stabilisation’ mean in a UN peacekeeping context, i.e. what is the difference between a UN mission that has ‘stabilisation’ in its name and one that does not? And what are the implications for UN peacekeeping doctrine, and specifically its practices around the use of force, of this new trend towards UN stabilisation missions?


In this chapter I will consider what stabilisation could mean in the UN peacekeeping context by analysing the mandates of MONUSCO, MINUSMA and MINUSCA, so as to identify what is different in these stabilisation mandates from other UN peacekeeping mandates. I will then consider the implications of stabilisation mandates for UN peacekeeping doctrine, including especially the principles and practices around the use of force in UN peacekeeping.


What does stabilisation mean in the UN context and why does it matter?

A decade ago, most UN peacekeeping operations were engaged in post-conflict peace agreement implementation missions in countries like Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), Burundi (ONUB), Liberia (UNMIL) and Sudan (UNMIS). Today, in contrast, more than two thirds of the UN’s peacekeepers are deployed amidst on-going conflict in missions where there is ‘no peace to keep’.[2] This is a radical departure from the Brahimi Panel’s guidance, based on a core lesson learned from the peacekeeping crises in Somalia and Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s, that UN peacekeeping should not be deployed where there is ‘no peace to keep’.[3] This shift in mandate orientation from conflict resolution to conflict management has been accompanied by a trend towards more robust peacekeeping mandates.[4]

Since the end of the 1990s, and linked to the emergence of the protection of civilians as a core element in the mandates of UN peacekeeping missions, most new UN peacekeeping missions have been authorised under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.[5] In many cases one or more clauses in the UN Security Council resolution that authorises the establishment of a new mission specifically refers to Chapter VII of the UN Charter, and authorises the use of force to protect civilians.[6]

Three recent UN peacekeeping mandates, namely for the new missions in CAR (MINUSCA) and Mali (MINUSMA), and for the deployment of the Forced Intervention Brigade in the DRC (MONUSCO), have introduced a new concept – stabilisation – into UN peacekeeping terminology and represent a new category of UN missions, namely stabilisation operations. Several interviews with senior UN peacekeeping officials, as well as diplomats of countries that have been involved in the drafting of the mandates of these missions indicate, however, that the emergence of the term stabilisation in the mandates of these missions, and in their names, have been an organic and evolutionary process, rather than the result of a specific decision to embark on a new course.[7] There is no internal document within the UN that attempts to explain what the stabilisation concept means in the context of UN peacekeeping doctrine, nor does there seem to be any appetite for undertaking such a new conceptual or doctrinal review process.


Some UN officials and diplomats – we can call them the traditionalists –  argue that no specific meaning should be assigned to the fact that these missions have been called stabilisation missions, as no specific policy process has given rise to this usage of the term. This group of officials argue that each of the mandates of these missions is unique and that they should not be lumped together in a new stabilisation category. They argue that there is nothing really new or different in the way peacekeeping is practiced in these missions on a day-to-day basis to distinguish them from other peacekeeping missions that do not have stabilisation in their name.


Other UN officials and diplomats – we can call them the pragmatists – hold that whilst the usage of the term stabilisation emerged organically, it does reflect a kind of zeitgeist (the spirit of the time). They see these missions as reflecting a new approach to peacekeeping among some members of the Security Council as well as some senior managers within the UN Secretariat.


France, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA), the so-called permanent three, have become the pen-holders on almost all the resolutions related to UN peacekeeping missions. These countries have a shared stabilisation experience through the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operation in Afghanistan and the US-led intervention in Iraq.[8] In the context of these operations countries like the UK and the USA, as well as NATO, have developed doctrines and policies around stabilisation operations. It would thus be natural to assume that the use of the term stabilisation has originated with diplomats from these countries that have used the term when drafting these UN Security Resolutions.


Whilst the pragmatists acknowledge that the emergence of the stabilisation term in UN operations is likely due to the influence of these countries and may reflect a new willingness to use the UN to undertake stabilisation operations, they also go on to point out however, that it is not in the interest of these permanent members of the Security Council, nor the UN bureaucracy, to try to define what stabilisation means in the UN context. This is because, there is, in their view value in keeping the concept vague and undefined. They point out that this kind of constructive ambiguity gives the Security Council and the UN system maximum flexibility in the interpretation and application of the concept. In other words, it allows them to start using a new concept, and perhaps to introduce a new approach towards UN peace operations, without having to say so explicitly. And in this way they avoid that other members of the Security Council, Troop Contributing Countries and other UN Member States debate the development openly in the Security Council, the Special Committee on Peacekeeping (the so-called C-34) or in the General Assembly, or otherwise come out publicly to voice their opposition to this development.


The traditionalist and the pragmatist differ regarding whether these stabilisation missions reflect a new trend, and a new category of UN peacekeeping, but they agree that there is value in not trying to define the concept, or to try to make sense of it in the context of the UN peacekeeping doctrine.


Constructive ambiguity may be useful for diplomats when it comes to negotiating the wording of new peacekeeping mandates in the Security Council, but in the field conceptual confusion leads to doctrinal confusion, and without clear doctrinal direction peacekeepers lack unity of purpose. In all three these cases – MONUSCO, MINUSMA and MINUSCA – the Security Council, the UN Secretariat, the Troop and Police Contributing Countries, the host governments and the people at risk, do not share the same understanding of what these missions are mandated to achieve.[9] The vagueness and flexibility that is valued at the political and diplomatic level becomes a constraint at the operational level and a dangerous liability at the tactical level. Ultimately the cost is reflected in lives lost: those of civilians the peacekeepers was not able to protect, and those of the peacekeepers that came prepared for peacekeeping but was faced with what Karlsrud refers to as the UN at war.[10]


There will always be a gap between doctrine and practice, but it is the responsibility of the policy makers to keep that gap as small as possible. The wider the gap the more likely there will be negative consequences.[11] Outdated or misapplied doctrine means critical decisions are based on outmoded doctrinal principles. It means analysis and planning is based on outdated assumptions. It means that peacekeepers are trained, prepared and equipped based on outdated doctrine, old concepts, and the wrong assumptions. In all three these missions – MONUSCO, MINUSMA and MINUSCA – there are many examples of the negative unintended consequences that this gap between old doctrine and new mandates and practice bring about. There is also, sadly, an unprecedented high number of fatalities and injuries. These all point to the importance of clarifying how these new stabilisation missions differ from other forms of peacekeeping, and what adjustments are needed in doctrine, command and control, training, equipment, etc. to ensure that these new UN missions are able to pursue their mandates in the most effective way possible, and with the most appropriate duty of care to the UN personnel and the people these missions are mandated to protect.


There were high hopes that the High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in October 2014, will address these challenges and generate clear guidelines for the future direction UN peace operations should take. In its report, released in June 2015, the Panel noted that UN peace operations have been increasingly called upon to deploy “in the midst of conflict as a crisis response tool to deter escalation, to contain conflict while protecting civilians and, at the same time, to attempt to restart or revive peace processes”.[12] The Panel refers to these missions as ‘conflict management’ missions, and differentiates them from ceasefire monitoring missions and peace implementation missions. The Panel also recognise that the UN Security Council has used the term stabilisation for a number of missions, and it recommends that “the usage of this term by the United Nations requires clarification”.[13]


At this stage, neither the Security Council, nor the UN Secretariat, nor the High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations have defined or explained what stabilisation means in the UN context, or how it fits with the UN’s existing doctrine and terminology. Given these developments, however, the pressure on the UN to explain what the stabilisation concept means in the UN peacekeeping context is only going to increase. However, as the diplomats who are drafting these mandates and the UN policy makers responsible for UN peacekeeping doctrine, have chosen thus far not to take on this challenge, it falls on the research community to try to make sense of these developments. In the next section I will analyse these three stabilisation mandates and attempt to identify how stabilisation differs from peacekeeping in the UN context.


Characteristics of UN Stabilisation Missions


If we analyse the mandates and actions of the three stabilisation missions, namely the Forced Intervention Brigade in MONUSCO, MINUSMA in Mali and MINUSCA in CAR, we can identify that what they have in common are:

  • that they operate in the midst of on-going conflicts;
  • that they are mandated to contribute to restoring and maintaining stability, by
    • helping to protect the government and its people against identified aggressors,
    • helping the government to reclaim control over territories previously controlled by such aggressors[14], and
    • helping the government to extend the authority of the State throughout its territory;
  • that they operate in support of and alongside the security forces of the host-nation, and that their mandates often include supporting efforts to build the capacity of these national forces, and
  • that they are mandated to use force robustly in the face of anticipated attacks against themselves and those they are tasked to protect, and encouraged to do so proactively.


In the case of the Forced Intervention Brigade in MONUSCO, the mandate tasks the Force to undertake offensive operations to forcefully disarm the aggressors, or to degrade their capacity to continue their insurgency and to enforce stability. In both MINUSMA and MINUSCA

there have been proactive actions taken that amount to offensive operations against identified aggressors. However, in these cases, where the mandates of these missions do not explicitly authorise offensive action, the use of force has been presented as proactive preventive defensive action. In all three stabilisation missions, the way force has been applied, and the way this use of force has been justified, differs from how the use of force have been interpreted in most UN peacekeeping missions in the past, or in other currently ongoing non-stabilisation UN peacekeeping missions, such as the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) or the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). In these missions, the use force is understood to be authorised only for self-defence in response to attacks or other direct threats.


These stabilisation missions should, however, despite the fact that they are associated with a more robust interpretation of the use of force, not be misunderstood as an attempt to find a military solution to a conflict. They should be understood as part of a larger strategy to proactively shape the security environment, by containing aggressors, in order to create space for political solutions. There has been a significant shift in the orientation of UN peacekeeping over the last decade from conflict resolution to conflict management. Over this same period the UN has developed a significant operational political and peacemaking capacity. As a result a division of work has emerged where UN peacekeeping missions are increasingly limited to containing violence, whilst UN special political missions and special envoys are tasked to seek enduring political solutions. These stabilisation missions thus also reflect a larger development where some peacekeeping missions are not mandated primarily with political settlement but limited to containment (stabilisation) and protection of civilians. Other examples are UNAMID and the new post-December 2014 UNMISS. These missions provide support to political settlement processes, but in several cases it is now special envoys and special political missions that have the lead on conflict resolution. The peacekeeping missions are tasked to stabilise or manage the negative effects of the conflict, so as to create conditions conducive for political settlement, whilst, in the mean-time, protecting civilians – and in the case of stabilisation missions also protecting the state – from the negative effects of the ongoing conflict.


A key feature that distinguishes these stabilisation missions from other peacekeeping missions is that in that in each of these missions the UN Security Council has identified aggressors that need to be contained.[15] The aggressors are framed outside the context of (legitimate) ‘parties to the conflict’, because they have opted to use violence to pursue their objectives. However, the short-term focus on containment does not preclude them from joining the peace process downstream, should they choose to forgo using violence to achieve their political aims. One of the tensions that emerge as a result of these developments is that in other contexts similar aggressors have been regarded as legitimate parties to a conflict, such as rebel movements in the Burundi, the DRC, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan or South Sudan.


The essential difference between peacekeeping and stabilisation seems to be that:

  • in peacekeeping the aim is to maintain a cease-fire or implement a peace agreement, among the parties to a conflict; whilst
  • in stabilisation, the theory of change is to restore and maintain order by managing or containing aggressors, whilst pursuing a political solution with those political actors not engaged in violent conflict.

For these reasons I will define UN stabilisation as follows: UN Stabilization operations aim to help states in crisis to restore order and stability in the absence of a peace agreement, by using force as well as political, developmental and and other means to help national and local authorities to contain aggressors (as identified in the relevant UNSC resolutions), enforce law and order and to protect civilians, in the context of a larger process that seeks a lasting political solution to the crisis.

The UN peacekeeping theory of change is that the UN acts as an impartial third party that guarantees, supports and facilitates a peace process between two or more parties to a conflict. This approach is premised on recognition that the conflict is essentially political, and there is thus an assumption that the conflict can be resolved through a negotiated political settlement. Thus consent recognizes the legitimacy of the parties. Impartiality confirms that the UN recognizes the parties as equals, and the minimum use of force principle reflects the assumption that the conflict has essentially come to an end, and that the use of force will not be required.

A key difference between peacekeeping and stabilisation is that the designated aggressors are not recognised as legitimate political parties to a conflict with whom a political settlement is desirable. Instead, the theory of change is to restore and maintain order by containing the identified aggressors. In CAR, the DRC and Mali the UN recognises and supports the State – through the government of the day – against insurgents or armed-group, who are seen as operating outside the legitimate political space. This does not meant that the UN does not recognise that there may be legitimate political tensions that need to be addressed, but it does not recognise the aggressors as legitimately representing such political interests.

These UN missions thus have to carefully balance its impartiality towards and consent from the government of the day and other legitimate political parties, with its actions against the identified aggressors.[16] Obviously a delicate distinction needs to be made between the legitimate political aspirations that are often partially mixed into these situations, e.g. legitimate Tuareg centre-periphery aspirations in Mali, and these should still be dealt with politically. So in Mali the government is encouraged to negotiate with the nationalists who can be said to have genuine political grievances but the violent extremist are to be defeated, or at least neutralized as a threat to stability. When it comes to the identified aggressors, however, the UN mission does not require their consent, is not impartial towards them, and have been mandated to use force to contain them.

Although stabilisation missions share a Protection of Civilian mandate and ethos with many other peacekeeping missions, they differ fundamentally from missions like UNAMID and UNMISS that are strictly impartial, including to their host governments. In contrast the stabilisation missions in CAR, Mali and the DRC cooperate closely with their host governments, and they may, at times, undertake joint operations against insurgents or aggressors in support of host government forces. To manage the risk of supporting local forces that may commit human rights abuses the UN has developed a Human Rights Due Diligence policy.[17] One of the criticism against the stabilisation approach is that these type of missions create a structural relationship between the host government of the day and the UN that leaves little room for engagement with non-state actors and civil society, especially at local level, and that limiting the role of the UN mission to engaging principally with the host government weakens the likelihood of the mission contributing to sustaining peace.[18]


How does Stabilisation in the UN context differ from Stabilisation used in the US and UK doctrines?


The UK and US have developed their own approaches to stabilisation in the context of their experiences over the last decade and more in especially Afghanistan and Iraq. I have argued earlier that the extensive use of the stabilisation terminology domestically in the UK and US, and to perhaps a lesser degree in France, is likely to have resulted in this term now also being used in the UN context. France, the UK and the US draft almost all the resolutions related to UN peacekeeping. A number of senior officials in the UN who are nationals from these countries and who are thus familiar with this terminology may also help to socialise and integrate this terminology in the UN culture.

However, the way the terms stabilisation is understood in the UK and US doctrines differ from the way the term is used in the UN context, because of differences in the history of how force is used by the UN and these countries, and the different contexts in which the UN and these nations have deployed. In this section I will explore how the term is used in the UK and US contexts, so as to be able to differentiate that from what the term may mean in the UN context.

We will start with the UK, who has perhaps invested the most in developing a whole-of-government approach to stabilisation. In fact, the UK has created a Stabilisation Unit that is an attempt to create an integrated or comprehensive approach among the foreign office, the UK’s development agency (DFID) and the ministry of defence. The UK stabilisation unit has defined stabilisation as follows:

“Stabilisation is one of the approaches used in situations of violent conflict which is designed to protect and promote legitimate political authority, using a combination of integrated civilian and military actions to reduce violence, re-establish security and prepare for longer-term recovery by building an enabling environment for structural stability.”[19]


In the US, the Department of Defence defines stabilisation as follows:


“[Stability operations encompass] various military missions, tasks, and activities conducted outside the United States in coordination with other instruments of national power to maintain or re-establish a safe and secure environment, provide essential governmental services, emergency infrastructure reconstruction, and humanitarian relief.”[20]


The UK doctrine stress that stabilisation is about protecting the legitimate political authority, and in that sense its theory of change is similar to what I have described earlier as a characteristic of UN stabilisation, namely that the path to stability is to help to defend the State against an insurgency, as opposed to, for instance pursuing stability by seeking a negotiated settlement between a government and rebels.

Both the UK and US stabilisation doctrines emphasise the need for a comprehensive approach, in other words, integrating the military effort with political, economic, governance and development efforts. This, for them, is what distinguishes stabilisation from war-fighting doctrines, namely that in stabilisation the military effort cannot achieve the objective on its own. The military effort needs to be combined with, and synchronised with the political, development, economic and other efforts.[21]

In the UN, the equivalent of the comprehensive approach has long been standard doctrine.  UN peacekeeping operations has been multidimensional since the 1990s. Under Kofi Annan the UN went a step further and introduced the so-called Integrated Missions approach. This approach refers to a specific type of operational process and design, where the planning and coordination processes of the different elements of the UN family are integrated into a single country-level UN system when it undertakes complex peace operations. Integration refers to how the UN peacekeeping mission and the UN Country Team are interlinked, i.e. how the UN’s political, human rights, security (military and police), humanitarian and development actors, form one in-country management system in a given conflict context. The integrated approach thus refers to a type of mission where there are processes, mechanisms and structures in place that can generate and sustain a common strategic objective, as well as a comprehensive operational approach involving the political, security, development, human rights, and where appropriate, humanitarian, UN actors at country level.[22]


The feature that distinguishes stabilisation from peacekeeping in the UN context is thus not the comprehensive approach, but rather the authority to use force to contain specific aggressors identified by the UN Security Council. This does not mean that UN stabilization missions will not also apply a broad range of military and civilians tools[23], but it does mean that the comprehensive approach is not the element that distinguish stabilisation from peacekeeping in the UN context. Stabilisation in the UN context thus differ from the way the concept is used in UK and US stabilisation doctrine. For the UK and the US, using force in war or peace operations is a given, but what is special in stabilisation is the political context that requires them to employ a comprehensive approach, where the application of force is only one type of leverage, and where its use has to be carefully balanced with political, development and other initiatives to effectively stabilise a conflict. In contrast, for the UN the comprehensive approach is a given, but what is special in stabilisation operations is the authority to use force to contain specific aggressors identified by the UN Security Council.


Implications for the Use of Force in UN peace operations

The High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations has emphasised their finding that UN peacekeeping operation does not have the capabilities necessary to undertake the kind of robust operations that a stabilisation mandate require. Peacekeeping operations, tasked with monitoring a cease-fire or implementing a peace agreement, is premised on the principles of consent, impartiality and the minimum use of force, and in such missions the peacekeepers do not expect to use force other than in self-defence or to protect civilians. This doctrinal posture has specific implications for how you organise and deploy your force, the kind of command and control model applied, the type of equipment needed, and the way the peacekeepers are trained and prepared.

The emergence of stabilisation missions introduce a new element, namely offensive operations. As discussed earlier, some prefer to formulate this in defensive language, and thus refer to it as proactive prevention. Regardless of whether you want to refer to it as offensive or proactive, the point is that it is no longer seen as good enough to defend a position or to defend civilians through the use of defensive tactics. The Security Council and senior UN officials now expect UN peacekeepers to anticipate attacks and to proactively engage such potential attackers to deter them before they cause harm to civilians.

If the trend towards more offensive tactics in general, and the emergence of stabilisation mandates in UN peacekeeping, is likely to continue, then special attention should be devoted to a number of predictable side-effects. For instance, peace operations are likely to become more costly because the UN will have to start using TCCs to provide combat logistics in those areas that are too dangerous for private contractors or civilian UN staff. More expensive equipment will be needed, and such equipment will be used more intensely and sustain more damage, than in consensual peace operations. Another concern is that some of the traditional TCCs will not be willing to deploy to missions with a stabilisation mandate, and that if they are replaced by new or returning TCCs that prefer to deploy to stabilisation missions because they address their national interests more directly, a new kind of division will emerge among TCCs, namely between those that are only willing to contribute to peacekeeping operations, and those that are only willing to deploy to stabilisation missions.


Perhaps the most concerning of these potential side-effects is the negative inverse effect more robust peacekeeping has on the willingness of the party representing the State, i.e. the government of the day, to seek political settlements or to invest in the state services necessary to stabilise an insecure territory. From the perspective of the host government the UN is helping it to defeat an opposing party militarily, and therefore the pressure to find a political settlement with those associated with the aggressors are relieved by the military actions. Similarly, there is less pressure to invest in services in the insecure territory, and the pressure that remains most likely come from the international community, and it can be turned around into requests for more development assistance. However, from the UN perspective, the actions to contain aggressors only make sense if the political space created in the process is used to address the legitimate concerns – in the case of the CAR, DRC and Mali, typically centre-periphery marginalisation – of the populations and political movements associated with the aggressors, and if the presence of the State, including basic services, justice and law and order, is extended or restored to the territories in question. Thus, in cases where a stabilisation theory of change is employed, the UN needs to take special steps to simultaneously increase the political pressure on the government to address legitimate political grievances and to invest in the extension of state authority, including the provision of basic services, otherwise the stabilisation strategy is likely to be interpreted by the host government as a way of seeking a military, rather than political solution, to its problems.



This chapter set out to consider what stabilisation means in the UN peacekeeping context, by analysing the mandates of MONUSCO, MINUSMA and MINUSCA, to identify what is different in these stabilisation mandates from other UN peacekeeping mandates. In the process the chapter also considered the implications of stabilisation mandates for UN peacekeeping doctrine, including especially the principles and practices around the use of force in UN peacekeeping.


As a result of the analysis of the mandates of MONUSCO, MINUSMA and MINUSCA, UN stabilisation was defined as follows: UN Stabilization operations aim to help states in crisis to restore order and stability in the absence of a peace agreement, by using force as well as political, developmental and other means to help national and local authorities to contain aggressors (as identified in the relevant UNSC resolutions), enforce law and order and to protect civilians, in the context of a larger process that seeks a lasting political solution to the crisis.

This definition remind us that stabilisation operations, especially those with an enforcement mandate, requires a different mind-set and approach. A business as usual approach is likely to result in a serious mismatch between supply and demand, as the current experiences in the CAR, the DRC and Mali shows.

In fact, many of these conflicts are driven by deep structural tensions that are unlikely to be ‘resolved’ in a matter of years, so a further aspect to take into account is that they are likely to require decade long engagements, which in UN terms may mean several iterations of stabilisation missions, peacekeeping operations and special political missions over a 20+ year time-frame. The implication is that we need to take the long-view and not have expectations that any given stabilisation mission is going to ‘resolve the conflict and consolidate the peace’ in a few years.

As this chapter points out, one of the key questions that needs to be resolved is to clarify where these stabilisation missions fit into the larger UN peacekeeping doctrine, so that all those involved can have a clearer understanding of what it is they have to do differently when the UN is mandated to undertake a stabilisation operation, and even more so when such a mission has a specific enforcement mandate.

[1] Secretary-General establishes eminent panel to review UN peace operations, UN News Centre, 31 October 2014, available at:, accessed on 12 August 2016.

[2] Peter, Mateja. “Between Doctrine and Practice: The UN Peacekeeping Dilemma.”

Global Governance 21, no. 3 (2015): 351–70.

[3] William Durch, UN Peacekeeping, American Policy, and the Uncivil Wars of the 1990s (Washington, DC: Henry Stimson Center Books, 1996).

[4] Mats Berdal and David H. Ucko “The United Nations and the Use of Force: Between Promise and Peril,” Journal of Strategic Studies 37, no. 5 (2014): 665-73.

[5] Charles T. Hunt (2016): “All necessary means to what ends? the unintended

consequences of the ‘robust turn’ in UN peace operations”, International Peacekeeping, DOI:


[6] Karlsrud, John. ‘The UN at War: Examining the Consequences of Peace-Enforcement

Mandates for the UN Peacekeeping Operations in the CAR, the DRC and Mali.’

Third World Quarterly 36, no. 1 (2015): 40–54.

[7] Based on interviews conducted with UN staff in the Office of the Secretary-General and in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), as well as diplomats in the permanent missions of France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, between October 2014 and June 2016.

[8] The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was a NATO-led operation in Afghanistan, established by the United Nations Security Council in December 2001 (UNSCR 1386), as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement.

[9] John Karlsrud and Adam Smith, “Europe’s Return to UN Peacekeeping in Africa? Lessons from Mali,” in “Providing for Peacekeeping” no. 10, International Peace Institute, New York, 2015.

[10] Karlsrud (2015), p. 40.

[11] Chiyuki Aoi, Cedric de Coning and Ramesh Thakur (eds)., Unintended Consequences of Peacekeeping Operations (UN University Press, Tokyo, 2007).

[12] United Nations, “Uniting our Strengths for Peace: Politics, Partnerships and People,” Report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, New York, 16 June 2015, p.28.

[13] United Nations (2015), p.29.

[14] Aditi Gorur and Alison Giffen (2015) “Defining Stabilization in the Context of UN Peacekeeping”, Submission to the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, Stimson Center, Washington D.C.

[15] The M23, FDLR and other armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, AQIM in Mali, Seleka and anti-Baleka in the Central African Republic.

[16] For a comprehensive analysis of the role of impartiality in UN peace operations see: Emily Paddon Rhoads, Taking Sides in Peacekeeping: Impartiality and the Future of the United Nations (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2016).

[17] Helmut Philipp Aust, “The UN Human Rights Due Diligence Policy: An Effective Mechanism against Complicity of Peacekeeping Forces?”, Journal of Conflict & Security Law, Oxford University Press, DOI: 10.1093/jcsl/kru011.

[18] Roger Mac Ginty (2012) “Against Stabilization”. Stability: International Journal of Security & Development, 1(1): 20-30. DOI: See also, Cedric de Coning, John Karlsrud and Paul Troost (2015) “Towards More People-Centric Peace Operations: From ‘Extension of State Authority’ to ‘Strengthening Inclusive State-Society

Relations”. Stability: International Journal of Security & Development, 4(1): 49,

  1. 1–13, DOI:

[19] The UK Government’s Approach to Stabilization, Stabilisation Unit, London, 2014.

[20] JP 3-0, Department of Defence, United States of America, Washington D.C. 2008.

[21] Robert Muggah, ”The United Nations Turn to Stabilisation”, International Peace Institute Global Observatory, 5 December 2014.

[22] Cedric de Coning, The United Nations and the Comprehensive Approach, DIIS Report 2008:14, Copenhagen.

[23] Hugo de Vries, “Going around in circles: The challenges of peacekeeping and stabilization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo”, Clingendael Conflict Research Unit Report, The Hague, 2015.


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