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Implications of stabilisation mandates for the use of force in UN peace operations

Book title: The Use of Force in UN Peacekeeping

Published: 16 Feb 2018

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.