Within this sequence, the generation of trustworthy data is an important entry point for peacebuilding. Making sense of the local context and conflict dynamics and separating information from dis-information is challenging in rumor-rich and information-poor environments, yet they are challenges all actors face.
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Generating and communicating trustworthy data is the bread and butter of peacebuilders. Trustworthy data and analysis are also an entry-point for the new peacebuilding software for reconstruction in Syria. It means generating enough granular data so that it can contribute to localized reconstruction and trust-building processes.
Such data generation is especially important to keep in check partisan or biased analysis emanating from inside and outside Syria. Much of the debate has focused on Law 10, passed by the Syrian government in April Yet, Law 10 may be only a minor amendment in a series of fifty new laws enacted since on land and housing management. The task for independent analysis would be to deconstruct complex issues and generate understandings across divided communities.
In concrete terms, such efforts could entail creating a capacity for reconstruction-relevant legal analysis. Data and analysis can keep in check efforts on all sides to inflate topics like Law 10 for advocacy purposes or to deflect attention from more difficult but more important issues such as housing, land and property rights for women, gentrification, or dysfunctional governance and justice systems.
Independent analysis also contributes to evidence generation about the key grievances of many Syrians who have lost property or titles due to the war. Requiring such evidence is a protection against forgetting injustices. Finally, ensuring granularity and independence of data and analysis means strengthening new leadership at the international level that stands up for these principles. With respect to reconstruction, such leadership may come from financial markets that could make such data conditional for reconstruction packages.
In this way, peacebuilding software could become part of these packages, each of which may require its own negotiation toward an investment coalition.
Overall, the strategic value of independent data and analysis lies in asserting checks and balances, generating common ground, and building confidence across different actors. Changing the pair of glasses means questioning existing beliefs about how social change happens.
With such new glasses, policymakers may identify new agents and spaces for peacebuilding. Many policymakers in government and international organizations are accustomed to taking a macro view and see change as a top-down, government, or leader-driven process. Equipped with this pair of glasses, however, they may not be able to see how people address violence and exclusion on a daily basis in their neighborhoods, with or without the help of formal authorities.
While international actors discuss and ponder the leadership necessary to find solutions, many local actors wriggle their way out of destruction and dysfunction by solving one problem after the other in the best possible way. Reconstruction takes place at a micro level in many different spaces, involving limited self-help reconstruction or reconstruction packages as noted above. Within these processes of reconstruction, the key is to identify the people managing coexistence and disagreements. Such individuals are called different names by different constituencies, including insider mediators in peace mediation circles , interrupters in violence reduction circles , or transpublics in community management circles.
What these actors have in common is that they are connected to, and trusted by, important local constituencies and that they can build trust in processes and outcomes where formal authorities or other power holders are too weak or do not have the legitimacy to do so. They also speak the languages of different constituencies and therefore enable understanding and dialogue across divided communities or enemy groups.
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Finding and working with those actors in politically charged environments is not always easy. External support can undermine their efforts to play those critical bridge-building roles or even place their security at risk. This is why knowhow by external actors about how to advance independent, neutral, or non-partisan support in discrete ways is particularly important. A new pair of glasses might also enable a vision on the spatial priorities for reconstruction. This spatial optic underlines the importance of trusted spaces in which local reconstruction processes can be conceived and negotiated and conflict addressed.
Western policymakers should increase their efforts to build peace in Syria by focusing on efforts in their own jurisdictions and organizations that they can directly affect. One perspective on this point can be illustrated by the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism IIIM established by the UN General Assembly to assist in the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for the most serious crimes under international law committed in Syria since A lot of the work to prepare the files is done through justice institutions outside Syria, which have stronger capacities to process evidence that may at one point be used to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Another entry point is stronger Western leadership to bolster the accountability of UN agencies and programs, bilateral donors, and businesses involved in humanitarian or reconstruction efforts in Syria. With key industrial, infrastructure, and natural resource assets given to its international backers, the regime has extended its grip on economic activities. The clientelistic relationships the government has developed over the last few years with international and local actors operating in its territory allows it to take a cut on most activities.
This extractive component of the fierce state is a significant challenge and risk for all actors engaged in humanitarian, reconstruction, or commercial ventures in Syria. There are two dimensions to this resource capture by the regime which should be kept in mind when adopting the third step of the peacebuilding software. Tensions between the two superpowers brought these two expansion periods to a close.
Both of them were followed by eras in which peacekeeping was confined almost solely to the continuation of ongoing missions. A third cycle of the ebb and flow began with the end of the Cold War. The expansion phase of the most recent cycle was the most ambitious in the UN's history. When failed operations demonstrated how overly ambitious this expansion of peacekeeping had been, the current period of relative inactivity began. UN peacekeeping has declined in the past five years, primarily because the leading members of the UN are not willing to support it — financially, politically, militarily or logistically.
But the need for peacekeeping in various parts of the world has not declined at all and in the absence of UN activism, other actors have begun to seize the initiative. Peacekeeping today has adopted a multidimensional role and various trends have emerged. This article aims to study and analyse the various emerging trends in UN Peacekeeping Operations.
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UN Peacekeeping Operations may be broadly classified under three categories. The first is the traditional one where the UN force acts as a fire brigade, mostly between states and essentially to monitor conflict termination arrangements under truces and cease-fire agreements. The second category concerns action by the international community under UN auspices essentially to deal with the circumstances arising out of a partially or fully "imploded state" where the normal institutions of a state are near collapse, or have collapsed, and a state of anarchy exists.
The third category, are those which aim to deal with intra-state conflicts and civil wars, to essentially seek their de-militarisation, so that peace and security can be restored. The first form was witnessed in the cold war era and the other two evolved gradually, mainly after the end of the Cold War.
Trends in United Nations Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping is a technique that of peace that expands the possibilities for both the prevention of conflict and the making of peace. The time when the Security Council stood paralysed by the Cold War, an experiment was initiated with peacekeeping operations as an alternative to collective security actions. Thus, in practice, peacekeeping operations were often ad hoc in nature, undertaken on the basis of a resolution passed mostly by the UN Security Council. Such operations were based on the expressed consent of the parties to the dispute, and were non-coercive in character. The primary objective was to cast the UN in the role of an impartial intermediary in local wars, or situations that threatened international peace and security.
During the Cold War, although the mandates of missions varied from case to case, its geo-political task was to ensure that the local conflicts did not spread and drag in larger regional neighbours or the superpowers. In fact, in some situations, peacekeeping operations were an effective tool of crisis management which did reduce the chances of a Greek-Turkish war in Cyprus or an Israeli-Syrian war in Lebanon.
A large majority of the peacekeeping forces were deployed in the Middle East, which was outside the sphere of influence of either superpower. Between and , the peacekeeping operations authorised by the UN are shown in the table below:. Table 1. Peacekeeping Operations during the Cold War, For example, observer groups in Korea, Indo-Pak and Indonesia. Peacekeeping operations undertaken in this period were modest in nature, with the exception of UN Operations in Congo ONUC , wherein combat forces under UN command had to be applied to enforce peace and restore the integrity of a member state.
The idea was to preserve peace settlements agreed upon between sovereign nation-states.
Thus, the overwhelming majority of peacekeeping operations undertaken till were of the traditional type. Although this form of peacekeeping was witnessed after the end of the Cold War also but the number substantially reduced. This is partly due to decline in the incidents of clearly demarcated inter-state wars. With the end of the Cold War, UN peacekeeping operations have gone through a qualitative change and radical transformation.
End of the Cold War created a new set of circumstances where pragmatism was left floundering and the accepted wisdom about peacekeeping was called into question. Also, today, most of the conflicts take place within states, not between them. Such conflicts are not always fought by armies, but by irregular forces.
Civilians are the main victims. Humanitarian emergencies are proliferating and very often, state institutions have collapsed. UN has thus gone beyond traditional peacekeeping. Many of the recent operations have involved demobilisation of troops or armed para-militaries, promotion of national reconciliation, restoration of effective governments, and the organisation for monitoring of elections. Thus UN peacekeeping has become more complex and dangerous.
Now there is much more to peacekeeping than military patrols along a cease-fire line and observation of the parties to ensure their separation and compliance with agreements -- what has been called "cooking and looking. These are referred to as second generation peacekeeping operations. The new functions performed by the peacekeepers illustrate further innovation and are sufficiently different from classic or traditional peacekeeping to justify a different label of "expanded" or "comprehensive" peacekeeping.
UN peacekeeping gained a high reputation in the world by winning the Nobel Peace Prize in , after the successful operations completed in Namibia and other regions. In the Namibian operation, the mandate went beyond the task assigned to the peacekeepers earlier and was very diverse and complex, involving tasks such as the administration and conduct of elections and referendums. The host of new operations undertaken during recent years, with more complex mandates operating under more difficult circumstances than in the past, resulted in some significant successes but also in major failures.
The failures captured far more attention, however, as the scenes of a nation continuing to tear itself apart make more dramatic footage than those of a country trying to rebuild itself.