ARAC Commentary on "Partnership Peacekeeping Works: What Does this Mean in a Divided World?"

This is a commentary on a recent informative report by Corinne Bara and Maurice P. Schumann, as featured on The International Peace Institute's (IPI) Global Observatory.

For decades, the international community has wrestled with the intricacies of maintaining peace and security in areas marred by conflict. The recent article by Corinne Bara and Maurice P. Schumann titled "Partnership Peacekeeping Works: What Does this Mean in a Divided World?" provides a comprehensive analysis that sheds light on a significant yet understudied facet of global peace operations: partnership peacekeeping.

At its core, partnership peacekeeping encapsulates the cooperative measures taken between the United Nations (UN) and other regional entities in the realm of peace operations. Bara and Schumann's piece underscores that these parallel deployments, where UN and non-UN entities operate in tandem, can often prove more effective in curtailing violence than singular operations by the UN or any other actor. This understanding emerges as critical at a time when a divided and often fractious global landscape calls for unity in addressing threats to international peace.

The authors highlight the diverse modes of such cooperative ventures. These range from concurrent deployments of UN and non-UN forces to sequential handovers or mere logistical and financial support packages. With 44% of UN mission deployments between 1993 and 2019 being complemented by a non-UN partner presence, the prominence of such cooperative endeavors is evident.

However, this new age of partnership peacekeeping is not without challenges. Varied mission objectives, competition, intelligence restrictions, and the potential repercussions of actions undertaken by one mission on the other can often complicate the dynamics on the ground. As the authors note, the danger lies in scenarios where actions of non-UN partners, especially those veering towards counterinsurgency and counterterrorism, pose risks to the UN personnel if distinguishing lines blur for the local populace.

Yet, the overarching conclusion from Bara and Schumann's study is a reaffirmation of the efficacy of partnership peacekeeping. Not only does it seem to decrease battle violence, but the combination of non-UN military action with the UN’s broader set of tools - institution-building, development aid, and mediation - creates a complementary mechanism for peace.

But where does this leave the UN as the sentinel of global peacekeeping? With no new military peacekeeping operation initiated post-2015 and a noticeable shift towards regional bodies undertaking peace operations, questions arise about the UN's future role. The recently released New Agenda for Peace (NA4P) seems to echo these shifting dynamics, emphasizing the roles of regional entities with the UN in a supportive capacity.

Bara and Schumann suggest that the key lies in recognizing the irreplaceable value of the UN's multifaceted approach to peace. Simply adding more non-UN forces may not yield the desired outcomes without the UN's comprehensive peace support strategy. Geopolitical intricacies notwithstanding, the discourse should pivot towards bolstering non-UN entities with peacekeeping measures that mirror the UN’s success formula.

In essence, this analytical piece calls for a reimagining of global peacekeeping paradigms. Leveraging the unique strengths of different organizations can help craft a more cohesive, multidimensional response to the challenges of our times. As Bara and Schumann aptly conclude, the future might see the UN not just as a participant but as a coordinator of these multi-actor responses, underscoring its continued relevance in global peacekeeping endeavors.

For policymakers, humanitarians, civil society, and all stakeholders concerned with global peace, this analysis provides a roadmap that underscores the value of collaboration in the ever-evolving peacekeeping landscape.

Source: "Partnership Peacekeeping Works: What Does this Mean in a Divided World?" by Corinne Bara and Maurice P. Schumann, The Global Observatory, October 17, 2023.

Commentary by ARAC International: Linking Partnership Peacekeeping to Global Peace Frameworks

The IPI Global Observatory report  by Bara and Schumann elucidates the value of partnership peacekeeping, a mode of operation that has seen the UN cooperate with regional organizations, ad-hoc coalitions, and single member states. What stands out from their comprehensive assessment is the potential synergy that partnership peacekeeping brings to the table. However, to truly understand the ramifications of this report's findings, it's pivotal to place them within the framework of internationally recognized peace and cooperation guidelines. In this context, let's delve into how their insights resonate with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 16 and 17, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) Positive Peace framework, and the US Global Fragility Act.

1. SDGs 16 and 17: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions & Partnerships for the Goals

  • SDG 16 emphasizes the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies, the provision of access to justice for all, and the creation of accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. The effectiveness of partnership peacekeeping, as underscored in the report, complements these targets by leveraging the strengths of diverse actors to ensure stability, justice, and an effective response to violence.
  • SDG 17 underscores the role of partnerships in achieving the SDGs. Partnership peacekeeping inherently embodies this spirit. When UN peacekeeping operations work in tandem with regional bodies, the collaborative efforts often yield better results, making it a testament to the power of global cooperation in achieving peace.

2. IEP's Positive Peace Framework:

  • IEP's framework is grounded in the idea that true peace is not just the absence of violence but the presence of attitudes, institutions, and structures that create and sustain peaceful societies. Partnership peacekeeping aligns with this by not only addressing direct violence but by fostering an environment where mediation, institution-building, and other non-violent interventions thrive. When regional forces address immediate threats, it allows the UN to mediate, provide aid, engage in institution-building, and drive other positive peace-building efforts.

3. US Global Fragility Act:

  • This Act is designed to address the root causes of violence through stabilization efforts and by aligning US strategies with those of its international partners. Partnership peacekeeping's premise, as outlined in the report, is in line with this act. The parallel deployment of the UN and non-UN missions can ensure a comprehensive approach where military actions are balanced with political strategies, thereby addressing fragility in a holistic manner.

In conclusion, the insights from IPI's Global Observatory report not only shed light on the operational advantages of partnership peacekeeping but also its alignment with globally recognized peace and cooperation frameworks. As nations and organizations continue their quest for global peace and stability, the role of partnership peacekeeping, with its synergy and complementary strengths, remains more relevant than ever. Recognizing its alignment with the aforementioned frameworks ensures a strategic and coordinated approach to fostering peace and mitigating conflict worldwide.

ARAC International