Peacekeeping is a military third-party intervention to assist the transition from violent conflict to stable peace. Peacekeeping Operations (PKOs) contribute to this goal providing security; supporting and facilitating other non-military initiatives; and making available the tool of military force. PKOs evolved from neutral monitoring missions to complex multitask endeavors. Their effectiveness is heavily influenced by their institutional structure and by practices at the operational level. A theoretical analysis of Peacekeeping should go beyond a historical perspective, to define theoretical guidelines that help distinguish between different types of missions. This distinction allows to best match the types of intervention with conflicts; to guide training programs for peacekeepers; and to set the criteria to measure the effectiveness of the operations. 


The original mandate of traditional UN Peacekeeping Operations, which still constitute the core of Peacekeeping today, is defined as follows by Paul Diehl:

"The imposition of neutral and lightly armed interposition forces following a cessation of armed hostilities, and the permission of the state on whose territory these forces are deployed, in order to discourage a renewal in military conflict and promote an environment under which the underlying dispute can be resolved."

The characteristics of this interposition force are:

  • neutrality (remains impartial in the dispute and does not intervene in the fighting)
  • light military equipment
  • use of force only in self-defense
  • consent of the parties to the dispute
  • prerequisite of a ceasefire agreement
  • contribution of contingents on a voluntary basis

After an expansion that came to include a wide range of functions and goals, today's interventions are composed of different phases and are carried out by different institutions. What can be strictly considered as the Peacekeeping part of these operations is still close to the original core mandate of traditional missions.

Peacekeeping Operations (PKOs) are not carried out exclusively by the UN, and have come to include multiple tasks, performed by military and civil personnel, single states, international and regional organizations, and NGOs. Operations start at different stages of a conflict, at times continue even through the hostilities and are protracted for a long time after a peace agreement is reached. Preventive interventions, Peacemaking and Peacebuilding can all be present and overlap as parts of a Peacekeeping Operation.

New definitions, such as in An Agenda for Peace and in the Brahimi Report on UN Peace Operations reflect the important evolution of international peace operations after the Cold War, from passive monitoring to more active engagement, but tend to include under the same denomination of Peacekeeping, missions that are very different one from another. While potentially including multiple and diverse functions such as Preventive Deployment, Peace Enforcement, Humanitarian Assistance, and Peacebuilding, the term Peacekeeping here will be used to refer to a specific function and a component of complex multitask operations.


The following categories of tasks carried out by military personnel and civilian police can be considered the core of PKOs: the verification of respect of cease-fire agreements, safe areas and troop withdrawal; preventive deployment; the separation of forces and their demobilization (both regular forces and paramilitary militias) including the collection and destruction of weapons; mine clearance, training and awareness programs; the establishment of secure conditions for the delivery of humanitarian aid and return of refugees; direct humanitarian assistance to refugees and disaster areas; and electoral support.

The task of verification of adherence to cease-fire agreements, safe areas, and troop withdrawal covers the most traditional military activities of first generation PKO. It can be divided into two categories: verification of troop withdrawal and human rights monitoring.
The first task consists of confirming the withdrawal of the different parties' troops beyond the borders agreed upon in the cease-fire or peace accord: international borders in traditional PK, and also regional or intra-state borders or ceasefire lines in Second Generation PKO. However, ceasefires between loosely organized parties in internal conflicts are often unstable, requiring a more active mission and rules of engagement.
Human Rights Monitoring is typical of Second Generation PKOs and is of fundamental importance in countries torn apart by civil wars and ethnic conflicts. The protection of minorities and the guarantee against discrimination and abuses are essential to assure a safe return of displaced people and promote national reconciliation.
Both activities require articulated presence on the ground; actual control of the territory; and tactical mobility. Real control over the region to be monitored can be attained only with a sufficient amount of personnel and adequate equipment.

Preventive Deployment
Peacekeeping deployments traditionally have an indirect preventive function to prevent re-ignition of the conflict and new escalation of violence once the fighting has been interrupted by an agreement. With the UN mission to Macedonia as the first example, Peacekeeping forces can also be deployed in situations of increasing tension in order to avoid escalation or to deter the spillover effect of a neighboring conflict.
Troops deployed with preventive mandate can perform monitoring and observation functions and be kept actively trained to show readiness for rapid deployment and deter bellicose intentions. Operations with Conflict Prevention as their main goal should be formed by heavily armed troops. In many cases long-standing monitoring and observation missions have not provided any form of disincentive for parties to re-escalate the conflict and resume the fighting.

Disarmament and Demobilization
One of the most complicated and delicate tasks of PKOs is the separation of forces; their demobilization; and the collection and destruction of weapons. These are necessary preconditions for a lasting peace. These operations consist of four different components:

  • concentration of forces in designated assembly areas
  • collection and destruction of weapons held both by troops and civilians
  • demobilization of troops
  • reintegration of soldiers either into civil society or newly created national military forces.

The process is referred to as DDRR - Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration, and Reconstruction. The restoration of economic and social structures is necessary to facilitate the reintegration. The cooperation of the parties is fundamental, nevertheless peacekeepers must be provided with sufficient means and trained personnel, investigative powers and a clear mandate to enforce agreed measures.
A failure to disarm constitutes a major obstacle to the resumption of peaceful social relations, fuels the continuation of hostilities and eventually the re-escalation of the conflict.
The task is most complicated in the presence of paramilitary forces and irregular militias. These forces normally refuse to cooperate even when an agreement exists between peacekeepers and the major factions or parties to the conflict. In these cases the alternative presented to the peacekeepers is to choose between policing functions and defense of safe areas, or enforcement of the disarmament risking violent clashes. Enforcement requires extended military capabilities and presents high risks. It is often more effective to implement voluntary programs of disarmament offering different kinds of rewards and guarantees in exchange of returned weapons.

Mine Clearance, Training, and Awareness Programs
Land mines constitute a major and notorious feature of modern conflicts. In Cambodia, Angola, Somalia, and Afghanistan hundreds of thousands of land mines have been scattered over large areas of the territory. Even after the end of the conflicts anti-personnel and anti-tank mines continue to cause damage and casualties. Mine clearance is a necessary precondition to the return of refugees and displaced persons, the resumption of normal social life and the recovery of economic activities. Peacekeeping personnel intervene in three different ways: clearance, training and education.
De-mining has become a fundamental activity of every PKO, with specialized personnel constituting the vanguard of every mission. The second phase of the intervention consists of the training of local staff for the identification, marking and removal of land mines. Given the amount of mines scattered, it would take too much time and financial resources to proceed exclusively with Peacekeeping personnel. The third phase of the intervention consists of the organization of education programs to promote awareness in the local population and to teach the recognition and avoidance of mines. These programs are coordinated with a growing number of specialized NGOs.

Establishment of a Secure Environment
The protection of the activities of relief agencies and NGOs constitute an integral part of Second Generation PKOs. The guarantee of secure conditions is fundamental for the success of humanitarian missions and Peacebuilding operations. Nevertheless, military support to humanitarian missions in areas of ongoing conflict constitutes a novelty and remains a controversial issue, posing major problems of coordination between military and civilian personnel possessing different goals and priorities in the operations. Conditions are especially complicated in countries where political institutions have collapsed and humanitarian intervention is authorized without the agreement of all the parties to the conflict and before the end of violence. A military presence is necessary for the protection of aid workers, but at the same time it risks provoking a violent reaction from the conflicting parties. These missions cannot exclusively rely on military enforcement capabilities but rather on the negotiation of local agreements with the forces involved in the conflict.

Direct Humanitarian Assistance
Humanitarian interventions are carried out most comprehensively and effectively by specialized agencies and NGOs. Peacekeepers nevertheless play a fundamental role especially during the first phases of the mission, bringing emergency relief in the form of medical assistance, shelter, water, food and clothing. Military personnel are equipped and trained to intervene at short notice in conditions of crisis, in geographical areas difficult to reach and in situations of scarce security.

Electoral Support
Free and fair elections are an important step in providing areas of conflict with administrations legitimized by popular support. Elections are a delicate instrument and can be effectively introduced only after the stabilization of political and social relations. Once the situation is normalized it is fundamental that every party perceive the process as free and fair. Peacekeeping personnel can support the electoral process in three ways. First it can provide technical and logistical assistance. Second it can assure the security of the equipment and of the personnel charged with running the election; a further step in this task is the provision of security for supporters of every party taking part in the election, to assure that everybody votes freely. The third contribution of the military personnel to the voting process is the physical monitoring and control of every phase of the election, including voter registration, campaigning, balloting and counting of votes. These activities ensure that irregularities and interferences do not undermine the legitimacy of the vote.
The multiple functions of PKOs can be divided as follows into three overlapping categories of tasks: Military, Political, Humanitarian.

Military Political Humanitarian
Observing and monitoring cease-fires Upholding law and order Protecting aid convoys
Maintaining buffer zones Helping to establish a viable government Protecting relief-delivery workers
Disarming warring factions Helping to maintain independent status Providing humanitarian aid
Regulating the disposition of forces Coping with nongovernmental entities Establishing and protecting regional safe areas/ havens
Preventing infiltration Administering elections Assisting in refugee repatriation
Preventing civil war Exercising temporary authority Monitoring refugee flows
Verifying security agreements Helping reestablish economic life Verifying human rights agreements
Supervising cantonment Management and arbitration of local disputes Providing logistical support for humanitarian projects including transport, medical and engineering
Clearing mines Introducing confidence-building measures
Training/reforming military units Training police forces

Source: Encyclopedia of International Peacekeeping Operations, ABC-CLIO, 1999


Important changes have occurred in Peacekeeping, to adapt to evolving conditions and to carry out missions in a more efficient and effective way. There are two main categories of changes:

  • A new operational environment: Peacekeeping forces are mainly deployed in countries torn by civil wars, fought by local factions and irregular troops, often in conditions of weak security and humanitarian emergency.
  • An expansion of purpose and objectives of missions: Peacekeeping forces are composed of civilian and military personnel and are involved in operations coordinated with International Organizations and NGOs to deliver humanitarian assistance and foster the process of post-conflict reconstruction.

The evolution of PKOs can be divided into three different phases:

  • the First Generation of PKOs starting in 1946
  • the Revival of PKOs after 1988
  • the Second Generation after 1991

First Generation
First Generation missions were deployed soon after WWII to fulfill the UN mandate to guarantee international peace and security. Some of those first missions are still operating. In 1947 a United Nations Special Committee on the Balkans was established in response to the civil war in Greece. The Arab-Israeli conflict and the Indo-Pakistani war over Kashmir required the deployment of the first operations (respectively, UNTSO and UNMOGIP) with functions of monitoring ceasefires and reporting on the situation. UNEF1 was the first armed mission and the first to be labeled Peacekeeping. It was organized in 1956 to monitor the withdrawal of British, French and Israeli forces from the Suez Canal.
The subsequent First Generation missions followed the model of intervention developed in the initial cases, with limited means and a limited mandate, maintaining a neutral position and essentially with the sole function of monitoring the situation. An important exception was the 1961 intervention in Congo. The United Nations Operation in Congo (UNOC) had been the largest PKO until the 1990s. An anticipation of the future evolution of Peacekeeping, it was the first intervention under conditions of violent civil conflict and the first case of transition from Peacekeeping to peace enforcement, involving the use of force as authorized by the UN Security Council. Because of the violence involved, and the ambiguity concerning the mandate of the operation, for a long time UNOC was also an example of how Peacekeeping should not work. All subsequent missions were limited in number and scope, and no new operation was established between 1978 and 1988.

Revival of PKOs began in 1988, essentially as a result of the easing of East-West tensions inside and outside the Security Council. UN missions supervised the dismissal of some of the last vestiges of the Cold War, monitoring the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan and of Cuban troops from Angola. The first operation with large participation of civilians was organized in 1989 to organize political elections and favor the transition to democracy in Angola.

Second Generation
Second Generation PKOs started by 1992 with a set of large and complex missions that were deployed in Somalia, Cambodia, Mozambique and the former Yugoslavia. These operations were qualitatively and quantitatively different. They employed large military and civilian personnel. They were the first examples of multifunctional missions in which political, military, humanitarian, and electoral components were coordinated and fully integrated. Operations in the former Yugoslavia and in Somalia were authorized by the Security Council under chapter VII, to use force in the implementation of their humanitarian mandate.

Composition of the Contingents
First Generation Peacekeeping missions were generally composed of small military contingents, lightly armed, from contributions of many different countries, following principles of balanced geographic distribution. In the majority of cases the peacekeepers were provided by neutral or non-aligned countries.
Second Generation missions are composed of both civilian and military personnel; military contingents are larger and armed to defend their security in conditions of diffused violence. The composition of the contingents does not consider geographic representation as a priority; more attention is attached to interoperability, efficiency, and unity of command and control structures. Major countries with adequate military and financial capabilities provide large contingents of peacekeepers.

Use of Force
First Generation peacekeepers were not authorized to use force to fulfill their mandate; force was only to be used for self-defense. In the more complex and dangerous missions of Second Generation peacekeepers are regularly authorized to use force in the context of their mandate. The humanitarian mission in Northern Iraq (Resolution 688) was the first mission authorized to use force, not as a measure of peace enforcement but to guarantee the protection of the population and the delivery of assistance. The mission to Somalia (Resolution 733) was authorized the use of force in order to fulfill the tasks of disarming the fighting factions and distributing humanitarian aid. The change in mandate transformed the Peacekeeping missions into something closer to peace-enforcement. From then on, all other PKOs are directly authorized to use force for the fulfillment of their mandate. It became a commonly accepted procedure, as early as 1992, as it was suggested in An Agenda for Peace: "Before deployment takes place, the Council should keep open the option of considering in advance collective measures, possibly including those under Chapter VII when a threat to international peace and security is also involved, to come into effect should the purpose of the United Nations operations systematically be frustrated and hostilities occur."

Consent of the Parties
The consent of the parties involved in the conflict ensured First Generation PKOs a relatively stable operational environment. Missions are significantly more complicated and dangerous when the consent is only partial or limited to only one (or two) of the parties in the conflict. Frequently in Second Generation PKOs splinter groups, irregular militias and smaller factions either do not respect the ceasefires, disagree with the major parties or act independently. In the case of minor resistance, consisting of isolated acts of violence and banditry, if the major parties support the PKO, the personnel can be empowered to deal with the situation on the basis of self-defense, and backed by clear rules of engagement. The case differs when one or more of the major parties do not agree with the international deployment or withdraw their support. In the first case the military personnel is called to maintain order and perform policing activities, in the second case the mission mandate could switch toward peace-enforcement, involving military operations against one or more of the parties.

Ceasefire Prerequisite
Traditionally First Generation forces were deployed once a temporary agreement between the parties was reached, and a ceasefire allowed for the continuation of a pacific peace process and the beginning of the reconstruction process. In Second Generation PKOs however, military forces are often deployed in conditions of instability. PKOs can play a role both in Peacemaking and Conflict Prevention, blurring the line between PK and Peace enforcement. PKOs usually start as a conflict is winding down and help ensure that there is no further escalation. Once peace is reached, PKOs can be extended into the process of post-conflict reconstruction and Peacebuilding.

Intervention: Institutional

Traditional Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) were organized and led by the UN. Today a decreasing number of missions are planned and executed from New York. While the UN maintains an important role of initiator and coordinator of PKOs, the execution is often delegated to Member States and Regional Organizations. Peacekeeping is also executed outside the framework of the United Nations. The existing options for the institutional structure behind a PKO are: UN-led forces; Multinational Forces outside the UN framework, organized either by a coalition of Member States or by a Regional Organization; and "coalition of the willing"-operations approved by the UN but delegated to Member States or Regional Organizations.
UN-led Operations

The United Nations remains the single most relevant actor in Peacekeeping, with a fundamental role in initiating, legitimizing and coordinating PKOs. Some of the operations managed directly by the UN are older missions with a traditional First-Generation mandate. Their role is limited to tasks of monitoring and reporting in regions where conflicts are protracted and far from being resolved, such as the Middle East, Cyprus, and Kashmir. In other larger PKOs, such as in the Balkans, the presence of the UN is limited to civilian personnel for policing and administrative tasks. The few large operations that are still completely managed by the UN are in regions where the stakes of major powers are not involved, most commonly in Africa.

The UN Charter does not provide guidance for the organization of PKOs. The provisions of Chapter VII, art. 43 to 47, regarding permanent military structures under UN command, have never been implemented. First Generation PKOs have been improvised through ad hoc procedures. The Security Council approves the deployment of PKOs, while the Secretariat is responsible for the planning. The Secretary General nominally directs the missions, usually through the delegation to a Special Representative. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) takes the larger share in the planning and the execution of PKOs. To facilitate rapid and efficient deployment of troops, the DPKO has developed a system of agreements with Member States based on commitments to contribute specified resources within agreed response times. The UN Standby Arrangements System (UNSAS) and similar procedures for civilian police and civilian personnel have only been approved by a small number of states. Outside the provisions of these Standby Arrangements, the size, composition, and structure of UN Peacekeeping forces has to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis with the Member States that voluntarily provide the personnel.

Non-UN Multinational Forces
Traditional PKOs led by the UN did not include troops from the Super-Powers and the other Permanent Members of the Security Council participated only in rare cases of close political ties with the "host" country resulting from a colonial past. In particular occasions, at the request of interested countries, a multinational force has been preferred over an UN-led Operation. In the cases of Sinai and Lebanon, for instance, a Multinational Force led by the US was deployed in order to avoid obstructionism from Arab countries and the USSR. In Lebanon this force acted parallel to a UN PKO. In the Sinai (1981) it substituted a UN force that was disbanded following Soviet opposition to the extension of the mandate. Similarly, in Macedonia, NATO forces had to substitute the UN Preventive Deployment Force after China vetoed the extension of its mandate in 1999.
Multinational Missions, such as those in the Sinai and Lebanon, were created outside the UN framework, and agreed upon by the interested parties. Today the only examples of such deployments are the Peacekeeping activities of Russia-led CIS Forces in former Soviet Republics. In these cases the UN involvement is also limited to coordination efforts, cease-fire monitoring and humanitarian aid. Russia-led PKOs have been implemented unilaterally, mainly relying on former Soviet troops that were already present in the region. Such was the case in Moldova and Georgia. Likewise Tajikistan gave its initial consent to Russian deployment, but in this operation Peacekeeping troops have become directly involved in the fighting and are now more a player than a referee, tilting the balance of forces in the conflict. The deployment of NATO's Implementation Force in Bosnia Herzegovina was also decided outside the UN framework, in the peace accords between the parties to the conflict. However the operation was immediately recognized by a Security Council Resolution and integrated in the broader Peace Implementation mission coordinated by the UN. Other ongoing NATO missions were previously approved by Security Council Resolutions and are strictly coordinated with UN civil and humanitarian missions.

The 1990 ECOMOG (the Military Observer Group of the Economic Organization of West African States) was the first case of a regional organization forming a PKO independently from a UN mandate. Since their deployment in Liberia, UN agencies kept a presence solely for humanitarian assistance. In 1992 the Security Council was seized with the issue of the Liberian civil war; it approved the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) mission, and in 1993 it deployed a UN monitoring mission, UNOMIL(United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia). UNOMIL relied completely for its security on ECOMOG and even though it was supposed to function as the coordinator of international security and humanitarian efforts, it remained subordinated to the control of ECOMOG.

UN-approved Multinational Forces
Some multinational missions are approved by the United Nations and their execution is delegated to Member States or Regional Organizations. Generally the multinational force manages the military and security aspects of the mission, while civilian UN structures coordinate the administrative and humanitarian interventions. In these cases of "outsourcing" of the military component of the operation, the mandate follows a standard pattern:

  • the operation is deployed under the provisions of Chapter VII, authorizing the use of force
  • the leadership is assigned to a specific Member State or to a Regional Organization, guaranteeing the unity of command and control structures
  • the cost of the operation is completely born by the participating Member States.

Examples are the US-led mission to Haiti (Resolution 940) (1994), the French-led mission to Rwanda (Resolution 918) (Operation Turqoise, 1994), the Italian-led mission to Albania (Resolution 1101)(Operation Alba, 1997), the Australian-led mission to East Timor (Resolution 1246) (INTERFET, 1999), and the NATO-led mission to Kosovo.

Legal Framework of PKOs
UN Peacekeeping missions can be legally authorized both by the Security Council and the General Assembly. The control of the international security functions of the UN is politically in the hands of the Security Council, while the bulk of the logistical and implementation work is left to the Secretary General.

The Security Council acts in its competence to maintain or restore international peace and security underArticle 24 (1) of the UN Charter.  The UN Charter did not envision peacekeeping missions and it was not originally clear under which provision they were authorized. They fell between Chapter VI's mediation efforts for a pacific solution of conflicts, and Chapter VII's measures of enforcement, including the use of force. For this reason they were often referred to as " Chapter VI ½ Operations".

Chapter VII of the UN Charter has been increasingly used to authorize Second Generation PKOs, as a response to threats to or breaches of international peace and security.
Peacekeeping missions can be deployed as a complement to the provisional measures adopted in the process of solving a dispute (art.40, Chapter VII). The parties to the dispute accept such measures, and the Peacekeeping force is deployed to facilitate their observance. The parties consent to the deployment of forces on their territoriy is necessary.

In the case of internal conflicts where it is difficult to obtain the consent of all parties, the Security Council generally proceeds declaring the situation of violence and humanitarian emergency as a threat to peace and security in the region, and on these grounds authorizes intervention. Security Council Resolution 1296 (2000) has established that violence against civilians in armed conflicts and opposition to the deployment of humanitarian assistance can be considered threats to international peace and stability.

Cooperation with Regional Organizations
One important new feature of Peacekeeping is the increasing role played by regional organizations. Regional and sub-regional organizations often play a fundamental role in the implementation of different aspects of the PKO and of subsequent Peacebuilding operations. In some cases there is a clear division of labor between different institutions, the best example being the structure of the UN Mission to Kosovo(UNMIK). Since its beginning the mission has been subdivided into different tasks, each assigned to different organizations. The first subdivision was between "international security presence" and "international civil presence". The first was delegated to NATO, while the second was coordinated by the UN, and was subdivided into four different pillars. The first two pillars are Police and Justice and Civil Administration, and are under the direct leadership of the UN. The third pillar, Democratization and Institution Building, is led by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The fourth pillar, Reconstruction and Economic Development, is led by the European Union. These four pillars go beyond the purposes of Peacekeeping; nevertheless they were present from the beginning of the deployment of the PKO, when pillar 1 was Humanitarian Assistance and was led by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Chapter VIII of the Covenant of the United Nations legitimizes the action of Regional Organizations for the maintenance of international peace and security and encourages the cooperation between such institutions and the UN. An Agenda for Peace recognized the new relevance of these provisions of the Charter and underlined the importance of "regional action as a matter of decentralization, delegation and cooperation with United Nations efforts". The 1995 Supplement to An Agenda for Peace listed more systematically the different forms of cooperation between the UN and Regional Organizations and arrangements in the implementation of PKOs: consultation; diplomatic support; operational support; co-deployment; and joint operations. A number of Regional Organizations have developed mechanisms for conflict resolution that include the deployment of PKOs.
As noted in the Brahimi Report on UN Peace Operations, many of these institutions lack the means and the experience to independently deploy a complex PKO. It is important that adequate training, equipment and logistical support be supplied to ensure that their contribution to the Peacekeeping efforts be most effective.

Financing Peacekeeping
The financing of PKOs has changed over the years, with new budgetary sources having been created. The result is a system of multiple mechanisms that are activated on a case-by-case basis. The absence of a UN budget clearly assigned to PKOs constitutes an obstacle to rapid approval and deployment of new missions. The financial crisis of the UN brings a more cautious approach to the organization of PKOs and a wider reliance on cooperation with regional arrangements as well as delegation to Multinational Forces.

There are four different ways PKOs can be financed by UN funds: the regular budget; separate assessments; voluntary contributions; and reserve funds. The General Budget finances the UN central structures involved in Peacekeeping, such as the DPKO and long-standing traditional monitoring operations, with a limited mandate and limited resources. The Separate Assessments refer to the different shares, as defined in 1973, paid on a case-by-case basis, regardless of the level of unpaid contributions. Voluntary Contributions exceed the contributions to the general budget and are paid by single Member States, often directly to the UN Agencies involved in the PKO. Reserve Funds are of limited dimensions but can be useful to pay for early deployments in case of delays in budgetary approval.

UN Peacekeeping was originally financed through the regular budget until in 1956; after a dispute over the financing of the UNEF1 mission to the Suez Canal, it was decided that Peacekeeping would be financed through a special budget. In 1963 the General Assembly defined the general principles for the sharing of Peacekeeping expenses: financing PKOs is a collective responsibility of all member states; member states are encouraged to make voluntary contributions; developing countries? contributions are proportional to their limited economic resources; and permanent members of the Security Council bear a special responsibility also in financing Peacekeeping.

The fact that the budget for PKOs is provided by ad hoc contributions through complicated bureaucratic procedures constitutes an important obstacle to the planning and execution of new PKOs and to the rapid expansion of the mandate of old ones when necessary.
All the operations delegated to Multinational Forces led by Member States are directly financed by the countries that decide to take part to the mission.

Intervention: Operational

The changing context of Peacekeeping, the new multiple tasks, the difficulty in defining clear mission goals and rules of engagement, and the difficulties and failures met by previous missions all make PKOs complicated and controversial, not only at the political/institutional level but at the operational level as well.

Often in missions, military personnel are called upon to perform tasks that are different from the ones for which they are trained. To perform such tasks they are provided with limited means and have to abide by rules different from the ones that guide traditional military operations. The difficulties met stimulate two different kinds of reactions: on the one hand an effort is made to adapt the training of military personnel and to ameliorate the definition of appropriate terms of engagement; on the other hand there is an effort to limit the expansion of Peacekeeping, in order to keep the tasks assigned to military personnel as close as possible to the traditional military operations.

Besides these two different attitudes some fundamental issues that influence PKOs? operational effectiveness are: organization of logistic support, unity of command and control chains, training of personnel; and the coordination between military and civilian personnel.

Logistic organization in PKOs is problematic due to the difficult environment in which missions are deployed and the complexity of the operations. The challenges that logistics have to face are: the readinessfor a rapid deployment and the sustainability of operations in the field for a long time.
The rapidity of the deployment depends on the successful integration of the operational and logistic planning. Logistic structures are fundamental for the deployment of all the components of the mission and the arrival of troops and personnel. Quick budgetary allocation and early procurement action are necessary for a rapid deployment. Military contingents often provide the first logistic structures, nevertheless in many cases troop-contributing nations lack sufficient logistic support for their own troops and full deployment of the mission requires UN independent logistic capability. The first permanent Peacekeeping logistic structure is the UN Logistic Base in Brindisi, Italy.

Once deployed, the logistic structure of a mission bases its sustainability on its responsiveness to the operational needs of the units on the field. The inefficiency of procurement mechanisms and the insufficient delegation of budget spending are a cause of difficulty in the managing of PKOs. Maintenance of permanent stocks of equipment, flexible and decentralized procurement through civilian contractors, and adequate supply by troop-contributing countries are necessary to ensure the sustainability of logistic structures.

The need for specific training is recognized both by international institutions and national military authorities. Specific programs have been developed at different levels to train both military and civil personnel. A established in the UN Secretariat's Department of Peacekeeping Operations provides direct instruction, expert assistance and information to Member States. National military schools have developed specific courses for troop and officers both as part of routine training and in preparation for mission deployment. Institutions specialized in preparing Peacekeeping personnel are present in many countries and cooperate with military colleges, International Organizations and NGOs. Military training for peacekeepers is subdivided in three different phases: basic training included at all levels of military education; contingency training which is Peacekeeping-specific and concentrates on the tasks to be performed and the problems to be met in PKOs; and mission-specific training focusing on the specific cultural and political context of an operation.

The specific training focuses on two kinds of skills: functional and contact.

  • Functional tasks/skills refer to the specific operational tasks that troops are called upon to perform in Peacekeeping and are different from the ones performed in combat operation. Some of these tasks are: checkpoints, observation posts, disaster relief, food and supply distribution to civilian populations, convoy escort, and crowd control. Special ability to operate jointly with other foreign contingents and with NGOs is also required.
  • Contact tasks/skills refer to the knowledge of basic facts about culture, language, and history of the population as well as the ability to interact with the civilians. Abilities required are: negotiating skills, impartiality, confidence-building behavior, and communication in interpersonal and intergroup relations.

Coordination of Military and Civilian Personnel
The need for strong coordination with the civilian components of the mission is fundamental due to the multifunctional nature of Second Generation PKOs. Different International Organizations, UN agencies and NGOs perform diverse tasks that often require the support of military personnel. The kind of support needed falls into two main categories:

  • Providing theatre-level logistics
  • Assuring a secure environment

In a situation of conflict, anarchy and destruction, military structures are often the only ones able to provide transport and communication facilities. Military personnel are often directly involved in the first phases of the reconstruction of transport, energy, hydraulic and communication infrastructure, as well as the provision of emergency housing and medical aid. A clear definition of the common goals of the mission and a comprehensive institutional framework including all the components of the operation are fundamental for efficient coordination. A joint military-civilian staff should define the areas of cooperation, the military resources to be devoted to common purposes, and a common definition of security priorities.

Unity of Command and Control Structures
The problem of coordination does not only apply to military and civilian personnel but also to the many military units that are contributed by separate states. Different standards of training, different equipment and different cultures constitute obstacles to efficient interoperability. To ensure the efficiency of the whole mission, the respect of common goals, and coherence in the attitude toward the parties to the conflict, common command, control, communication and intelligence structures are fundamental, both in the field and between the institutional and operational level.

The problems of coordination at the operational level are exacerbated by the necessary interaction of military personnel, NGOs, and Humanitarian agencies, as well as by the interference of national governments. The contradictions and divergences in fragile chains of command increase considerably with the use of force and the perception of physical danger.

The coordination between Headquarters and the field mission is fundamental to guarantee consistency with the political purpose of the operation, guide its role in the conflict management process, and respect the original mandate, or change it accordingly to the evolution of the situation. Absence of clear chains of command and allocation of responsibility is often due to scarce coordination between different UN Agencies and Departments involved in the operation.


Assessing the effectiveness of Peacekeeping operations means coming to terms with the challenges faced more generally when evaluating conflict management interventions in the conflict context. In addition, the success of Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) must be judged against the different goals that they are expected to pursue. From the more general and ambitious to the more limited and specific these refer to: the contribution to Conflict Resolution; the Limiting of Armed Violence; and the support to other interventions with tasks of humanitarian assistance and Peacebuilding. The level of success is lower in the first, more ambitious goal, and higher in the third, more limited one. Rarely does a PKO influence the achievement of a stable solution to a conflict. Interventions are mostly successful in monitoring ceasefires, keeping rival parties apart, and deterring the escalation of violence. Even when the peacekeepers cannot intervene to influence the behavior of the parties, they can offer protection to the organizations that offer humanitarian assistance and deliver international aid before the settlement of the conflict. Once an agreement between the parties is reached, peacekeepers can still offer important support in terms of logistics and security to the Peacebuilding effort.

Conflict Resolution
There are some major obstacles for PKOs in a Conflict Resolution process. The first is the inability to limit armed clashes between the parties. The second is the inability to remain neutral especially when PKOs are present on the ground and have direct interaction with the parties involved. Neutrality is particularly difficult when efforts to actively limit violence require enforcement action by Peacekeeping troops. The presence of a PKO often has the effect of freezing a conflict, in a way that removes pressure from the parties to negotiate a solution.

Theoretical Guidelines
Paul Diehl, Daniel Druckman, and James Wall suggest "a conflict management and resolution approach" to the classification of PKOs. Their framework is structured along two fundamental dimensions: the role played by peacekeepers in the conflict, and their bargaining orientation.
The first dimension refers to the position of peacekeepers as Primary Parties (participants) or Third Parties (mediators or arbitrators).
The second dimension defines the adoption of a Distributive or Integrative orientation to Conflict management.
Classification of PKOs along these two dimensions helps identify different models of intervention. This theoretical framework could be usefully applied to evaluate the effectiveness of PKOs, their suitability to different kinds of conflict, the different training requirements for each of them.

Limiting Armed Violence
The difficulties met in the task of limiting the fighting are essentially due to the absence of full cooperation of all the parties involved. This is especially true for Second Generation deployments in the anarchical environment of intra-state conflicts. Interferences with the mandate can come from sub-national actors, irregular militias, or third parties such as neighboring countries.

Logistic and Security Support
Even the goal of assuring support and security to civilian personnel involved in humanitarian assistance is complicated by a number of obstacles. The limitations on the use of force by the peacekeepers often put them in the condition of being easily overwhelmed, and sometimes humiliated, by the fighting parties. Military personnel have to perform policing functions to keep order against banditry and low-intensity violence. The coordination with civilian personnel and NGOs is sometimes problematic. NGOs often lament that the ?protection? by military units is counterproductive as it transform relief convoys in targets for hostile attacks. Moreover NGOs and other agencies have different priorities that often clash with the military focus on security.

Effective Peacekeeping Operations
The efficacy of Peacekeeping is best measured at the operational level by the ability of the mission to supervise ceasefires, limit armed conflict, prevent new escalation of violence and create a secure environment  for the operations of humanitarian assistance and Peacebuilding. Peacekeeping is not an effective instrument in influencing the Peacemaking process. The diplomatic and political processes advance on a different level. PKOs are most successful in those cases where a force is deployed to back a solution that already enjoys sufficient legitimacy and support. Peacekeeping deployments do not seek to influence the Peacemaking process. Nevertheless, when the PKO is viewed as part of a wider process of conflict management, it can contribute to creating the conditions for pacification by increasing security and reducing violence. However, it can be successful only if provided with a clear mandate, backed by political consensus and endowed with adequate resources.
First generation PKOs have been relatively successful. If the prerequisites that guaranteed their success were to be reproduced, future Operations should concentrate exclusively on inter-state conflicts in which a ceasefire agreement has already been reached, and where the adversaries are clearly divided on the territory. Peacekeepers should remain neutral, refrain from the use of force and limit their mandate to monitoring the respect of the ceasefire. These operations can only be effective under very precise conditions; they need limited resources to implement a clear and limited mandate. These conditions are simply not present in Second Generation PKOs, because of the different nature of the conflict environment in which they intervene, regardless of the ambitions and expanded mandate of the missions.

The model of Second Generation PKO that has proven most successful is when the UN plays a role of a guarantor and coordinator, caring for the humanitarian assistance and the organization of the civil structures necessary for a protracted Peacebuilding process. The actual Peacekeeping, the first phases of the mission and its military aspects, are delegated to Member States and/or other Regional Organizations. The analysis of these more successful Second Generation PKOs indicates which factors are fundamental in determining their effectiveness. Focusing on these factors might be the condition for the success of future PKOs, independently from the nature of the organizing institution, UN, Member States, or Regional Organization.

Conditions for Success
The effective deployment of a PKO faces two categories of challenges: a "conceptual"/strategic challenge and an operational/tactical challenge. The first consists of the clear definition of role and purposes of Peacekeeping and of the drafting of an unambiguous mandate for each mission. The second category of challenges pertains to the ability to act effectively and fulfill the mandate. The two must be addressed in a coordinated way in order to overcome the challenges faced.

The first lesson that can be learned by the different approach to PKOs adopted by Member States is in the selection of the missions and in the definition of a clear mandate commensurate with the resources available. Member states voluntarily offer to organize and lead PKOs only in the cases where their resources are sufficient to guarantee a successful outcome or where their interests at stake justify the investment of sufficient resources. When it is not the case, other diplomatic, economic and political methods of intervention can be taken into consideration. Functional alternatives can be more effective and useful to the goals of Conflict Management, when a PKO cannot be successfully organized. A careful selection of the cases in which a PKO might be an effective instrument increases the chances of success and helps improve the credibility of Peacekeeping. Credibility has a positive effect on the political support from participating countries as well as a deterring effect on the parties to the conflict. An unambiguous authorization and a willingness to use force when necessary can improve the security and the effectiveness of a PKO. Nevertheless the constructive cooperation of the parties to the conflict is the sole guarantee for successful Peacekeeping. The cooperation of the parties has to be assured by different means before the deployment of the operation. Once the case for intervention is made, adequate means and resources are crucial to ensure the effectiveness of the mission.
Quick reaction capabilities are both a key for effective timing in intervention and a way to increase the credibility of international action, and it can be effective as a deterrent in the prevention and Peacemaking phases. The availability of sufficient resources and the flexibility in budget spending are necessary for the effectiveness of an operation, its rapid deployment and sustainability in the field for a sufficient time.

Personnel trained to perform the specific tasks of Peacekeeping, with improved contact skills, and an understanding of the purposes of the mission have a better control of the situation in the field and better relations with the civil population. Similar standards of training, adequate and homogeneous equipment, integrated communication and intelligence systems improve interoperability among different contingents.

Tested integrated systems of Command and Control improve the efficiency of the mission, its consistency with the mandate, and rapid and coherent reactions in difficult situations. Clear chains of Command and definition of a comprehensive framework of responsibilities improve the possibility of efficient coordination between the efforts of the different organizations and agencies involved in the mission.

The institutional and operational dimensions come together to reinforce each other in influencing the outcome of a PKO. Sufficient resources are needed to carry out complex operations. Legitimate and authoritative institutions can afford to extract and invest the necessary resources. Fully functional institutions, endowed with experimented structures and procedures can direct the resources available to a successful outcome in an efficient way.




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Regional and Case Studies

  • Allard, Kenneth, Somalia Operations, Lessons Learned, (Washington DC: INSS, National Defense University Press, 1995)
  • Berman, Eric G. and Sams, Katie E., Peacekeeping in Africa: Capabilities and Culpabilities, (Geneva: United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, 2000)
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  • Heininger, Janet E., Peacekeeping in Transition: the United Nations in Cambodia, (New York: Twentieth Century Fund Press, 1994)
  • Jonson, Lena and Arch, Clive (Ed.), Peacekeeping and the Role of Russia in Eurasia, (Boulder: Westview Press, 1996)
  • Kim, Julie, Peacekeeping in Yugoslavia: the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 1992)
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  • Magyar, Karl P. and Conteh-Morgan Houndmills, Earl (Ed.), Peacekeeping in Africa: ECOMOG in Liberia, (Basingstoke, Hampshire: Macmillan Press; New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998)
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  • Shaw, Mark and Cilliers, Jakkie (Ed.), South Africa and Peacekeeping in Africa, (Halfway House, South Africa: Institute for Defence Policy; Braamfontein, South Africa: South African Institute of International Affairs, 1995)
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  • United Nations, Dept. of Public Information, The United Nations and Mozambique, 1992-1995, with an introduction by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, (New York: c1995)
  • United Nations, Dept. of Public Information, The United Nations and Rwanda, 1993-1996, with an introduction by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, (New York, N.Y.: c1996)
  • United Nations, Dept. of Public Information, The United Nations and Somalia, 1992-1996, with an introduction by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, (New York: c1996)

United Nations

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