Peacekeeping is the most visible mechanism of the United Nations for managing conflicts in the world. Since the end of the Cold War, it has been confronted with acute resource constraints in carrying out its ambitious mandates. It is not so much the lack of resource availability, but the politics of resource mobilisation that has prevented the effective utilisation of the peacekeeping mechanism. Interested member states have been quick in pointing out the ineffectiveness and incompetence of the UN’s peacekeeping operations and in advocating alternative arrangements such as ‘coalition of states’, individual states’ and regional organisations’ operations. Even in the case of financing, they do not favour any increase in the already assessed contribution of the member states—favouring instead other alternative arrangements such as Trust Funds, subcontracts to other actors and ‘living-off-the-land’ arrangements.
Amongst all the resource requirements, this book examines in depth the politics of the mobilisation of military personnel and finance, as both these resources are not only the most essential requirements but are also the most quantifiable—which enables an analysis of how they have increased and been contributed to by the member states over time—and how alternative arrangements appear to have overcome constraints in these resources. It highlights the fact that despite these alternative arrangements, the United Nations continues to be the most legitimate body for the conduct of peacekeeping operations. Even when the alternative arrangements have been used, the UN operations have invariably been deployed before them, in sequence with or in parallel to them. So, the UN peacekeeping operations have neither been replaced nor have they become redundant.
Through the narrative of the politics of resource mobilisation and the practices of these alternative arrangements, the book attempts to highlight the latter’s implications and consequences in terms of the legitimacy and authority of the United Nations and the distraction of attention from the efforts being directed at the reform of this organisation for making it more effective, efficient and relevant in managing the conflicts in the transformed international system.
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