the roles of the united nations in the process of peacebuilding in post conflict nations

Statement of Research InterestEbenezer Azamati.The roles of the United Nations in the process of peacebuilding in post conflict nations; a case study of the Republic of Liberia after the 14-year Civil War:1.1 Background of the StudyA fundamental reason for the establishment of the United nations in 1945 right after the Second World War as set forth by the charter, is “to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security” (“Basic Facts about the UN”). The United Nations can therefore be described as the symbol for international peace and security that promotes global cooperation, dialogue, and collective responses to security threats. It is mandated to sustain international peace in all its dimensions. This is the noble goal encapsulated in the Charter’s determination to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war…To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights… And to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.” The goal of sustaining peace is woven through inter-state and intra-state conflict prevention. Where violent conflicts break out, it implies taking rapid and resolute action to try to end them. Above all, the root causes of violent conflict must be addressed (Ghoniem 2003). The term “peacebuilding” first entered the UN lexicon in Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s Agenda for Peace in 1992, where it was defined as “action to identify and support structures which will tend to strengthen and solidify peace in order to avoid a relapse into conflict.” The concept was initially defined in relation to a conflict cycle that passed from pre-conflict preventive diplomacy through peace-making and peacekeeping to post-conflict peacebuilding, although Boutros-Ghali’s 1995 Supplement to the Agenda for Peace later expanded this understanding to include preventive action as well. The 2000 Brahimi Report further refined the concept as “activities undertaken on the far side of conflict to reassemble the foundations of peace and provide the tools for building on those foundations something that is more than just the absence of war,” also stating that “effective peacebuilding is, in effect, a hybrid of political and development activities targeted at the sources of conflict.” According to Michael W. Doyle and Nicholas Sambanis, peacebuilding refers to a post conflict reconstruction, organized to foster economic and social cooperation with the purpose ofbuilding confidence among previously warring parties, developing the social, political, and economic infrastructure to prevent future violence, and laying the foundations for a durable peace.In the early 1990s, there was a great increment in the use of UN authorized peace operations (Doyle and Sambanis 2006). This reflected a new wave of interventionism and redefined a new generation of strategies in peacebuilding. According to Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, those peace operations were intended to fill a “gaping hole” in the Organization’s institutional and structural capacity to support countries in transition from violent conflict to sustainable peace. It is as part of this reason, that in September 2003, the United Nations Mission in Liberia, was established by the Security Council of the UN to create an environment free from further violence which would enable Liberia to get back on track in relation to its own political, economic and social development (Res. 1503; Finegan 2015). Liberia is located on the west coast of Africa, with an estimated population of 3.5 million. Liberia was established as an independent country in 1820 by free African Americans and freed slaves from the United States and became the Republic of Liberia in 1847. Its economy was based on extraction, which worked to benefit the small Liberian elite of American descendants (known as the Americo-Liberians) largely based in the capital, Monrovia (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD], 2011). The centralisation of power around these elites led to the exclusion of large sections of the population from political decision-making which created perceptions of historic injustices and inter-ethnic tensions, which have been a longstanding source of conflict in Liberia.In 1980, these grievances culminated in a military coup led by indigenous leader, Samuel K. Doe. Under his rule, he increased investment in previously neglected areas and extended infrastructure beyond the capital. However, he also created a governmental system that benefited one ethnic group, Krahns, over others (OECD, 2011). Unrest continued in the late 1980s, furthered by an invasion led by Charles Taylor from Côte d’Ivoire in 1989 which led to a militia occupation which splintered into multiple competing factions. Doe was ousted in 1990 and the interim Government of National Unity was installed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) under which Dr Amos Sawyer served as Interim President. Despite the formal ceasefire, the period saw ongoing conflict between warring factions, including those led by Charles Taylor, who was eventually elected president in 1997. Civil war broke out again in 1999, with two rebel groups, the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia, in control of large parts of the country by 2003 (ICG, 2011). Following protracted peace talks, a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was agreed on in Accra in 2003. The CPA provided for a national transitional government which would be backed by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), a peacekeeping mission, for twoyears to oversee its implementation. The CPA brought to an end the 14-year civil war, which had resulted in the deaths of more than a quarter of a million Liberians and the displacement of another million. Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in August 2003, Liberia has moved from a state of tenuous post-conflict security to a steady but still fragile peace state, with a high degree of collaboration amongst all actors shaping a reconstruction- and development-oriented policy agenda (Mccandless 2008)1.2 Problem StatementThe United Nations is tasked to attain and maintain international peace and security. In doing this, the United Nations, leads the charge on peacebuilding in post conflict societies. But a number of scholars have in recent times challenged the actual roles of peacekeeping missions in peacebuilding processes. Thus, from the early 1990s, activities of peacebuilding at the conceptual, theoretical and operational levels have suffered imprecision, and have also been bedevilled with ideological differences and competing organisational mandates (Smith 2004; McCandless & Doe 2007; Barnett et al 2007; McCandless 2008). The lack of conceptual clarity, heightened by the inadequacy of resources, poor policies and institutional arrangements, continues to compromise the effectiveness of peacebuilding as a process (Call 2005; McCandless 2008). The major arguments that recurrently come up in the academia and at the UN levels is whether Peacebuilding only involves measures aimed at lessening the risk of lapsing or relapsing into conflict, to strengthen national capacities at all levels for conflict management, and to lay the foundations for sustainable peace and development, whether peacebuilding applies to all phases of a conflict or only to post-conflict ones; whether the process is primarily political or developmental in nature; whether it should focus primarily on addressing root causes or should engage in institution building and/or changing attitudes and behaviours (mccandless & Doe 2007:5–6; Mcandless 2008). To the many strategic limitations, peacebuilding operations are confronted with multiple political, institutional and operational challenges derived from built-in limitations, contradictions and shortcomings and failures of international policies and institutions (Tschirgi 2004). Again, UN agencies mandated to oversee humanitarian, human security and human development-oriented activities are faced with the problems of limited mandates, capacity, leverage, resources and duration. In view of this, many have argued that peacebuilding should be the primary task of national governments and their populations. Following from this, Hazen (2007:323), for example, argues that peacekeeping missions are a “poor choice for peacebuilding” given peace consolidation. It is following from this that the researcher intends to carry out this study to unravel the main roles of the United Nations in peacebuilding and how efficiently those roles are performed in the face of the above challenges and the many others like the absence of an international standing military force.1.3Objectives of the studyi. The study is intended to examine the contributions of the United Nations in restoring peace in post conflict countries; with the republic of Liberia as a case study.ii. The study will investigate the level of commitment of the United Nations towards peacebuilding processes in war-torn countries; with Liberia in context.iii. With focus on the republic of Liberia as a post conflict state, the study will examine the level of collaboration from the warring factions in the course of the United Nations trying to restore peace.iv. The study further aims at finding out the various approaches adopted by the United Nations to establish peace in the republic of Liberia after the civil war.1.4 Research Questionsi. In what ways did the United Nations help restore peace in Liberia after the 14-year Civil War?ii. How committed was the United Nations towards restoring peace in Liberia after the conflict?iii. How collaborative were the warring factions in the post conflict peacebuilding processes as carried out and supervised by the United Nations?iv. What approaches were adopted by the United Nations in the post conflict peacebuilding process in Liberia?1.5Significance of the StudyThe significance of the study lies in the fact that the mandate of the United Nations to address the issues of conflict as a source of threat to international peace and security is continuously relevant. Over the years, the United Nations has undertaken many projects to assess and to improve it peacekeeping operations. This study will bring to light successes and failures of the United Nation peacekeeping experience in Liberia and the lesson thereof to guide efforts to improve peacekeeping experience of the United Nations.1.6 Research Design and MethodologyMy research paper will rely heavily on secondary sources including published academic journals, books, media reports, previous and ongoing researches on post conflict peacebuilding and the role of the United Nations. 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