Rethinking Peacebuilding: Transforming the UN Approach

Since the end of the Cold War, the UN has found itself intervening directly within its member states to help them end intrastate conflicts and rebuild their war-torn countries. Peacekeeping missions that were originally designed to keep opposing national armies apart and that had the consent of the host state are now expected to secure a much more comprehensive peace, intervene more deeply in states’ internal affairs, and resolve active conflicts where there is no “peace” to keep.

This report suggests that the UN can address these challenges by putting peacebuilding at the center of its operations. After exploring the changing nature of threats to peace and security and the challenges associated with rebuilding nation-states, the author examines the UN’s fragmented response. He concludes that that the UN could more effectively respond to today’s threats to peace and security by broadening its understanding of peacebuilding and turning the concept into an integrated, coherent, and multidimensional tool for the entire organization.

Ahead of the UN’s 2015 review of its peacebuilding architecture and the planned review of its peace operations, the author offers five overarching recommendations for UN member states and the secretary-general:

  1. Empower the UN Peacebuilding Commission.
  2. Clarify the relationship between the Security Council and Peacebuilding Commission.
  3. Make peacebuilding a principal tool for the UN system.
  4. Align internal organizational structures for peacebuilding.
    Consolidate financing for peacebuilding.