Are Peacekeeping Operations Working?

By FRANCESCA TIRAVANTI, The Straits Times (Expository)

One of the main purposes of the United Nations is to maintain international peace and security and in order to succeed with that task, peacekeeping operations were created. Since the end of the Cold War, establishing these missions has been one of its main purposes, for many conflicts aroused after that; that is why they are of extreme importance when a conflict is happening. As the most influential organization, the United Nations receives extreme public notice, even more than any others entity; this has resulted in well known mistakes and failures the public has criticized tremendously, this leading to calls for reevaluation in many aspects.

It costs the United Nations approximately 8 billion dollars a year to deploy almost 120,000 peacekeepers in different nations, to protect civilians from any direct harm that may come to them, to help in the rebuilding of institutions, to facilitate humanitarian aid and assist in ensuring international peace and security. The missions are deployed in large numbers, yet many of them are failing to fulfill the objectives that are expected. For example, a UN mission in South Sudan, has failed to keep protected millions of citizens seeking for shelter among them, this ending in numerous of deaths. Also, in Mali, extremist attacks to the peacekeeper are making them insecure and therefore unable to provide safety for others.  And furthermore, trying to stabilize the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other countries is a mission so demanding people believe that peacekeepers are not ready for it, since they do not have the proper training to do so.

The demand of peacekeepers in the world grows even more with every day because new conflicts are emerging and even more are expanding; and with the sad consequences of them failing, it creates the believe that peacekeeping operations are not completely prepared for what they will encounter in conflict zones on other missions. These operations should not be seen as the only way to deal with the arousing conflicts around the world; besides these, the missions should aim to stabilize and enforce the country where they are needed. Although reinforcement and new solutions for the problem of the peacekeepers should also be taken into consideration, you can not fix something that is broken this tremendously. There is only one way the United Nations can deal with this, success will only come if they reform what has to be improved.


Delegates of the SPECPOL committee discussing peacekeeping operations.


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