Stabilization at the Expense of Peacebuilding in UN Peacekeeping Operations

More Than Just a Phase?

In: Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations


The “uploading” of stabilization to UN peacekeeping presents conceptual, political, and practical challenges to the UN’s role in global governance and international conflict management. While scholarly research on stabilization has generally focused on militarization, its relationship to peacebuilding in the context of UN peacekeeping is underexplored. This article examines that relationship. A survey of UN policy frameworks highlights the simultaneous emergence of stabilization and clear expressions of peacebuilding. The article then draws on fieldwork in Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo to illustrate how stabilization is displacing peacebuilding in the practices of UN peacekeeping. The article argues that the politics of stabilization impede local forms of peacebuilding, at odds with the “Sustaining Peace” agenda, and risks jeopardizing the lauded conflict resolution potential of UN peacekeeping.

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