Between doctrine and practice: The UN peacekeeping dilemma

Mateja Peter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Mandates of recent peacekeeping operations across Africa have shown substantial innovation in the thinking of the UN Security Council. Offensive use of force, use of unmanned aerial vehicles, strategic intelligence and communication, and state-building mandates in the midst of conflicts have all expanded the scope of activities beyond what the UN peacekeepers are accustomed to. The UN is entering a new era of enforcement peacekeeping. Enforcement peacekeeping manifests itself both in enforcement of political solutions through support of a government’s statebuilding ambitions and its attempts to extend state authority in the midst of conflict and in enforcement of military victories through the offensive use of force. These developments further unsettle the basic principles of UN peacekeeping—consent, impartiality, and nonuse of force—resulting in a schism between the doctrine and practice. This contribution argues that such fundamental challenges, when not properly acknowledged, create a wall between operational activities and strategic considerations. They preclude a proper debate on the problematic externalities, in particular on political processes and peacebuilding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-370
Number of pages20
JournalGlobal Governance
Issue number3
Early online date20 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • African union
  • DRC
  • Enforcement peacekeeping
  • Mali
  • Peace enforcement
  • Peacebuilding
  • Peacekeeping
  • Somalia
  • United nations


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