UN Special Political Missions. Does the UNSC attempt to control the peacekeeping missions of ROs?

2023-06-20 | conference paper

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​UN Special Political Missions. Does the UNSC attempt to control the peacekeeping missions of ROs?​
Dilekoglu, K.; Jetschke, A.   & Quint, D.​ (2023)
​Annual Conference of the British International Studies Association​, Glasgow.

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Dilekoglu, Kübra; Jetschke, Anja ; Quint, Dennis
Since 1992, the number of peacekeeping missions has substantially increased. Much of the discussion about peacekeeping has focused either on UN-conducted missions or – more recently – those conducted by regional organizations (ROs). Given the many actors in the field, some of the literature even argues that the field has developed into a peacekeeping complex, where several actors compete for mandates and have overlapping authorities. While an emerging literature deals with the interorganizational relationship between the UNSC and ROs, there is one mission type that has received only very little attention so far: these are the Special Political Missions (SPMs). One could even argue that it is highly unclear what function they serve in the peacekeeping complex. Three broad positions of the function of SPMs can be distilled: the first one sees them as a mission type in the broader field of peacekeeping that is uniquely suited for specific conflict situations or conflict phases. In a highly differentiated peacekeeping field SPMs fulfil purposes either in the transition from one mission to another or in the prevention of conflicts. A second position regards them as missions that are primarily designed to monitor and enforce peace agreements and as a particular instrument of the UNSC that does not rely on the consent of the permanent UNSC members. And a third position sees in them a control mechanism of the autonomous peacekeeping missions of ROs. According to this explanation, SPMs allow the UNSC to monitor the implementation of peacekeeping missions by ROs. The demand for a tighter control of such missions emerges from the risks that the UNSC faces once it has authorized an RO mission – especially with a Chapter VII mandate. We argue in this paper that rather than analysing SPMs individually and assessing their functions in peacekeeping, it is necessary to see SPMs in their inter-organizational context. Whether or not they are being deployed is not exclusively dependent on the conflict situation and the demand for a particular mission type that emerges from it; rather, SPMs are being deployed in relation to other missions in a country. Yet, given the focus of the literature on viewing SPMs in isolation, we know only little about the conditions that make SPMs more likely. We review the existing literature with a view of identifying likely correlates and test these statistically. Our findings corroborate some of our theoretical expectations and defy others. We can see that UN SPMs are indeed more likely sent into regions where actors other than the UN implement peacekeeping operations. In particular, the UN seems to target peacekeeping ROs. The UN might employ SPMs strategically to reduce information asymmetries between itself and implementing actors and refrains from interfering more once this objective has been achieved. All things considered, our results partially validate our initial theoretical assumptions that UN SPMs might be a means for the UNSC to com-pensate for authority loss in peacekeeping.
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Institut für Politikwissenschaft ; Arbeitsbereich Internationale Beziehungen 
Annual Conference of the British International Studies Association
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United Nations; peacekeeping; Special Political Missions