Peacekeeping in Africa: Capabilities and Culpabilities

Peacekeeping in Africa: Capabilities and Culpabilities

Peacekeeping in Africa: Capabilities and Culpabilities

Peacekeeping in Africa: Capabilities and Culpabilities

Excerpt

This study on peacekeeping in Africa is an important undertaking. At a time when African States are taking on a greater degree of responsibility for promoting peace and security on their continent, the authors have provided a detailed and insightful chronicle of the efforts of African States to shoulder these burdens and of Western programmes aimed at enhancing their ability to do so.

Stemming the tide of deadly conflict in Africa has been one of my main priorities not only as Secretary-General but even before then, during the years I was head of United Nations peacekeeping. In a report to the Security Council in April 1998, I set out my thoughts and concerns about the causes of conflict in Africa and how the international community might support Africa's efforts to find the path of durable peace and sustainable development. The Security Council and General Assembly, other United Nations organs and bodies, and the wider international community have exhibited great interest in the report and its follow-up. The Council in particular has taken significant decisions in line with the report's recommendations. For example, since July 1999—the month after the research for this book was completed—the Council has authorized a large peacekeeping operation to replace the small observer force in Sierra Leone, and has also authorized the deployment of a multi-disciplinary mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and military liaison officers in the region.

Despite these positive developments, the study's sobering conclusion is that present-day policies and programmes are insufficient to respond meaningfully to current and emerging threats to African peace and security. As the authors stress, African States have often contributed to United Nations peacekeeping operations and to multinational forces in Africa and abroad, but frequently lack the ability to deploy and sustain sizeable forces without significant outside assistance. In the authors' view, the capacity-building programmes of non-African countries are welcome initiatives but do not go far enough; moreover, they write, although donor countries sometimes provide African peacekeepers with financial aid and substantial equipment, such support is frequently belated and inadequate.

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