The United Nations and Regional Security: Europe and Beyond

The United Nations and Regional Security: Europe and Beyond

The United Nations and Regional Security: Europe and Beyond

The United Nations and Regional Security: Europe and Beyond


The authors explore the evolving collaborative relationship involving the UN and regional actors, focusing on peace operations in the Balkans.


David M. Malone President International Peace Academy

The United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are the two major security institutions created following the end of World War II, but they have widely different approaches to the maintenance of international peace and security. For five decades, under the prevailing Cold War politicoideological divide, most of their member states saw little cause for or value in cooperation between the global collective security arrangement of the UN and the regional collective defense mechanism of NATO. However, developments in post–Cold War Europe, particularly in the Balkans, saw not only these two institutions but other European security organizations thrust together in Bosnia during the implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement and in Kosovo during and after the intervention of 1999. In these circumstances, the UN and the European security organizations cooperated well in the field, but developed too little understanding at the headquarters level of the mutual benefit to be derived from reaching a better understanding on issues relevant to their future collaboration.

In 1998, well before the climax of the Kosovo crisis, the International Peace Academy (IPA) started examining the UN-NATO relationship more closely. IPA board members Hans Jacob Biørn Lian and Nicolaas Biegman, serving as permanent representatives to the North Atlantic Council for Norway and the Netherlands, respectively, after previous assignments at the UN, had been struck by the many gaps of knowledge and understanding between the two organizations. They proposed that the IPA tackle this challenge.

Subsequently, with the strong personal support of Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the UN, Secretary-General Lord George Robertson at NATO, and Secretary-General Ján Kubiš at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as well as key officials in other regional security organi-

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