Academic journal article Global Governance

Between Exit and Engagement: On the Division of Authority in Transitional Administrations

Academic journal article Global Governance

Between Exit and Engagement: On the Division of Authority in Transitional Administrations

Article excerpt

"Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo," S/1999/779, 12 July 1999, available online at (accessed 29 November 2000).

William G. O'Neill, Kosovo: An Unfinished Peace (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2002), 157 pp.

Elizabeth M. Cousens and Charles K. Cater, Toward Peace in Bosnia: Implementing the Dayton Accords (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2001), 187 pp.

European Stability Initiative, Reshaping International Priorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, part 1: Bosnian Power Structures (posted 14 October 1999); part 2: International Power in Bosnia (posted 30 March 2000); part 3: The End of the Nationalist Regimes and the Future of the Bosnian State (posted 22 March 2001), available online at

Jarat Chopra, "The UN's Kingdom of East Timor," Survival 42, no. 3 (autumn 2000): 27-39.

Simon Chesterman, "East Timor in Transition: Self-determination, State-Building and the United Nations," International Peacekeeping 9, no. 1 (spring 2002): 45-76.

   If the "international community" really wanted peace and development
   here, it would have the courage to leave and give the money that
   would be spent on salaries, programs, and logistics to our government
   as foreign aid. We can use it much more effectively than it is being
   used now. (1)

Those of us who have worked in international transitional administrations over the past decade have all heard host-country citizens express these frustrations with international efforts to implement a sustainable peace. I heard it in Zagreb, Eastern Slavonia, Bosnia, and Kosovo--from politicians known as "moderates" and from others known as "hard-liners"; from government officials, independent intellectuals, and ordinary people; from citizens, refugees, and internally displaced persons (IDPs); from people who had grown tired of waiting for peace, good governance, and a normal life.

The UN secretary-general was sensitive to these frustrations on 7 March 2000 when he appointed the panel headed by Lakhdar Brahimi to undertake a "thorough review" of UN peace and security activities and to present concrete recommendations as part of a comprehensive reform of the UN Secretariat. (2) The Brahimi panel reported that the "struggles" to mount missions in Kosovo and East Timor provided the "backdrop to the narratives on rapid deployment and on Headquarters staffing and structure" in the report, although it went on to ask "whether the United Nations should be in this business at all, and if so whether it should be considered an element of peace operations or managed by some other structure." (3)

In a subsequent report, the secretary-general asked which "factors the Security Council should assess in deciding to launch, close or significantly alter a United Nations peacekeeping operation." (4) It noted that peace "becomes sustainable ... when the natural conflicts of society can be resolved peacefully through the exercise of State sovereignty and ... participatory governance," and that a mandate for such an operation "should ... incorporate such elements as institution-building and the promotion of good governance and the rule of law, by assisting the parties to develop legitimate and broad-based institutions" and in "promoting economic and social rehabilitation and transformation." (5) According to the UN secretary-general, then, successful peacebuilding addresses the underlying causes of violent conflict by implementing effective programs of postwar recovery and of state building, possibly in a transitional administration.

The secretary-general placed the ultimate burden of performance on the host-country population because "the role of the United Nations is merely to facilitate the process that seeks to dismantle the structures of violence and create the conditions conducive to durable peace and sustainable development. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.