Academic journal article Global Governance

Hybrid Peace Operations: Rationale and Challenges

Academic journal article Global Governance

Hybrid Peace Operations: Rationale and Challenges

Article excerpt

Hybridity is the new term for multidimensional, modular, and multiactor peace operations. Hybrid peace operations bring together several institutions that to an extent cooperate in a joint endeavor. This article aims at unpacking the concept of hybridity by looking at its rationale and challenges. It first examines the typology of peace operations and analyzes the meaning of hybridity. It then looks at why international organizations have hybridized their conflict management policies and contends that further integration is the way forward for legitimacy and efficacy reasons, despite the difficulties encountered by existing hybrid missions. Finally, the article looks at some of the challenges of an increasing integration of institutional actors within peace operations. While integration is a response to the evolution of conflict management needs, it also carries risks ranging from interinstitutional competition to issues of accountability and ownership as well as impacts on the coherence of the global maintenance of international peace and security. KEYWORDS: peace operations, hybridity, cooperation, United Nations, African Union, European Union.

PEACE OPERATIONS HAVE EVOLVED OVER THE PAST TWO DECADES IN A WAY that has fundamentally changed their structure. Not only are they multidimensional in the sense that they imply a wide range of military and civilian activities across the conflict management spectrum, but they also increasingly bring together various institutions in parallel, support, or even joint peacekeeping and peacebuilding programs. From Darfur to Kosovo, Somalia, and Mali, international organizations have cooperated in peace operations on the basis of their respective comparative advantages or agendas to the extent that it is difficult today to imagine a single-institution response to fragile states' instability.

Hybridity has appeared as the new term to depict these modular, multi-actor operations. This concept has been used in two different, but related, contexts in the peace operations arena over the past decade. First, hybridity refers to the UN--African Union (AU) joint peace operation established in Darfur in 2007-2008. More broadly, hybrid peace operations bring together several institutions that to an extent cooperate in a joint endeavor, as in Kosovo and Somalia. Second, the concept of hybrid peace has been introduced to describe the kind of peace that is established in postconflict settings as a result of the interplay between external and local actors. It aims at reconciling two visions of postconflict peacebuilding: one that sees peace as being solely imposed by external actors and one that envisages it mainly as a purely homegrown process.

This article deals with the former sense of hybridity; that is, the idea that contemporary peace operations are evolving toward integration of their main institutional stakeholders. I aim at unpacking the concept of hybridity by looking at its rationale and challenges. What does hybridity mean in practice and what distinguishes it from multidimensional peace operations? What explains that international organizations have hybridized their conflict management policies and what purpose does hybridity serve? Furthermore, what challenges are posed by the evolution toward hybrid operations? These are the questions that are explored here.

The article first examines the typology of peace operations and analyzes the meaning of hybridity. Then it questions the rationale for the process of hybridization and contends that further integration of peace operations is the way forward for legitimacy and efficacy reasons, despite the difficulties encountered by existing hybrid missions. Finally, the article looks at some of the challenges of an increasing integration of institutional actors within peace operations. While integration is a response to the evolution of conflict management needs, it also carries some risks ranging from interinstitutional competition to issues of accountability and ownership as well as impact on the overall coherence of the global maintenance of international peace and security. …

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