Academic journal article Global Governance

Emerging Actors in International Peacebuilding and Statebuilding: Status Quo or Critical States?

Academic journal article Global Governance

Emerging Actors in International Peacebuilding and Statebuilding: Status Quo or Critical States?

Article excerpt

Emerging actors in peacebuilding are generating a slow transformation of the norms and praxes of international peacebuilding, statebuilding, and development. Although each of the emerging donors have different contexts, approaches, motives, and methodologies, their power, influence, and--crucially--their nonadherence to the principles of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have attracted scepticism and criticism from traditional donors. This article highlights the nuances of donors' engagement with peacebuilding and statebuilding. It examines whether they are critical or status quo states and what the implications are for practices of intervention. KEYWORDS: BRICS, peacebuilding, statebuilding.


OLD AND NEW DONORS--GENERALLY MEANING BRAZIL, RUSSIA, INDIA, CHINA, and South Africa (BRICS) and other rapidly developing states such as Turkey, Indonesia, Mexico, and the Gulf states--all concur on the centrality of the sovereign state, the international community, and peacebuilding, statebuilding, and development. Yet they have differing views on their substance. These practices have until recently been run by a core of Western and Northern donors through the UN system. The newly emerging donors including the BRICS, now often broken down into India, Brazil, and South Africa (IBSA), (1) are a heterogeneous group of states and their international influence is steadily increasing. They vary widely and do not form a revisionist bloc, but it is noticeable that they have all taken note of the UN, European Union (EU), World Bank, and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) peacebuilding, statebuilding, and development agendas and have become increasingly proactive around them. Even if they also support either the liberal peace or a basic liberal international order, their complex--and, partly, postcolonial--position indicates that they also aim to protect their sovereignty, seek status, and want increased power to displace the Northern-centric influence in world politics.

In this article, we examine the impact of the newly self-confident and internationally engaged emerging donors on the loosely framed liberal peace-building paradigm. (2) We characterize these states' possible roles in theoretical terms before turning to empirical evidence about their development in terms of domestic policy and practices abroad.

Status Quo or Critical States?

Liberal peacebuilding rests on security, development, humanitarian assistance, governance, and the rule of law and entails the promotion of democracy, market-based economic reforms, and institution building. (3) Yet its dependence on Northern support, force, and conditionality; its ideological cooptation by neoliberalism; its focus on territorial sovereignty and statehood; and its inability to contextually address the needs of local populations have been the target of much criticism. (4)

There are three main positions that emerging donors may take vis-a-vis the existing international peacebuilding architecture. First, they may be characterized as status quo states that find a role with some added value within the liberal/neoliberal peace system according to their own interests. Second, they may be critical states, which seek to challenge and improve that system while working from within it. Though this may be somewhat similar to revisionist debates in international relations whereby hegemony, capitalism, and international injustice are challenged, the subject is more specifically peacebuilding, statebuilding, and development than the revision of the international system itself. (5) This might be characterized as a Westphalian versus post-Westphalian position insofar as the liberal peace was an attempt to develop an international peace architecture beyond the nation-state with solidarist qualities, while concerns about the need to both preserve and transcend sovereignty remain. …

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