Magazine article The Futurist

Measuring the Progress of Peace

Magazine article The Futurist

Measuring the Progress of Peace

Article excerpt

Attempts to rebuild nations and keep the peace after conflicts will be for naught without adequate measures of progress, warns the U.S. General Accounting Office.

The GAO examined the United Nations' transition strategies for its peacekeeping efforts in Sierra Leone, East Timor, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The UN's goals are to establish conditions for sustainable peace, coordinate UN efforts with those of other international organizations, and develop results-oriented measures of progress, which can help the peacekeepers know when conditions are satisfactory for them to withdraw.

But the problem is with those "measures." According to the GAO report, "Although the United Nations uses some indicators to manage the withdrawal of peacekeeping troops, they did not have results-oriented measures to assess the security situations in Sierra Leone and East Timor, and subsequent events in each country showed that the situation was not as secure as available measures indicated."

The measures of progress as the UN strategy defines them are generally tasks or goals rather than tangible assessments of conditions in a particular region. For instance, one objective in Sierra Leone is to "strengthen police capacity, accountability, and loyalty." But among the "measures of progress" are objectives such as enhancing training, strengthening strategic management, and providing transportation and communication equipment.

Where there are specific benchmarks for progress, they may be inappropriate for the region. …

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