The project develops a mid-level theory on how world politics influence peacebuilding and thereby contributes to International Relations theories and peace research. By providing a macro-perspective on peacebuilding, it ultimately helps to render it more effective in addressing contemporary conflicts.
UN peacebuilding is at a watershed, sadly illustrated by its failure to adequately address contemporary conflicts, such as in Libya, Syria, and Yemen. In the years immediately following the end of the Cold War, there was a consensus within the international community that peace operations needed to address root causes of conflicts and thus have extensive mandates, including the rebuilding of a liberal state. In recent years, this consensus has waned and different approaches to peacebuilding compete.
This turning point in UN peacebuilding can be understood as part of broader changes in world politics. The increasing influence of Russia and China, as well as other rising powers, such as Brazil, India, and Turkey, challenge US domination in world politics. The proposed project inquires into how this shift from a unipolar to a multipolar world order influences UN peacebuilding. It establishes a dataset on UN peace missions since the end of the Cold War to analyze how they have changed. It then conducts an in-depth study of the link between world politics and UN peace missions. It does so through a content analysis of UN policy documents regarding peacebuilding and an in-depth study of six cases, namely the UN peacekeeping missions in Central African Republic and Mali, the UN peacemaking missions in Syria and Yemen, and the UN in-country political missions in Libya and Afghanistan.