n African Security Review - Whither peacekeeping in Africa : revisiting the evolving role of the United Nations

Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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Post-Cold War turbulence between 1990 and 1994 led to huge UN peacekeeping operations and the cost of these operations increased six-fold over this period. However, as the number of peacekeepers declined sharply towards the end of the 1990s, critics were quick to contend that the UN Security Council had been lax in carrying out its mandate and responsibility to maintain international peace and security. Specifically, it was argued that the Security Council had limited responsibility and commitment to deploy Blue Helmets in sizeable numbers on the African continent where involvement in conflicts had been among the UN's most challenging endeavours. The tide has turned in recent years and today the UN deploys more peacekeepers in international peacekeeping theatres than ever before - the majority on African soil. The question arises : What does this imply with regard to the political will of the international community to invest in or contribute to peacekeeping operations in Africa? Furthermore, where does this leave important African roleplayers such as the AU and the envisaged African Standby Force? Against the above background this article aims at providing a better understanding of UN peacekeeping operations with special reference to African peacekeeping challenges.

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