Thorsten Benner, Stephan Mergenthaler and Philipp Rotmann

in The New World of UN Peace Operations

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199594887
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729065 | DOI:

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The opening chapter starts by presenting the empirical and theoretical motivations. Empirically, it introduces the ‘learning challenge’ in contemporary UN peace operations, in many ways the UN's flagship activity. With sprawling growth and evermore complex mandates, modern peace operations have become an inherently knowledge-based venture, a far cry from the traditional ceasefire monitoring of the early days. Peacekeepers need guidance and doctrine to carry out an expanding set of tasks — some of which, like building judicial systems, are at the frontier of knowledge about social transformations and the complex role of outsiders in such processes. Despite this pressing need, the UN has for a long time failed to invest in the tools and infrastructure for learning lessons and developing guidance and doctrine. When the landmark Report of the Panel on UN Peace Operations (the ‘Brahimi Report’) urged a change of course in 2000, it took an additional three years before the UN began to turn itself into a learning organization. But how exactly does the UN learn in peace operations and what are the factors enabling and hindering learning? The chapter proceeds to introduce the methodology and case selection before outlining the overall structure of the book.

Keywords: case studies; learning; methodology; peacekeeping; peacekeepers; UN peace operations

Chapter.  5403 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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