UN Peacekeepinig in Africa and Good Governance: Challenges and Prospects


  • Willem van Genugten Tilburg University, The Netherlands




While UN peacekeeping operations are in most cases confronted with a multitude of intertwined problems, this seems to be even worse in Africa. Operations on African soil have to react more than averagely to inter- as well as intrastate conflicts based upon ethnic tension, to conflicts starting from extreme poverty or the abuse of natural resources, and to situations in which governments are failing to do what governments should do. In the paper the mandates of the six ongoing UN peacekeeping operations in Africa – as of 1 May 2007, that is, in the Western Sahara, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Côte d’Ivoire and Sudan – are analysed from the perspective of their (desired) contribution to the establishment of good governance structures. That analysis is followed by some observations upon the changing nature of peacekeeping operations. This includes the need to react to the specificity of African conflicts – which are often characterised by the combination of poverty, weak public institutions, a small private sector, high illiteracy, a narrow skills base, and limited capabilities for guaranteeing security – and the more general move towards 'peace building', which is in so many ways similar to a 'good governance' approach. The paper concludes by formulating a few lessons. These relate to such things as the need for UN peace keepers to take care of the economic root causes of the conflicts they have to deal with, as well as the task to invest systematically in building up governmental structures and legal institutions, while at the same time training police, army and judiciary staff in respect for human rights and in notions such as trying to solve conflicts without the use of violent means. The paper ends by underlining the necessity of a good interplay between the UN peace keepers and all state and non-state actors involved, from land lords and associations of farmers to regional intergovernmental organisations, from NGO’s to the International Financial Institutions and UN Specialised Organisations. If this is not going to happen, the focus is too much upon the military aspects only, and that is – needed as it may be in the short run – a guarantee that conflicts will reoccur as soon as the operations have ended.




Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...



Anon 2004 Strategic Comments

Anon "African peacekeeping: Revival or relapse?" 2004 (5) Strategic Comments

Alfredson, Clapp and Sano (eds) Human Rights and Good Governance

Alfredson G, Clapp R and Sano HO (eds) Human Rights and Good Governance: Building Bridges (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers London 2002)

Cilliers 2003 African Security Review

Cilliers J "Peacekeeping, Africa and the Emerging Global Security Architecture" 2003 (12) African Security Review 111-114

Clark and Herbst (eds) Learning from Somalia

Clark W and Herbst J (eds) Learning from Somalia: The Lessons of Armed Humanitarian Intervention (Westview Press Oxford 1997)

Copson Democratic Republic of the Congo

Copson RW Democratic Republic of the Congo: Peace Process and Background (Washington CRS Report for Congress 2001)

Crawford State Responsibility

Crawford J The International Law Commission’s Articles on State Responsibility (Cambridge University Press Cambridge 2002)

Crispin GJ "Beyond Peacekeeping: The Challenge of Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Peacebuilding in Africa" 2006 UN Chronicle Online Edition 1

Dallaire Shake Hands with the Devil

Dallaire R Shake Hands with the Devil (Carroll & Graf Publishers New York 2004)

De Coning 2002 Conflict Trends

De Coning C "Peacekeeping in Africa, the next decade" 2002 (3) Conflict Trends 46-56

Hout Politics of Aid Selectivity

Hout W The Politics of Aid Selectivity: Good Governance Criteria in World Bank, US and Dutch Development Assistance (Routledge London 2007)

Malan Peacekeeping in Africa

Malan M Peacekeeping in Africa: Occasional Paper No 31 (Institute for Security Studies Pretoria 1998)

Samii Peace Operations in Africa

Samii C Peace Operations in Africa: Capacity, Operations, and Implications Report from the 34th Annual Vienna Peacemaking and Peacekeeping Seminar (International Peace Academy New York 2004)

Sepulveda et al (eds) Human Rights Reference Handbook

Sepulveda M, Van Banning, T Gudmundsdóttir, GD, Chamoun C and Van Genugten W (eds) Human Rights Reference Handbook 3rd ed (University of Peace Costa Rica 2004)

Van der Lijn Walking the Tightrope

Van der Lijn J Walking the Tightrope: Do UN Peacekeeping operations actually contribute to durable peace? (Rozenberg Publishers Amsterdam 2006)

Van Genugten et al United Nations of the Future

Van Genugten W et al The United Nations of the Future: Globalization with a Human Face (KIT Publishers Amsterdam 2006)

Register of court cases

Portugal v Australia ICJ Reports 1995

Register of Internet resources

Anon 2004 The Economist http://www.economist.com/ 12 Jul

Anon "Can Africans keep their own peace?" 2004 The Economist 46 [Found on internet] http://www.economist.com/research/articlesBySubject/displaystory.cfm?subjectid=5189853&story_id=E1_NSSQDGS [Date of use 12 July 2008]

Cammaert http://www.books4life.nl/ 12 Jul

Cammaert P Lecture, held at the occasion of the presentation of the Max van der Stoel Human Rights Award 2006, Tilburg University, 14 December 2006 [Found on internet] http://www.books4life.nl/tilburg/LectureCammaert.pdf [Date of use 12 July 2008]

Grey-Johnson 2006 UN Chronicle http://www.un.org/ 7Jul

Grey-Johnson C "Beyond Peacekeeing; The Challenge of Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Peacebuilding in Africa" 2006 (1) UN Chronicle Online Edition [Found on internet] http://www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/2006/issue1/0106p08.htm# [Date of use 17 Jul 2008]

ReliefWeb http://www.reliefweb.int/ 17 Jul

ReliefWeb The Comprehensive Peace Agreement between The Government of The Republic of The Sudan and The Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Sudan People's Liberation Army [Found on internet] http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/EVIU-6AZBDB?OpenDocument [Date of use 17 July 2008]

UN http://www.ohchr.org/english/law/index.html 17 Jul

UN How do we make a difference? [Found on internet] http://www.ohchr.org/english/law/index.html [Date of use 17 July 2008]

UN http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko/ 17 Jul

United Nations Peacekeeping [Found on internet] http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko [Date of use 17 July 2008]

UN http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko/co_mission/unomil.htm 17 Jul

United Nations United Nations Observer Mission In Liberia

UNOMIL (September 1993 September 1997) [Found on internet] http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko/co_mission/unomil.htm [Date of use 17 July 2008]

UN http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/minuci/background.html 17 Jul

United Nations Côte d'Ivoire - MINUCI – Background [Found on internet] http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/minuci/background.html [Date of use 17 July 2008]

UN http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/minurso/mandate.html 17 Jul

United Nations Western Sahara - MINURSO – Mandate [Found on internet] http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/minurso/mandate.html [Date of use 17 July 2008]

UN http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/minurso/res.html 17 Jul

United Nations Western Sahara – MINURSO – UN Documents [Found on internet] http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/minurso/res.html [Date of use 17 July 2008]

UN http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/monuc/ 17 Jul

United Nations United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo [Found on internet] http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/monuc/ [Date of use 17 July 2008]

UN http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/unmil/background.html 17 Jul

United Nations Liberia – UNMIL – Background [Found on internet] http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/unmil/background.html [Date of use 17 July 2008]

UN http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/unmis/background.html 17 Jul

United Nations Sudan - UNMIS – Background [Found on internet] http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/missions/unmis/background.html [Date of use 17 July 2008]

UN http://www.un.org/peace/peacebuilding/ 17 Jul

United Nations Peacebuilding Commission [Found on internet] http://www.un.org/peace/peacebuilding/ [Date of use 17 July 2008]

UN http://www.un.org/peace/peacebuilding/membership.shtml 17 Jul

United Nations Membership and Configurations [Found on internet] http://www.un.org/peace/peacebuilding/membership.shtml [Date of use 17 July 2008]

UN http://www.unescap.org/ 17 Jul

United Nations ESCAP What is Good Governance? [Found on internet] http://www.unescap.org/pdd/prs/ProjectActivities/Ongoing/gg/governance.asp [Date of use 17 July 2008]

UN http://www.unmikonline.org/intro.htm 17 Jul

UN Fact Sheet [Found on internet] http://www.unmikonline.org/intro.htm [Date of use 17 July 2008]

List of treaties and international documents

Independent Inquiry Commission UN Doc S/1999/1257 1999

Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations UN Doc A/55/305 2000

SC Resolution 1020 (10 November 1995)

SC Resolution 1244 (10 June 1999)

SC Resolution 1279 (30 November 1999)

SC Resolution 1291 (24 February 2000)

SC Resolution 1312 (31 July 2000)

SC Resolution 1320 (15 September 2000)

SC Resolution 1479 (13 May 2003)

SC Resolution 1509 (19 September 2003)

SC Resolution 1528 (27 February 2004)

SC Resolution 1547 (11 June 1004)

SC Resolution 1556 (30 July 2004)

SC Resolution 1565 (1 October 2004)

SC Resolution 1590 (24 March 2005)

SC Resolution 1706 (31 August 2006)

SC Resolution 1739 (10 January 2007)

SC Resolution 1741 (30 January 2007)

SC Resolution 1750 (30 March 2007)

SC Resolution 1751 (13 April 2007)

SC Resolution 1754 (30 April 2007)

SC Resolution 1755 (30 April 2007)

SC Resolution 690 (29 April 1991)

SC Resolution 886 (22 September 1993)

Security and human rights for all UN Doc A/59/2005

UN Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1966

United Nations Security Council UN Doc A/50/60-S/1995/1 1995

United Nations Security Council UN Doc S/23500 1992

World Summit Outcome UN Doc A/RES/60/1 2005

World Summit Outcome UN Doc A/RES/60/180 2005



How to Cite

van Genugten, W. (2017). UN Peacekeepinig in Africa and Good Governance: Challenges and Prospects. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 11(2), 41–86. https://doi.org/10.17159/1727-3781/2008/v11i2a2760