Liberia; a United Nation’s success or partial success?
The basic objective of the United
Nations is to attain and maintain a world peace and friendly relations among
nations across the globe. This is aptly summarized in the preamble of the
United Nations Charter which says; “WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS
DETERMINED to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice
in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind”, AND FOR THESE ENDS “to
practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good
neighbours, and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and
security, and to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of
methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest.”
In the early 1990s, there was a
significant increase in the use of UN authorized peace operations for
peacebuilding (Doyle and Sambanis 2006). This reflected a new trend of
interventionism and redefined a new generation of strategies in peacebuilding.
According to Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations,
those peace operations were intended to fill a ‘gaping hole’ in the
Organization’s institutional and structural capacity to support countries in
transition from violent conflict to sustainable peace. It is as part of this
reason, that in September 2003, the United Nations Mission in Liberia, was
established by the Security Council of the UN to help achieve sustainable peace
The major arguments that
recurrently come up in the academia and at the UN levels is whether
Peacebuilding only involves measures aimed at lessening the risk of lapsing or
relapsing into conflict, to strengthen national capacities at all levels for
conflict management, and to lay the foundations for sustainable peace and development,
whether peacebuilding applies to all phases of a conflict or only to
post-conflict ones; whether the process is primarily political or developmental
in nature; whether it should focus primarily on addressing root causes or
should engage in institution building and/or changing attitudes and behaviours
(McCandless & Doe 2007:5–6; McCandless 2008).
possible factors that influenced the peacebuilding process in Liberia
Downs and Stedman’s
Ending Civil Wars
Is Liberia a UN Peacebuilding success?
Call’s Knowing Peace
Challenges of Post-Conflict Peacebuilding by the UN in
Call’s Knowing Peace
Goldstein’s Winning the war on war
Barnett, M, Kim H, O’Donnell, M
and Sitea, L 2007. Peacebuilding: what is in a name? Global Governance, 13(1)
Call, C 2005.
Institutionalizing peace: a review of post-conflict concepts and issues for
DPA. Consultant report for Policy Planning Unit, UN Department of Political
Affairs, 31 January.
Liberia 2006. Breaking with the
past: from conflict to development, In Interim poverty reduction strategy.
Republic of Liberia.
Doyle, W. M and Sambanis, N
2006. Making War and Building Peace. United Nations Peace Operations. Princeton
University Press Princeton and Oxford.
Liberia and United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP), Liberia 2006. Mobilizing capacity for
reconstruction and development, national human development report. Liberia:
Republic or Liberia and UNDP.
Liberia 2008. Poverty reduction
strategy, Republic of Liberia.
Mccandless, E, 2008. Lessons
from Liberia. Integrated approaches to peacebuilding in transitional settings.
ISS Paper 161.
Mccandless, E and Doe, S 2007.
Strengthening peacebuilding efforts in Liberia: a discussion document for UNMIL
and the UNCT. 15 April. O/DSRSG for Recovery and Governance. UNMIL: Liberia.
Paris, R 2004. At war’s end:
building peace after civil conflict. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
S. J et al. eds. 2002. Ending Civil Wars:
The Implementation of Peace Agreements. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.
United Nations 1995. Supplement
to ‘An agenda for peace.’ Position paper of the Secretary-General on the
occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations. UN Doc
A/50/60/-S/1995/1 (3 January). Available at