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Reconciling the UN’s Mandate-Doctrine Gap: Towards a Global Peace and Security Partnership Open Access

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United Nations efforts to address some of the 21st century’s most complex, intrastate armed conflicts has led it to increasingly mandate operations that stretch the bounds of the peacekeeping principles outlined in its doctrinal guidance: consent of the main conflict parties, impartiality, and use of force only in self-defense and defense of the mission’s mandate. This has created a mandate-doctrine gap that challenges the ability of UN missions to deliver peace and risks the legitimacy of the UN as an institution. Moreover, the ambiguity over the UN’s role and purpose strains its relationship with its own member states and other actors who play a critical role in delivering peace. This thesis develops a framework for thinking about UN operations that distinguishes between peacekeeping, stabilization, and peace enforcement operations. This provides greater clarity for identifying where the UN’s policies and guidance have failed than the vague concept of “robust peacekeeping.” It then proposes a division of labor among peace providers based on their respective doctrines, focusing on actors that conduct peace operations in Africa, specifically the UN, the African Union and other regional organizations, and "coalitions of the willing." Finally, it evaluates their performance in the case of Mali since 2012 to test the applicability of this theoretical framework in practice. The thesis concludes that the UN should focus on conducting traditional peacekeeping; regional organizations should engage in sustained capacity building efforts to enable them to perform stabilization missions, and coalitions of the willing should be the primary actor performing peace enforcement.

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