Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 02/2010

Peace support operations: The past and the future. Papers of the Ankara Seminar

Ritske Bloemendaal, editor, Kars de Bruijne, editor

July 2008

Centre for European Security Studies


The global security situation has changed fundamentally since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. A global war between superpowers has become less likely and new security concerns have appeared on the agenda. Smaller high- and low-intensity conflicts have erupted, largely with ethnic and religious origins, and occurring overwhelmingly within, rather than between, countries. Intrastate conflict accounts for 95% of current conflicts worldwide. As a result, mechanisms to cope with these new challenges have emerged. Methods of conflict prevention, conflict management and post-conflict programmes like Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) and Security System Reform (SSR) have gained importance. One of the mechanisms that attracted particular attention in the 1990s was the use of peace support operations (PSOs). It is true that the international community had used such operations during the Cold War — recall the peacekeeping contributions in Cyprus and Lebanon based on Chapter VI of the UN charter. However, since the 1990s the use of Peacekeeping, Peace Building, Peace Enforcement and hybrid second generation operations (‘robust’ peacekeeping) has significantly increased. While in the period 1947–1987 on average one PSO was undertaken per two year this number rose to more than seven per two-year in the period 1988–2004. More than 108,000 peace workers are currently deployed and this number will rise to nearly 150,000 in the near future, when PSOs are established in Darfur and Chad/Central African Republic. As a consequence, major international organisations have undergone a number of significant changes at all levels.