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The Handbook of Global Security Policy by Mary Kaldor, Iavor Rangelov

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Chapter 14 The Evolution of International Peacekeeping

Renata Dwan

Introduction

Peacekeeping refers to the authorized deployment of international personnel to maintain peace and security.1 Traditionally the purview of the United Nations (UN), international peacekeeping is, today, a tool employed by regional and subregional organizations, as well as ad hoc coalitions of states, to enforce, maintain, and build peace between and within states. The breadth of the term, the range of actors involved, and the diverse contexts in which it is employed make international peacekeeping difficult – and often contentious – to define. Yet it is the lack of precise definition that has enabled peacekeeping to evolve and adapt to changing international politics and norms over seven decades. As international peacekeeping tackles more complex and protracted conflicts with increasingly ambitious mandates, imprecision is also a challenge for its effective use. Questions over the scope, authority, governance, impact, and sustainability of international peacekeeping reflect this tension.

This chapter is divided into three sections. The first describes the evolution of peacekeeping from a limited tool of the United Nations to maintain ceasefires between states to a multiactor enterprise focused primarily on establishing peace and supporting recovery after civil conflict. The second section explores key current debates, particularly relating to implementation of peacekeeping mandates. The concluding ...

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