Hawks and Doves: Peacekeeping and Conflict Resolution

Peacekeeping has long been treated as an instrument of conflict management, which is unfortunately flawed in that it usually fails to address the underlying causes of the conflict. However, we will focus on its capacity as a tool for conflict resolution, paying particular attention to the dual goal of containing violence on the one hand and furthering peacebuilding efforts on the other. While we recognise, of course, that peacekeeping has over the years been performed by various organisations, this chapter will centre on United Nations peacekeeping, reasoning that many of the aspects explored here are obviously relevant to the peacekeeping efforts of other organisations as well. The first section outlines the parameters of contemporary peacekeeping. The second section elaborates on the significance of conflict research and theory building for peacekeeping practice. This will be further explored in three contexts: conflict analysis and its relevance for the establishment of intervention frameworks; differing time frames and the importance of distinguishing between these in managing violent conflict, especially in relation to the latest discussions on robust peacekeeping; specific skills and the training necessary for contemporary peacekeeping missions, focusing especially on the contribution of conflict resolution. This section concludes with a discussion of perspectives on, and examples of, the application of conflict resolution theory in peacekeeping. The final section discusses future priorities and needs and concludes by commenting on the future of peacekeeping in the light of latest efforts to strengthen the UN‘s peacekeeping capacity.