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close this bookUnited Nations University - Work in Progress Newsletter - Volume 14, Number 3, 1995 (UNU, 1995, 12 pages)
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentFresh paths to peace - New dimensions of UN peace-keeping operations
close this folderHistory's long memory - The rise of ethnic conflict
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View the documentThe persistence of collective memory
View the documentThe colonial legacy
View the documentForce vs. argument
View the documentImpact of ''World beyond''
View the documentA new international climate
close this folderBetween peace-keeping and force - To fill the fatal gap...
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View the documentCold war stakes: Between states
View the documentBetter and quicker response
View the documentRethinking a Murky area
close this folderUsing force: When and where - The job of the ''Blue Helmets''
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View the documentFighting in the Congo
View the documentSince the Cold War's end
View the documentLessons of Bosnia, Somalia
View the documentThe Rwanda approach
close this folderThe security council and peacemaking - Too little, too late - Or too much, too soon?
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View the documentActing like a court or legislature
View the documentChapter VII: Too blunt and too weak
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close this folderWhen soldiers meet refugees: - How to keep and make the peace
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View the documentThe UN inside borders
View the documentCreating humanitarian ''space'' and...
View the document... Peace enforcement
View the document... Peace settlement
View the document... Regional initiatives
View the documentThe lesson: Avoid becoming war's hostage
close this folderDoctors without boundaries - NGOs and the peace-keepers
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View the documentWorth a pound of cure
View the documentThe needs of peace
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close this folderUNTAC in Cambodia - ''Creating political space...''
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View the documentRunning a fair election
View the documentThe hope, the reality
View the documentA ''window of opportunity''
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View the documentImpartiality and reality
View the documentReturning ''favours''
View the documentA cynical expediency?
close this folderThe dilemma of force - Don't ''dabble in war''
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View the documentSelf-defence for a soldier
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close this folderPeace-keeping in Africa - Feuding clans in Somalia
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View the documentBuild-up to civil war
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View the documentThe failed hunt for Aidid
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close this folderCapping a ''fountain of negativism'' - Bosnia: UN ''bridge'' to both sides
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View the documentSecurity council disagreements
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View the documentUN in a war - Not at war
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close this folderA management college for peacemakers?
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View the documentNeeded: Right mix, right place, right time
View the documentA UN staff college?
View the documentThe role for UNU
View the documentCrucial interface: Peace and development
View the documentRwanda: Training for trauma

Cold war stakes: Between states

During the Cold War period, peace-keeping operations dealt almost exclusively with governments and with conflicts between states. When they departed from this role - as in the Congo in the 1960s or South Lebanon in the 1980s - they encountered greater difficulties with relationships with non-governmental forces and over the basic question of the limited use of force. During these years, in other words, the limitations of peace-keeping operations and their essential nature and method of operation were understood and, to a large extent, respected.

What is most lacking at present is the capacity for immediate and effective action after a Security Council decision and before the situation becomes unmanageable. To fill this vital gap something new is required: a body of people who are already trained and who can be committed immediately to an uncertain situation without the problem of governmental consent which inevitably qualifies all stand-by arrangements.

Various proposals have been made, starting in 1948, for some sort of UN Legion, UN volunteer force, UN rapid deployment group and so on. A number of intensive studies are now being made to evolve a blueprint of the nature, functioning, make-up, feasibility and wider context of such a group. Clearly, we are not looking for a substitute, either for peace-keeping or for enforcement action. We are seeking rather something that could fill the fatal gap between them.


Tokyo Symposium on New Dimensions of United Nations Peace-keeping Operations held at the UNU headquarters on 19-20 January 1995.

The functions of such an entity, broadly speaking, would be:

(1) to provide an immediate and convincing UN presence on the ground;

(2) to pin down cease-fires, protect civilians, provide communications and information, etc.;

(3) to determine the nature of the local situation and degree of local cooperation with the UN by those involved;

(4) to protect and assist efforts at negotiation, conciliation, etc.;

(5) to make an informed estimate of possibilities of and conditions for future UN action (including peacekeeping and humanitarian actions), and to suggest essential elements of that action.

In several recent episodes - in, for example, Haiti, Rwanda or Somalia - such a capacity would quite probably have preempted the necessity of later, much larger, more expensive and less effective UN interventions.