A study on extension of state authority mandates in peacekeeping

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Worldwide | DPKO

The Division of Policy, Evaluation and Training in the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Field Support (DPKO/DFS) recently launched a study titled “Presence, Capacity and Legitimacy: Implementing Extension of State Authority Mandates”.

The study focuses on how the concept of extension of state authority has been understood in peacekeeping operations and how it has been operationalized despite a lack of conceptual clarity and guidance.

The goal of the study is to shed light on the concept and initiate a much needed discussion on ways to improve implementation of extension of state authority mandates in peacekeeping.

A key argument of the study is that extension of state authority is predicated on three components: presence, capacity and legitimacy.

In order for sustainable peace to endure and to avoid relapse into conflict, the presence of the state should be extended beyond the capital, the state’s capacity must be built in order for it to deliver quality goods and services and the state must be perceived as legitimate in the eyes of the population.

The study proposes that although these three components are mutually reinforcing, little attention has been paid to legitimacy which, it argues, is an important factor given that UN peacekeepers often work in environments where the absence of legitimacy is a conflict driver.

The study proposes several recommendations aimed at helping UN peacekeepers implement extension of state authority mandates. It recommends that, prior to planning and implementation of activities, a political analysis be conducted that provides an understanding of the state as well as the political and socio-economic dynamics within the country.

Planning for extension of state authority activities should be integrated into overall mission planning and take into account factors that will allow for sustainability of activities.

It also recommends that the implementation of the mandate be conducted with national, local and international partners. It encourages mission leadership to be fully engaged and actively demonstrate their support for extension of state authority activities.

Impact assessments should be conducted to ensure that missions are contributing to peace rather than jeopardising it.

The study can be downloaded from the DPKO Policy and Practice Database and Peacekeeping Resource Hub.