From Cambodia to Kosovo, and now East Timor, the United Nations has undertaken broad governmental functions in an effort to ensure that peace is maintained after the departure of the peacekeepers. On its face, these “peace-building” missions have a powerful logic. Brokering a peace, but leaving behind a vacuum in institutional capacity, only encourages the return of conflict after the peacekeepers leave. Providing urgent humanitarian relief, but failing to integrate it with development aid, ignores the way that development assists in preventing future humanitarian crises. Providing development aid, but failing to establish the institutional conditions for sustainable development, is likely only to entrench a cycle of aid dependency and lead to allegations of waste and inefficiency. In all these senses, therefore, there appears to be the need for some form of UN political control in post-conflict circumstances, particularly so as to build institutional conditions for sustainable development and maintenance of peace agreements.
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