For traditionalists at the U.N., efforts in 2013 to launch a peacekeeping mission for Syria seemed indicative of a new willingness to take risks with peacekeepers' lives. These critics fear that trends toward aggressive "peacekeeping" have already shaped U.N. planning for current missions in Africa. The resulting debate over the risks and rules of peacekeeping has ground on throughout the year. What if anything has the U.N. learned? And is there still a chance that U.N. peacekeepers could be called upon to return to Syria?
Getting to Peace: New Approaches to Ending Conflict
The number of wars and the deaths they cause have been steadily decreasing since the post-World War II period. But changes in both the nature of conflict and the degree to which it is broadcast to a global public have underscored the need for effective peacemaking, while also changing our approaches to achieving a stable peace. Richard Gowan looks at the U.N.’s shift toward aggressive and riskier peacemaking missions. Emma Leslie explains why involving more actors in the peace process is essential—and how it works. And Stefan Wolff examines the methods for preventing the lack of trust that makes a peace agreement necessary from undermining the deal once it has been negotiated.
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Over the past few decades, the shifting dynamics of the nature of war, combined with a maturing field of peace process support, have led to parallel shifts in the nature of mediation in peace processes. Now, more actors, using more-advanced support mechanisms, are engaging in peace-process support. This maturing of the field has also helped facilitate innovative approaches to contemporary peace talks in a civil war setting. This article will reflect on some of these changes in relation to the Philippines peace process.
At its most basic, a peace process comprises three phases: the negotiation, implementation and operation of an agreement. Yet the successful conclusion of a peace process is by no means a foregone conclusion--they can, and do, fail. This is why one of the most important sets of political and legal approaches to achieving sustainable peace is the use of guarantees as part of the settlement process. While guarantees cannot replace agreements, they can help parties to implement agreements and make them work.