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The peacemaking triangle : the United Nations as a mediator in international conflicts

The peacemaking triangle : the United Nations as a mediator in international conflicts

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RÖHNER, Nora, 2006. The peacemaking triangle : the United Nations as a mediator in international conflicts [Master thesis]

@mastersthesis{Rohner2006peace-4092, title={The peacemaking triangle : the United Nations as a mediator in international conflicts}, year={2006}, author={Röhner, Nora} }

2006 2011-03-24T10:10:21Z The peacemaking triangle : the United Nations as a mediator in international conflicts The United Nations is an important player in international conflict mediation. With the termination of the Cold War and the reinvigoration of the organization s capacities, the UN has expanded its activities in preventing and containing conflicts. However, the organization s efforts in mediation have so far been more of a trial and error undertaking than a strategic approach.<br />The objective of this research endeavour is to propose a theoretical framework which explains success and failure of UN mediation and to test it empirically. The main argument is that impartiality, leverage and status are the decisive factors for successful UN mediation. These three factors and their interrelationship take the shape of a triangle: the UN Peacemaking Triangle . The model predicts that all three factors are necessary to produce a positive outcome if only one of the factors is missing, success is out of reach.<br />The model suggests that impartiality and credibility are important prerequisites for success because mediation can only be effective when the UN is either perceived as being unbiased and fair and when the organization has gained the trust of the parties through its noble intentions. And yet impartiality is not an objective condition in mediation and the UN can be perceived by one party as supporting the other side. If that is the case, the outcome can still be successful if the UN is accepted as an honest broker with good intentions of solving the dispute. What matters in that case are the UN s apparent motives, its fairness and justice.<br />Leverage the ability of the mediator to put pressure on the conflict parties is the second factor in the model. The rationale is that the UN mediator has to make the parties give up their rigid positions and get them to agree on mutually satisfactory terms. This requires material or immaterial pressure which can be exerted as promises and rewards or threats and punishment positive or negative incentives). Material incentives of the UN are its resources in the form of aid programs and the implementation of peace accords; immaterial incentives are the pressure of the international community and the Security Council. A UN-specific form of leverage is the role of the organization as mediator of last resort : if previous mediation attempts have failed and/or no other actor is prepared to become active as a mediator, the disputants will realize that a UN mediation is their last chance for peace and will ultimately be more cooperative and prepared to make concessions.<br />The third factor to be tested for its relevance for mediation success is the UN s unique status. The reasoning behind it is that the UN s scope and depth make it the largest and influential international organization and give it a generally distinct standing in world politics. The UN s assets in terms of status are its great degree of legitimacy, its special image and reputation, its experience and technical expertise and, most importantly, the role of the Secretary-General. When the Secretary-General is personally committed to the peace process and brings his integrity and competencies to play, he gives additional weight to the mediation effort.<br />If the model is confirmed by the analysis, failure is unlikely when the organization uses all these qualities and attributes strategically in a mediation effort. The model predicts that only impartiality backed by leverage and complemented with status can yield satisfactory results.<br />To obtain the data for the analysis, I conducted interviews with UN officials who were personally involved in the respective negotiations. The majority of these interviews were done as personal interviews during an internship at the UN in New York at the beginning of 2006, two were done as telephone interviews. For the data analysis, I used an extended version of Ragin s Qualitative Comparative Analysis which was formulated by Lasse Cronqvist who also developed the software program TOSMANA to assist in the analysis.<br />The results essentially indicate that leverage is a necessary and sufficient condition for UN mediation success, whereas impartiality and status are negligible in their explanatory power. Thus, the model of the Peacemaking Triangle is rejected. Not a specific combination of factors but only the presence or absence of the UN s ability to effectively exert pressure on the disputants explains the outcome.<br />Although the model was not supported by the analysis, the results still contribute decisively to the existing literature on mediation. The general assessment in the literature that leverage is a key factor for explaining mediation success is confirmed by the analysis. But at the same time<br />the results disprove those who state that "United Nation mediation is hampered considerably by lack of resources" and that "[T]he United Nations can offer no promises, nor make any threats". 2011-03-24T10:10:21Z terms-of-use Röhner, Nora Röhner, Nora eng application/pdf

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