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The potential and limits of the local ownership paradigm for future peace missions

By Nicolas Lemay-Hebert


There is an emerging literature on state-building that identifies the significant limits of external interventions when unrelated to the needs and perceptions of the local society targeted by the intervention. Limits of exogenous interventions are highlighted in various locales, whether it is in Kosovo, Timor-Leste, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan or Iraq. In that regard, international peacebuilding does not avoid criticism and is increasingly analyzed as one type of intervention among others. Many authors show how massive international peacebuilding missions, while deployed at first to create the conditions for a lasting peace, can actually contribute to create local tensions (economic, socio-politic and cultural). This paper will first review the recent literature on the “unintended consequences” of peacekeeping and the critique to liberal peace. It will analyze the limits of the local ownership concept, limits that have been underlined by many scholars in the development literature. Building from this literature, it will then proceed to analyze the potential of the local ownership paradigm when applied to international peacebuilding missions, especially when coupled with the participatory intervention framework, as outlined by Jarat Chopra and Tanja Hohe. By doing so, this paper will contribute to a different understanding of the impacts of peacebuilding missions on local settings, while placing emphasis on new possibilities for international interventions

Topics: JZ International relations
Year: 2011
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