UN Peacekeeping Operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Lessons Learnt and the Future of UN Peacekeeping

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  • July-September 2022

    The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has seen conflict and violence ever since its independence, for varied reasons. The main causes are its abundant and ill-managed natural resources, lack of institutions, ethnic issues, lack of state authority and undisciplined and ill-trained national security forces. Taking note of the conflict, the humanitarian situation and the threat to international peace and security, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), from time to time, has authorised the deployment of peacekeeping missions to help maintain territorial integrity, stabilise the situation and assist in nation-building. In this respect, for the first time in the history of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping, a Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) for peace enforcement was authorised by the UNSC, to protect civilians under eminent threat and to bring peace and stability to the country. This article describes the long history of UN peacekeeping in the DRC to highlight how peacekeeping has evolved over the years to meet the challenges encountered. It examines the issues of the use of force, the role and effectiveness of the FIB and the need for institution-building. The aim is to draw some useful lessons to improve effectiveness of UN peacekeeping. Due to global recession and adverse economic effects of Covid-19, it is unlikely that the UNSC will allot more funds and resources for peacekeeping. A change in approach for managing conflicts by the international community should therefore be expected.

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