Does Peacekeeping Work?

Fortna defines peacekeeping as the “deployment of international personnel to help maintain peace and security in the aftermath of war” (Page Fortna 2008, 5). Fortna rephrases the question of whether peacekeeping works to “does peacekeeping improve the chances that peace will last?” (Page Fortna 2008, 5). She ultimately argues a probabilistic conclusion, rather than deterministic, to the question. The conclusion explains that while peacekeeping does not ensure sustained peace, it does significantly improve the chances of the maintenance of peace.

Mozambique, one of Fortna’s case studies, showcases how peace keeping ‘worked’. The civil war in Mozambique lasted for 15 years starting in the late 1970s. In this aftermath of this conflict UN Peacekeepers utilized both observational and multidimensional operations. The ONUMOZ was established by the security council with four major components: humanitarian, military, political, and electoral. From this initiative a supervisory and monitoring commission was established, as well as a humanitarian program, and elections were conducted. The country has remained relatively peaceful and has held multiple democratic elections. The country actively works towards moving away from its violent past. In a recent news article in the Washington Post, Mozambique was shown to be completely land mine free. One HALO trust worker, a land mine clearance agency, stated that the country has the confidence to “really move forward and flourish, and move on from the civil war and war for independence” (Raghavan 2015).

From the example of Mozambique, it is evident that peacekeeping has the potential to improve chances of peace lasting, but this is not necessarily always the case. An important component to the success of peacekeeping is whether or not it is consent-based within the home country, as well as the different factions’ choice to maintain peace. This is a factor that peacekeepers do not have full control over, and could greatly influence the end result of the durability of sustained peace.


Works Cited

  1. Page Fortna, Virginia. “Peacekeeping and the Peacekept.” Does Peacekeeping Work?
  2. Raghavan, Sudarsan. “Mozambique Was Once Riddled with Tens of Thousands of Land Mines. Now, It Has None.” Washington Post. September 17, 2015
  3. “Mozambique- ONUMOZ Background.” United Nations News Center.