Literature review: what does recent analysis suggest about the contribution of the multilateral system to international development goals on peace and security?
The literature broadly suggests that: * As a result of the increasingly complex conflict environments,
individual actors are unable to achieve goals on peace and security by
* More joint operations are occurring in order to overcome the
challenges posed by complex conflict environments, with joint
multilateral action seen to promote more effective and efficient
* Organisations such as the EU have stated their commitment to effective
multilateralism to address peace and security goals.
* Multilateral cooperation between the UN and regional organisations
benefits both parties, as regional organisations gain legitimacy and
support from a UN mandate, and the UN gains partners that can fill in
gaps in its missions and who often know the context in greater detail.
* EU-UN cooperation in Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),
and Mali are held up as successful examples of such cooperation; as
well as joint action in Libya between organisations such as the UN, EU
and the Arab League.
However, the literature also highlights a number of challenges faced by
the multilateral system in contributing to international goals on peace
and security. They include:
- While top-level cooperation has become increasingly institutionalised
this has not necessarily translated into effective coordination on the
- Tensions exist in the relationship between the UN and regional
organisations, especially the African Union. There is some suggestion
that the EU is selective in its support for multilateral operations
and that its lack of personnel in UN peacekeeping operations
undermines the sustainability of the relationship. In addition there
are some fears that working with the UN would undermine other
organisations efficiency and capability. There are some fears that the
UN would be negatively impacted by associating with some other
multilateral organisations such as NATO, as a result the perceived
political nature of some of NATO’s actions.
- Information sharing remains challenging, especially in relation to
- Differences in organisations’ cultures, interests and planning rules;
and inter-institutional rivalry, competition and misunderstanding
around mandates and roles, make cooperation and coordination
Rohwerder, B. The multilateral system&#8217;s contribution to peace and security (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1173). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2014)