The latest edition of International Peacekeeping: The Yearbook of International Peace Operations (Vol II, 2007, Koninklijke Brill N.V.) contains a chapter by Cedric de Coning, ACCORD Research Fellow, on ‘Civil-Military Coordination and UN Peacebuilding Operations’.
Most of the literature dealing with civil-military coordination has been concerned with the relationship between humanitarian actors and their military counterparts. In the UN peace operations context, however, the humanitarian-military interface is only one of several civil-military relationships. This paper is concerned with the question whether a different set of principles and guidelines is required for civil-military coordination in UN peace operations. The question is relevant because almost all the UN principles and guidelines for civil-military coordination have been drafted for the humanitarian-military interface, and most have been generated by the humanitarian community, from a humanitarian perspective. In contrast, most contemporary UN peace operations are mandated to manage post-conflict peacebuilding transitions that occur in several phases and that involve many different civilian actors including, but not limited to, the humanitarian emergency phase and the humanitarian community.
The paper argues that UN CIMIC actions can make a positive contribution to the overall peacebuilding process if the military components’ resources, energy and goodwill can be positively channelled in support of the overall mission objectives.