UN Peace Operations and Rule of Law Assistance 1989–2014

FBA is currently running an extensive research project on rule of law assistance in UN peace operations. The project will result in a synthesis report containing comprehensive data on UN rule of law assistance in all peace operations during 1989–2014.

Rule of law reform as a part of UN peace operations (including peacekeeping missions as well as special political missions and peacebuilding offices) has expanded rapidly in the past decades. Given the time, efforts and resources invested, the absence of concerted efforts to describe empirically how the concept is implemented is problematic. Without a systematic overview it is difficult to properly assess and identify possible future trends, challenges and demands, and to respond to the increasing pressure to measure the effectiveness and impact of the UN's rule of law assistance.

Drawing upon current UN doctrine in the area of rule of law in peace operations, this project seeks to operationalise the concept of rule of law in order to create an empirical dataset on rule of law assistance in UN peace operations. A first step of mapping has already been conducted, including UN peace operations in Africa during 1989–2010. Building on the existing data, the FBA is currently conducting a comprehensive mapping of all UN peace operations globally.

The data is recorded from Secretary-General Reports and Budget Performance Reports (where available) on each UN peace operation between 1989 and 2014. The dataset covers seven broad reform areas of UN rule of law assistance: (1) judicial reform, (2) constitutional reform, (3) law reform, (4) rule of law in public administration reform, (5) legal awareness and access to justice reform, (6) police reform, (7) and corrections reform.

The information gathered will open up for new analyses on how rule of law assistance has evolved over time, the volume of rule of law assistance, what areas or sectors receive the most assistance, and the methods employed for implementation. It might also allow for forward-looking assertions on policy and programming in the field of rule of law.

The final report can be expected in late 2017. You can also read our Onepager about the project.

Results from the already conducted mapping of rule of law assistance in UN peace operations in Africa is collected in the report “UN Peace Operations and Rule of Law Assistance in Africa: Data, Patterns and Questions for the Future”.


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Saba Nowzari

Saba Nowzari is expert on women, peace and security, Mali and the Middle East

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