Deploying Combined Teams: Lessons Learned from Operational Partnerships in UN Peacekeeping

Donald C. F. Daniel, Paul D. Williams, and Adam C. Smith

Only fifteen United Nations’ member states provide more than 60 percent of the 104,000 UN uniformed personnel deployed worldwide. How can a more equitable sharing of the global peacekeeping burden be produced that generates new capabilities for UN operations?

Operational partnerships are one potentially useful mechanism to further this agenda. They are partnerships that occur when military units from two or more countries combine to deploy as part of a peacekeeping operation. This report assesses the major benefits and challenges of these partnerships for UN peace operations at both the political and operational levels.

The report begins by providing an overview of the different varieties of partnerships in contemporary UN peace operations and describes the major patterns apparent in a new database of forty-one operational partnerships from 2004 to 2014. It presents case studies of two UN missions that exhibit the full range of operational partnerships: the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). The authors explore why some UN member states engage in operational partnerships or might do so in the future, arguing that the reasons include a wide range of both mission-specific concerns and broader political and security-related reasons.

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