UN Support to Regional Peace Operations: Lessons from UNSOA

Paul Williams

(Paul D. Williams)    Authorized in January 2009, the UN Support Office for the African Union Mission in Somalia (UNSOA) was an unprecedented operation. Through UNSOA, the Department of Field Support used the UN’s assessed contributions to directly support a non-UN regional peace operation (AMISOM). Although this significantly enhanced AMISOM’s capabilities and increased its overall effectiveness, UNSOA faced numerous challenges that severely inhibited its ability to deliver on all its mandated tasks. This report analyzes five sets of challenges that UNSOA faced from 2009 through to 2015. These challenges revolved around the expanding scope of UNSOA’s tasks, the clash between the UN and the AU’s organizational cultures, the highly insecure operating environment, the size of the theater of operations, and some of AMISOM’s idiosyncrasies.

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