While demand for international peacebuilding assistance increases around the world, the UN’s Peacebuilding Architecture (PBA) remains a largely ineffective and marginal player in the peacebuilding field. There are many reasons for the PBA’s shortcomings, including its original design, the Security Council’s uneasy relations with the Peacebuilding Commission, turf battles within the UN system, and the changing nature of conflicts that require for peacebuilding interventions. In its current incarnation, the likelihood of the PBC becoming a critical player in peacebuilding—even for second or third level conflicts—is very slim. It simply does not have the political clout, the expertise or the resources to assert itself. Yet, for the international community, the opportunity cost of keeping the PBA afloat in its current form is quite high. This is an unsustainable state of affairs. This paper examines various options for making the PBA a more effective instrument of conflict management and peacebuilding.


About the authors
Necla Tschirgi is a Professor of Practice, Human Security and Peacebuilding at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego. A native of Turkey, Dr. Tschirgi received her BA and MA in political science at the American University of Beirut and her Ph.D. in political economy at the University of Toronto. Her extensive international career has spanned research, policy analysis, teaching, research management and grant making. In the last fifteen years, she has increasingly specialized in conflict prevention and peacebuilding—focusing on the nexus between security and development. From January 2007 to March 2009, Dr. Tschirgi served as an in-house consultant/Senior Policy Advisor with the Peacebuilding Support Office at the United Nations Secretariat in New York. Previously she was the Vice President of the International Peace Academy (IPA) from 2001-2005 where she also led IPA’s Security-Development Nexus research program. Prior to moving to New York to join IPA, she helped establish and led the Peacebuilding and Reconstruction Program at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Ottawa from 1997 to 2001.


Cedric de Coning (South Africa) is a Senior Advisor on Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding for ACCORD. He is also a Senior Research Fellow in the Peace Operations and Peacebuilding Research Group at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) and he is also a Special Advisor to the Head of the Peace Support Operations Division of the African Union Commission. He serves on the editorial boards of the journals Global Governance and Peacebuilding. Cedric has a PhD from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Stellenbosch. Cedric’s main research focus is on AU, EU and UN peacekeeping and peacebuilding policies and practices. He has a special interest in the implications of complexity theory for the planning, management and evaluation of peace missions. Recent publications include: “Rising Powers and the Future of Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding” (2013), “Understanding Peacebuilding as Essentially Local” (2013), and “The BRICS and Coexistence: An Alternative Vision of World Order” (2014).

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