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Rethinking peacekeeping in Liberia

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The UN Security Council has established 30 March 2018 as the end the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia (UNMIL), which has been deployed in the country since 2003. Since its arrival, the mission has: accompanied the country’s political transition, supported the process of national reconciliation and, more recently, contributed to the fight against the Ebola epidemic. The withdrawal, which will take place a few months after the October 2017 presidential election, will be an important transitional milestone for Liberia. It will also be an opportunity for the United Nations to implement its new approach to peacekeeping, which the Security Council adopted in 2015 on the basis of a report by the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations. This involves considering peacekeeping at all stages of the conflict cycle, namely, emergence, escalation, continuation and recurrence, as well as putting in place other forms of engagement that are conducive to establishing a lasting peace. In the Liberian case, the transition still faces a number of challenges from justice and security to governance, economic development and social inclusion. In order to continue to help Liberia achieve these objectives after UNMIL’s departure, the new approach proposes to shift the UN mandate in three directions: to involve national actors more in organising the transition; to ensure sustainable and predictable financing after the mission’s departure; and to strengthen the co-operation of peace operations with other UN agencies and other national and regional partners. This approach is already at work, as witnessed by the organisation of a transition forum in Monrovia in October 2016, which brought together more than 100 national and international stakeholders, and whose findings were transmitted to the Peacebuilding Commission in New York. Find out +