Since the transformation of the evolution of modern state system following the treaty of westphalia in 1648, the international system has witnessed so many challenges ranging from conflicts, under-development, authoritarian, bad governance etc. This is due it the anarchy nature of the global system.

Peace support operations have been one area the united nations has actually carried out in various states that have witnessed long protracted conflicts which include Africa, Latin America, middle-east and Europe. It is in this light that this research paper will try to look at the role of the United Nations in peace support operations using the conflict in Mali as its thrust at analysis.

Wallensteen, (2002), said: “A conflict requires a disputed comp actability; two parties strive to acquire at the same time an available set of scarce resources, which can be either material or in material”.

What is Peace Support Operation?

The purpose and principle of the united nation charter are to restore and maintain peace. Peace support operation is the operation that makes use of diplomatic, civil, and military to bring about peace and stability in the states.

Overview of the Conflict in Mali

There have been ongoing uprisings of conflicts in Mali since the early 1960’s till date. The first Tuareg conflict started in 1963 but the not last a year because it was crushed by the military forces under the command of captain Derby silly June 1990 another Tuareg rebellion broke out when the leader Ag Ghali of the popular movement of the liberation of Azawad (MPLA) attacked a police post with a small group of soldiers who has just returned from an army camp in Libya. This conflict later was dissolved in a peace treaty of the Algerian-brokered and a national pact of 1992. The recent conflict in Mali began on the 16th of January 2012 between the government forces and Tuareg rebels which resulted in the death of more than 200,000 people according to the report by the united nation. These groups of rebels were fighting for the independence or greater autonomy for northern Mali in an area known as Azawad. The rebels formed a group known as the movement for the liberation of Azawad (MNLA).

The Role of UN in Conflict Mediation in the Malian conflict

The United Nations was formed on the 24th of October 1945, soon after the end of the Second World War. It was a successor of the League of Nations. This organization was formed to prevent the outbreak of another war since the League of Nations failed to prevent the Second World War. In 1945, 51 members met at San Francisco and signed the United Nations charter and the UN came into existence. There are currently 192 members of the United Nations, the headquarters which is in New York City USA. The United Nations has 6 recognized languages which are: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russia, and Spanish. There are 6 organs in the UN these are; the general assembly, Security Council, economic and social council, secretariat, the international court of justice and the trusteeship council. Under the Security Council, we have 15 members which 5 is permanent (France, USA, UK, china and the Soviet Union).  The Security Council doesn’t just act on the crisis, it takes the time to debate and negotiated on the best possible way to handle a problem. Following the written report of the former secretary general Boutros –Boutros-Ghali in 1992 “an agenda for peace”, it is the responsibility of the un security council to recognize the limitation of peacekeeping and also the abstinence of war doesn’t ensure peace and security. The UN Security Council should put heads together to give the best solution for the problems at hand in matters to conflict and war.

Since the United Nations Security Council couldn’t launch military interventions under its own command, it gave the use of force and planning to the ECOWAS, AU and other states.


Even though the United Nations has been able to achieve remarkable success it faced with some challenges. The Following are some of the challenges facing the United Nations Missions:


Unlike sovereign- states whose financial capabilities are usually gotten from the diverse channel, the United Nations rely solely on contributions from members – state to be able to carry out its duties effectively. Mediating in conflict and peace resolution is an expensive project which requires the mobilization of resources.

2 The absence of a UN –Permanent Army:

Another challenge facing peacekeeping operation and mission is the absence of a UN permanent Armed –forces for carrying such missions. Most times the organization rely on member states to send her own troops to the organization so as to carry out this mission in which the countries do not really want to their army.

3 Geographical and Social –Cultural challenge:-

One of the successes of any combatant involved in any peaceful resolution of conflicts is their degree of adaptability to the social –cultural and geographical location of the country it used in. most times the UN troops are taken to regions and areas they have little or no background knowledge on.

4 The Challenge of Clarity of the Mandate:

Another challenge facing the success of peacekeeping operations is the lack of a clear-cut mandate and objective the mission. The absence of a clear-cut objective of the mission is also another challenge facing the United Nations peacekeeping missions.

In conclusion, if the organization can be able to see other streams of getting revenue or funds it will also go a long way in reducing some of the financial mishaps it is facing particularly as it relates to Peacekeeping operations and other humanitarian aid it offers. The United Nations should try and have Its own permanent stand –by the army without relying solely on member states to help them when it wants to mediate in any conflict resolution The study was able to look at concepts such as the United Nations, and the Malian conflict.

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