Sarah von Billerbeck | 2015

Local Ownership and UN Peacebuilding: Discourse Versus Operationalization

in: Global Governance, 21:2, 299-315

The UN asserts that local ownership boosts the legitimacy and sustainabil-ity of peacebuilding by preserving the principles of self-determination andnonimposition in an activity that can contravene them. At the same time, italso perceives local ownership to imperil the achievement of its operationalgoals, thus bringing its normative and operational obligations into conflict.

This article evaluates the UN’s discourse and operationalization of localownership, showing that despite the UN’s invocation of ownership dis-course, it operationalizes ownership in restrictive ways that are intended toprotect the achievement of operational goals but that consequently limitself-determination and increase imposition. Moreover, because of contra-dictions in the UN’s practices of ownership, it also undercuts its ability to re-alize the very operational goals that it is trying to protect.

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