U.N. Peacekeeping:

Lessons Learned in Managing Recent Missions

NSIAD-94-9: Published: Dec 29, 1993. Publicly Released: Dec 29, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) and the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM), focusing on: (1) problems with implementing peacekeeping operations; and (2) the importance of peacekeeping mandates and a solid political framework for peace.

GAO found that: (1) the Comprehensive Political Settlement, signed by four Cambodian factions, the Security Council, and other nations, established a sound political framework for UNTAC activities and has enabled UNTAC to begin Cambodian national reconciliation by repatriating its refugees and holding free and fair nationwide elections; (2) UNTAC officials believe that its success would have been substantially reduced without the political framework; (3) UNTAC success has been limited because it has not been able to disarm and demobilize the factions' troops and ensure that human and political rights are fully respected; (4) the United Nations' (U.N.) ability to plan and execute large and complex missions is limited due to fragmentation in the planning process, limits on U.N. information gathering, and the lack of detailed operational plans prior to deployment, contingency planning, and an effective logistics system; (5) control over large U.N. missions is limited because U.N. does not have a central command capability; (6) coordination of UNTAC and UNOSOM military and civilian activities is limited due to planning fragmentation, language barriers, and inconsistent execution of U.N. orders by the large UNTAC multinational force; (7) the link between peacekeeping mandates and the U.N. charter remains unclear because the charter does not specifically mention peacekeeping or cover the range of actions that UNTAC and UNOSOM missions undertake; and (8) UNTAC and UNOSOM missions have shown that future U.N. missions will require consent and support from all parties and a clear mandate closely linked to the political framework.

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